What impact did industrialization have on the re-emergence of European imperialism in the late 1800s?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Industrialization drove European imperialism in the late 1800s in two ways.  It made imperialism possible and it made (at least in the minds of the Europeans) imperialism necessary.

Industrialization made imperialism possible because it greatly increased the power of the European countries.  Industrialization made European countries richer.  It also made them mightier in military terms.  It gave them the money they needed to have strong militaries, but it also produced formidable weapons in huge quantities that allowed the Europeans to go out and dominate other people of the world.

Europeans thought industrialization made imperialism necessary because it led to the need for sources of raw materials and the need for markets.  As Europe became more industrialized, it needed more raw materials to use in manufacturing.  European countries felt that they needed to take empires so they could get the raw materials that existed in those lands.  As Europe became more industrialized, it started to produce more goods than its own people could easily consume.  This made European countries believe that they needed empires where they could have captive markets to buy their products.

In these ways, industrialization allowed European countries to become  imperialistic and also made it seem necessary for them to do so.


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