Imperialism Expansion-2017FA HIST 1302 SHORT ESSAY ASSIGNMENT


This assignment is due November 30 and should be submitted online as a Word document through eCampus before 11:59 pm.

You have a problem to address that relates to American identity. State your thesis. Explain the arguments for each side of the issue. Provide a conclusion.

Refer to the sources provided, material in the textbook, and other sources. Identify the sources you use.

Your report should be double spaced in a standard 12-point font. Be sure to include your name in the header on each page, but do not include a cover page. Your report should be about two pages long.

Historical background: “The Philippines” Digital History Textbook, Digital History ID 3161

[The Spanish-American War led to United States occupation of the Philippines.] (This) fueled a bitter national debate over U.S. involvement overseas…. Some who opposed the occupation were motivated by racism, fearful that annexation of the Philippines would lead to an influx of non-white immigrants. One U.S. senator warned of the coming of “tens of millions of Malays and other unspeakable Asiatics.” Many, who considered the occupation immoral and inconsistent with American traditions and values, joined the Anti-Imperialist League.

The conflict helped popularize the concept of the “white man’s burden,” the notion that the United States and Western European societies had a duty to civilize and uplift the “benighted” races of the world. A U.S. senator from Indiana declared: “We must never forget that in dealing with the Filipinos, we deal with children.”

On May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey had entered Manila Bay and destroyed the decrepit Spanish fleet. In December, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. Mark Twain called the $20 million payment an “entrance fee into society–the Society of Scepter Thieves.” “We do not intend to free but to subjugate the people of the Philippines,” he wrote. “We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them, destroyed their fields, burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out of doors.”

On June 12, 1898, a young Filipino, General Emilio Aguinaldo, had proclaimed Philippine independence and established Asia’s first republic. He had hoped that the Philippines would become a U.S. protectorate. But pressure on President William McKinley to annex the Philippines was intense. After originally declaring that it would “be criminal aggression” for the United States to annex the archipelago, he reversed his stance, partly out of fear that another power would seize the Philippines.


Background online: Lesson 7, review “A Democratic Empire?: Heel of Achilles?”

Background in the textbook: review PP. 578-591


What were the arguments for and against the United States adopting a more expansionist foreign policy? How understandings of national identity, at the time, shape these views.

Source 1

“Ten thousand miles from tip to tip”, Cartoon, Philadelphia Press, 1898.


Source 2

William Jennings Bryan, speech, “Paralyzing Influence of Imperialism,” Aug. 8, 1900.

What is our title to the Philippine Islands?… If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, it is impossible to secure title to people, either by force or by purchase…. When we made allies of the Filipinos and armed them to fight against Spain, we disputed Spain’s title…. There can be no doubt that… we had full knowledge that they were fighting for their own independence; and I submit that history furnishes no example of turpitude baser than ours if we now substitute our yoke for the Spanish yoke. . . . Some argue that American rule in the Philippine Islands will result in the better education of the Filipinos. Be not deceived…. (We) dare not educate them lest they learn to read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States and mock us for out inconsistency. …(A) war of conquest is as unwise as it is unrighteous…. It is not necessary to our own people in order to trade with them…. Imperialism finds no warrant in the Bible. The command “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” has no Gatling gun attachment…. The shedding of American blood in the Philippine Islands does not make it imperative that we should retain possession forever….Better a thousand times that our flag in the Orient give way to a flag representing the idea of self-government than that the flag of this republic should become the flag of an empire When our opponents are unable to defend their position by argument, they fall back upon the assertion that it is destiny and insist that we must submit to it no matter how much it violates our moral precepts and our principles of government. This is a complacent philosophy. It obliterates the distinction between right and wrong and makes individuals and nations the helpless victims of circumstances. Destiny is the subterfuge of the invertebrate, who, lacking the courage to oppose error, seeks some plausible excuse for supporting it. Source 3 William McKinley, speech to a group of clergymen, Nov. 21, 1899. In James Rusling, “Interview with President William McKinley, “Christian Advocate, January 22, 1903. I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed (to) Almighty


God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way – I don’t know how it was but it came: 1. that we could not give (the Philippines back to Spain – that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2. that we could not turn them over to France and Germany – our commercial rivals in the Orient – that would be bad business and discreditable; 3. that we could not leave them to themselves – they were unfit for self-government – and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and 4. that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could do by them, as our fellowmen for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department (our map-maker), and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States [pointing to a large map on the wall of his office], and there they are and there they will stay while I am president! Source 4 “Civilization Begins at Home”

Civilization Begins at Home (Literary Digest #17, Nov. 26, 1898)


Source 5

Albert J. Beveridge, U.S. Senator from Indiana (R). “The March of the Flag,” campaign speech, September 16, 1898.

The opposition tells us that we ought not to govern a people without their consent. I answer, The rule…that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government. We govern the Indians without their consent, we govern our territories without their consent, we govern our children without their consent…. Would not the Philippines prefer the just, human, civilizing government of this Republic to the savage, bloody (Spanish) rule…from which we have rescued them? …(D)o we owe no duty to the world? Shall we turn these people back to the reeking hands from which we have taken them? Shall we abandon them, with Germany, England, Japan hungering for them…? Wonderfully has God guided us…. We can not retreat from any soil where Providence has unfurled our banner; it is ours to save…for liberty and civilization. Source 6 Andrew Carnegie, “Distant Possessions: The Parting of the Ways” (excerpts), North American Review (Aug. 1898). Is the Republic, the apostle of Triumphant Democracy, of the rule of the people, to abandon her political creed and endeavor to establish in other lands the rule of the foreigner over the people, Triumphant Despotism?

Is she to continue the task of developing her vast continent until it holds a population as great as that of Europe, all Americans, or to abandon that destiny to annex, and to attempt to govern, other far distant parts of the world as outlying possessions, which can never be integral parts of the Republic?

But, if we take the Philippines. . . certainly they will be a grievous drain upon revenue if we consider the enormous army and navy which we shall be forced to maintain upon their account.

From every point of view we are forced to the conclusion that the past policy of the Republic is her true policy for the future; for safety, for peace, for happiness, for progress, for wealth, for power — for all that makes a nation blessed.


Source 7

Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, Speech given in December 1898.

If the Philippines are annexed what is to prevent the Chinese, the Negritos and the Malays [from] coming to our country. How can we prevent the Chinese coolies from going to the Philippines and from there swarm into the United States and engulf our people and our civilization? If these new islands are to become ours, it will be either under the form of Territories or States. Can we hope to close the flood-gates of immigration from the hordes of Chinese and the semi-savage races coming from what will be part of our own country?

Source 8

George F. Hoar, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (R). Speech, January 1899.

…the question with which we now have to deal is whether Congress may conquer and may govern, without their consent and against their will a foreign nation, a separate, distinct, and numerous people, a territory not hereafter to be populated by Americans….

…under the Declaration of Independence you cannot govern a foreign territory, a foreign people, another people than your own…you cannot subjugate them and govern them against their will, because you think it is for their good, when they do not; because tou think you are going to give them the blessings of liberty. You have no right at the cannon’s mouth to impose on an unwilling people your Declaration of Independence and your Constitution and your notions of freedom and notions of what is good,

Source 9

Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (R). Speech, 1900.

…we are in the Philippines as righteously as we are there rightfully and legally.

…The taking of the Philippines does not violate the principles of the Declaration of Independence, but will spread them among a people who have never known liberty, and who in a few years will be as unwilling to leave the shelter of the American flag as those of any other territory we ever brought beneath its folds.

Source 10

William Graham Sumner, sociology professor at Yale University, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain,” speech given at Yale in 1899.

The Americans have been committed from the outset to the doctrine that all men are

equal. We have elevated it into an absolute doctrine as a part of the theory of our social


and political fabric. . . . It is an astonishing event that we have lived to see American

arms carry this domestic dogma out where it must be tested in its application to

uncivilized and half-civilized peoples. At the first touch of the test we throw the doctrine

away and adopt the Spanish doctrine. We are told by all the imperialists that these

people are not fit for liberty and self-government; that it is rebellion for them to resist our

beneficence; that we must send fleets and armies to kill them if they do it; that we must

devise a government for them and administer it ourselves; that we may buy them or sell

them as we please, and dispose of their “trade” for our own advantage. What is that but

the policy of Spain to her dependencies? What can we expect as a consequence of it?

Nothing but that it will bring us where Spain is now.

Imperialism Expansion

Source 11 Theodore Roosevelt, “The Strenuous Life,” speech given to business owners and local leaders, Chicago, 1899.

The Philippines offer a [serious] problem. . . . Many of their people are utterly unfit for self-government, and show no signs of becoming fit. Others may in time become fit but at present can only take part in self-government under a wise supervision, at once firm and beneficent. We have driven Spanish tyranny from the islands. If we now let it be replaced by savage anarchy, our work has been for harm and not for good. I have scant patience with those who fear to undertake the task of governing the Philippines, and who openly avow that they do fear to undertake it, or that they shrink from it because of the expense and trouble; but I have even scanter patience with those who make a pretense of humanitarianism to hide and cover their timidity, and who cant about “liberty” and the “consent of the governed,” in order to excuse themselves for their unwillingness to play the part of men. . . . Their doctrines condemn your forefathers and mine for ever having settled in these United States.

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