What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
The forcible annexation of the ………. is now being attempted. The government of the United States is endeavoring to subject this people against their will. To enforce this idea is to enforce slavery; not in the extreme degree, to be sure, but in part and in principle nevertheless. On this point a United States senator has truly said:—
“Wherever a people are required to render an obedience which is involuntary, that requirement is an enslavement of that people.
“There are different degrees of enslavement. If we put our yoke upon a people, if we rule them arbitrarily, if we send them governors and judges, if we make laws for them without their participation, if we enforce obedience to such laws by our army, then it is an absolute enslavement. If, on the contrary, we allow them free institutions, but at the same time prescribe to them that they shall owe allegiance to a government against their will, it is none the less an enslavement, although less in degree.”
That which is now being done in this enslavement is wrong. It is wrong in its direct effect, and “wrong in its prospective principle, allowing it [slavery-vassalage] to spread to every other part of the wide world, where men can be found inclined to take it.” Besides this, it “deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world; enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity.” And more and worse than all of this, “it forces so many really good men among ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty, criticizing the Declaration of Independence.” pg80-82
Prior to the year 1898 this government was a republic pure and simple. Its foundations were laid in principle, and not in power. It was not an empire in any sense of the word, for the foundations of an empire are laid in power, and not in principle. It was built upon that everlasting rock that right makes might. Against this the coming of floods and the blowing and beating of winds are alike powerless, for it standeth sure and falleth not forever. But empires, on the other hand, are built upon that sinking sand that might makes right. Against these the floods come, and the winds blow and beat, and they fall, and great is the fall thereof.
To-day this nation is in danger of abandoning the rock and settling upon the sand. The love of power, so prone to the human breast, is smothering priceless, eternal principle. From being a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, it is being rapidly transformed into a government of some of the people, by a few of the people, for all the people. This is imperialism as opposed to republicanism, and this is national apostasy.
Until the summer of 1898 the word “imperialism” was but little heard from the lips of Americans. Now the very atmosphere is fairly drenched with it. A perfect wave of imperialism has swept over the land, and the desire for an Imperial America, or an “Imperial Republic,” as it has been styled, sits supreme upon hundreds of scores of souls. But an imperial republic cannot exist. With equal sense and propriety one might talk about “good badness.”
What means this wild babel of tongues clamoring for subjects over which to exercise sway? What means this strange jargon, formed from an Old World monarchical vocabulary? Are men crazed with the madness sometimes begotten by victory at arms? Are men drunken with the lust of colonial empire? Are men raving in the delirium of that dread fever, earth-hunger, in which all the monarchies of the Old World are writhing? Think they in the hour of triumph over a foe, outclassed at every point, to build a tower of national greatness which will reach to the very heavens, and at the same time to lay its unrighteous foundations on the stricken forms of vassal peoples? The result will surely be as it was before in the case of the builders of Babel, there will be confusion of tongues, and the dissolution of the nation.
In his day, Abraham Lincoln said that in the days of the Fathers “our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it.”
The Perils of The Republic of The United States of America by Percy Magan Tilson 1899