Students have read about the U.S. acquisition of the Philippines after the Spanish-American
War and how Americans debated whether or not to annex the territory. In this
activity they will examine speeches from the 1900s that present both imperialistic
and anti-imperialistic views on the annexation question.
Students will use information from the Great American Speeches Web site to read
three 1900s speeches on the Philippines annexation debate. They will read a
speech by Albert J. Beveridge, who favored annexation, and a speech by William
Jennings Bryan, who opposed annexation. They will also read a selection by Mark
Twain that offers a mock defense of the American general who captured the Filipino
resistance leader. Students will then answer four questions and apply this information
by creating a chart that identifies the arguments presented on both sides of
the annexation debate.
- Students will identify the views of imperialists and anti-imperialists in
the debate of Philippines annexation.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to chart imperialistic and anti-imperialistic
arguments in the debate of Philippines annexation.
Student Web Activity Answers
- Beveridge uses the following to argue for annexation: annexation would allow
the United States access to China and other Asian markets; it is the duty
of the American people to annex the Philippines since the Filipinos cannot
govern themselves; imperialism is the mission of the Anglo-Saxon race; God
has chosen the United States to establish order where there is none; the Philippines
is rich in natural resources; and the Constitution validates imperialism.
- In his speech, Beveridge uses the following phrases to describe Americans
and the United States: "His chosen people," "master organizers
of the world," "His chosen nation," and "guardians of
the righteous peace." He uses these phrases to describe the Filipino
nation: "barbarous race," "not capable of self-government,"
- To those who state that the United States must annex the Philippines in
order to become a world power, Bryan answers that the United States already
is a world power. Some argue that the United States should annex in order
to keep markets open, but Bryan says that it is not necessary to own people
(or annex their nation) in order to trade with them. To those who argue about
Americans’ Christian duty to civilize the world, Bryan says, "Imperialism
has no warrant in the Bible." Some contend that since American blood
was shed in the Philippines, the United States is compelled to hold the territory.
However, Bryan states that bloodshed does not make it imperative that the
United States holds the territory forever.
- Twain is condemning the methods that General Funston used in capturing the
Filipino leader Aguinaldo. He contrasts what he sees as the deplorable deed
of General Funston with the virtues of President George Washington. Twain
criticizes that Funston killed Aguinaldo’s bodyguard and that the Americans
tortured Filipino prisoners after the Filipino leader instructed his soldiers
to "treat the American prisoners well" and sent food that prevented
the General and his men from starving.
- Students’ charts should accurately present imperialistic and anti-imperialistic
arguments from the speeches. Their responses to the debate will vary.
Go To Student Web Activity