Essay Compare Between Two Countries In Africa

Learning Objective

  1. Read an example of the compare-and-contrast rhetorical mode.

Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC

Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.

Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.

Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.

Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.

Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.

This is a derivative of Writing for Success by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution, originally released and is used under CC BY-NC-SA. This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted by Henry Bogardus on Monday, November 4, 2013 in News.


The highly developed United States shares much more similarities with the LDC of Sierra Leone than are originally apparent. For example, both countries experienced bloody civil wars that were the results of economic, political, and developmental issues within the countries. In both cases, it is clearly apparent that the conflicts caused a stall in human development as the wars engulfed each nation. The definition of human development that I have chosen to use, the process of enlarging people’s choices, which is indicated by education, life expectancy, and income per capita, suffers a sever shrinking during each civil war before resuming at a normal pace after the war finishes.

The three indicators of human development (life expectancy, education, and income per capita) during and after each nation’s civil wars are very similar; however, the trends each statistic present before the wars are where the countries display different sets of data. Looking at life expectancy during each country’s war, there is a definitive decrease as the United States life expectancy drops from 40.5 years to 40.1 years from 1860-1865. Sierra Leone’s life expectancy falls from 43.1 years in 1980 to 39.8 years in 2000. When looking at education statistics during the war, a similar trend appears. In Sierra Leone between 1990 and 2000, expected years of schooling falls from 4.7 to 4.9 years; during the US civil war, the percentage of white students in school dropped from 59.6% to 54.4% between 1860 and 1865. While the income per capita in the Civil War-era United States is an unavailable statistic, Sierra Leone’s dropped from 623 to 406 between the war’s beginning and ending. Another group of statistics to look at are the ones that span between the war’s beginning and ten years before the war. Sierra Leone’s average life expectancy ten years before the war (1980) was 43.1 years, but it had dropped all the way to 38.7 years by the beginning of the war in 1990. Education also experienced a decline as expected years of schooling fell from 5.0 years to 4.9 years. While the decline isn’t massive, it broke up the steadily increasing figures that accompanied the periods before and after the war. In the years leading up to the United States’ civil war, there was an increase in the percentage of children attending school, as it rose from 47.2% to 50.6%. While the US life expectancy did fall from 42.5 to 40.8 years in the decade before the start of the war, the drop-off is mostly associated to incredible population growth and worsening sanitation levels in urban centers due to large amounts of immigration. The last indicator of development, national income, in Sierra Leone, dropped from 796 to 623. After each war, every indicator showed growth as the countries recovered from the civil war, which really exemplifies how war creates deleterious effects on the development of the nation and its population.

Sierra Leone’s and the United States’ civil wars seem very different on the surface, but in actuality are more similar than one would think. Where Sierra Leone’s war featured coupes, child soldiers, atrocities against local populace, and guerrilla warfare. The United States’ war consisted of a much more traditional style of warfare and was centered on a fundamental disagreement over the slavery question. The war in Sierra Leone occurred due to heavy disagreement with the governments of Siaka Stevens and Joseph Momoh. They had corrupted the government and moved most of the Sierra Leonean economy into illegal lanes. Their incompetence and greed caused a decline in human development in Sierra Leone and the rebellion by the RUF and the multiple coups that followed. In the case of the United States, however, a combination of economic and political factors was working to split up the nation. The southern states, known as the Confederacy seceded from the Union in order to keep their slave population, their way of life, and their current economic situation. While the reasons for fighting and how he wars were fought were very different between the two countries, the wars themselves have some very striking similarities. A study on African civil wars stated that the “objective of rebellion is either to capture the state or secede from it.” Additionally, a group can increase the population’s incentive to rebel by “exploiting a section of the population.” This study really connects how closely related the civil wars of the United States and Sierra Leone were as both rebelling sides could increase incentive for rebellion by promising to exploit a portion of the population. In Sierra Leone, workers could be captured and delegated to work in the diamond mines to bring income to the nation. The slaves of the United States were exploited to create almost a third of the American economy. Using the diamonds of Sierra Leone and the Slaves of the confederacy, the rebels of both nations were able to create a loud enough call for rebellion throughout each country for civil wars to erupt.

The human development trends that occur in the decade leading up to the civil war had varying effects on the conflicts. The stand-out difference between the two countries was how drastically national income fell in Sierra Leone (the United States figures on national income are unavailable during most of the 19th century). The steep decline in national wealth led to a cutthroat political scene during the 1990’s fueled by the people’s anger at the national government for its incompetence. That anger led to 4 changes in power throughout the civil war as the nation struggled for stability. In the United States, where life expectancy fell due to burgeoning urban centers, the economies of the Northern states were growing with unprecedented speed due to an influx of dirt-cheap wage labor and a large amount of new technology during the Industrial Revolution. The slave-reliant economies of the southern states, on the other hand, had not grown as fast as those of their northern counterparts. The south had barely industrialized and instead decided to lean on the backs of the slaves to bring in income. To modernize and industrialize, the South would have needed to break down its entire way of life, not to mention ridding itself of the institution of slavery. Thusly, both the south and north stayed together as two armies, instead of the multiple factions that were present in Sierra Leone. Additionally, both sides bonded together as two distinct national identities, as opposed to the multiple opinions in Sierra Leone on who would best develop their country. If Sierra Leone’s war were one between two distinct sides, then the need to abduct child soldiers and terrorize their own countrymen wouldn’t have been as constructive for maintaining a fighting force. While the two wars were fought differently and for different reasons, both were vicious and deadly campaigns where every person who fought kept fighting because they believed that their enemy had wronged them.

On the flip side, each war created different effects on development. The main similarity is that both wars stopped the downward trending statistics of human development in each country by placing a more efficient government in place than the one left behind. Because of the better governing structures and a more stable society, life expectancy increased, education improved, and in the case of Sierra Leone, national income began to grow as well. In the case of the United States, the percentage of African-Americans under the age of 18 in school grew almost 10% and percentage of whites in school saw an increase as well.

Although the two civil wars were very different in how they were fought and in why they were fought, after looking at the wars through the perspective of human development, similarities begin to appear that were not originally seen.


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