Many Western countries felt it was their duty to "civilize" the "backward" people of the world. Write a five paragraph essay in response to the following question: Should colonized people characterize their experience of imperialism as positive or negative?

To approach this essay, review the positive and negative effects of imperialism on colonized people and consider which ones you feel characterize the overall experience of colonization. For example, some negative effects include the enslavement of indigenous peoples and the erasure of indigenous cultures. Some positive effects include infrastructure development and increased sanitation. Once you pick an argument, consider introducing your claim in an introduction, devoting three body paragraphs to three distinct supporting points, and wrapping up in a conclusion.

Expert Answers

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I cannot do this assignment for you, but I am happy to provide you with some ideas to help get you started! First, it would be a good idea if you review the positive and negative impacts of European imperialism to ensure you have an understanding of the experiences of colonized peoples. This will allow you to form a defensible claim on whether or not colonized people should character their experience of imperialism as positive or negative, and support it with specific pieces of evidence from history.

European imperialism had many far-reaching impacts on the world, some of which are still seen in today’s society. Most of the effects on colonized people were negative, as Europeans enslaved many of the people living on the lands they colonized and worked to eradicate indigenous cultures, religions, and languages. European imperialism also reinforced racist European ideologies like “The White Man’s Burden,” which perpetuated notions of white supremacy that are still at the root of racial inequity around the world. However, some may argue that European imperialism had some positive effects on colonized peoples too. For instance, some European colonizers built infrastructure in their colonies, like railways and roads, and brought new knowledge of sanitation to the colonies.

To approach this essay, it would be useful to start with an introduction that briefly provides some historical context about European imperialism, like what the motivations for it were and what events allowed it to happen. Then at the end of this introduction, you could craft a strong, defensible claim that clearly states whether or not colonized people should characterize their experience of imperialism as positive or negative. Next, you should also consider devoting three distinct body paragraphs to supporting reasons for this claim, and then wrap up your argument in a concluding paragraph. For example, if you were to argue that colonized people should characterize their experience of imperialism as negative, you could devote a body paragraph to horrors of slavery and another to the erasure of indigenous cultures.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 25, 2021
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