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What were the motives for 19th century European imperialism?

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pamela0317 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted June 8, 2012 at 12:03 AM via web

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What were the motives for 19th century European imperialism?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 8, 2012 at 1:13 AM (Answer #1)

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There were a number of motives for this imperialism.  The ones that are most commonly cited are:

  • Economic gain.  Countries wanted to gain empires so they could take resources from those empires and so that the empires could be captive markets for their goods.
  • Military power.  The larger the empire, the more the imperial country could project its power around the world.
  • Imperial prestige.  The larger the empire, the prouder the country could be.  Having a large empire was seen as a sign that a country was a major power in the world.
  • The "civilizing mission."  European countries felt that they had a superior civilization and that they had an obligation to spread that civilization to other countries.

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