European Colonialism And European Imperialism

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Europe at the beginning of the 20th century saw the development of ‘mass society’; the continual developing industrial sprawl, mass housing, mass class bound fashions, mass political, mass production and new imperialism defined this period. Thus, concerns for the individual became forefront within society and subsequently saw the progress of human rights in the latter half of the century. European modernity can be defined as the development of the human rights movement, built upon these early 20th century concerns for the individual. European imperialism during the first half of the century, saw Western powers conquer Africa and parts of Asia, as trade became imperative for the growth of domestic economies. Through the development of policies of expansionism, British, French, Russian, German and Ottoman empires fought to extend their rule and dominance over inferior territories and people, undertaking what was described as a ‘civilizing mission’ to elevate these natives from barbarians to civilization. Consequently, imperialism can be argued to be a significant betrayal of human rights and thus European modernity. This essay will examine the ways in which imperialism betrays modernity, first outlining and defining in further detail European modernity and imperialism. Then it will examine the development of the human rights movement, incorporating discussions of ‘social Darwinism’ and the ‘civilizing mission’ and their roles in imperialism respectively. Finally, this essay
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