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Many of the same governments which were introducing the institutions of democracy and the welfare state between 1871 and 1914 were also engaged during those very years in a form of territorial and economic expansion called colonialism or imperialism. The latter term is a tricky one because it often carries two overtones. It is sometimes used to include any territorial expansion, and it now exudes a strong odor of disapproval. Here it will be used, without any connotation of condemnation or approbation, to mean economic and political penetration of fairly remote areas populated by people with a culture quite different from that of the expansionist power. Although there are still difficulties, this definition will cover such similar events as the establishment and expansion of the British, French, Italian, German, and Belgian colonial empires in Asia and Africa, the extension of Russian power in Asia, and the penetration of Latin American and the Pacific Islands by the United States. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XVII: The Transformation of Liberalism and Nationalism, 1871-1914. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.