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Major Problems In American Immigration History

1762 words - 7 pages

In Chapter 8 of Major Problems in American Immigration History, the topic of focus shifts from the United States proper to the expansion and creation of the so called American Empire of the late Nineteenth Century. Unlike other contemporary colonial powers, such as Britain and France, expansion beyond the coast to foreign lands was met with mixed responses. While some argued it to be a mere continuation of Manifest Destiny, others saw it as hypocritical of the democratic spirit which had come to the United States. Whatever their reasons, as United States foreign policy shifted in the direction of direct control and acquisition, it brought forth the issue of the native inhabitants of the lands which they owned and their place in American society. Despite its long history of creating states from acquired territory, the United States had no such plans for its colonies, effectively barring its native subjects from citizenship. Chapter 8’s discussion of Colonialism and Migration reveals that this new class of American, the native, was never to be the equal of its ruler, nor would they, in neither physical nor ideological terms, join in the union of states.
The late 1800’s was a watershed moment for the United States, during which time the Industrial Revolution and the desire for expansion brought about through Manifest Destiny, began to run parallel. Following the end of the Spanish-American war, the United States found itself with a wealth of new territory ceded to it from the dying Spanish empire. The issue of what to do with these new lands became a source of debate all the way up to the U.S. Congress. Men like Albert J. Beveridge, a Senator from Indiana, advocated the annexation, but not necessarily the incorporation of these new lands. In a speech in favor of the American Empire, Senator Beveridge argued that, due to the economic ties America had developed with Asia, it made perfect sense to develop a base in the Philippines, from which they could more efficiently trade with the Chinese.
In response to the question of the Filipino people themselves, Senator Beveridge regards them merely as a barbarous race who were neither willing nor able to compete with Americans labor. In his conclusion, the Senator firmly states his belief that the annexation of the Philippines is not merely an economic move, but a spiritual duty given to them by God to organize and bring order to a dark and chaotic world. He is of the mind, it seems, that the Filipinos, nor any of the ‘barbarous’ races, are capable of self-government, and must be taught order from the ordained leaders of the world.
Having taken such a critical approach to the capabilities of the natives, it would be expected that any argument counter to Senator Beveridge’s opinion would express a deeper level of humanity toward the inhabitants of the Philippines and other acquired territories. However, Joseph Henry Crooker, speaking in 1900, denounced the notion of America having colonies, but offered a...

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