chapter  8
11 Pages

The Centralization and Rationalization of the Political State

ByJohn McGrath

During the second half of the nineteenth century, powerful Western nation-states embarked upon an energetic program of seizing and formalizing possession over much of the world, in what has often been called the Age of Empire. One critical difference from the earlier era of colonization was that the Industrial Revolution had given Europeans the technological and military advantages that allowed them to conquer and colonize non-Western lands quickly. The creation of empire was based on the ability to impose authority, and empire-builders devised new institutions to carry out the tasks of governance and administration. A significant difference from the Spanish model was that the rise of modern racial ideologies usually meant stricter segregation of settlers and natives. The Age of Empire thus created great tensions that would have an enormous effect on the twentieth century by contributing to the rivalries and by creating new forms of nationalism.