WILSON, Woodrow (1856-1924) President. Autograph letter signed (''Woodrow Wilson''), to James P. Munroe, Princeton, New Jersey, 29 November 1898, 1 full page, 8vo, integral blank leaf.
WILSON, Woodrow (1856-1924) President. Autograph letter signed ("Woodrow Wilson"), to James P. Munroe, Princeton, New Jersey, 29 November 1898, 1 full page, 8vo, integral blank leaf.
PROFESSOR WILSON, THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE ANTI-IMPERIALIST LEAGUE
Negotiations for the treaty ending the Spanish-American War were not concluded until 10 December, but by November it was clear President McKinley would impose some form of continuing U.S. control over the Philippine Islands. Wilson, then Princeton's Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economics, replies here to a letter soliciting his support for the Anti-Imperialist League, which opposed America's new role of a colonial power in the Pacific. "I am in receipt of your interesting letter of November 26th, accompanying a copy of the petition, or protest, of the Anti-Imperialist League," Wilson begins. While he never advocated going to war for the colonies, he believes the present situation presents quite a different moral question. America gained influence in the Philippines as an accident of the Spanish-American War. The clock cannot be turned back, and the nation cannot ignore the responsibilities it has unintentionally assumed: "In reply, I am sorry to feel obliged to say that I think the time for such actions as this have gone by. It seems to me our duty now to devote ourselves to careful thinking as to the best way of meeting the new and momentous responsibilities to which the President has committed us."
Indeed, Wilson relished the idea of the Philippines as a laboratory for educating people of another culture in the ways of American democracy. If the Anti-Imperialist League had any doubts about this position in November 1898, those doubts vanished as newspapers carried accounts of his speeches around the country in the next two months (see Link, ed., Wilson, Vol. 11:298-299, 374-375). And in his own terms in the White House, Wilson sent American forces to Mexico, Haiti and Santo Domingo to protect American interests.