Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Introduction Chapter 25

Throughout this blog I will be exploring Chapter 25, the West and the World, and I hope to successfully analyze and discuss the impact of imperialism on the world.  This chapter explores the the imperialistic movement which largely takes place between 1815 - 1914.  This movement is the culmination of the industrial and nationalistic movements of the European countries which fostered the militaristic ability and the popular support needed for the European countries imperialistic dreams to come to fruition.  This chapter examines the effects the imperialistic movement and the consequences that it had upon home countries and the countries which were colonized.  It is important to note the essential question of this chapter.  The central question in this chapter is "what was impact of the imperialist movement on the world as a whole?"  Overall, the imperialist movement had a positive impact on the world.  In most effected areas, imperialistic movements led to modernization and/or liberal reform.  Two examples of this modernization would be China and Japan which opened the countries up to trade and led to western reforms such as the construction of railroads and civil rights.  In the European countries there was an inherent benefit for merchants and citizens.  Imperialist movements led to more resources and the a larger market for European merchants and business people to expand into, bringing more wealth to the "homeland".  Additionally, Europeans had more places which they could move and settle to.     

2 Political Cartoons from the 19 Century

         This cartoon demonstrates the large migration of Chinese to the United States, especially to California where they worked in plantations or in gold mines.  This cartoon focuses on the Asians in California participating in gold mining.  This is demonstrated by the small bag of gold and the wash board held by the man who looks somewhat less than human, characterized by an evil look and disturbing features, such as his hair.  The details of the man as well as the words "the CHINESE MUST GO" are indicative of the artists belief that the Asians are bringing negative change to the USA.  The cartoon demonstrates the man running away from San Francisco and towards China demonstrating his/her desire for the Chinese to leave not only California but the Untied States as a whole.  The contempt held by the artist for the Asians was not unique to him.  There was a movement of individuals who had negative feelings towards the Chinese who they believed were driving down wages and taking away jobs from white people.
          While I cannot claim to enjoy the message of this cartoon which promotes racism towards people who are legally attempting to better themselves in a country which promises "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  However, I will admit that I find the artists rendition of the situation humorous and visually interesting.  My favorite aspect of the cartoon is the facial expression of the Asian which is demonic in a humorous way.  
           This political cartoon depicts the effect of the Monroe Doctrine which went into effect in 1823.  This doctrine declared that any act of colonization or interference in North or South America would be seen as an act of aggression and would necessitate US intervention.  This cartoon demonstrates the distinct line which the European rulers could not cross without invoking the wrath of the United States.  The artist seems to have a positive view of the Monroe Doctrine as the words "KEEP OFF: The Monroe Doctrine must be respected" appear at the bottom of the cartoon.  Additionally the artist depicts the European rulers as ornate and sinister while the United States guard is depicted as a strong and morally upright individual.  Personally I am a fan of this cartoon because of the intense detail of the characters involved, especially the European Rulers.  I honestly do not know what my feelings are regarding the doctrine itself but I respect it as a historical piece of American policy which was intended to prevent foreign intervention of the United States.   

Modern US Imperialism Political Cartoon

    This cartoon depicts the American involvement in the Middle East, intended to root out terrorism and help to establish democracy.  This involvement has led to vast debate about the purity of American's intentions and whether it is right to attempt to insert Western Values and democracy into the Middle Eastern society.  The artist clearly feels that Americans are causing harm to the people they are attempting to save and that the true intentions of bringing democracy to the Middle Eastern region is based on Americas need to secure and stabilize the Middle East oil economy.  In regards to the cartoon, I feel that it is well drawn but I feel that the content matter is biased and largely unfair.  While I realize that a large reason for our military involvement in the Middle East is based on our need for a stabilized oil market, I believe that it is important to remember that many people of the Middle East did desire democracy, it was not forced upon them, they desired it.   

Is the United States Imperialist?

When learning about the Imperialist movement between 1815-1914 we have learned about the imperialist desires of western countries.  With this in mind, it is interesting to examine modern day United States and attempt to discern the extent of imperialism present in the US today and throughout our history.  In the following remarks I will present three reasons demonstrating that the US is or has been imperialist and three reasons defending that the United States is not imperialistic.
The United States is/ has been Imperialistic:
1. The United States occupied and annexed the Philippines during the course of the Spanish- American War.  While attempting to obtain Cuban independence, the United States successfully annexed the Philippines, opening a market to the territory and creating a gateway to trade with the middle eastern markets.
2. In July 1898, towards the end of the Spanish- American War the United States occupied and annexed Puerto Rico, a Spanish Territory.  While United States forces met very minimal resistance, this is still considered an imperialist take over, as the United States took over another country without the approval of the people or the ruling country.  Interestingly, Puerto Rico was officially given to the United States in the Treaty of Paris at the conclusion of the Spanish- American War.  
3. In recent years the United States has followed a policy of implementing democracy in Middle Eastern countries, for multiple reasons, one of which is to stabilize the oil markets so that we could continue to trade with the country to obtain oil.  This is eerily reminiscent of Britain's intervention in China, where Britain forced themselves into China to create and sustain an opium market.   

The United States is not Imperialistic:
1. During the course of the Spanish-American War the United States fought for Cuban Independence, even occupying the country at one point, however, they made no attempt to annex the country.      
2. In 1899, the United States promoted open commerce for all countries with China.  However, it believed that Western Nations should respect China's territory, essentially demonstrating the United States disinterest in colonizing China.
3.The implementation of the Monroe Doctrine as an United States policy is another example of the United States anti-imperialistic attitude.  This doctrine essentially promised the United States would not interfere with internal matters of Europe or existing European colonies.  Therefore, while the United States did not follow this doctrine consistently, this doctrine demonstrates the United States disinterest in colonizing European areas or using military force to claim current European colonies, even through they had the military strength to do so.  

Personally, I feel that while the United States has been imperialistic in the past, we are presently not an imperialistic country.  In modern day United States people attempt to claim that the United States is imperialistic because of our invasion of middle eastern countries.  However, the goal of these invasions is often to stabilize the country, search for dangerous weapons, or remove terrorists, not create an entity which would be ruled by the United States for material gain.  Therefore, I truly feel that the United States has been imperialistic in the past but is not currently.      

Cross Continent Connection

1.  The goal of Spanish American War, which took place in 1898, was to liberate the Spanish territory of Cuba.  American involvement in this conflict began on April 20, 1898 when a joint session of Congress recognized Cuba's independence and authorized force to expel Spain from the territory.  This defense of Cuba led to American involvement with a war which led to American occupation and annexation of the Philippines and Puerto Rico.  The major players in this conflict were Americans, led by President William McKinley of America and Queen Maria Christina of Spain.  Overall, the Spanish- American War demonstrates the U.S.A's imperialistic desires because even though America was attempting to rid Cuba of the imperialistic tendrils of Spain, they were spreading there own during the course of the war, in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  This growing imperialistic goal is similar to that of other western countries during this same time period.  For example, Great Britain attempted to gain control of parts of China and successfully annexed India. 

2.  On December 2, 1832, the Monroe Doctrine, written by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, was accepted by President James Monroe.  This doctrine essentially stated that any attempt to colonize or interfere with North or South American states would be seen as an act of aggression requiring U.S. intervention.  Additionally, the doctrine stated that the United States would not intervene with existing European colonies or become involved in internal European matters or matters of war between European countries.  This policy clearly had an immense impact on the countries of Europe, as the United States had effectively closed the doors on the colonization of North and South America, further closing the land available for expansion by European countries.  This made the need to gain land in Africa, Japan, China, and India even greater for European countries.  The Monroe Doctrine can be seen as an additional reason for the European countries to compete for land in the aforementioned places to secure resources and trade markets for their countries.


Uprisings Now and Then

Imperialist Uprising
From early 1900 till September 7, 1901, a group of Chinese nationalists lashed out against foreign interference.  The Boxer Rebellion was an extremely violent uprising which sought to rid China of foreign interference.  After the Chinese defeat in the Sino- Japanese war, China under the rule of Tzi Hsi, experienced a period of great turmoil upon realizing how vulnerable they were to foreign invasion.  This realization led people to realize that the European countries could effectively divide the country amongst themselves.  Therefore the Boxers thought it necessary to dispel all foreigners, especially Christians.  They worked towards this goal by murdering 200 foreign missionaries and several thousand Chinese Christians.  This murderous rampage paired with the Boxer's invasion of the embassy quarter in Beijing led to Western intervention.  The Western governments successfully sieged Beijing using an international force of 20 000 soldiers used to force China to accept a large number of penalties which led to political turmoil within the countries and eventually anarchy.  However, this rebellion was one of the early catalysts for the end of the Qing Dynasty (1912),which led to a republic being formed by Dr. Yet-sen.

Modern Day Uprising
           On December 18,2010, Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself on fire after being stripped of his livelihood by the government of Tunisia, this event sparked the revolutionary fire in the country of Tunisia.  Bouazizi was unemployed much like 14% of the country. This extremely high level of unemployment serves as one of the key reasons for the Tunisian Revolution which ousted President Zine El Abidine Ali from power because of the political corruption practiced by his administration, the high unemployment rate, a lack of freedom of the press, and severe economic distress.  This rebellion was made up of series violent street protests often involving setting buildings and cars on fire.  This continued until the resignation of Ali, who was replaced by his prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouahi, who later resigned on February 27, 2011.  A new popularly elected Constituent Assembly was formed and Moncef Marzouki was elected as interim president, and Hamadi Jebali was elected as Prime Minister, later to resign and be replaced by Ali Larayedh.  After this rebellion the government was a Republic operating under a two party system, rather than the single party system which was in place before the rebellion.  A constitution is currently being drafted and debated.           

Spotlight on Suez Canal

Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is a 101 mile strip of water connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez  a northern branch of the Red Sea.  This canal was originally planned by Napoleon Bonaparte in the late 1700s.  He believed that a canal on the Isthmus of Suez would either cause the British to pay the French to use the canal or continue there slow methods of travel, such as going around Africa by sea or cross across the land.  However, calculations predicted the canal to be impossible to make and use.  Therefore the project was scrapped.  The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company brought back the idea of a canal connecting the two bodies of water and construction began on April 25, 1859.  The company would build and control the canal for 99 years after which time the canal would be given to the country of Egypt.  The canal opened on November 17, 1869 and immediately began moving goods in record time.  Over the next years the canal was be traded hands between Egypt and Great Britain causing serious turmoil, but in 1888 a treaty was enacted allowing all countries to use the canal. Interestingly, in 1948, Egypt prohibited the use of the Canal by the country of Israel.  Furthermore, Egypt nationalized control of the canal and attached a fee for all countries, and after facing opposition from countries who felt they were violating the 1888 treaty, the country sunk 40 ships in the canal to prevent the use of the canal all together.  This was known as the Suez Crisis, but in 1956 the United Nations interceded and help develop an agreement between the feuding countries, opening up the canal for trade once more.  However, in 1962 Egypt finished payments on the canal to the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company and the canal became the rightful property of the country of Egypt  who currently controls the canal today.  The Suez Canal Authority currently maintains the canal which takes between 11 and 16 hours to travel.  In modern day the canal is still significant as it provides passage for approximately 50 ships a day, supporting 8% of the worlds shipping traffic.  The Suez Canal opened for transport in 1869 and still remains one of the world's most significant water ways as the canal dramatically reduces shipping time across the world.     

3.2.1. Summary Chapter 25

Three things I learned:
1. The Boxer Revolution led to the murder of more than a thousand Chinese Christians and 200 foreign missionaries as the Boxers believed they were the cause of all problems that had developed in China.
2. British merchants grew opium in the British colony of India and smuggled the opium into China where it was illegal to consume.  This led to the first Opium war, resulting in the Treaty of Nanking which forced China to cede Hong Kong to Great Britain forever, pay a $100 million dollar indemnity and open 4 ports for trading with foreign countries.
3.Commander Mathew Perry utilized Gun Boat Diplomacy to "open" Japan to trade in 1853.  Gunboat Diplomacy is the threat or use of force to reach a diplomatic agreement.

Two things that interested me:
1. The Maxim Machine Gun was invented in 1884 and was crucial in the defeat of the Muslim force at Omdurman.  General Horatio H. Kitchener utilized the Maxim machine gun to cut down      11000 Muslim soldiers while only 28 British soldiers were killed.  I found this interesting as for some reason I thought that the machine gun was made more recently than 1884.
2. I found it interesting that an increasing liberalized society, which was increasingly recognizing the rights of man, would feel that it would truly be in the interest of the native people of the colonized areas to be forced to accept the culture and societal constructs of the European countries.  I find it interesting that the European people would accept the concept of the White Man's Burden.

One thing that confused me:
1. I am still deeply confused about the roles of David Livingstone and the Henry Stanley and their connection with one another.            

Introduction Chapter 23

Chapter 23, Life in the Emerging Urban Society, discuses the time period between 1840- 1900.  During this time period there was a revolution in scientific, societal, medical, and religious thought.  This revolution reflected the new urban society which was continually growing due to the Industrial Revolution and the growing amount of employment available in growing factories.  Through this blog, I will attempt to discuss this change in thought and it's effect on the growing urban society.  The most essential question of this chapter is how the world issues impacted the new urban society?  These new ideas in science led to advancements in medicine, public health, and an noticeable reduction of religion in urban societies.  Societal and political developments such as the growth of socialism and the new belief in city planning led to political turmoil and better water supplies respectively.  These harsh turnaround from ideas of the past came to exemplify the new urban society.