Thursday, October 30, 2008

McKinley's Emancipation of the Phillipines

On February 17, in 1899 President William McKinley made a speech about the United State's involvement in the Phillipines. Almost immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Paris which officially ended the Spanish American War, conflict broke out between the United State's troops occuppying the Phillipines and Filipinos who felt that the Imperial Spain was being replaced with an Imperial United States.

In President McKinley's speech entitled "Emancipators not Masters" he denounces the claims that imperialism is the United State's motive. McKinley claims that American forces were responsibly standing up for the oppressed people of the Spanish territories. He states " But grave problems come in the life of a nation, however much men seek to avoid them. They come without our seeking... But the generation in which they are forced cannot avoid the responsibility of honestly striving for their solution." In this quotation McKinley admits the responsibility the United States had, and even refers to his earlier opposition of the Spanish-American War.

President McKinley goes on to state that the United State's will aid the Phillipines in constructing a new government. He states " That they (Phillipines) will have a kindlier government under our guidance, and that they will be aided in every possible way to be self-respecting and self-governing people...". This quote really caught my attention because it sounded so familiar. It seems to be the exact message that the Bush administration has put forth in order to justify the continuation of the War in Iraq. In addition to the justifications of the McKinley and Bush administration being similar, so is the criticism of both military efforts. The American occupation of formerly Spanish territories, also draws an uncanny resemblance to the continuing occupation of Middle Eastern territories and both Wars were criticized of having imperialistic motives.

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