The White Man's Burden by Rudyard Kipling

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What does the "white man's burden" Pears' Soap advertisment mean?

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In his poem “The White Man’s Burden,” author Rudyard Kipling writes,

Take up the White Man’s burden—

Send forth the best ye breed—

Go send your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need...

Thus, Kipling believes that the well-educated ("the best ye breed") Europeans have a moral obligation to conquer and colonize peoples of other, less economically developed countries in order to bring them European cultures, ideas, and customs. He refers to the conquered people, who generally were darker skinned than the European conquerors, as “Half devil and half child.” It is up to “the White Man” to patiently endure “the threat of terror” and “the hate of those [they] guard“ to expand their European values.

Kipling believes that it is incumbent on Great Britain, the United States, and other more developed countries to bring their culture to less developed nations to help “civilize” them. In the late 1800s, Pears' Soap used the same concept in its advertising campaigns,...

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