The interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional

The interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional

1900: THE AGE OF HOPE AND THE AGE OF ‘ISMS’ DISCUSSION – Here’s a statement to consider: “Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations.” Defend or condemn the argument by giving examples of the interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional, non Western societies. Were these contacts essentially positive or negative? ”

Class….how do you react to this question? Did you cringe a bit to see “Western” and “imperialism” linked? The interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional


If you did (or even if you didn’t) please note the power of words. Words have a meaning beyond their dictionary definition, a connotation that can overpower what they are trying to say. I think it is well to understand this as we begin to use printed words to respond to each other here in this forum. Watch what you say, what you mean, and what others may catch from your meaning.

Regarding “imperialism,” do you have a hard time linking it to the Western way of life? Does it fly in the face of truth, Justice and the American Way? What does “imperialism” mean?

The power of the words in the above statement was noted.  It gave an absolute: “Imperialism has been the most powerful force…”  This is not phrased as a question, or a ‘maybe.”  The use of the word “carving” also spoke to me.  I interpret it as a more “delicate” way of this author drawing up images of force and bloodshed, and to support his/her statement of oppression and obliteration.

As for me, yes, I personally cringe when I hear imperialism linked to Western, but then again, I cringe at the whole idea of force, oppression, and honestly our whole history of stakes of claim to this beautiful world.  I recognize that the world cannot be a utopia, but in my limited knowledge of history, as I stand afar, it’s all quite embarrassing as a human to realize that throughout time, we have often failed to find a better way in which to operate our world and governments.  It sounds like toddlers with guns power fighting over which corner of the playroom is theirs.

As our class textbook has noted, Westerners took the land of Native Americans for farming, forcing them out of the “choice” land (Brower & Sanders, 2014).  Again, our reading also points to the vast amount of land that became accessible in the 19th century with the use of industrial resources, noting that although some land across the seas were “settler” areas and open to new people, that the main focus of the Westerners was to extract economic resources (Brower & Sanders, 2014)The interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional.

I do feel that this somewhat flies in the face of the “American Way.”  The “face” of America to me, and I believe many others, portrays one of justice.  We fight for what is right…yet if we were to read certain aspects of our history, without knowledge of who these actions came from, I’m afraid it doesn’t often appear just.  In some aspects, I feel that America has trampled many people to get to the top, and then after the fact, declared they will be “just” in nature.

Don’t get me wrong…I have love and admiration for my country….as well as for those who fought to retain our freedom.  I just can’t say that I 100% support every action in every realm.  Is that not the same in every relationship though?  Is there anything or anyone that is perfect in nature? THE AGE OF HOPE AND THE AGE OF ‘ISMS’ DISCUSSION References

Brower, D., & Sanders, T. (2014). The world in the twentieth century (7th ed.)The interaction between Western industrial powers and traditional. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Learning Solutions.