The Philipines Essay, Research Paper
Justifying the Philippines
William McKinley in 1899 gave a speech regarding why the United States decided to keep the Philippines, when they were “dropped into our laps”. Before giving the speech McKinley was burdened by what would be in the best interest of both countries. He gave four very strong points, with reasoning on why “keeping” the Philippines is the best plan of action for the United States to take.
McKinleys first reason on why it was necessary to keep the Philippines was that giving them back to Spain would make us look “cowardly and dishonorable”. At a time when the Unites States was trying to establish itself as a world power and trying to get other countries to imitate the good example of American democracy. Doing anything to make ourselves look cowardly or dishonorable was out of the question. We were trying also to show that we see ourselves as protectors of the less fortunate and not a bully who was going to leave the less fortunate helpless.
Our second option and McKinleys second point being that we couldn’t turn them over to France or Germany not only because that would also be a cowardly action but a bad business decision. Giving a direct connection to the orient to our biggest commercial rivals in the west would be illogical when we were trying to create a world of free trade and American ideas using American products.
The option of leaving them on their own was not an option to McKinley. He figured that soon enough they would have a fall of rule and end up the same way or worse than Spain was at the time. This also allowed us to show other counties how we could be a perfect model to implement government from. If we left them on their own it wouldn’t show how we were going to help the less fortunate either. Our views were that if we were able to prove that we care about the little countries, then the little countries would then start the trend for the bigger countries to follow as well.
McKinley realized also that the people of this country were not only uneducated but uncivilized. So for McKinley’s fourth point he realized that we had almost no other option than to take them in and educate and civilize them. By doing this we set an example by showing other countries that we were not just taking others under our wing and babying them. We were educating and helping them to start on their own with out us and in an organized and productive manner.
McKinley’s four points in his speech are direct examples showing the changes of American foreign policy during the late 19th century. Our interests for the time were spreading the American dream and government philosophy to the rest of the world trying to create better business opportunities around the world. McKinley showed how American idealism and self-interest have been a guide for American foreign policy from past to present.