American Civilization

February 28, 2009

Bloody Blundering Business

Filed under: colonization,Empire & Colony,Machine Age,quotes — equiano @ 3:51 pm

On Monday we’ll watch a documentary in lecture titled This Bloody Blundering Business which uses satirical methods to explore the significance of the Filipino-American War. By way of a gesture at the socio-historical context of this conflict consider the following quotes:

“’Our manufactures have outgrown or are outgrowing the home market. Expansion of our foreign trade is the only promise of relief’”–  Theodore Search, president of the Nat’l Assoc. of Manufacturers (1897).

“What was new about the period was scale– the sheer volume of materials needed to feed the engines of industrial production and the volume of production itself; the sheer volume of population movements in response to this stage of maturing capitalism; the scale of government bureaucracies…. and the scale of a burgeoning culture industry, which not only narrated these events for mass consumption but served up images of the world and its people that at once naturlaized ‘large policies’ and gave voice to the anxieties engendered by these grand designs” (Frye 6).

For the “average voter,” free trade “has become definitely associated in his imagination with the annexation of tropical islands, the populations of which have suddenly interested him and the resources of which are new objects of his thought; with the brilliant naval victories in the waters of Manila Bay and Santiago; with the relation of the Philippine Islands with the rest of the Far East, to the destinies of China and to the limitless possibilities of commercial enterprise that attend the awakening of the Orient” (Giddings 598).

“The task of governing from a distance the inferior races of mankind will be one of great difficulty– one that will tax every resource of intellect and character; but it is one that must be faced and overcome, if the civilized world is not to abandon all hope of continuing its economic conquest of the natural resources of the globe” (Giddings 600).

“Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.” — V.I. Lenin (1916)

“Those who wanted to take the Philippines pointed to the potential markets of the East, the White Man’s Burden, the struggle for existence, ‘racial’ destiny, American traditions of expansion, the dangers of a general war if the Philippines were left open to a European scramble, the almost parental duty of assuming responsibility for the allegedly child-like Filipinos, the incapacity of the Filipinos for self-government” (Hoftstadter 172).


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