Imperialism Structured Academic Controversy

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Curriculet Details
11 Questions
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1 Quiz

In this activity students are asked to read a series of documents, and determine whether or not they think imperialism was worth the great costs. While brief historical context is provided it would be beneficial if students have studied some examples of 19th century imperialism and have a basic idea about the vocabulary used to discuss the topic. (i.e. the Belgian Congo or British Raj in India.)

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Looking at the map, you can clearly see how industrialization benefited the ten nations represented as "major world states." By 1922 the British had established the largest empire in the history of the world and controlled 1/5 of all of the land in the world.  (This annotation contains an image)
In 1884, representatives from the industrialized nations of Western Europe gathered in Berlin, Germany to discuss how best to divide Africa into colonies and maintain peace amongst themselves. With little regard for how their actions might impact indigenous Africans, whom were not invited to the conference, the Europeans proceeded to divide up African land. This cartoon cleverly equates the action with carving up a cake for dessert.  (This annotation contains an image)
Punch Magazine, an American magazine known for its humor, published this image in August of 1900. It depicts, Russia (the bear), England (the lion), America (the bald eagle), Germany (the brown eagle), Austria (the vulture), Italy (the wolf) and Japan (the leopard) all fighting over China (the slain dragon). Africa and Asia were the two continents that experienced the most outside interference during the Age of Imperialism.  (This annotation contains an image)
Pears Soap is a British company, and in this advertisement from the early 20th century you can see their depiction of some common beliefs that many Britons had about the people they colonized. In the bottom right corner a missionary hands a dark skinned and "unclean" native a bar of soap. The full text reads, "The first step towards lightening the white man's burden is through teaching the virtue's of cleanliness. Pear's Soap is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances, while amongst the cultured of all nations it holds the highest pledge--it is the ideal toilet soap." The assumption being that the British way of life was superior, and that they could help civilize colonized populations by teaching them to mimic their own habits and customs.  (This annotation contains an image)
Lord Wellesley's use of the word blessing reveals his belief that the actions of the British in India were  
From his description, how best could you summarize Cecil Rhodes' attitude towards imperialism? 
In this Punch Magazine cartoon from December 1892, Cecil Rhodes is seen spreading out over Africa. It reads "The Rhodes Colossus: Striding from Cape Town to Cairo." Rhodes is often noted in history for helping the British expand their influence on the continent by any means necessary. What is today the nation of Zimbabwe was once known as Rhodesia. (Punch was a British publication known for its political commentary.)  (This annotation contains an image)
Gandhi's choice of the words menace and irresponsible indicate that he felt imperialism was both ______________ and ______________.  
This rare clip of Gandhi depicts an 1931 interview of him discussing his wish for Indian independence. Gandhi was very humble and didn't like to be photographed. By 1931 he had participated in numerous acts of civil disobedience to protest British colonization of his nation. (This annotation contains a video)
In this brief clip from The History Channel you can gain an idea of the goals America, led by the Republican party, had in the Spanish-American War. (This annotation contains a link)
In this pro-imperialism cartoon from 1899, Uncle Sam is seen on a pedestal created by his army and navy lifting up captured children of color. Notice that the children seem monkey-like with exaggerated features, and are only wearing shorts. They also carry the flags of former Spanish colonies and are being gawked at by men from various European nations. The text reads, "Holding up his end: It's really the most extraordinary what training will do. Why, only the other day I thought that man unable to support himself."-John Bull, the Philadelphia Inquirer. The text and the juxtaposition of the strong and the weak from the image seem to indicate that imperialism was beneficial for both groups.  (This annotation contains an image)
William Jennings Bryan was a Populist and an idealist. He ran three times unsuccessfully for the presidency, but he is perhaps best known for his participation in the Scopes Trial of 1925, and for lobbying states to ban the teaching of evolution in schools.  (This annotation contains an image)
American missionary William Sheppard equates the situation in the Congo to  
King Leopold II, seen here in a statue in Brussels, Belgium, ruled from 1865-1909.  (This annotation contains an image)
In this 9 minute clip of the BBC documentary "White King, Red Rubber, Black Death" you can get a small glimpse into the dark side of imperialism in the Congo.  (This annotation contains a video)
Leopold notes that building a colony was patriotic. However, understanding that his neighbors were also pursuing colonies, it might be more accurate to describe colonization as 
Why would King Leopold II want his subjects and government ministers to see his imperial efforts as patriotic and fruitful? 
In this cartoon from Detriot's newspaper, The Journal, Teddy Roosevelt is carrying a native up the hill to an American school, the implication being that the U.S. was burdened by the responsibility of educating those they had taken over. Again, people of color are depicted as animal-like and ignorant, which was a common stereotype of the time period.  (This annotation contains an image)
According to what you've read in Kipling's poem, the White Man's Burden is to 
What message do the details in this section of Kipling's poem send to potential imperialists looking to take on the White Man's Burden of empire building? 
The cartoonist depicts King Leopold II as a snake entangling a Congolese man. Consider what message is being conveyed in this visual metaphor.  (This annotation contains an image)
When Morel describes the destructive effects of imperialism as "not spasmodic," what does he mean? 
This image was captured in the early 1900s by British missionaries to the Congo. In it, a father stares dejectedly at the left foot and hand of his five-year-old daughter. Often Belgian officers would separate families and threaten them with harm in order to insight greater rubber collection. (This annotation contains an image)
While acknowledging the Africans for their physical strength, Morel notes that they lacked the education and technology to combat basic health problems. This acknowledgement supports which argument for European imperialism? 
In an attempt to prove what King Leopold II's officers had done, British missionaries began photographing maimed Congolese. The photos depict people missing their hands and limbs, which were hacked off as penalty for failure to gather enough rubber.  (This annotation contains an image)
In this clip from the History Channel, you will gain an understanding about why the Republican-led government pushed for fought in the Spanish-American War, and pursued the colonization of the Philippines.  (This annotation contains a link)
Now that you have considered the various documents, please write a short analytical response to the essential question:Considering all of the costs and benefits associated with imperialism, was it worth it?Please provide a clear thesis, and at least two pieces of evidence to support your argument. 
Structured Academic Controversy Review