The White Man's Burden (1899)
Rudyard Kipling


Imperialism during the late 1900s was the expansion of power, authority and influence of European and US countries onto other countries through colonies which held direct or indirect control over them. The objective of colonies was to organize a useful labor forces outside the colonist's country, but there were other reasons too. Economic growth was a motive; the colonies provided new source of raw materials for industries during Europe's revolutions and provided them cheap labor forces. Politically, European countries and the US placed administers in charge of the colonies to police over the conflicts that may occur between ethnic or religious group and which would hinder trades. Another reason for having administers was because the Europeans and Americans believed that they would governed the new countries to advance people. Controlling non-European countries also provided security, securing a land for one's nation became a competition between European countries. Colonized countries provided advantages for dominated trade routes that countries were fighting for. Religiously, missionaries were looking for new people to bring over to their own religion. They felt their nation's religion was superior, morally and wanted to save the inhabitants of colonized countries souls. There were sincere thoughts in converting the colonies or creating reforms to end slavery, but sometime they were masked with motives for greed and power. Avarice was the human's desire to control and dominate over other people. Racism was one major ideology that arose through the feelings of European countries of being superior. It created the belief that non-European country needing help and protection from 'stronger' countries such as the European countries or the belief that the colonized countries needed help transforming their society to become more 'advance'.

The White Man's Burden
The White Man's Burden reflects the thoughts and belief of the European during the period of imperialism. The belief that the people of the newly colonized countries were not capable of taking care of themselves and were of need of help from the European countries; these needs of which was a burden to the 'White Man'. The poem reflects how highly the European felt about themselves, about how even though it’s a burden to them, they are still willing to help. The poem also contains high patriotic feeling and pride of one’s own nationality. The poem even mention about reforms and relief that they could achieve: "The savage wars of peace--Fill full the mouth of Famine and bid the sickness cease..." The European's feeling of superiority over non-European countries was great and the poem exercises such feelings.

Winks, Robin W. "Imperialism." Encyclopedia Americana. 2010. Grolier Online. 18 June. 2010 <>.