President William McKinley had been in a
quandry for some time as to what to do with the Philippines. The issue
preyed strongly on McKinley, a very
religious man. Finally, as a visiting delegation of the General
Missionary Committee of the Methodist Episcopal Church was about to
leave his presence, the president called them back and explained his
reasons for deciding to retain the Philippines. His reason for revealing
this explanation to this particular group was apparently because it
showed how his faith had guided him in the decision.
"And one night late it came to me this way - I don't know how it was,
but it came: (1) That we could not give them back to Spain - that would
be cowardly and dishonorable; (2) that we could not turn them over to
France or Germany - our commercial rivals in the Orient - that would be
bad business and discreditable; (3) that we could not leave them to
themselves - they were unfit for self-government - and they would soon
have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was; and (4) that
there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate
the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by
God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow men for
whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed and went to sleep
and slept soundly."
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Millis, Walter, The Martial Spirit. (Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1931) 383-384.