A Legacy of Instability: Western Influences on the Democratic Republic of Congo


On July 31st of last year, the Democratic Republic of the Congo held its first multiparty democratic elections in over forty years. These elections followed nearly half a century of the oppressive dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, as well as a recent civil war. The Congo was first recognized as a cohesive land area during the 1884-85 Berlin West Africa Conference, which formally recognized King Leopold II of Belgium's hold over the economically strategic area. The Congo "Free State", as it became known, officially became a Belgian colony in 1908 when Leopold conceded personal administrative control to his country, and remained so until its independence in May of 1960, which involved the interests of many Western powers, including the United Nations. There is much debate on the influence of the West on the Congo's current instability, from Belgian colonial policy to Western interference in the years directly following Congolese independence. This thesis will attempt to prove the negative impact that the West has had on the current state of the Congo, and defend the Congolese against the argument that they in fact have promoted their own instability and could have effectively changed their own destiny. This will be accomplished through a multi-faceted analysis of Belgian educational policies, Western economic and political policies and influences, including sections on colonial influences and the secession of the province of Katanga, as well as an in depth analysis of the potential of Patrice Lumumba as a stable leader for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


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Thesis Completion





Walker, Ezekiel


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program



Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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