Explain McKinley's decision to keep the Philippines.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

President McKinley three important reasons for why he decided to keep the Philippines.  Two of them illustrate nicely some of the major reason for imperialism at the turn of the century.  The two important reasons were (the third is simply that it would be immoral to give them back to Spain):

  • They could not be allowed to fall into the hands of Germany or France because those were "our commercial rivals" and letting them have the Philippines "would be bad business."  This shows the importance of economic considerations.
  • They could not be allowed to be independent because "they were unfit for self-government."  This shows the "white man's burden" aspect of imperialism.  It shows that one reason for imperialism was the desire to civilize "backwards" people.

Therefore, McKinley decided to keep the Philippines even though some people thought that it was against American values to have colonies and others did not want a country full of non-whites to become part of the US.


hgcai3456's profile pic

hgcai3456 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The Philippines islands are close to China. As a result, McKingley wanted to reap the benefits of trading and providing services to such a large market in China. It would benefit both economies. 

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