McKinley`s Decision: An uneasy commitment to the Philippines

President McKinley explained his decison to take control of the Philippines to a group of ministers at the White House, using the following terms:

I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight, and I am not ashamed to tell you gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed God Almighty for light and guidance more than one night. 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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