Kipling wrote the "The White Man's Burden" for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (who reigned from 1837-1901), and the poem was published in the New York Sun on February 10, 1899. Later, Kipling rewrote parts of the poem to address the American annexation of the Philippines following the Spanish-American War in 1898. The audience for the poem was the imperialist powers, including the emerging imperialist power--the United States. Kipling was a friend of Teddy Roosevelt, who believed in American imperialism, and the poem was written in part written to convince Americans to take over the Philippines.
Even before the poem appeared in the Sun, parts of it were read aloud in the U.S. Senate to in fact justify not colonizing the Philippines; however, the poem was later read as a justification for colonization. Lines such as "Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child" justified the narrative of America's belief in Manifest Destiny and its desire to become an imperial power. While many Americans at the time, including Mark Twain, were opposed to colonization on the basis that it dehumanized and debased conquered people, Kiping's poem justified colonization based on the idea that Americans had a duty to colonize inferior people to bring about their moral uplift.