Topic 2: Nationalist and independence movements, decolonisation and challenges facing new states

6. Analyse the factors favouring the growth of independence movements in one non-European colonial state.

Thesis: Ghana is a classical example of decolonization of an English colony after World War Two. A mix of nationalism, a foundation of self-rule and educated elite, men returning from serving in WW2, strong leadership, and a weakening of Europe’s hold on colonies because of the devastation of World War Two made Ghana the vanguard of sub-Saharan African independence.

1. Nationalism
-a. International trend of nationalism
-b. Began with nationalists claiming loyalty to the crown but desiring local rule.
-c. An elite that spoke out against colonialism for decades
-d. Returning Ghanaians war veterans were disturbed by the climate at home, and added to the urban discontent and farmers angry at British agricultural policies created “disruptive behavior” which pushed for change
-e. Strong leaders known as the Big Six founded the United Gold Coast Convention
—i. Did not push for revolution
—ii. Did not take part in the existing government
-f. Former member of the UGCC, Nkrumah, created the Convention People’s Party, in 1949, which united the intelligentsia and a growing number of urban workers in the cause independent democracy
—i. Fought with strikes and non violent resistance
—ii. After some violent Nkrumah is arrested for sedition—establishing him as a hero
2. Self Rule
-a. Constitution of 1925 allowed appointment of 6 chieftains as unofficial members of the legislative council
-b. African newspapers called for more representation and two more unofficial members were added
-c. Constitution of 1946 made the Legislative body more than half elected officials—Crown appointed Governor still holds majority power
-d. New constitution in 1951—gave Africans larger control of the legislative branch
-e. After released from prison Nkrumah is appointed to a position similar to Prime Minister by the Governor in 1951
-f. In 1952 position of Prime Minister is created—which Nkrumah was elected to. Executive council is also created.
-g. 1954 Constitution expanded powers and size of legislative body
-h. In 1956 the new assembly was elected.
-i. In 1956 with more than a 2/3 majority the assembly requested independence from England that was duly granted.
3. Political Climate in England
-a. World War Two left England ravaged both economically and politically
-b. World War One had expanded the empire and made management of the colonize extremely difficult
-c. Colonization was not cost effective
-d. Spread of liberal thought against colonialism
—i. Liberal Government in power in England after WW2
-e. However, desire for raw materials still pushed many in the government to maintain hold of colonies.

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