At the turn of the century, America and the views of its people were changing. Many different ideas were surfacing about issues that affected the country as a whole. The Republican Party, led by William McKinley, were concentrating on the expansion of the United States and looking to excel in power and commerce. The Democratic Party at this time was led by William Jennings Bryan, who was absorbed in a sponge of morality and was concerned with the rights of man.
The nation's self-interest was divided into different ideas between the two parties. At this time imperialism and anti-imperialism were the dominant topics regarding America's destiny. One argument backing U. S. imperialism is by naval strategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan. At this time, Great Britain had the strongest sea power.
Mahan states that America's navy must be as strong to compete in trade and war. Expansion would aid exports, and more naval power would grant the ability to overcome obstacles such as a dispute between the U. S. and another country. Most importantly, Mahan states that the world is in struggle and the U.
S. must protect itself to survive. Another argument in favor of U. S. imperialism was that of Albert J. Beveridge.
Beveridge argued that it was the duty of Americans to govern others, he felt that if Britain and Germany could, then why not America as well. In response to the opposition that stated that people should not govern those who do not wish to be governed Beveridge responded that, ." ... applies only to those who are capable of self government," (Beveridge 1898), and as he and many others saw it, foreign lands were not capable of self- government. Additionally, Beveridge argued that there was too much in America.
He stated that there are too many employees and not enough jobs, too much capital and not enough investment; he felt that all the U. S. needed was more circulation. Invading and taking over foreign lands was just the way to do it.
An additional argument in favor of U. S. imperialism was that of Charles Denby and his explanation of why we should not give up the 'foothold' we have in the Philippines. According to Denby, commerce was the most important factor to a nation's well-being. Denby felt that by keeping hold in the Philippines China's market was much more easily accessible. China having a very profitable market and the U.
S. being involved was very beneficial for the country in general. As long as China profited so did the U. S... In turn it was just easier and more accessible to the Chinese market if the U. S.
had stake in the Philippines. All of these articles demonstrate a very high self-interest and also somewhat aggressive outlook on U. S. imperialism.
All three seem to agree that expansion equaled commerce, which in turn equaled power. The articles chiefly suggest that other nations would be privileged to have the U. S. control them.
They all take basically the same ethnocentric view that the U. S. is best. On the reverse was the anti-imperialistic argument. This argument was supported by Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan and the National Liberty Congress of Anti-Imperialists. Bryan was a very moral person and was concerned with the freedom of all men.
He believed that expansion was wrong because the U. S. was trying to constitution alize lands and people out of its jurisdiction. He felt that people's rights were being sacrificed for cash flow.
In reference to dealing with the Filipino problem, he proposed that the U. S. merely aid rather than control. The U. S. was able to help Cuba stabilize a government while protecting them with the Monroe Doctrine.
Bryan felt that the same solution could have been asserted to the Philippines problem. The difference in the self interest of Anti-imperialists is that they are viewing it from the Filipinos point of view. The annexation of the Philippines was justified by President William McKinley in 1898, with the argument that if the U. S. were only to take control of Manila, the others were still left in limbo; therefore the whole country must be seized. Furthermore, if the U.
S. were to give back the country to Spain or France, it would look weak. The third reason that the U. S. was to let the country govern itself, they could not do it because they were not capable or competent enough. With these facts in mind the U.
S. also said that with keeping the islands they could culture and teach the Filipinos and Christianize them. It seems that McKinley was in a dilemma of right and wrong. The Monroe Doctrine would have been a possible solution to the problem, but the U.
S. would then lose power and commerce. McKinley did not want to go against his wealthy and powerful backers and give up the Philippines. In his view, the nation's self-interest was based on commerce, capital, employment, and circulation. There are many racial and religious bigoted assumptions in McKinley's argument. One such bigoted assumption is that the Filipinos were "unfit for self-government, and they would soon have anarchy and misrule worse than Spain's was," (McKinley 1898).
A religious bigotry that was present was McKinley's belief that in order to civilize the Filipinos they would have to be Christianized. Both of these views reflected many Americans feelings at this time and were ethnocentric in origin. According to anti-imperialists point of view, the American imperial policy was a threat to the ideals upon which our republic was founded because "For the first time in our country's history the president has undertaken to subjugate a foreign people and to rule them by despotic power... ." (Address 1900). Furthermore anti-imperialists felt the imperial policy suggests governing millions of people without their consent. Finally imperialists believed that, "The policy of the president offers the inhabitants of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines no hope of independence...
." (Address 1900). In summary, these are the strongest arguments for the anti-imperialists. In conclusion, I feel that the imperialist views were stronger than the anti-imperialist views. All the imperialists wanted to do was to make the nation better and stronger, which was all in the best interest of the U.
S... The United States became an extremely strong military power due to the decisions at this time. Due to the drive of the development of America at the present time, our nation was a dominant power in World War I in 1916. Furthermore the U. S. has been a dominant world power for years to come all the way to present day.
Finally, the imperialist view at the turn of the century was a movement to stabilize the economy, improve trade among other nations, and offer protection to make the lives of Americans better and easier. Reference Note Page Albert J. Beveridge Endorses Imperialism. Speech, September 16, 1898. Modern Eloquence, v. 11 (Philadelphia: John D.
Morris and Co. , 1903), pp. 224-243. The Siren Song of Imperialism: McKinley Prays for Guidance. Report from an interview, January 22, 1903.
C. S. Olcott, The Life of William McKinley, v. 2 (1916), pp. 110-111." Find the Constitution" Philadelphia, North American, 1901 Address to the Voters of the United States. National Liberty Congress of Anti- Imperialists.
Indianapolis, IN, August 15-16, 1900. (web).