Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Imperialism By William Jennings Bryan

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Imperialism By William Jennings Bryan

Imperialism By William Jennings Bryan
(The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz…A man who has a “loud roar” but no political power)

“Our people defended Cuba against foreign arms; now they must defend themselves and their country against a foreign idea-the colonial idea of European nations”

Bryan is arguing against imperialism, he is fearful of the United States intentions in Latin America and the Orient. He uses statements from Lincoln and Jefferson to justify his argument, he is fearful of the U.S. occupation, “conquest” and subjugation of different races. He oddly enough believed we should be “compensated” with bases in all these countries. He felt we should be free from European Imperialism. He also felt we should annex “Porto Rico” because “they didn’t want to rule themselves” but felt we should not have anything to do with the Philippines. His flawed argument tries to steer the public against imperialism but for intervening in foreign affairs and considers the annexation of Puerto Rico as justifiable because they are close to us, but the Philippines not because it’s too far away.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

This is not one of Bryan's best speeches. He is trying to play both sides of the issue. As an anti-imperialist Bryan is in part motivated by a fear of the introduction of non-white territories into the union.

About the rhetoric of the speech: Just like the pro-war speeches Bryan appeals to our patriotic heritage to justify his case. Appealing to the memory of Lincoln and Jefferson is the kind of patriotic rhetoric that both sides employed.

2/22/2007 12:09 PM  

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