Discussion on Whether The United States Should Have Annexed The Philippines

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 713 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Words: 713|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Table of contents

  1. The Annexation Debate
  2. Liberty and Consent
    Hypocrisy and Self-Governance
    Ethical Considerations
  3. Conclusion
  4. Works Cited:

Political power is the ability to influence or control the actions of individuals, and the scope of this influence determines the extent of political power one wields. In the late 19th century, the United States found itself in possession of newfound political power after emerging victorious in the Spanish-American War of 1898. This victory resulted in the acquisition of new territories, including Cuba and the Philippines. While Cuba was granted a form of semi-independence, the fate of the Philippines hung in the balance. The United States faced a critical decision: to return the islands to Spain, grant the Philippines independence, or annex the Philippines and establish American governance. But should the United States have annexed the Philippines? This essay delves into this contentious issue of the annexation of the Philippines, highlighting the contradictions, controversies, and ethical concerns surrounding this pivotal moment in American history.

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The Annexation Debate

The annexation of the Philippines ignited a fervent debate within the United States. While the majority of Americans supported annexation, a vocal anti-imperialist movement emerged, vehemently opposing the expansionist policy. At the heart of the debate lay questions of liberty, consent, and the moral implications of extending American power to foreign lands.

Liberty and Consent

Fundamentally, the annexation of the Philippines raised critical questions about the principles of liberty and consent. Advocates for annexation argued that the United States was rescuing the Filipinos from Spanish rule and believed they were bestowing a favor upon them. However, this benevolent façade masked the harsh reality faced by the Filipinos. Despite promises of protection, the Filipino population was denied educational opportunities and stripped of their independence. This contradiction between American rhetoric and actions cast a shadow on the moral justifications for annexation.

Hypocrisy and Self-Governance

The annexation debate also exposed a significant contradiction within American ideals. Albert Beveridge, a proponent of annexation, questioned whether the United States should return the Philippines to Spain or leave them susceptible to the interests of other global powers like Germany, England, and Japan. This argument, while seemingly rooted in concern for the well-being of the Filipinos, suggested that they were incapable of self-governance. Such a stance contradicted the principle that all just government derives its authority from the consent of the governed. Abraham Lincoln's belief that no one should govern another without consent clashed with the United States' attempt to impose its governance on the Filipinos, making America appear hypocritical.

Ethical Considerations

Annexation could have been justified if the United States pursued it solely for the benefit of the Filipinos. President William McKinley, in his attempt to rationalize annexation, spoke of educating, uplifting, civilizing, and Christianizing the Filipinos. However, this perspective overlooked the moral implications of imposing religious beliefs on others and concealed the true extent of American intentions. McKinley failed to acknowledge that annexation would strip the Filipinos of their freedom, liberty, and basic rights.

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The annexation of the Philippines represents a controversial episode in American history, marked by a complex web of contradictions, ethical concerns, and debates surrounding liberty, consent, and self-governance. While the United States justified annexation as a means of benevolence, it struggled to reconcile its actions with the principles it espoused. The annexation debate serves as a poignant reminder that the acquisition of political power should be guided by a deep commitment to ethical values and respect for the rights and autonomy of all individuals, regardless of their nationality or circumstances.

Works Cited:

  1. Anderson, W. (Director). (2012). Moonrise Kingdom [Motion picture]. United States: Focus Features.
  2. Bergstrom, J. C. (2016). Aesthetics and ethics in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 74(2), 135-147.
  3. Calarco, M. (2014). Moonrise Kingdom: A philosophical interpretation. Film-Philosophy, 18(1), 129-143.
  4. Gottlieb, E. (2013). Wes Anderson's stylized reality: Cinematography and mise-en-scène in Moonrise Kingdom. Projections, 7(2), 25-45.
  5. Harper, G. (2013). Memory and nostalgia in Moonrise Kingdom. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 41(2), 57-66.
  6. Kuzniar, A. (2017). Wes Anderson and philosophy. Lexington Books.
  7. Mittell, J. (2013). Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom, and the musicality of cinematic whimsy. The Velvet Light Trap, (72), 34-45.
  8. Perren, A. (2018). Wes Anderson: The Hollywood Collection. Manchester University Press.
  9. Sandvoss, C. (2015). The Twilight of the Nation-State: Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and the paradoxes of contemporary global society. Popular Communication, 13(2), 88-100.
  10. Wheatley, C. (2013). The power of the young gaze: Cinematic (re) visions in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and Richard Ayoade's Submarine. New Review of Film and Television Studies, 11(3), 293-308.
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Discussion on Whether the United States Should Have Annexed the Philippines. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Discussion on Whether the United States Should Have Annexed the Philippines.” GradesFixer, 10 Dec. 2020,
Discussion on Whether the United States Should Have Annexed the Philippines. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Discussion on Whether the United States Should Have Annexed the Philippines [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Dec 10 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
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