Colonialism, Imperialism

Topics: Colonialism, Edward Said, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 4 (1288 words) Published: September 11, 2011

Colonialism and imperialism were practiced by the countries of Europe from the 15th to the 20th century and by America during the 19th and 20th centuries. Wikipedia defines Colonialism as, “the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. Sovereignty over the colony is claimed by the metropole. Social structure, government and economics within the territory of the colony are changed by the colonists. Colonialism normally refers to a period of history from the 15th to the 20th century when people from Europe built colonies on other continents.” Shorter Oxford Dictionary (2007) defines imperialism as, “the belief in the desirability of the acquisition of colonies and dependencies, or the extension of a country's influence through trade, diplomacy, etc.” Many of these practices were justified by Social Darwinism. In the age of postcolonialism, history has taken a new look at this period. Wikipedia defines postcolonialism as, “a set of theories in philosophy and literature that grapple with the legacy of colonial rule. In this sense, postcolonial literature may be considered a branch of postmodern literature concerned with the political and cultural independence of peoples formerly subjugated in colonial empires. Many practitioners take Edward Said's book Orientalism (1978) to be the theory's founding work; although French theorist Aimé Césaire made similar claims decades before Said.” Wikipedia states that Edward Said analyzed the works of postcolonial fictional writers exploring how they were both influenced by and helped to shape a societal fantasy of European racial superiority. In Rudyard Kipling’s famous Poem, White Man’s Burden, he describes noble sacrifice colonizers made to help the “wild” and “fluttered folk” indigeous people to live “a better life” often imposing their religious beliefs to convert the people in their new civilization (page 190)....
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