Fueled by capitalism, nationalism, white supremacy, and sensationalized [yellow] journalism, a drive for territorial expansion consumed the U.S. in the decades following the Civil War. Imperialist set their sights on potential U.S. colonies in Latin America and Asia.
After the U.S. won the Spanish-Cuban-American War in 1898, Americans were bitterly divided over whether or not to annex the Philippines. The debates escalated after a vicious guerilla war erupted between Filipino rebels and U.S. soldiers. Albert J. Beveridge, a first-term Republican senator from Indiana, was one of the most ardent advocates of imperialism. Noted for his speaking abilities and fervent nationalism, Beveridge traveled to the Philippines in order to gather information. The voyage only intensified his belief that the U.S. should acquire a colonial empire. After serving two terms in the Senate, Beveridge became a distinguished historian and won the Pulitzer Prize for the four-volume The Life of John Marshall. This extract highlights one of Beveridge’s speeches supporting annexation of the Philippines. In addition, this document includes reading questions.