The US and the Philippines

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What were some arguments for annexing the Philippines?

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The prospective of the annexation of the Philippines caused vigorous debate among the American public. It broke with the previous idea that the annexation of a substantial territory could happen only by incorporating the territory into the United States and extending citizenship to its residents. The imperialists won their debate...

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The prospective of the annexation of the Philippines caused vigorous debate among the American public. It broke with the previous idea that the annexation of a substantial territory could happen only by incorporating the territory into the United States and extending citizenship to its residents. The imperialists won their debate against the anti-imperialists by advancing the following arguments that in their opinion justified making the Philippines a US colony.

1) With its 8 million residents the Philippines would open new prospectives for the expansion of US commerce. In addition to this sizable internal market, the Philippines would serve as a convenient Pacific base for trade with China and Southeast Asia.

2) The Philippine population, they maintained, was not ready for self-government; instead, it needed more “civilizing.” Some of the people advocating this thesis, such as Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana, did so because of explicit racial prejudice against Malay people.

3) If the United States did not colonize the Philippines, Japan or Great Britain would, and this, in turn, would weaken the American position in the Pacific.

4) US Protestant missionary propaganda could “rescue” the Philippine population from Catholicism, paganism, and Islam and instead redirect Filipinos to the Protestants' own, supposedly superior version of Christianity.

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