American vs. European Colonialism

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by pattle, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. pattle

    pattle Member

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    The self righteous attitude of Americans towards British and French imperialism during the 20th century is way to much for me to swallow. Here we had a people who had colonised and completely taken over an entire continent in the process of which destroying almost its entire indiginous population. In addition to the conquest of these lands large numbers of slaves were kidnapped and taken against their will to help build this nation. For these reasons I find the American stance against imperialism to be hyprocritical as in reality the USA was imperialist in the most extreme and pure form of the word.
    No offence meant, just a blunt and sobering observation that a lot of people would like to make but dare not.
     
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  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Stick to the subject. WW1 and European colonialism.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I beg to differ. The slave trade was introduced to the "new world" by British, French, Dutch and Spanish interests. Between 1778 and 1864, those slaves who were in North America were owned by Americans, roughly the span of a generation, perhaps a little more. The treatment of indiginous populations in North America were no different than in Asia, India, Africa, Australia, South America or the South Pacific over the centuries by European colonization.

    So perhaps we had better stay focused on the topic here, shouldn't we? :)
     
  4. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I think pattle is saying the post war US attitudes to Imperial Europeans were a bit 2 faced especially as the US had only recently gone to war with Spain for control of Cuba and the Philippines. I dont think it was a criticism just an observation even if it has obviously ruffled some feathers.
     
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  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Cuba; never was a US colony. Nor occupied by US troops for long.

    Philipines; by the eve of WW1, plans were in place to move the islands towards their own Independence if they desired it.
     
  6. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Hmm yes Phillipine independence was offered only after anywhere between 220,000 (US Office of Historian estimate) and 1,400,000 (Gen Bell USArmy estimate) Filipinos died. Even the bloody handed Imperialist British, French and Germans were a bit shocked by the Phillipine - American war.
     
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  7. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Gents, I can see this topic degenerating quickly into something unpleasant.
     
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  8. pattle

    pattle Member

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    What part of what I said is untrue?
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    It would be nice to see a good thread keep going in the right direction...
     
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  10. pattle

    pattle Member

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    And it will, I was just throwing in what I believe to be a valid point that is all, because we all believe in free speech don't we. I was not having a dig at the Americans, the way I see it none of us can change the past but it is silly to let our national pride to stand in the way of denying our relevant countries indiscretions , particularly when they were made way before we were born.
    A lot of things such as torture, slavery, public execution, and the sacking of towns and cities with the killing of both prisoners and civilians during wartime were all social norms until questioned in the 1800's, there was no ideal model of civilisation where this didn't happen it was a very cruel world.

    Going back on the World War One thread and how my earlier comment fits into it, the point I was trying to make was that the USA was being hypocritical about European colonialism and it proved wrong of the USA to use this as an excuse to isolate itself.
     
  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ".... the USA was being hypocritical about European colonialism and it proved wrong of the USA to use this as an excuse to isolate itself."

    That is an oversimplification of the case. The American public wanted no part of entanglement in wars fought on European battlefields .... after the blood bath of the American Civil War .... the American public just wanted America to thrive and take on 'fights' that America could win and who could blame them. The Spanish American war, for example, was exactly that kind of war.

    That may or may not be 'hypocritical' but is a realistic position.

    France - on the other hand - learned nothing from her overwhelming defeat by a newly unified Germany in the F-P war ..... nothing except a blind desire for revenge. The conduct of France before, during, and after 1914-18 and Versailles is a major contributor to Act II in 1939, IMHO.

    MM
     
  12. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Yes I think so as well, but I also think that even back in 1918 there was a global economy and that one country could not hope to become immune to it by isolating itself. Britain was drawn into WW1 to maintain the balance of power in Europe and in the same way America was drawn into the same war to maintain the balance of power in the wider world. An over simplification once again, but I can't spend all day on here.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Apart from this bit :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The US did do a LOT of imperialistic/colonial things but managed to camouflage them better than some other countries. In many cases because it was companies/corporations doing it instead of the government directly but with government assistance or at least government neglect. Check the History of the "United Fruit Company", they weren't called "banana wars" for nothing ;)

    That being said you had individuals in ANY government/country who were idealistic and trying to steer things a certain way and you had individuals in the same government/country at the same time who were cynical and greedy and who tried to steer things another way. The ones who are idealistic are usually at a disadvantage even if they are in the majority.
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "....Check the History of the "United Fruit Company", they weren't called "banana wars" for nothing..."

    Nothing unique about corporate colonialism actually ..... The British "East India Company" was Britain in India for ages. The Hudson Bay Company was The Crown in Canada for ages.

    Banana Wars were just outbreaks of 'Monroe Doctrine-ism' :) ... America, in typical American boldness and freshness, simply announced it's 'Imperial' position in the world - the Monroe Doctrine plus open oceans and commerce to the world.

    Throughout history - business interests - $$$$ - have driven government. From the 'syndicates' of Carthage developing Spain, to the syndicates of Rome - sponsoring entertainment for the masses - business is the true force driving so-called colonialism and society, IMHO, :)

    MM
     
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  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Just saying you can have American diplomats saying and doing one thing ( and some of them believing it) and American companies/corporations (with the aid of other officials) doing the opposite. Substitute countries name of your choice for "American".

    It took a lot of years ( and may not have happened yet) but the idealistic view of some some American (and a few European) politicians/diplomats/thinkers got us to where we are today despite the greed and/or parochial views/actions of other people in the same governments. While working such deals behind the scenes may be hypocritical it does allow the public face and discourse to shift to a point where such behavior is no longer tolerated when it is exposed. It takes a lot of time and a lot of people get rich in the mean time.
     
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  17. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Intellectual bankruptcy. A tiny base with a garrison of several hundred personell. Meanwhile the other 42,000 square miles of the island was and still is, devoid of any US colonial troops.
     
  18. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #18 michaelmaltby, Dec 27, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
    "...you can have American diplomats saying and doing one thing ( and some of them believing it) and American companies/corporations (with the aid of other officials) doing the opposite ..."

    Corporations - predominantly American corporations - have been more effective transferring technology, knowledge, and, ultimately wealth, than the UN has every been.

    Not surprising ... iron kettles and axes, wool blankets, and yes, whiskey, were all reasons why white, anglo saxon Europeans were received favorably in N America 300 years ago.

    Consumers always 'know' what they want ... when they see it. :)

    MM
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Symbolically important, just like a single battalion of British troops in Vietnam would have been had President Johnson been able to convince Prime Minister Wilson to provide it. Even Bundy's attempted blackmail failed. He counselled the President on 28 July 1965 that it made ‘no sense for us to rescue the pound in a situation in which there is no British flag in Vietnam ... a British brigade in Vietnam would be worth a billion dollars at the moment of truth for sterling’. It was Bundy who had upped it to a brigade, Johnson had told Wilson that a single battalion would be enough.

    The fact is that there are still US troops based on the island of Cuba. They may be the left over of the so called third occupation but they are still there. If you consider their presence to be irrelevant I'd love to hear why they are there.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  20. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    You do realize that the same can be said of Gibraltar, right?
     
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