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The Age of High Imperialism 31/07/2007 07:31:00

Empires on Display
• Great Exhibition of 1851
o The Crystal Palace
 Massive structure of steel and glass
 In the middle of Hyde Park, in the middle of London
o Huge trade show
o Over 14,000 exhibits, over 100,000 objects on display
o About 6.2 million people visited
o Queen Victoria went 34 times to the exhibit
 proud of exhibit and her reign
• the exhibits became a regular thing on the western empires
• National Millenial Exhibition
o Hungarian exhibit
o designed to show the world that Hungary was a modern
o they were in a position between the west and east
 they wanted to show they were leaning toward the west
o displayed an imperial ideology
 particularly interested in placing into display their
treatment of other nationalities
o the highlight of the display was when all the different societies
walk down with their national garbs.
• this exhibitions where the showcases of the western European
modern world
• the processes and the fruits of the empires
• they wanted to have a contrast between the developed west and
the undeveloped rest
• between the pax Britannica the British looked at the world as their
warehouse and their market place
o 1815 and 1870s
o great diversity of colonies
 white dominions like Canada
 conquest territories and India
 Indian affairs had its own office in the metropole
o it was effectively without rivals
A new era
• Emergence of Rivals
o the 1870s start the era of high imperialism
 global depression
 new imperialism in the British sense
o building of navy
 Germany and France
o start to expand their empires where Britain used to be the
only traders
o British and Russian fight for Afghanistan
o the French become involved in indo-china
o recent unified countries like Germany were interested in
establishing a colony in china, whether formally or informally
• Industrial Competitors
o New empires start to rival the British and their workshop of
the world mentality
o Germany started slowly, but once it picked up, it jumped
o The British empire dropped about 50% from their height of
• Shift in nature and peace of Imperial Acquisition
o Very aggressive empire building
o British feel that they have to take over other lands, because
otherwise some other nation will do so.
 They reluctantly take over Egypt
o Benjamin Disraeli, Crystal Palace speech (1872)
 He does not like the liberals, calls them anti-imperialist
o William Gladstone
 Leader of the more cautious side.
o Egypt
 Instability in Egypt was threatening the trade canal of
 Gladstone won the election, but he felt that he had to
keep control of the canal, so they take over Egypt
o The Scramble for Africa
 European leaders got together in a conference and split
Africa among themselves
 they drew arbitrary boarders
 there was gold and diamonds
 mostly about gaining lands away from other
imperial powers
 some African involvement, but only on the local end
 By 1900 western powers partitioned almost all of Africa
among themselves
 only two countries are left to Africans
• Imperial Ideologies
o supreme confidence and insecurity in the other
o Jingoism
 originated from music halls by Jingoes
 feverish nationalism
 extremely patriotic stance (seen in a bad sense)
 evidence of confidence
 national pride intertwined with imperial pride
o imperial advertising
 high point in consumerism
 extensive advertising, packaging
 advertisers knew that Imperialism sold
o Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897) (60th anniversary of her
 All the prime ministers from the dominions went to
London to mark her jubilee
 troops from all over the empire came to see her
 Kipling writes a poem in which he believes that the
British should not be too sure about their power
o Race
 Enlightenment
 18th century had been characterized with some
respect for the races of other nations
• noble savages in Australia
 Monogenesis
• A theory of the 18th century that human kind
had emerged from one source
• they were capable of progress
 Perfectibility
• The idea that humans could achieve a
higher state o civilization
• it wasn't about themselves it was about the
situation they were in
• if you took somebody from Africa to London
they could become an Englishmen
 Philanthropic Humanitarianism
• Africans were brothers and could be remade
into valuable Christian subjects
 Trusteeship
• The British had a responsibility to protect
vulnerable non-European people
 The age of race as seen through the age of
Enlightenment is changed during the 1900s (Social
Darwinism and scientific racism)
 Social Darwinism and Scientific Racism
 Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)
• proposed the world was eternally changing
• he did not say anything about people
 Others use the term Social Darwinism
• race was given a new meaning
• in 17th and 18th century race just meant
• by the 19th century race was now the
difference, not the environment
 they blamed race for them being inferior and
could not become proper men like whites
 important to keep in mind that race consciousness is
not inherit
 it changes over time and is learned
 race has become a way to self-identification
 a way for whites to differentiate from others, and
those to differentiate from whites
Questioning Imperialism
• a lot of public debate within advocates of Empires, however, they
would all say that Britain should stay as an imperial power
• Now there are people that are questioning whether the British
should be an empire
• at this point the colonial wars are becoming more visible, the
general public is starting to change their views
• J.A. Hobson, Imperialism, A Study
o one of the first critics of empires
o author of several dozen books, journalist, economist and book
o opposes the war
o Southern African War (Boer War)
 Dutch and British are fighting for control of south Africa
 highly controversial war
 they were fighting European colonizers
o The Pro-Boers
 Irish nationals that supported the Boers
31/07/2007 07:31:00
31/07/2007 07:31:00