+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com

I’m working on a american studies discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Describe both views on American imperialism during the late 19th century (200-words).



The Anti-Imperialist League was founded in Boston in 1898 by a group of
former abolitionists. It convened in Chicago in 1899 as a national organization
and drafted this platform. The Anti-Imperialist League opposed the annexation
of Hawaii, the U.S. acquisition of the Philippines from Spain, and the military
repression of Filipino nationalists who opposed U.S. rule. Although the League
faltered by 1901, it was highly influential in articulating arguments against this
new U.S. imperialism.
T H I N K T H R O U G H H I S T O R Y : Forming and Supporting Opinions
Would you have supported the Anti-Imperialist League in 1899? Why or why not?
We hold that the policy known as imperialism is hostile to liberty and tends
towards militarism, an evil from which it has been our glory to be free. We
regret that it has become necessary in the land of Washington and Lincoln to
reaffirm that all men, of whatever race or color, are entitled to life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness. We maintain that governments derive their just powers
from the consent of the governed. We insist that the subjugation of any people is
“criminal aggression” and open disloyalty to the distinctive principles of our
We earnestly condemn the policy of the present National Administration in
the Philippines. It seeks to extinguish the spirit of 1776 in those islands. We
deplore the sacrifice of our soldiers and sailors, whose bravery deserves
admiration even in an unjust war. We denounce the slaughter of the Filipinos as
a needless horror. We protest against the extension of American sovereignty by
Spanish methods.
We demand the immediate cessation of the war against liberty, begun by
Spain and continued by us. We urge that Congress be promptly convened to
announce to the Filipinos our purpose to concede to them the independence for
which they have so long fought and which of right is theirs.
The United States have always protested against the doctrine of international
law which permits the subjugation of the weak by the strong. A self-governing
state cannot accept sovereignty over an unwilling people. The United States
cannot act upon the ancient heresy that might makes right.
The Americans © McDougal Littell Inc.
Imperialists assume that with the destruction of self-government in the
Philippines by American hands, all opposition here will cease. This is a grievous
error. Much as we abhor the war of “criminal aggression” in the Philippines,
greatly as we regret that the blood of the Filipinos is on American hands, we
more deeply resent the betrayal of American institutions at home. The real
firing line is not in the suburbs of Manila. The foe is of our own household. The
attempt of 1861 was to divide the country. That of 1899 is to destroy its
fundamental principles and noblest ideals.
Whether the ruthless slaughter of the Filipinos shall end next month or next
year is but an incident in a contest that must go on until the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution of the United States are rescued from the
hands of their betrayers. Those who dispute about standards of value while the
Republic is undermined will be listened to as little as those who would wrangle
about the small economies of the household while the household is on fire. The
training of a great people for a century, the aspiration for liberty of a vast
immigration are forces that will hurl aside those who in the delirium of
conquest seek to destroy the character of our institutions.
We deny that the obligation of all citizens to support their Government in
times of grave National peril applies to the present situation. If an
Administration may with impunity ignore the issues upon which it was chosen,
deliberately create a condition of war anywhere on the face of the globe,
debauch the civil service for spoils to promote the adventure, organize a truthrepressing censorship and demand of all citizens a suspension of judgment and
their unanimous support while it chooses to continue the fighting,
representative government itself is imperiled.
We propose to contribute to the defeat of any person or party that stands for
the forcible subjugation of any people. We shall oppose for reelection all who
in the White House or in Congress betray American liberty in pursuit of unAmerican ends. We still hope that both of our great political parties will
support and defend the Declaration of Independence in the closing campaign of
the century.
We hold, with Abraham Lincoln, that “no man is good enough to govern
another without that man’s consent. When the white man governs himself, that
is self-government, but when he governs himself and also governs another man,
that is more than self-government—this is despotism.” “Our reliance is in the
love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which
prizes liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands. Those who deny freedom to
others deserve it not for themselves, and under a just God cannot long retain
We cordially invite the cooperation of all men and women who remain loyal
to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
The Americans © McDougal Littell Inc.
Source: The Philippines Reader, edited by Daniel B. Schirmer and Stephen
Rosskamm Shalom (Boston: South End Press, 1987), pp. 30–31.
The Americans © McDougal Littell Inc.
The Anti-Imperialist Movement in the United States, 1898-1900
Author(s): Fred H. Harrington
Source: The Mississippi Valley Historical Review , Sep., 1935, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Sep., 1935),
pp. 211-230
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of Organization of American
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1898467
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide
range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and
facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

Terms and Conditions of Use

Organization of American Historians and Oxford University Press are collaborating with
JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Mississippi Valley Historical Review
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
STATES, 1898-1900
On May 1, 1898, the Asia-tic Squadron of the United States
Navy, under the command of Commodore George Dewey, engaged and virtually annihilated a Spanish fleet at an.chor under
the batteries of Cavite in Manila Bay. This victory, which gave
the United States the first foothold in the Philippines, marks a
turning point in the history of American territorial expansion.1
It marks as well the beginning of a, protest movement of propor-
tions, a movement led by a strangely assorted group of citizens
who fought expansion tooth and nail, and, in the face of over-
whelming odds, urged renunciation of the spoils of war. Although it failed to a.chieve its purposes, the movement is of
importance, for it held the political stage in the United States
for two full years, and attracted to its ranks such public men as
Bryan and Cleveland, Reed and Carnegie, Schurz and Hoar.
In approaching the anti-imperialist 2 movement, it is well to
bear in mind that it was based almost exclusively on grounds of
abstract political principle. The anti-imperialists did not oppose
colonial expansion for commercial, religious, constitutional, or
humanita.rian reasons. They opposed it because they thought
that an imperialist policy ran counter to the political doctrines
of the Declarationl of Independence, Washington ‘s Farewell
Address, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address the doctrines
which asserted that a government could not rule peoples without
their consent, and that. the United States, having been conceived
as an instrument of and for its owNrn people, should not imitate
1 The victory aroused great entlhusiasm in the United States, and from this date
the desire for expansion (wlhich, as Professor Pratt has poiilted out, “‘had turned
the corner somewhere in the ten years before” 1898) grew much more rapidly than
before. Julius W. Pratt, ‘ The ‘Large Policy ‘ of 1898, ‘ in MississiPPi VALLEY His-
TORICAL REVIE.W, XIX (1932), 237.
2 The terms ”imperialist'” and ”anti-imperialist'” are here used as they were
used in 1898, to denote, respectively, those wlho favored and those who opposed the
coloniial expansion of the United States.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
the methods or interfere in the affairs of the Old World nations
in any way.
However these doctrines may be regarded today, there can be
no doubt that they had a very real meaning for the citizens who
organized the anti-imperialist movement. Almost to a man the
anti-expansionists sincerely believed that abandonment of these
“guiding principles” would mean the doom of the republic.
This feeling was re-flected time after time in the articles,
speeches, and private correspondence of the leaders. It was proclaimed in the utterances of Carl Schurz, David Starr Jordan,
William Jennings Bryan, Grover Clevelanid, and Thomas B.
Reed -men wvho represented five distinct groups in the movement. Schurz, for example, defined his position in the fall of
1898, when he wrote:
I believe that this Republic, in that sense, can endure so long as it
remains true to the principles upon which it was founded, but that it
will morally decay if it abandons them. I believe that this democracy,
the government of, by, and for the people, is not fitted for a colonial
policy, which means conquest by force, or, as President McKinley
called it, ” criminal aggression'” 3 and arbitrary rule over subject
populations. I believe that, if it attempts such a policy on a large
scale, its inevitable degeneracy will hurt the progress of civilization
more than it can possibly further that progress by planting its flag
upon foreign soil on which its fundamental principles of government
cannot live.4
David Starr Jordan, one of the first of many educators to declare against expansion, voiced the same sentiment when he told
a San Francisco audience that to hold Cuba or the Philippines as
colonies, “our democracy must necessarily depart from its best
principles and traditions.” “There was great, danger. . . ,” he
thought, “that in easy victory we might lose sight of the basal
principles of the Republic, a cooperative association in which
3 A reference to McKinley ‘s message to Congress of December 6, 1897, in which
the President lbad said, referring to Cuba, “I speak not of forcible annexation, for
that cannot be thouglht of. That by our code of morality would be criminial aggression.” This was muchl cited by anlti-imperialists when McKiniley adopted an imperialist policy.
4 Schurz to Bj6rnstjerne Bj6rnson, September 22, 1898, replying to an open letter
from Bj”ornson to Schurz. Frederic Bancroft (ed.), Speeches, Correspontdence, and
Political Papers of Carl Schurz (New York, 1913), II, 514.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
‘all just government is derived from the consent of the governed’. ” 5
Nor were the words, of the two great Democratic leaders different in language or tone. “Our guns destroyed a, Spanish
fleet,” Bryan told an Omaha, audience on June 14, “but ca.n they
destroy that self-evident truth, that governments derive their
just powers, not from superior force, but from the consent of
the governed?” 6 Just a week later, in an address a.t Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Cleveland asserted that “our government was
formed for the express purpose of creating in a new world a new
nation, the foundation of which should be man’s self-govern-
ment,” and tlla.t to embark on a career of colonial a.gg,randizement would be to “abandon. . . old landmarks and to follow the
lights of monarchical hazards. ” 7
Speaker Reed, the most prominent Republican to oppose expansion, made no public pronouncement on the subject. In private, however, he let. it be known that he would not support his
party in opposing the “foundation principles of our government. ” 8
It can readily be seen that, in each instance, the whole weight
of the argument is made to rest on the point of political principle.
This is the case with the other anti-imperialist speeches as well.
It is true that, in the later phases on the movement, economic,
constitutional, military, and humanitarian arguments were advanced against expansion, but they were used to supplement the
fundamental conception. Even after the Philippine atrocities
had caused many anti-expansionists to stress the humanitarian
aspects of their case, the leaders continued to regard the ques-
tion of political ideals as the real basis for their opposition to a
colonial policy.
The anti-imperialist movement began to take shape almost im-
mediately after the Battle of Manila. Bay, as a. protest against
the wave of expansion sentiment set in motion by Dewey’s victory. Expansionists were clamoring for the anniexation of Hawaii
and the “retention” of the Philippines. Whlitelaw Reid’s New
5 David Starr Jordanl, The Days of a Man (Yonkers-on-Hudson, 1922), I, 616.
This speeeh was delivered May 2, 1898.
6Bryan on Imperialism (Chicago, 1900), 4.
7 The Literary Digest (New York, 1890-), XVII (1898), 2.
8 Samuel W. McCall, Thomas B. Reed (Boston, 1914), 258.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
York Tribune was declaring editorially that “this country will
be bound, in honor and in morals, either itself to assume the
administra.tion of the islands or to empower some other competent authority to do so,” even before the news of the naval
victory had been confirmed.9 Other papers – the bulk of the
administration press and some Democratic organs – followed
the Trtbu-ne’s lead, declaring for expansion on military, reli-
gious, commercial, humanitarian, and other grounds.’0
Those opposed to imperialism immediately took the field in
reply. They came forward as individuals, with statements similar
to those quoted above, and made themselves heard through the
press. From the start they enlisted the services of the independent Democratic and the Mugwump press -papers like the
New York Evening Post, the Springfield Republican, the Boston
Herald, and the Baltimore Sun. These papers became the mainstays of the anti-imperialist support, but they were by no means
alone in their denunciation of expansion. Many regular Demo-
cratic journals – the Chicago Chronicle, the Kansas City Ttimes,
the Charleston ANews and Courier, and the Richmond Times, to
name but a, few – followed the lead of Bryan or Cleveland in
opposing imperialism. They were joined by a. few Republican
organs of independent leanings, among them the Boston Transcript, the Philadelphia Ledger, and the Pittsburgh Dispatch.”
Despite this support, the anti-imperialist movement achieved
no satisfactory organization in the early months of its existence.
War feeling was still running high. It was as yet uncertain what
9 New York Tribune, May 5, 1898.
10 Republican papers that enthusiastically declared for expansion included the New
York Sun, the Boston Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Press, and North American,
the Baltimore American, the Chicago Times-Herald and Interocean, the Minneapolis
Tribunec, and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Among the Democratic and independent
papers whlieh supported expansion were the New York Times, Journal, and Herald,
the Brooklyn Eagle, the Baltimore Herald, the Washington Times, the Atlanta Constitution, tlle Jacksonville Timies- Union, and the Louisville Courier-Journal. Literary
Digest, XVII (1898), 32-38; Merle E. Curti, “Bryan and World Peace,” in Smith
College Studies in History (Northampton, 1915-), XVI (1931), 125.
11 Three of the four leading Boston papers (the Transcript, Herald, and Post)
came out strongly against expansion, but only one paper in New York (the Evening
Post), one in Philadelphia (the Ledger), one in Baltimore (the Sun), and one in
Chicago (the Chronicle) did the samne. Naturally, many papers took lhalf-way stands.
It should be added tllat the German-American press was solidly anti-imperialist.
Literary Digest, XVII (1898), 32-38, 156-57.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
the policy of the administration would be. And, most important
of all, there was no feeling of common purpose among those op-
posed to a colonial policy. Cleveland and Bryan, though both
anti-imperialists and both Democrats, had no love for each other,
and their forces were not disposed to co6perate on short notice
even in the face of common danger. Reed and Hoar and the
other regular Republicans who feared expansion, recoiled at the
thought of associating with Schurz and the other Mugwumps.
Thus handicapped, the anti-imperialists made slow progress
a.t first. They were able to put up little opposition to the annexation of Ha.waii,12 which the most prominent anti-imperialist
organ termed a “letting out of the waters,” the first step in a
definitely imperialistic policy.13 Henry Cabot Lodge, leader of
the imperialists in Congress, could dismiss the first large antiimperialist meeting as one of the ” comic incidents ” of the war,14
and the Saratoga Conference, which was organized by Carl
.Schurz to impress on President McKinley the dangers of expan-
sion, actually delivered itself into the hands of the enemy.15
Organiza.tion, however, came in time. By the time of the cessation of hostilities, it had become reasonably certain that the administration would adopt an imperialist policy.16 Those opposed
to expansion began to realize the absolute necessity of common
action. The independents, convinced that anti-imperialism took
precedence over all other reforms, led the way. In Boston, under
Gamaliel Bradford and Moorfield Storey, two Mugwumps, they
organized a non-partisan Committee of Correspondence, designed to unite workers for the cause irrespective of political
12 The congressional fight was led by Reed, Senator Justin Morrill (Republicans),
Senator R. F. Pettigrew (Silver Republican), and a few Democrats, including Senator
Stephen White and Representatives Champ Clark and John Shlarp Williams. Congres-
sional Record, 55 Cong., 2 Sess., passiim; McCall, Reed, 234-36; Henry Cabot Lodge
(ed.), Selections from the Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Helry Cabot
Lodge 1884-1918 (New York, 1925), I, 302, 313, 317.
13 New York Evening Post, June 16, 1898.
14 Lodge to Roosevelt, June 15, 1898, speaking of the Boston meeting of that date,
Lodge, Roosevelt-Lodge Correspondence, I, 311-12.
15 To secure unanimity, the anti-imperialists yielded on points of principle. New
York Evening Post, August 22, 1898; “Memorial Presented to William McKinley,
September 15, 1898,” by a committee appointed at tlle conference held in Saratoga
Springs, New York . .. (pamphlet, 1898); Bancroft, Schurz Papers, V, 515-16.
l6 Walter Millis, The Martial Spirit (New York, 1931), 372-73.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
faith.’7 Elsewhere they showed a willingness to cooperate withi
anti-imperialists of every political faith. As time went on, the
Bryan and Cleveland Democrats found that the issue might
serve as a. basis for a mutual understanding,’ 8 and even the Republicans in the movement – strong party men most of them displayed a tendency to draw closer to the other oppoinenits of
expansion. By January, 1899, George F. Hoar, wlho had called
the Mug,wumps the “vilest set of political assassins that ever
disg,raced this or any other country,” 19 was carrying on a close
personal correspondence with two iMugwump leaders, Schurz and
Storev.20 Andrew Carnegie, an anti-imperialist to whom the
name of Bryan had been anathema two years before, was wish-
ing the Nebraskan “god-speed” and warmly offering hiim “the
hand of fellowship in the new issue before us.” 21
It was this growving seinse of common purpose that made possible the formation of the Anti-Imperialist Leagues in the
months after November, 1898 – leagues that included in their
menmbership most of the prominent opponents of expansion, yet
managed to carry on their- work without much interinal friction.
The first Anti-Imperialist League, like the earlier Committee
of Correspondence, was brought into being by the Boston antiimperialists.2 The Bostonians retained control of the executive
committee, but membership was open to “any citizen of the
United States, irrespective of party . . . if in sympathy with the
objects of the League.” The forty-one vice-presidents were
drawn from all sections of the country.21
An examination of the list of officers of this league and similar
organizations (such as the :NKew York Anti-Imperialist League)
gives insig,ht into the elements that were behind the anti-imperialist movement. In reviewing these lists, which contain the
names of many of the nation’s outstanding men, one is struck at
17 Maria C. Lanzar, “‘Tle Anti-Tmperialist League,” in The Pihilippine Social
Science Reviecw (Mfaiiil:a, 1929-), ITI (1930), 7-12, 17.
1I Roosevelt noted this tendeincy in the New York gubernatorial campaign of 1898.
Lodge, Roosevelt-Lodge (Correspondle(nce, I, 356.
19 Quoted in M. A. DeWolfe hlowe, Portrait of an Indepceadent, Moorficld Storcy,
18.15-1.929 (Boston, 19032), 217.
20 Ibid., 217-18; Bancroft, Sciuirz Papers, V, 527-29.
21 Curti, “‘Bryan and Woild Pe;ace,’ loc. cit., 127.
22 Lanzar, “Tlie Anti-Inmperia list L,eague,” loc. cit., 16. The league was founl(ded
November 19, 1898, at the office of Edward Atkinisoni.
23 George S. Boutwell was presi(lenLt. Pahlmphlets of the Aniti-Imper ialist Le
Jordan, Days of a Mait, 1, 700.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
first by the hieterogeneous character of tlle league membership.
A closer inspection serves to group most of the men into a few
quite definite categories, the reformers, the political and economic groups, and the intellectuals.
Unquestionably the most active and enthusiastic of the anti-
imperialists were those who lhad long fought for various political or social reforms. Included in the anti-imperialist movement
were representatives of nearly every reform movement prominent in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth
century. There were Liberal Republicans of 1872, Mugwumps,
civil service enthusiasts – men like Carl Schurz, Charles Francis Adams, E. L. Godkin, Mloorfield Storey, Edward Atkinson,
and Samuel Bowles. There were municipal reformers – James
Coolidge Carter, the Cuttings, and Edward M. Shepard of New
York, Edwin Burritt Smitlh of Chicago, Hazen Pingree of Detroit, George G. Mercer and Herbert Welsh of Philadelphia, and
many more. There were social welfare workers, among them
Ernest Crosby, Jane Addams, Josephine Lowell, and William
Potts. There were single taxers (Crosby, Charles B. Spahr, and
Edward Osgood Brown), pacifists (Crosby, Atkinson, and Mercer), Prohibitionists (Senator Edward W. Carmack and John
D. White), defenders of Indian rights (Mercer and Welsh), and
free traders (Gamaliel Bradford anid Albert S. Parsons). The
remnant of the old abolition groups, represented by the son of
Garrison, the son of Emerson, the son of James Birney, rallied
to the cause, as did a number of clerg-ymen, musterinig in- their
ranks Bishop Henry Codman Potter, Henry Van Dyke, Charles
H. Parklhurst, Leonard Woolsey Bacon, John Whlite Chadwick,
and Theodore Cuyler.24
The political elements represented in the movement fall inlto
four distinct groups – the independents, the Gold Democrats,
the Bryan Democrats, and the regular Republicans. The inde-
pendent group, most imiportant of all, need only be mentioned
here. It included Schurz, Adams, Storey, Godkin, Bradford,
Bowles, Atkinson, and many others, men who have already been
mentioned in consideration of their reform activities.
The Gold Democrats also made a notable contribution to the
24 These and the other anti-imperialists mentioned in the followiuig parag
were associated with the movement as officers of one or more of the leagues or as
active workers for the cause.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
movement. Headed by ex-President Cleveland himself, the antiimperialists in this classification numbered most of the prominent Democrats who had bolted Bryan and Free Silver two
years before. No less than eight members of Cleveland’s Cabinets,-Olney, Carlisle, Endicott, Morton, Vilas, Dickinson, Fairchild, and Harmon – came out against expansion,2″ and among
the leading anti-imperialists were such Gold Democrats as
Bourke Cockran, A. Augustus Hea.ly, Thomas Mott Osborne,
Louis Ehrich, and Senator Donelson Caffery.
The Bryan Democrats were significant in the movement for
their numbers rather than their leadership. Following Bryan,
the majority of the Silverites embraced the anti-imperialist doctrine by 1900, but their advocacy of the cause noticeably la-cked
the enthusiasm. displayed by the independents and the Cleveland
men. Only one Bryan Democrat, Senator Ben Tillman, was on
the roll of the forty-one vice-presidents of the Anti-Imperialist
League, and a mere handful of others, among them Joe Bailey,
Champ Clark, and Senator A. 0. Bacon, opposed colonial expansion with more than a show of fervor.
The Republicans who joined the anti-imperialist movement
were, almost without exception, Republicans of the older generation, former supporters of Fremont and Lincoln wlho believed
they were carrying on the tradition of the party’s antislavery
days in opposing colonial expansion.26 They were ably represented in the movement by the president and secretary of the
Anti-Imperialist League, George S. Boutwell and Erving Win-
slow; by Senators Hoar, Hale, and Justin Morrill (who died in
December, 1898); by ex-Senators John Sherman, George F.
Edmunds, and John B. Henderson, and former President Harrison. Notwithstanding their prominence in party politics, they
brought few of the rank and file of the party with them.
A number of Silver Republicans, such as Charles S. Towne
and Senator R. F. Pettigrew, a very few Republicans of the
younger political generation, among them Henry U. Johnson and
Governor William Larrabee, and a scattering of individuals
from minor parties also were attracted to the ranks of the ant
25 Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland, A Study in Courage (New York, 1932), 745-47.
26 It is interesting to note that the average age of these men (in November, 1898)
was 71.1 years, whereas the average age of the forty-one vice-presidenlts of the AntiImperialist League was only 58.3.
This content downloaded from
104.19:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff on Thu, 01 Jan 1976 12:34:56 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
imperialists. Few in number, they exercised no important influence on the character of the movement.
Turning from the reform and political classifications, one
finds a number of intellectuals in the movement – men who can-
not be classified either as reformers or as politicians. They fall
into two general categories, the educators and the literary fig-
ures. A few college presidents were active anti-imperialists,
David Starr Jordan of Stanford and Henry Wade Rogers of
Northwestern being the leading examples. Many college profes-
sors took the same position, prominent among them being William Graham Sumner, William James, Charles Eliot Norton,
Felix Adler, Adolph Cohn, Franklin Henry Giddings, Hermann
E. von Holst, William Vaughn Moody, and I. J. McGinity.27 The
literary group contained an equally noteworthy group of men,
including Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Henry B. Fuller,
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and
Finlay Peter Dunne.
To complete the picture of the anti-imperialist movement, it
is necessary to call attention to three economic classifications,
the business men and industrialists, the labor leaders, and the
“interested groups” in the movement. Though numerically in-
significant, each of these groups deserves at least passing
The business and industrial group, very small in size, should
be noted because its members, as individuals, did much toward
financing the movement. Andrew Carnegie was particularly generous in this respect,28 and others, including John J. Valentine,
Dana Estes, Richard T. Crane, and George Foster Peabody, did
their share.
Even smaller was the labor element. The anti-imperialists
made great efforts to attract labor support, but, on the whole,
were unsuccessful. Samuel Gompers, president of the American
Federation of Labor, did show a lively interest in the question,
but he was almost the only important labor leader to do so.29
Nor did the “interested groups “-the growers of sugar
27 Giddings, like Bishop Potter, later reversed his position.
28 Albert Bigelowe Paine, Marki Twain, A Biography (New York, 1912), III, 1113;
Lanzar-Carpio, “‘The Anti-Imperialist League,’ loc. cit., IV (1932), 248; Bancroft,
Schurz Papers, V, 531.
29 Patrick Ford and Patrick Collins, Anti-Imperialist League vice-presidents, had
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
beets, cane sugar, tobacco, and other agricultural products that
presumably would suffer from Philippine competition -figure
very greatly in the anti-imperialist movement of 1898-1900. Although this may appear surprising in view of the activities of
those same groups in the Philippine independence movement
thirty years later, it follows from a careful exa.mination of the
fa.cts. Two directors of the American Sugar Beet Company were
connected with the New York Anti-Imperialist League.30 At
least one farm paper, the American Agriculturist, opposed expansion because of the menace of Philippine products. The secretary of the Anti-Imperia.list League reported in 1899 that “the
tobacco, the beet-sugar and the agricultural interests in general
circulated our petitions and made canvasses among their own
constituents to bring out remonstrances to the Senate.”‘” This,
however, is virtually all that can be said of their activities. It
does not appear that the “interested groups” contributed much
money to the leagues, and certainly they gave the movement few
leaders of note. The great majority of the anti-imperialists had
no connection, direct or otherwise, with these activities.
It can be seen from this analysis that the anti-imperialists
drew their support from a number of sources. This served to
increase the prestige of the leagues, but it also served to limit
their effectiveness. As each crisis came, in the years from 1898
to 1900, there were differences of opinion and desertions, which
periodically threatened to wreck the movement, and finally did
bring about its colla.pse. These dissensions are clearly revealed
in the first great fight waged by the anti-imperialists, their struggle against ratification of the treaty of peace with Spain.
The treaty, signed on December 10, 1898, contained the very
feature the opponents of expansion most dreaded and opposedthe cession of the Philippine Islands to the United States. With
this stipulation, it presented a direct challenge to the anti-im-
perialists, a challenge that wa.s not long ignored. Andrew Carnegie, who had become almost fanatical on the subject of territorial expansion, repaired to Washington to use his influence
engaged in labor activities, but neither had much connection with labor interests in
30 Robert Fulton Cutting and George Foster Peabody.
31 Erving Winslow, ” The Anti-Imperialist League, ” in The Independent (New
York, 1848-1928), LI (1899), 1348.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
against the treaty,32 and the newly-founded Anti-Imperialist
Lea.gue, having established a lobby in the national capital, circulated petitions and brought wha.t pressure it could to bear on
the leading Senators.33
Despite this show of activity, the anti-imperialists were by
no means united in opposition to the treaty. A few, typified by
Senator George Gray, the only anti-expansionist on the peace
commission, completely deserted the movement on the issue, and
took no further part in anti-imperialist activities.34 A larger
group-, while not yielding opposition to expansion, differed as to
the wisdom of opposing ratification. Speaker Reed, who had used
all his influence in attempting to prevent the annexation of
Hawaii, criticized, but made no move to fight the peace treaty,3″
and such enthusiastic anti-imperialists as William Jennings
Bryan and Senator George L. Wellington felt justified in declaring for ratification.36
In view of Bryan’s great importance in the anti-imperialist
movement, his stand is worth some consideration. As it has already been noted, the Commoner had been one of the first states-
men to declare against colonial expansion. Being a Colonel of
Volunteers, he had not enlarged on the sentiments of his Omaha
speech in the following six months, nor had he become affiliated
with the Anti-Imperialist League. On December 13, 1898, however, the day after receiving his discha.rge from the army, he re-
defined his position in an interview given at Savannah, Georgia.
He was still vigorously opposed to expansion because, as he said,
“this nation cannot endure ha-lf republic and half colony -half
free and half va.ssal.” At the same time, he favored ratification
on the ground that it would be “easier. . . to end the war at once
by ratifying the treaty and then deal with the subject in our
own way.” “The issue,” he pointed out, “can be presented
directly by a resolution of Congress declaring the policy of the
nation upon this subject.” 37
32 Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie (Boston, 1906), 364. For Carnegie’s state
of mind see William R. Thayer, John Hay (Boston, 1915), II, 199.
33 Winslow, “Anti-Imperialist League,” loc. cit., LI (1899), 1348.
34 George F. Hoar, Autobiography of Seventy Years (New York, 1903), II, 313-15.
85 William A. Robinson, Thomas B. Reed, Parliamentarian (New York, 1930), 36971; Lodge, Roosevelt-Lodge Correspondence, I, 370.
36 Wellington lived to regret supporting the treaty. See Cong. Record, 57 Cong.,
1 Sess., 2022.
8T Bryan on Imperialism, 5-6.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Bryan’s statement took the anti-imperialists by surprise, and
most of them put the worst possible interpretation on the Democratic leader’s words. A careful examination of Bryan’s statements and his correspondence leads one to conclude that the
NTebraskan was sincere in his desire for peace, and that he really
wanted to see the issue of imperialism disposed of (by a congressional pledge for Philippine independence) in 1899, so that,
as he wrote Carnegie on December 24, 1898, “the fight against
trusts and for free silver may be continued.” 38 The fact remains,
however, that Schurz, Hoar, Carnegie, Pettigrew, and other
anti-imperialists saw the Savannah declaration in quite another
light. They believed and charged that Bryan was acting in bad
faith, sacrificing principle for political advantage in his desire
for an issue for the 1900 campaign.39 Bryan’s attempt to persuade his friends in the Senate to support the treaty 40 increased
the distrust of the Democratic leader, and caused several to turn
against him as a potential leader of the anti-imperialist movement.4″
It is not necessary here to trace in detail the unsuccessful fight
against ratification. For two full months, Hoar, Hale, Gorman,
Bacon, Pettigrew, and others ably maintained the anti-imperialist position on the Senate floor. Developing unexpected strength
in January, 1899, they seemed close to victory in spite of Bryan’s
stand,42 and the supporters of the treaty finally carried the day
by a margin of just two votes.43 The Bacon resolution, carrying
a, pledge of Philippine independence, was defeated by the casting
vote of Vice-President Hobart.44
38 Curti, “Bryan and World Peace,” loc. cit., 128. See also Bryan’s Washington,
New York, and Lincoln, Nebraska interviews, quoted in ibid., 126-27. For evidence
that Bryan hoped for political gain, see letter of Clark Howell to Atlanta Constitution, December 20, 1898, ibid., 124-25. For statement of Pettigrew see Richard F.
Pettigrew, Imperial Washington (Chicago, 1922), 270-71. The Constitution was
enitlhusiastically expansionist, and Pettigrew’s account (written two decades later) is
not altogether trustwortlhy.
39 Ibid.; Autobiography of Carnegie, 364-65; Hoar, Aultobiography, II, 322-23;
Curti, “Bryan and World Peace,” loc. cit., 123-30.
40 Bryan changed few if anly votes, but it is probable that lhe could have prevented
ratification had he chosen to do so. Ibid., 121-22.
41 Autobiography of Carnegie, 364; Hoar, Autobiography, 322-23.
42 Bancroft, Sclhurz Papers, VI, 37; Lodge, Roosevelt-Lodge Correspondence
385, 387.
43 February 6, 1899, 57 to 27. Senate Journal, 55 Cong., 3 Sess., 216.
44February 14, 1899, 29 to 29. Cong. Record, 55 Cong., 3 Sess., 1S45-46.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
The story of the anti-imperialist movement during 1899 and
most of 1900 is a story of incessant activity on the part of the
leaders of the movement, a story of conferences and public meet-
ings, of an endless succession of pamplhlets, magazine articles,
poems, and speeches directed against colonial expansion, and of
the improvement of organization through the anti-imperialist
leagues. Despite the ratification of the peace treaty, the movement continued to grow. The leaders carried the fight to the
country, and met with a favorable response. By May, 1899, the
original Anti-Imperialist League hiad over thirty thousand members,45 and it was claimed in the first annual report tha.t “over
half a million contributors” had assisted the organization in its
There were anti-imperialist leagues in a dozen cities before
the end of 1899 – Boston, Springfield, Massachusetts, New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.47 These
bodies went by various names, but were strikingly similar in setup and purposes. In October, 1899, at an anti-imperialist conference attended by delegates from thirty states, the local organ-
izations formed a central associa.tion, the America.n Anti-Imperialist League, with headquarters in Chicago.48 The national
league supplemented rather than supplanted the local bodies.
The latter, and the Boston league in particular,49 continued to
issue and distribute pamphlets, organize meetings, and crystallize anti-imperialist sentiment, in the same manner as before.
With the outbreak of the Philippine insurrection, in February,
1899, events in the islands came to play a much greater pa.rt in
the productions of the anti-imperialists. Until this time the opponents of expansion had been inclined to deride rather than
praise the Filipinos. Gompers had referred to them as a “semi-
barbaric population, almost priniitive in their habits and cus45 Winslow, ” Anti-Imperialist League,” loc. cit., LI (1899), 1350.
46 Lanzar, ”Ainti-Imperialist League,” loc. cit., III (1930), 21.
47 Ibid., 21-22; The Anti-Imperialist (Brooklinie, Mass., 1899-1900), No. 4 (August 20, 1899), 30.
48 Lanzar, “‘Anti-Imperialist League,’ loc. cit., 24-30; Baneroft, Schurz Papers,
VI, 121.
49 The Boston organization changed its name from the Anti-Imperialist League
to the New England Anti-Imperialist League wlhen the Chicago organiization was
formed. It resumed the original title on November 8, 1904.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
toms.” 50 Thomas B. Reed had spoken disparagingly of “yellow-
bellies” and “naked Sulus,”51 and other anti-imperialists, believing the Filipinos unfit for self-government, had urged that
the archipelago be disposed of to a European power.52 The insurrection, however, together with the gradually unfolded story
of the relationship that had existed between Aguinaldo and certain United States officials, led virtually the entire anti-expansion group to advocate independence for the islands, and to sup-
port the cause of the insurgents against the McKinley administration.53
Particularly useful to the anti-imperialists were the reports of
outrages committed by American troops during the insurrection instances of the burning of crops and villages, disregard
of the rules of civilized warfare, of the ” water cure,” and
orders to “take no prisoners.” Ironically enough, these were the
sort of stories that had aroused the American nation against the
Spaniards in Cuba.. The anti-imperialists were quick to note this,
and claimed that it furnished a concrete example of the inevitable consequences of denying a people the fundamental right of
The Philippine situation led to the most sensational episode
in the history of the movement, the seizure of the Atkinson
pamphlets. The incident occurred because of an excess of zeal on
the part of one of the first and most enthusiastic opponents of
Philippine annexation – Edward Atkinson of Boston and Brookline, a retired textile manufacturer in his seventies.
Long the ardent champion of a score of reforms, Atkinson began writing, publislhing, and distributing violent anti-imnperialist
pamphlets in the fall of 1898. This, of course, was no more than
was being done by a dozen other enthusiasts in the movement.
In the spring of 1899, however, he wrote to the secretary of war,
enclosing his three principal pamphlets, and declaring his intention of sending them to American soldiers in the Philippines.
5O New York Evening Post, August 20, 1898.
51 Robinson, Reed, 369, 370.
52 E.g., Nevins, Cleveland, 746; Bancroft, Schurz Papers, V, 472-73.
53 Anti-Imperialist Address of March 13, 1899. The Philippine atrocities brought
forth the best poetry of the anti-imperialist movement, such as William Vaughn
Moody’s great ” Ode in Time of Hesitation ” and his ” On a Soldier Fallen ill the Philippines.”‘ For other anti-imperialist verse see Liberty Poems (Boston, 1900).
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Receiving no reply, he sent copies, as a test, to eight prominent
men (most of them United States officials) in the islands.
The government acted at once. On May 2, 1899, PostmasterGeneral Charles Emory Smith ordered the San Francisco postmaster to remove all Atkinson pamphlets from the Manila, mails.
A number of the offending documents were intercepted the following day.54
This action aroused great interest throughout the United
States. The anti-imperialists rushed to Atkinson’s defense, the
Springfield Republican finding in the seizure “the mailed hand
of the rule of blood and iron being gradually disclosed . . .
which,” it added, “will next fall heavily upon freedom of speech
within the old borders of the United States. ” 5 The postmaster-
general defended his order in sharp words, and was supported
by most of the imperialist press.56
On the whole, the administration suffered, and the anti-im-
perialists profited as a result of Smith’s order. Atkinson, comparatively unknown before, achieved a degree of notoriety which
showed itself in an increased demand for his pamphlets.57 What
was more, the opponents of expansion had another talking point,
which they proceeded to make the most of, in speeches, pamphlets, and through the press.”8
The qulestion of the election of 1900 confronted the anti-imperialists from the start. There was obviously no hope of a.chieving success through the Republican party, so the question was
narrowed down to two alternatives – the support of Bryan or
the nomination of a third ticket.
Bryan’s views on expansion were generally satisfactory to
the anti-imperialists, and his preeminent position in the Demo-
cratic party seemed to point to the advisability of endorsing him
54 Literary Digest, XVIII (1899), 541-42, 708-709. Orders were issued “saying
that their transmission through the domestic mails had also been forbidden ” but
this restriction apparently was lifted immediately. The three documents concerned
were circulated as Senate documents as well as by Atkinson, for they lbad been read
into the Congressional Recordi.
55 Quoted in Literary Digest, XVIII (1899), 541. The Boston league did not approve of Atkinson ‘s course.
56 Ibid., 542.
57 Anti-lmperialist, No. 6 (October 1, 1900), 2.
58 See e.g., James J. Dooling, Rhymes withoutt Treason (Lexington, Massachusetts,
1899), 2; Henry B. Fuller, The New Flag (Chicago, 1899), passim.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
a.s the anti-imperialist candidate. There were, however, two objections to this course of action. The majority of the leaders of
the anti-imperialist movement were strong gold men, and Bryan
clung tenaciously to free silver. In addition, many anti-imperialists were suspicious of the Nebraskan because of his stand on
the ratification question.
The result was an a.ttempt – or rather, several attempts to form a, third party, designied to split the McKinley vote as
Palmer had split Bryan’s in 1896. Perhaps the most serious of
these a.ttempts wa.s that made on January 6, 1900, at a conference held in New York. Carnegie, Schurz, Bradford, Pettigrew,
Edwvin Burritt Smith, John B. Henderson, Franklin Henry Giddings, and Brisbane Walker were among the dozen and a half
participants. According to Pettigrew, the only person to leave a
written account of the meeting, a temporary organization was
effected, and plans proceeded until, in February, Carnegie with-
drew his financia.l support and the wl-hole movement collapsed.59
Meanwhile, Bryan sentiment was increasing among the opponents of expansion. By 1900 the Springfield Reptublicarn and
other anti-expansion papers that had opposed Bryan in 1896
were displaying “a growing toleration of Mr. Bryan’s aspirations.” 60 Many anti-imperialists who disliked the Democratic
leader intensely agreed with William James, who wrote from
France that “the Republican party is fattened to kill,” and that
it would be best to defer plans for independent action until
1904.61 Part of this feeling was spontaneous; part was due to the
untiring activities of Erving Winslow, secretary of the New
England Anti-Imperialist League, a regular Republican who had
determined to secure an anti-imperialist endorsement of the
Nebraskan’s candidacy.62
As 1900 wore on, it became apparent that the Bryan group
would prevail. The Commoner was nominated by the Democrats
in June, on a platform that contained a, thoroughly satisfactory
anti-imperialist plank dictated by Bryan himself.63 Sonme anti59Pettigrew, Imperial Washington, 272-973, 321-25.
60 Henry James, Richardi Olney andi his Public Service (Boston, 1923), 309.
61 James to Seliurz, March 16, 1900, Baneroft, Schurz Papers, VI, 190.
62 Ibid., 191-92.
63 Bryan to William J. Stone, June 30, 1900, Curti, ”Bryan and World Peace,
,oc. cit., 132.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
imperialists looked with misgivings at the free silver plank, but
many of these were placated when Bryan, at the suggestion of
Erving Winslow,64 devoted his entire acceptance speech to a ring-
ing denunciation of colonial expansion.65
The Liberty Congress, a convention called by the American
Anti-Imperialist League to define the position of the opponents
of expansion, assembled in Indianapolis on August 15 and 16,
1900. The third party group, now a, mere handful, had mnet on
the 14tlh in the same city, only to find organization impossible
because of numerical weakness and the lack of available candidates.66 The Liberty Congress, therefore, had only to decide
whether or not it would endorse Bryan by name. This question
the committee on resolutions answered in the affirmative, and
the convention, adopting the report by an overwhelming majority, declared for “the direct support of Mr. Bryan a.s the most
effective means of crushing imperialism.” 67
The declaration of the Liberty Congress clarified the position
of the anti-imperialists in the campaign. On the other hand, it
did not mean that all opponents of expansion gave their support
to Bryan. Many old Republicans and Gold Democrats, like Hoar
and Carnegie and Abram S. Hewitt, declared for McKinley, and
others, including Cleveland, Reed, a.nd Charles Francis Adams,
withheld support from both candidates. This opposition, moreover, was scarcely less harmful to Bryan’s cause than was much
of the support accorded him. Schurz and many of the Gold Democrats issued qualified endorsements, and plainly gave the voters
to understand that they were choosing the lesser of two great
evils in supporting Bryan.68
From the standpoint of the anti-imperialists who supported
the Democratic t.icket, the outcome of the election was very dis64 Ibid. August 8, 1900, at Indianapolis.
65 Speeches of William. Jennings Bryan (New York, 1909), II, 17-49. Bryan had
spoken against expansion on several other occasionis in 1898, 1899, and 1900. See Byran
on Imperialism.
66 New York Evening Post, August 14, 1900; New York Times, August 14, 15,
1900; Howe, Storey, 200. A third party conivention was lheld in New York on September 5, 1900, but the nominees refused to run, and the whole project fell through.
New York Evening Post, September 5, 1900.
67 New York Times, August 17, 1900; George S. Boutwell, Bryan, or Imperialism?
(Boston, 1900).
68 J. Sterling Morton typified this attitude, when he wrote Cleveland, November
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
appointing. Bryan fell behind his 1896 showing in every respect – in the electoral college total, in popular votes, in percentage of the vote cast. Furthermore, there was little evidence
of anti-imperialist strength in the returns. Bryan’s New England gains may have been due in part to the Commoner’s opposition to expansion – and this was almost certainly the case in
Massachusetts, where the Democrats polled 37.9% of the vote as
against 26.3% in 1896 – but there is no reason for believing
that the anti-imperialists had much influence a.t the polls in other
states, or that their activities affected Bryan’s electoral total in
the slightest degree.
Bryan’s defeat in 1900 marks the end of anti-imperialism as
an important factor in American politics. The opponents of ex-
pansion were reluctant to admit this at first,69 and made strenuous efforts to revive interest, in the cause.70 These efforts met
with no response, and it gradually became apparent to the most
sanguine of the anti-imperialists that the movement was politically dead.7″
As time went on, the leagues began to break up. This process,
once started, proceeded rapidly, and 1905 saw the original Anti-
Imperialist League as the only active survivor of the dozen
organizations of five years before. Led by a little group of Bostonians, this league resolutely clung to its long dead issue for
more than two decades. In the face of public apathy, it continued
to distribute pamphlets, organize public meetings, and urge congressmen to vote for the independence of the Philippines. Although hampered by the lack of funds, the league plunged into
the work of exposing army atrocities in the Philippines, employing H. Parker Willis as a publicity agent and presenting a great
mass of material to the Senate Investigating Committee in 19031905.72 In many of its activities it lhad a valuable ally in William
2, 1900, “‘It is a choice between evils, and I am going to shut my eyes, hold my nose,
vote, go lhome, and disinfect myself.” Nevins, Cleveland, 746.
69 See Allan Nevins, The Evening Post, A Century of Journalism (New York,
1922), 568-69, for ani amusing illustration of this point.
70 Lanzar-Carpio, “‘Anti-Imperialist League,” loc. cit., III (1930), 118-32; also
Benjamin Harrison, Views of an Ex-President (Indianapolis, 1901), 185-270; Mark
Twain, “‘To The Person Sitting in Darkness, ” in North American Review (New York,
1815-), CLXXII (1901), 161-76.
71 Charles R. Codman, in speech of Marel 30, 1901, Free America, Free Cuba, Free
Philippines (Boston, 1901), 2-3.
72 Lanzar-Carpio, ”Anti-Imperialist League,” loc. cit., IV (1932), 182-98, 239-44;
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Jennings Bryan, who continued to fight for the cause in the
Commoner, on the lecture platform, and in party councils. Bryan
rendered particularly valuable service in securing anti-imperialist planks in the Democratic platforms year after year.73 It was
these planks that caused the league to declare for the Democratic
nominees in every presidential campaign from 1904 to 1920.74
The league’s la.st great fight was for the Jones bill, with the
Clark amendment, during Wilson’s administration. As the contest wore on, however, the weakness of the organization became
all too apparent. Wilson paid little or no attention to the league ‘s
recommendations, and the fight for the bill rested with administration congressmen and the Filipinos rather than with the
men who had fought for island independence for nearly twenty
years.”5 After the passage of the bill, contributions, long on the
decline, fell off to the vanishing point. The league held its last
official meeting on November 27, 1920.76 With the death of the
league president, Moorfield Storey, in 1929, the last vestige of
organization disappeared, the league pa.ssing into history with
its objects still unrealized.77
The tangible results achieved by the anti-imperialists were
few indeed. They may have had some slight influence on the
American administration in the islands,78 by drawing, attention
to conditions in the Philippines, and, in the course of their longcontinued battle for Philippine independence, they may have
helped secure the enactment of the Jones Act of 1916. The movement also a.cted as the a.gency for restoring many Gold Democrats of party ranks, and for depriving certain Republicans of
their influence in the party. But that is all. Beyond these incidenV (1933), 268-71. Contributions fell from $6,574 in 1900 to $2,802 in 1901. The
League managed to collect about $10,000 to spend on the exposures.
73Curti, “Bryan and World Peace,” loc. cit., 134.
74Lanzar-Carpio, “Anti-Imperialist League,” loc. cit., III (1930), 126, V (1933),
226, 230, 254, 260.
75 Ibid., V (1933), 250-61. Storey had a share in the drafting of the Jones bill.
76 Ibid., V (1933), 261, 270-71.
77 Activities practically ceased in 1923, with the death of Erving Winslow, the
indefatigable secretary of the organization. “As for the Aniti-Imperialist League,”
Storey wrote at that time, ”with the death of Mr. Winislow it has ceased practically
to function. Almost everybody who belonged to it is dead, and the young men do not
take up the work. I am still its representative, but I have no followers.” Howe,
Storey, 250.
78 Erving Winslow, The Anti-Imperialist League: Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1908),
5, referring to a statement mnade in private by William Howard Taft.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
t.al results, the movement seems to have left no perceptible trace
in American history. The leaders never gained control of governmental machinery. They did not impress their message on more
than a. small fraction of the people, and when the Philippine independence bills were finally pa.ssed, more than three decades
after the second defeat of Bryan, the passage was brought about
by a combination of forces very different from those represented
in the anti-imperialist movement of 1898-1900.
The reasons for the failure of the anti-imperialist movement
are not ha.rd to find. First was the strong position of the imperialists. In the early months of their agitation, the anti-imperialists had to contend with a widesprea.d feeling of nationalism, a feeling engendered by the patriotism and enthusiasm in-
cident to the war with Spain. The people were stirred by the
thought of distant possessions, of an empire second to none, a
“world power” on whose territories the sun would never set.
In time, this feeling gave way to one of indifference, but by then
expansion wa.s an accomplished fact.
Second, the anti-imperialists were handicapped by the nature
of their ca-se. They were forced to preach abnegation rather than
indulgence, to urge the pride of renunciation as against the pride
of glory and possession. Their whole case rested on an abstract
principle, the application of which was not altogether clear to
the public a.t large. Although they could present a strong emo-
tional argument based on traditions of liberty, the imperialists
could more than match this with descriptions of future greatness.
Most tragic of all, however, was the failure to unite in support
of a political lea-der. The majority of the great anti-imperialists
Cleveland and Reed and Hoar are examples –showed no
disposition to head a great protest movement. The one ava.ilable
champion of the cause, William Jennings Bryan, was absolutely
unacceptable to many anti-imperialists, and was followed by
others with extreme reluctance. Men found themselves apologiz-
ing rather than fighting for the standard bearer of their cau.se.
And in consequence, what had start.ed as a glorious struggle for
freedom ended in bickerings, dissension, and dissatisfaction, a
great crusade without crusaders. The anti-imperialists, weakened by desertions and lack of morale, wavered every time they
met the enemy, and, in 1900, suffered a rout from wliich they
were never able to recover.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:17:49 UTC
All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms

Purchase answer to see full

error: Content is protected !!