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President McKinley on American imperialism in the Philippines (1899)

When l realized that the Philippines { a Spanish colony } had dropped into our laps [as a result of America's military defeat of Spain] . . . I did not know what to do . . . one night late it came to me this way . . . (1) that we could not give them back to Spain--that would be cowardly and dishonourable; (2) that we could not turn them over to France or Germany--our commercial rivals in the Orient--that would be bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to themselves-- they were unfit for self-government--and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was; and (4) that there was nothing left for us to do but take them . . . [and] put the Philippines on the map of the United States.

Bridges et al.

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