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The Perils of Imperialism: Through the Lens of History Essay

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Imperialism is traditionally associated with some of the worst forms of state policy, and for a good reason – in literally any historical case it leads to a political, economical and financial stagnation at best, mass repressions and a few revolts ending in massive bloodbaths at worst.

However, it would be wrong to attribute solely negative outcomes to the given phenomenon. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto offers a review of the history’s most outstanding imperialist rulers and the effects of their reign, claiming that, though overall negative, the phenomenon of imperialism did help move history forward at some point.

To start with, it is essential to keep in mind that the imperialist tendencies especially in the Western globalized environment, affects a state on not only political, but also economical and socio-cultural levels, therefore, changing the entire system of the state entrepreneurship, social tendencies and education opportunities.

However, the positive effects of imperialism, even within a modern Western society, are obvious as well. First, imperialism allows strengthening the state by bringing people closer and stirring patriotic emotions in its citizens.

Imperialism is impossible without a strong ideology (The World: A History (2nd vol.) 507), which, in its turn, affects people’s social and professional life, encouraging them to show better results in their professional or academic life. Therefore, the theme of the course is interesting because of its ambiguity, i.e., its inability to fit into the existing black-and-white concept of political life of a state.

As it has been stressed previously, imperialism has a long and rather unsatisfying history record – and for good reasons; with the imperial principles that it is guided by, it deprives people of an opportunity to exercise tolerance and have sufficient business and economical options – the components that make a political strategy viable.

Therefore, no matter how strong and influential some of the imperialist ideas have been, history has clearly shown that, for a state to be economically, politically and socially successful and well developed, its leader needs to trust the potential of the regional cities and allow the latter developing individually, only providing an overall supervision and checking whether the key political processes in these cities align with the state principles.

Fernandez-Armesto stresses that the unity of the nation is one of the key positive effects of imperialism, mentioning China as an example (The World: A History (2nd vol.) 461).

True, imperialism dictates similar rules to every single city of the state, therefore, disregarding the cultural specifics of particular regions. In some ways, the given approach helps overcome cultural boundaries. However, the given method contributes to losing identity, which, in its turn, triggers a social conflict and results in “factionalism and rebelliousness” (Fernandez-Armesto 200).

It would be unreasonable to argue that imperialism can possibly be interpreted as a legitimate way of controlling the key political, economical and social tendencies, since it presupposes that the regional evolution of some parts of the state will be defined by the policy dictated by its leader.

However, it still should be noted that imperialism is an inevitable part of a civilization’s evolution; without passing it, people will be unaware of the perils that it poses to the state economy and politics. Therefore, it must be admitted that imperialistic tendencies within a state will inevitably lead to its political and social stagnation; however, it still is a legitimate stage of a nation’s development, skipping which might be not only extremely hard, but also unbelievably dangerous.

Works Cited

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. The World: A History (1st vol.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2007. Print.

—. The World: A History (2nd vol.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2009. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Perils of Imperialism: Through the Lens of History'. 8 February.

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