How Did Industrialization Lead To Imperialism

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are two main ways in which the industrialization of Europe led to imperial conquest.  On the one hand, industrialization made it more possible for European countries to conquer other countries.  On the other hand, industrialization also gave European countries more of a motive to go out and conquer.

Industrialization made it more possible for European countries to overcome other countries militarily.  Industrialization gave the European countries better weapons.  It gave them large numbers of guns and cannons.  It gave them the ability to mass produce these things and to use them to overwhelm the countries that they went out to conquer.  Thus, industrialization gave European countries more military power.  This became even truer when the Europeans developed steamships that increased their naval abilities.

Industrialization also made it more important for European countries to create empires for themselves.  For one thing, it caused a need for more raw materials.  The European countries had more capacity to manufacture and therefore needed to go out and get things to use in manufacturing.  Industrialization also made the countries richer.  Now, they had populations full of consumers who wanted luxury goods from other countries.  Finally, industrialization made it so that the European countries needed to sell more goods.  They had so much ability to produce that they needed captive markets in which to sell the excess.  For all of these reasons, the Europeans had more incentive to conquer after industrialization.

Thus, we can see that industrialization made it more possible and also more necessary for the European countries to engage in imperial conquest.