AP Euro: Unit 14.1-14.2 - Modernity and Imperialism
Towards a Modern Consciousness
An Attack on the Rational
- Friedrich Nietzsche glorified the irrational
- Proposed that people who lead their lives by order and rationally at the expense of their emotions, passions, and instincts are totally missing life
- Blamed Christianity for humankind’s “enfeeblement” as it makes people slaves to morality, crushes their free will, and their impulse for life.
- Henri Bergson: rational scientific thought and education were practical tools by which to gain knowledge, but that knowledge was only a means to an end, as it is unable to arrive at the truth or ultimate reality that humans face
- Humans had an inner battleground consisting of three forces: Id, Ego, and Superego
- Id: All of our unconscious desires and drives. Centered around our experiences with pleasure and pain
- Ego: Seat of reason and coordinator of a person’s inner feelings
- Superego: Our conscience and the moral values and inhibitions parents and society place on us.
- Superego forces ego to repress the drives of Id.
- Concepts associated with his theories of psychoanalysis are superego, sublimation, Oedipus complex, and repression
- Many of his ideas have since been proven to be incorrect and harshly criticized
Destroy Capitalist Society
- Georges Sorel: combined Nietzsche’s and Bergson’s ideas with ideas found in revolutionary socialism.
- Violent action was the only way to ensure the rise of socialism.
- Promoted the idea of a general strike by all workers in which workers would unite, rise up, and take violent heroic action against the capitalist order.
- Believed that the new socialist nations would be ruled by a small body of ruling elite as the people couldn’t govern themselves.
Social Darwinism IN Europe
- Social Darwinism also had an effect on the lives of people IN Europe as well.
- Societies that had many smaller ethnic groups became openly racist towards members of their own nation (Jews, Negroes, Orientals)
- Germany was especially taken with Social Darwinism. They considered themselves to be the only pure successors of the Aryan race who were portrayed as the original creators of western culture (Volkish Thought)
- The patriots to the Volk (nation, people, race)
- Social Darwinism was also especially undermining to the Catholic Church.
- People’s acceptance of science and reason had weakened the Church’s hold on people, Darwinism had weakened it even further.
- Church and state were made completely separate entities by many countries by the early 1900’s.
- New focuses for the church:
- bring people together and form a sense of community (hard in the city)
- Catholic schools under Pope Leo XIII even allowed to teach evolution
- Life of Jesus published: questioned whether Jesus was actually son of god
- The Church also condemned the exploitative capitalist lifestyle, as well as Marxist socialism.
- Encouraged practitioners to form their own small socialist parties and labor unions to help people.
Women’s Rights Movements
- Worked for, and won the right to a divorce in places like England and France where the Catholic Church (which did not allow divorce) was weak vs. places like Spain and Italy where it was strong and continued to disallow divorce
- Women won property rights in Britain, France, and Germany.
- Also worked towards women’s suffrage.
- Though movements began in the 1840’s and 50’s, they did not gain much traction until the early 1900’s when movements became a bit more radical.
- In 1903, the Women’s Social and Political Union was founded.
- Used more radical tactics. They earned the nickname “suffragettes”
- Suffragists (could be men too) had one main goal, to grant women full citizenship
- Threw eggs at government officials
- Chained themselves to lamp posts
- When thrown in prison they would go on hunger strikes & had to be force fed
- Smashed windows in fancy shopping districts
- Burned railroad cars
- Emily Davidson threw herself in front of the king’s horse in the Epsom Derby
- Only Finland, Norway, and the United States were the only European type nations that granted women suffrage before 1914
The New Imperialism
The New Age of Imperialism
- Imperialism is the domination by one country over another.
- It can be political, economic, or cultural.
- Often involves removing or pacifying the people already living in that region
- Often results in setting up colonies in that region (think Spain in South America or the British with the 13 colonies)
- Motives for Imperialism
- Industrial Factories need new sources of raw materials.
- You will profit more if you control those resources vs having to buy them from a rival nation
- You will profit even more if you use indigenous people as slave labor and don’t have to pay your workers
- Colonies that a nation sets up are potentially doubly profitable (natural resources coming out, people now living there wanting finished goods)
- The now developing world wide sea lanes needed ports in order to take on supplies and offload cargo.
- Many of these new ships ran on coal and petroleum vs the wind powered ships of the previous age.
- Stockpiling these resources would help sailors of your nation gain a crucial advantage
- Want to test out new weapons or methods of fighting on “softer targets” to practice for fighting other industrialized nations.
- Nations who have industrialized do pretty well
- Again, industrialized nations especially those on the front end of the agricultural revolution had excess population and space problems (Lebensraum)
- Many nations have a strong sense of nationalism and feel that their nation was superior to others.
- These nations feel that they were entitled to more space, and could rightfully replace/exploit less civilized native inhabitants
- In their minds, conquering new lands and managing a global empire brought tremendous national prestige
- Europeans were mostly Christian, and wanted to convert new people to their religion (this was also influence/economic).
- Felt they were bringing god to those ignorant of him (and ignoring their traditional beliefs in the process)
- Some Europeans were really swayed by arguments for cultural relativism.
- Felt truly concerned for their “little brothers” in faraway lands (hopefully you notice the arrogance in this idea). Bringing them the wonders of civilized life.
- This goes hand-in-hand with Social Darwinism. In nature, the strong survive, and some parts of the human race were “stronger” than others thus more likely to survive and dominate
- Definitely a racist component. European nations were going well out of their way (like across the world) to conquer people who they saw as different.
- Millions of people were stripped of their cultural heritage
Factors Aiding Western Powers
- Many old “non-western” empires were in the middle of declining
- Ottoman Empire (nationalism)
- Mughal Empire of India (facing rebellion from Maratha Confederacy)
- China Qin Empire has internal rebellion
- African Empires in West Africa weak due to hundreds of years of slave trade
- Superior Technology (medicine, communications, travel, etc.)
- Europeans have new weapons like the Maxim Machine Gun
It is Worth Noting
- There were people who were staunchly anti-imperialistic. Used very reasonable arguments (mostly ignored)
- Colonialism is a tool of (and mostly only favors) the rich
- Many western nations wanted/used democracy, and yet they use very un-democratic forms of rule on millions of people.
- Argued for greater cultural relativism
Types of Imperial Rule
- Some nations like Belgium and France used very direct forms of intervention in their colonies (they sent large numbers of officials and colonizers) with the intention of turning these areas into new provinces of the home country.
- Other nations like Great Britain created protectorates.
- In a protectorate, the local rulers were left in place but were expected to adopt western practices, follow all advice given, and abide by religious decisions made by the Christian church. This was meant to create a new westernized generation of leaders.
- Spheres of Influence are areas outside of a nation’s borders in which they have claimed exclusive trade rights and special privileges.