The White Man's Burden by Rudyard Kipling

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"The White Man's Burden"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: On December 10, 1898, the United States and Spain came to peace. In "The White Man's Burden" Kipling gives vent to his vigorous nationalistic expansion attitudes. He states quite clearly his ideas about the role of the conquered in an almost Greco-pagan manner, and he gives his views about what he thinks the relationship among Cuba, the Philippines, and the United States will be. The poem is a warning to the United States, a warning of what it may expect in its new role as a colonial power.

Take up the White Man's burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.