The wording on the cartoon reads the following:
Caption: “School Begins. Uncle Sam (to his new class in Civilization): Now, children, you’ve got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and remember that, in a little while, you will feel as glad to be here as they are!”
Blackboard: “The consent of the governed is a good thing in theory, but very rare in fact. — England has governed her colonies whether they consented or not. By not waiting for their consent she has greatly advanced the world’s civilization. — The U.S. must govern its new territories with or without their consent until they can govern themselves.
Poster: “The Confederated States refused their consent to be governed, but the Union was preserved without their consent.”
Book: “U.S. — First Lessons in Self Government”
Note: (on table): “The new class — Philippines Cuba Hawaii Porto Rico”
In preparation for our discussion be sure to read, Chapter 19: “American Empire” in The American Yawp, and the following primary sources: Stevens, J. (1893), A Plea for Annexation and Roosevelt, T. (1905), Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. Be sure to view America Becomes a World Power.
In addition, examine the cartoon above from Puck magazine, or a larger version of the cartoon. Although Americans were not of one mind about the US’s acquisition of overseas territory, let us assume this represents a common attitude at the time.
Then, in an initial post of approximately 270 words, using specific evidence from the primary and secondary sources and videos listed above, answer the following questions:
- What does this cartoon tell us about the nature and origins of American “empire” in the early 1900s?
- Does this support or negate the idea that the United States wanted to be seen as an imperial power? Be sure to justify your argument with evidence.
Then, over the course of the week, respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates.