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Laguardia Community Leopold Motivation in Colonizing the Congo Essay

History 277

Fall 2021

Paper Topics

Respond to one of the following questions. Your answer should be around five pages in length (~1500 words). Your paper must be double-spaced in 12 pt Times New Roman font.

The essay is due on Sunday, November 21 and must be uploaded through Turnitin by midnight.

Your answers should be based solely on the analysis of the primary sources. No outside materials should be consulted. If you wish to include background information, use the lectures or the textbook. Quotes need citations. Use any style with which you are comfortable.

1. How might the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche have judged Emmeline Pankhurst’s campaign for women’s equality and her work with the WSPU? What might he have admired about Pankhurst, and what would he have been likely to condemn? In your answer, be sure to explain what Pankhurst was demanding, and what roles women occupied in late nineteenth-century European society. Be sure also to explain Nietzsche’s ideas in “The Herd” in your response.

2. Writing as a scientist, Charles Darwin rarely discusses the world of politics and (human) society. Even so, do you think the arguments he makes in On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) could have been used to justify capitalism, imperialism, and sexism in late nineteenth-century Europe. In your answer, be sure to explain the main ideas in each of Darwin’s texts, and state carefully how Darwin’s ideas might have supported (or not supported) these historical processes. Feel free to draw on texts by Pankhurst, Nietzsche, and Hochschild in your response too.

3. King Leopold II of Belgium ruled over the Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908. What, according to Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghosts, were Leopold’s motivations in colonizing the Congo? What methods were employed? What European ideologies were used to support Leopold’s actions? What were the effects of Belgian rule on the Congolese? How can T.B. Macaulay’s earlier text from 1835, “Minute on Indian Education,” help us understand what ideas and assumptions were motivating Europeans in their efforts to colonize Africa?


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