King Leopold's Ghost Themes

Adam Hochschild
This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of King Leopold's Ghost.
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Colonialism

The basic theme of the text is the process of colonialism, the extension of one nation's sovereignty over a territory beyond its borders. The specific instance of colonialism most-closely examined in the text is Leopold's establishment of an administrative dependency in the Congo, causing its native peoples to be directly ruled by a distant and absentee administration. Leopold's structure was a system of direct political and economic intervention in the Congo, which was made possible without significant military force by the fragmented nature of the traditional tribal structures in place at the time of Leopold's colonization. Thus, relatively few Europeans were able to use superior weapons and technologies to coerce hostilities between traditionally-disparate tribes. This fostered a condition of political instability, which was exploited by Leopold's administration go gain total control over the vast region of the Congo.

The text broadens the specific example by noting that nearly...

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This section contains 901 words
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