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Anno Domini 1900, when America became an empire

The United States Can they be considered an empire? This question brings tears to the eyes of the world of political science since the Cold War and political reality since the days of expansion in the West and South. Of Express the destiny e Of Monroe theory.

Political experts and politicians continue to disagree on what is the best definition to describe the United States, but they agree on one fact: the nation cannot accept itself as an empire because of the inherently negative significance of the term, which is tantamount to acknowledging the principles of generation. George Washington They have been betrayed, and the new Promised Land has absorbed it Form He fought against imperialism.

In fact, the debate is still ongoing and not far off, because the number of US foreign policy books is more rhetorical and explanatory than books, ideas and theories: There are 800 military bases in 80 countries, 200 thousand soldiers were stationed around the world – One-third of this is in the Middle East – $ 6.4 trillion has been spent on military interventions and wars between the Middle East and Asia since 9/11, At least 81 election interference activities Certificate from 1946 to 2000, 72 Regime change The losers During the Cold War (And many more successful) e 208 years in 223 Sending or keeping troops abroad in the wake of wars, international missions, the overthrow of hostile governments and / or the suppression of revolutions.

The figures and facts at hand may fall into the category of those who are legally called by the United States Informal Empires, I.e. imperialist institutions seeking protectors for the colonies and open and secret intervention, economic (and political) interdependence between the center and the periphery and Tool Kingdoms Such as entertainment (Hollywood) And religion (Evangelical Protestantism).

However, for the eternal dilemma of the empire, one more element is definitely needed to resolve: a date. In short, when did America become an empire? The answer may come as a surprise: during the 1900 presidential election.

The birth of the empire

The United States will not become an empire in an attempt to implement the dictates of the Monroe Doctrine, nor will it manifest itself in the Midwest Pacific translation of Destiny or as a result of World War II, but after their intervention. The Cuban War of Independence and the Philippine Revolution.

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It was 1900, two years after the war between Washington and Madrid for control of Havana, and voters were invited to choose between Democrats. William Jennings Brian And the outgoing Republican William McKinley. Not the domestic economic situation, but foreign policy would have been central to the electoral plans of both politicians and would have polarized the opinion of the American people.

McKinsey was a supporter of foreign intervention and, anytime, anywhere, and a supporter of colonialism – the call for a referendum came in the wake of efforts to unite the United States. Philippines After snatching them from the declining Spanish Empire – when Brian was a recovered militant, he was transferred for the cause of anti-imperialism. That year, in short, the American people would not have simply chosen between Democrats and Republicans, but would have chosen democracy or plutocracy between the United States as an experiment or, as a rule, to rebut Brian.

Brian’s speech

Brian will try the impossible: He opened his eyes to a public opinion provoked by the Cuban effect, ecstatic at the idea that the United States was on the verge of becoming a two-continent power, and explained that ordinary citizens would not earn dollars from those victories, but others, who would have been greatly affected by that militarism.

Brian’s thinking would have been surprisingly iconic In a speech delivered in Indianapolis on August 8, 1900 History of “Imperialism: The Flag of an Empire” (Imperialism: The flag of an empire). Imperialism represents a milestone in the political-cultural history of the United States in the early twentieth century and a pillar of the North American anti-imperialist movement.

The text opens with a lengthy opening ceremony j’accuse Against the Republicans, Brian was accused of being there Long petitions Is completely interested in money and indifferent to the needs of ordinary human beings in checking out plutocratic circles and “uncle venerators”. Republicans, Brian argued, ended politics by means and wealth, giving birth to legislation that would turn “money into masters and men into servants.”

The wars McKinley backed would not have contributed to the well-being of the American people because they would have been beneficial to the prosperity of a few, and the colonization of the Philippines would not have contributed to the national interest. The Philippines, Brian argued, should be liberated, not subjugated, and Republicans have no right to fill the war with religious veins in order to gain the support of the most innocent believers.

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Because “the wars of victory leave a tradition of perpetual hatred”, a feeling contrary to the divine plan for mankind, whose hearts are filled with “love for freedom by God” and not enslaved “to a foreign master.” Christian voters, in light of McKinley’s false Messianism, “love, not strength. Weapon of the Nazarene; He who reaches the human heart by sacrificing himself for his neighbor does not exploit it ”.

But according to Brian the wars of aggression (and victory) would have been detrimental for another reason: the corruption of the people who support them and the nation as a whole. In short, if the United States becomes accustomed to interfering in the foreign affairs of others, it will run the risk of developing a kind of drug that could harm the war if it implements imperialism using the pretext of the struggle against imperialism. “Establishment Military “.

Refers to thought in detail Abraham Lincoln, Quoting on several occasions, Candidate Dem tried to explain to the crowd, “The security of this nation is not in its navy, in its army or in its strongholds, but in that spirit that patriarchally respects freedom. In all countries, everywhere men, the seeds of dictatorship will be killed” before the gates By planting [degli Stati Uniti]”.

Brian did not even reject Jefferson’s idea of ​​America’s right and duty to spread freedom in the world because he deeply believed in exceptionalism. Essential Nation, But he would not have made the confusion of the Republicans “expansion with imperialism”, that is, the spread of values ​​by uniting the whole region.

Finally, Americans should not be fascinated by the lust for pride, because “imperialism will be profitable for arms manufacturers, it will be profitable for ship owners, it will bring soldiers alive and dead to the Philippines, it will be profitable for big entrepreneurs, and it will pay dividends here But for the majority of farmers, workers and those working in other sectors, it is a risk without economic income and risks without rewards. ”

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Post discussion

Brian’s appeal to American public knowledge would have fallen on deaf ears. His (second) run for the presidency ended in a thunderous defeat: 6,370,932 votes (45.52%), equivalent to 155 voters and 17 federal states, resulting in Brian receiving 6,510,807 votes (47.7%) for a total of 176 voters and 22 federal states, much less than in 1896.

McKinley, Thanks for focusing on the benefits of imperialism, It was able to increase the number of votes (7,112,138 to 7,228,864), the large electorate (271 to 292) and the control of individual states (23 to 28) compared to the election four years ago. However, the Second Commandment proved impossible to live without: on September 6, 1901, he fell into the fire of an anarchist terrorist, Leon Solcos, Dying eight days after hospitalization.

McKinley’s scepter was taken by the then Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, A president of the Republican Intervention Division, whose fiber-optic foreign policy will be renamed “Big Stick Diplomacy.” He, like McKinley, will be admired by the public and is still considered one of the most famous presidents in American history.

However, Brian’s fate was very different: he was forgotten by the electorate, lost the visibility of the big press, and withdrew from politics after splitting with the Democrats. Woodrow Wilson Entering World War I, he spent the last years of his life talking about the faith between churches and universities, developing a kind of passion for the debate between Darwinism and creationism.

Today, one hundred and twenty – one years after those difficult elections, we can honestly admit that history has done injustice to those who want to agree with McKinley: in 1900 there was no vote between Democrats and Republicans, but between peace and war between democracy, between freedom and imperialism. That year, if Brian’s defeat is announced, there will be a referendum Excited Gave birth to the empire.