Friday, October 2, 2009

The Age of Empire – The Impact of Imperialism for Britain

    The Age of Empire written by Eric Hobsbawn gave an overview of the world from 1875 – 1914. One of the major practices that were utilized during the age of empire was a format known as imperialism. While reading the chapters, the most interesting part involved Hobsbawn talked about how imperialism affected The United Kingdom. Imperialism was seen in a positive light during these times. It brought about economic and cultural impact. There is a major significance for imperialism in the metropolitan countries. The economic impact of imperialism was major; however, it did not help the relationship between the metropoles and dependencies. Among the metropolitan countries, imperialism was obviously of greatest importance to Britain. This was because the economic supremacy of that country was always hinged on their special relationship with the oversea markets and sources of primary products. It is arguable that at no time in the United Kingdom been particularly competitive on the markets of industrializing economies, except the golden age. Management and ownership of the relationship with the non-European world was a matter of importance for Britain.

    Britain was successful in their attempt to do so during the nineteenth century. They created a "new" imperialist expansion. South Africa was the main competition during this time period. The main success for Britain was due to the more systematic exploitation of Britain's already existing or of the countries special position as a big time importer. South Africa, India, and Egypt were all independent aspects for Britain. Overtime, with ups and downs along the way, British capitalist did well out of their informal of free empire. With imperialism, Britain took a large share of the newly colonized regions of the world, and, given British strength and experience. Britain controlled the denser African populations.

    Imperialism was an important part of the age of empire during the nineteenth century, as well as the early twentieth century. Imperialism brought westernization to the elites and potential elites of the dependent world. For all governments and elites, the only options were to "westernize" or go under. But I feel that those were not the only options. There were many industrialized countries that were successful during the nineteenth century who did not practice imperialism. One question that I pose is: was imperialism necessary? One important aspect of imperialism is that it brought about a special impact on the ruling and middle classes of the metropolitan countries. A handful of countries in the west dominated the globe. This was necessary and essential for Britain to maintain its position within the empire during the nineteenth century. Imperial triumh raised both problems and uncertainties. These problems and uncertainties involved racism, vulnerability, and lack of democracy.

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