This primary source is an excerpt written by Scottish-born entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie, who made his fortune in the US and was a key figure in the anti-imperialist movement that gathered steam in the US after the Spanish-American war. These anti-imperialists did not believe that the US should seek to "conquer"...
This primary source is an excerpt written by Scottish-born entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie, who made his fortune in the US and was a key figure in the anti-imperialist movement that gathered steam in the US after the Spanish-American war. These anti-imperialists did not believe that the US should seek to "conquer" foreign lands already inhabited by people not of the same "race"—that is, not white people. The American Anti-Imperialist League was particularly opposed to the American annexation of the Philippines, and many Americans of import, including Mark Twain, wrote critically about this possibility.
In this primary source, Carnegie lays out his reasons for opposition to what he calls "triumphant despotism." He feels that this is opposed to what the Republic stands for and that to attempt to establish "the rule of the foreigner over the people" would lead to "a scattered and disjointed aggregate of widely separated and alien races." Carnegie feels that an attempt to annex and then govern possessions which could never become part of the united Republic would mean abandoning focus on America itself.
He goes on to suggest that there is one type of "possession" which would be permissible—those in which "we establish and reproduce our own race." He gives Australia and Canada as good examples of this. However, he describes "dependencies" as being burdens upon the mother country, with India an example of a burden upon Britain because we "cannot reproduce our own race there."
Carnegie counters the idea that foreign possessions could help with America's exports, stating that the US already produces the largest amount of exports when compared to anywhere else on earth, including Britain, which possessed many colonies and dependencies at this time. While Carnegie feels that it would be potentially to America's benefit to "grow Americans in any part of the world," he does not believe they should undertake "the government of alien races in lands where it is impossible for our own race to be produced."
Carnegie also offers the point of view that the US was currently "impregnable against serious attack" because all colonies currently held were nearby enough to be easily defended. The Philippines, by contrast, represent to him an enormous country composed of "races bitterly hostile to one another" which would be difficult for America to rule. His major issue continues to be that "Americans cannot be grown there," but he also stipulates that it would be unfair to "practice independence and preach subordination." Carnegie concludes by saying that "to be more powerful at home is the surest way to be powerful abroad."
To the modern reader, Carnegie's reasons for opposing American expansion make uncomfortable reading; in his opposition of expansion, he does consider the issues of hypocrisy, but he also makes racist assumptions and behaves as if Britain had not suppressed any existing native populations to claim the US, Australia, and Canada. However, Carnegie represents the spirit of those anti-imperialists who felt the US should concentrate on its own issues, rather than "burden" itself with the governance of races very different to white Americans.