Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

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When the Civil War drew to a close in 1865, the United States had not yet emerged as an imperialist nation, although the groundwork had long been laid. The prehistory of American imperialism lay in the European appropriation of Native Americans' lands and in post-Revolutionary demands that the United States annex Florida and Louisiana. In 1823 President James Monroe (1758–1831), hoping to prevent Spain from reclaiming former colonies in Latin America, declared the entire hemisphere off-limits for European expansion. Labeled the Monroe Doctrine in 1852, this policy provided a pretext for the threat of military intervention in 1895, when, shortly after gold was discovered in Venezuela, Great Britain, which controlled Guiana, disputed boundary lines. Throughout the twentieth century, the United States called on the Monroe Doctrine to justify its dominance over hemispheric conditions, the most notable instance being President John F. Kennedy's invocation of the doctrine during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

The United States also had a proto-imperialist history in its several moves to acquire contiguous lands. Calls for the annexation of Canada were frequent throughout the nineteenth century. The most famous—as well as the most successful—move, however, was the Mexican-American War of 1848, ending in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ceded 529,200 square miles of Mexican territory to the United States—California, New Mexico, and parts of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Texas, also formerly part of Mexico, had already been annexed in 1845.

This history of U.S. relations with other American states meant that by the late nineteenth century the people of the United States were already familiar with the idea of taking over neighboring lands or intervening in hemispheric disputes. They were also sharply aware of the ongoing imperialist moves by the European powers, as Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France either acquired new colonies or centralized control over existing ones. The Boer War of 1899–1902, the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, the Belgian exploitation of the Congo, French intervention in northern Africa and the Far East all impressed Americans, some favorably, others unfavorably. What was clear to all was that the European imperial powers were reaping extraordinary economic benefits from lands far from their own geopolitical borders. For many Americans, especially those ambitious to extend American business interests, it became clear that overseas expansion was the way to harness American energies and turn them to profitable development. Many Americans both spoke and wrote to this end; among them Alfred T. Mahan (1840–1914), whose books The Influence of Sea Power upon History: 1660–1783 (1890) and The Interest of America in Sea Power (1897) advocated development of a world-class navy that could be used to protect U.S. maritime commerce. Integral to this plan was the necessity of a canal cutting through Central America and overseas colonies that could serve as military bases.

Mahan's ideas were favorably received, in large part because they fed into a general cultural investment in the idea of Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States had a special mission to expand across the entire North American continent and beyond, especially to Central America and the Caribbean. The doctrine of Manifest Destiny, in turn, was closely allied to a set of racial ideologies that ranked the world's races according to pseudoscientific criteria of intelligence and character traits and that used Darwin's evolutionary ideas to develop, especially through the writings of the social scientist Herbert Spencer, a philosophy of "survival of the fittest" that could be used to justify military and economic conquest. In most of the charts developed to illustrate racial hierarchies, Anglo-Saxons (people who could trace their origins to the Germanic tribes—Angles, Saxons, and Jutes—who invaded Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries) were at the top and people of African origin were at the bottom, whereas "Asiastics," as they were called, occupied a variety of middle ranks, often closely related to skin color.

The promulgation of these racial ideologies throughout American society encouraged a cultural assumption that American institutions—the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the economic and political systems generally—were Anglo-Saxon inventions. This led to two further assumptions, deeply held even when contradictory. The first was that "inferior races," as they were known, were incapable of understanding democratic principles. The second was that it was America's duty to export U.S. economic, social, and political systems (generally coded under the rubric "civilization") to other nations. This complex was compounded by a Christian missionary tradition that had been operating since John Eliot proselytized to Native Americans in the seventeenth century, a tradition that valorized conversion to Christianity and held that no nation could be truly "civilized" unless it was fully Christianized. It is important to note here that for many Americans, especially those invested in the ideology of Anglo-Saxon superiority, the word "Christian" only referred to Protestants, and "Christianity" referred to the entire complex of Anglo-American cultural values. This meant that Spain's former colonies, which had been Christianized by Catholics, could usefully be regarded as fertile grounds for Protestant missionizing as well as U.S. cultural, political, and economic domination. Most important, it facilitated an American assumption that most non-European countries were militarily vulnerable compounds of inferior races and social, cultural, and religious difference. This compound of vulnerability, inferiority, and difference sanctioned American intervention overseas. Expansionists argued that nations colonized by European powers were oppressed and would welcome American aid in throwing off their oppressors and in establishing American institutions. When the erstwhile colonists resisted appropriation by the United States, the complex of American attitudes enabled the new imperialists to argue that because the insurgents were racially and culturally backward, they would require first pacification, and then a prolonged education in Western values and technologies before they could govern themselves.

Invasion of other countries also helped in the national project of post–Civil War reconstruction. Amy Kaplan has noted that one benefit of the imperial push in the late nineteenth century was to provide a means of bringing the North and the South together. Although the Civil War was officially over, sectarian hatreds still festered, and the notion that men would fight again, this time united as Americans against a foreign power, helped overcome sectional differences as the military forces looked outward, beyond U.S. borders. Here, too, emphasis on Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, U.S. political institutions, and America's Christian mission combined to convince Americans that it was, as President William McKinley (1843–1901) stated regarding the Filipinos, America's duty "to educate [them], and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them" (Millis, pp. 383–384). In the process of bringing Western "civilization" to other nations, Americans who had seen each other as enemies began to rediscover their commonalities, and the "work" of imperialism thus also served to facilitate the work of reunification and cultural community.


Imperialism rarely appears as a subject in American literature written between the end of the Civil War and the onset of the Spanish-American War, but the complex of ideas and attitudes that would facilitate imperialist activities are reflected in many of the works produced during this time. For instance, The Squatter and the Don (1885), the first novel by Chicana writer Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton (1832–1895), examines the impact of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on wealthy Californios—Mexicans living in the western territories ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American War—whose lands had suddenly come under U.S. control and who were facing dispossession through the openly biased U.S. legal system. An aristocratic Californio married to an American army officer, Ruiz de Burton illustrates the complexities of prevailing attitudes toward U.S. imperialism as she simultaneously argues for justice for Californios, affirms racial hierarchies (her protagonists are all of European ancestry and all scorn the Indians who constitute the worker class), and advocates transportation routes that will link east and west coasts and situate California as a jumping-off point for expanded trade with China. Ruiz de Burton's plea for justice for her own socioeconomic group is aimed at forcing the U.S. legal system to live up to its own ideals of impartiality, not to protest U.S. appropriation of Mexican lands, and her resentment over ethnic discrimination is limited to anger that her aristocrats are lumped together with black and brown peoples. Taking U.S. imperialism as a given, The Squatter and the Don recognizes the importance of technology in facilitating overseas trade and seeks only to ensure that Mexicans of European ancestry maintain their class privileges and be part of the process.

The quotations that follow, the first two from President William McKinley, who authorized the Spanish-American War, and the third from Mark Twain, who vehemently protested it, illustrate the depth of conviction felt by both sides of the debate.

William McKinley, War Message to Congress, 11 April 1898

The grounds for [U.S.] intervention [in Cuba] may be briefly summarized as follows:

First. In the cause of humanity and to put an end to the barbarities, bloodshed, starvation, and horrible miseries now existing there, and which the parties to the conflict are either unable or unwilling to stop or mitigate . . .

Second. We owe it to our citizens in Cuba to afford them that protection and indemnity for life and property which no government there can or will afford . . .

Third. The right to intervene may be justified by the very serious injury to the commerce, trade, and business of our people . . .

Fourth . . . The present condition of affairs in Cuba is a constant menace to our peace and entails upon this Government an enormous expense . . .

William McKinley

I realized that it was our duty to educate [the Filipinos], and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them.

Mark Twain

Shall we? That is, shall we go on conferring our Civilization upon the peoples that sit in darkness, or shall we give those poor things a rest?

Richard Hofstadter and Beatrice K. Hofstadter, eds., Great Issues in American History from Reconstruction to the Present Day, 1864–1981 (New York: Vintage Books, 1982), pp. 187–188; Walter Millis, The Martial Spirit (Cambridge, Mass.: Literary Guild, 1931), pp. 383–384; "To the Person Sitting in Darkness," in Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists, p. 198.

As in The Squatter and the Don, the compound of racial, economic, and social attitudes that facilitated American imperialism prior to the Spanish-American War constitute background assumptions rather than foreground issues in many of the well-known works of the period. For instance, many of the regionalist writers rest their assumption about the legitimacy of regional development on Manifest Destiny, the creed that justified white Americans' appropriation of native lands and that envisioned an onward march of largely northern European peoples across the continent and beyond. Thus a writer such as Hamlin Garland, who took the midwestern farmer as his subject, saw the melding of German and Scandinavian immigrants in the upper Midwest as the creation of a particularly ethnic-inflected region at the same time that he recognized that the category "region" was inseparable from the concept of nation, and that the onward push of national expansion was, paradoxically, what enabled regional development. Frank Norris would take this a step further in his "trilogy of the wheat," in which he projected an economic landscape that required foreign markets for completion. Writers who focused on white encroachments on Indian lands—such as Zitkala-Ša's sketches and stories published in 1902 and 1903 and later collected under the title American Indian Stories (1921); Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins's Life Among the Piutes (1883); and some of Mary Austin's sketches in The Land of Little Rain (1903) and Lost Borders (1909)—examined the legacies of earlier imperialist moves. Similarly, George Washington Cable, whose novel The Grandissimes (1880) is set in New Orleans in 1803, the year the United States took over Louisiana from France, studies the difference that rule by the white, Protestant United States made on that multiracial, multinational, and largely Catholic city.

Regionalist fiction was not the only literary mode to reflect elements of the imperialist complex. Poetry could and did embody imperialist imperatives. Walt Whitman's (1819–1892) "Passage to India" (1871, 1881), for instance, articulates the imperialist ideal in concrete detail, as the poet envisions past, present, and future joined in the imaginary space of India. Claiming this to be "God's purpose from the first," the poet sees:

The earth . . . spanned . . .
The oceans . . . crossed
The lands . . . welded together . . .
not for trade or transportation only
But in God's name, and for thy sake o soul.

(P. 412)

Whitman's poem may be one of the most specific literary representations of the imperialist imperative as formulated in the American grain: in a grand panoramic vision the poet projects the march of American history and technology as central to God's project, "the Pacific railroad surmounting every barrier" (p. 413), "Tying the Eastern to the Western sea / The road between Europe and Asia" (p. 414). Asking for what purpose the "rondure of the world" will be "at last accomplished," Whitman's speaker—the Poet—answers that it is at once a return to human origins and a reunion of the soul with God. In the poem, increasingly frenetic clauses build to a final call to "sail forth—steer for the deep waters only" (p. 421). In the end, Whitman's vision suggests an apocalyptic collapse of time, space, soul, and divinity.

Although it speaks much of God, Whitman's poem invokes divinity as spirituality rather than as a specific religious creed. Despite its nonsectarian gloss, however, the poem assumes that conquering the globe would fulfill America's destiny, a destiny in which technology and commerce are means to a divinely inspired end. Other literary works cast this mission in explicitly Christian, generally Protestant, terms. Embedded in most literary works of this period was the assumption that white Protestant Americans, having developed an ideal economic and religious system, had an obligation to export it to less fortunate nations. Satirically labeled the "blessings of civilization trust" by Mark Twain (1835–1910), this national pathology, especially when combined with current racial hierarchies, dictated a paternalistic approach to non-European nations and to Europeans who did not meet the criteria for "civilization." A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1884), Twain's own satiric novel about a nineteenth-century American who is transported back to sixth-century England, exhibits these attitudes in the figure of Hank Morgan. Morgan refers to the sixth-century Catholics among whom he finds himself as "savages"; he creates a variety of Protestant sects in order to encourage competition in the religious market and thus disrupt the hegemony of the Church; and he takes his understanding of the American people's constitutional right to alter their form of government as his own imperative to alter other people's form of government if it seems un-American to him. Although the young men Morgan educates to make modern inroads into the feudal system beg him not to destroy their people, when confronted he has no compunctions about using his superior technology to blow up his enemies, who by then constitute the entire populace. Between them, Whitman's "Passage to India" and Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court lay out the spectrum of American imperialist attitudes in the period prior to the Spanish-American War, with "Passage" seeing global economies (spiritual or material) as the fulfillment of American destinies, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court seeing the person of the imperialist as an intolerant, technological bully.


The Spanish-American War, a series of related military events that resulted in the U.S. acquisition of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and the Hawaiian Islands, and in U.S. cultural dominance over Cuba, saw the U.S. entry onto the world stage as an imperial power. These events, with the various ideologies that motivated them, resonate in American writing of the period in a multitude of ways. The Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), whose stories and novels about the British presence in India had long been popular reading for American audiences, laid down the challenge in his poem "The White Man's Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands," published in the February 1899 issue of McClure's Magazine. Urging Americans to Take up the White Man's burden Send forth the best ye breed Go send your sons to exile to serve your captives' need (P. 1)Kipling characterized colonized peoples as "new-caught, sullen," "half devil and half child" (p. 1). America's duty as an imperialist power was to export Western civilization, even though its reward would be "the blame of those ye better / The hate of those ye guard" (p. 1). The benefits to the United States would be a state of national "manhood" that would earn the United States entry into the community of imperialist nations.

Kipling's poem provided a magnet for American sentiments about this first venture into imperialism from all sides of the spectrum. For Theodore Roosevelt, then serving as vice president, it was "poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view," whereas his friend Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who had already advocated American intervention in China as a way to "save the teeming millions of China . . . [to] keep them free, not merely for the incoming of commerce, but for the entrance of the light of Western civilization" (Dementyev, p. 141), thought it not only good sense but also good poetry. For expansionists, the poem brilliantly combined the long-term belief in Manifest Destiny with America's Christian mission, making a fusion of the religious understanding of "foreign fields" inseparable from the capitalist understanding of "foreign markets."

Kipling's poem also served as a catalyst for the literary expression of anti-imperialist sentiment. For the journalist and writer Stephen Crane (1871–1900), military intervention in foreign lands also provided a means of examining American manhood. In sketches such as "Marine Signaling Under Fire at Guantanamo" (1899), written from the Cuban front, Crane delineates the spare, worn bravery of American soldiers under fire. In others, such as "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" (1899), Crane's own ironic strain emerges, as he portrays an embedded war correspondent who, when his company is ordered to advance, "took his mackintosh and his bottle of whiskey and invaded Cuba" (Crane, p. 1060). Similar ironic undermining of the heroic ideal appears in short stories such as "The Second Generation" (1899) in which a state senator finagles a commission for his son, a self-centered shirker who plays a sublimely incompetent role in the capture of San Juan Hill. For Crane, who was interested in any theater of action as a locus for observing men's behaviors, the Spanish-American War exposed American ideals as much as it supported them. The protagonist of "The Second Generation" is compared to his more competent colleagues, but even their courage is brought into question in passages that deliberately evoke Kipling's poem. For instance, at one point "three venerable colonels" are said to stand

behind their lines, quiet, stern, courteous old fellows, admonishing their regiments to be very pretty in the face of such a hail of magazine-rifle and machine-gun fire as has never in this world been confronted save by beardless savages when the white man has found occasion to take his burden to some new place. (Crane, p. 1115)

Stephen Crane's ironies registered his distance from the expansionists fairly quietly. Others were far noisier. Although popular writers such as Richard Harding Davis, who like Crane also reported back from the Cuban front, found Roosevelt and his Rough Riders appropriate representatives of the American ideal, many other American writers questioned the invasion of Cuba and the Philippines and the annexation of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Hawaiian Islands. For these, the specter of American imperialism demonstrated the failure of American ideals on moral, religious, and political grounds, and they responded through a variety of genres, including essays, poems, and fiction. The philosopher William James (1842–1910), for instance, sent forth a volley of essays in protest, including a 1 March 1899 letter to the Boston Evening Transcript on "The Philippine Tangle" that excoriates Americans for embracing

a national destiny which must be "big" at any cost, and which for some inscrutable reason it has become infamous for us to disbelieve in or refuse. We are to be missionaries of civilization, and to bear the white man's burden, painful as it often is. We must sow our ideals, plant our order, impose our God. The individual lives are nothing. Our duty and our destiny call, and civilization must go on. Could there be a more damning indictment of the whole bloated idol termed "modern civilization" than this amounts to? (P. 2)

Mark Twain, who had originally supported the war in Cuba because he genuinely believed the United States had invaded to help the Cubans in their struggle against the Spanish, realized his mistake when the country capitalized on its Cuban victory by invading the Philippines. Twain registered his protest both orally, in interviews with the press, and literarily, in essays such as "To the Person Sitting in Darkness," published in the North American Review in 1901. Perhaps the most widely known of the anti-imperialist writings to emerge from this period, Twain's essay attacks Western imperialism as it was manifesting itself in South Africa, China, Cuba, and the Philippines, and berates the United States for learning to play "the European Game"—economic aggression thinly disguised as military aid and Christian benevolence. "The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust," Twain writes bitterly, "wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy." He continues:

There is more money in it, more territory, more sovereignty, and other kinds of emolument, than there is in any other game that is played. But Christendom has been playing it badly of late years . . . she has been so eager to get every stake that appeared on the green cloth, that the People Who Sit in Darkness have noticed it . . . [and] have become suspicious of the Blessings of Civilization. (P. 199)

With "King Leopold's Soliloquy" (1905), a fictional monologue by the Belgian King Leopold, who alternately boasts about his bloody successes in the Congo and bemoans the criticism leveled at him by other countries, and "A Defense of General Funston" (1902), which violently criticizes the lionizing of U.S. General Frederick Funston, regarded as a hero for having arrested the heroic Filipino leader Emilio Aguinaldo through devious and dishonorable means, Twain's satiric writings played a major role in the literary protest against American participation in imperialist agendas. Other satirists also answered the call, among them Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936), whose comic character "Mr. Dooley," an Irish American saloon keeper, mocks American attitudes toward the Filipinos in particular and toward people of color in general:

We say to thim: "Naygurs," we say, "poor dissolute, uncovered wretches . . . we propose f'r to larn ye th' uses iv liberty. In ivry city in this unfair land we will erect school-houses an' packin' houses an' houses iv correction; an' we'll larn ye our language, because 'tis aisier to larn ye ours than to larn ourselves your's. . . . an', whin ye've become edycated an' have all th' blessin's iv civilization that we don't want . . . we'll threat ye th' way a father shud threat his childer if we have to break ivry bone in ye're bodies. So come to our ar-rms," says we. (P. 183)

Anti-imperialist sentiment appeared in poetry and fiction as well as in satiric essays and sketches. A common thread linking most of the protest literature is a sense that in invading countries that had manifested no enmity toward the United States, Americans had betrayed their most cherished principles, from both the Enlightenment and religious strains of American identity. Henry Blake Fuller's (1857–1929) series of poems in his collection The New Flag (1899) in particular inveigh against Christian hypocrisy; for example, in "Two Prayers" the second prayer, "The President went to church and joined in the singing," begins:

There amid the congregation
shaven and smooth and gravely bland
With appropriate sanctimony
See the blood-stained murderers stand

and posits an angry Deity who instructs the recording angel to

Let the deeds of hell be graven
One by one, and counted in.
Public honor prostituted
Faith betrayed and vows belied
And the sluices of corruption
Hammered up and opened wide.
Write it in the tears of Freedom
In the shambles crimson stain
Mark the thousands basely butchered
For a preaccursed gain.

( The New Flag, p. 52)

Other poets focused on the betrayal of Enlightenment ideals, as in Ernest Howard Crosby's (1856–1907) Whitmanesque "The New Freedom," which begins by evoking American freedoms and post-Revolutionary strengths and then laments that:

Times change, and freedom changes with them . . .
The political liberty of Seventy-six, the equality
before the law, of which you talk
so much, is no longer the living ideal that it was;
It is now a fossil for antiquaries to toy with.

(Plain Talk in Psalm and Parable, p. 59)

Crosby also joined numerous other poets in parodying Kipling's poem, such as his "The Real 'White Man's Burden,'" which begins:

Take up the White Man's burden
Send forth your sturdy kin
And load them down with Bibles
And cannon-balls and gin
Throw in a few diseases
To spread the tropic climes
For there the healthy niggers
Are quite behind the times.

(Swords and Plowshares, p. 73)

With the African American community, which bitterly protested the war, Crosby was one of the white anti-imperialists who recognized the racism inherent in American attitudes toward both Cubans and Filipinos.

Fictional responses to the Spanish-American War also explored the complexity of American attitudes toward war and toward the peoples they had conquered. William Dean Howells's (1837–1920) short story "Editha" (1906), rather than focusing on politics or race, instead examines the ramifications of jingoism—the persistent call to arms launched by "yellow press" journals such as the New York World and the New York Journal—on private lives. In this story, Editha, a girl steeped in romance novels, persuades her reluctant fiancé to join the army so that he can become a hero. After he is killed in combat, Editha, seeing herself as a tragic heroine, travels to Iowa to comfort his elderly mother. Instead of the romantic meeting she has envisioned, however, the older woman attacks her furiously for having persuaded her pacifist son to betray his principles. Briefly ashamed of herself, Editha's self-esteem is resurrected when a companion identifies the mother's behavior as "vulgar," that is, beneath Editha's class. With that

a light broke upon Editha in the darkness which she felt had been without a gleam of brightness for weeks and months. The mystery that had bewildered her was solved by the word; and from that moment she rose from groveling in shame and self-pity, and began to live again in the ideal. (P. 265)

Howells's attack here is multiple: long a critic of romance novels, which he believed taught false principles—especially to young women—he also understood the class differences between those who supported the war and those who actually fought in it.

While Howells's focus is on the impact of the war internally, Ernest Howard Crosby's novel Captain Jinks, Hero (1902), examines American justifications for invading foreign territories. Sending his gullible protagonist, Sam (called Jinks by his companions), from West Point, to Cuba, to the Philippines, and from there to China during the Boxer Rebellion, Crosby focuses on the differences between American ideals and war's realities, with especial attention to the impact of war on Cuban, Filipino, and Chinese peasants. In Cuba, for instance, the army invades a village on a feast day, when

the whole population had been in the streets in their best clothes. The soldiers snatched the jewels of the women and chased the men away, and then looted the houses, destroying what they could not take, and finally setting them on fire. "It's better so," said Sam to his adjutant. "Make war as bad as possible and people will keep the peace. We are the real peace-makers." He heard shouts and cries as he passed through the villages, and had reason to think that the soldiers were not contented with mere looting, but he did not inquire. (P. 328)

Later, when another officer is asked whether he thinks American Negroes make good soldiers, he replies in the affirmative, giving as reasons that "they are more submissive to discipline; they're used to being ordered about and kicked and cuffed, and they don't mind it. Besides, they're accustomed from their low social position to be subordinate to superiors, and rather expect it than not" (p. 328). Crosby also skewers the missionary movement. Sam, at a dinner in China, speaks with a missionary who exults in the invasion by the allied powers. "These are great days, Colonel Jinks," says the missionary:

Great days, indeed, for foreign missions. What would St. John have said on the island of Patmos if he could have cabled for half-a-dozen armies and half-a-dozen fleets, and got them too? . . . As he looks down upon us to-night, how his soul must rejoice! The Master told us to go into all nations, and we are going to go if it takes a million troops to send us and keep us there. (P. 354)

The anger evinced in these works is indicative of an intense emotional engagement. Although in 1898, when the United States invaded the Philippines, many Americans did not know where the islands were located; by the end of that year, when the Treaty of Paris officially ended the first phase of the war, American consciousness of world geography had moved to a new level. Most important, American understanding of the United States' place in the world order had undergone a radical, and irrevocable, shift. The literary response overwhelmingly registers the sense of betrayal many felt when they realized that the democratic principles of freedom and tolerance, and the Christian principles of benevolence and charity, were in fact masks for economic and racial aggression, but many other Americans felt that America's destiny required exportation of American ideals and a demonstration of U.S. strength in the world order. Although a large faction would call for neutrality at the onset of World War I fifteen years later, the argument for U.S. status as a major world power had already been won.

See alsoAnglo-Saxonism; Annexation and Expansion; Humor; Philippine-American War; Spanish-American War; The Squatter and the Don


Primary Works

Crane, Stephen. "Stories, Sketches, and Journalism, Cuba." 1899. In Prose and Poetry: Maggie, a Girl of the Streets; The Red Badge of Courage; Stories, Sketches, and Journalism; Poetry, edited by J. C. Levenson. New York: Literary Classics of the U.S., 1984.

Crosby, Ernest. Captain Jinks, Hero. 1902. In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

Crosby, Ernest. Plain Talk in Psalm and Parable. 1899. In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

Crosby, Ernest. Swords and Ploughshares. 1899. In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

Dunne, Finley Peter. Mr. Dooley in the Hearts of His Countrymen. 1899. In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

Foner, Philip S., ed. The Literary Anti-Imperialists. Vol. 2 of The Anti-Imperialist Reader: A Documentary History of Anti-Imperialism in the United States, edited by Philip S. Foner and Richard C. Winchester. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1986.

Fuller, Henry Blake. The New Flag. 1899. In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

Howells, William Dean. "Editha." 1906. In Foner, The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

James, William. "The Philippine Tangle." Boston Evening Transcript, 1 March 1899. Also available at

Kipling, Rudyard. "The White Man's Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands." In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists. Also available at

Twain, Mark. "To the Person Sitting in Darkness." 1901. In Foner, ed., The Literary Anti-Imperialists.

Whitman, Walt. "Passage to India." In Leaves of Grass, edited by Sculley Bradley and Harold W. Blodgett. New York: Norton, 1973.

Secondary Works

Dementyev, I. P. USA: Imperialists and Anti-Imperialists (The Great Foreign Policy Debate at the Turn of the Century). Translated by David Skvirsky. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1979.

Kaplan, Amy. The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Millis, Walter. The Martial Spirit. Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1931.

Welch, Richard E., Jr. Response to Imperialism: The United States and the Philippine-American War, 1899–1902. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979.

Susan K. Harris

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