Discuss the Economic and Political Motives for European Expansion into Africa in the 19th Century
This discussion essay addresses the 3rd discussion question this week and analyzes the economic and political motives for European expansion into Africa in the 19th Century. The economic motives primarily derive from the impact of the Industrial Revolution while the political motives are largely related to the competition for power in Europe.
The European expansion into Africa was driven by the Europeans’ desire for raw materials, cheap labor, a larger market, a new destination for capital investment, and other resources. After the invention of the Walt steam engine, Europeans were able to produce industrial products at an unprecedentedly effective rate. The raw materials already in Europe could hardly satisfy the production demand. The Europeans, therefore, started seeking raw materials in Africa, a land with almost endless precious resources and very vulnerable military forces (Ijagbemi 6). The labor force that existed in Europe could no longer meet the demand, and this was soon after the emergence of the Industrial Revolution.
Additionally, the labor cost was too high for the factory owners to attain their desired profits. Europeans, therefore, started looking for a cheaper or free labor force in Africa (Khapoya 131). The rapidly growing productivity meant that the European factories produced surplus goods that the European market couldn’t handle. For the surplus goods to be consumed, then the Europeans began colonizing Africa so that they could force it to be the market for these goods (Ijagbemi 6). The Europeans could soon gain an enormous amount of capital from their industrial activities. This, therefore, meant that they had to find a new destination where they could invest all their surplus capital, and their choice was Africa (Ijagbemi 6). Moreover, Africa is so well endowed with all kinds of resources that Europe lacks, and this was another reason why the European colonizers were so desperate to control Africa.
The political motives were largely based on the international competition for power after the old balance was broken in Europe. Before the Industrial Revolution emerged, the European countries had a balance of power on the basis of their state capacities during the agricultural era. However, after the Industrial Revolution emerged some European countries started taking the development opportunities quickly and this triggered the significant growth of their state capacities. These countries, therefore, started being dissatisfied with the old power structure that existed in Europe. Their objective was to transfer their economic advantages into political ones. Notably, those countries that were on top of the old power hierarchy were not willing to give away their status to the newly developed countries. Conflicts wars, therefore, emerged because of the competition for power (Ijagbemi 7). This led to the signing of various treaties. The European countries were thus desperate to obtain more resources that were at their disposal.
Africa was the perfect place for them to get the almost endless supply of all types of resources that could aid the development and competition for these European countries (Ijagbemi 7). Furthermore, the African colonies not only served as the basis for the competition between the European countries but also served as the symbols of power (Ijagbemi 7). The more colonies a European country had then, the more supreme, it was in the European power hierarchy. The Europeans’ economic and political motives for expansion into Africa were primarily based on the rapid changes in the economic and international power structure that existed. Moreover, the motives originated the distinct self-interests depicted by the European nations.
Word count 574
Ijagbemi, Bayo. “Colonialism in Africa”. AFAS 160A1. 2015. PowerPoint Presentation.
Khapoya, Vincent B. The African Experience. 04th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2013. Print.
Are you looking for a similar paper or any other quality academic essay? Then look no further. Our research paper writing service is what you require. Our team of experienced writers is on standby to deliver to you an original paper as per your specified instructions with zero plagiarism guaranteed. This is the perfect way you can prepare your own unique academic paper and score the grades you deserve.
Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.[order_calculator]
Other samples, services and questions:
When you use PaperHelp, you save one valuable — TIME
You can spend it for more important things than paper writing.