Study Questions and Terms
This week’s reading challenge colonialism and white leadership by portraying it as unjustified and brutal. The white rulers took African land by force and were using it without adequate compensation to the owners. When the Africans sought to resist these injustices, the white rulers responded with excessive force and brutality. For example, the Germans killed between 200,000 and 300,000 Africans who had joined the Maji Maji rebellion, as narrated by Tignor et al. Similarly, in China, the white rule was viewed as an unjust invasion by foreigners who controlled everything and left the indigenous people without any resources to control. According to the article “Two Proclamations of the Boxer rebellion, the white people, are referred to as “foreign Devils”, showing how the writer viewed the white invaders. Similarly, Jose Martin admonishes the citizens of the governed countries to take pride in their original countries and not in the foreign masters and their mannerisms. Therefore, the three writers are united in their portrayal of colonialism and the white masters as unjust rulers who take property unfairly, and who deserved to be fought and defeated.
Jose Marti proposes personal national pride for the ruled generations and their countries as an alternative to European and U.S. imperialism. He stresses the need for the people of the countries that have been dominated by these states to seek traditional solutions to their problems and not depend on the imperial rulers in everything. For example, he states that local economists who understand the local problems should be the ones to offer a solution. Moreover, the interests of the foreign experts are in their mother countries and not the ones they rule. Therefore, he encourages the people in his country, Cuba, to take heart since the problems they may be facing have been caused by foreigners. Instead, he encourages them to take pride in their country and strive to make it better. He also states that those who may have been forced to leave Cuba and now work or reside in foreign countries should retain their national pride and loyalty.
The aim of the boxer rebellion was to express the anger of the country against century-old foreign domination in the quest to try to restore national control over the Chinese institutions and resources. China had suffered for long under many foreign powers. Previously, the country’s laid back approach to politics and foreign affairs had made it possible for many foreign interests to take root in the country and control many Chinese affairs. The foreigners had acted as if they had the sovereign power and right to exploit the nation’s wealth without the involvement of the local people. In addition, there had been a long standoff between the reformists and conservatives about the long-held traditional economic system of China, which some viewed as the cause of the economic problems in the country. The rebellion ended when Emperor Guangxu introduced reforms to strengthen the economy and education of the country.
Anténor Firmin and Ida B. Wells draw attention to the hypocrisy of racial discrimination. Firmin argues that the previous publications and scientific studies that reported that the white race is superior to the black one lacked a basis. It was a biased presentation that amounted to academic dishonesty. He anchors his argument on the fact that the white men who were now arguing that the black race was inferior had denied black men access to intellectualism and other forms of achievement, yet the issue would have been settled once the ability of the black race was assessed. Ida B. Wells also argues that the lynching of black people in America under the pretext of punishing them for engaging in crime was hypocritical. She states that the acts amounted to murder and the efforts to justify them were pretentious of a society that claims to believe in equality and justice.
The British rule over India had brought much tension between the British and the Indians. The locals complained about the punitive rules introduced by the British such as land taxes. The rebellion began as a mutiny among different factions of Indians in the military and soon spread to civilians. There was much violence when rebel factions were formed and many people were killed. The British responded by killing many of the rebels and their sympathisers. The rebellion led to the dissolution of the East India Company, which had previously administered the country on behalf of the British government. The rebellion was a major step in the eventual independence by the country. It also exposed the excessive force and brutality of the British rule and emboldened the Indians to eventually press for more recognition in running the affairs of the country.
The Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba were under Spanish rule but were fighting for independence. The U.S. supported these states against Spain. On 15 February 1898, a U.S. Navy ship was sunk by Spain. The U.S. declared war on Spain and recruited many volunteers. The war began in Cuba with the Americans capturing Guantanamo bay followed by many other towns. America eventually captured all the states from Spain. The formal end of the war was on 1 May 1898 and the two countries signed the treaty of Paris on 10 December 1898. The agreement dictated Cuba be independent, Puerto Rico and Guam be ceded to the United States, and the Philippines be sold to the U.S. for 20 million dollars. It was the first foreign armed conflict of the United States, and it came with heavy casualties and financial expenditure. However, it signalled the rise of a new United States in international affairs.
Gauchos were indigenous Argentinean inhabitants who lived simple lives and were identified by their love for horses as the preferred means of transport. The Gauchos played a major part in the conflicts that involved the American desire to rule over Argentina considering the many forms of oppression they faced. For many historians, they have come to represent the forces of resistance against the foreign domination of powerful countries and largely show how organized resistance worked in comparison to the powerful western powers. When the Spaniards initially arrived in Argentina and established their rule, the Gauchos were skilled soldiers who fought and defeated them and led to self-rule to the country. After the collapse of the colonialists’ rule, the Gauchos were engaged in long-standing battles for the control of the country. Therefore, the Gauchos and their traditions have helped shape the history of Argentina in particular and South America in general.
The Russian and Mexico revolutions were similar in their intention to make life easier for the lower class people. Zapata in Mexico and Lenin in Russia hinged their struggles on the suffering of the common men and the need to make life better. This way, they both won many admirers among the lower class citizens. Both revolutions focused on the need for a better distribution of resources in society. Therefore, they represented class struggles and the demand for a share of the nations’ resources among all the people. The main difference between the two revolutions was that the Russian revolution was ideologically linked to Communism, which aimed at making property society owned. Lenin argued that property should be controlled by the government and there should be no private ownership. On the other hand, the Mexican revolution was based on the ideology of socialism in which the government only controlled some property but left the rest under individual ownership.
The initial political goal of the Mexican revolution, as stated by Emiliano Zapata followers, was the removal of the Diaz dictatorship. He was seen as having relegated the middle class from the decision making the process. In addition, Diaz was intolerant to dissent and has suppressed the regional rulers and concentrated power in the central government. The rebellion was meant to regain this political power from the government. The economic reasons included the need to redistribute resources to the whole country. There were major complaints that Diaz had concentrated the resources to close associates, leaving the rest of the country in poverty. The advocates of the revolution demanded a greater and fairer distribution of resources through socialism as the preferred way of handling national wealth.
According to Vladimir Lenin, the proletariat was propagating the same class divisions that the revolution was fighting against. He used the terms ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ to describe the relationship the upper working class citizens had with the rest of the citizens of the country. He feels the working class represent the majority of the society and should provide the power of the revolution by increasingly demanding positive change. Additionally, he states that the middle-class intellectuals like himself should be in charge of formulating the policies of the revolution, and should ensure that the goals of the revolution are met. They should guard against hijacking of the revolution by elements that may wish to use it for selfish gain. Finally, Lenin stated that the peasants represent the true owners of the revolution, and they should be the leaders after a successful revolution. He feels that this will be the only way in which the revolution will have succeeded in removing the bourgeoisie from power.
According to Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai, communism would transform the lives of women and families by ensuring better working conditions for working-class women. She strongly advocated for the rights of women in all the laws of the country and demanded that socialism be the correct system of ensuring that property was managed well and made accessible for the women and families. She said that women must be included in the higher classes and decision making bodies, as this was the only way of ensuring that they could defend fellow women from the domination of men in all affairs of the society. As the highest ranking member of the communist party, she used her post to advance women interests, ensuring that as the revolution takes place considering the interests of women in the country. She also advocated for the concept of free love in which women would have the freedom to choose their lovers as opposed to the previous systems that made partners chosen for them.
Joseph Marti was a politically significant literary scholar from Cuba. He was born in 1853 and became an intellectual who wrote widely demanding the freedom of the Cuban people, which was the unifying factor in the country’s demand for freedom. He travelled to many sections of the world demanding for Cuban freedom. Therefore, helped draw the attention of the world to Cuba. He actively engaged the Cuban community in Diaspora, especially the one in Florida and mobilized them to support the struggle in Cuba. He also designed and planned the entire organization of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, which became an important avenue for self-rule for the Cubans. He was an intellectual who greatly shaped the ideological views of the Cuban freedom struggle and took an active part in the armed struggle. He was eventually killed in military action in the battle of Dos Ríos in 1895.
The term was used to describe a Philippines revolutionary society formed in 1892 to resist the Spanish domination of their land. Due to the forceful nature of the rulers, the society remained a secret one until it was discovered in 1896, which led to the revolution. The organization was bound by strict codes of admission with applicants being subjected to rites of passage before becoming members. They had to swear to secrecy. In addition, the initial membership was limited to men but women were allowed to join later. The group sought arms from the Japanese government to stage an armed resistance, but they were discovered before this was realized. However, the resistance was one of the major shows of dissatisfaction against the Spain colonialists, and it helped bring the attention of the world to what was happening in the country.
A Chinese secret organization had been formed and slowly spread in Northern China. They were against the continuous spread of western influence in China. In 1900, they started a revolution to try and restore authentic traditional Chinese governing systems to authority. The rebellion was a violent uprising that involved the killing of foreigners and Chinese Christians. Between June and August 1900, the boxers laid siege to the town of Peking, which was used as the Chinese capital at the time and was almost exclusively occupied by foreigners. They stayed until foreign fighters, who included the American army, arrived and crushed the rebellion, killing thousands of soldiers. Later, there was peace pact in which China was made to pay reparations to all the countries whose citizens had been killed in the rebellion. The rebellion was a turning point in the Chinese freedom struggle and as a moment of national pride.
World War 1 helped make the colonized people that they could fight and get independence from their colonizers. During the war, Colonies became sources of the raw material needed to fund the war activities. However, the colonizers drew excessive resources from their colonies, which left the authorities in those colonies with few resources to operate well. In addition, the citizens of the colonies realized that the colonial masters were exploiting the resources unfairly, which would lead to impoverishing of the countries. This increased the resistance that the colonialists were facing in their colonies. Finally, many citizens of the colonies were recruited to fight alongside the armies of their colonial masters in various places of the world. When they returned, they had the exposure of having travelled to many places, and they also had the military skills, which they used in staging armed struggles against their colonialists.
Qui Jin was a Chinese feminist who advocated for the rights of women. Bahithat al Badiya was an Egyptian woman who gave a speech in 1909 demanding the recognition of the rights of women in political matters in the country. Elsa Herman was a German women rights defender who was educated to high levels and used her skills and knowledge to advance the rights of women in Germany. They are similar in their insistence for women right to play a part in the affairs of the countries in which they live. Jin was a revolutionary who demanded greater involvement by Chinese women in the freedom struggle. She wrote articles calling for the changes she sought. Badiya used speeches as one of the ways of reaching her people while Herman published articles calling on women to rise up. All held the view that freedom for the countries must be accompanied by the liberation of women from the bonds of tradition and religion, which had placed them in servitude of men.
Ethiopia is an East Africa state that witnessed some of the most well-established resistances to colonialism. Both the British and the Italian were interested in colonizing Ethiopia, but they met opposition from the well organized Ethiopian fighters. Initially, the Italians ruled a small section of the country next to the Red Sea, but they suffered major defeat from the Ethiopians in the battle of Adowa that led to the killing of more than 4000 Italian soldiers. By the time of arrival of the colonialists, Ethiopia was under the leadership of Emperor Menelik and had a well-organized army that battled the Italians. Ethiopia and Liberia are the only African countries that were not colonized. The resistance of the Ethiopians shows the generally stated idea that Africans were grateful for colonialism was not entirely true. There was much resistance to the coming of the colonial masters, but much force was used to suppress the rebellions.
The first pan Africa congress was held in Paris in 1919 and was attended by representatives of African colonies and Negros living in developed countries such as the United States. It was the strongest movement meant of Negroes in the world, and they demanded the equal treatment of people across the world regardless of their race. In addition, they demanded that Africans be recognized as the legitimate owners of all the land in Africa and they be allowed to utilize it. They also asked laws should be formed to ensure that the utilization of the land of Africa was done in accordance with the law and that instances of injustice should be addressed immediately. While the western world largely ignored the resolution, the conference sent a strong message that the continent was getting serious about its demand for self-determination and fairer distribution of the continent’s resources.
3. Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica in 1887. He was a great orator who became the first president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. He lived in America and became a successful businessman with interests in shipping. Garvey was instrumental in advocating for the economic empowerment of all blacks in the world, stating that the first liberation the blacks needed was liberation from poverty. His views put him on collision with the U.S. government, and he was charged with a tax fraud case and imprisoned. He argued that black people in the Diaspora should come to Africa and help liberate the continent from colonialism. His ideology had inspired various black people movements such as the Black Movement and Rastafarianism. He was also centrally involved in the struggles of the black Americans against racial discrimination and condemned the American government for pretending to represent democracy and freedom yet they were killing black people in large numbers. Garvey is still remembered as one of the great leaders in the efforts to liberate black people in the world.
Ida B Wells was born 16th July 1962 in the U.S.A. She was a journalist and became an active member of the civil rights movement. She was born into slavery in the state of Mississippi but was freed by the emancipation declaration. She used her skill as a journalist to write about the many incidents of racial discrimination in the country. In the 1890s she wrote a book titled Southern Horrors in which she highlighted the lynching in the southern states. She faced threats to her life because of her work, forcing her to relocate several times. When she settled in Chicago, she continued to participate in the civil rights movement, with special interests in women participation in the civil rights cause. She was a gifted speaker who earned respect in the movement and made a major contribution to the growth of the movement and is widely respected as one of the major women who helped the movement to become strong.
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