Pros and Cons of Imperialism

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Imperialism is a form of nationalism, but from a colonial standpoint. When Europe was ruling over the African continent, 7 nations rules over a vast majority of the nations that existed. Only a handful of independent areas existed. This system of rule is generally seen as a negative today, but there are some positives that come from imperialism as well to discuss.

The Pros of Imperialism

1. It allows for global development.
Many nations do not have the resources to begin the first-world development process. Imperialism brings in the funds to allow the owned nation to begin the expansion of their laws, scientific innovations, and other structural improvements.

2. It generates high levels of personal wealth.
Much of the colonial era was dominated by imperialism because people and businesses were pursuing a new life for themselves. It wasn’t just about gold or silver. Lumber, tobacco, or any other goods could be exchanged for manufactured goods to generate wealth.

3. It strengthens the government.
A good defense is necessary for people to protect their way of life. In the past, cities built walls to do this. Today we build up the military and stockpile weapons. Imperialism gives a government the resources necessary to provide for the common defense.

The Cons of Imperialism

1. It is easy to abuse the system.
Imperialism naturally requires one nation to follow the whims of the nation who owns them. This means any local culture, traditions, or preferences become secondary to the demands of the owner.

2. It naturally promotes slavery.
Because one nation must cede their interests to another through imperialism, this means one group of people feels superior over another. This creates the foundation necessary to implement policies that legalize slavery.

3. It spreads disease.
Imperialism is essentially an example of the survival of the fittest. New people are exposed to new diseases when this form of rule is implemented, which can devastate the local population base.

The pros and cons of imperialism show that the world would be very different today if it hadn’t been practiced in the past. Should it continued to be practiced to experience the benefits that can be seen? That’s a question we much each continue asking ourselves.