To what extent did the European Industrial Revolution of the 19th century contribute to the "New Imperialism?"

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Industrial Revolution in Europe at this time (often referred to as the second phase of the Industrial Revolution) played an important role in bringing about the New Imperialism.

The Industrial Revolution was not the only cause of the New Imperialism.  There were also political, social, and even religious reasons for this imperialism.  However, the Industrial Revolution did play a very strong role in causing this wave of imperialism.  It did so in two main ways.

First, it brought about new economic needs on the part of the Europeans.  They needed new sources of raw materials to feed their industries.  They also hoped for new markets for the goods their factories produced.

Second, it changed the imperatives of military logistics.  Ships came to be powered by steam.  Steamships, of course, needed fuel.  This was one factor that led European powers (and the United States) to scramble for possessions around the world where they could place naval bases.

In these ways, the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s was very important in causing the "New Imperialism."