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The Motives of Imperialism in the Early 1700's

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The Motives of Imperialism in the Early 1700’s

Sharon House
Professor Rokitski
HUM 202 O01C
February 21, 2015
The Motives of Imperialism in the Early 1700’s The beginning of the 18th century was an exciting time for people in the western countries such as England and much of Europe, yet it was a time of sadness and shame for other countries that would come under the West’s imperial rule. As explorers from Western countries traveled to faraway lands such as India and Africa, they realized there was much to be gained in the way of natural resources that their own countries could not produce. While the conquests had many economic motives (such as gold, silver, silk, spices and access to new trade routes), there were also non-economic motives. What were these non-economic motives of imperialism? Which motives were of primary importance: economic or non-economic and why? Of course it is easy to think of all the economic reasons a country would have to expand, however, when it comes to non-economic motives, one has to think a little bit harder. In the beginning of the 1700’s, politics was one of the main ideas behind most decisions that were made. Imperialism is defined as “…the forceful extension of a nation's authority by territorial conquest or by establishing economic and political domination of other nations that are not its colonies (“Imperialism”). The rulers of Europe and Britain had much political power to gain through the dominance and annexation of larger territories, and nationalism perpetuated some of the desire to acquire more lands than rival countries. Another non-economic motivation was religion. The mentality of British and European explorers (and rulers) was that “British colonialism was the transmission belt that brought the blessings of civilization to much of the world” and that the people and descendants of the countries that were taken…...

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