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Imperialism in King Leopold II Document Essay

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Updated: Apr 23rd, 2020


Imperialism can be defined as an action of extending power, authority or influence by a person, state, empire or government to another one. Sometimes it can be used as a tool to unite different states into a single one. Usually there is some kind of aggressiveness by the superpower towards the weaker person, state or government.

All sorts of mistreatment and acts of cruelty are executed by the colonizers to the colonized. Imperialism has been experienced in many countries of the world especially with the colonizers with an attempt to bring some kind of civilization to their countries of colonization. Much suffering, unfairness and agony comes along with imperialism.

Imperialism in King Leopold II Document

In King Leopold II document, imperialism is all about dictatorship, where the head of the state is the final say. He/ she formulate all the rules and regulations, recruit those to join the army and make other important decisions without any consultation. Under this form of leadership, a lot of evil is carried out such as assassinations, slavery, misuse of public resources, scourging of the prisoners and the helpless such as the women and the young children.

It is by a word of command that all is accomplished without hesitation. Under Leopold II reign in Congo, cases of inequality in employment, slavery, mistreatment in hospitals and prisons and especially to the natives, murder, poor payment to the employees and many more cases of suffering was realized. He did this in the name of promoting democracy and promoting human welfare in the country.

In the open letter to Majesty Leopold II, imperialism is all about bringing light of hope to a darkened country by ensuring legitimacy, compassion, fairness and independence of the natives. It is about acquisition of a territory through the right means without involvement of any actions of fraud. It also involves consolidation of the native states by use of their local leaders such as chiefs through signing of treaties so as to become one under the authority of the colonizer.

Imperialism concerns educating the natives and encouraging their sovereignty and wellbeing. The government is supposed to provide the basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, and food, shelter and employment opportunities. The natives are to be allowed to live peacefully and to enjoy each and every fruit that comes from their land. A feeling of possession for their own land is supposed to be realized through favors such as being offered equal employment opportunities with equal and fair pay.

Contrary to all these expectations, the sovereign government under Emperor Leopold in Congo is seen to deprive the Congo natives of all their rights and the main aims of empire establishment which is to safe mankind from illiteracy and to foster civilization. The charges laid against the government explicitly defines all the cruelties and unfairness done to the natives which is opposite of the expectations. Under a sovereign government, the natives undergo suffering and grief.

In the essay, shooting of an elephant, it is clear that in imperialism, one can be hated and be regarded not important at all as long as he/she is not of the same origin with the natives. One’s importance is acknowledged when a risky task is to be carried out. Imperialism is at all costs evil where the natives are oppressed. Discrimination based on ancestry and origin, poor living conditions in prisons and hospitals are some of the clear indications of the evil entangled with imperialism.

The helpless are made to live in slums, that is, poorly constructed houses and information reaching them is a difficult achievement as they live in the interior parts of the country. Imperialism is also concerned with influence in the way one ought to carry out a duty; this is clear from the point that the young man is compelled to shoot at the elephant which could have been left until the owner comes for it.

The fact that a big multitude had come along with the man with high expectations of the elephant being killed and that failure to do this could create a negative impression of him and the empire he is working for makes it easy for him to kill the elephant.

Under normal circumstances the elephant could have been killed now that it had calmed down. On the fact that no one cares because the man killed by the elephant is an Indian and the elephant killed is not an European’s, it is clear that imperialism is all about racism where there is a race that is regarded superior and more important to others, a feeling that is impacted even on the less powerful or the colonized.


In conclusion, imperialism comes along with many negative implications with the emperors taking advantage over the native’s helpless conditions. It is with imperialism that all forms of suffering and cruelty is realized such as segregations based on race, slavery, murder, imprisonment of the innocent, subjection to poor living conditions without adequate amenities such as education, health, food, shelter and food.

In imperialism one is concerned with influencing others for his/her own wellbeing with no respect to humanity and life. It is such an evil idea which should be shunned.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Imperialism in King Leopold II Document." April 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/imperialism-in-king-leopold-ii-document/.


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