Factors that led to imperialism
As industrialization spread across Europe, European countries needed more raw materials and food to sustain the growing urban population and increased industrial production.
Therefore, many countries began to use the domination of other territories as a viable way to obtain these products. According to this logic, regions in Africa and Asia began to be exploited to guarantee a continuous supply of commodities.
Imperialism was a way to promote the cheapening of production and the expansion of profits of the world powers, ensuring economic development.
From a political point of view, two main factors stimulated imperialist domination:
1. The control of colonial territories had significant geopolitical importance since it made it possible to move maritime fleets to secure economic and military advantages.
2. The strengthening of nationalism, since this ideology advocated that a powerful nation should possess colonies.
Understanding the process
Another element to understanding the process of imperialist expansion is to understand the moral values that legitimized it: domination was a way to promote "progress" and the "development" of the non-industrial regions of the planet. This kind of justification had its roots in the idea that the industrialized nations, being more developed and advanced, had an obligation to assist in the non-industrial regions' development.
Theories with scientific pretensions were also created to justify imperialism. The best known of these was Social Darwinism. The theory was based on the species evolution model to explain the development of human societies.
Social Darwinism led directly to racism and xenophobia and expressed itself radically during the first half of the 20th century in various eugenicist theses, which advocated the existence of a superior genetic standard for human beings.
These theories claimed that white European males possessed superior genetic qualities that gave them better physical conditions and civilizational superiority over other groups, such as Indians, Asians, and Africans.
Europe's expansion around the world
In many regions of the world, cities emerged with layouts and monuments inspired by European cities. The Europeanization occurred even in countries that passed through a rapidly industrializing. However, it was the non-industrial countries that came to depend more heavily on the values of the European powers. This occurred because, in these territories, Europeans used political systems of domination to install a European order. There were three systems for this:
Colony: domination strategy that guaranteed greater political control over the territory. It was the system used almost everywhere in Africa.
Protectorate: used where there was less need for intervention, and it was possible to co-opt the local administration, which was placed under the guardianship of the European industrial powers.
Concessions: in some countries, extensive ones, European powers preferred to obtain commercial and settled only in strategic points, without interfering in the territory as a whole.
The United States undertook an imperialist policy aimed mainly at the Caribbean, Central, and South America. They also started to concentrate in the Pacific region, intending to establish naval bases in some strategic points to protect their trade routes with Asia. In this context, the conquest of Hawaii took place.
The basis of US imperialism was the Big Stick, which consisted of interventions in the economy and politics of American countries, exerting hegemony over the region.