Imperialism refers to the policy of extending and maintaining unbalanced economic, territorial and cultural relationship. Usually, it takes the form of an empire, and occurs between states whose relationship is based on domination and subordination. Imperialism has been a powerful force in the history of the world for centuries. The concept involves political and economic interest of a nation to enrich itself with raw materials, labor and markets other countries within the empire (Pakenham 102).
This term is often associated with expansion of the European powers and their conquest during colonial period. Imperialism can be in grouped in four main categories these include: colonial imperialism which takes over, an area with complete domination; political imperialism where the government is governed with the colonists; and socio-cultural imperialism where the dominating country tries to change customs of the subordinate country (103).
How and why European nations changed their attitude towards imperialism
Imperialism was a lucrative way of achieving economic growth during the early phase of industrial civilization (Pakenham 102). However, several European nations begun to change their expansion and colonial domination tactics due to the political impacts they were beginning to face. When the British settled and occupied Egypt in 1882, during the scramble for Africa there was a water way Suez Canal which was the gate way to India and East Asia hence a vital interest for the British Empire. The pseudoscientific social appealed in education of the Europeans were Infrastructure begun to develop in Africa and was used as a connection between the European settlement and coastal region of Africa. The rise in economy has since then made the Europeans extend their powers across the globe. In 1800, the Europeans had 35% of their colonial power extended in many countries. The scientific and social approaches advanced by European education were subjected to criticism by various subordinated countries. With rising dissent, European colonialists adopted brutal ways of keeping their empires and this caused a lot if bloodshed. The human right violations became apparent to the sympathetic populous both in and outside Europe. With sustained attacks and fewer economic returns, many European nations realized that imperialism was not attainable. Therefore, they begun to withdraw from the subordinated regions, and laid down a framework for establishment of government (Gilbert & Reynolds 206).
The change in balance of power in Europe caused a change in the attitudes towards imperialism in Europe in the 1870s (Masharll 12). This was because German and Italy gained independence and was established as nations in the early 1860s and 1870s (Masharl 13). This challenged their dominance over other Europeans. The independence of German and Italy pushed other European nations into adopting strong structures in order to be at the same par. This was replicated even in the scramble for new frontiers in America, Asia and Africa (Bush, 26). Europeans viewed colonial responsibility as being a virtue of their presumed superior position. The rise of technological advancement coincided with the end of imperialism, and so nations on both sides found a reason to promote cooperation. Technological advancement was realized in various sectors such as biology, in which comparative human anatomy was established. The discoveries helped in producing a sense of confidence, superiority, and cultural anxiety among the western nations (Gilbert & Reynolds 28). The products made them develop the need and urge of selling their manufactured products, and in so doing benefiting their mother country while encouraging more respectful cooperation. In 1855, Japan was convinced by the U.S to open ports to ships so as to decrease poverty levels. Political developments in various countries affected international relations (Gilbert & Reynolds, 28). Most European states took an interest in protecting their sovereignty.
End of imperialism gave independence to many countries such as those in Africans which been colonized during the scramble for Africa. However, though it might be acknowledged that there was some attitude change towards imperialism, all countries that gained freedom from European imperialism had to fight for it (Masharll, 62).
The great speed, with which globalization and technology grew, played a major role in the attitude change. Imperialism was morally bad as it exploited other nations and showed the domination of one race over others. With increased globalization, nations, including those that practiced imperialisms were increasing being called upon to account for the atrocities committed in the subordinated regions (Gilbert & Reynolds, 29).
The rise of other powers within the global arena also challenged European domination. Countries like the United States, Japan, and Russia had developed into global powers and they actively questioned European imperialism. Fed up with negative portrayal on the global stage; kidnappings, murders in the colonies, among other issues, Europe began to abandon imperialism but not without a fight (Gilbert & Reynolds, 30).
Imperialism played a major role in the current state of the world. The adoption of imperial approaches by Europe, and the resultant change in attitude had a direct impact on the organization and growth of various aspects of the world today (Bush, 2006). The reasons and effects of attitude change have been captured in this paper.