Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Chapter 13: Benevolent Assimilation

Chapter 13: Benevolent Assimilation

The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy:

How America’s Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest


McDougall Book Jacket

The original draft of this book contained 172 pages of endnotes, which had to be shed in the name of economy. Thanks to the Internet, readers can access them here. Unfortunately, of course, the author had to substitute page and paragraph numbers for the original superscripts in the text, but in most cases it should be clear which sentences in a given paragraph match up with which sources.

Paragraphs appearing in their entirety on a single page are identified by the page number (e.g., p. 122). Paragraphs divided between two pages are identified by those pages (e.g., pp. 92-93). Paragraphs that share a page with another complete paragraph are identified by the page number and paragraph number (e.g., p. 103, ¶ 1).





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Chapter 13: Benevolent Assimilation:

125: Robert Ellis Jones, “Washington’s Farewell Address and Its Applications,” The Forum (Sept. 1899): 13-28.

125-26: “Interview with President William McKinley,” The Christian Advocate (22 Jan. 1903), in Daniel Schirmer and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, eds., The Philippines Reader (Boston: South End Press, 1987), 22–23.

126, ¶ 1: Teodoro A. Agoncillo, A Short History of the Filipino People, 8th ed. (Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1960), p. 215.

126, ¶ 2: The similarities to George W. Bush’s 2003 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner are obvious, albeit in the latter case the banner was there to celebrate the aircraft carrier’s crew and Bush did not know it was behind him. On McKinley’s speech see Warren Zimmermann, First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002), pp. 326-27.

126-27: The Muslim Moro tribesmen on the southern islands of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan remained in rebellion against the United States until 1913.

127: Stuart Creighton Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 (New Haven: Yale University, 1982); Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Random House, 1989); H. W. Brands, Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines (New York: Oxford University, 1992). Paul A. Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2006); Gregg Jones, Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream (New York: New American Library, 2011); Roosevelt quote in Paul A. Kramer, “Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U.S. Empire: The Philippine-American War as Race War,” Diplomatic History 30, no. 2 (April 2006): 169-210. Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (New York: Perseus Books, 2002), pp. 99-128, acknowledges U.S. Army atrocities but reckons the campaign “one of the most successful counterinsurgencies waged by a Western army in modern times” (p. 128).

127-28: The war correspondent was Charles Ballantine, but he published under a pseudonym; Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation,” pp. 210-211. Robert L. Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-imperialists, 1898-1900 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), pp. 76-79; Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation,” p. 27; David Mayers, Dissenting Voices in America’s Rise to Power (New York: Cambridge University, 2007), pp. 190-218 (quotes, pp. 199-200, 204).

128: Kenton J. Clymer, Protestant Missionaries in the Philippines, 1898-1916: An Inquiry into the American Colonial Mentality (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1986); Glenn Anthony May, Social Engineering in the Philippines: The Aims, Execution, and Impacts of American Cultural Policy, 1900-1913 (Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 1980); quotes from Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation,” pp. 17-18; Brands, Bound to Empire, pp. 72-74. Interestingly, the Catholic Church decided to support the American war in the Philippines. McKinley enlisted Archbishop John Ireland during a trip to the Vatican to sound out the papacy on the question in exchange for an American promise not to expropriate the Church’s monastic lands in Philippines.  Ireland reported: “As a plain matter of fact the only safety which the Catholic Church has at the present time in the Philippines for the possession of her properties and for the lives of her priests is the protection of the American flag and all this is fully recognized in Rome”: Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation,” p. 138.  See also Michael Adas, Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America’s Civilizing Mission (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 2006), pp. 129-82 (quote, p. 148).

128-29: Corporal John Mulcahy in Liberty Poems (1900), cited by Bill Kauffman, Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism (New York: Henry Holt, 2008), pp. 61-62.

129: Former Speaker of the House and Treasury Secretary John G. Carlisle agreed: “Better a thousand times that monarchical Spain should continue to rule a people against their will than that the United States should usurp her place”: Fabian Hilfrich, Debating American Exceptionalism: Empire and Democracy in the Wake of the Spanish-American War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), p. 25. Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina was a 19 year old law student when the U.S. Pacific squadron arrived in Manila Bay. He served as an aide-de-camp to Aguinaldo during the insurrection, then returned to law and politics as a leader of the Nationalist party.  Quezón was elected president of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935, went into exile during the Japanese occupation, and died in the United States in 1944.  He presided over sweeping populist reforms inspired in part by the Catholic social thought of Pius XI and in part by the New Deal.



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