What is the Theory of Imperialism and Who Created it? | HistoryNet MENU

What is the Theory of Imperialism and Who Created it?

7/30/2013 • Ask Mr. History

Dear Mr. History

Can you explain to me about the theory of imperialism and who made this theory first?


Auditya Pahlevi

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Imperialism, the dominance of a people or territory by a stronger one, has been going on for thousands of years and has neither a central, definitive theory nor a single definer. Lewis Samuel Fuller, a Marxist turned neoconservative, identified two basic forms: regressive imperialism, involving commercial exploitation, and progressive imperialism, in which economic dominance coexists with a program to “improve” the indigenous population by the more “efficient” power. An example of progressive imperialism might be seen in Britain’s domination over much of the world in the 19th century, giving way to a Commonwealth of former possessions under a more equitable, voluntary relationship in the 20th. Another 20th century definer, Robert Young, noted that imperialism differs from colonialism in that the latter involves simply settlement of territory and exploitation of resources, often by commercial entities such as the British East India Company, whereas imperialism, while still involving economic and commercial advantage, is more ideological, centralized and state-run.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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