“My own belief is that there are not 100 mean among them [Filipinos] who comprehend what Anglo-Saxon self-government even means… No! He has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns… He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile people.”Americans believed that God “made” it the “White Man’s Burden” to educate the less privileged and make them civilized. With this thought, white Americans had the idea that they were better than all other people who did not live or look like they did. This also brought up the issue that Americans were superior to all other races.
Although many Americans and national leaders believed that the Philippine-American war would achieve social control there were some who believed that war in the Philippines was a bad idea. Some argued that annexing the Philippines was a bad idea because incorporating the Filipinos into our population would only degenerate our society even more. Filipinos were viewed as African Americans were viewed at this time, as savages and less than human. Americans viewed themselves as the superior race. Filipinos were also view by anti-imperialist, the ones against the annexation, as unequal, and were not worthy of living under the same constitution as Americans.
At a Senate debate about the Treaty of Spain, a debate which discussed if Americans should annex the Philippines, Senator Caffery of Louisiana said “if such people are unfit and in all human probability never will be fit for the glorious privileges, franchises, and functions of an American citizen, we ought not in that case to even think of incorporating them into the United States.”12 Also in the United States at this time, African Americans were looked at as less then human. Many white Americans did not view the blacks as equal in anyway to the “superior race.”
Senator McLaurin said at the debate on the Treaty of Spain that “the great strength of our country is not merely its isolated position, washed on each side by the waters of a great ocean, but in a homogenous population, speaking a common language, and with similar aspirations and ideas of liberty and civilization.”13 People were scared that by taking over the Philippines, it would “litter” the populations with Filipinos who were to close to the Negro race. Americans did not want to share their country or compromise their language or beliefs with allowing a inferior, uncivilized race to join the society. Although there were many against the war, in the end the leaders of America, for the most part, were for the annexation. The believed that it was the answer to more then just one problem the United States faced.
Through out the Progressive era, Americans were trying hard to achieve social control. With industrialization, Americans felt like social rules and gender roles were getting out of hand. The annexing of the Philippines seemed to restore men’s ability to believe that they were still the superior gender and white Americans the superior race. Fighting in the war gave them back their sense of masculinity but also the war gave the United States a sense of fulfillment. Americans believed that it was their duty to take the Philippines, an inferior race, and nurture them. It was their responsibility to teach them how to govern and how to be civilized. Building an empire that would, in theory, establish the United States as a world power and the convenient location for trade were just added bonuses.