RTTP Module 8: Nationalism & Imperialism

**NOTE: this module is part of the RTTP (Reacting to the Past) sequence**

Overview: Nationalism in the nineteenth century often calls to mind scenes from German and Italian unification.  Yet 1850 -1914 marks an era where nationalism, imperialism, and industrialization are particularly entwined. This module focuses on the relationship between nationalism and imperialism, including the moments when these forces collide, revealing that just as industrialization brought world regions “closer” together, it also revealed the differences in development between various nations and empires. For example, take the influence of American feelings of “manifest destiny” on Commodore Matthew Perry’s mission to “open” Japan in the 1850s and the subsequent Japanese efforts to modernize, really westernize, after 1868.

Objectives: After completing Module 8, you will be able to:

  1. Define nationalism and imperialism.
  2. Discuss the role of nationalism in 19th century unification movements and territorial expansion.
  3. Explain the relationship between nationalism and imperialism, particularly in Asia.


Section 1: Defining a Nation

  1. Read Worlds Together, Worlds Apart Chapter 17.
  2. Choose a primary source from the chapter that you believe exemplifies the zeitgeist or spirit of this age of nationalism and imperialism.
  3. Complete the Historical Thinking Worksheet on Blackboard using your primary source.

Section 2: Nationalism and Imperialism in Asia

  1. Read the essays “Black Ships and Samurai” and “Throwing off Asia II” (the Sino-Japanese War) on Visualizing Cultures by John Dower.
  2. Think about how Japan changed in the period after the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
  3. Answer the reading response questions on Blackboard on Japanese nationalism and Asian imperialism.

Congratulations! You completed Module 8.

Go to Module 9