An old phrase in American political history which was resurrected during the Presidential campaign of 1900, and applied to those who
were opposed to the extension of American territory which had been brought about during the first administration of President McKinley
, principally as a result of the war with Spain
The administration was charged not only by its Democratic opponents, but by many able men in the Republican party, with expansionist or imperialist tendencies considered foreign to the national policy of the country.
While those who opposed the territorial expansion which had been accomplished, anti also was pending, in the matter of the future of the Philippine Islands
, were not sufficiently strong to organize an independent political party, the large number of them within and without the Republican party created a sharp complication in the Presidential campaign.
The position of the two great parties on this issue is shown in the following extracts from the platforms adopted at their respective national conventions.
In the Republican
platform the Philippine problem was treated as follows:
In accepting by the treaty of Paris the just responsibility of our victories in the Spanish War, the President and the Senate won the undoubted approval of the American people.
No other course was possible than to destroy Spain's sovereignty throughout the Western Indies and in the Philippine Islands.
That course created our responsibility before the world, and with the unorganized population whom our intervention had freed from Spain, to provide for the maintenance of law and order, and for the establishment of good government and for the performance of international obligations.
Our authority could not be less than our responsibility, and wherever sovereign rights were extended, it became the high duty of the government to maintain its authority, to put down armed insurrection, and to confer the blessings of liberty and civilization upon all the rescued peoples.
The largest measure of self-government consistent with their welfare and our duties shall be secured to them by law.
The Democratic platform contained two declarations on the subject, the first favoring a qualified expansion as follows:
We are not opposed to territorial expansion when it takes in desirable territory which can be erected into States in the Union, and whose people are willing an fit to become American citizens.
We favor expansion by every peaceful and legitimate means.
But we are unalterably opposed to the seizing or purchasing of distant islands, to be governed outside the Constitution, and whose people can never become citizens.
We are in favor of extending the Republic's influence among the nations, but believe that influence should be extended, not by force and violence, but through the persuasive power of a high and honorable example.
The importance of other questions now pending before the American people is in noise diminished, and the Democratic party takes no backward step from its position on them, but the burning issue of imperialism growing out of the Spanish War involves the very existence of the republic, and the destruction of our free institutions.
We regard it as the paramount issue of the campaign.
In the matter of the Philippine problem, the platform made the following declaration:
We condemn and denounce the Philippine policy of the present administration.
It has involved the republic in unnecessary war, sacrificed the lives of many of our noblest sons, and placed the United States, previously known and applauded throughout the world as the champion of freedom, in the false and un-American position of crushing with military force the efforts of our former allies to achieve liberty and self-government.
The Filipinos cannot be citizens without endangering our civilization; they cannot be subjects without imperilling our form of government, and as we are not willing to surrender our civilization or to convert the republic into an empire, we favor an immediate declaration of the nation's purpose to give to the Filipinos, first, a stable form of government; secondly, independence; and third, protection from outside interference, such as has been given for nearly a century to the republics of Central and South America.
The greedy commercialism which dictated the Philippine policy of the Republican administration attempts to justify it with the plea that it will pay, but even this sordid and unworthy plea fails when brought to the test of facts.
The war of criminal aggression
against the Filipinos, entailing an annual expense of many millions, has already cost more than any possible profit that could accrue from the entire Philippine trade for years to come.
Furthermore, when trade is extended at the expense of liberty, the price is always too high.
See also acquisition of Territory; annexed Territory, status of; Atkinson
, Edward; Bryan
, William Jennings