Imperialistic practices exist and are in practice for thousands of years in this world. Imperialism, in an organized form, started during fifteen and sixteen centuries. Many European nations expanded their power and influence in African and Asian nations. These global powers have shaped the world politics since centuries. They effectively influenced politics and economy of different countries of the world. United Kingdom became the biggest empire of the world. United States of America followed the footsteps of United Kingdom but in different ways. This paper intends to discuss the imperialism of United Kingdom of England and United States of America along with discussing how these countries shaped and influenced the politics of the world.
Modern era of imperialism was pioneered by European nations like Spain, Portugal, Netherlands and France. United Kingdom of England joined the league after realizing the gain of other imperialistic powers. British were also anxious about growing influence of Spain and Portugal in different parts of the world and they did not want to be a laggard in this race. United Kingdom started its imperialistic expansions in sixteenth century and established its colonies in North America and Caribbean. British established their first major colony in India where they stayed for centuries.
United Kingdom of England and various other European imperialistic forces and later United States of America affected the politics of the entire world by making policies that suited them. United Kingdom affected the politics of the world more than any other power and one of its reasons was its control over bigger nations like India, Australia, South Africa and a substantial part of African and Asian continent. British became the most powerful because of the size of their empire and resources that they got in these acquired territories. British succeeded in implementing their favorite policies in their colonies and dominions.
United Kingdom of England used excessive force in order to take control of its colonies. British never hesitated from using force and applying atrocious practices while maintaining their control in acquired territories. The history is full of cruel atrocities, exercised by British in their colonies and dominions. British were not involved only in oppressing residents of colonies but also they exploited all their resources and utilized the same for their further imperialistic expeditions in other parts.
British atrocities in North American colonies during 1765 to 1776 are only few examples how British used to brutally oppress American citizens. British did not hesitate even from killing Americans when they raised voices against oppressive practices of British rulers. Boston killings and oppression of Massachusetts revolutionists are only few examples how British used to treat people in their colonies. Apart from oppressions and killings of Americans, British used to exploit Americans. They imposed a huge number of taxes on Americans and made their life sporadic.
United Kingdom altered each and every policy of countries where British rule was established. British exploited Indians and all their resources were utilized by British for their own purposes. The condition of Indians deteriorated during the British rule and they were literally exploited in every term. British compelled Indians to work for them and even fight for them in the world war and other wars. British used to take major decisions on the behalf of Indians and Indians were bound to follow these decisions whether these decisions were in their favor or not.
British got enormous power and wealth from their colonies and United Kingdom of England became the largest and the most powerful empire that this world had ever witnessed. France under the leadership of Napoleon tried to challenge the British Empire. Napoleon also succeeded in some of his operations and damaged England but he was defeated ultimately and no challenge remained for the England by this time. United Kingdom of England was in a position where it was said that the sun of British Empire never sets.
United Kingdom used to design and implement its favorite policies in the world. This era was the highest point of the British Empire. All other imperialistic powers either joined England or were defeated by British forces. Remaining few countries were confined in their small colonies. No major power was in position to present a challenge before the United Kingdom of England by end of the nineteenth century. Imperialistic policies of the United Kingdom of England won the world for British.
British Empire started witnessing problems by various emerging powers under the leadership of Germany. Germany fought along with various other nations against the United Kingdom in World War I in the beginning of twentieth century. Though United Kingdom and its allies won the war and Germany was defeated along with its allies badly but this was merely the beginning. Germany again fought against the United Kingdom under leadership of Adolph Hitler in the World War II. Though Hitler was defeated but this war proved to be very expensive for the British Empire. The Second World War snatched the special status from British Empire and the world witnessed two new super powers, United Soviet Republic of Russia and United States of America.
With the emergence of United States of America, a new era of imperialism was started. Many people deny the existence of US imperialism but indeed we are in the era of US imperialism. US imperialism is different from the imperialism of United Kingdom. One of the main reasons is that the world has changed substantially and a number of new powers have emerged. Today, when a number of nations are equipped with nuclear power, it is not possible to enjoy the status that British Empire used to enjoy mainly on the basis of their naval power. The time has changed and so are the ways of imperialism.
Today US uses its military and economic power to implement its policies in different parts of the world. United States of America claims to be the biggest guard of the human rights and liberty. America does not hesitate from interfering in various sovereign states in the name of human rights and secularism. America plays the most significant role in the functioning of the United Nations and other international agencies. Imperialism of United States of America is mainly focused on maintaining US supremacy by keeping other countries under influence of its military and economic power.
United States of America strengthened its position within hundred years of its independence. America concentrated on its production, industrial growth and growth of its citizens. Americans were least bothered European imperialism and capturing territory of other nations. Americans were not interested in expanding their territories though they were capable of doing it. They did not even focus on their military and naval power. However, a shift in this trend was observed by the mid of nineteenth century.
US president James K Polk annexed California in the years 1946-1947 as a result of Mexican American war. He entered into a treaty with Mexico that is known as Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty. US acquired various other western parts of Mexico and further purchased Gadsden from Mexico. This was seen as the beginning of US imperialism and Hawaii became immediate victim of US imperialistic policies in the year 1893.
Under the guidance of president McKinley America fought the Spanish-American War in the year 1898. The war was started when U.S. claimed that Spain is responsible for sinking of USS Maine (U.S. Battleship), Havana Harbor in year 1898. The war does not last long and U.S. quickly won that War. The war resulted in the ownership of America over Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Spain received USD 20 million from the America according to the terms and conditions specified in the Treaty of Paris.
After winning the war, America started showing its power by forming imperialistic foreign policies. During that time major goals of the country were to develop a canal system in central part of America, annexation of Hawaii, and to become a leading player in Caribbean affairs. The American imperialism was reflected when America acquired all three countries under Treaty of Paris and ruled them instead helping them in forming a stable government. Late 19th century was the time when U.S. imperialism took shape.
US never looked back once they started their imperialistic policies. Twentieth century witnessed the growing imperialism of United States of America in a similar way the nineteenth century witnessed rampant expansion of British Empire. Americans directly intervened in several countries and changed the reign of governments. They conducted military operations and expeditions in various countries without caring about concerns of that country. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon are only few examples of American imperialism.
American imperialism is different from British imperialism in many ways and time is the biggest reason of this difference. America exercises its practices in different ways from England. America believes in financial imperialism in changed circumstances. American companies, corporations, products and services are accumulated the world market irrespective of America’s relation with that country. Today, finding a McDonald or Starbucks cafe in Russia is not a difficult task. Microsoft and other software companies are the main providers of the computer software and everybody wants to use Apple iPhone.
American imperialism advocates for expanding its influence but it suggests different ways for the same. Americans never practiced brutal practices that British used to practice very commonly in their times. British were hungry of wealth and resources and they almost looted their colonies and dominions. British committed heinous atrocities on people in order to maintain their supremacy. Such instances are not visible in the United States imperialism.
United States of America never expressed its desperation of exploiting resources of other countries. Americans never made atrocities on common people like the British did. United States hesitated from attacking countries merely for capturing and looting their resources. United States of America defended its rights against any aggressive steps and practices of other nations. Americans usually responded and not attacked others while British used to attack others for their wealth and resources.
United Kingdom believed in ruling the colonies and dominions by keeping them in direct rule but United States avoided this trend. United Kingdom directly ruled India, Australia, Canada, Burma and various other countries after they won these nations. United States took over Iraq in the year 2003 and US flags were hoisted everywhere in the Iraq but United States never intended to rule Iraq. American forces were called back once peace was restored in the Iraq and a legally elected government came into power.
United States of America realizes that it is not possible to maintain a direct rule on different countries where people of different culture and temperament reside. US have probably learnt this from British Empire that witnessed excessive amount of resistance in its colonies and dominions in the later years of nineteenth century and in the beginning of the twentieth century. British were rattled by these resistances and exercised brutal practices to oppress these resistances which gave them a bad reputation in the world. United States developed other mechanism to implement their policies.
United States of America develops pretexts of implementing her policies. Saddam Hussein refused to obey America and refused to surrender his oil-wells before Yankees. He was alleged having weapons of mass destruction and was attacked by Americans. Today the whole world knows that WMD was merely a pretext and the real intention was to remove Saddam Hussein and implant a government that could favor Americans. Such practices are exercised commonly by United States of America in the modernization and human rights. British did such things in the name of civilization.
Irrespective of some differences in the imperialistic practices of United Kingdom and United States, their intention of expanding their influence on others was very clear. Both of them used their power, though in different form, in influencing other nations. Both of these imperialistic powers kept denying that they were imperialistic in any sense. Both of these nations always kept claiming that they intended to improve the situation of other countries and make them civilized.
One interesting thing that appears after observing their imperialistic practices is the increase in their aggressiveness when their financial conditions were grimmer. When United Kingdom was striving with financial crisis and came to know about huge gains of Spain and Portugal in their expeditions, British sailors and navy were sent into different parts of the world. Americans also witnessed economic slowdown in the late twentieth and they increased their aggression by this time.
Having observed an overview and succinct analysis of the abovementioned subject, this paper concludes that imperialism exists since centuries and united kingdom of England started a new age of imperialism and established the biggest and the most powerful empire on this planet. United Kingdom established a number of colonies and dominions in different parts of the world. When British Empire was descended, a new imperialistic power took birth as the United States of America. There were a number of differences and similarities between the United Kingdom and United States. The United Kingdom established its empire on the basis of force. British exploited resources of the colonies and dominions that were taken by them. United States never indulged in such practices and intended to influence every country by its military power. United States imperialism appears to be more ethical than the British imperialism.
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