Reasons For Imperialism

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Imperialism is where a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through colonisation, use of military force, or other means. In history, you can see the use of Imperialism from many countries such as The British Empire, France, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Japan, and the United States to extend their empires. The use of Imperialism only benefits the colonists because the country/empire which is colonising is only using that land for personal use. They use land for many reasons. They might use the colonised land for economic usage, for they would use cheap labour to find raw materials. Another motive is the usage of the land, for it could be for the space of the land. Or it could be simply for expanding the countries empire.

One reason for Imperialism is to increase the country’s economic level. They might do this to increase the country’s ordinary wealth or to improve their military. (Spartacus Educational, 2019). This can be seen in 1895, from the French when they colonised West Africa. The French would use the Native people as slaves to farm the raw materials which then would be transported to France. They did this because this would enhance their economy since they had to pay the Prussian indemnity and to recover from the Great Depression in the 1870s. They also did this to stop the British expansion in the north. This example of Imperialism only benefits the colonists because they would use the native people as slaves, they took their land to find raw materials and they ruined many years of culture and misuse of land. Another example of imperializing a country for economic reasons is the US annexing Hawaii. Before 1898 (when they annexed Hawaii) they already had a big part of Hawaii with protecting and supporting them. At that time as well, The United States was at war with Spain in Cuba and the Philippines. Hawaii was of importance to the military effort because of its location. It was at this time that Congress annexed Hawaii because of the economic and military benefit the islands offered. The reason why the US annexed at this time was that when Queen Liliuokalani tried to restore the power of monarchy after the death of King Kalakaua. This would mean less US’s influence on Hawaii. And so, House Joint Resolution 259, 55th Congress, 2nd session, known as the ‘Newlands Resolution,’ passed Congress and was signed into law by President McKinley on July 7, 1898. Once annexed by the United States, the Hawaiian islands remained a U.S. territory until 1959, when they were admitted to statehood as the 50th state.

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Another reason for imperializing another country is the usage of the land. This can be seen in 1788 when Britain colonised Australia. The British did this for many reasons. They would use Australia as an important base for ships in the Pacific Ocean, the land would be used as space for convicts because the prisons in Britain had become unbearably overcrowded, a situation worsened by the refusal of America to take any more convicts after the American War of Independence in 1783, natural resources were a need in Britain because they lost the ‘income’ from America, and they wanted to prevent the French from colonising any more countries. This forced environment left the Indigenous people in distress for the British people forced them to be slaves, brought diseases, stole their children because they thought they could ‘fix’ them, the settlers would kill them if they went onto ‘their land’, and this settlement destroyed their culture. This example shows that Imperialism only benefits the colonists for they took their land and used it for their own.

Another intention of Imperialism is just simply expanding one’s Empire. This can be seen by Japan in 1910 when they took control of Korea. In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan after years of war, intimidation and political machinations. The country would be considered a part of Japan until 1945. For the first 10 years, Korea was highly militarized by the Japanese and the Koreans couldn’t do much. Nearly 100,000 Japanese families settled in Korea with the land they had been given; they chopped down trees by the millions and planted non-native species, transforming a familiar landscape into something many Koreans didn’t recognise. After a nationwide protest against Japanese colonialism that began on March 1, 1919, Japanese rule relaxed somewhat, allowing a limited degree of freedom of expression for Koreans. This type of Imperialism and the treatment for the Korean can be easily shown that Imperialism only benefits the colonists because the Japanse misused the Native people and took and changed the land.

Taking a country for its resources, for the land or simply taking it to expand your Empire are all reasons for why Imperialism only benefits the colonists. From France taking West Africa, the US overrunning Hawaii, England colonising Australia, and Japan annexing Korea are all examples. 

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