American Imperialism

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Outline the argument for and against imperialism during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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  • The advanced civilizations have proved themselves to be culturally superior. It is therefore only right and proper that they should be allowed to conquer those parts of the world that are less advanced.
  • Many of these lesser civilizations engage in truly barbaric practices. Hindus in India, for example, require a widow to throw herself on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. Western imperialism puts a stop to these practices and subjects the far-flung corners of the globe to more civilized standards of conduct.
  • Before the Westerners arrived, many of these colonies were mired in disease, ignorance, and superstition. It is the duty of imperialists to remove these evils, using the latest developments in education and medicine. The West has no right to keep its scientific and technological advances to itself; it must spread them among the poor benighted peoples of the globe.


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