Lecture 15 - Imperialists and Boy Scouts

author: John Merriman, Department of History, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: April 16, 2010,   recorded: October 2008,   views: 3163
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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The boom in European colonial expansion in the second half of the nineteenth century, the so-called New Imperialism, can be seen to follow from three principle factors, in ascending order of importance: religious proselytizing, profit, and inter-imperial political strategy. With respect to the latter concern, the conflicts emerging from imperialism set the stage for World War I. Along with its military and industrial consequences, imperialism also entailed a large-scale cultural program dedicated to strengthening support for its objectives among the domestic populations of the imperial powers. The creation of the Boy Scouts is an exemplary form of such a program, founded upon a mythology of the American frontier reformulated to encompass Africa and Asia.

Reading assignment:

Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, pp. 898-939

Smith, Helmut. The Butcher's Tale

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