Learn American History through 50 pop songs

Imperialism

Synopsis

Imperialism occurs when a strong nation takes over a weaker nation or region and dominates its economic, political, or cultural life. This type of foreign policy was practiced by the US, European nations and Japan throughout the 1800s and early 1900s.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

The age of imperialism
A board game among nations
Racing around the world
In a power grabbing whirl
Europe, Japan, and the U.S. of A.
Building their empires
As this strategic game played

For economic reasons
Asia and Africa were seen as
Lands cascading with treasures
Available for foreigner’s pleasures
To ravage, exploit, and otherwise plunder
Raw natural resources
Stolen, used, then spread asunder

For religious reasons
Americans and Europeans
Felt they had an obligation
To force Western civilization
Upon Asian, Latin, and African people
Completely ignoring
They already had customs and cultures

For competitive reasons
As we hunted for regions
In every corner of the globe
We often found them closed
It became a game of take just in case
A rival country
Wanted to someday have the place

Kipling said it was the ‘white man’s burden’
Having to colonize, and civilize
Non-western nations
Spreading democracy, and Christianity
Just a justification, just a justification
For imperialization
Grand theft colonization
Of other nations
Nothin’ but invadin’ and takin’ and rapin’
The rich land of other’s
Till everything’s gone
But an old empty shell
Then generations of Hell
For the native people
Of these non-western nations
Now, who exactly, I ask, is who’s burden?

The age of imperialism
A board game among nations
Racing around the world
In a power grabbing whirl
Europe, Japan, and the U.S. of A.
Building their empires
As this strategic game played

Vocabulary

Imperialism— Imperialism is the extension of rule or influence by one government, nation, or society over another.

“Kipling said it was the ‘white man’s burden’”— Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a British writer and poet. His poem The White Man’s Burden became a popular justification for European imperialism.

colonize— To institute a policy of maintaining colonies in foreign lands as a source of raw materials or otherwise new markets. Colonization was practiced during imperialism.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

Explain imperialism.

Tier 2 Questions

Explain the three reasons nations practiced imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Tier 3 Questions

What are the negative consequences of imperialism? Who suffers from the practice of imperialism?

Test Prep Questions

1) The closing of the frontier and the growth of industry in the late 1800s are two factors often associated with the

  • (1) reduction of exports to Asian nations
  • (2) restoration of a plantation economy in the South
  • (3) formation of alliances with other nations
  • (4) rise of United States imperialism

2) Which heading best completes the partial outline below?

  • I.____________________________________
  • A. Desire for new markets
  • B. Creation of a modern navy
  • C. Belief in Anglo-Saxon superiority
  • (1) Consequences of World War I
  • (2) Results of the Gentlemen’s Agreement
  • (3) Events Leading to Neutrality
  • (4) Factors Supporting United States Imperialism

3) The main purpose of this map is to illustrate the

  • (1) sources of important natural resources
  • (2) development of United States imperialism
  • (3) growth of the Atlantic slave trade
  • (4) results of the Spanish-American War

4) Which United States policy is most closely associated with the annexation of Hawaii and the Philippines?

  • (1) neutrality
  • (2) isolationism
  • (3) imperialism
  • (4) international cooperation

5) Which heading best completes the partial outline below?

  • I.____________________________________
  • A. Sea power is the key to national greatness.
  • B. United States missionaries spread Christian principles.
  • C. The Anglo-Saxon civilization is the best in the world.
  • D. Sugar plantations in Hawaii were developed by Americans.
  • (1) Reasons to Declare War on Spain
  • (2) Justification for American Imperialism
  • (3) Theodore Roosevelt’s Political Platform
  • (4) Yellow Journalism in Newspapers

6) Which foreign policy is the main issue of this cartoon?

  • (1) containment
  • (2) imperialism
  • (3) internationalism
  • (4) neutrality

7) Between the 1890s and the start of World War I, the United States expanded its access to overseas markets and raw materials through the policy of

  • (1) containment
  • (2) imperialism
  • (3) isolationism
  • (4) neutrality

8) Which United States foreign policy was most directly related to the rise of big business in the late 1800s?

  • (1) containment
  • (2) imperialism
  • (3) détente
  • (4) neutrality

9) “But today we are raising more than we can consume. Today we are making more than we can use. Today our industrial society is congested; there are more workers than there is work; there is more capital than there is investment. We do not need more money—we need more circulation, more employment. Therefore, we must find new markets for our produce, new occupation for our capital, new work for our labor. . . .”

— Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 1898

This statement provides a reason why political leaders of the late 1800s adopted the policy of

  • (1) imperialism
  • (2) isolationism
  • (3) protectionism
  • (4) collective security

10) Which title best describes the message of this cartoon?

  • (1) “Neutrality is the Best Policy”
  • (2) “Isolationism: Our Old Ally”
  • (3) “Temptations of the Imperialist Menu”
  • (4) “The Dangers of Overeating

11) Which concept is expressed in this cartoon?

  • (1) support for new military alliances
  • (2) support for United States imperialism
  • (3) opposition to the League of Nations
  • (4) opposition to new immigration laws