For this assignment, you will read “The White Man’s Burden” (which we will discuss in class), by Rudyard Kipling,
http://ux1.eiu.edu/nekey/syllabi/british/kipling1899.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Something very important to remember about Rudyard Kipling is that he was NOT racist. He grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, and was a Freemason. He had men from every race, religion and color in the Lodge with him, and loved and respected them all. We will discuss what he is really saying in his poem in class.
and “To the Person Sitting in Darkness”, by Mark Twain.
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/sitting.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Something else to remember as you read Twain’s satirical essay on American Imperialism, is that if the US didn’t take the Philippines, Hawaii, and the other unclaimed islands, how long do you think they would have remained free? And who would have conquered them instead of us? You’re right. Autocratic nations such as Japan, Germany, and possibly even Russia. From our perspective, it would be much better, since their independence would be lost anyhow, for us to take them over, keep as many local customs and traditions as possible, and then, like Rome, introduce them to the benefits of civilization whether or not they wanted them!!!
Ack!! What a manky situation! To imperialize or not to imperialize, that was the question. And that is, actually, your question. Do you agree with Kipling or Twain, or both? remember the points made above. There was a world-wide race for power going on, and if we didn’t play, we’d lose big time. Does that justify what we did, though? Think about it, and write me your very best arguments in a 5 paragraph essay!