Watch the two clips. Summarize the two different views people had on imperialism and state which individual or group held which view.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The imperialist view held that economic interest required an expansion of U.S. presence on a global scale through naval power. In keeping with this, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico were annexed by taking advantage of internal war for independence against other imperialists. U.S. constitutional requirements were violated since these annexations provided no route to statehood. Hawaii was approached through the route of American monopolization of pineapple and sugar trade, which was achieved by the building of large plantations and by a show of naval strength to dethrone out-manned Queen Liliuokalani. Alaska was purchased through a secret treaty with Russia, sponsored by Seaward, that flagrantly defied the U.S. Congress, which only agreed to purchasing Alaska much later.

Those who favored imperialism included presidents, like McKinley, naval admirals, like Matthew Perry, and members of the U.S. Congress among others, including ordinary citizens. Support for imperialism came from the United Kingdom in the person of novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling, who coined the phrase "White Man's burden" to dramatize the idea of the need to civilize and Christianize other nations.

The anti-imperialist view held that economic and commercial interest, the interest of naval dominance or that of assumed ethnic superiority could not justify imperialism. They held that it was morally wrong to enslave and exploit other peoples and lands and that imperialism was opposed to the very tenets of democracy. An economic faction of anti-imperialists also held that imperialism would take jobs away from American workers (an argument employed today against international relocation of industry and out-sourcing).

Those who advocated anti-imperialism included politicians, like Grover Cleveland, social activists, like Jane Adams, educators and others, some of whom have been significantly influential in American society, like Booker T. Washington and Andrew Carnegie. It was Jane Adams who denounced the ideas expressed by Kipling in his coined poetic phrase "White Man's burden."

"The White Man's Burden"

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need ...
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child
Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide ...
By open speech and simple
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit
And work another’s gain
Take up the White Man’s burden— ... (Rudyard Kipling)

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team