Caribbean Society and the Impact of 20th-Century Ideological Movements

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The Caribbean's Major Changes in the 20th Century

The Caribbean experienced major racial, social, and political change during the 20th century. The majority of states were attempting to achieve state independence through various uprisings and movements that began well before the turn of the 20th century. (Gibson 150). The organizations that brought about change in the 20th century emphasized abolition of slavery, racial integration, and regional economic stability. (Abdullah). In addition, movements emerged as a way to re-establish a society that would be more humanely based that economy drives because British colonialists were more focused on capitalism that was based completely on the economics. Although the most of the movements managed to liberate the states from slavery, the impacts remain to date.

The People's National Movement in Trinidad and Tobago

In Trinidad and Tobago, Eric Williams founded the People's National Movement in 1955. Williams rose to power after delivering political lectures that set his political foundations from 1948 following his return to Trinidad. Trinidad had been under colonialism throughout the years while West Indian Federation attempted to gain independence for the country (Abdullah). After the collapse of the Federation, PNM rose to see Trinidad and Tobago attain her independence in 1962. The movement, under Williams's leadership, fought to end slavery and capitalism that the British had imposed in the country. He further argued that the British were driven by economics and therefore were willing to engage in the slave trade as long as it served the purpose. He proposed for governance that would be based on humanitarianism and altruism (Abdullah). During the emancipation period, he managed to fight slave trade by setting up and expanding industrial capitalism which eliminated slavery in the country.

The Rise of People's National Party in Jamaica

In Jamaica, the 20th century was marked by the rise of People's National Party that was led by Norman Manley. The movement that began in 1938 was focused on liberating the country from the colonial masters who were subjecting the people to slavery and forced labor (Gibson 221). In 1962, the party led the country to independence and was presently remembered for contributing to reforms in the social and political spheres in the country. Under Manley's leadership, reforms in the education sector saw to many Jamaicans getting educated through scholarships that were awarded to the poor. Following the founder's death, Michael Manley, his son, assumed office as the party leader. Under Michael's regime, democratic socialism was introduced which focused on the strengthening of the relations between Jamaica and the Global South.

The West Indies Federation's Pursuit of Independence

The West Indies Federation, founded by Edward Le Blanc in 1958 intended to create a united colony in the Caribbean region that would develop an independent state separate from the British rule (Ayearst 11). Under Edward's leadership, the movement sought to unite the different states under a common confederation that would liberate the people from servitude under the British governance. Although the movement collapsed before attaining independence for the Caribbean states due to internal conflicts, it formed a foundation for the formation of sovereign states that were later liberated. Apart from struggling for independence of the Caribbean states, the federation was greatly a racial movement which was made up mainly of the population of West African descent (Abdullah). The formation included mulattos, afro-Indian, euro-Indian, and Chinese who were serving as slaves and were likely not fitting in the rest of the society that perceived them as outsiders (Ayearst 11).

Works Cited

Abdullah, David. "Caribbean Movements Then And Now: A Labor View." NACLA, 2017,

Ayearst, Morley. The British West Indies: the search for self-government. New York University Press, 1960.

Gibson, Carrie. Empire's Crossroads: The Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day. Pan Macmillan, 2014.

July 07, 2023

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