What kind of imperialistic questions would you ask President McKinley in a mock trial?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I assume that this is a trial in which President McKinley is charged with some sort of wrongdoing for having been imperialistic.  I think this since he presided over the Spanish-American War and the taking of the Philippines and since you would presumably not put someone on trial for not being imperialistic enough.  So, the questions I pose here will be based on the idea that McKinley did wrong by engaging in imperialism.

Some possible questions to ask would include:

  • The United States fought to gain its freedom from a colonial power.  Why is it right for the US to turn around and colonize the Philippines and, in a sense, Cuba?
  • How would it have harmed Cuba and the Philippines if they had been given their independence?
  • How would it have harmed the United States if Cuba and the Philippines had been given their freedom?
  • Do you have any reason, other than racist reasons, to argue that Cuba and the Philippines should not be free?
  • Why was it right to kill Spaniards because they wanted to keep Cuba if the US was just going to take effective control over Cuba after the war?
  • Does the United States have the right to deprive other people of their freedom so we can have more military and economic power?

These questions would, in my mind, expose the immorality of the thinking that led to imperialism during McKinley’s time.

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