How does the poem "The White Man's Burden" relate to imperialism?

The poem "The White Man's Burden" relates to imperialism because it supports the problematic belief that white people are obligated to educate and improve other races. Rudyard Kipling is arguing that the United States should realize its obligation to exercise imperialism over the people of the Philippines.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

To be able to properly answer this question, it is important to know what imperialism means. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, imperialism is "the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas."

Rudyard Kipling was born in 1865 in India. At the time, England was one of the world's most imperialistic nations, and India was subjugated under and ruled by England. Kipling left India when he was five years old to obtain his education in the United Kingdom. He then returned to India as a journalist, so he experienced England's imperialism firsthand both as a child and as an adult.

Kipling was a great proponent of imperialism, believing in the obligation of white civilizations to educate and improve what he considered lesser third-world peoples. There is evidence of this in "The White Man's Burden ," when he calls native people...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 936 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team