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Alexandria Historical Review Volume 2, Issue 1 Spring 2018


Alexandria Historical Review A Publication of the History Students of Patrick Henry College Volume 2 – Issue 1 – Spring 2018

Editor-in-Chief: Editors:

Nathaniel Mullins Shane Keenan Rosalie Blacklock Cory Gibbons Olivia Cockley Mark Van Matre

Design Editor:

Megan McEwen

Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Douglas Favelo

Faculty Advisor:

Dr. Robert Spinney

Patrick Henry College Purcellville, VA www.phc.edu Alexandria Historical Review, Page 2


Table of Contents Letter From the Editor .....................................................................4 Nathaniel Mullins

The Cold War in Africa: The International Implications of Decolonization on African Nationalism .........................................5 Joshua Trepiccione

The Crimean Crisis: Ukraine’s Survival within Russia’s Near Abroad ................................................................................................18 Ryan Kilhenny

The Beginning of Islam .....................................................................35 Maren Sekerak

Civilization Missions and Education: Unintended Consequences of Christian Missions in Africa from 1890-1934 ............................43 Sarah Geesaman

The Impact of Missionaries in Spreading Western Civilization...53 Hannah Blalack

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Letter from an Editor Welcome to the second issue of the Alexandria Historical Review! In this volume, the editing team is excited to present you with papers focusing on various elements of a key historical theme—imperialism. Each of these papers contributes to historical scholarship related to this topic, deeply exploring primary and secondary sources to construct compelling arguments. We hope that as you peruse these papers, you will come to appreciate the complexity of imperialism and the diverse regions in which it arises. Joshua Trepiccione analyses imperialism in Africa—the region which most people think about when contemplating the topic. He brings a particular flavor to this topic, however, by focusing on the enduring impact of international relations on African independence movements. He argues that the Cold War created an international environment which stifled the potential of emerging African states, leading to the instability which afflicts Africa to the present. Ryan Kilhenny reveals the deep historical and geographic roots of Russian imperialism. In particular, he explores Russia’s long pursuit of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The story of Russian expansion is a continuing one, and this paper does not conclude before the present day. Mr. Kilhenny uses his historical analysis to understand the recent events in Ukraine—his work will be useful not only for the historian, but for those interested in foreign policy and current events. Maren Sekerak focused upon the origin of Islam, arguing that many of the features of Islam were defined by the environment in which it arose. While this paper does not focus on imperialism, it provides relevant analysis of a religion which has long been noted for its aggressive tendencies. The student of Islamic imperialism would be well served by Ms. Sekerak’s description of the sixth century Arabia. Sarah Geesaman addresses the effects of Christian missionaries on imperialism. The paper criticizes missionaries who conflated their religion and Western civilization, thereby not only failing to preach the Christian message, but becoming mere tools of colonial powers. Hannah Blalack’s paper contends that the impact of Christian missionaries on colonies was largely beneficial. She argues that the Westernizing influence of the missionaries helped the people of the colonies and did not detract from the gospel. Nathaniel Mullins, Editor in Chief of the Alexandria Historical Review

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T

he Cold War in Africa: The International Implications of Decolonization on African Nationalism Joshua Trepiccione

The decolonization of Africa must be interpreted through the lens of the international environment in which it took place—the Cold War Era. Even though Imperialism receded in the latter decades of the 20th century, newly independent colonies were not so easily able to shake the lasting influence of the colonial powers. Furthermore, these young nations found themselves caught between the two giants—the US and USSR. The fate of African countries was still not yet in their own hands. In the years spanning 1957 to 1965, 16 of 17 newly created states in the world were African.1 At this time the former colonial powers began to willingly relinquish control over their former holdings in a normally peaceful process. Several common trends between the colonies, however, reveal some harsher factors which led to African independence. The pressures facing European powers and resulting changes in expectations of African colonies in light of the Cold War were the driving factors behind the development of African nations during the initial phase of independence.2 African aspirations and agency in the process of independence were often overlooked, misinterpreted and misunderstood by the United States of America, former colonial powers, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics within the context of Cold War relations. With this in mind, modern African history takes on a different outlook, as the hindsight of historical reality changes views on the initial phases of decolonization. Cold War politics influenced the early stages of African nationalism and decolonization by defining political policy, escalating violence through international intervention, and creating weak African leaders who struggled to maintain control of their governments due to internal and external pressures. Despite individual nations colonizing African countries, the history of colonial governments is inseparable from its international foundations. The agreements for the Belgian Congo, for instance, contain complex bilateral treaty agreements of joint 1  Martin Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact: A Comparative Approach to the End of the Colonial Empires (Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2008), 199.

2  Michael Collins, “Nation, State and Agency:,” in Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa, Future Imperfect? (UCL Press, 2017), 17–42, http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1mtz521.6, 26-30.

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recognition between France and Portugal which received small portions of the colony in exchange for recognition.3 Further international efforts eventually culminated in recognition of an independent Congo state with the promise that it would combat the African slave trade and become a beacon of “free trade” within its Belgian borders.4 These agreements contained a joint web of agreements for a European right of conquest, agreed to at a multi-national meeting in Berlin, devoid of African voices. In an ironic turn of events, former colonial powers found the balance of world power shift to the anti-colonial United States and the anti-imperial Soviet Union. And much like the colonial powers that met in Berlin, both emerging superpowers had ulterior motives behind decolonization.5 Africans also found their voices in a new international organization—the United Nations. Membership in the community of nations soared from 76 nation states, only seven of which were former colonies, to 117 members in 1965. The majority of the new nations were former colonies.6 The international “wind of change” had turned the Scramble for Africa into a rout to get out. As a consequence, African nations began to hope for complete self-autonomy, often only to find their nations and leadership once again in turmoil. In many ways, the historical moment of independence did not mean autonomy, and in most cases, there was little change for the average African. Without proper context, the historiography of decolonization is itself misinterpreted and misunderstood. The international influence also challenges the narrative of the emergent self-autonomous African nation-state as immediately inevitable.7 Under closer examination, decolonization was a multifaceted and multi-layered process tied to the unique history of individual colonies. The broader implications of this global impact are easily seen in the late colonial states, which became increasingly difficult to govern post-1945. The international impact of the Cold War, at a minimum, helped to “supercharge” the demise of the late colonial states, but were by no means a guarantor of its fall.8 These assertions challenge the narrative of a benign liberal-progressive state granting independence to keep balanced financial accounts 3 Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, 1st Mariner Books ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 86.

4  Frans Buelens and Stefaan Marysse, “Returns on Investments during the Colonial Era: The Case of the Belgian Congo,” The Economic History Review 62, no. S1 (2009): 138.

5  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 235. 6  Collins, “Nation, State and Agency,” 32. 7  Collins, 31. 8 . Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 239. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 6


as much as it dismisses African agency as a driving factor in decolonization. Instead, this approach reveals pragmatic, impulsive, and reactionary human responses to the unintended consequences of events that were far out of the control of any one man, group, or nation. This approach also accepts the possibility of further intervention from the former colonial power in the intellectual and cultural aspects of the postcolonial state.9 British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan outlines the new post-war realities in his aptly named “Wind of Change Speech,” which he gave on a tour of African colonies and Commonwealth nations in 1960. In this speech, Macmillan emphasizes the need of all nations to adapt to new international realities. “The wind of change is blowing through this continent and, whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact,” says Macmillan. “We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it.” Stressing the new importance of the interdependence of nations, Macmillan urges his listeners in Africa to join Britain and the United States in an inevitable struggle against communism to maintain their ways of life—“As I see it the great issue in this second half of the twentieth century, is whether the uncommitted peoples of Asia and Africa will swing to the East or to the West?”10 The United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution 1514 further exemplifies the winds of change in how nations could gain independence. The resolution made official recognition contingent only on decolonization, making it far easier to gain sovereignty. This human rights based orientation stands in contrast to the former policy of the legitimacy of governments.11 Critics of the UN move believed that the resolution was a part of a Soviet plot, which was in part reinforced by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to the UN. Khrushchev, in fact, was behind the resolution, albeit the final draft did not contain all the additional provisions initially proposed which would have been beneficial to the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, it was indicative of the larger trends in African Cold War relations.12 Contemporary evidence from British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan dispels these claims in a minute to one of Britain’s top colonial administrators at the time, Lord Salisbury. In this earlier document, like the “Wind of Change 9  Collins, “Nation, State and Agency,” 39. 10  Harold Macmillan, Pointing the Way, 1959-1961. (New York:Harper, 1972). 11 Jeffrey Ira Herbst, States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control, Princeton studies in international history and politics (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2000), 98.

12  Catherine Hoskyns, “The African States and the United Nations 1958-1964,” International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 40, no. 3 (1964): 466–480.

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Speech,” MacMillan acknowledges the inevitability of independence but suggests the greatest threats come from the international influence of the Cold War.13 Despite the “balance sheet” literally serving as the bottom line, it was still of ultimate concern “whether the premature withdrawal of United Kingdom jurisdiction would leave a vacuum which would be filled by a country hostile to the United Kingdom and her Allies.” This withdrawal was contingent on maintaining key strategic and financial interests. It was not meant to give Africans states complete self-autonomy. The perceptions of a zero-sum game ideological struggle between capitalism and communism had a great influence on US and Soviet foreign policies and the expectations of African governments. The prevailing US policy of containment further solidified United States policy against any communist country in the world. Furthermore, anyone in America at the time with even the faintest communist ties or sympathies was subject to immediate scrutiny and ridicule, regardless of any other personal beliefs.14 During the initial phase of African independence, it was common to view communism as a monolithic movement. American policy analysts, therefore concluded that the only way to oppose communism was to show force anywhere it appeared. If communism were to succeed, policymakers argued, it would likely cause a “domino effect,” meaning that if a nation succumbed to communism, surrounding countries would likely follow.15 In their own attempt to gain access to Africa, the Soviets took a pragmatic approach, relying on existing state structures and nationalist politicians with the promise of Soviet aid. Although intervention varied from state to state, the Soviet requirements at least seemed fairly straightforward. At one point Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev went as far as to promise to furnish aid “to every country or faction which is involved in trouble with any of the Western Powers, however, remote the scene of action may be from Russia and its normal concerns.”16 Soviet aid, however, seems far less impressive than previously thought. Although the Soviets provided support in speech and writing, as well as significant investments in infrastructure and military aid, they 13 William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark, and Edward A. Alpers, “Harold Macmillan, minute to Lord Salisbury (chairman of the Cabinet Colonial Policy Committee) January 28, 1957,” In Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 2nd ed. (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 125.

14  Ellen W. Schrecker, “Archival Sources for the Study of McCarthyism,” The Journal of American History 75, no. 1 (1988): 199-201.

15 William Zimmerman and Robert Axelrod, “The ‘Lessons’ of Vietnam and Soviet Foreign Policy,” World Politics 34, no. 1 (1981): 1–3.

16  Kevin A. Spooner, “Just West of Neutral: Canadian ‘Objectivity’ and Peacekeeping during the Congo Crisis, 1960-61,” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines 43, no. 2 (2009): 325.

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never freely gave monetary resources.17 The critical assumptions made in Washington and Moscow about potential threats had real-world impacts in Africa. Classified US policy at the time gave priority to keeping communists out of Africa, but also sought “to restrain violence in general and preserve the present territorial order as the most feasible alternative to chaos.”18 The unintended consequences of promising support had powerful effects on the African assumptions about foreign aid; and how to receive it but initially left both superpowers working through the same medium of nationalistic governments. As a result, African leaders were often constrained if they were not completely ideologically aligned in one of two camps, and when both superpowers would view a non-aligned nation as a potential threat instead of a potential friend. The speed of decolonization is proof of the largely unforeseen international factor. The British made plans as early as 1940 for a new policy of colonial development to ameliorate the growing tensions and expectations in the colonies.19 The Gold Coast colony, for example, considered Britain’s “model colony” was, in fact, the first colony to gain independence in 1957. Britain began grooming this territory for statehood in the immediate post-War period, mainly due to unexpected elections in 1956. Interestingly, this came a mere four years after the development of a comprehensive 10-year-plan, which included the first black African prime minister working closely with the colonial governor. Belgium’s Congo colony, described by one author as the “Platonic ideal” of an African colony made impressive strides in health and education.20 The onset of new Cold War realities made Belgian officials promote a doctrine of development over exploitation to retain the colony. European leaders eagerly poured capital into the Congo in hopes of preventing the creation of a Third World. In the following years, the Congo would continue to supply raw material and tropical resources in the Korean War, as well as broader Cold War conflicts. Despite a now booming economy the changes in expectations and promises of other African leaders, such as Kwame Nkrumah, the Congolese people still sought independence.21 Far from preparing the colony for independence, the Belgian government in Brussels even made contingency plans to flee to the Congo in the event 17 V. G. Solodovnikov, “African Studies in the U.S.S.R.,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 4, no. 3 (1966): 528. 18  Herbst, States and Power in Africa,108. 19  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 119-120. 20  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 218. 21  Buelens and Marysse, “Returns on Investments during the Colonial Era: The Case of the Belgian Congo,”144. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 9


of a future European conflict. A Belgian official named Jef Van Bilsen was one of few voices at the time that considered Congolese independence inevitable. In 1955, Van Bilsen thought it would take at least 30 years before the Congo would be ready for self-autonomy; the Congo was independent within five years of his speech.22 Even in colonies, such as Kenya, where the British were less reluctant to immediately relinquish, colonial control was becoming increasingly difficult on the national and regional level.23Although decolonization sought to achieve immediate independence, the results of these movements are mixed. Even as impressive as these colonial accomplishments were, these colonies all had plans for independence after World War II, but all sought independence early, outside the plan of decolonization, which challenges the narrative of most colonial histories of a planned withdrawal based on an account book of cost against benefit in colonial capitals. The pragmatic nationalism of African leaders led to the misinterpretation of African ideas. In his 1957 speech entitled, Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!, the new President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, spoke of the need for African nations to come together to form a stronger Africa arguing “our [Ghana’s] freedom is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.”24 Despite the good intentions, Nkrumah actions did not match his words, at least at the moment. In quite the opposite fashion Nkrumah increasingly became far friendlier to British colonial policies during the late colonial state. However, under closer examination, Nkrumah’s intentions did, indeed, match his words; even if he did not achieve his immediate political goals. Even in 1957, the year of the Gold Coast’s independence, the British provisions for self-government left trappings of colonial rule. Independence was contingent upon maintaining the Queen as Head of State, retaining a significant number of expatriate British government officials, and a British commander in charge of the army. Nevertheless, by 1960 the leftover trappings became even more meaningless, while Nkrumah became the first hero of African nationalism.25 In the following years, Nkrumah further attempts to consolidate the power of Ghana in Africa through radical nationalistic policies.26 Although the former colonial powers would 22  Buelens and Marysse, “Returns on Investments during the Colonial Era: The Case of the Belgian Congo,” 145. 23  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact,146-149, 160, 170. 24 William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark, and Edward A. Alpers,”Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!,” In Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 2nd ed. (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010),125.

25  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 178. 26  Jitendra Mohan, “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 7, no. 3 (1969): 371.

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not be able to end their empires on their time frames, they were able to stem the tide of pan-Africanism. By making the provisions of independence contingent only on the withdrawal of colonial powers, nationalistic leaders had the best chance of freedom. However, these policies also meant that the governmental framework, artificial natural boundaries, and economic provisions would stay in place from the late colonial state making it difficult to govern their countries, let alone promote pan-African ideas. Nationalism, moreover, was an elite-led phenomenon. Nationalist leaders, usually educated in the West, would generally promote policies which would have little impact beyond the cities. These policies, especially when combined with pan-Africanism, led to internal difficulties in the development of nationalist nations.27 Despite the British having different policies for East and West Africa, the lure of nationalism and independence was comparable in Kenya. Jomo Kenyatta, the eventual president, was once an avid supporter of pan-Africanism. At one point he even advocated for the union of multiple African nations into a single country.28 The British crack down on Kenyan dissidents during the Mau Mau Rebellion was a successful counterinsurgency campaign, but horrible for public relations, as well as moral standing and legitimacy of power. Mau Mau was not initially a nationalist movement, in fact, it was more or less a coalition of the dominant bloc of the Kikuyu ethnic group. Although Mau Mau was at first peaceful, partisan effort, Britsh pressures and informers made the more radical elements lash out against informers, usually in the form of local chiefs bribed by the British. The subsequent troubles the British began to force upon the Kenyan people made Mau Mau a national movement, with its supposed leader, Jomo Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, now in British hands due to their misinterpretation of Mau Mau intentions.29 Much like other nations, African independence movements caused Kenyans to yearn for freedom. To prevent complete war, the British imprisoned over 70,000 Kenyans—separating them from tribes and ethnic groups to maintain order. In a shocking display to maintain order, similar to other last gasps of colonial power British officials allowed forced labor, rape, abuse, torture, and murder; all of which comes from African oral records, not official British accounts. On March 3, 1959, British soldiers killed 11 Kenyan detainees in cold blood. As word spread that 27  Herbst, States and Power in Africa, 126-130. 28  David M. Anderson, “‘Yours in Struggle for Majimbo.’ Nationalism and the Party Politics of Decolonization in Kenya, 1955-64,” Journal of Contemporary History 40, no. 3 (2005): 547–564.the struggle for independence in Kenya has been seen as a triumph for the nationalist politics of the Kenya African National Union (KANU

29  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 146-149. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 11


contradicted the official cover-up, it became clear that British control in Kenya was untenable.30 The nationalistic policies implemented by the Kenyan government demonstrate the most powerful unintended consequences the remnants of power from the late colonial state. When Kenya gained its independence in 1963, President Jomo Kenyatta made his political party the only political party—fearing remaining British influences on regional interests on chiefs. This approach, however, ignored local interests and allowed mainly the ethnic Kikuyu, only 20 percent of the population to effectively govern the country. When a rival political ideology, based on regionalism, known as majimboism emerged, critics dismissed it as a British plot, much like the bribery of chiefs during the Mau Mau Rebellion. However, the enduring legacy of majimboism demonstrates at least the potential that the strident nationalism of African nations served the colonial government’s best interest, not Africans. In effect, even Kenya became a Commonwealth nation, and thus maintained economic and strategic ties to Britain. In effect, the British heavy-handed intervention only served to constrain African independence in favor of British interests.31 The international involvement in the Belgian Congo is perhaps the greatest example of Cold War politics at play in Africa. After meeting with Kwame Nkrumah, the future prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, began to share many of the same nationalistic visions of Africa. Nkrumah found in Lumumba, another leader that shared his version of nationalism by the principles of pan-Africanism. The Belgian government saw this meeting and began encouraging cooperation between the two leaders, hoping Lumumba would act toward Belgium in a similar fashion in which Nkrumah had interacted with the British. The hope was that Nkrumah would make Lumumba far more moderate than the strong anti-colonialism of Lumumba’s primary African political rival—Joseph Kasavubu. By contrast, Kusavubu was widely regarded as a “hothead,” who was favored neither by other African nations nor the Belgian government.32 Through Nkrumah and Ghana’s example, the Congolese had changing expectations amid an uncertain political future. The situation worsened after Belgian officials nervously ordered the killing of 200 Congolese, which became known as the Leopoldville Massacre. After this, de30  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 170. 31 Anderson, “‘Yours in Struggle for Majimbo.’ Nationalism and the Party Politics of Decolonization in Kenya, 1955-

64,”the struggle for independence in Kenya has been seen as a triumph for the nationalist politics of the Kenya African National Union (KANU 547-555.

32  Mohan, “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations,”371-373. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 12


mands for independence came swiftly.33 The relatively quiet Congolese nationalist movement transformed into a loud movement that achieved independence within an 18-month period.34 Despite having to leave, many Belgian nationals with business in the Congo rapidly transferred their companies over to the Belgian government. Matters were even more complicated by the fact that Belgium was able to retain military bases within their former colonial territory.35 These shortcomings were further compounded by the fact that the most abundant resources were found in the mineral-rich Katanga and Kasai regions, where if internal strife were present would be difficult for a central authority to control.36 Shortly after gaining independence, Congolese officials fell into a power struggle between Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and President Joseph Kasavubu. Both leaders agreed to allow United Nations soldiers into their country, under the condition that they would not use pro-United States and NATO forces out of fear of Western reprisals in the face of Soviet intervention.37 Both even agreed to a joint statement demanding Belgian withdrawal before they would appeal to the Soviet Union exclusively for aid.38 This move was meant to prevent Belgium from further mobilizing the remaining troops in the country from remobilizing. They would eventually become involved in several aspects, and they played a critical role in the mineral rich Katanga region.39 Even Kasavubu and Lumumba temporarily buried the hatchet to keep the Belgians out, even although Kasavubu would later back out. In Ghana, the Congo situation made the UN seem as if it were merely an agent of US interests, even if they had been coerced into action by the Eisenhower administration. The efforts of Kwame Nkrumah’s lobbying on behalf of Lumumba show his true desire for African unity. However, even as an equal voice at the UN, there was little Nkrumah was ultimately able to do to save Lumumba’s government.40 33  Buelens and Marysse, “Returns on Investments during the Colonial Era: The Case of the Belgian Congo,” 145-147. 34  Shipway, Decolonization and Its Impact, 218-219. 35  Shipway, 145-150. 36  Ibid., 218-219. 37 . Spooner, “Just West of Neutral: Canadian ‘Objectivity’ and Peacekeeping during the Congo Crisis, 1960-61,” 308310.

38  Ch Didier Gondola, The History of Congo, The Greenwood histories of the modern nations (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002), 122.

39  Mohan, “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations,”380-385. 40  Mohan, “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations,” 378. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 13


Facing the prospect of a disintegrating country, and with the UN tacitly supporting the interests of the US and Belgium, Lumumba accepted the offer of Soviet military aid—in the form of 100 trucks and 15 aircraft—to transport troops to the rebellious provinces in the Congo. Even from the perspective of sympathetic African leaders, it was clear that this action was dangerous and insufficient to pacify opposition forces, despite the small numbers of supplies.41 Furthermore, due to hard evidence Lumumba had been meeting with Soviet ambassadors, as well as the overwhelming support of his cause from non-aligned nations made this move incriminating at least in the eyes of US policymakers and top officials, including President Eisenhower.42 The following CIA cable from Director Allen Dulles to the Leopoldville operations chief reveals the express intentions of the US government: In high quarters here it is the clear-cut conclusion that if Lumumba continues to hold high office, the inevitable result will at best be chaos and at worst pave the way to communist takeover of the Congo with disastrous consequences for the prestige of the un and for the interests of the free world generally. Consequently, we conclude that his removal must be an urgent and prime objective and that under existing conditions that should be a high priority of our covert action.43 The view of the American government, however, was not a unanimous view even among the Western powers, despite the seemingly unanimous outcome from the UN and NATO countries. According to contemporary Canadian sources and intelligence services, Lumumba’s ideological ties to communism were at best suspect. Ultimately, the assessments point to Lumumba as an unskilled new political pragmatist who was playing east against the west in the wake of Cold War politics. Moreover, the Canadian leadership and chief diplomats held the view that the US and Belgium had the ultimate influence at the UN. This view is in line with Lumumba’s nationalism and the worst fears of the Americans and Belgians—the creation of nonaligned Third World nations.44 Belgium also continued to retain its financial interests in the Katanga region, which had attempted to secede from the Congo in the wake of the internal conflict. The Congolese widely saw Belgium’s sub41  Jitendra Mohan, “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 7, no. 3 (1969): 381.

42  Spooner, “Just West of Neutral: Canadian ‘Objectivity’ and Peacekeeping during the Congo Crisis, 1960-61,”3018310.

43 William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark, and Edward A. Alpers, “CIA Cable, Director Dulles to Leopoldville Station

Officer Hedgman August 26, 1960,” Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 2nd ed. (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010),136.

44  Spooner, “Just West of Neutral: Canadian ‘Objectivity’ and Peacekeeping during the Congo Crisis, 1960-61,” 319-321. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 14


sequent actions as a means to reassert power in a neo colonial fashion.45 Lumumba himself tries to defend the fact that his chief aim was to create a Congo free from the influence of a foreign power. The following words are part of this claim in his last letter to his wife before being assassinated by CIA operatives: I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and I have devoted our lives. But what we wished for our country, its right to an honourable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and their Western allies, who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional, amongst certain high officials of the United Nations46 Patrice Lumumba remains a controversial figure in death, as he was in life.47 Lumumba’s claims carry a great deal of credibility under scrutiny. The key, however, is that it is in hindsight. After his death, Kwame Nkrumah made matters more problematic by supporting Lumumba’s left-leaning successor, also supported by the Soviet government.48 The United States would support joint government favorable to their interests, but not viable for the region. Likely, the threat of communist intervention was enough to gain some degree of ill-repute in Washington. Chaos would ensue shortly after a new coalition took power before it descended into a military dictatorship led by Joseph Mobutu.49 Despite gaining independence, the utilization of African nationalism ultimate impeded African leaders from creating strong self-autonomous nation-states with a viable government. Even allowing former colonies to quickly gain independence left leaders such as Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, and Patrice Lumumba in difficult situations, as they each had to respond to build an economy and extend their newfound independent powers over artificial borders. UN provisions gave these leaders an opportunity for independence in a dying colonial state, but did not leave provisions to maintain the new nation. Nevertheless, the short time frame between the changes in African aspirations and demands, demonstrated by riots in the Gold 45  Gondola, The History of Congo, 118-120. 46 William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark, and Edward A. Alpers, “Patrice Lumumba writes his last letter to his wife

(1961),” In Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 2nd ed. (O10xford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010),140.

47  Gondola, The History of Congo, 122. 48  Spooner, “Just West of Neutral: Canadian ‘Objectivity’ and Peacekeeping during the Congo Crisis, 1960-61,” 324. 49  Mohan, “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations,” 388-395.

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Coast, the Mau Mau in Kenya, and the Leopoldville massacre in the Congo demonstrate the messiness of the situation. However, the economic reality of the former colonial powers still operating through the Commonwealth and Belgium’s retention of ownership of businesses in the Congo created states without autonomy. Furthermore, fear of colonial-sponsored regionalism, nationalist nations struggled to establish control in rural areas. The examples of Ghana, the Congo, and Kenya did not fare much better on the international scale. Without sufficient capital or alliances, nationalistic governments were diplomatically isolated and, as Patrice Lumumba’s assassination shows, viewed as threats in a world ruled by superpowers. Even the UN, much like the Berlin Conference, made attempts to aid African nations, but initially ignored African voices. The misinterpretation and misunderstanding in these circumstances has modern ramifications. For instance, even in the Congo today, many citizens still believe that they do not have adequate representation in their nation and the international community.50 This is the result of the Congo Crisis and subsequent foreign intervention—a direct consequence of Cold War policy.

50  David Newbury, “The Continuing Process of Decolonization in the Congo: Fifty Years Later,” African Studies Review 55, no. 1 (2012): 131.

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Bibliography Anderson, David M. “‘Yours in Struggle for Majimbo’. Nationalism and the Party Politics of Decolonization in Kenya, 1955-64.” Journal of Contemporary History 40, no. 3 (2005): 547–564. Buelens, Frans, and Stefaan Marysse. “Returns on Investments during the Colonial Era: The Case of the Belgian Congo.” The Economic History Review 62, no. S1 (2009): 135–166. Collins, Michael. “Nation, State and Agency:” In Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa, 17–42. Future Imperfect? UCL Press, 2017. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1mtz521.6. Gondola, Ch Didier. The History of Congo. The Greenwood histories of the modern nations. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002. Herbst, Jeffrey Ira. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton studies in international history and politics. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2000. Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. 1st Mariner Books ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Hoskyns, Catherine. “The African States and the United Nations 1958-1964.” International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 40, no. 3 (1964): 466–480. Macmillan, Harold. Pointing the way, 1959-1961. New York: Harper, 1972. Mohan, Jitendra. “Ghana, the Congo, and the United Nations.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 7, no. 3 (1969): 369–406. Newbury, David. “The Continuing Process of Decolonization in the Congo: Fifty Years Later.” African Studies Review 55, no. 1 (2012): 131–141. Schrecker, Ellen W. “Archival Sources for the Study of McCarthyism.” The Journal of American History 75, no. 1 (1988): 197–208. Shipway, Martin. Decolonization and Its Impact: A Comparative Approach to the End of the Colonial Empires. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2008. Solodovnikov, V. G. “African Studies in the U.S.S.R.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 4, no. 3 (1966): 359–366. Spooner, Kevin A. “Just West of Neutral: Canadian ‘Objectivity’ and Peacekeeping during the Congo Crisis, 1960-61.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines 43, no. 2 (2009): 303–336. Worger, William H., Nancy L. Clark, and Edward A. Alpers. Africa and the West: A Documentary History. 2nd ed. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Zimmerman, William, and Robert Axelrod. “The ‘Lessons’ of Vietnam and Soviet Foreign Policy.” World Politics 34, no. 1 (1981): 1–24.

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T

he Crimean Crisis: Ukraine’s Survival within Russia’s Near Abroad Ryan Kilhenny

When most people imagine imperialism, they think first of European colonial efforts. However, Russia demonstrates that imperialism can be exerted even against European countries. Driven to conquest by a lack of natural borders, to this very day Russia remains an aggressive power, waging war on Ukraine, and demonstrating how the past affects the foreign policy of the 21st century. Executive Summary Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation has moved aggressively to secure its position amongst its former imperial territories. Throughout the near abroad – the former Soviet republics – pockets of ethnic Russian minorities have sought to rejoin their mother country by forming secessionist movements. Russia has supported these rebel groups with its armed forces in Moldova (Transnistria), Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and most recently in Ukraine, where it illegally annexed Crimea and supports the rebels of Donetsk and Luhansk. In order to understand Russia’s motivation and strategic benefit for supporting these groups, it is important to review the history of cultural development and geopolitics between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the animosity in their recent history. Russian Historical Background Ukraine traces its origin to the medieval state of Kievan Rus, allegedly founded by the Viking ruler Oleg in about 882, when he subjugated the local Slavic peoples. The Norse Rurik Dynasty of Kiev was thoroughly Slavonized by the time of Prince Volodymyr (Vladimir) I in 980, when the state had expanded to dominate the region from Poland to the northern Volga. Christianity first entered Kievan Rus when Princess Olga of the Rurik Dynasty converted during her visit to Constantinople. Although most Russian Slavs were still pagan at this time, Olga’s grandson Volodymyr I established Eastern Orthodox Christianity as the official state religion in 988.1 While the Rus had previously waged intermittent warfare against Byzantium, this act 1  Heidi Sherman, “Grand Princess Olga: Pagan Vengeance and Sainthood in Kievan Rus,” World History Connected, accessed March 11, 2017, http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/7.1/sherman.html.

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strengthened ties between Kiev and Byzantium and helped ensure that it would later align itself against its Roman Catholic neighbors to the west, especially after the Great Schism of 1054. The Slavic state of Kievan Rus collapsed in 1240, when the Mongols under Batu Khan invaded from the east at a time when Kiev was internally divided and razed the city, which would not recover for over a century. This was the first and only successful invasion of Russia. The Metropolitan of Kiev fled to the city of Vladimir, which – along with Novgorod – became a new center of power in the region, albeit tributary to the Mongol Golden Horde.2 Thus the focus of Russian power shifted northward, away from the Mongol-dominated steppes and up into the forested taiga. The city of Moskva began as a small fort in 1147, from which it grew into the leading Slavic principality when it defeated Tver’ in 1318 and secured the Vladimir throne from Khan Uzbek in 1328. The founding of modern Russia is dated to Grand Prince Ivan III’s annexation of Novgorod to Moskva in 1478, thus uniting the two ecclesiastical centers of Russia under one ruler.3 From 1505 to 1533, his son Vasilii III acquired most of the remainder of European Russia. Over the next several centuries, the Principality of Muscovy grew into the Russian Empire as it overcame and absorbed its neighbors through conquest. By 1796, its domains stretched from Poland in the west to Kamchatka and the Bering Sea in the distant east. Throughout its history, Russia’s lack of natural protective geographic barriers in the form of either mountains or coasts has encouraged the rise of militant authoritarianism. The vast Northern European Plain offers no more protection from invaders than the central steppes of Asia or the Siberian Taiga. In order to protect itself from its enemies, Russia was compelled to conquer and subjugate its neighbors, creating an ever expanding buffer zone of terrain around its home territory.4 Unfortunately, no matter how far the empire expanded, it faced the same dilemma—little to no natural protection. Moreover, it was forced to keep a watchful guard upon all of the non-Russian ethnic minorities whom it had conquered, lest they should revolt against imperial rule. In the west, Russia sought to use Poland as a strategic buffer from the 1790s until 1918, since the Northern European Plain narrows from approximately 2,000 miles across at Russia’s modern border to only about 300 miles from the Black Sea to the 2  Paul Buskhovich, A Concise History of Russia, (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 22-23. 3  Ibid, 37. 4  Robert Kaplan, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate, (New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2013), 155-159.

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Carpathian Mountains in Poland.5 In order to ensure strength and stability in the midst of a myriad of external and internal security threats, Russia turned to centralized authoritarianism, first under the tsars and later under the general secretaries of the Soviet Union. Grand Prince Ivan “Grozny” IV turned the aristocratic boyars into a service nobility subservient to himself in the early 1500s. It was he who first used the title of tsar, claiming parity with the ancient Caesars of Rome and the contemporary emperors of Byzantium and the Holy Roman Empire, the greatest powers of that time. In 1721, Peter the Great made himself the “protector” of the Russian Orthodox Church, abolished the Patriarchate of Moskva, and replaced it with a Holy Synod comprised of members chosen in practice by himself.6 Thus the Russian tsardom eliminated the two major potential checks upon its power, the Orthodox Church and the boyar aristocracy, consolidating total authority under itself as head of both the church and the state. While the peasantry was in no position to resist such trends, most Russians – both then and now – consider such consolidation necessary to prevent a recurrence of the Time of Troubles: a chaotic episode from 1598-1613 when Russia had no clear heir to the throne and was invaded by Poland.7 Many consider the economic crisis of the 1990s following the dissolution of the USSR and preceding the rise of Vladimir Putin as a second “time of troubles.” From 1992-1993, Russian President Yeltsin instituted drastic economic and political reforms, transferring state owned enterprises to the free market; however, the privatization of these assets only led to their consolidation in the hands of wealthy former communist party apparatchiks, who soon formed an influential oligarchic class in control of much of Russia’s wealth. Living standards for most Russians declined along with life expectancy, the economy shrank, the military weakened, and all the while the oligarchs used their wealth to keep Yeltsin in power, in spite of his falling popularity. The combination of these factors led many Russians to lose confidence in the effectiveness of democracy, and they turned to former KGB officer Vladimir Putin for stability.8 5 Tim Marshall, “Russia and the Curse of Geography,” The Atlantic, October 31, 2015, accessed November 24, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/10/russia-geography-ukraine-syria/413248/.

6  Buskhovich, 83, 92. 7  Buskhovich, 53-58. 8 Alfred B. Evans, “The Failure of Democratization in Russia: A Comparative Perspective,” Science Direct, Vol.

2, Issue 1, (January 2011): 40-51, accessed November 14, 2017, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S1879366510000345.

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The Russian Orthodox Church has become an indispensable component of Russia’s national identity. Although initially under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, Russian bishops elected their first autocephalous (independent) patriarch in Moskva in 1453, after Byzantium fell to the Ottoman Turks.9 In the 15th Century under Ivan III, Russia perceived itself as a “new Israel,” chosen by God and ordained by providence to overcome all the unbelieving Catholic, Muslim, and pagan enemies which beset it from all sides. Ivan III used state force to control the nature of the Russian church by executing heretics; starting in the 1660s, Patriarch Nikon standardized church doctrine and began to persecute dissenting Old Believers.10 19th Century Slavophilism further defined Russian nationalism in terms of its distinctly Slavic Orthodox faith. Russia uses this combination of church and state under tsarist caesaropapism (where the tsar is both “Caesar” and “pope”) to pragmatically further its political influence internationally. For example, in the 1700s and 1800s, Russia used its position as defender of the global Orthodox Church to oppose Muslim Ottoman persecution of Christians in the Middle East, declaring war on the Caliphate several times and conquering the northern Black Sea region. While Moskva certainly may have had the interests of Orthodox Christians at heart, it is quite clear that they also desired to conquer the Bosporus Straits and secure access to the Mediterranean. Under Vladimir Putin, the Russian Federation has depicted itself as a righteous bastion of Christendom against a morally decadent Western culture by extolling and elevating the Orthodox Church as a traditional religious symbol of the secular Russian nation, thus seeking to align its conservative Slavic neighbors towards itself and away from the liberal governments of the EU and NATO. The Russian legislator Milonov expressed this sentiment well: “This disease of anti-Christian activity will pass… let fake values live together with Barack Obama, with his same-sex marriages, with his drugs,… we are going to the true real values; family, church, and state.”11 Ukrainian Historical Background While Russia developed its own national identity on the basis of its Muscovite empire, Ukraine remained a divided borderland with little distinction or identity apart 9  Encyclopedia Britannica, s.v. “Russian Orthodox Church,” 22 June 2016, accessed May 5, 2017, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Russian-Orthodox-church.

10  Buskhovich, 45-46, 70-71. 11  Ivan Watson, Maria Stromova and Antonia Mortensen, “The rise of the Russian Orthodox Church,” CNN, March 30, 2017, accessed May 6, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/europe/russian-orthodox-church-resurgence/.

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from the surrounding eastern Slavic peoples. After the fall of Kievan Rus, the Roman Catholic Kingdom of Lithuania conquered western Ukraine in the 1300s. From the 1500s to the late 1700s, Ukraine remained divided between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the west and the Orthodox Russian Empire in the east.12 By the time Russia annexed the whole in 1795 with the partitions of Poland, western Catholic Ukraine had developed a very different culture from eastern Orthodox Ukraine. Crimea and eastern Ukraine (which have historically been controlled by the Russian Empire) speak mostly Russian while central and western Ukraine (long part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) speak Ukrainian. The Ukrainian portion is oriented westward toward Europe while the eastern part affiliates with Russia. For example, in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election, the Russified southern and eastern part of Ukraine voted mostly for pro-Russian Yanukovych while the central and western parts voted for pro-Western Tymoshenko.13 Ukrainian nationalism began with the Orthodox Cossacks in the mid-1600s, but did not become significant until the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922 as a response to oppressive Soviet policies under Stalin and others. Briefly following Russia’s defeat in World War I and Germany’s failure to implement the Brest-Litovsk Treaty given its own defeat on the Western Front, Ukraine achieved a brief period of independence as one united country in 1919. During the Russian Civil War, however, the Bolshevik Red Army defeated the Ukrainians and conquered all of the country except for the western third, which was reclaimed by Poland. With the founding of the USSR, Ukraine was reorganized as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1922. Like the tsars of the late Russian Empire, the Soviets sought to suppress and assimilate Ukraine.14 Starting in 1934, Soviet narrative championed the idea that the glory of Russia had created the world’s first socialist entity, and thus Soviet ideology became infused with a return of Russian nationalism under Stalin which had been discouraged under Lenin and Trotsky; ultimately, the Soviets were exploiting Russian national sentiment in order to bolster the Soviet Union’s still artificial and fragile socialist amalgam, but this still exemplifies the manner in which the central government 12  Eugene Chausovsky, “Ukraine: Caught Between East and West,” Stratfor, December 29, 2015, accessed May 8, 2017, https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/ukraine-caught-between-east-and-west.

13  “A divided Ukraine,” CNN, March 3, 2014, accessed May 6, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/02/world/ ukraine-divided/.

14  Serhy Yekelchyk, “The Ukrainian Crisis: In Russia’s Long Shadow,” Origins 7, no. 9, (June 2014), accessed May 3, 2017, origins.osu.edu/print/2480.

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in Moskva propagated loyalty towards itself – whether truly nationalist or socialist in content – and away from local ethnic identity.15 The Bolshevik policy of prodrazvyorstka, confiscation of grain and other agricultural produce from the peasants for a nominal fixed price, only angered the peasantry and caused severe food shortages. As a result of Stalin’s 5-Year Plans for rapid and forced industrialization, nearly 11 million Ukrainians are estimated to have died of starvation as grain was exported away from the state-owned sovkhoz farms to support the industrialization movement, while many others were shot or deported to the gulag. To this day, Ukrainians refer to this mass starvation as the Holodomar, a term reminiscent of the Holocaust. Rather than fuel patriotism for Mother Russia, these and other measures inspired many Ukrainians to greet the invading Nazi Germans as liberators during Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. Following the Allied victory over Germany and its satellite states in 1945, the USSR claimed the remainder of Ukraine from Poland, uniting Ukraine for the first time since the reign of the Kievan Rus before 1240 (other than the brief period of de facto independence in 1919).16 The USSR also added Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. With these enlarged borders, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became the independent state of Ukraine following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukraine-Russia Relations Since Independence Following its independence, Ukraine fell far short of expectations that it would become a wealthy free market democracy. In 1991, the nation was even poorer than neighboring Moldova, with merely $1,307 in GDP per capita. As was the case in Russia, the 1990s were economically devastating for Ukraine. While there was some minor improvement in the 2000s, Ukraine’s economy has ultimately suffered from its inefficiency. Moreover, Ukraine faces one of the world’s sharpest demographic declines due to birth rates well below the replacement rate and emigration to various EU member states. In spite of its great supply of natural resources, it must still import 70% of its natural gas, mostly from Russia.17 Through the 1990s, while the weak Ukrainian government sought relative neu15  Martin Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991, (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1994), 235-236.

16  Chausovsky. 17  Pekka Sutela, “The Underachiever: Ukraine’s Economy Since 1991,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 9, 2012, accessed May 2, 2017, carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/09/underachiever-ukraine-s-economy-since1991-pub-47451.

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trality between east and west, numerous tensions nevertheless arose between itself and the Russian Federation. Russia, following the loss of its Soviet satellite states and its socialist empire at the end of the Cold War, found itself at its weakest and smallest territorial extent since well before 1900, and was thus sensitive to any strong foreign power challenging it within its traditional sphere of influence. Russia had always relied upon a deep buffer of territory in order to protect itself from invasion and wield power internationally. The first major contention was Ukraine’s nuclear weapons arsenal. On December 5, 1994, international negotiations produced the Budapest Memorandum: a document signed by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom whereby Ukraine agreed to abandon its nuclear arsenal in return for assurances that its independence, sovereignty, and existing borders would be respected and not threatened with force.18 Russia was not about to tolerate the presence of a foreign power with its own nuclear arsenal residing within its traditional sphere of imperial control. In 1999, Russia became a signatory of the Charter for European Security, reaffirming the right of every state to be free to choose or change its security arrangements. While Russia requested that the Charter prevent any state or group of states from having pre-eminent responsibility for maintaining peace and stability within the Charter’s jurisdiction, the same provision “adds or can consider any part of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] area as its sphere of influence clearly an allusion to the Russian concept of the near abroad.”19 Another major controversy was caused by the status of Crimea, a region populated mostly by Russians and Tatars where Russia had always based its Black Sea fleet. Following Ukraine’s independence in 1991, Russia was concerned that it would lose its strategic naval position in the region. Moreover, Crimea had served as Russia’s only warm-water port since 1783 (in addition to nearby Rostov-na-Donu). Therefore, Ukraine agreed to grant Russia a lease to use Crimea for its navy. On October 10, 1997, Ukraine joined with Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova in forming GUUAM, a political, economic, and strategic alliance designed to strengthen the independence and sovereignty of these former Soviet Union re-

18  “The Budapest Memorandum at 20: The United States, Ukraine and Security Assurances,” Brookings Institution,

December 9, 2014, accessed May 4, 2017, https://www.brookings.edu/events/the-budapest-memorandum-at-20-the-united-states-ukraine-and-security-assurances/.

19  “The OSCEs Istanbul Charter for European Security,” NATO Review, accessed May 7, 2017, http://www.nato.int/ docu/review/2000/More-capable-balanced-alliance/OSCEs-Istanbul-Charter-European-Security/EN/index.htm.

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publics. Uzbekistan joined in 1999.20 Russia, however, saw this as a challenge to its Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which is also known as the Russian Commonwealth, especially since Azerbaijan and Moldova are also CIS members and GUUAM (recently renamed GUAM) seeks to provide many of the same economic and security services as the Russia-led CIS. In Ukraine’s November 2004 run-off presidential election, the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by supporters of the pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko. Yanukovych had won the election by 3% of the vote according to the incumbent President Kuchma, who favored Yanukovych, in spite of the fact that Yushchenko was winning in the exit polls by over 11%. Nearly 1 million pro-Yushchenko protesters took to the Maidan, Kiev’s main square, as well as several other urban centers across the country, refusing to recognize the results of the election. On November 28, a high-ranking member of Kuchma’s government ordered the military to crack down on the protesters, but the order was refused. On December 1, the Ukrainian parliament joined with the protesters, passing a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Yanukovych’s government. The Supreme Court rules the election fraudulent on December 3. Finally, Yanukovych and Kuchma agreed to a new election, which Yushchenko won by 52% to Yanukovych’s 44%. Because orange was the color of Yushchenko’s party, the incident became known as the Orange Revolution.21 Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the revolution as corrupt and unconstitutional, asserting that “One of the parties [Yanukovych’s] cannot be cornered by means of unconstitutional activities… corruption was blooming there and people round the new president [Yushchenko] have started to enrich themselves.” He continued that while Russia was not against change, it was opposed to the chaos and discord exemplified by the Orange Revolution.22 Following Yushchenko’s controversial victory over Yanukovych, tensions between Ukraine and Russia only became worse as Yushchenko steered Ukraine away from general neutrality and towards a distinctly pro-Western position. Ukraine’s partnership with NATO had hitherto been loose, although Ukraine had sent some troops 20  “Organization for Democracy and Economic Development,” Global Security, accessed May 6, 2017, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/int/guuam.htm.

21  Max Rennebohm, “Ukrainians overthrow dictatorship (Orange Revolution), 2004,” Swartmore College, September 9,

2011, accessed May 7, 2017, http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/ukrainians-overthrow-dictatorship-orange-revolution-2004.

22  Jonathan Steele, “Putin still bitter over orange revolution,” The Guardian, September 5, 2005, accessed May 7, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/sep/06/russia.jonathansteele.

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to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 1990s. While Kuchma had announced a goal of joining NATO in May 2002, Yushchenko visited NATO headquarters in Brussels and urged the alliance to take relations with Ukraine to a “qualitatively new level.” NATO and Ukraine then launched an “Intensified Dialogue” phase later in 2005.23 Russia was not happy. As Ukraine drew close to fulfilling its aspiration of joining NATO in 2008, Vladimir Putin warned Ukrainian president Yushchenko that, “It is horrible to say and even horrible to think that, in response to the deployment of such [NATO missile defense] facilities in Ukrainian territory… Russia could target its missile systems at Ukraine. Imagine this just for a second.” Putin has issued similar threats against Poland and the Czech Republic over their affiliation with NATO. Yushchenko responded that Ukraine’s NATO affiliation should not be seen as a threat to Russia. Nevertheless, Russia fears that the proposed antimissile system could be used by the West to spy upon their airspace and weaken their defenses.24 Ultimately, Ukraine’s bid to join NATO was rejected along with Georgia’s in a 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania. Although US President George Bush supported their membership, Germany and France both opposed it. French Prime Minister François Fillon explained that the proposed entry of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO was “not a good answer to the balance of power within Europe and between Europe and Russia.” In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych won Ukraine’s presidential election, having been ousted six years earlier, and he began to pursue a foreign policy more amiable to Moskva. He saw no need for further integration with NATO, calling it an “unrealistic prospect.”25 Russia’s Annexation Of Crimea By November 2013, Ukraine was plagued with severe debt, endemic corruption, and in dire need of assistance. While the European Union (EU) offered Ukraine a trade deal, Russia offered a loan of $15 billion and encouraged Ukraine to join a “Eurasian Union,” Vladimir Putin’s alternative to the EU which includes Kazakhstan and Belarus. After much uncertainty, Ukrainian President Yanukovych accepted Russia’s loan on November 21. In response, crowds of pro-Western 23  Jan Maksymiuk, “Ukraine: Government Faces Uphill Battle In Achieving NATO Aspirations,” Radio Free Europe, November 15, 2005, accessed May 7, 2017, https://www.rferl.org/a/1062966.html.

24 Peter Finn, “Putin Threatens Ukraine On NATO,” Washington Post Foreign Service, February 13, 2008, accessed May 7, 2017, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/12/AR2008021201658.html.

25 Adam Taylor, “That time Ukraine tried to join NATO – and NATO said no,” The Washington Post, September 4, 2014,

accessed May 7, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/09/04/that-time-ukraine-tried-to-joinnato-and-nato-said-no/?utm_term=.0cd8516d6c93.

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Ukrainian protesters occupied Kiev’s main Maidan Square and renamed it the EuroMaidan, after the European Union towards which they sought to orient their country. After numerous clashes between police and protesters with catapults and barricades, the Ukrainian parliament impeached Yanukovych in January 2014 and formed an interim government under Yulia Tymoshenko, whom Yanukovych had imprisoned for allegedly abusing her power.26 In March 2014, Tymoshenko signed the trade agreement with the EU, creating a free-trade area and expanding cooperation on foreign policy and crime-fighting, although this was rejected by Dutch voters who don’t want Ukraine to join the EU.27 The EU Association Agreement was not finalized until signed by Ukraine’s new President Peter Poroshenko on July 27.28 The second ouster of Yanukovych in the Euromaidan movement led directly to the outbreak of pro-Russian protests in southeastern Ukraine and in Crimea, where the population is mostly Russian and where Russia already had significant military installations.29 With the imminent possibility of Ukraine joining the EU, Russia was not about to risk the loss of these critical military assets. Through the month of February 2014, Russia quietly deployed thousands of additional soldiers onto its bases in Crimea.30 On February 28, Russian Spetsnaz (special forces) without insignia set up checkpoints on Crimea’s border with Ukraine and seized key government buildings in Sevastopol.31 In March, Russia held a popular referendum in Crimea, in which over 90% of Crimeans allegedly voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. However, Kiev asserts that the referendum was a sham conducted under coercion. In April 2014, Ukraine deployed its military against pro-Russian rebels who had seized government buildings throughout eastern Ukraine. Less than a month later, separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk declared their independence from Ukraine. In September, Russia sent convoys of trucks into the region, along with military tanks, 26 Alan Yuhas and Raya Jalabi, “Ukraine’s revolution and Russia’s occupation of Crimea: how we got here,” The Guardian, March 5, 2014, accessed May 8, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/05/ukraine-russia-explainer.

27  Jennifer Rankin, “EU leaders try to salvage Ukraine deal,” The Guardian, December 15, 2016, accessed May 8, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/15/ukraine-will-not-join-eu-dutch-are-promised-in-effort-to-save-treaty.

28 Nick Thompson, “Ukraine: Everything you need to know about how we got here,” CNN, February 3, 2017, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/10/europe/ukraine-war-how-we-got-here/.

29 Yuhas and Jalabi. 30 John Simpson, “Russia’s Crimea plan detailed, secret and successful,” BBC, March 19, 2014, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26644082.

31 Carl Schreck, “U.S. Denounces Russia’s Crimea Annexation On Referendum Anniversary,” Radio Free Europe, March

16, 2017, accessed May 8, 2017, https://www.rferl.org/a/united-states-denounces-crimea-annexation-referendum-anniversary/28373961.html.

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troops, and other weapons to arm and support the rebels. On February 12, 2015, Germany and France were able to negotiate a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and Russia after the US threatened to supply lethal aid to Ukraine, but it was of no avail. Eight days later on February 20, Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council reported 300 violations of the ceasefire, with several more of its service members killed. From April 2014, to March 2016, nearly 9,500 people were killed in the violence and more than 22,100 were injured, including Ukrainian armed forces.32 The international community has resoundingly denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its militant intervention in eastern Ukraine. On March 16, 2017, the US reaffirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, declaring that it “again condemns the Russian occupation of Crimea and calls for its immediate end.”33 Poland has also voiced strong opposition to Russia’s actions and supported the sanctions implemented against it by the US, EU, and other countries, saying “Poland does not recognize the so-called annexation of Crimea and invariably supports the integrity of the Ukraine’s territories within borders that are recognized under international law.”34 When the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) classified Russia’s invasion of Crimea as an international armed conflict, Russian President Putin issued a decree withdrawing Russia from membership in the ICC (although Russia was technically never a member in the first place). The UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee approved a resolution condemning Russia’s occupation of Crimea.35 Analysis Russia’s intervention into Ukraine’s instability is only part of a broader and more fundamental strategy of reestablishing its influence over the Near Abroad, the territory of the former USSR. In April 2005, Vladimir Putin declared that “the collapse of the Soviet union was the biggest geopolitical disaster of the century… Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside of Russian terri-

32 Thompson. 33  Schreck. 34  “Poland calls for end of Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea,” Radio Poland, March 20, 2017, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/298631,Poland-calls-for-end-of-Russian-occupation-of-Ukraines-Crimea.

35  “ICC Classifies Annexation Of Crimea As International Armed Conflict, UN Committee Condemns Occupation.” The Interpreter, November 16, 2016, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.interpretermag.com/day-1003/.

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tory.”36 Therefore, given the ethnic Russian minorities in the former Soviet republics surrounding Russia, these nations are arguably irredenta: former imperial holdings that need to be reunited with the rest of Russia. In order to reclaim these lands, Russia seeks to rely upon soft power sources to catalyze its influence on the sovereignty, foreign policy, and security approaches of the ex-Soviet states. When Russia first occupied Crimea, Putin claimed the right to rule any territory inhabited by Russians in all ex-Soviet possessions. This new Russian nationalism allows Russia to simply occupy and annex any strategic territory as a “plan B” if there is no compliance from soft-power alternatives such as negotiations, economic leverage, or threats of force. Ultimately, the invasion of Crimea sent a clear message: if a Eurasian country does not clearly respect Russia’s interests, it will lose the territories inhabited by ethnic Russians.37 Modern Russian foreign policy operates on the basis of the Medvedev Doctrine. Its ideas are largely inspired by Alexander Dugin’s expansionist geopolitical theories. As implemented specifically in late 2016, the strategy calls for the reaffirmation of the Russian sphere of influence of the former USSR, specifically through promoting Russian nationalism and “consolidation of the Russian diaspora.” It also mandates “full effectiveness of the protection of rights and legal interests of Russian citizens and compatriots living abroad.” While Moskva may certainly have the best intentions of sundered Russian compatriots living in the near abroad at heart, it quite certainly is willing to violate the sovereignty of its neighbors to do so, and in the process reclaim its lost empire.38 In essence, this strategy could be described as a Brezhnev 2 Doctrine: once Russian, always Russian.39 For example, Russia uses the leverage of frozen conflicts in Georgia to exercise a degree of de facto power over that nation. Within Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have both become secessionist entities recognized by Russia. Ossetia is controlled by the Communist Party of Ossetia, which in turn depends completely upon Russia for its continued existence. In April 2008, after NATO rejected Georgia’s 36 Anders Aslund, “The Kremlin’s New Policy in its Near Abroad,” The Moscow Times, July 27, 2010, accessed May 8, 2017, https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-kremlins-new-policy-in-its-near-abroad-173.

37 Iulian Chifu and Simona Tutuianu, eds., Torn Between East and West: Europe’s border states, (London, UK: Rout-

ledge, August 5, 2016), accessed May 4, 2017, https://books.google.com/books?id=DdHLDAAAQBAJ&dq=russia+policy+on+ukrainian+sovereignty+brezhnev+doctrine&source=gbs_navlinks_s.

38 The Security Council of the Russian Federation, Concept of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, approved by

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, November 30, 2016, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.scrf.gov.ru/ security/international/document25/.

39  Chifu and Tutuianu. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 29


application for a military action plan, Russia responded to Georgia’s actions by escalating its military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. When Georgia deployed its military against South Ossetia, which had attacked Georgian villages, Russia allied with South Ossetia and rapidly repelled the Georgian forces, blitzing from the border to within 40km of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.40 Due to Russian disorganization, Western powers had time to intervene and implement a ceasefire. Otherwise, Tbilisi would have fallen completely.41 Another example of Russia’s expansionist strategy is active in Moldova, where the region of Transnistria has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 1991. In June 2016, Moldova had to ask Moskva to stop recruiting its citizens into the Russian armed forces. Russia currently has about 1,500 troops stationed in eastern Moldova as a peacekeeping mission; should Moldova ever consider joining NATO, it can expect the situation to become much less peaceful.42 In addition to preserving and restoring its old imperial sphere of influence, Russia fears the establishment of NATO directly upon its border. In addition to being incessantly threatened by its neighbors in general, Russia has been invaded five times from the West, by Poland (1605), Sweden (1707), France (1812), and Germany (1914-1918 and 1941-1945).43 In the past, it has relied upon large territorial buffers to compensate for its lack of natural geographic barriers and inferior technology, but in 1991 it lost these. Moreover, NATO is first and foremost an anti-Russia military alliance backed by the US military. Furthermore, Russia has a special interest in Ukraine given its acceptance of Alexander Dugin’s views. Dugin accepts Mackinder’s school of geography, which holds that control of the Ukraine and the northern Caucasus is the key to controlling Eurasia. By controlling this heartland, one can ultimately control the world. In Mackinder’s Heartland Theory, failure to control and stabilize the Ukraine leads to continental chaos and discord. Therefore, this secondary factor would make Ukraine’s persistent instability as evinced in the Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan an additional cause for concern to Russia. 40  George Friedman, “The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power,” Stratfor, August 12, 2008, accessed May 8, 2017.

41  Gustav Gressel, “In the shadow of Ukraine: seven years on from Russian-Georgian war,” European Council on Foreign Affairs, August 6, 2015, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_in_the_shadow_of_ukraine_seven_years_on_from_russian_3086.

42  Damien Sharkov, “Moldova Asks Russia’s Army To Stop Recruiting Its Citizens,” Newsweek, June 22, 2016, accessed May 8, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/moldova-asks-russia-separatist-army-stop-recruiting-citizens-473155.

43  Marshall. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 30


Upon careful evaluation of the history and strategic situation of the region, Russia’s foreign policy in its near abroad can be best understood as an attempt to reassert itself as an expansionist power and reclaim its old sphere of influence. Nationalist influences call for the reunification of all ethnically Russian peoples into one nation and the annexation of all the irredenta, from Transnistria to Crimea. Security concerns sharpened by unfortunate historical precedent necessitate that Russia prevent NATO and other foreign powers from establishing themselves anywhere in Eastern Europe, from which they could pose a threat to Moskva. Given its cultural background of militant authoritarianism, the denunciations, sanctions, and ultimatums of the West are of little concern to Russia in the cause of remaining a global superpower.

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Bibliography Aslund, Anders. “The Kremlin’s New Policy in its Near Abroad.” The Moscow Times. July 27,2010. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-kremlins-new-policy-inits-near-abroad-173. “The Budapest Memorandum at 20: The United States, Ukraine and security Assurances.” Brookings Institution. December 9, 2014. Accessed May 4, 2017. https://www.brookings.edu/ events/the-budapest-memorandum-at-20-the-united-states- ukraine-and-security-assurances/. Buskhovich, Paul. A Concise History of Russia. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Chausovsky, Eugene. “Ukraine: Caught Between East and West.” Stratfor. December 29, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/ukraine-caught-between-east- and-west. Chifu, Iulian and Simona Tutuianu, eds. Torn Between East and West: Europe’s border states. London, UK: Routledge, August 5, 2016. Accessed May 4, 2017. https://books.google.com/ books?id=DdHLDAAAQBAJ&dq=russia+policy+on+ukrainia n+sovereignty+brezhnev+doctrine&source=gbs_navlinks_s. “A divided Ukraine.” CNN. March 3, 2014. Accessed May 6, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/ interactive/2014/02/world/ukraine-divided/. Evans, Alfred B. “The Failure of Democratization in Russia: A Comparative Perspective,” Science Direct, Vol. 2, Issue 1, (January 2011): 40-51. Accessed November 14, 2017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1879366510000345. Finn, Peter. “Putin Threatens Ukraine On NATO.” Washington Post Foreign Service. February 13, 2008. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/12/AR2008021201658.html. Friedman, George. “The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power.” Stratfor. August 12, 2008. Accessed May 8, 2017. . “Organization for Democracy and Economic Development.” Global Security. Accessed May 6,2017. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/int/guuam.htm. Gressel, Gustav. “In the shadow of Ukraine: seven years on from Russian-Georgian war.” European Council on Foreign Affairs. August 6, 2015. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.ecfr.eu/ article/commentary_in_the_shadow_of_ukraine_seven_years_on_fro m_russian_3086. Kaplan, Robert. The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate. New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2013. Malia, Martin. The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1994. Maksymiuk, Jan. “Ukraine: Government Faces Uphill Battle In Achieving NATO AspiAlexandria Historical Review, Page 32


rations.” Radio Free Europe. November 15, 2005. Accessed May 7, 2017. https://www.rferl. org/a/1062966.html. Marshall, Tim. “Russia and the Curse of Geography.” The Atlantic, October 31, 2015. Accessed November 24, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/10/russia- geography-ukraine-syria/413248/. “The OSCEs Istanbul Charter for European Security.” NATO Review. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.nato.int/docu/review/2000/More-capable-balanced-alliance/OSCEs-Istanbul- Charter-European-Security/EN/index.htm. “Poland calls for end of Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea.” Radio Poland. March 20, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/298631,Poland-calls-for-end-ofRussian-occupation-of-Ukraines-Crimea. Rankin, Jennifer. “EU leaders try to salvage Ukraine deal.” The Guardian. December 15, 2016. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/15/ukraine-will- not-join-eu-dutch-are-promised-in-effort-to-save-treaty. Rennebohm, Max. “Ukrainians overthrow dictatorship (Orange Revolution), 2004.” Swartmore College. September 9, 2011. Accessed May 7, 2017.http://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/ukrainians-overthrow-dictatorship-orange-revolution-2004. Schreck, Carl. “U.S. Denounces Russia’s Crimea Annexation On Referendum Anniversary.”Radio Free Europe. March 16, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://www.rferl.org/a/united-states-denounces-crimea-annexation-referendum- anniversary/28373961.html. Security Council of the Russian Federation. Concept of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation. Approved by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. November 30, 2016. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.scrf.gov.ru/security/international/document25/. Sharkov, Damien. “Moldova Asks Russia’s Army To Stop Recruiting Its Citizens.” Newsweek. June 22, 2016. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.newsweek.com/moldova-asks-russia- separatist-army-stop-recruiting-citizens-473155. Sherman, Heidi. “Grand Princess Olga: Pagan Vengeance and Sainthood in Kievan Rus.” World History Connected. Accessed March 11, 2017, http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois. edu/7.1/sherman.html. Simpson, John. “Russia’s Crimea plan detailed, secret and successful.” BBC. March 19, 2014. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26644082. Steele, Jonathan. “Putin still bitter over orange revolution.” The Guardian. September 5, 2005. Accessed May 7, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/sep/06/russia.jonathansteele. Sutela, Pekka. “The Underachiever: Ukraine’s Economy Since 1991.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. March 9, 2012. Accessed May 2, 2017. carnegieendowment. org/2012/03/09/underachiever-ukraine-s-economy-since-1991-pub-47451.

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Taylor, Adam. “That time Ukraine tried to join NATO – and NATO said no.” The Washington Post. September 4, 2014. Accessed May 7, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ worldviews/wp/2014/09/04/that-time-ukraine- tried-to-join-nato-and-nato-said-no/?utm_term=.0cd8516d6c93. “ICC Classifies Annexation Of Crimea As International Armed Conflict, UN Committee Condemns Occupation.” The Interpreter. November 16, 2016. Accessed May 8, 2017. http:// www.interpretermag.com/day-1003/. Thompson, Nick. “Ukraine: Everything you need to know about how we got here.” CNN. February 3, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/10/europe/ukraine-warhow-we-got-here/. Watson, Ivan, Maria Stromova, and Antonia Mortensen. “The rise of the Russian Orthodox Church.” CNN. March 30, 2017. Accessed May 6, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/ europe/russian-orthodox-church-resurgence/. Yekelchyk, Serhy. “The Ukrainian Crisis: In Russia’s Long Shadow.” Origins 7, no. 9. June 2014. Accessed May 3, 2017. Origins.osu.edu/print/2480. Yuhas, Alan and Raya Jalabi. “Ukraine’s revolution and Russia’s occupation of Crimea: how we got here.” The Guardian, March 5, 2014. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://www.theguardian. com/world/2014/mar/05/ukraine-russia-explainer.

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T

he Beginning of Islam Maren Sekerak

No description of imperialism would be complete without some reference to Islam. This religion expanded and conquered its way from the Atlantic to India, and continues to initiate religiously based struggles to this very day. Arabia was already prepared for the message of Islam when Muhammad began his new teachings—the religion fit quite well onto the sensibilities already held by the Arabs. The student of Islamic imperialism would be served well by studying the natural connection between historic Arabia and Islam. Islam rose in a unique realm of blood and sand which defined the religion at its start in the sixth century A.D. and shapes it to the present. Geography, language, the economy, regional politics, and existing religions all had significant parts to play in influencing the founding and development of Islam. Muslims today call this time period the Jahiliyah period—meaning roughly “time of ignorance”—as it predates Muhammad and the teaching of Islam.1 The time was characterized by the shift from nomadic tribes to towns and cities, and the slow introduction of the written word.2 Unfortunately, few records exist from Arabia during this time, as there was no universally accepted written script until after the introduction of Islam. The records that do exist were transcribed 150 years after the events took place, and most accounts of the beginning of Islam completely contradict one another.3 These writings are also tainted with political and religious motivations, making the truth nearly indecipherable at times.4 The lack of historical records during this key time period makes this era especially difficult and interesting to study. The student of this era must infer the truth from a few certain facts, some general trends, and scattered troves of archaeological evidence. The early history of Arabia had a huge impact on the founding of Islam—if Muhammad had not been surrounded by such a unique geography, ancient culture, regional politics, trade routes, and even Christianity, he probably would not have been able to establish Islam. 1  Philip K. Hitti, The Arabs: A Short History (Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1996), 25. 2  Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 26. 3  Jack Tannous, “Muhammad and the Believers,” Expositions 5, no. 2 (2011): 126, accessed April 30, 2016. 4  Ibid. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 35


The geography of the ancient Arab world played an important role in the founding of Islam. Muhammad founded Islam in the city of Mecca—a city which still lies on the Arabian Peninsula—in the present-day country of Saudi Arabia.5 Mecca was 50 miles inland and midway down the western border of the peninsula. Sand dunes and harsh desert covered most of the area, which made communication between regions difficult in the ancient world.6 To the west of the peninsula lay Egypt and Israel, and to the north lay the Byzantine and Persian Empires.7 This northern region was constantly plagued by political wars, but it was from this region that Greek and Roman culture started to make its way down into the rest of Arabia.8 The southern part of the Arabian Peninsula was dominated by agriculture during the centuries preceding Islam. What is now Yemen and Oman was then a major producer of spices, fine leather, and other precious goods.9 The northern and southern regions of the peninsula were very distinct, and had separate languages, cultures, governments, and religions. Nomadic people called Bedouins lived in the northern area of the peninsula during the centuries preceding Islam.10 They traced their lineage back to the Biblical figure Ishmael, but their exact origins are still unknown.11 They were nomads, who packed up their tents and moved frequently in search of better living conditions. Sheep, goats, camels, and horses constituted most of their livestock, and they constantly searched for greener pastures.12 Since they did not farm the land, wheat was scarce, and bread was precious. They drank goats’ milk and ate dates from the trees that they could find. Communication between the tribes was almost nonexistent, so each tribe formed its own culture.13 Within the tribe there was little thought of the world outside; this situation fostered a self-reliant individualism that is still prevalent 5  Hitti, Arabs, 30. 6  Ibid., 15. 7  Ibid., 23. 8  Ibid. 9  Mahmood Ibrahim, “Social and Economic Conditions in Pre-Islamic Mecca,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 14, no. 3 (1982): 345, accessed April 30, 2016.

10  Lewis, Arabs, 24. 11 Aida Gasimova, “Models, Portraits, and Signs of Fate in Ancient Arabian Tradition,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73, no. 2 (2014): 321, accessed April 30, 2016.

12  Hitti, Arabs, 26. 13  Lewis, Arabs, 15.

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in the land today. Military power, numbers, and intelligence were the factors that constituted a superior tribe.14 Philip Hitti writes, “It was only in the field of poetical expression that the pre-Islamic Arabian excelled. The Bedouin’s love of poetry was his one cultural asset.”15 Arabia did not have a unified written language, so oral tradition became their only history. In the north, tribes probably spoke Aramaic.16 By the late fifth century, the successful Kinda tribe began to conquer large amounts of land.17 Under their rule, the northern and central areas of the Arabian Peninsula finally adopted a unified oral language and poetic culture by the sixth century. Hitti goes on to say that, “Bedouins measured intelligence by poetry.”18 They were not scholars or warriors, but storytellers. By the sixth century there was a somewhat unified oral language and culture thanks to the Kinda tribe.19 Northern Arabia has always been caught in political turmoil, and during the Jahiliya period it was no different. In 25 BC, under Augustus, General Aelius Gallus attempted to expand the Roman Empire into southern Arabia, stationing his troops in the northwestern Nabatean lands.20 His expedition was a failure, although he did plant pieces of Roman culture in central Arabia. In 65 BC Pompey traveled to Petra in another attempted military conquest.21 The Romans established a mostly negative relationship with the tribes of Northern Arabia, but the influences of Western culture still began to seep in. In 105 AD Emperor Trajan declared Nabatean lands a Roman province.22 This did little to help their relationship, although the Nabatean land did serve as a buffer zone to protect the southern border of the Roman Empire from violent nomadic tribes. During these first few centuries AD, the Roman and Persian Empires were at war along the northern border of present day Saudi Arabia.23 Though in 14  Hitti, Arabs, 28. 15  Ibid., 27. 16  Lewis, Arabs, 20. 17  Ibid., 26. 18  Hitti, Arabs, 27. 19  Hitti, Arabs, 27. 20  Lewis, Arabs, 20. 21  Ibid. 22  Ibid., 21. 23  Lewis, Arabs, 21. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 37


384 AD they struck a major peace treaty which meant traders could use a more direct route through northern Arabia, without having to travel south.24 During this time, Arabic culture actually declined, and the number of nomadic tribes increased. The tribes resorted to raiding caravans traveling through the north, and living in unstable, anarchic community. Meanwhile, the southern land of Yemen fell to foreign rule for a short time, and fewer caravans traveled north with goods to trade. War resumed in 502 AD and traders began to travel deeper into Arabia again to avoid the conflict.25 The use of Arab trade routes is one of the most important factors in the rise of Islam. These trade routes were the main method of communication of ideas and culture during these Pre-Islamic centuries. One major trade route was named Hijaz, and extends from the Red Sea ports all the way down to Yemen, and out into the Indian Ocean.26 The city of Mecca lay along this trade route, and made a logical stopping point for many traders. The city was 50 miles inland to accommodate the caravans traveling by land, and to protect against invasion by sea. The Wadil-Dawasir trade route linked southern Yemen with central Arabia, and the Wadil-Rumma road continued the route up into Mesopotamia. Finally, the Wadil-Sirhan trade route linked central Arabia with Syria.27 Control of Mecca constantly shifted depending on the strength of different tribes and trading organizations.28 There was no real central government, just groups with more power than everyone else. Gradually, certain smaller tribes banded together to form larger, safer caravans that made treaties and business deals with surrounding tribes.29 They intermarried, and gave women as presents to establish blood ties to outside tribes. As these groups of traders grew more and more powerful, their influence expanded out into the tribes where they had family connections. Underneath these powerful businessmen were traders and free men of less financial standing, laborers, foreigners, nomadic people, the destitute, then slaves. This disrupted the homogenized, clan-based society, and led to Mecca becoming one of the most advanced cities in Arabia.30 During the mid-500’s, Byzantine and Persian leaders in the north began 24  Ibid., 23. 25  Lewis, Arabs, 23. 26  Ibid., 29. 27  Ibid. 28  Ibid., 30. 29  Hitti, Arabs, 29. 30  Lewis, Arabs, 31. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 38


to take notice of this developing city, and attempted to conquer it.31 They had no success though, and the economy in Mecca kept growing, ultimately becoming the most well-known market and trading city in that area. It was into this society that Muhammad was born, and would found the religion of Islam. Within the Bedouin tribes, religious leadership began to fill the role of political leadership. The religion of the Bedouin tribes was rudimentary. Most communities had a rock from an oasis that they carried around with them and worshiped. The Kaaba is the central, unifying rock that the tribes in the city of Mecca worshiped.32 Almost all of the other Arab gods were tied to the natural world. They were animistic and even cultish within the tribes. Kings were generally frowned upon in the north during this time, so elected religious leaders became the most important people in the tribes.33 Called sheikhs, these leaders had councils of tribal elders, and instructed their tribe members in worship practices. In the towns around oases, more stable leaders would emerge, and establish a form of hierarchical rule. In the more developed city of Mecca, there were many gods, Allah being the creator god.34 As trade progressed, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism began to be integrated into towns. Without a doubt, Christianity and Judaism’s monotheism primed the region for the introduction of Islam. Bernard Lewis says that Christian monotheism and morality “provided the essential background for the later success of Muhammad’s mission.”35 It is doubtful that an all-encompassing, life-altering religion such as Islam could have survived without Arabs already being aware of and comfortable with the ideas of Christianity. Judaism was also common in the area at this time. Christians and Jews came from Syria and the surrounding states to trade and sell slaves in Mecca.36 Playing on this knowledge, Muhammad actually tweaked parts of Islam to cater to the Jewish people, but after discovering that this did not affect his conversion numbers, Muhammad reversed his changes.37 One final religion, Zoroastrianism, completes the trifecta of scriptural, monotheistic religions found in the area at the time. Zoroastrianism 31  Ibid., 26. 32  Ibid. 33  Bernard Lewis, From Babel to Dragomans (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 93. 34  Lewis, Arabs, 26. 35  Lewis, Arabs, 29. 36  Hitti, Arabs, 24. 37  Hitti, 39. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 39


was a less common, Persian religion, but an influential factor nonetheless.38 Persian Zoroastrians brought a mystic culture to the region, which may have influenced Muhammad’s own mysticism. Additionally, since there was little to no light pollution, people living in Pre-Islamic Arabia had a wonderful view of the night sky, and were particularly knowledgeable about the stars. Their concept of time became tied to the stars, and the culture was astrological.39 They blamed misfortune on fate or the movements of the heavenly bodies. Muhammad’s claim that Allah was time and fate gave Arabians somewhat of a religious crisis, but it also gave them a higher being in which to trust.40 Muhammad was born to a high ranking tribe in Mecca in c. 570.41 His family was tasked with handling the shrine of Kaaba, and Muhammad probably interacted with many foreigners on pilgrimage to the Kaaba. Muhammad was orphaned soon after his birth, and ended up marrying a rich, older woman to increase his social status. He absorbed the Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian teaching that was then prevalent in Mecca, and was reportedly a mystic.42 He began preaching in his 40’s, and proclaiming the message that he believed Allah revealed to him. He faced opposition in Mecca, so he fled to Medina, a city 300 miles north, in 622.43 After eight years in Medina, Muhammad had enough followers to return to Mecca and conquer the city. He died only two years later, but his followers continued spreading the religion.44 His supporters destroyed all pagan temples in the region, and grew Islam into the massive religion it is today. All these factors: geography, politics, trading routes, and previous religions, combined to create a culture primed for Islam. Trading routes utilized during the conflict between the Byzantine and Persian Empires brought outside cultures through Arabia—a land that was for the most part cut-off from communication because of the harsh desert. It is doubtful that Muhammad could have converted the entire Arabian Peninsula to Islam without a unified language—which he gained thanks to the 38  Gasimova, “Models,” 323. 39  Ibid., 324. 40  Gasimova, “Models,” 324. 41  Hitti, Arabs, 30. 42  Gasimova, “Models,” 323. 43  Lewis, Arabs, 38. 44  Lewis, Arabs, 38.

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conquering Kinda tribe. The influence of monotheism throughout the area primed the region for another monotheistic religion, Islam, which played on the militaristic tendencies of the tribes. The tribal mentality fostered self-reliance and hard work, which were aspects of Islam that drew in people.45 After Muhammad’s followers were tasked with continuing the religion, they were able to utilize the lines of communication that had been strengthened over years of trading and intermarriage. In light of the present-day events surrounding Islam, it is vital that people gain a greater understanding of that religion. It is impossible to understand modern Islam without understanding pre-Islamic history. This religion did not come out of nowhere – it had a definite beginning, and we can trace the factors that allowed it to grow and flourish. To this day we can connect certain elements of Islam to the setting in which they were developed. The Kaaba is still a place of worship in Mecca, which is still the hub of the Islamic world. The desert-covered peninsula is the same one that Muhammad walked on, and the language is the same one that he spoke. Without the geography, politics, trade routes, and religion of the ancient times, Muhammad would not have been able to successfully found Islam.

45  Gasimova, “Models,” 325. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 41


Bibliography Ansary, Tamim. Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes. New York: PublicAffairs, 2009. Esposito, John L., Ed. The Oxford History of Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Gasimova, Aida. “Models, Portraits, and Signs of Fate in Ancient Arabian Tradition.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73, no. 2 (2014): 319-340. Accessed April 30, 2016. JSTOR. Hitti, Philip K. The Arabs: A Short History. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1996. Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples. New York: Warner Books, 1991. Ibrahim, Mahmood. “Social and Economic Conditions in Pre-Islamic Mecca.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 14, no. 3 (1982): 343-358. Accessed April 30, 2016. JSTOR. Kennet, Derek. “On the Eve of Islam: Archaeological Evidence from Eastern Arabia.” Antiquity 79, no. 303 (2005): 107-118. Accessed April 30, 2016. Proquest. Lewis, Bernard. From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Lewis, Bernard. The Arabs in History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Tannous, Jack. “Muhammad and the Believers.” Expositions 5, no. 2 (2011): 126-141. Accessed April 30, 2016. Proquest.

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C

ivilization Missions and Education: Unintended Consequences of Christian Missions in Africa from 1890-1934 By Sarah Geesaman

Christian missionaries to Africa left a lasting impact—sometimes harmful, sometimes beneficial. Most Western missionaries were handicapped by their tendency to conflate Western Civilization and the Christian gospel, although European missionaries were more prone to this error than their American brethren. Ultimately, Christian missions helped to reshape Africa, either aiding the progress of imperialism or mitigating its horrors. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Christian missionaries from Europe swarmed into Africa. They came from different countries, different denominations, and different mission centers, but the overwhelming majority of them aspired to achieve the same goal: to bring gospel truth and civility to the African people. Many missionaries saw their twin goals of proselytization and civilization as one and the same. Christianity had long been equated with Western values and culture in the public eye, and most missionaries to Africa fully embraced this perspective.1 Though spurred on by good intentions, these missionaries’ desire to “civilize” Africans by bringing them into conformity with Western culture went largely unfulfilled. Failure to differentiate between Christianity and its particular manifestations within Western culture prevented many missionaries from forming realistic, and in some cases even desirable, goals. As a result, their presence in Africa often caused unanticipated changes in the native population, while almost universally failing to evince the outcomes originally intended. US missionaries, on the other hand, provided Africans with extensive educational opportunities, which eventually helped forge some of the most effective political and religious reforms in all of Africa. Western missionaries’ experiences in Africa between 1890 and 1934 indicate that missions are most effective when they cast off the goal of complete cultural reformation and instead focus on understanding native culture and providing fundamental doctrine and education. Missionaries to Africa during the early 1900s treated Christian and Western 1  Thomas O. Beidelman, “Contradictions between the Sacred and the Secular Life: The Church Missionary Society in Ukaguru, Tanzania, East Africa, 1876-1914,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 23.1 (January 1981): 85, accessed May 5, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/178383. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 43


values as intrinsically codependent. They believed that European morality and value hierarchies were perfectly consistent with Christianity, that European society and religion were superior to African society and religion, and that even the technical advancements Europe had made in recent years could be attributed to its religious foundation.2 In their eyes, Christianity had made European culture what it was, and any deviation from European tradition would be a deviation from Christian tradition. This perspective made many Christian missionaries unwilling to tolerate any concessions to African culture, even when living amongst the Africans. Charles Stokes, an Irish missionary with the Church Missionary Society (CMS), was ejected from the mission for dressing in traditional Arab garb and taking a native wife without performing a European ceremony, because such habits were viewed as fraternizing with the natives.3 Because missionaries were supposed to be civilizing African cultures, adopting native practices was seen as diluting their effectiveness as Christians. According to most Western missionaries, the proper method of evangelism was to bring Africans into the fold of European culture, not to assimilate to the Africans’ culture.4 The missionaries’ sense of cultural superiority, though not intended as arrogance, bled into their interactions with native Africans. CMS missionaries viewed Africans as “child races.”5 They wanted to win the Africans’ hearts with the gospel, but they also wanted to help them reform their lifestyles in accordance with Western ideals. Numerous missions groups focused on the education of women and young girls to help them adopt a life of Western-style domestication. One such organization, the Friends Africa Mission (FAM)—a Quaker group from the Midwest United States of America—constructed a Girl’s Boarding School for the express purpose of providing the women of the Luhya people a proper education in domesticity. Despite their best intentions, the efforts of missionaries to domesticate or “civilize” Africans fell far short. Disparities between the living conditions of white missionaries and native Africans only served to highlight the division between African and European cultures. While white missionaries hoped this disparity would simply serve as “a phenotype of far more basic spiritual differences,” Africans frequently struggled 2  Beidelman, 85. 3  Ibid., 82. 4  Samuel S. Thomas, “Transforming the Gospel of Domesticity: Luhya Girls and the Friends Africa Mission, 1917-1926,” African Studies Review 43.2 (September 2000): 3, accessed May 6, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/524982. 5  Beidelman, 82, 88.

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to understand that distinction.6 Schools like the FAM Girls’ Boarding School rapidly proved incapable of achieving their intended goal, and sometimes wound up generating quite the opposite outcome. Roxie Reeve, the female missionary who founded the Girls’ Boarding School, once explained the school’s purpose, saying its aim was “to train better wives and mothers.”7 However, far from becoming submissive, docile wives and mothers, Luhya Girls’ Boarding School graduates “used the skills learned at the [Girls’ Boarding School] to cross gender and class boundaries, and contributed to the restructuring of Luhya society.”8 Although the FAM missionaries were given near perfect circumstances—the boarding school format permitted them to exert complete control over every aspect of the girls’ lives—their attempts at domestication failed.9 As Samuel Thomas, a key researcher on the domestication project for the Luhya women, explained, “[T]he girls reinterpreted mission lessons and structures in light of their own experience and used them as they saw fit.”10 Because African culture was so different from Midwestern European culture, the Quakers did not accurately anticipate the African women’s response to their new education. The story of well-intentioned missionaries failing to accomplish their goals is a common one in Africa. While the goals of “civilization” and domestication were unlikely to have ever been achieved, Western missionaries to Africa could have avoided the disappointments of unrealistic goal setting by pursuing a better understanding of the people they were attempting to reach. Missions were often so desperate to start reaching souls for Christ that they failed to provide their missionaries with appropriate religious and cultural training before shipping them to Africa. FAM missionaries entered the field with little formal training to speak of.11 Within CMS, missionaries who had not obtained a college degree were given minimal religious training, while all college educated missionaries—regardless of their area of study—“were not required to take any formal or sustained missionary training.”12 In order to prepare their missionaries for work in Africa, CMS encouraged them to practice by evangelizing to Lon6  Beidelman, 76. 7  Thomas, 1. 8  Ibid., 3. 9  Thomas, 4. 10  Ibid., 2. 11  Ibid., 5. 12  Beidelman, 78. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 45


don’s poor and working class.13 While this preparation may have emboldened the missionaries, it did little to help them better understand African culture. Beidleman described these missionaries as “almost totally ignorant of the society and culture they would encounter.”14 The deficiency, and in some cases utter absence, of missionary education is well illustrated by the actions of CMS missionaries when they first educated the Ukuguru. The natives could not speak English and the missionaries could not speak the native language, so the missionaries decided to give sermons in English, even though the natives could not possibly understand what was being said to them.15 Their ineffectiveness in effectuating desired change in some arenas says nothing about the missionaries’ overall contribution to African society. In particular, missionaries did a great deal to help rectify some social wrongs they noticed. When King Leopold II of Belgium ruled over the Congo and instigated all manner of atrocities against the African people, it was Christian missionaries who pointed out the abuse and reported it to someone who could do something about it. Reverend A. E. Scrivener, an English Baptist missionary, was one of Roger Casement More’s primary informers and guides throughout Bolobo as he investigated the depth of human rights abuses undergirding the rubber policy and subsequent refugee movement.16 White men in the Belgian Congo had treated the native Africans as animals, expecting them to bear heavy workloads, and when they did not, cutting off their hands or killing and castrating them.17 The testimony of Emily Banks, yet another missionary to the Belgian Congo, revealed the violent, merciless manner in which the colonial whites treated the native Africans. “If food is wanted and the natives say they have none, they are shot down, their huts burnt, and all their stuff stolen. This is called war, and the stolen goods spoils of war.”18 Despite the negative association the natives doubtless had with white 13  Beidelman, 80. 14  Ibid, 78. 15  Ibid., 77-8. 16  Roger Anstey, “The Congo Rubber Atrocities—A Case Study,” African Historical Studies 4.1 (1971): 59, accessed May 5, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/216268. 17  “The affidavit of the American missionary, Emily Banks, relating to events in 1895,” in William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark, and Edward A. Alpers, eds., Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 18. 18  “The affidavit of the American missionary, Emily Banks, relating to events in 1895,” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 19.

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men after this experience, they loved and admired Scrivener.19 Roger Anstey, a historian who set out to the Congo in 1960 to locate the original version of Roger Casesment’s report, explained that Scrivener, a pioneer missionary, appeared to have greatly impressed himself upon the hearts and minds of the people there.20 …among the considerable extended Protestant community at Bolobo and inland the name of Scrivener obviously means a great deal. The affair is often seen here in terms of ‘Scrivener heard of atrocities, Scrivener investigated, Scrivener saw justice was done—and Scrivener planted the Gospel amongst the Sengele and Bolia.’ The name of Casement, on the other hand, aroused no response whatsoever at Bolobo.21 Sometimes the missionaries made very public stands against unjust treatment of the natives. At other times, their support and protection was less evident. Harry Thuku, an African who was educated through an American mission school and went on to start a political movement for all East Africans, later wrote that “I did not get any political education from the missionaries, for they did not discuss political matters with us. But I found out later that they fought for us out of presence amongst other Europeans.”22 However, not all missionaries stood up for Africans against the white settlers. Some simply tried to sweep the atrocities the settlers had committed under the rug so people would forget about them. A text used in mission schools to teach African children the history of the Congo explained that before the white man came, Africa was a desperate, violent place, but that the white man’s presence—and specifically Leopold II’s presence—had made Africa substantially better. Leopold II reigned on the Congo from Europe with great wisdom during 24 years. The whole world congratulated him about it. In 1908, Leopold II offered to its Belgian compatriots the country of the Congo. From then on one calls it the Belgian Congo. That is why all Belgians put their mind on civilizing the Blacks: the body, the intelligence, and the heart…. Children, if there were no Whites, one would not know of a more prosperous Congo than previously. People do not wage big battles anymore between villages. They don’t kill themselves 19 Anstey, 65. 20  Ibid., 76. 21  Ibid. 22  “Harry Thuku explains why he formed a political movement for all East Africans,” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 44.

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anymore. They put on some clothes. … One doesn’t carry any heavy burden anymore. The Whites provide work, and the Blacks help them. To day, many Blacks do the works of the Whites.23 This text completely glosses over the horrors the native Africans endured at the hands of Belgian colonists and taskmasters, and instead claims that the Congo and its inhabitants were better off after Leopold II came into power. Perhaps some of the missionaries responsible for writing this text were uninformed. Perhaps the patronizing way in which they discussed their own predilection to “civilize” the blacks blinded them to the lack of civility within the whites all around them. Regardless, this much is clear: not every white missionary stood up for the natives before his own self-interest or his own people. One CMS missionary, Stuart Watt, reportedly beat one of his African porters to death for stealing from his supplies, indicating that he was more invested in protecting himself and his caravan than he was in winning conversions for Christ.24 Charlotte Maxeke, an African feminist who fought for the voting rights of African women, noted that many African women were difficult to reach with the gospel because the double standards and lack of equality for whites and blacks were so blatantly pervasive in African society. She writes: And not only do the Bantu feel that the law for the White and the Black is not similar, but we even find some of them convinced that there are two Gods, one for the White and one for the Black. I had an instance of this in an old Native woman who had suffered much and could not be convinced that the same God watched over and cared for us all, but felt that the God who gave the Europeans their life of comparative comfort and ease, could not possibly be the same God who allowed his poor Bantu to suffer so.25 When it was acceptable for a white man to act a particular way, but not a black man; for a white many to say a particular thing, but not a black man; for a white man to have great wealth and prosperity, but not a black man, the Christian gospel smacked of hypocrisy so strongly that some Africans could not reconcile their actions and lifestyle with the singular God who missionaries claimed reigned over the earth. In the end, the biggest positive difference that missionaries made for the African 23  “A school lesson on the history of the Congo taught originally in Lingala to children in a mission school in 1944”, in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 21. 24  Beidelman, 81. 25  “Charlotte Maxeke describes the impact of colonialism on women and the family (1930),” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 60. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 48


people was the provision of education, which enabled the native peoples to begin taking control of and forming their own religious and political organizations. Norman Etherington, in his book Missions and Empire, reports that, “[Christian missions] so dominated the provision of educational services for indigenous populations that in many lands the term ‘native elite’ was synonymous with ‘Christian-educated.’ Lord Hailey estimated in 1938 that as much as nine-tenths of education in Africa was in the hands of missionary bodies.”26 Some missionaries refused to provide robust education because they saw the Africans as a child race incapable of handling such education. French and Italian Roman Catholics were particular notorious for “only [teaching] Africans religion, but not fuller education.”27 US missionaries, however, frequently provided native Africans with primary education and further educational opportunities, which encouraged many to start political and religious movements and take control of their own people’s destiny. These US-educated Africans became some of the strongest, most outspoken critics of the way Europeans had treated the Africans. John Chilembwe’s African Christian Union, Pixley Seme and John L. Dube’s African National Congress, Harry Thuku’s political movement for all East Africans, Charlotte Maxeke’s African feminist movement, and even a concurrent national movement for West Africans were all started by individuals who had been educated in US missions schools, many of whom traveled to the United States to further their educational pursuits before returning to Africa to start political movements.28 These Africans saw fundamental contradictions between the text of the Bible and the way the white men had been treating them, and dreamed of a better Africa where people could live in peace and respect one another. The pattern of the US missionary-educated African returning to start anti-colonial political movements was so stark that colonial officials began trying to think of ways to prevent Africans from traveling to the US in order to decrease the number of political movements being started.29 26  Norman Etherington, Missions and Empire, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press), 273. 27  “Harry Thuku explains why he formed a political movement for all East Africans,” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 45. 28  “Africa for the African (1897),” “The African National Congress in South Africa (1919),” “Harry Thuku explains why he formed a political movement for all East Africans,” “Creating a national movement for all West Africans (1920),” “Charlotte Maxeke describes the impact of colonialism on women and the family (1930),” “Education in the United States of America (1925-33),” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 8-11, 35, 44-45, 48-49, 58-61. 29  “Education in the United States of America (1925-33),” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 61. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 49


US missionaries also stood out from many European missionaries because they did not attempt to control the activities of the African people or forge their identity into something it was not. Harry Thuku, documenting some of his experiences in the US mission center, wrote, “The Gospel Mission did not order people to destroy such things [their snuff boxes and traditional jewelry]; it simply preached that witchcraft, greasing the body, and wearing ornaments were not God’s way. But people did not throw their necklaces and bracelets on the mission fires, only snuff boxes and the things the witchdoctor used for doctoring people.”30 The Africans discarded the elements of their tradition which they felt were genuinely antithetical to Christianity, but kept others. Many European Christian missionaries saw the coexistence and blending of African culture and Christianity to be a dilution of the purity of the faith. US missionaries tended not to see it that way. Perhaps because the US itself has a basic culture in which people are encouraged to build a special place for their own cultural identity alongside their national identity, its missionaries saw little problem with Africans adopting the tenets of Christianity while clinging to some of their old traditions, so long as those traditions were not antithetical to the Lord’s commandments. It was this blend of deep education and truly African Christianity which made US mission-educated Africans some of the most influential members of African culture during its journey toward decolonization. Religious doctrine is important, but an effective mission is never based solely upon the dissemination of correct doctrine. As Thomas Beidelman wrote, “The structure of a mission (even within the same religious order) must still be acted out in terms not entirely defined by rational, formal belief, and organization. Notions of security, self-interest, esteem, honour, privacy, sexuality, age and status vary with national culture and also with class, educational background, and family income.”31 US missionaries spoke to the national culture and social issues which defined the plight of the common African and emphasized that Christianity was not just a white man’s religion, but also an African religion. The tangible applicability of the Christian faith as explained by US missionaries equipped those they instructed to deftly incorporate their faith and Christian values into the society from which they came. Missions, whether to Africa or any other part of the world, will be most effective when the missionaries attempt to understand and respect the native culture; when 30  “Harry Thuku explains why he formed a political movement for all East Africans,” in Worger, Africa and the West: A Documentary History, 44. 31  Thomas O. Beidelman, “Social Theory and the Study of Christian Missionaries in Africa,” Africa 44 (1974): 239. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 50


they teach correct doctrine and trust that the Holy Spirit will convict the natives of the elements of their culture which need to be purged, confronting them about rejecting cultural traditions only when it is quite obvious they are antithetical to a healthy Christian walk; and when they provide an education which allows them to take responsibility for their own religious and political destiny. African Christianity may look quite different from European Christianity, but that does not make it less Christian.32

32  Harvey C. Kwiyani, Sent Forth: African Missionary Work in the West, (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books): ch. 2. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 51


Bibliography Anstey, Roger. “The Congo Rubber Atrocities—A Case Study.” African Historical Studies 4, no. 1 (1974): 59-74. Accessed March 27, 2017. DOI:10.2307/216268. Beidelman, Thomas O. “Contradictions Between the Sacred and the Secular Life: The Church Missionary Society in Ukaguru, Tanzania, East Africa, 1876-1914.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 23, no. 1 (January 1981): 73-95. Accessed March 27, 2017. http://www. jstor.org/stable/178383. Beidelman, Thomas O. “Social Theory and the Study of Christian Missionaries in Africa.” Africa 44, no. 1. (1974): 235-49. Etherington, Norman. Missions and Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Kwiyani, Harvey C. Sent Forth: African Missionary Work in the West. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014. Thomas, Samuel S. “Transforming the Gospel of Domesticity: Luhya Girls and the Friends Africa Mission, 1917-1926.” African Studies Review 42, no. 2 (2000): 1-27. Accessed March 27. DOI: 10.2307/524982.

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T

he Impact of Missionaries in Spreading Western Civilization By Hannah Blalack

Christian missionaries were pivotal to the expansion of Western Civilization, bringing technology and education alongside the gospel message. Hannah Blalack argues that the spread of Western Civilization was often incidental to the missionary effort. The Christians had a heart for the gospel, not for the crushing or conquest of native cultures, and generally the changes the missionaries brought were actually beneficial. During the nineteenth century, many of the major powers in Europe, including France, Great Britain, and Germany, began exercising control over foreign lands more extensively. Most of Africa, India, and other parts of Asia felt the Western presence like never before. As European powers gained territory, established colonies, and strengthened commercial ties, Christian missionaries began flowing into China, India, the Pacific Islands, and the African coast. There were Europeans who tried to subvert native cultures while forcing their own ideologies and practices upon them. However, this behavior was not prevalent among missionaries, whose main goal was to persuade—not force—people from foreign lands to turn to Christ. While many of these European missionaries sought to assimilate into foreign cultures, they still brought western ideas and customs that greatly impacted foreign countries. Through their staunch opposition to the oppression of women in Asian and African countries, European missionaries spread western ideals, including their belief that women were entitled to certain rights. In India, sati, or the practice of burning widows on their husbands’ funeral pyres, was deemed acceptable. 1 William Carey, a missionary to India, steadfastly fought this practice for twenty-five years until sati was finally abolished in 1829.2 Carey, in keeping with his Christian beliefs, also arranged marriages for widows who had converted to Christianity and founded schools to give 1 Scott Allen, “William Carey: A Missionary Who Transformed a Nation,” Mission Frontiers, September-October 2011, 1, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/william-carey.

2 Aziz-ul Haque, “The Legacy of William Carey,” The Sentinel, January 11, 2012, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www. wmcarey.edu/carey/legacy/sentinel.pdf.

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Indian girls an education.3 Mary Slessor, a missionary to Nigeria, taught tribal women to read in their own language and sheltered many women who had become social outcasts.4 In Southern India, Amy Carmichael rescued girls from temple prostitution and a life of imprisonment, teaching English to some of these girls and working with Indian women to raise them.5 John Hunt and his group, evangelizing in the Fiji islands, also opposed the oppression of women, particularly in regard to the tribal practice of strangling the wives of a husband who had just died.6 Through the work of missionaries to alleviate the suffering and exploitation of women, people like William Carey, Mary Slessor, John Hunt, and Amy Carmichael spread the western belief of certain “unalienable rights” to which both men and women are entitled. Additionally, missionaries combated cannibalism, a pagan custom that contradicted fundamental western values by tampering with an individual’s right to life. During the nineteenth century, efforts increased to abolish this practice, which was primarily utilized by tribes in parts of Africa and the South Pacific.7 John G. Paton, who worked steadfastly to preach the gospel and turn the natives away from cannibalism, did not appear to be afraid of dying at the hands of these cannibals. Before leaving to work as a missionary to the cannibalistic people of the New Hebrides islands in the South Pacific, an older gentleman tried to dissuade him from his trip, worried that the missionary would be consumed by cannibals. Paton replied, “Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms.”8 Paton’s presence in the South Pacific among the native people was fraught with danger, but by the end of his life the entire island of Aniwa had professed Christianity, the first being Chief Namakei, followed by another chief and his

3 Allen. 4 G. Chucks Ejezie, “Mary Slessor Journal of Medicine,” Mary Slessor Journal of Medicine 12, no. 1 (2013): 1, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.maryslessorjournalofmedicine.org/.

5  Elizabeth Elliot, The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael: A Chance to Die (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1987), 240.

6 Archibald McLean, Epoch Makers of Modern Missions (St. Louis: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912), 164-167. 7  “John Gibson Paton: Missionary to the Cannibals,” Lives Given: Missionary Biographies, December 10, 2014, accessed April 3, 2016, https://missionarybios.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/john-gibson-paton-missionary-to-the-cannibals/.

8 Lives Given: Missionary Biographies. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 54


family.9 As Paton described the natives, “[f]rom being savage Cannibals they rose before our eyes, under the influence of the Gospel, into noble and beloved characters, and they and we loved each other exceedingly.”10 Additionally, Rev. Peter Milne—also a missionary in the South Pacific Islands—worked among the natives on the island of Nguna for fifty-five years.11 By the end of Rev. Milne’s life, he and his family were well-respected on the island and hundreds of the natives had converted to Christianity and renounced cannibalism, including several chiefs.12 The work of missionaries to fight against infanticide and child abandonment further spread the western ideology of individual rights. In Nigeria, Mary Slessor worked to abolish the horrific practice of twin murder.13 The tribes believed that one twin had an evil spirit, and since no one could not tell which twin did not possess the evil spirit, they would kill both babies. Other babies were unwanted and left to die in the bush. Over the course of her ministry, Mary Slessor saved hundreds of babies, adopting many of them as her own children.14 Likewise, Rev. Paton and his wife took orphans into their home and raised them alongside their own children.15 Chief Namakei also gave his little girl, Litsi, to the Patons to raise and teach about Jesus. Additionally, the chief’s brother, a pagan religious leader who had attempted to shoot John Paton on several occasions, brought his daughter to be taught like Litsi by the Patons.16 Amy Carmichael and her native friends also saved many unwanted and sickly children and took them into their orphanage, Dohnavur Fellowship, regardless of whether the child was weak or whether they had enough money to care for another baby. Through the compassionate work of these missionaries, hundreds if not thousands of children were saved, a further testimony to the West’s impact upon other cultures. Missionaries were also able to spread Western thinking across the globe through simple ideas such as the value of time, the philosophy of work without pay, and the 9 James Paton, The Story of John G. Paton or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals (New York: A.L. Burt Company, 1892), under “Chapter LXII,” accessed April 4, 2016, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28025/28025-h/28025-h.htm#62.

10  Ibid. 11  Donald Cochrane, “The Story of the New Hebrides Mission,” March, 2001, accessed April 4, 2016, http://archives. presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm.

12  Ibid. 13 Ejezie. 14 Rebecca Hickman, “Mary Slessor,” History Makers, accessed May 7, 2016, http://www.historymakers.info/inspirational-christians/mary-slessor.html.

15 John G. Paton, John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 330-31. 16  Ibid. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 55


concept of reading. In India, Amy Carmichael was taken aback by the natives’ perception of time. As she recalled, “Appointments [were] made to be broken, punctuality and speed [were] unknown….”17 For the Indians, the idea of hurrying through life, unlike the general perception in the West, involved acknowledging that what could not be accomplished one day could always be done the next day.18 Amy was forever “flying,” as one of her Indian friends described her, urging them on while frequently checking the time so as not to waste a minute.19 Another example of Western thinking clashing with foreign concepts revolves around the idea of work. Among the Aniwans in the New Hebrides, John Paton was confronted with the philosophy of the native men: “The conduct of the men of Aniwa is to stand by, or sit and look on, while their women do the work.”20 Even when induced by payment, the Aniwan men hardly worked at all, despite Paton’s entreaties.21 One remarkably painful experience resulting from their concept of work happened when Paton cut his foot while using an adze. Needing assistance back to his home, Paton had to bribe at least three men with fishhooks to take turns carrying him until he reached his hut, all while his ankle bled profusely.22 However, once the Spirit had begun to work in the lives of the Aniwans, they joyfully worked without receiving anything in return, building and maintaining both a church and a school to support the mission work.23 The “miracle of the speaking bit of wood” also illustrates a feature of Western civilization completely foreign to the Aniwans.24 While working on his house, Paton realized that he needed some tools and nails from his wife. He wrote on a piece of wood what he required and asked the chief of the tribe to take it to Mrs. Paton, saying she would give him the supplies he needed. The chief thought Paton was pulling his leg, saying, “Who ever heard of wood speaking?”25 However, to his amazement, Mrs. 17  Elliot, 115. 18  Elliot, 115. 19  Ibid., 173. 20  John G. Paton, 318. 21  Ibid. 22  Ibid., 317. 23  Ibid., 322. 24  Ibid., 320. 25  Paton, 320. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 56


Paton looked at the wood and gave him the supplies Paton needed.26 Thus the concept of reading was introduced to the Aniwans. Missionaries did not only bring ideas regarding life and the treatment of women to foreign countries—they also brought tangible material symbols of Western civilization with them. One example involved a basic Western article known as a pair of gloves. Lilias Trotter, a missionary to the Algerian people, and her coworker were visiting villages and conversing with the native women. The Algerian women had never been so close to a European before, and they were astonished to see Lilias’ gloves, eagerly examining what they called the “skin on her hands.”27 Non-western cultures were likewise fascinated with Westerners’ hair which was often smoother and came in colors that they had never seen before.28 Mary Slessor’s red hair especially stood out against the dark hair of the African tribes to which she ministered during her lifetime. In addition to their clothing and hair color, missionaries often unwittingly spread Western civilization by introducing new technology, goods, and literature to foreign lands. The printing press that William Carey and his fellow missionaries used to print Christian literature provides perhaps the most comical non-Western response to Western technology.29 The natives thought that the printing press was Carey’s god, and when he used the press to create the very kind of literature that he hoped would turn them to Christ, they thought he was performing rituals in service of his god.30 In China, Samuel Dyer, a British missionary, invented a moveable metal type of Chinese characters that greatly improved printing accuracy and aided in the printing of Christian literature.31 In the Australian Aborigines, John Paton introduced British medicine to the natives, who were initially convinced that his medicine could cure them of anything instantly. The natives were rather miffed when it did not, but eventually they saw the worth of Paton’s medicine.32 Through their exposure to Western technologies, the lives of many non-Westerners were changed forever. 26  John G. Paton 318. 27 Miriam Huffman Rockness, A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter (Grand Rapids: Discovery House Publishers, 2003), 129.

28  Ibid. 29 Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions, 2nd ed. (London: Penguin Books, 1986), 223-25. 30 McLean, 61. 31 G. Wright Doyle and Dr. James H. Taylor, III, “Samuel Dyer,” Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, accessed May 7, 2016, http://www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/d/dyer-samuel.php.

32  John G. Paton, 318.

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Above all other aspects of Western civilization spread by missionaries, the spread of Christianity is by far the most impacting and all-encompassing. Missionaries strove to reach the unreached in a variety of ways that all contributed to God’s blessing on their ministry. Through literature printed in the vernacular, many missionaries were able to share their faith with people who had never heard the gospel. William Carey and Samuel Dyer, both of whom translated the Bible into different languages, printed and distributed Bibles and biblical literature throughout their respective mission fields. Lilias Trotter wrote pamphlets and articles in Arabic to give to Muslims, using her gift of art to draw pictures and designs that aesthetically fit with Algerian culture.33 However, if missionaries were witnessing to an illiterate people with no written language, they often had to undertake the enormous task of transcribing the language and using it to translate the Bible and other literature into the vernacular. While living among the cannibalistic tribes of the Fiji islands, John Hunt translated the entire New Testament into the natives’ language and began to work on the Old Testament.34 John Paton pioneered the translation work of the Bible in the Aniwan language, aided by the Aniwan chief.35 The most important part of Western missionaries’ witness to foreign lands was not altogether dependent upon translations and literature. One defining aspect of the Christian faith—love—was prevalent in these missionaries’ actions and hearts. God used the desire of missionaries to spread unconditional and earnest love to draw many towards Him. In Algiers, Lillias Trotter was known for the Christ-like love she bestowed on those around her.36 An Arabic woman once exclaimed that “[n]o one ever—ever loved us like this!”37 John Paton’s testimony of the impact of love in spreading the Gospel is perhaps even more moving. After groups of missionaries in the New Hebrides endured many hardships from the natives, Paton and new missionaries came to fill the places of those who had been killed or run off.38 The natives’ response was incredulous: ‘How is this?’ they cried; ‘we slew or drove [the missionaries] away! We 33 Rockness, 327. 34  McLean, 168-169. 35 John G. Paton, 320. 36  Rockness, 328. 37  Ibid., 18. 38 John G. Paton, 310.

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plundered their houses and robbed them….But they come back with a beautiful new ship, and with more and more Missionaries. And is it to trade and to get money, like the other white men? No! no! But to tell us of their Jehovah God and of His Son Jesus. If their God makes them do all that, we may well worship Him too.’39 Through their work to translate and distribute the Bible, to exhibit steadfast love and compassion for those around them, and to share the Gospel message, God used missionaries to spread Christianity far beyond Western civilization’s nineteenth century boundaries. Still, some individuals today point to Western missionaries as examples of imperialism at work. They say that missionaries’ efforts to evangelize non-Westerners are simply their way of undermining native cultures and forcing Western ideals and practices upon them. However, the actions of these missionaries do not support this idea. Although nineteenth century missionaries often made mistakes in their ministry, they were characterized by earnest love for those around them. Their deepest desire was not to bring the superficial aspects of Western culture to non-Westerners, but to communicate the good news of the Gospel that had brought hope and joy into their own lives. In some ways, Western missionaries did seek to dramatically change the culture. However, unlike true imperialists, they tried to bring about an inner change by pointing people to Christ, which naturally resulted in changed hearts and a new way of living. They were neither characterized by force nor by violence. While some missionaries promoted the superficial aspects of Western culture—such as clothing, language, and mannerisms—more than other missionaries, their main focus was characteristically on evangelism. Over the course of about a century, missionaries vastly expanded the globe’s exposure to Western civilization. Through the pioneering work of missionaries, critical changes rocked the non-Western world: the slave trade in Africa was virtually abolished, cannibalism gradually declined and became almost non-existent, and translations of the whole or parts of the Bible in different languages increased threefold. Many non-Western women slowly gained freedoms, superstition receded, and most importantly, millions of people heard the Gospel for the very first time. No greater value can be placed on any other aspect of the spread of Western civilization than missionaries’ steadfast work to share the message of Jesus.

39 John G. Paton, 310. Alexandria Historical Review, Page 59


Bibliography Allen, Scott. “William Carey: A Missionary Who Transformed a Nation.” Mission Frontiers, September-October 2011. Accessed April 3, 2016. http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/ william-carey. Cochrane, Donald. “The Story of the New Hebrides Mission.” March, 2001. Accessed April 4, 2016.http://archives.presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm. Doyle, G. Wright, and Dr. James H. Taylor, III. “Samuel Dyer.” Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity. Accessed May 7, 2016. http://www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/d/dyer-samuel. php. Ejezie, G. Chucks. “Mary Slessor Journal of Medicine.” Mary Slessor Journal of Medicine 12, no.1 (2013): 1. Accessed April 3, 2016. http://www.maryslessorjournalofmedicine.org/. Elliot, Elizabeth. The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael: A Chance to Die. Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1987. Haque, Aziz-ul. “The Legacy of William Carey.” The Sentinel. January 11, 2012. Accessed April 3, 2016. http://www.wmcarey.edu/carey/legacy/sentinel.pdf. Hickman, Rebecca. “Mary Slessor.” History Makers. Accessed May 7, 2016. http://www. historymakers.info/inspirational-christians/mary-slessor.html. Lives Given: Missionary Biographies. “John Gibson Paton: Missionary to the Cannibals.”December 10, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2016. https://missionarybios.wordpress.com/2014/ 12/10/ john-gibson-paton-missionary-to-the-cannibals/. McLean, Archibald. Epoch Makers of Modern Missions. St. Louis: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912. Neill, Stephen. A History of Christian Missions. 2nd ed. London: Penguin Books, 1986. Paton, James. The Story of John G. Paton or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals. New York: A.L. Burt Company, 1892. Accessed April 4, 2016. http://www.gutenberg.org/ files/28025/28025-h/28025-h.htm#62. Paton, John G. John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides. Edited by James Paton. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994. Rockness, Miriam Huffman. A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter. Grand Rapids: Discovery House Publishers, 2003.

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Profile for Alexandria Historical Review

Alexandria Historical Review: Imperialism  

Volume 2 Issue 1 of Patrick Henry College's undergraduate historical review examines imperialism around the world.

Alexandria Historical Review: Imperialism  

Volume 2 Issue 1 of Patrick Henry College's undergraduate historical review examines imperialism around the world.

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