Should the United States Have Annexed the Philippines: Argumentative Essay

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After the victory in the Spanish-American War, the United States was known as a world power. Many Americans believed that the nation should expand and claim land overseas due to Manifest Destiny being already complete. During the war, the United States acquired the Philippine archipelago located in Southeast Asia which made the Philippines in the hands of the United States in which President McKinley prayed over what to do with it. The supporters of the annexation of the Philippines gave many reasons why annexation was positive and helpful to the country, one of them being the “White Man’s Burden'': The idea that Americans are superior and they have a moral duty to “civilize and sanitize” the Filipino people. But however, the most important factor that led to President McKinley’s decision to annex the Philippines is the idea that it could become the window for the United States to lucrative Chinese markets. This opportunity provided lots of raw materials and overseas markets for the country as it rapidly industrialized materials. This decision by McKinley became a part of the Treaty of Paris with Spain, which the United States Senate then had to ratify or reject. While many Americans supported and agreed with McKinley and the annexation, the anti-imperialists believed that annexing the Philippines meant that Filipino nationalists would fight against the United States as they had fought against Spain. The hypocrisy of the annexation was clear to the Philippines because Americans had fought the war with Spain in order to free the country of Cuba, and now we're taking control of the Philippines. The United States had always been fighting for democracy and if the United States annexed the Philippines, it would be against their beliefs and opinions in self-determination. Labor unions, like the AFL, were against the annexation because of the fear of competition from cheap Filipino labor. Despite the opposition, President McKinley still decided on annexing the Philippines which caused more chaos. The Filipinos refused to be controlled and used by another foreign country and rebelled which resulted in two years of guerilla warfare which resulted in the Filipinos’ dream of independence being crushed. During this era, the Supreme Court ruled that the Filipino people would not be entitled to the full rights of American citizenship. The United States took overseas colonies with no intention of ever making them states, unlike the territories that were added to the Union during Manifest Destiny.

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As the disasters of WWI finally settled down, the Axis Powers surrendered to the Allies in 1918. The Allied countries, primarily consisting of Britain, France, Italy, and the U.S., were left with rebuilding a broken Europe and the desire to make Germany pay for a war Britain and France thought Germany had incited. Earlier, Wilson had shown his fourteen points, which consisted of goals for creating peace after the world war. After many changes and debates, the Allies came to agree on the Treaty of Versailles, which contained many changes and one of Wilson's crucial points: The League of Nations. By creating an international organization, the Allied Powers would have liked to solve conflicts with words and treaties, rather than combat. Having fought so persistently for this article, Wilson proposed the Treaty to the Senate for ratification, naively expecting strong support. In a unanimous decision, the Senate dismissed the treaty. Conservatives and liberals alike felt that our country had for quite some time been doing things based on isolationist policies based on former President Washington's advice to avoid mingling and interacting with other countries. President Wilson went on a campaign to gather support for the passing of the treaty, The nation was separated. Supporters of President Wilson saw the importance of an international organization and felt it was the safest way to ensure worldwide peace. Other people thought that involvement in an International Alliance would threaten the United States’ independence of governing, and drag the U.S. into another war. Reservationists supported an amendment to the treaty, which would preserve Congress' capacity to declare war and breakpoint our military support for the League of Nations. Congress refused to approve the treaty as is; Wilson refused to accept any changes and passed away. Without United States ratification, a weak League of Nations was created, but without U.S. involvement it remained weak and ineffective. Perhaps if Wilson had gotten the support he expected, the U.S. might have strengthened the League, prevented the rise of dictators, and the declaration of WWII.

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Should the United States Have Annexed the Philippines: Argumentative Essay. (2023, August 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Should the United States Have Annexed the Philippines: Argumentative Essay.” Edubirdie, 29 Aug. 2023,
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