Why does Bryan say "we dare not educate" Filipinos?  

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1900, William Jennings Bryan received the Democratic nomination for president. In his acceptance speech, he rejected imperialistic foreign policy. While discussing the Philippines, he satirically stated that "we dare not educate" the Filipinos. He was not degrading the Filipinos, as this quotation might suggest, but actually arguing for their self-determination.

One imperialistic argument for maintaining an American presence in the Philippines was that the Americans could bring them better education. Bryan snarkily replied that the Americans had better not educate the Filipinos, because they might accidentally teach them about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Learning about these American founding documents, Bryan attested, would show the Filipinos that the Americans were hypocrites for resisting England's colonialism in the 18th century, but imposing the same imperialistic system upon the Philippines in the 20th. In this way, Bryan was warning the Americans not to act like the British had prior to the Revolutionary War.

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