Medicine's Role In European Imperialism During The 19th Century

1256 Words6 Pages

Gabriel Song
Midterm
The development of science, technology, and medicine played a crucial role in European imperialism during the 19th century. European empires used STM advancements to help with their imperialistic endeavors, and imperialism itself was the catalyst for many scientific, technological, and medical developments/advancements. STM developments not only led to imperialism, but imperialism also led to STM developments, like stated just previously. In chapter 5 of Daniel Headrick’s book, Power Over Peoples, Headrick posits that European imperialism was caused by their desire for economic gain, and STM advancements played a huge role in acquiring this goal. For example, the development of the steamship allowed Europe to control many …show more content…

In chapter 6, Headrick talks about the role of medicine in European imperialism. European medical advancements, like vaccines and antimalarial drugs, allowed Europe to colonize tropical regions. For example, quinine, a medicine that helped treat malaria, allowed Europeans to colonize parts of Africa they couldn’t before because of how prevalent malaria was in those areas. Headrick states, “Quinine made it possible for Europeans to colonize tropical regions that were previously impossible to inhabit for any length of time” (Headrick, 107). Their medicinal advancements allowed them to travel more frequently and to more places as they didn’t need to fear as much about diseases. Also, Europeans used their medical knowledge to try and justify their imperialism, as Headrick states, “European medicine provided the rationale for much of the imperialist enterprise, serving to justify it in terms of humanitarianism and progress” (Headrick, 108). Europeans argued that they were trying to bring civilization and progress to those who were “uncivilized”. They believed that they were inferior and needed intervention in order to grow as a civilization and people. So, they argued that they would be the ones that would bring this process and civilization to them since they …show more content…

They each would have explained it from their point of view and what they believed about the fossil and its significance. First, Georges Cuvier, who worked and studied the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology, would have probably talked about and focused on the skeleton's anatomy and its relationship to other known species. He also developed the theory of catastrophism, the idea that the Earth's history was marked by catastrophic events that caused mass extinctions of species, so he also would have wanted to figure out if the skeleton was of a previous unknown species that went extinct due to a catastrophic event. Like David Knight states in his book, The Making of Modern Science, Cuvier would have argued that “the skeleton was of an animal which no longer existed, and that it had been destroyed by a catastrophic event” (Knight, 96). It would’ve been enough evidence for him to determine that there most likely was a catastrophic event that wiped out a specific group of organisms. Next, William Buckland, who was a geologist, theologian, and paleontologist, would have wanted to know about the fossil's context and about the geological layers that it was found in. Buckland believed in natural theology, the belief that God created the natural world in a way that was evident to humans through the study of natural phenomena. He would have searched for evidence

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