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).

February 18, 2009

Race Quotes

Filed under: quotes — equiano @ 10:55 pm

“This is a county of white men. And as Long as I am president it will be a government for white men.”

— Andrew Johnson

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means taking it away from those who have slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.” 

–Marlow, in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.”

— Charles Darwin, On the Descent of Man (1871)

To be a Negro in a day like this

Demands rare patience—patience that can wait

In utter darkness. 


 –James D. Corrothers

“Then will the world enter upon a new stage of its history– the final competition of races, for which the Anglo-Saxon is being schooled.” 

— Josiah Strong

“We have only to imagine what America would be to-day if she had fallen… into the hands of any other people than the Colonizing British, to see how vitally important is this question of race. America was indeed fortunate in the seed planted upon her soil…. the American of today remains true to this noble strain and is 4/5 British” (2-3).

–Andrew Carnegie’s The Triumph of America (1885)

“It is highly probably that whole nations have regtrograded in the scale of life. Certain savage peoples like the Bushmen and Australians are believed by ethnologists to represent decadent stocks. Wars, famines, the encroachments of superior races, as well as inherent vices, have operated, and are still operating, to destroy entire tribes and races. The gradual extinction of the American Indians and many of the South Sea Islanders illustrates a process of degeneration that is going on in our own time.” 

— George Dawson (1896)

“Poverty, even, is sweeter to them than confinement. Naturally they become warlike and predatory in their habits. Assuming that ‘all is fair in war,’ they act upon the principle that ‘might makes right’, whether it be the might of brute force, or savage cunning. The comforts and restrains of social and civil life are not to be compared with trusty weapons and a swift-going steed. Despising governments, they are yet controlled by their emirs, their sheiks, and their traditions. Ishmaelites by descent, they are Ishmaelites in disposition also;  their hand against every many, they trust no an thoroughly, save their own brotherhood. Uncertain, vindictive, and selfish, they are the source of apprehension to every traveler. Living in clans or hordes, for self protection, however, rather than for love’s sake, their one pre-eminent object in life is subsistence– food, shelter, clothing” (21-22).

–George Needham “Street Arabs and Gutter Snipes” (1884)

“God has… made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns. He has given us the spirit of progress to overwhelm the forces of reaction throughout the earth. He has made us adepts in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples. Were it not for a force as this the world would relapse into barbarism and night. And of all our race He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America…. We are trustees of the world’s progress, guardians of its righteous peace. 

“What shall history say of us? Shall it say that we renounced that holy trust, left the savage to its base conditions, the wilderness to the reign of waste, deserted duty, abandoned glory?… Our fathers… unfurled no retreating flag. That flag has never paused in its onward march. Who dares halt it now– now, when history’s largest events are carrying it forward?”

–Senator Albert Beveridge, Speech from January 9, 1900.

 “Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers, the men who upheld the wisdom of Lincoln and bore sword or rifle in the armies of Grant! Let us, the children of the men who proved themselves equal to the mighty days, let us, the children of the men who carried the great Civil War to a triumphant conclusion, praise the God of our fathers that the ignoble counsels of peace were rejected; that the suffering and loss, the blackness of sorrow and despair, were unflinchingly faced and the years of strife endured; for in the end the slave was freed, the Union restored, and the mighty American republic placed once more as a helmeted queen among nations” (5). 

Theodore Roosevelt, “The Strenuous Life” (1899)

“The cyclone of civilization rolled westward; the forests of untold centuries were swept away; streams dried up; lakes fell back from their ancient bounds; and all our fathers once loved to gaze upon was destroyed, defaced, or marred, except the sun, moon and starry skies above, which the Great Spirit in his wisdom hung beyond their reach.”

Simon Pokagon, “The Red Man’s Greeting” at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

“My thoughts, the thoughts of Washington, Trotter and others, were the expression of social forces more than of our own minds. These forces or ideologies embraced more than our reasoned acts. They included physical, biological and psychological forces; habits, conventions and enactments. Opposed to these came natural reaction: the physical recoil of the victims, the unconscious and irrational urges, as well as reasoned complaints and acts. The total result was the history of our day. That history may be epitomized in one word– Empire; the domination of white Europe over black Africa and yellow Asia, through political power built on the economic control of labor, income and ideas. The echo of this industrial imperialism in America was the expulsion of black men from American democracy, their subjection to caste control and wage slavery. This ideology was triumphant in 1910”

WEB DuBois, Dusk of Dawn. 

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