Cecil Rhodes’ “Confession of Faith” Analysis


The article written by Cecil Rhodes in 1877 under the title “Confession of Faith” constitutes the beliefs and claims of the author in relation to colonialism and British imperialism. When analyzing this historical text, one should concentrate on the context in which it was created, the background of the author, and the purpose of the writing itself. In particular, Rhodes’ article is an example of justification of imperialism with a domination of the English in order to ensure the prosperity of the whole human race. The historical period in which the writing was published entails that the British Empire required solidifying its position as a dominant political and economic power on a global scale. As a representative of the British elite and a colonizer of Africa, Cecil Rhodes was motivated to proclaim the dominance of the British Empire with particular justification of his claims. This paper is designed to conduct a critical analysis of Rhodes’ “Confession of Faith” to identify the main idea, purpose, and reasons for its creation.

Author’s Purpose

The purpose of the article written by Rhodes was to justify the existence of the British Empire and validate its colonial ambitions by the benefits for humanity at large and the global community. Indeed, Rhodes’ “Confession of Faith” was published in 1877, at the time when the criticism of colonialism, in general, was rising and the British Empire tried to maintain its power. According to research, the claims of Rhodes on the positive outcomes of colonialism align with other sources that validate imperial rule of the British Empire. The claim that “colonial rule produced positive long-term outcomes is also reflected in a small literature focusing on the duration of colonization.” Thus, Rhodes uses his writing as an opportunity to reach his target audience of opponents of the colonial rule of the Empire to reassure them of the necessity of such world order.

Text’s Main Idea

The main general idea of the article is the abundance of benefits that humanity at large and the population of the Empire will acquire due to the continued colonization process. Indeed, the author repeatedly refers to the quality of the Anglo-Saxon race, the potential in terms of building a prosperous society, and the necessity to unify large territories under their rule. The author promotes “the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands.” In such a manner, Rhodes validates his opinion that the world will only benefit from colonization since the best of the human race will live everywhere in peace, wealth, and continuous development.

Cecil Rhode’s Arguments and Ideas

One of the leading arguments that support the main idea in the text is the persuasion and validation of the dominance of the Anglo-Saxon race in the world since it is the best race of all. As it is stated by the author of the text, “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.” These words explicitly demonstrate the beliefs of the author in the superiority of Anglo-Saxons over other races, which is why they have an obligation to expand for the good of humanity. Such broad and even global considerations widened the scope of the importance of colonization in Rhodes’ discussion. Indeed, Rhodes continuously appealed to the values of intelligence and continuous human development as the most important traits for humankind. Thus, the validation of the maximization of the best representatives of the human race across colonized territories was considered a strong argument.

The acquisition of more territories through the means of colonization is viewed by Rhodes as an opportunity to advance the Anglo-Saxon race and ensure that humanity strives and grows. He states that “more territory simply means more of the Anglo-Saxon race more of the best the most human, most honourable race the world possesses.” Attainable territories with approachable means for life and prosperity were considered as opportunities for increasing emigration from Great Britain to the occupied lands. Using such methods, the author validated the policies of the British Empire in Africa and other lands. Thus, the invasion in more territories and settlement of the English there was discussed within the context of the multiple developmental benefits for the world.

Rhodes claimed that one of the most effective ways to acquire more territories and ensure the dominance of the British Empire in the world is through the creation of a secret society like the Masonic order. The author states that “to forward such a scheme what a splendid help a secret society would be a society not openly acknowledged but who would work in secret for such an object.” The consolidation of influential individuals in one society was viewed as a source of the power of influence on the inferior territories. In addition, the existence of such a society was validated by the importance of unity in policies that would incorporate the world under the rule of one nation.

The elimination of the risk of wars is another important claim that Rhodes used to persuade his audience that colonialism is a sound and safest approach to world order formation. Indeed, in Rhodes’ opinion, colonialism helps “weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity.” Repeatedly, the author refers to the fact of losing America as the source of weakness for the British Empire and the military unrest in the world. Conflicts between states cause disruption for economies and humanity, which should be reduced by means of reinforced colonization. With the consolidation of all territories under one rule, the risk of wars would be mitigated since the territories would be united under the same purpose and interests.


In summation, the critical analysis of Cecil Rhodes’ “Confession of Faith” has shown that the author presented a strong validation for maintaining and increasing British influence on colonized territories. The necessity to pursue British dominance in the colonized locations was motivated by the growing risks for the monarchy to lose its global influence and diminish the opportunities of Europeans on African lands. Thus, Rhodes appealed to the opportunities for humanity to strive based on the qualities of Anglo-Saxons, their settlement on many territories, and ensuring peace using secret societies as influential governing bodies.

Works Cited

Cooper, Dana. “Rhodes” s Men: Class, Race, and Ethnicity in International Leadership.” International Relations, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, pp. 290-301.

Rhodes, Cecil. “Confession of Faith.” Sources of the Western Tradition, 2, 1877, pp. 1-4. Web.

Maseland, Robbert. “Is Colonialism History? The Declining Impact of Colonial Legacies on African Institutional and Economic Development.” Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 14, no. 2, 2018, pp. 259-287.

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DemoEssays. "Cecil Rhodes’ “Confession of Faith” Analysis." October 22, 2022. https://demoessays.com/cecil-rhodes-confession-of-faith-analysis/.