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The effects of radical nationalism in British West Africa

Definition of Nationalism
Nationalism can be described as the African’s quest to free his country from the influence and domination of colonial rule and to become an independent state. Nationalism is classified into two; Proto-nationalism and Modern-nationalism.

Proto-nationalism refers to the activities geared toward inclusiveness in the administration of the colonies before the commencement of the Second World War. 

Modern-nationalism on the other hand refers to the quest, after the Second World War, for the absolute removal of colonial rule and the granting of independence.

Emergence of political parties
One of the effects of the activities of modern nationalism is that it led to the emergence of political parties in the West African sub-region. The political parties became the tools which were used to drive home the demand for reforms in the colonial system and later the agitation for independence.

It led to constitutional reforms
Another effect of the militant agitations after the Second World War was that many constitutional reforms were introduced in West Africa by the colonial powers. The elective principle, which was first introduced in 1925, was extended to Kumasi under the 1946 Burns constitution. In that same constitution, an African majority was introduced into the Legislative Council.

Increased social amenities
The agitations after the Second World War by the modern nationalists led to the increased provision of the social amenities that were needed in the colonies. New educational facilities were built, including the then University College of the Gold Coast. The road network was increased and hospitals were also constructed.

The modern nationalists’ activities after the Second World War led to the attainment of independence, at various points, in the various colonies.

It broke the myth around the white man
Up until the Second World War, the black Africans held their white counterparts in a very high esteem. When the black men were recruited to fight alongside the British soldiers, they realized that the white man was human after all. The white men were frightened on the battlefield like any normal human being. The blacks did not therefore see why the white man should continue to be in the helm of affairs.

More Africans in colonial administration
With the piled up pressure to Africanize colonial administration, more and more Africans were appointed to play a major role in colonial administration. In the 1946 Burns constitutions, more Africans were introduced into the Legislative Council. Also more and more Africans were appointed to the upper echelons of the African Civil Service.

1. a. Explain the term ‘modern nationalist”? [3 marks]
    b. explain six reasons why nationalist activities were aggressive after the Second World War. [12 marks] 

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