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William Jennings Bryan Speaks Out Against Imperialism

Initially supportive of U.S. expansion in the Philippines, Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan soon made anti-imperialism a standard plank in his stump speeches during the 1900 campaign.

Imperialism is the policy of an empire. And an empire is a nation composed of different races, living under varying forms of government. A republic cannot be an empire, for a republic rests upon the theory that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed and colonialism violates this theory. We do not want the Filipinos for citizens. They cannot, without danger to us, share in the government of our nation and moreover, we cannot afford to add another race question to the race questions which we already have. Neither can we hold the Filipinos as subjects even if we could benefit them by doing... Our experiment in colonialism has been unfortunate. Instead of profit, it has brought loss. Instead of strength, it has brought weakness. Instead of glory, it has brought humiliation.

Source | William Jennings Bryan, "Imperialism," recorded in 1901; from Michigan State University, Earliest Voices: A Gallery from the Vincent Voice Library,
Creator | William Jennings Bryan
Item Type | Speech
Cite This document | William Jennings Bryan, “William Jennings Bryan Speaks Out Against Imperialism,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 2, 2023,

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