Throughout the 19th to 20th century, imperialism has significantly influenced the economic, political, and social lives of the Europeans. It encompasses the extension of rule and authority to an empire over other foreign countries. Although many countries lost their freedom and independence as a result of imperialism, they were still able to develop new technologies and advancements. An enduring issue that has conflicted with many societies across time is the impact of competition for power. The possession of control ensures growth in human behavior, human interactions, and economy. The competition for such control influences our perception of the world, belief in superiority, and belief in nationalism. The shift and redistribution of economic power has greatly created instability, influenced by the developments in new technologies.
Competition for power has shaped the way we look at the world and different religions. Before the 18th century, Islamic scholars believed it was unacceptable for people living on Muslim property to be treated the same way as nobles, chiefs, and scholars (Document 1). They continued to state how non-Muslims shouldn’t be able to clothe themselves in the same manner because they would offend the Muslims and they aren’t worthy of riding a noble symbol, such as the horse. The non-believers should not be given the same opportunities and rights as the believers.
The Islamic scholars imply that Muslims should be in power because God had glorified them, and God would never let the unbelievers be superior to the true believers. The believer’s desire for power depict the Islamic people’s determination to fight for their beliefs and fear that the non-Muslims would negatively change the believers’ faith in their religion. In the Ottoman Empire, from 1825 to 1914, the number of Muslims increased while the number of non-Muslims decreased (Document 2). Initially, Jews and Christians were often discriminated and were viewed as inferior subjects. The graph of religious composition suggests that the non-Muslims assimilated to the Muslim religion to receive certain privileges. Here, the competition for control depicts human interactions with assimilation and the non-Muslims’ desires for more power.
The desire for power and control ties into the belief of superiority. Social Darwinism is the idea that natural selection and evolution can be applied to not only science, but also to human society. In other words, the “fittest” people were superior to others and possessed wealth and success. Nationalism, on the other hand, is the feeling of superiority over other countries. Because of such ideas and beliefs, Rhodes believed that the Anglo-Saxon was the dominant race (Document 5). Their possession of control depicts growth in the economy because imperialism assisted in colonization. Additionally, the Anglo-Saxon race always viewed themselves at the top of the social-hierarchy.
The competition over power contributes to further beliefs in nationalism. Nationalism, as described above, is the idea of patriotism to one’s country. In Aizawa Seishisai’s New Theses, he warms the Japanese about the distrust of foreigners and allowing them to regularly appear and “anchor off our shores” (Document 4). Many fear that the English will unexpectedly exploit the Japanese. The expansion of the British empire depicts growth in the economy. However, the Japanese’s desire for power depicts their determination to fight against Western influence and distrust in the foreigners.