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Acquisition of the Philippines

Autor:   •  March 22, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,119 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,889 Views

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The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10,1898, officially putting an end the Spanish American War. The Treaty had put an end to an era of the United States characterized by war but also marked the beginning of a whole new era-- an era characterized by colonial expansion of the United States government. While although the United States did acquire the Philippines from the Treaty, there was much larger implications behind the actual acquisition of the Philippines as a US protectorate. On a world scale, the United States had to compete with the interests of the Europeans in order to establish our dominance. The Philippines presented a very interesting economic opportunity, which, if shared, would not yield the amount of opportunity that it would if we were to seize it or otherwise claim it for our own. With the expansion of colonialism in the later half of the 19th century, the United States hid their motives of opportunism and expansionism behind an elaborate mask of democratization and bringing culture to an otherwise “savage nation.”

As William McKinley mentioned in his “Decision on the Philippines” (2)”That we could not turn them over to France or Germany, our commercial rivals in the Orient; that would be bad business and discreditable.” Clearly from this statement we see that McKinley has the belief that the Philippines holds great opportunity to the United States. Relinquishing them to our commercial rivals would be “discreditable.” His argument seems to imply that the interest of the United States would be to keep the Philippines and harvest the economic opportunity of it for ourselves, in order to prevent our rivals from coming on top. This very concept embodies the entire colonialism period. Nations competed with each other for the ultimate authority over the dominions which they govern and to prove that they were an authority in the world sphere. Mentioned near the beginning of the article, “In making an economic case against imperialism, critics denied the truth of contemporary aphorism, to wit, that “trade follows the flag.”” Many brilliant minds like Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Schurz had the affirm belief that the United States did not have to claim the Philippines in order to promote trade between the United States and the Orient. However, President McKinley did not have the same belief. To him, the United States had to capitalize on the opportunity that was presented to it. The Orient was a land ripe with resources, and in the opinion of our President, the only way to capitalize on trading with the Orient would be to plant the flag into the same soil that we would exploit. We had to acquire the territory and exploit it for everything that it was worth. Not only was it a strategical advantage to keep the rest of the world out of the Philippines, but it also claimed the Philippines to be something unique and intrinsic belonging to the United States.

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