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Humanities Libertexts

19.8: Primary Sources

  • Page ID
    10033
  • William McKinley on American Expanionism (1903)

    After the surrender of the Spanish in the Spanish-American War, the United States assumed control of the Philippines and struggled to contain an anti-American insurgency.

    Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899)

    As the United States waged war against Filipino insurgents, the British writer and poet Rudyard Kipling urged the Americans to take up “the white man’s burden.”

    James D. Phelan, “Why the Chinese Should Be Excluded” (1901)

    James D. Phelan, the mayor of San Francisco, penned the following article to drum up support for the extension of laws prohibiting Chinese immigration.

    William James on “The Philippine Question” (1903)

    Many Americans opposed imperialist actions. Here, the philosopher William James explains his opposition in the light of history.

    Mark Twain, “The War Prayer” (ca.1904-5)

    The American writer Mark Twain wrote the following satire in the glow of America’s imperial interventions.

    School Begins (1899)

    In this 1899 cartoon published, Uncle Sam lectures his new students: The Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and, Cuba. Past and potentially future U.S. acquisitions fill the rest of the classroom.

    “Declined With Thanks” (1900)

    In this political cartoon, tailor President McKinley measures an obese Uncle Sam for larger clothing, while Anti-Expansionists like Joseph Pulitzer unsuccessfully offer Sam a weight-loss elixir. As the nation increased its imperialistic presence and mission, many like Pulitzer worried that America would grow too big for its own good.

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