Written By: Tyler Deschaine
May 1, 2014
Human nature, in my opinion on the subject, is what is expected of the average human. This expectation is reinforced by different moralistic values of different cultures and societies. As a whole, completely understanding human nature is nearly, if not impossible. Considering that there are individuals who strive to be different than the norm or average of human nature. In a very simplistic sense human nature is to have control, to be at the top. As powerful as the ruler of Great-Walled Uruk Gilgamesh, or to be the most clever of men as Odysseus is fabled to be, humans strive for greatness. It is human nature to strive to have control of something, whether it be to rule a country, a household, or even dominion over one's own personal garden, we strive for control. Imperialism is about gaining the control desired by humans. King Leopold II sought control since childhood, the availability of the Congo simply was the apple in his eye. As soon as he could, Leopold seized the Congo as a colony for Belgium, but it was ruled under his personal domain. Leopold had finally reached his goal, but at the cost of many lives. Due to simple human nature, once Leopold II had the control he dreamt of for so long, he wanted more. Not only did Leopold II control the Congo, he exploited it for it's resources. Leopold II began by requiring ivory of his men. No matter how the standard was met, each commander had an amount of ivory required from them by a certain deadline. When he first arrived in the Congo, Leopold's mind was on money. In the beginning he had "Inherited a sizable fortune, yet by the 1880s, explorers, steamboats,mercenaries,armaments, and other Congo expenses had burned up almost all of it" (pg. 91). Leopold II was being forced to spend all the money he made, in order to keep his Congo in his control. In Leopold's time, and to the present day, wealth meant power. Those who were blessed with fortune were far more prestigious and held to much higher account than those who were not. Leopold wanted people to recognize him as a true leader, and wealth and power was the way he planned on doing so. Leopold's desire had driven him to taking extreme measures. Allowing his commanders to make their dues however they had to had opened up conditions of slavery, worse even. Soldiers were told to cut off the right hand of every kill they made in order to assure they did not waste bullets. Soldiers that couldn't achieve this, in many cases, would cut off the right hands of living victims, in order to avoid consequence of wasting bullets. Being fully aware of, and allowing such actions shows Leopold II had a strong desire for what everyone has a desire for. Leopold simply was doing what he learned is best in the world. To be the best, at any cost. Everyone below Leopold II who were in the Congo under his order, had gone through a similar change. Commanders for example, the amount of brutality they commit, or order, would increase as they stayed in the Congo. Leopold's men had power in the Congo. They saw the land as their own, and they saw greatness in themselves. Leopold's origional explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, began merely as an explorer. He was to quest across the Congo<div>Next Paragraph: Conclusion, back to human nature.