How European Advantage has Shaped Oppression

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Oppression has changed the way we, as in people, view the world today. While oppression has transformed into racism today, oppression from the 1450s and onward has traumatically affected the world. The basis of oppression in the chapters thirteen through the sixteen-time period have stemmed from the Atlantic Slave Trade, but the basis of oppression really seems from the European Advantage.

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The Atlantic Slave Trade in chapter fourteen in the section Commerce in People: The Atlantic Slave Trade left many tragedies in the wake of it including forced labor, beatings and branding, and broken homes as it was the owning and exchange of human beings. It started due to the Europeans learning about sugar in the Mediterranean world. Once Europeans learned about sugar, they realized they needed wageworkers due to the immense danger of the work. This led to the Atlantic Slave Trade as instead of hiring people and paying them for their work they stole and took people to do the work for them and paid them little to nothing. The Atlantic Slave Trade in America was haunting as it left no hopes for the slaves to be free and many more slaves were born into slavery with little to no chance of getting out. Africans were considered to be an inferior race and sometimes not even a race at all. The movements against the Atlantic Slave Trade was colonized people rejected the slavery of imperial domination and workers protested the slavery of wage labor.

In Chapter twenty-two The Case of South Africa: Ending Apartheid, while Africans were not forced into labor, they were subjected to extreme forces of social segregation and given no political rights. Some Africans did not like and started an organization and movement. In 1912, the African National Congress was established and led by middleclass Africans who wanted to be seen and treated equally like their white counterparts were. The oppression continued, and this led to South Africa starting a black labor movement. The black labor movement was a success and it led to the abandonment of the apartheid policies which led to the African National Congress being in power in 1994.

In chapter twenty in the section Hitler and the Nazis Hitler and the Nazis were very similar to the Atlantic Slave Trade as humans were forced into labor. Once Hitler became the chancellor of the German government, he not only outlawed other political parties but he also shut down labor unions as well as undermined the German government and its people to go against Jews as the Jews represented an urban and capitalist government and Hitler did not want that. This eventually led to Jews being put in concentration camps and being tear-gassed or sometimes even buried alive. The Hitler reign ended after the Allied Powers defeated Germany ending World War II in Europe. The Atlantic Slave Trade and Hitler and the Nazis are similar because both faced slavery as they both were forced into labor and into slavery against their will and getting out of it was slim to none. They are different as the Atlantic Slave Trade lasted for over 300 years ending in 1807 and the Hitler reign did not last as long but is a newer fresher wound. The Atlantic Slave Trade was also different due to the European Advantage and Hitler did not like the fact Jews were trying to urbanize Germany.

In chapter eighteen in the section Under European Rule, the European advantage contributed to scientific racism in Asian and African colonies in Europe. Scientific racism was a result of classifying human being into categories with whites on top and minorities on bottom. This also led to whites fearing to even coming close to minorities as they believed minorities would affect their health if they encountered them. In Chapter eighteen, there was also forced labor in Congo as the villagers were forced to collect rubber and if they rebelled, they were killed or taken away to die. In Indonesia they were forced to pick cotton and was also beaten and whipped if they rebelled or if it was not good enough. This led to the Maji Maji rebellion in 1904-1905 which persuaded the Germans to stop forcing cotton. The European Advantage was successful against African colonies because while in Indonesia cotton picking stopped, it did not necessarily stop in African colonies or in Europe countries as well as it continued well over into part of the nineteenth century.

In chapter nineteen in the section The Ottoman Empire and the Westin the Nineteenth Century, the American Intrusion and the Meiji Restoration in Japan agreed to unequal treaties with Western allies, it fell through due to the heavy demands which led to a brief civil war. In 1868, a fifteen-year-old boy named Meiji helped Japan in what was known as the Meiji Restoration. The Meiji Restoration was done without massive destruction and after the American Civil War, Western allies had less pressures on Japan and backed away, giving Japan a chance to breathe without the West breathing down their necks.

In Japan also, there was a small feminist movement that arose due to the oppression of females. Women playing a prominent role in public life for Japan was seen as a joke, and they were even forbidden from attending meetings for political matters as well as joining parties in what is known as the Peace Preservation Law which lasted from 1877 to 1922.Leading the movement was nineteen-year-old Kishida Toshiko who went on a two-month speaking tour to address the oppression that women faced. She even went on to say that “only equality and equal rights” would allow Japan “to build a new society” (706) meaning that Japan would stay the same if change did not occur. Male and female reformers in Japan argued that “the oppression of women was an obstacle to the country’s modernization and that family reform was essential to gaining the respect of the West” (706) meaning that without equality the changes of the West gaining respect for them was slim to none if they could not give women equal rights. The European advantage is different from this as Japan was allowing oppression against females and not Europeans and Japan reformers wanted Europeans to like them.

In conclusion, the European advantage has changed over time and has helped Europeans gain even more of an advantage from chapters thirteen to sixteen to chapters seventeen to twenty-two since oppression against other races and countries was not hard for Europeans because they had the upper hand against those countries. Oppression against countries and minorities have not changed over time and has gotten worse especially in today’s society and racism has too. While oppression has shaped the world and has made the world what it is today, it is sad to see how much the world has not changed at all over the years since the 1450s and how Europeans today still have an advantage.

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How European Advantage has Shaped Oppression. (2022, Sep 05). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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