Read Power Over Peoples, Daniel R. Headrick (2010).
Note: It will be easier to understand the material if you do all the readings first, but you might want to note where you found the material to answer the questions. It will improve your reading comprehension and youll know whats important and whats not. Theres a lot of details in this book but dont let them overwhelm you; focus on the intent of the author (to investigate whether or not technology is what gave Europeans the ability to control peoples).
Write a ten to fifteen page paper about technology and European Imperialism. This essay needs to address the following questions:
From the Introduction:
What are the two phases of Western Imperialism?
What is the relationship between technology and Imperialism?
What is technology?
What is meant by superior technology?
What was the source of innovativeness in the West?
What is imperialism?
What does the author say are the connections between technological innovations and Western imperialism?
What is the authors thesis? (you may need to read the entire book before you can answer this question)
From Chapter 1:
Why was Portugal an unlikely sea-borne empire?
Why did Portugal become a sea-borne empire before anyone else in Europe?
Whos Henry the Navigator? Why is he important?
What advantage in technology did the Dutch and English have?
What was the motivation for the second wave of exploration? What made it possible?
From Chapter 2:
What besides mastery of the environment was necessary to dominate the sea?
In what ways did the different technologies of the Portuguese and the Ottomans determine how they confronted each other?
Why were the Portuguese successful with so few men and ships?
Why was there a stalemate between the Portuguese and Ottomans?
Why did the Dutch begin to trade and explore in South West Asia?
What was different about the Dutch in contrast to the Iberian kingdoms?
What technologies gave the Dutch an advantage?
How did they take control of the spice trade away from the Portuguese?
Were the English as successful as the Dutch?
Were the Portuguese successful in China? Japan?
Did technology allow the Europeans to dominate Asia?
From Chapter 3:
What is the authors thesis for this chapter?
What advantages did the Spaniards have over the Indians?
Why were the Spaniards able to defeat the Aztecs and Incas?
Why werent they able to conquer the peoples of Northern Mexico, the Great Plains, and southern South America until the nineteenth century?
From Chapter 4:
Why werent Europeans able to explore and conquer the interior of Africa?
Why were the British finally able to conquer India?
Whats the Military Revolution?
What impact did the Military Revolution have in Europe?
Were the British successful in Afghanistan?
Were the French successful in Algeria?
Why was Russia able to conquer the Caucasus?
What do all of these examples show about the successes and limitations of old imperialism?
From Chapter 5:
What advances in technology during the Industrial Revolution give the Europeans new advantages in Empire building?
What was the impact in North America?
What was the impact in South Asia? China? Niger?
What conclusion does the author draw from the comparison of the Opium War and the first Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-42?
From Chapter 6:
How did medicine change in the early nineteenth century?
How did these advances allow the Europeans to then explore and conquer the interior Africa?
How is empirical knowledge different from a scientific explanation (theory)?
Why are scientific theories important? (use the germ theory of disease to explain)
What actions by governments were needed to prevent epidemics? Why did it take them so long to implement the solution?
Was public health a benefit shared by all? Why or why not?
From Chapter 7:
What is the third advantage in technology that made the New Imperialism possible?
What were the causes of the innovations in firearms?
What advantages did this give Europeans in Africa? North America? Argentina and Chile?
Why was Ethiopia different?
From Chapter 8:
What advantages did airpower five Europeans? Where was this technology first used? How was it used?
What is the doctrine of Major Giulion Douhet?
Why was air control so attractive?
From Chapter 9:
What is the paradox of the postwar world?
What was the outcome of using air power in Vietnam, Algeria, Afghanistan, and Iraq?
What conclusion does the author draw from all of these cases?
What are the lessons that he thinks we need to learn from the history of Western Imperialism?
Do you find the authors argument persuasive? Why or why not?