Imperialism is derived from the Latin term imperium which means to command. It involves the control of a dependent territory be it politically or economically. Therefore imperialism pulls attention to how a country is able to exercise over another nation whether it is through sovereignty, through mechanisms of control that are indirect or even through settlement. During colonial times many Europeans exercised control over other nations through the use of imperialism. This means that the system of control was in some ways justified and it was also challenged in other ways.
The countries that used imperialism gave a number of justifications for their system of control. One was that the nations and citizens that were under their rule were backward and weak. A continent like Africa where the European countries had colonies had citizens who were not educated and did things according to traditions which to the Europeans seemed barbaric. They therefore justified the use of imperialism as a way of teaching these individuals under their rule a better and desirable way of life. There was also the wish to spread Christianity into countries that had not become aware of the religion.
Another way through which the European countries justified imperialism was that they needed resources to maintain the countries that were under their rule. Countries under their rule like those in the African continent provided a rich source for the resources they needed for their control. They were able to get cheaper labor and many of these countries had valuable minerals like diamonds and gold which were highly priced.
There are however other individuals and nations who challenged the use of imperialism. They viewed it as a way of belittling those individuals who were viewed to be weaker and backward. They challenged the exploitation of these nations especially the way individuals were treated just for the resources and the feeling of being in control. In many cases those who were under the control of the European countries that used imperialism were treated inhumanely because they were viewed as lesser humans especially those from the African continent. This therefore was the main reason why imperialism was challenged.
Strategies which were most effective in resisting European imperialism
Those who were under European imperialism eventually identified the costs of this system and decided to do something about it. In many cases individuals and groups came up to fight against imperialism. Many of them used direct warfare to ensure that they put an end to imperialism. An example is of the African countries that had individuals like nelson Mandela of South Africa, Kwame Nkurumah of Nigeria and many more groups and individuals who decided to fight for their countries. Warfare was the major strategy used against imperialism and many of those who went against the Europeans faced a hard time with many being imprisoned and even being killed.
This was the main strategy because it was the only way they could be hard and felt. Being viewed as weaker individuals they were not given the right to express themselves and were therefore shut down. The individuals and groups that came up against imperialism had to make a statement that even the Europeans and humanitarian groups around the world could not ignore. This is the reason why they opted to go for war. Some even destroyed the resources the Europeans were dependent on to keep on ruling. Resources like their sources of food, their armory and even their housing were targeted to set them back. Eventually these strategies worked and at some point imperialism was defeated.
The morality of imperialism
Imperialism came with its costs and benefits. Many of the benefits were experienced by the imperialists and the colonies only experiences minimal benefits. The colonies however experienced many costs as a result of imperialism. One the imperialists were able to get their culture into many parts of the world and for the longest time. Their economies were able to grow and develop as a result of the resources they acquired from the colonies. They discovered new, crops, food and other products.
These industrial nations were also able to expand their control into a global economy that was new. Imperialism also meant that these industrial nations were introduced to new cultures which had new and unique influences. There was however a downside to imperialism where there often arose competition for empires which meant that conflict between imperial powers were created and increased. The conflicts that developed thereof led to war in some instances.
The colonials were also affected by imperialism where traditional units especially those that were political were destroyed or disrupted. Many of the citizens of these countries were ill-treated and suffered under the imperialists. Many of the farmers opted for cash crop growing other than growing food for local use like they had previously done. This means that many of them would experience famine. There was however a positive side to imperialism where education, medical care and transportation were improved in the colonies. Others aspects like infrastructure and agriculture were also improved.
Despite its benefits imperialism was not the most convenient way to go for the European countries. It was not right especially the way in which the colonies were treated and how the imperialists viewed them as less human and weaker. There could have been a better way of getting into these colonies where the imperialists would have used a more humane way or treated their colonies equally and shared the countries economies with residents. It was therefore a bad thing.
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