19th Century American Imperialism

1037 Words5 Pages
In the late 19th century, a desire for expansion and control swept through Europe. Today, we know this as the age of imperialism. Influential powers like Britain and France competed to gain more land and to spread their influence throughout the world. The purpose of imperialism was to gain political power by means of land and wealth. The more power an empire held, the more influence it had on worldly matters. With this power came racial tensions, and a strong sense of nationalism. Britain was the leading power in the race for imperialism, leading many of its citizens to believe that they were above those not of English origin. Growing powers meant new opportunities for the citizens of the growing imperialistic empire. Anna Leonowens, a British…show more content…
Siam and Burma had been rivals from the 16th through 19th century, and conflict between the two countries was soon approaching again. There was a spy inside the palace walls, the trader, feeding information to the enemy. Since war was approaching, Anna thought it best to leave Siam around this time, knowing that a war-ridden country was no place for her and Louis. Desperate for help, the King pleads with her not to leave at such a crucial moment. Anna changes her mind about leaving and stays with the royal family. The Burmese advance closer to Siam, forcing Mongkut to arrange a meeting between the leaders of both parties. Strategically, he chooses a bridge with the intention of blowing it up, hoping to kill his enemies and to scatter any remaining rebels. Anna however sees a flaw in this plan: the king will also be on the bridge, meaning he could die as well. Though King Mongkut orders Anna and the royal family to flee, with the help of Prince Chulongkorn, they remain in place with a plan to save the king and the rest of Siam. They set off British fireworks, making most of the Burmese soldiers scatter in fear of the British. Only one man remains on the bridge, the leader Alak. Showing mercy, no doubt influenced by Anna’s opposition to the death penalty, the king spares his life, leaving the man to live with his humiliation. In disobeying a direct order from the king, Anna saved his life and the lives of all those in Siam. His underlying love for her, and hers for him altered her way of thinking so that she could only focus on seeing him again. Losing her husband impacted Anna in a way that isolated her from others, and she couldn’t bear to lose another love. With just a few British fireworks, Louis’s horn, and the help of a prince, Anna Leonowens was able to save not only Siam, but also everyone else in it, including the man she
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