Unit 7: Nationalism, Unification & Imperialism
Part I: The Age of Nationalism (German & Italian unification)
Modernization, Unification & Imperialism (1850-1914)
The late nineteenth century was the peak of European power and dominance. In this unit, we will study the modernization of Europe, the unification of Germany and Italy, and the New Imperialism in Africa and Asia.
Part II: Mass Society in an "Age of Progress"
Part III: Imperialism of 19th century
The Industrial Revolution gave Europeans the means and the motives to seek global domination during the Age of Imperialism. The Europeans divided Africa among themselves and extended their influence over the Ottoman lands. The British took over much of India, and even China was forced to accept western trade. Although local populations resisted these encroachments, they were overcome by the superior military technology of the Europeans.
Imperialism in Asia: Resistance to European Imperialism
The Sepoy Rebellion
- The rebellion initiated by Sepoys, Indian soldiers in the employ of the British, led to widespread turmoil and violence throughout India until eventually put down by the British.
- The rebellion led to the British government assuming direct control of India from the British East India Company.
- The British, in response to the rebellion, began a program of modernizing India; building extensive railroads, investing widely in industrial development (under British control and to Britain’s economic benefit), and imposing a stricter reform of the police and judiciary.
The Sepoy Rebellion changed the nature of British rule in India with a profound impact upon the growth and development of India.
- In contrast, the Boxer Rebellion did not have as lasting of an impact upon China.
- In contrast, the Meiji Restoration did not fundamentally alter the relationship between Japan and Europe.
- In contrast, the Indian National Congress did not have a concrete impact until decades later.
The Boxer Rebellion
- The brutal anti-foreigner sentiment of the Boxer Rebellion led to a unified attempt by imperial powers to suppress the revolt, which resulted in a large number of deaths on both sides.
- The failure of the Boxer Rebellion led to the forced leasing of significant portions of China (such as Hong Kong) to European powers. These extra-territorial portions of China would exist as symbols of disunity for decades. The Chinese were then burdened by reparation payments for the expenses of the Imperial powers in suppressing the revolt which stunted the Chinese economy for decades.
The brutal Boxer Rebellion served to dramatically weaken China leading directly to the turmoil and unrest that would plague the country for the following four decades.
- By comparison, the Sepoy Rebellion in India did not have the same degree of impact upon the governance of the country; India continued to be ruled by the British while China struggled through imperial collapse, attempts at self-governance, and civil war.
- By comparison, the Meiji Restoration was a peaceful internal transition that did not cause the kind of disruptions that occurred in China.
- By comparison, the Indian National Congress failed to have the kind of immediate impact as seen from the Boxer Rebellion.
The Meiji Restoration
- The Meiji Restoration succeeded in maintaining the independence of Japan, something the other events were unable to accomplish, making Japan a world power in the process.
- In contrast, the Sepoy Rebellion led to decades more of rule by the British.
- In contrast, the Boxer Rebellion led to decades of further turmoil and exploitation by European powers in China.
- In contrast, the Indian National Congress took decades to gain Indian home-rule as opposed to maintaining independence and thriving as Japan managed to do.
· The Meiji Restoration succeeded in modernizing Japan and making a force to be reckoned with that could, and did, stand up to European powers on an equal footing.
· The Japanese decided, under Meiji rule, to modernize on its own terms as a means to compete with and defend itself against European powers.
· The nationalistic reforms of the Meiji Restoration put Japan on a crash course with the Imperial powers in Asia.
The creation of the Indian Congress party
- The establishment of the Indian Congress was an important step in unifying Indian sentiment for independence.
- The Indian Congress gave leadership and direction to India’s independence movement, things India had lacked in earlier rebellions and unrest, such as the Sepoy Rebellion.
- The Indian Congress would provide the means to fill the political void left when the British departed India, serving as one of the main political parties throughout the history of post-colonial India.
- The establishment of the Indian National Congress created a relatively peaceful internal approach to gaining independence without the large-scale prolonged violence of other independence movements.
- By comparison, the Sepoy Rebellion had spurred more thorough control by the British as opposed to gaining self-rule for India.
- By comparison, the Boxer Rebellion led to increased exploitation of China and prolonged instability and turmoil.
- By comparison, the Meiji Restoration enacted changes that destroyed much of traditional Japanese culture for the sake of modernization and led to the imperial actions of Japan, directly in imitation of the European imperialists that they opposed.