White Man’s Burden






White Man’s Burden

Coming from a worldwide historical perceptive, the most noticeable historical trend in the late nineteenth century was European domination of other nations. This domination took many forms ranging annexation, economic penetration, imperialism, as well as gunship diplomacy. In this case, there was no global region free from European colonization, adventurers, explorers, merchants or western missionaries. This domination, otherwise known as imperialism, mostly resulted in resistance from the natives of the dominated nations (Jordheim 2011, 16). To the Europeans however, they had relevant social, religious, and cultural excuses for their domination.

Resistance among the non-European nations was usually answered with the Gunship diplomacy. This was an aggressive diplomatic activity executed through explicit or implicit implementation of naval or military power. This period witnessed the constructed of relatively shallow draughts steel hulled vessels referred to s gunboats. These ships were heavily armed thus providing new opportunities of attacking options towards any resistance or otherwise imperial competition from other European powers (Jordheim 2011, 25). In the United States case, gunship diplomacy as normally associated Washington’s military and diplomatic interventions in the Caribbean during the twentieth century period.

The social reasons used to justify gunship diplomacy and imperialism involved ideologies on holding together fractured societies as well as preserving the existing the existing social order. Another major social excuse used for justifying gunship diplomacy and imperialism lies behind the European belief in social Darwinism. However, this concept had nothing to do with what Darwin applied in his theories. It was more of a euphemism method of suppression of altruism. Normally, this would mean that people were left to die without any concern paid to them in terms of food shelter or clothing (Jordheim 2011, 35).

The other social excuse normally given for justifying diplomacy and imperialism is the great desire to spread the western culture to other regions. The European nations had great belief that they were far superior to the less developed and primitive communities of the dominated African countries. To them this was sufficient reason to impose imperialism by spreading their societal values. At some point, this was considered to have bourn negative implications but this form of imperialism had a positive impact on the eastern region. Ultimately, these communities were introduced to new forms of civilization such as technology as wells a wider variety of foodstuffs (Jordheim 2011, 57). In addition, the western community had an increased sense of confidence and thus felt they can explore other parts of the world such as the eastern region.

Religion is also a frequently used excuse for imperialism and gunship diplomacy expansion to the eastern society. In this case, this was just a cloaking excuse to extend a nation’s political and economic interests to other communities in the name of religion. This was mainly done through governments that intended to use religious imperialism as a means of gaining support for their invasion plans. It was either this measure or conservative Christianity through the form of missionaries that had a view of spreading Christianity to all corners of the globe. Missionaries emerged in the twentieth century period considering themselves obligated to spread their religion to the heathenish Eastern regions.

However, rather than a theological point of view, missionaries in the nineteenth century had a view of being culturally invasive. They lacked an explicit view of separating evangelism from cultural and political issues. With regard to the missionary point of view, they argued that their movement was on the beginning phase against secular rationalism and therefore were dully justified for their imperial diplomacy. However, their endeavors were seen as parts of attempting to instill cultural pre eminence in the dominated communities (Jordheim 2011, 84). Other excuses involved attempts to end slave trade in Africa, and their achievement of this particular feat was greatly commended.

According to the western civilization, they possessed superior culture to the inferior one practiced by the eastern inhabitants. In this case, imperialism was implemented for the sole creation and maintenance of relationships among civilization where the culture of the more powerful civilization was favored. This form of imperialism took several forms such as formal polices, attitude, military which in this case was gunship diplomacy when reinforcing cultural homogeny. The main excuses offered in support of cultural imperialism and gunship diplomacy therefore lay behind spreading the superior European culture to the Eastern region.

Other than extending their own culture, the western nations gave an excuse of an exploratory view. In this case, they argued that they were also interested in learning what eastern communities undertook in their cultural practices. Moreover, they saw it fit to practice imperialism and gunship diplomacy in the Eastern region as a means of easing their fast growing populations (Jordheim 2011, 94). Finally, the European imperialists had a view of advancing their exploration in oversees traveling. Since taking oversea journeys was their culture, they were therefore justified to extend their control over the Eastern region, especially Africa.

In today’s western part, these tactics are less often employed but few cases of religious and cultural imperialism do emerge, but the idea of gunship diplomacy is no longer implemented. Communities being imperialized with new forms of religion and culture today have a choice of either accepting or rejecting. It is no longer imposed on them similar to the nineteenth century imperialistic period. For example, the Christian community is still engaging in non-violent activities of instilling their religion to non-believers. In the United States for example, the Chinese culture has notably been instilled in the society such as their food delicacies in certain states. However, it has been noted that the Muslim community in the recent past has attempted to dictate its religious and cultural beliefs to other communities through violent means. A good example is 11 September 2001 attack on the American Embassy New York in the United States of America (Jordheim 2011, 43). This action was greatly condemned and in one way or another could be regarded as gunship diplomacy.



Jordheim, Helge, and Iver B Neumann. 2011. Empire, imperialism and conceptual history. Journal of International Relations and Development 14, no. 2: 153-185. http://www.worldcat.org/title/empire-imperialism-and-conceptual-history/oclc/780840817&referer=brief_results


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