Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: President McKinley: Emancipators, Not Masters

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

President McKinley: Emancipators, Not Masters

The Treaty of Paris,December 10, 1898, officially ended the Spanish American war. At the treaty the U.S. had acquired Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines from Spain.

President William McKinley did not understand the Filipino's customs, but he need to justify occupation of the Philippines and convince Congress, Anti-imperialists, and Americans that acquiring the Philippines would advance the freedom and prosperity for both. In Why American Fights by Susan Brewer, she writes that in his strive to continue Americas Manifest Destiny, McKinley voiced the message that Americans must "fulfill their manly duty to spread Christian civilization".

In a passage from Emancipators, Not Masters, President McKinley writes,

"the treaty now commits the free and enfranchised Filipinos to the guiding hand and the liberalizing influences, the generous sympathies, the uplifting education, not of their American masters, but of their American emancipators".

The President promised that our government would do everything to make this a peaceful transition, and that America had the Filipino's well being in the forefront.

The sentiment of the Wasp's (white Anglo-Saxon protestants) during this period was that they were the superior, civilized, and a self-controlled race (Brewer,2009). President McKinley used this stereotypical attitude to drive home the necessity to uplift, redeem, and emancipate the "child-like savages" of the Philippines. He persuaded Americans to believe, Brewer writes, that "our brown little brothers" were "savage warriors" that would benefit from this "humanitarian mission".


President William McKinley's use of propaganda convinced the American people that the "spreading of (our) democracy and (our)freedom" was for the good of all mankind. Brewer also states that President McKinley had "the notion that Americas global ambitions and democratic traditions are one and the same.












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