Historical Systems of Power, Governance, and Authority

Historical Systems of Power, Governance, and Authority




A. Discuss the rise of imperialism or colonialism in one area of the world from the following list:


Many countries in the world have their past dotted with colonization. However, Africa seemed to have borne the brunt of the colonialism. This may be attributed to the fact that Africa is easily the last one to be unshackled from colonialism.

Colonialism came as an inevitable occurrence after the end of slave-trade. In essence, Africa had been severely weakened by centuries of slave-trade to such an extent that it could not resist colonialism. By the 17th century, colonialism had spread extremely fast with many of European key powers dividing the continent amongst themselves. It is noteworthy that as much as the European powers were concerned about the resources in Africa colonization was mainly advanced due to the events in Europe’s political, social and economic environments (Adu 1990).

Different parts of Africa reacted differently to colonialism. In some cases, indigenous Africans tried to use the colonizers to their own advantage. In essence, the varied ethnic groups would compete to have the Europeans on their side. This was in countries like Nigeria and Ghana. By so doing, the group that accomplished such a feat would achieve immense power relative to other ethnic groups. In many parts of Africa, colonialism triggered fierce rebellions especially after the natives had been deprived of land (Adu 1990).

B. Compare the tactics of one violent revolution and one nonviolent revolution from the following list:

Russian Revolution of 1917 and Indian Independence Movement

Indian Independence Movement

1857 saw the beginning of the Indian Independence Movement which lasted up to 1947. Prior to its beginning, India had always been under foreign rulers. By the time India was occupied by the British, Indians had become fed up with being voiceless in political decisions. They were facing racism and Christianity enforced by the Britons. The movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi. The first significant step that Indians took in fighting for their freedom was the formation of the Indian National Congress. This was an indication to the British that Indians were serious about gaining freedom (David 2003). Gandhi gathered Indians and created a strong, solid Indian body. He got them to embrace Indian culture. Having attained the attention of the Indian natives, Gandhi employed varied tactics to fight for Indian independence. All of them were non-violent and included week-long fasts and marches (Arum 1993). He also preached about social justice, which pertained to having empathy for oneself and others in pursuit of happiness.

1917 Russian Revolution

Unlike the Indian Independence Movement, the 1917 Russian revolution was not well-organized. It entailed a series of events that occurred between February and October of 1917, where common people were fighting the Tsar as the Aristocratic landowners. This was due to inhuman treatment by patricians, cruel working conditions under which city workers operated and increased social and political awareness. The revolution used varied tactics to including strikes and widespread riots, not to mention the famous mutiny on the battleship Potemkin (Rex 2005).

1. Evaluate whether your chosen revolutions accomplished their goals.

The two revolutions were successful in pushing away the presumed oppressors from India and Russia. The Indian Independence Movement gained the support of all people across India, triggering widespread civil disobedience even in the congress. Eventually, India was declared free in 1947. However, the country parted as India and Pakistan (David 2003).

While the Russian revolution was successful in overthrowing Tsar in 1917 after the First World War, the objectives may not have been attained. Lenin, the leader of the revolution led the country after the fall of Tsar, but became unpopular with the people after he made policies that gave Germany large tracts of land. This is what led to an outbreak of a civil war which lasted till 1922 (Rex 2005).


David. H, 2003. Gandhi in his time and ours: the global legacy of his ideas. Columbia: Columbia University Press

Arun B, 1993. Assam in Indian independence. India: Mittal Publications, 1993

Rex A. W, 2005. The Russian Revolution, 1917. New York: Cambridge University Press

Adu A. B, 1990. Africa under colonial domination 1880-1935. London: James Currey Publishers

(David 2003)(Arum 1993) (Rex 2005)

(Adu 1990)