Monday, August 31, 2009

Imperialism vs. Isolationism

In his speech delivered at Savannah, GA on December 13, 1898, William Jennings Bryan criticizes the imperialist efforts of the United States in reference to the occupancy and desired control over the Philippines. He bases his arguments in the idea that imperialism and expansion other than that of the neighbouring territory goes against the nature of the Declaration of Independence:

The imperialistic idea is directly antagonistic to the idea and ideals which
have been cherished by the American people since the signing of the Declaration
of Independence.

Bryan adds that the government should represent the voice of the people and not be created by those who are more powerful to enforce their will upon the people. He believes that instead of war, diplomacy should be used to solve the conflict.

On the other hand, William McKinley supports the annexation of the Philippines arguing that this territory would benefit with the influence and guidance of America, which would help with the creation of a kinder, more effective government, and would improve the lives of the Philippine inhabitants. McKinley is a strong supporter of the American Congress and believes that their decisions will be based on the well-being of the American people and the benefit of the country. He states that:

The whole subject is now with Congress, and Congress is the voice, the conscience, and the judgement of the American people. Upon their conscience can we not rely? I believe in them. I trust them. I know of no better or safer human tribunal than the people.

1 comment:

  1. A good post. Bryan is interesting because he was both an anti-imperialist opposed to the war and once we had acquired these new territories a reluctant annexationist. Many populists supported expansion which they saw as a way to create markets for agriculture and help to ease the farm crisis by raising prices for commodities. Other populists opposed expansion for political and racial reasons, they saw it as a threat to democracy.