Albert Beveridge | The March of the Flag Speech

Albert Beveridge, a keen imperialist, was campaigning for the Indiana senator seat in 1898 when he delivered The March of the Flag speech. The speech, which was published later in the Indianapolis Journal, was pronounced one month following the signing of armistice. The speech aimed at promoting US imperialism both as a divine and national mission that originated with Thomas Jefferson. In the speech, he used religious rhetoric and invoked God eleven times to appeal for an audience. The audience expected politicians to learn the Holy Scriptures and took divine Providence as Manifest Destiny. He envisaged the united states taking a colonial which he defined in conditions of the divine mission.

Running as the party of prosperity, economic stability and the gold standard, Republicans won the 1896 presidential election. William McKinley easily defeated the populist Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan, having gotten enormous campaign contributions mainly from big businesses. He was to usher in a long amount of republican dominance in the county's politics. During the period, Cuba was experiencing a humanitarian crisis and the united states intervened by attacking Spain in April 1898, quickly acquiring Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. However, in the Philippines, it took a long and brutal war to quell mounting internal rebellion. When the speech was being delivered, the status of the new territories was not settled. Through the speech, Beveridge submit the theory that the united states was obligated to increase civilization to the conquered territories as an integral platform for bolstering American financial strength.

The speech aimed at celebrating American victory. However, behind the enthusiasm lay a burning want to counter the critics of the imperialist move who Beverage referred to as "they" in the speech (paragraph 10). The critics, who constituted the great proportion of the electorate, were adamantly opposed and incredibly reluctant to embrace a concept of an imperial America. The speech starts with adulation of his country in epic terms (paragraphs 1-3). Later, he puts across the main issue behind the campaign in paragraphs 4 to7: the decision to or never to pursue an imperialist policy. In paragraphs 8-11, he justifies his country's pursuance of the imperialist policy and answers objections of anti-imperialists. The objections, he says defies the notion of patriotism and celebration of America's power.

Beveridge's first argument was founded on the fact that his county's geographical position gave it political and financial power - in terms of resources, size and location dividing "both imperial oceans. " This assertion implied that America's superiority was beyond that of most European powers. In paragraph 3, he refers to myth of the west with regards to the unexplored land or wilderness (paragraph 3). He mentions the heroes of expansionary wars and puts forward a mythic observation of the western conquest of the 1840s (paragraph 7).

Beveridge's third argument centres on racial superiority. He alludes to the "blood" (paragraph 2) and evokes the sensation of power associated as evidenced by the virility of the country's "multiplying people. " In his view, the upsurge in American population is sue to their virility and it is not related to immigration: this illustrates the mythic approach that America gives to its problems. President Roosevelt would pose as an energetic and virile man on several occasions. This cult of force, power and energy suggests a Darwinian twist in Beverigde's ideas.

He also uses religious arguments to advance his notion of imperialism. Studying the speech, you can be forgiven for convinced that it is a piece of O' Sullivan's Manifest Destiny. Really the only variation is the fact that Beveridge's religious propositions were mostly expressed in a scientifically inspired language. To his country, the grace of God is feels as inevitable. He later refers to "nature's law" in regard to the divine determinism thereby directing his argument in a pseudo scientific explanation of imperialism. In paragraph 5, Beveridge adds yet another dimension to his argument-that of an historical mission of "duty". This suggests a traditional puritan idea of stewardship as renewed by the Gospel of wealth through the Gilded Age. Stewardship targeted at civilising people and converting these to Christianity at the same time.

Along with the decision to stewardship came the need to extend democracy to those perceived to be "oppressed". Ironically, the freedom that the American liberators could bring didn't go so far as extending freedom to all or any. Beveridge calls it "rules of liberty. . . self-government. "

Beveridge's insistence on the sense of mission blankets exactly what is a major preoccupation for his country - economical predominance. In paragraph 6, he uses the word "reward" in reference to the parable of Talent. That is a clever marriage of religious monetary rhetoric. In his view, rewards were to come in form of new riches and markets- an idea prevalent in the Gospel of wealth that takes wealth for God's blessing. This demonstrates the true aim behind imperialism is indeed commercial supremacy. The recurrence of what "domination" and "power" in last paragraph are indicators of this fact.

Contextually, the approaching elections were his country's short-term preoccupation. In the long run, the preoccupation was if the new territories would be annexed to America. Beveridge wanted even more territories to be annexed after the Philippines. His stand was that the values of the American Revolution weren't contradictory to the policy of annexation and the views of those residing in the annexed territories. To him, the colonised were inferior people who couldn't benefit from the values of American Revolution in equal measure to the Americans. This is a set rejection of the idea of equality (paragraph 8-10). The constitution should not follow the flag- i. e. the annexed territories shouldn't benefit from the constitutional entitlements of his country's constitution.

His racist mindset obviously comes to the fore in chapter 10 when he describes as inferior the people of foreign lands as "savages and alien populations". He envisaged a colonial America governing the new territories since England did it to America. Besides, he explains that the Indians' experience offered ideas concerning the way to handle the conquered. In evidently distinctive wording of "we" versus them, he is opposed to assimilation of these "savages" with the mainstream Americans (paragraph 8). His mentality correlates well recover of southerners on the blacks prior to the Civil War. Finally, he defends the Philippines conquest as a rampart to the then greedy competition for territories by world powers saying that if US didn't get it done, other powers would do so.

The article is no doubt a celebration of American mythical and heroic founding. It features an explicit show of force and brutality: economical domination of conquered territories, virility of the American population, racial competition and accumulation of wealth at the trouble of conquered territories. It evokes the sensation of American supremacy since its founding and the brutal materialism that is constantly on the define American life-style down to the present. The vocabulary indicates both cynicism and naivety. The militant celebration served to convince the deeply cynical electorate to pull in the direction of imperial America. It really is naive to the actual fact that such imperialism deeply violated the values of America as a nation, an undeniable fact that cannot resonate well with not only the electorate but also the leftist leaning statesmen of that time period. To best drive his point home, he insisted on syntactical patterns and repetition of words to bring the audience to his point of focus. His frequent use of questions and answers gave the speech a polemical quality and seemed like a dialogue with his audience. This particularly made the cynical audience evaluate its stand with every posing of an question and giving of a suggested answer. The speech is highly representative of a crucial and decisive moment of history in the making of American nation, capturing in great colour the prevalent ideology then. The speech brought out the natural fusion of state policy and Biblical injunction (religion). Implicit in the speech is the ideology that the non-white world was inferior and unable to govern itself. It therefore needed the benevolent Americans' "civilizing affects".

Alexander K. McClure, ed (1902). Famous American Statesmen & Orators. VI. New York: F. F. Lovell Publishing Company. p. 3.

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)