According to President William McKinley, who should control the government of the Philippines and why?

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mrkirschner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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"...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.."  -President William McKinley

After the Spanish-American War, there was much debate about what should happen to the territories that were previously governed by Spain. Of particular interest was the Philippines, which had a strong freedom fighter in Emilio Aguinaldo that advocated self-rule in his country.
The judgment of William McKinley was clouded by racism and the idea of Manifest Destiny. In general, there was an American sentiment that God had given the United States the burden of civilizing the masses of the world and introducing them to Christianity. While this seems unimaginable by today's standards, it was a real doctrine preached by American political leaders in the early Twentieth Century. McKinley stated that he did not want to govern the Philippines, but had a moral obligation to do so. President McKinley decided that the United States should govern the Philippines because they were not fit to govern themselves. Emilio Aguinaldo did not agree with that opinion, but that is a story for a different day.

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