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Global DevelopmentA Cold War History$
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Sara Lorenzini

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180151.001.0001

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Development as an Ideology for Empire

Development as an Ideology for Empire

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Development as an Ideology for Empire
Source:
Global Development
Author(s):

Sara Lorenzini

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691180151.003.0002

This chapter discusses how colonial administrators started to use the active verb “develop” and to speak of developing peoples in the 1920s. In the view of the internationalists and philanthropists of the early twentieth century, development was a civilizing mission. Conceiving imperialism as having a pedagogical side meant that advanced societies were required to take colonized peoples by the hand and teach them the rules of a modernity they had been excluded from. This was a change: at the end of the nineteenth century, there were peoples who were thought to be unready for civilization, principally in Africa. However, colonial expansion meant taking responsibility. Indeed, colonization was described as a political duty: the superior races had duties toward inferior ones, particularly in the promotion of science and progress. Humanitarianism was a special element that started with abolishing slavery in all forms and limiting the excesses of colonialism. The struggle against slavery and slave practices was often used as a justification for intervention, as was the goal of undermining the influence of rival powers. In the United States, civilization was perceived as an element that bound Europe and the United States together in a global project. History was considered a movement from fragmentation to unity, and progress meant evolving toward a system of powerful nations that used a few rich and precise languages that everyone could understand.

Keywords:   colonization, development, imperialism, modernity, civilization, colonial expansion, humanitarianism, colonialism, slavery

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