6.8 Causation in the Imperial Age

7 min readjanuary 15, 2023

Eric Beckman

Eric Beckman

Riya Patel

Riya Patel

AP World History: Modern 🌍

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The Course and Exam Description uses causation as the historical thinking skill for assessing this Unit. Students might be more likely to see cause/effect questions in class and on the AP Exam for this Unit. There were many cause-effect relationships in the age of imperialism.


Imperialism from 1750 to 1900 had a significant impact on the world during this time period. It led to the colonization and domination of various regions, including Africa, Asia, and the Americas, by European powers. This period of imperialism was driven by economic, political, and social factors, such as the desire for resources, markets, and territories, as well as the belief in the cultural and racial superiority of Europeans.
The effects of imperialism varied depending on the region and the specific imperial power involved. In Africa, imperialism led to the forced labor and exploitation of indigenous peoples, the disruption of traditional societies, and the loss of territory and resources. In Asia, imperialism led to the loss of sovereignty, the forced imposition of Western culture, and the weakening of traditional economies. In the Americas, imperialism led to the displacement and genocide of indigenous peoples, the forced labor of enslaved Africans, and the loss of territory and resources.
Imperialism also had a significant impact on the global economy, as it led to the growth of trade and the spread of capitalism. The imperial powers gained control of vast territories and resources, which they used to fuel their own industrialization and economic growth. This led to the widening gap between the imperial powers and the colonized regions, which became dependent on the imperial powers for trade and development.

Standard of Living

The standard of living refers to the level of material comfort and wealth that a person or group of people have in a certain time and place. The standard of living changed significantly between 1750 and 1900, as a result of various economic, social, and technological changes.
During this time period, the industrial revolution led to a shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, which brought about significant changes in the standard of living. The increased productivity and efficiency of industrial production led to a rise in wages, a decrease in the cost of goods, and an increase in the availability of goods. This led to an overall improvement in the standard of living for many people, especially in the industrialized countries of Europe and North America.
However, not everyone experienced an improvement in their standard of living during this time period. The industrial revolution also led to the growth of urbanization and the development of factory systems, which brought about poor working conditions, low wages, and overcrowded housing for many people. The condition of the working class in the industrialized countries were poor.
In addition, the standard of living for people in the colonies and territories controlled by imperial powers was generally lower than that of the imperial powers. The exploitation of resources and forced labor in these regions led to the suppression of local economies, and the suppression of traditional ways of life.

Expansion Overseas

Expansion overseas refers to the process of acquiring and settling new territories and colonies outside of a country's original borders. This process was a significant aspect of imperialism from 1750 to 1900, as European powers, as well as the United States, sought to expand their influence and control over territories around the world.
During this time period, European powers such as Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal, as well as the United States, sought to establish colonies and acquire territories in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This was driven by a variety of factors, including economic, political, and strategic interests. European powers sought to acquire new resources, markets, and territories to fuel their industrialization and economic growth. They also sought to spread Christianity and European culture to the colonies, and to establish strategic bases for military and naval operations.
This process of expansion overseas led to the colonization, domination, and exploitation of various regions around the world. The imperial powers established control over vast territories, suppressed local economies, and imposed their own cultures and political systems on the colonized peoples. This had significant impacts on the societies, economies, cultures, and politics of the colonized regions.

Revolution and Rebellion

American Revolution

The American Revolution was a political upheaval in the 18th century in which the thirteen colonies in British America broke away from British rule and formed the United States of America, becoming a new nation in the Western Hemisphere. The conflict began in 1765 with resistance to British taxation, and escalated into a full-scale war in 1775. The Revolution ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, in which Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States. The Revolution had a profound impact on the world, including the spread of revolutionary ideals of liberty and democracy, and the birth of the new nation of the United States.

French Revolution

The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that lasted from 1789 to 1799. It began with the convocation of the Estates-General, an assembly of representatives of the three traditional estates of French society: the clergy, the nobility, and the common people. The Revolution led to the overthrow of the monarchy, the rise of democracy and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Revolution also led to the rise of nationalism sentiments and the end of feudalism and serfdom, and the rise of the revolutionary ideals of "liberty, equality, fraternity" which had a profound impact on the world and continues to shape the political and social landscape of the world today.

Spanish and Portuguese in South America

During the 18th and 19th centuries, several Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America gained independence from their European colonizers. These movements for independence were sparked by a combination of factors such as economic hardship, political oppression, and a desire for self-governance.
In Spanish America, the most notable of these movements was led by Simon Bolivar, known as the "Liberator" who led the wars of independence in what are now Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
In Portuguese America, Brazil was the only colony to gain independence through peaceful means. The process was led by prince regent Pedro I, who declared Brazil's independence from Portugal in 1822 and became its first emperor.
These movements for independence in South America had a profound impact on the region, leading to the formation of new nation-states and the reshaping of political and economic systems.

South Asia and Sepoy Rebellion

The Sepoy Rebellion, also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857, was a rebellion against British colonial rule in India. The rebellion began in 1857 among the sepoys, who were Indian soldiers in the British East India Company's army. The causes of the rebellion were complex and multifaceted, but included religious tensions, resentment of British economic policies and cultural clashes. The rebellion was sparked by the introduction of the Enfield rifle, whose cartridges were rumored to be greased with beef and pork fat, which offended the religious beliefs of Hindu and Muslim soldiers.
The rebellion quickly spread across North and Central India, with many Indian soldiers and civilians joining the rebellion. The British were eventually able to put down the rebellion, but it resulted in a significant loss of life and had a profound impact on British colonial rule in India. The rebellion marked the end of the East India Company's rule and the British government took direct control of India, which would lead to the British Raj.

Boxer Rebellion in China

The Boxer Rebellion, also known as the Boxer Uprising or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement, was an anti-foreign, anti-colonial, and anti-Christian movement that took place in China between 1899 and 1901. It was led by a secret society known as the "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" (also known as the "Boxers"), who sought to expel foreign influence and foreigners from China. The movement was eventually put down by an international military force made up of troops from eight nations, including the United States, Japan, and Russia. The Boxer Rebellion had a significant impact on China, as it led to the weakening of the Qing dynasty and contributed to the eventual downfall of the empire.

Migration and Discrimination


Migration and discrimination during the period of 1750-1900 was driven by a variety of factors including economic, political, and social conditions. Some of the main causes of migration during this period included:
  1. Economic opportunities: People moved to places where there were more job opportunities and better wages.
  2. Political instability: Wars and revolutions in certain regions led to mass migration of people.
  3. Overpopulation: Crowding and lack of resources in certain areas led to people moving to other regions in search of better living conditions.
  4. Religious or ethnic persecution: People migrated to escape persecution based on their religion or ethnicity.


The effects of migration and discrimination during this period were significant and varied. Some of the main effects include:
  1. The formation of new ethnic enclaves and communities: Migrants often settled in areas where people from their same ethnic or religious background were already living.
  2. The development of new industries and economies: Migrants often brought with them new skills and knowledge, which contributed to the growth of certain industries and the overall economy.
  3. The spread of disease: Migrants often brought diseases with them to new areas, which had a significant impact on public health.
  4. Discrimination and racism: Migrants often faced discrimination and racism in their new communities, which limited their opportunities and access to resources.
  5. Development of new cultures and fusion of different cultures
  6. Displacement of native people
  7. Increase in the number of people living in poverty
  8. Changes in political power structure
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🐎Unit 1 – The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450
🐫Unit 2 – Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450
🕌Unit 3 – Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750
🍕Unit 4 – Transoceanic Interactions, 1450-1750
✊🏽Unit 5 – Revolutions, 1750-1900
🚂Unit 6 – Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900
💣Unit 7 – Global Conflict, 1900-Present
🥶Unit 8 – Cold War & Decolonization, 1900-Present
✈️Unit 9 – Globalization, 1900-Present
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