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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson A: Birth of the Imperial World

Lesson Overview

Beginning in the early 18th century, the United States, Great Britain, and other European countries transformed their economies. Throughout parts of the West, textile factories that produced cloth emerged. This cloth required cotton, which had to be imported from other countries. As time went on, other factories began to emerge increasing the need for natural resources to fuel the factories. This demand for natural resources and luxury items was one of the major reasons for the rebirth of imperialism. In addition to securing natural resources, Western countries sought markets for their goods to demonstrate their power to the world. These reasons, combined with a desire to spread Christianity, humanitarian motives, and a sense of white superiority over native peoples, led by the end of the 19th century to European domination of most of Africa and Asia. In this lesson, you will explore how and why a new form of imperialism emerged from the late 18th century through the mid 20th century.

Textile Factory in Great Britain
Textile Factory in Great Britain [1]

Key Questions

  1. How and why did imperialism grow during the 19th and early 20th centuries?
  2. How did various countries control their colonized countries?
  3. How did people respond towards imperialism?

Student Outcomes

  1. Explain how the need for raw materials and new markets directly led to imperialism in nations in Africa and Asia.
  2. Examine how countries such as Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Germany established and strengthened control over their colonies through different processes such as warfare and diplomacy.
  3. Analyze how Social Darwinism and scientific racism was used to justify western imperialism throughout the non-western world.
  4. Explain the reasons for the creation and the long-term success of European colonial settlements in places such as Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
  5. Evaluate multiple perspectives of various peoples in the past by demonstrating their differing motives and beliefs. (Historical Thinking Skill)

Key Terms

Student Resources

Chart of Activities

Activities to Complete Estimated Time
5 minutes
Key Terms
5 minutes
Activator: 19th Century
5 minutes
Opening: The World of New Imperialism
10 minutes
Activity 1: The Spread of Imperialism
15 minutes
Activity 2: Motives for Imperialism
15 minutes
Activity 3: Social Darwinism and the White Man's Burden
15 minutes
Activity 4: Western Responses to Imperialism
20 minutes
Activity 5: Methods of Controlling Colonies
20 minutes
Review and Assessment
15 minutes
Lesson Summary
5 minutes

Lesson Completion Time

The total estimated time to complete this lesson is 130 minutes.

Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Powerloom_weaving_in_1835.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.