Twain, like many people opposed to imperialism, believed that American imperialist actions, particularly in the Philippines, were at odds with the putative values of the nation. He spoke and wrote quite often about the subject and was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League, an organization formed specifically to lobby against the annexation of the Philippines. In his satirical essay "To the Person Sitting in Darkness" he made his views on imperialism plain:
And as for a flag for the Philippine Province, it is easily managed. We can have a special one—our States do it: we can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.
Denying freedom to the Filipino people was contrary to America's anti-colonial origins, and the violence and brutality that was used to crush the Filipino uprising was a stain on the national conscience. As he said in a newspaper column in 1900 (about a year before the previously cited essay), "we have...
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