First, it should be noted that Kipling is writing specifically about the Philippines in this poem. The United States had recently acquired the Philippines in the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War just before the turn of the century(they had long been a Spanish colony). In general, Kipling exhorts the United States to take on the "burden" of an imperial power, but warns that the cost will be heavy. He suggests that the American imperialists will "help" the people of the Philippines, referred to as "new-caught, sullen peoples," by supplying the basics of modernity. The Americans would "fill full the mouth of Famine/And bid the sickness cease." They would also build "ports" and "roads" that they would never "enter" or "tread" upon. The United States did, despite significant opposition from many different sources, annex the Philippines. Annexation resulted in a lengthy and brutal war in which American troops quelled multiple rebellions from Filipino rebels who desired freedom. There were, in fact, numerous efforts to eradicate diseases like smallpox, and American governors oversaw the construction of infrastructure like roads in the Philippines. Most observers, however, especially after the Filipino-American War, would perhaps have suggested that the "burden" of empire rested not on the conquerors, as Kipling predicts, but on the people of the Philippines themselves.