What reasons were used by many Europeans to justify colonialism?

Expert Answers

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

The Europeans had established many colonies throughout the world. They had reasons to justify their imperialism.

One reason they gave was to spread their religion. The Europeans saw an opportunity in the lands they colonized to send missionaries to the lands where no formal organized religion existed. For example, the Spanish saw this as a great opportunity to spread Christianity.

Another reason the Europeans gave was to say the colonies were better off being ruled by the Europeans. The Europeans believed their way of governing was superior. They believed they had an obligation to show people whom they considered to be less advanced how to run a government so these people could one day run their own government. The Europeans also pointed out that their ways of living were more civilized and therefore better than the ways of living in the countries they were colonizing. The Europeans believed they could show these people how to improve their way of living and how to develop a more civilized society.

The Europeans also believed their colonies would be better off economically. The Europeans felt they could bring their economic system and their manufactured products to their colonies. These people would then have access to products they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get. The Europeans hoped to develop these economies, mainly for European financial gain, to help the people economically that lived in the colonies.

The Europeans believed there were many reasons why their imperialism was justified and was a good thing.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial