Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: William J. Bryan on Imperialism

Thursday, February 15, 2007

William J. Bryan on Imperialism

" I may be in error, but I believe our nation is in greater danger just now than Cuba. 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. The imperialistic idea is directly antagonistic to the idea and ideals which have been cherished by the American people since the signing of the Declaration of Independence."

Imperialism is something that was not for the United States and it was something that they had tried to avoid by signing the Declaration of Independence, as stated by William J. Bryan. Imperialism was an ideal that didn't go well with the American people and not only were we trying to protect and defend Cuba, but now the American people were to also look after themselves and their country as they were going against an idea that not only didn't appeal to them, but was the complete opposite that they know as a people and as a country.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good quote and a decent post.

Why is the appeal to the Declaration of Independence important? Both the pro and anti-war sides made appeals to patriotism to justify their arguments. The Declaration is a founding document of our political culture. If Imperialism is "directly antagonistic" to the ideals of the Declaration then that would be a strong argument against an imperialist war. But was the war Imperialist? Can you see why the conflict over these key labels is crucial. Mckinley argued that we were "Liberators not masters." Expansionists not Imperialists. If you can control the language used in a debate you can often control the outcome of that debate.

2/25/2007 7:03 PM  

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