WHY is this Government in favor—as it undoubtedly is—of “expansion”?
What serious argument can be offered in its support? What argument is offered, beyond the “spread-eagle” one which boasts of the nation prowess and asserts the “rights of conquest”?
Every principle of justice and sound policy, on the other hand, is against it. It repudiates the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Its most ardent friends admit this by putting forth in its defense the amazing assertion that the Declaration of Independence does not assert the right of the government by the consent of the governed for all people, but only for a certain class of people—the class in power.
As regards mere business policy, it is wholly uncalled for. There is no territory to be settled and added to the Union; the Philippines and Porto Rico are already settled, and the climate shuts out the white man from any permanent occupancy. Nor is there any advantage to be reaped in trade; the Philippines are thousands of miles nearer to British shores than they are to the United States. And if there were anything to be gained in trade, it could be gained as well without military conquest, as with it.
Americans will bear all the expense of maintaining the government, and other countries will get all the trade.
A large army of men from American homes will need to be stationed in the Philippines to preserve order and hold the islands against other powers—and to sicken and die under the unhealthy climate; and a large navy will also be required for their defense; besides which, an immense sum will need to be expended in the erection of fortifications. And the money to meet the expense of all this must come out of American pockets.
How then can it be, in the face of all this, that this Government can for a moment seriously think of taking and holding the Philippines?
Let us seek for light on the point by asking who they are that favor the annexation policy.
Are they those who have the interests of republican government at heart?
Aside from the class whose judgment is dazzled by the new vision of world-wide empire, there are some who favor the policy as a means of associating America with Great Britain in military enterprise in eastern Asia. This, as Lord Salisbury remarked, would conduce materially to the advantage of Great Britain, but not to the maintenance of peace. The alliance would be one of great cost for America. To the profit of England.
But there is another power in this country in favor of American expansion, and which is working for that policy most diligently—Rome!
First, last, and always since the Philippines, Cuba,  and Porto Rico were wrested from the control of “most Catholic Spain,” the papacy has been in favor of American expansion over all this territory. And in the person of Archbishop Ireland, the papacy has had opportunity to work in very close touch with the Administration.
Archbishop Ireland, Martinelli, the papal ablegate, teacher in the Catholic University at Washington, and influential members of the church, in touch with senators and representatives, are all ardent advocates of the scheme, even to the extent of working openly for the annexation of Cuba, in the face of the express promise of the Government made before all the world, to secure Cuban independence. And Cardinal Gibbons has moved to Washington for the winter, that he may the better employ all his resources in bending the Administration to this policy.
And why does Rome want annexation of this territory to the United States? Oh, she has great interests in these islands, in the shape of property taken from the natives and rightful owners by every species of robbery practiced under Spanish dominion; and she wants all this property secured to her under the new order of things. A very substantial reason in her view for favoring “expansion,” truly!
Rome has robbed the people, and by this and other acts of oppression has aroused their enmity and even their hatred. In the Philippines, especially, the religious orders are held in the deepest detestation. Aguinaldo, it is reported, has released all the Spanish prisoners held there, except the friars. If the government of the islands is left to the people that inhabit them, Rome will be obliged to surrender the enormous holdings of land and other property made over to her under Spanish Authority, and which rightfully belong to the people. And she wants the American Government to interpose its power and authority to prevent it.
Rome knows that this expansion scheme is contrary to the Declaration of Independence, to the Constitution, to every principle of free government, and to everything that the nation has done in behalf of downtrodden races. She knows there is no advantage in it for the American people, but only great expense and unending trouble. She knows, in short, that it is a ruinous policy for this country. Yet she asks the nation to adopt this suicidal course, in order to uphold for her, her most unjust claims in the islands lost by Spain!
This is Rome; and this is the scheme she is working to-day against the United States.