Hi, welcome back. Make yourself comfortable. This week we're going to talk about the rise of national industrial empires. We're going to start with a little talk about the Age of Imperialism. I wish I could promise you that this is going to involve great tales of derring-do and heroic action. Unfortunately, it probably will not be quite that interesting. In fact, parts of this whole story are really pretty dreadful. But it's also pretty interesting. There is some derring-do and some heroic action involved, including some things that are positively horrifying. But we'll see some countries get lost, and I think we'll see at least one really big country get saved towards the end, which itself is an awfully complicated story that I hope you'll enjoy with me. Let's start with the Age of Imperialism. Now, we've talked a lot about there being all these different empires out there. It's one of the interesting things to notice here is actually the growth of global empires is receding a bit at the end of the 1860s and into the early 1870s. In other words, I'm trying to show you that history is not just a linear story in which the empires just rise, and rise, and rise until they fall, and fall, and fall. This is a situation where the empires got going For especially mercantile reasons, as we saw in the 1700s. This carries forward in the first half of the 1800s; a lot of it, in the British case, is sort of episodic and opportunistic. Not really the product of any purposeful central direction. In the case of the French, there is some purposeful central direction, but then the direction changes. By the late 1860s and early 1870s, the great powers are actually moving away from global imperial expansion. So the first issue is: well why were they backing off? And then, why did that age really restart again, in kind of a transition in the 1870s that really kicks up steam in the 1880s, and is going full force through the 1890s up to the turn into the 20th century? So, not a linear story. What's going on with second thoughts? Well, first of all in the British case, liberal governments were coming to power that believed actually that Britain was overextended, that coercing other people was not really consistent with liberal political ideals. This is very well represented by Prime Minster Gladstone, whom we've talked about before. Gladstone became associated with epitomizing the concern for little England. This was a bit of a derisory phrase used by his political opponents. But Gladstone was mainly concerned with problems at home. He thought Britain's role in the world mainly ought to be to uphold ideals and pursue humanitarian objectives. Not to conquer for the sake of further conquest. Indeed, he was quite willing to see some of Britain's possessions liquidated. This actually becomes a period in which some of Britain's most important possessions will be given self-government, dominion status; acknowledging loyalty to the British crown, but otherwise governing their own affairs. That's what happens for Canada, Australia, eventually South Africa and New Zealand, too, will all become among the dominions. As the settler colonies retain a relationship with Britain, but become more and more substantially independent. So, if Britain is pulling back a bit from more empire, consolidating its position in India but doubtful about some of the rest in the late 1860s and early 1870s, what about France? Well France had embarked on some pretty ambitious imperial adventures: in Algeria, in the 1830s and 1840s, annexing large parts of that part of North Africa into France itself. The French had established big footholds under Napoleon III in Indochina, subduing Nguyen Vietnam and turning it into French Indochina. The French had also embarked on what became a disastrous imperial venture in Mexico, trying set up another huge French domain in the New World and that ended very poorly. The Mexican revolutionary armies defeated some of the French forces, and eventually the Americans, having finished their Civil War, urged the French to get out. And the emperor they had supported, Maximilian, of Austrian lineage, was put before a Mexican firing squad. So, here's France at the beginning of the 1870s. It's had a disastrous imperial effort in Mexico. It's just suffered a terrible military defeat from the new German Empire. Paris has been torn apart by German attack and internal unrest. France is preoccupied with its own troubles and is actually pretty doubtful about whether new imperial expansion really makes sense. You could even then take a look at the German Empire. Bismarck's attitude, though, as the leader of the new German Empire is: we now have about all we can handle. Our job now is to preserve this status Quo and try to maintain peace in Europe with this new balance of power. Germany's trying to strengthen its position in Europe and hold there. It's not looking in the 1870s for a lot of new imperial domains abroad. So, if these European powers for these different reasons are kind of looking more homeward, what accounts for the end of the ebb tide and its turn to a flood? Why then, this big burst of imperial activity beginning in the 1870s and then really picking up in the 1880s? Well, first thing you just have to establish straight up is: imperial domination was awfully tempting because these countries were so darn powerful now in relation to many other parts of the world. In earlier presentations, I talked about the military revolution, but then we talked about how some of the armies in other places were getting Europeanized. By the second half of the 1800s, the Europeans have used the Industrial Revolution to affect another Military Revolution. Let's just think about some of the ingredients in that. Some of it is pretty obvious: new kinds of rifles, breech-loading rifles. That's the kind you can just load right up at the breech, instead of having to put the rifle down and ram a charge into the barrel. Breech-loading rifles. Repeating rifles, like Winchesters. Fast-firing, much more accurate artillery. Also breech-loading. And now made more accurate through the use of chemical explosives to precisely calibrate the charge and give them much longer range. And then, when the shell hits, the chemical explosives give the artillery much more lethality. Iron warships, propelled by steam, carrying this new kind of artillery. Less obvious is the fact that the command and control of these armies and navies was now enormously enhanced through the developments and communications. Telegraph, other things, could allow commanders now to communicate with far flung forces with much greater ease than they could in the days when to give an order I had to hand a piece of paper to a messenger, who would go ride off somewhere. Nothing epitomizes this further military revolution more than this particular instrument, the machine gun. This is Hiram Maxim, demonstrating his new machine gun. That fellow standing behind the gun and proudly firing it off is actually his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. He's having lot of fun here, as you can see. A machine gun capable of firing hundreds of rounds a minute comes into widespread use at the end of the 1800s. At this point, the asymmetries between what the most advanced European militaries can do and any less advanced army is getting pretty enormous. So you just have all this power. With this power comes both the temptation to use it to gain advantage, but also with this power there's a sense of duty, obligation, responsibility. If I have the power to help people who are in need, to protect people, do I have any obligation to use that power to do it? Another reason for the flood goes back to some of the things we talked about last week. The whole way that national identity is changing. The identity is now also getting caught up in the pride of being an empire, being a citizen of an empire, lots of evocations of being citizens of the Roman Empire, that kind of classical allusion, the pride, the status that goes with being a truly great power. And then, underneath all that, there's the impetus which I talked about last week of, gee, maybe we need to have this empire. We need to have this empire, so that we can grab the raw materials we need, grab the markets that we'll need. In other words, we need to be one of the strong empires or else our nation might not survive at all. So let's reflect again on what happens when these countries feel, especially in the last decades of the 1800s, that they are now competing for the markets and raw materials that they're going to need to fuel their national industrial states. And that if they don't get those markets, they don't get those raw materials, the ones who do will be the dominant powers of the future. As some of these countries go protectionist, like the German Empire, like the United States, fear is growing that unless you get into the imperial race, you could lose everything. And, of course, nothing is more needed to protect your overseas domains, or even protect your existing trade, than naval power. The previous hundred years had offered some pretty powerful proofs of the importance of navies. Therefore, competition in navies is a really important feature of this period. Here is one example of a kind of new iron warships that the powers were building. This is actually a Japanese warship, built during the 1880s; you can see now it's built of iron. The old masts that used to give the warship the ability to manage itself under sail, as well as steam, that's pretty well gone, except as a symbol from which you can hoist your flags. This really is now a steam-powered ironclad warship. You can see, too, that it's got breech-loaded cannons arrayed sticking out of the hole. This is a harbinger of the sorts of modern warships that will just get bigger and stronger in rivalries among the naval powers for the next 60 years. So you have this really powerful mix of both opportunity: that is, I've got all this power, I might be able to grab more stuff and it's getting easier and easier; and fear: if I don't grab this stuff, I might fall behind and really bad things may happen. And then, if that impetus wasn't enough, you've got duty, responsibility. I can help people. Let's give you an illustration of how a moral duty, the sense of a civilizing duty, is such a powerful factor and not to be dismissed. Let's just take for example the case of India. The British believed that in ruling India, they were actually helping to protect a lot of people. For example, one custom among Hindus in India had sometimes been that when an older man died his body would be burned and his still living wife, his widow, would actually go into the funeral pyre along with him and would be burnt alive, would forcibly be burnt alive, if necessary, so that she could depart with her husband. This particular drawing, it's not a great drawing, I include it here because this drawing was actually in a book printed for Baptist missionaries working around the world in the 1880s. This illustration is meant to convey to the Baptist missionaries that practices like a Hindu suttee, in which women are forcibly burned alive, is one of the practices that the spread of Christianity is going to help wipe out. A huge impulse in British colonialism in East Africa is the work of the missionary David Livingstone in East Africa. What is Livingstone's great cause in East Africa? Wiping out slavery. Slavery in Zanzibar, ending the slave trade there. It was a great cause. Livingstone was right to agitate against it. The missionaries had long been in the lead in fighting slavery. So, the humanitarian concerns are not idle ones. They're serious, and it's a powerful motivating force for people who've got lots of power. Another factor, though, that really needs to be discussed is cultural. I already talked last week about the importance of mass culture. Well one of the staples of these illustrated weeklies are tales of derring-do, of courage among people in exotic realms confronting exotic peoples. The natives swarm them, the heroic European with his repeating rival holds them off. How many of you haven't seen images like this in adventure movies or read them in adventure stories? Well frankly, adventure stories are a really popular source of popular fiction all through this period. The images of manliness. One really nice illustration of this is in the work of an author named H. Rider Haggard. Probably his best known novel is called King Solomon's Mines. It's been made into a movie several times. The hero in King Solomon's Mines, and in a bunch of other books in the late 1800s, is Allan Quatermain. And here's an image, actually taken from one of those early editions of Rider Haggard's books, in which Quatermain, with his rifle, is holding off a charge by a group of African tribesmen. The Africans who are serving with him are kneeling there, firing their rifles to hold off the charge, while Quatermain leading them is yelling at them: fire you scoundrels! The heroic European, with his native allies, defeating the bad natives. This is just one of the staples of adventure fiction. But these images of adventure, of manliness, are purely part of the cultural sea in which young Europeans are growing up, and that I think is a part of what's fueling the flood of imperial ambition in the 1880s and 1890s. So what I've done in this presentation is I've talked a little bit about some of the conditions that had damped down the fires of imperial ambition in the 1860s and 1870s. And then I talked about some of the conditions that started building those fires up again. But what I want to do next time, in the next presentation, is talk about what were the tipping points that really unleashed the imperial stampede. See you then.