|On the Philippine annexation issue, the American
nation was divided into two political camps. Those who supported the President
and his Philippine annexation policy became known as the expansionists
or "Imperialists"; those who opposed were known as "anti-Imperialists",
copperheads, traitors and other epithets.
The expansionists relied upon what they called "Manifest Destiny" arguing that if the United States had not expanded, its confines would still be within the boundaries of the thirteen original states, a small area that cannot sustain the rapid growth of population. To spread the growth of population and spread the American civilization likewise, it demanded the increase of territory.
On the other hand, the anti-imperialists argued that the forcible
Philippine acquisition was in violation to:
Index of Topic of Debates
Focus of Three Stages of Debate
1] Philippines as Spoil of War. Debate on what to do with the Philippines as a spoil of war immediately after Commodore Dewey's historic naval victory at Manila Bay.
"A strong feeling spreading over the land in favor of colonial expansion [is] getting so strong that it will mean the political death of any man to oppose it pretty soon."
- Chauncey Depew, New York Central railroad tycoon,
addressing Republican stalwarts, May 17, 1898.
"The hardest, closest fight I have ever known, and probably we shall never see another like it in our time."
Mark Twain in the early 1900s.
[Note: To link with Library
|"But I have thought some more, since then, and I have
read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend
to free, but subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone
there to conquer, not to redeem."
"It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land."
"Was it ever heard before that a civilized, humane, and Christian nation made war upon a people and refused to tell them what they wanted of them? You say you want them to submit. To submit to what? To mere military force? But for what purpose or for what end is that military force to be exerted? You decline to tell them. Not only do you decline to say what you want of them, except bare and abject surrender, but you will not even let them tell you what they ask of you!"
|President William McKinley||U.S. President|
|Senator Henry Cabot Lodge||U.S. Senator|
|Senator Albert Beveridge||U.S. Senator|
|Theodore Roosevelt||Former Undersecretary of the U.S. Navy|
|Grover Cleveland||Former U.S. President|
|William J. Bryan||Defeated candidate for U.S. Presidency, 1896 elections|
|George Frisbee Hoar||Senator from Massachusetts, leader in the U.S. Senate|
|Senator Tillman||U.S. Senator|
|Senator Patterson||U.S. Senator|
|Senator Carmack||U.S. Senator|
|Carl Schulz||Leader of independent groups|
|George Boutwell||Former Governor of Massachusetts and a former member of Grant's cabinet; president of the New England Anti-Imperialist League.|
|Samuel Gompers||Labor leader|
|Mark Twain||Writer who joined the group later and became the archcritic of the Treaty of Paris|
|Thomams Reed||Prominent Republican|
|John Sherman||Prominent Republican|
|William Dean Howells|
Political Positions and Arguments of the Imperialists
Political Positions and Arguments of the Anti-Imperialists
|An editorial cartoon from 1901 issue
of Puck depicts Uncle Sam as a giant cocky rooster protecting the
little American chickens, and the European chickens complain:
"You're not the only rooster in South America!", to which Uncle Sam retorts,
"I was aware of that when I cooped you up!"
Quotes from the Imperialists
"We have full power and are absolutely free to do with these islands as we please."
"We must on no account let the islands go...We hold the other side of the Pacific, and the value to this country is almost beyond imagination."
"I believe it wise and proper to retain the Philippines. I think the government we enjoy in the United States is the best government for us in the Philippines."
"that under the Constitution...no power is given to the Federal Government to acquire territory to be held and governed permanently as colonies."
Declaration of Principles
"We hold that the policy known as imperialism is hostile to liberty and tends towards militarism, an evil from which it has been our glory to be free. We regret that it has become necessary in the land of Washington and Lincoln to reaffirm that all men, of whatever race or color, are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We maintain that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. We insist that the subjugation of any people constitutes 'criminal aggression' and flagrant disloyalty to the distinctive principles of our government...."
"We demand the immediate cessation of war against liberty begun by Spain and continued by us. We urge that Congress pre promptly convened to announce to the Filipinos our purpose to concede to them the independence for which they have so long fought and which of right is theirs...."
"We propose to contribute to the defeat of any person or party that stands for the forcible subjugation of any people.. We shall oppose for re-election all those who, in the White House or in Congress, betray American liberty in pursuit of un-American ends. We still hope that both our great political parties will support and defend the Declaration of Independence in the closing campaign of the century."
"We hold with Abraham Lincoln that: 'No man is good enough to govern another without the other's consent. When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government --that is despotism. Our safety lies in the laws of liberty which God has implanted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands everywhere. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God cannot long retain it."
[ Source: Speeches, Correspondence
and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, ed. Frederick
Bancroft, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1913, Vol. VI, note, pp. 77-79.
The Boston Post
Revolved, That the colored people of Boston in meeting assembled desire to enter their solemn protest against the present unjustified invasion by American soldiers in the Philippine Islands.
Resolved, That, while the rights of colored citizens in the South, sacredly guaranteed them by the amendment of the Constitution, are shamefully disregarded; and, while the frequent lynching of negroes who are denied a civilized trial are a reproach to Republican government, the duty of the President and country is to reform these crying domestic wrongs and not to attempt the civilization of alien peoples by powder and shot.
That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the President of the United
States and to the press.
[ Reprint Source: The
Philippines Readers, Edited by Daniel B. Schirmer
& Stepehn Rosskamm Shalom ]
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