Donna Kwon May 6, 2008
Mrs. Hannah Social Studies
DBQ # 6: New Imperialism: Causes
When meeting people for the first time, what is the foremost detail you notice about them?
How do you judge them? Is it their fashion statement? The outfits that they are donned in? Who
they are with at the time? Do you notice the frivolous things like their nail-polish color or their
hairstyle? How energetic they appear to be? Do you look try at the inside details of a person, like
how benevolent they are? Or do you judge people on the color of their skin? That’s how
imperialism first began. It happened when one Caucasian person decided that because their skin
color was white, they were the purest and noblest of all races. Which, of course, is ridiculous.
Imperialism was mainly caused by the Europeans and Americans who had wanted to take over the
world and cultivate it with their own traditions and customs.
To the average white person, centuries ago, it must have been shocking to realize that there
were people with dark skin, sort of like trying to imagine a blue sun, or a pink ocean. And visualize
their ecstasy when they realized that these strange, dark-skinned natives could speak! And walk!
And act like an actual human being! Of course, because these uncultured natives could not possibly
be as fantastically civilized as the Europeans, it was their job to ensure that the natives learned the
European way of life. Also, because the Europeans came first, it was clear to them that it was their
destiny to rule. After all, they had a naturally kind-hearted nature, and wanted to cultivate the
uncivilized parts of the world, even though it was such hard work to care after all of those countries.
In document 4, you can see how the Britons viewed themselves in contrast to the rest of the world.
To them, it was as though they were conquering other countries for the benefit of all of human kind,
because if everyone was at least learning Britain ideas, the world would be a much more honorable
place to live in, at least according to the British.
On the other hand, when you look at the side of the countries that had been conquered,
you can see that imperialism was not, in fact, the wonderful cultivating of the world that the
Europeans had depicted it as. Document 8 explains all of the fear and death that had been brought
about because of imperialism. The Vietnamese man explains how the French came in, killed all of
their soldiers, and took over the entire country without so much as a second glance to how the original inhabitants of the country were feeling. The Vietnamese man depicts the French as all-
powerful masters of destruction who had come to cause “dissension” among them. He did not
share the French’s opinion that to be white was to be best. However, did the French see this? No,
they went on rampaging throughout the world, claiming land that wasn’t theirs to claim and causing
wars that needn’t have begun, while telling themselves it was