Weekly Discussion and Review Questions

 Chapter 6 Nationalism, Social Darwinism, Imperialism

Questions of the Documents:

According to Fichte, what is the difference between state and nation? Why is freedom necessary for a nation to develop fully its potential?

How do Lamennais and Mazzini define the nation? What factors produce a nation? Is anything greater than the nation?

According to Lamennais and Mazzini, why do individuals need the nation? What role do nations play in their scheme of the world?

In contrast to Metternich on one hand, and Mill on the other, what does Mazzini say are the building blocks that should determine the map of Europe?

What does Darwin contribute to the concept of nation? Why does he habitually use the word "race" in this connection? What is a race?

Why does Darwin link intellectual powers, moral disposition to race?

According to Darwin, how do races originate? Since race is never static, how does it race grow? how decline? What does the Irish example tell about Darwin's assumptions?

What is Gobineau's view of the permanence of race? What evidence does he present to link intellectual and social manifestations to race?

In Gobineau's description of the three great races of the world, what standard does he use? what causes the differences in technological development between European peoples and those of the third world? Is there a weakness in this approach?

What is Social Darwinism? What is eugenics? What features do Social Darwinists borrow from Darwin? Do any of Darwin's statements in this chapter support their arguments?

How do Haeckel and Pearson apply "struggle for suvival" to the political history of the world? What examples do they use to support their arguments? Is there anything new in this view of the "nation?"

Heinrich von Treitschke says that "the State is Power." How does this differ from Locke, Burke, Marx or Lammenais? What arguments does Treitschke use to prove his view of the State? Do the consequences support or contradict Social Darwinism?

Both Treitschke and Charles Morris insist that "war is a factor in civilization." Would such arguments appear to have "scientific" support in the late 19th century? Why was "peace" seen as "stagnation."

The British, French, Germans and Americans developed remarkably similar approaches to Imperialism. What were the ingredients of this new ideology.

In general, the readings can be grouped around three theories of the origins of imperialism: racial, statism, and economic. What are the arguments of each? What evidence do advocates produce to support their case?

As can be seen in James G. Paton's letter of August 1883, individual cases of imperialism usually combined a number of arguments. How many can you find in this one letter? Do any seem more important than others?

After carefully re-reading the Kipling poem can you identify exactly why the "white man" must take up his burden? Is it really to improve the world?

In all these documents, a remarkable vocabular shift occurs. Why does "British" become "Anglo-Saxon," "German" turns into"Teutonic?" and "Irish" emerges as "Celts?"

Although it had been established after the victory of one of the first "wars of national liberation," the United States joined the imperial fray at the close of the nineteenth century. What verbal dexterity did Senator Beveridge employ to make his case? What was William Jennings Bryan's criticism? Why was Bryan so handily defeated?

Chapter Summary Questions:

Terms to Know

survival of the fittest
natural selection
cultural imperialism
social imperialism
White Man's Burden
"backward people"

Make sure that you can differentiate between these terms, many of which seem at first to be quite similar yet are often based upon different assumptions and thus mean quite different things. 

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