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British Colonial Attitude

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By Mathilde Wilhelmsen 3A

Imperialism is when a nation takes control of another nation's political and economic system and conquest the territories by force. Today, it may seem radical to conquer another nation. But not more than a century ago the common opinion was quite different. A poem written by Rudyard Kipling, represents what sort of view most of Britain, especially many of the respected Englishmen, had towards their colonies at that time.

Below you see a poem written by the English writer Rudyard Kipling. It was written in 1899 and is actually about the U.S conquest of the Spanish colonies, among them the Philippines.

The White Man's Burden

Take up the White Man's burden--

Send forth the best ye breed--

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need;

To wait in heavy harness,

On fluttered folk and wild--

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half-devil and half-child.

The first view of the poem leaves us with the impression that Kipling may be the definition of an imperialist of his age. The poem has a Eurocentric view of the world, meaning that the European race has a duty to educate and culturally develop people from other ethnic groups until they can adapt to the new, western society. The poem clearly looks down on any other culture than the modern, western one.

In other words, it was the white, civilized and superior Europeans' obligation to save the uncivilized native population in their colonies from barbarism




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