Colonialism and Neocolonialism - Colonial america




Probably no region under colonial administration received more considerate treatment by the mother country than Great Britain's colonies in North America, partly because they were peopled in the main by British subjects transplanted for the purpose of developing raw materials and markets for England. Where a colonial administration was imposed on an already existing and alien population, treatment of the native residents was less benign and generally considered more degrading by those thus possessed, depending on their level of civilization and organization at the time of conquest or occupation. For example, in the areas where Islamic or Asian culture, religion, and laws had existed for a thousand or more years there was often fierce resistance to being subjected to colonial status, whereas in parts of Central Africa, New Guinea, and Borneo, where the native inhabitants were less developed in an economic and material sense, the resistance was less prolonged or nonexistent.

If the American colonists were treated more as equals than most, they also resented more than most that they were not accorded exactly equal status with Englishmen who had not emigrated to the colonies. Therefore, when they rebelled and gained their independence, they had a particular dislike for the very concept of colonialism. Representatives of the new United States wrote their prejudices into the Constitution in 1789, insisting that new acquisitions must become states after securing sufficient population and complying with the laws of the land. This anticolonialism continued as the preeminent view of Americans and their government until the end of the nineteenth century when the new manifest destiny seized the popular imagination and propelled the United States into the race for colonies.

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