Figure 9.1 “A Troublesome Egg to Hatch.”Eager for wealth, the powerful industrialized nations of the world try to hatch the “troublesome egg” that was China in this 1901 political cartoon by the American artist J. S. Pughe. Britain and Germany settle atop it, Russia is in danger of being crushed beneath, and the United States looks on from afar. (credit: modification of work “A troublesome egg to hatch” by LOC Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress)
In the second half of the nineteenth century, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and a few other countries embarked on the Second Industrial Revolution as they adopted new sources of energy and churned out ever-larger numbers of manufactured goods. In their quest for profit and power, the industrialized nations sought access to new markets and inexpensive sources of raw materials. Their desire for resources led them to seize territory in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, ignoring the rights of the people there and costing the lives of millions. Even as large and established a nation as China was not inviolable, and the European nations carved spheres of influence from it just as they did in other regions of the world (Figure 9.1).