OF the Americans under Washington, when they were fighting for independence against the soldiers of King George III., the latter said:—
“I merely desire to restore to them the blessings of law and liberty which they have exchanged for the calamities of war, and the arbitrary tyranny of their chiefs.”
And now the American Government merely desires to restore to the Filipinos “the blessings of law and liberty,” in the same way that their own ancestors were invited to receive them by the English king.
The centuries have witnessed many attempts to dispense the “blessings of law and liberty” in this fashion, but history has failed to record on instance in which a people have acquired the blessings of liberty by being forced to take them against their will.
A people can win their liberty by successful resistance to the power trying to dominate them: that has often been done: that has done by our forefathers under Washington. But the blessings of liberty cannot be crammed down the throats of an unwilling people at the point of the bayonet.
WHAT has brought the blessings of civilization—the real blessings, and not the curses, of civilization—to peoples sunken in the lowest depths of ignorance and barbarism? Is it the mailed hand of imperialism,—the army and navy of a conquering power? Is it not rather, beyond all question, the gospel of brotherly love, taken to the darkest and most forbidding regions of earth by the missionaries of Christ?
He who is inclined to be skeptical upon this point can, very profitably to himself, take time to read the history of Christian missionary effort made during the present century among savage peoples the farthest removed from civilization,—as those inhabiting the islands of the southern seas.
Give the Filipinos to-day the blessings of the gospel, and the blessings of liberty and law will come to them without the instrumentality of the American army and navy. The Government cannot, of course, give the gospel to the Filipinos, but it has only to leave the way open for the gospel, and it will go there without its help.
But the Government proposes to maintain Rome in her hold upon the islands, and to depend upon the priests for the restoration and maintenance of law and order. Under this plan the force of a formidable army and navy in the islands will no doubt be continually in demand. The peace and order which are imposed upon a people by the pressure of superior power, never remains long unbroken.
THE American Constitution, article XIV., section 1, declares: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
This provision of the Constitution clearly forbids the policy of making the Hawaiiians, the Filipinos, and others subject to the jurisdiction of the United States without granting them the privileges of American citizenship.
The Hawaiians, Filipinos, and others on the territory lately taken from Spain, are not, it is true, within the United States; but they are subject to its jurisdiction, and this being so, the place of residence becomes a secondary consideration. It is only necessary that the should be born or naturalized in the United States to comply with the letter as well as the spirit of this part of the fundamental law.
The Government might deny to such individuals the right of naturalization: but it cannot deny them the right of being born in the United States, unless it should exclude all of them from the privilege of setting foot on these shores. The inhabitant of Porto Rico, or of Hawaii, or even the Filipino, may freely come to the United States, and his children born here will be citizens entitled to all the rights of the Anglo-Saxon, whether they remain here or return to the land of their fathers. To distinguish between individuals subject to the jurisdiction of this Government, and equal in point of intelligence and capability, merely because one happened to be born in this country while the other was not, would be an absurdity and utterly incapable of justification by the Constitution of the United States.
The intent of Articles XIV. and XV. of the Constitution is clearly to provide that no person subject to the jurisdiction of this Government shall be treated as unworthy of the privilege of citizenship, save, of course, such as have forfeited this privilege on account of crime. These articles conferred citizenship upon the hitherto enslaved negroes, and clearly, the framers of this part of the Constitution did not contemplate that any other save criminals would afterwards be denied this privilege. To take such a step would be to retrograde from the position taken in these Amendments, to that maintained in support of negro slavery.
The Government to-day can carry out the program of the imperialists only by going contrary to the plain  intent and spirit of the Constitution, if not to the letter of it. And to go contrary to the spirit of the Constitution is in effect an actual repudiation of it. The practical result is not altered by mere technicalities which provide a loophole of escape from the charge of violating the exact letter of the law.
And under the lead of the imperialists and the religio-political associations, the nation to-day is fast repudiating every principle of republican government.