Political Framework of EU Thesis

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[. . .] As a result, European nations looked forward to developing nations such as Asia, Africa and South America for the purchase of these necessities. For developing nations this was an opportunity to become known as suppliers of grist, therefore, they were willing to enter into this trade agreement. However, what European Leaders wanted was more than a simple trade agreement; their aim was to enforce their rules on these nations, making them colonies of the infinite European empire. Therefore, they entered into the agreement after setting out a lot of rules for the dependent nations to follow. As time passed by, these rules made the European leaders indirectly administer the nation, thus the nations became a part of European empire. History reveals that the imperialism is not impertinent, it had started since 1400s. Remarkable examples include Columbus, Spanish and U.S.. Amongst these, U.S. expanded its empire in 1700s.

Defining Imperialism

Imperialism can be defined as a guiding principle to extend the power and authority of an empire to other nations, whether in terms of administration or trade. According to this mechanism, a state intends to control the political, economic and cultural factors of another state (termed as colony or territory), making the other state its subordinate. On the contrary, colonialism is defined as building colonies on the basis of conquest. A state defeats another state using firearm and gets the authority to rule that state.

1815 -- 1914 is the time period that marks the remarkable victory of Europe and America, who succeeded in expanding their empire from 35% - 85%, using both the techniques mentioned above.

Modern form of Imperialism

New imperialism started in 1870s, when the West used armed forces and advanced weapons to take over the nations in Asia and Africa. As mentioned earlier, the developing nations were not equipped with the gifts of industrial revolution which created a wide gap between them and made it easier for Europe and America to expand their kingdom. Along with the use of armed forces, European nations also used trade to conquer some territories. By setting out various rules before entering into a trade agreement, they managed to enslave these nations. Also, the dependent nations had an urge to be known in the world and be equivalent to the developed and stable nations in every sphere of life. Due to their vulnerability, to influence these nations and make them live their life according to the rules set out by European leaders was a piece of cake for them.

European motives for Colonization

What instigated European nations to adopt an aggressive strategy and build their own kingdom? The various reasons behind imperialism can be classified into economic, social, technological and cultural factors. Each of them played an important part to influence leaders to favor colonization. Some of these reasons have been explained below.

Economic Causes

The most important factor has been mentioned earlier; industrial revolution. Industrial revolution spurs a demand for industrial products. European leaders wanted to purchase raw materials at a reasonable price, and therefore, terms of trade were negotiated with developing nations. Terms of trade were in favor of European leaders only, making the supplying nation comply with all the rules of agreement. Now, when suppliers have been arranged, the next step was to establish a market for those products. Colonies of the massive European empire would serve as consumers of these products, therefore, focus of European leaders was also to acquire nations and make them part of their kingdom.

Western world was well equipped in terms of assets and wealth, and this helped it conquer even the remote places of world. As mentioned earlier, by 1914, around 85% of the world was under Western realm.

Military Causes

Amongst the many gifts of industrial revolution came the advanced armaments, making the Western army more competitive and powerful than others. Creation of ocean going fleets, modern rifle and rapid fire missiles and weaponry made it difficult for the other nations to survive the attack. Mostly, these nations were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The army with all mod cons also required bases and oil stations across the world. Oil stations throughout the world were essential for the repair and refilling of ships. As colonies can serve as bases and oil stations, European leaders moved on to adding colonies to empire and increasing the strength of their army.

Social Factors

In 1800s, Europe's experienced a brisk escalation in its population. With the increase in population, related problems come as a package deal, leaving the nation in an ad hoc situation. Same was the case with Europe, the increased population resulted in unemployment, poverty and increased crime rate. Immigration to America was the first step, a demo for people to show that they have an option to try their luck in other countries. A lot of people exercised this option, and left for America to exploit the opportunities awaiting there. On the other hand, there were a few people who moved to colonies with a hope that colonial life might be better for them. Therefore, European leaders planned on expanding their kingdom, new opportunities emerged with the addition of each colony and therefore, European leaders considered this as one of the best ways to deal with their social problems.

Role of Science and Technology

Science and Technology played an auxiliary role in Western Colonization. The most important tool was the tool of knowledge. With the innumerous innovations, a lot of doors were unlocked; a lot of opportunities emerged and with this knowledge came greater supremacy. The western world focused on innovating new things and making life easier. The advancements in transportation and communication increased mobility and flexibility of nations. It removed all obstacles and made it easier for Western world to approach far off places. An example of quinine was mentioned above; this discovery enabled the Western world to enter even the forbidden nations, where no one entered earlier due to the fear of diseases.

Cultural Factors

Western world had a superiority complex. They believe that their race is far better than others; they came in this world to rule and therefore considered it their right to conquer other nations. It would not be wrong to state that they believed it to be the reason of their existence. They targeted those nations that were not developed and their culture and life style was the same as old ages, with no signs of modernization or improvement. Western world believed that as they were modern and civilized and equipped with advanced resources, it was their rightful duty to make the under developed nations their subordinates.

Different people have different opinion on this belief. Some people consider it to be the bitter truth of life, something that cannot be changed; the superior one always gets to rule. These people tend to be biased towards the Western world. This is the theory of Social Darwinism. The one who is advanced in terms of culture and technology is bestowed by nature with the gift to rule.

Social Darwinism as a justification of imperialism

Another aspect of this theory that can be applied to people was 'the survival of fittest." Only the people who are fit can survive and rule. Summing up, this theory was just a partisan way to justify imperialism. This was used as an excuse to all criticism from the people who opposed European imperialism. Western world believed that it was their duty to teach the dark people their culture and values and to train them to live their life according to the modern ways.

An English poet, Rudyard Kipling, expressed the attitude of English men towards black people in his poem "White Man's Burden." He characterized the attitude of Western people to be genuine and sincere, but also patronizing. According to the British poet, due to their superiority complex, Western doctors, scientists and colonial officials performed better when they went for a visit to colonies. This attitude gives them excellence over their work and also crushed the beliefs and ideas of local people.

European Migration

1815 -- 1932 was the period of European migration, in which more than 60 million people migrated to colonies of North and South America along with New Zealand, Australia and Siberia. As mentioned earlier, this addressed the population problems faced by Europe and then further provided an incentive for Western world to move on to empire building. The people migrating consisted mainly of the poor people, who wanted to try their luck and exploit new opportunities. However, the poorest class did not migrate in big numbers because of the inhuman land policies.

Advantages of Imperialism

With all the discussion on imperialism and colonization, a question arises, why to go through all this mess? The answer can be understood with the famous saying; "No pain, no gain." If the European leaders left no leave… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Political Framework of EU.  (2012, April 15).  Retrieved February 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-framework-eu/8140237

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"Political Framework of EU."  Essaytown.com.  April 15, 2012.  Accessed February 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-framework-eu/8140237.