This week’s readings in Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Empire, focuses on the drastic growth in the world during Europe’s reign of power through the 20th century. These drastic changes were advances in communication and transportation, population growth, and the correlation of politics and economics. The revolutionary changes that took place over the past 200 years go hand – in – hand with one another and uniquely characterize Europe’s reign over the world and more recently, the United State’s position of power.
Rapid growth of industry caused cities to boom. This also caused population to sky rocket. People fled from the rural areas into the industrialized cities around the world in the late 19th century. Families multiplied, plus the influx of countrymen and women caused overpopulation, a problem never before seen. Industrialism, such as job opportunities, was the root of the cause of people to move, but what made it possible were other innovations; such as steamboats, and intricate railway systems. The innovations made over the past 200 years have made the advances before then seem almost miniscule. Just think of the telegraph and telephone. How drastic these types of changes were, before the telegraph is could take weeks just to send a small message. The telegraph/phone transformed communication. The rise of cities lead to other innovations such as movie theater and different recreational activities like the TV. The rise of cities had complications as well, those cities that could not keep up with the booming technology industry fell into economic disparity. Poorer countries generally relied on agricultural success to keep them a competitive force in the world system; but agricultural societies could not, and, still cannot keep up with technological societies. Industrial countries tend to yield power.
Something I had not thought about since US History in High School, was brought up in the reading this week, and that is the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine stated that any European power who tried to colonize on the western hemisphere would be seen as an aggressor and the US would take appropriate action. The US also promised that they would not attempt to colonize in Europe, sort of like a deal – (you keep to yourselves, we’ll keep to ourselves). Thinking about this, is this even legal?.. Its not like Europe signed and agreed to these terms, did they? I understand Europe didn’t want to go against the US’s word since they were a force not to be reckoned with, but why did Europe settle for these terms to easily?