Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback? Thank you very much!
The prompt is:
By 1900, most Western European countries, the United States and Japan had become involved in a new round of empire-building, the New Imperialism. They established spheres of (political and/or economic) influence and colonies in most to the remaining unclaimed parts of Asia, Africa, and Asia. Causes often cited for this new colonial impulse are political, economic, social, cultural, and psychological, deriving from industrialization, growing steam navies, Social Darwinism, and need for raw materials / new markets for excess goods. What do you believe was the most important reason for the New Imperialism and why do you select this reason?
Thank you in advance
In the nineteenth century, a new phase of western expansion in Asia and Africa occurred. Scholars have advanced numerous factors of significant importance to explain this New Imperialism. However, the extraction of the practical causes within a myriad of political, moral, or scientific justifications has been a matter of some controversy. Although we will never be in a position to be absolutely certain to know whether economic causes were at the origin of the nineteenth-century New Imperialism, evidence suggests that the need for natural resources, desire to expand markets, wish to realize new investments, search for uninhabited territories for growing populations were the underlying reasons of what should be considered as the New Economic imperialism.
The need for supplementary sources of raw materials originated in the nineteenth-century mass consumption and leisure. The emergence of mass society in the nineteenth century brought improved standard of living for the lower and middle classes, which composed the great majority of the population. The rise in real wages accompanied by the decline of various costs for consumers led to an increase in mass consumption that reflected in the development of department stores in cities. Moreover, the expansion of new transportation systems, such as automobiles and railroads, allowed the populations to move and enjoy new forms of leisure, for example beaches and amusement parks. Consequently, the production of those equipments required tremendous and reliable supplies of raw materials such as rubber and steel. The First Industrial Revolution had already led western industrialists to exploit the European natural resources. Furthermore, products such as rubber were only available abroad. Consequently, necessary raw materials were imported from Asia and Africa because the political conjuncture and moral justifications allowed the western industrialists to stock up with low cost or foreign origin resources.
The search for uninhabited territories for the growing nineteenth-century western populations came from the need to augment the numbers of urban centres close to reserves of natural resources. The population explosion and urbanization in the nineteenth century overcrowded western urban centres. First, the lower class workers were skilled at industrial tasks and accustomed to the comfort of their urban dwellings. Second, the middle class white-collars did certainly not consider renouncing their new social ascension and their improved standard of living in their cosy domiciles. As a consequence, the western nations faced the obligation of finding territories that could provide sufficient raw materials for the industries, farming lands for nourishing the population, and, above all, sites where the creation and development of cities could be achievable. Unfortunately, such types of territories did no longer exist in the western countries. Therefore, western industrialists settled urban communities in Africa and Asia, where medical breakthroughs, such as the quinine, permitted western people to work and live in compliance with the new western standards of living.
The desire to explore markets abroad was the result of the nineteenth-century mass production in western countries. Western industrials needed to investigate the wide range of potential markets abroad because the western market was subject to fierce competition between the different industries. Producers benefited from Asian and African people who had been educated in western universities and who lived in the western way of life. Those acculturated subjects of western empires represented perfect sources of potential purchasers because they did not only buy western artefacts to imitate western customs for social advancement or prestige but they also publicized the western way of life to other potential buyers. Therefore, New Imperialism was backed up by industrialists who, while extending the limits of their markets, promoted the political expansion of western empires.
The wish to realize new investments in Asia and Africa was initiated by the nineteenth-century industrial bourgeois who wanted to expand their benefits. Nineteenth-century bourgeois were constantly searching for lucrative investments, ranging from the exploitation of natural resources, such as farming or mining extraction, to production of goods, such as electric appliances, or to services, such as legal counselling. The new businesses in Asia and Africa provided huge returns because the western consumers demanded more and more items that required to be made with foreign materials. The western industrialization stimulated the intensification of economic relations between the west and the Asian and African continents that increased industrialists' greed and, as a consequence, augmented their desire to expand western possessions in Africa and Asia to make more money. Therefore, the aggregate investments abroad were one of the economic levies that amplified the western expansion in Asia and Africa in the nineteenth century.
New Imperialism in the nineteenth century was primarily fuelled by economic necessities. Indeed, social causes, such as Social Darwinism or the spread of Christianity, were only justifications to subjugate Asian and African populations. They were simply means to expand economic returns without letting appear the real objectives and with the aim to prevent accusations of harsh colonialism. Actually, to the best of my knowledge, Jesus does not advocate slavery. Furthermore, Darwin explains that the fittest survives and overcomes the weakest but he does not assert that the fittest could have the slightest obligation to take advantage of the weakest. Furthermore, political and military causes were also justifications to legitimate the countries' expansion in the eyes of the other nations on the international stage. New western empires wanted to avoid political tensions at home, such as in Europe, and between the colonies. Indeed, the European colonies in Africa generated relatively few tensions between the colonial powers. Moreover, those colonies were primarily aimed at commercial activities. Actually, given the immensity of the territories, they supported few troops and that might was mainly to police the area. As regards the technological causes, such as medical or weaponry breakthroughs, they were valuable advantages but did not constitute the principal objective of the nineteenth-century New Imperialism. Finally, in my opinion, the debate about the importance of the causes of the New Imperialism reflects the influence of capitalism in world politics and that could be summarized thanks to the subsequent saying: "money talks".