What are some references to the phrase "White Man's Burden"?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The term 'White Man's Burden' with reference to American history was used to justify America's social, economic, and political expansionist agenda beginning with the Spanish American War. The mentality of 'The White Man's Burden' was that it was America's duty to Christianize the uncivilized corners of the world, and although there were those who truely believed in America's missionary zeal, make no mistake that the United States did hide behind the Christian 'card' to further its sometimes unsavory and undemocratic behavior in these regions in its quest to further American business interests. For additional information research these keywords on eNotes:

  • U.S History/Spanish American War
  • American Presidents/Teddy Roosevelt
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem by Rudyard Kipling and the title "White Man's Burden" are linked because the author wrote the poem for Americans and sent an advanced copy to President Theodore Roosevelt. The full title of the poem is “The White Man’s Burden: 1899, The United States and the Philippine Islands.” At the end of the poem, Kipling urges Americans to continue the imperialistic policies of Great Britain and take the Philippine Islands from Spain. Although many Americans did not want to see American expanding its boundries, others saw it as part of "manifest destiny". To learn more, see the links below.