FROM the recent press dispatches from Manila, we know what the imperial policy of the American Government means to the inhabitants of the Philippines. It will be well to inquire what it means also, if anything, to inhabitants of the United States.
It may be commonly supposed that the policy carried out in far-off lands means nothing to the people at home, and that the latter need not therefore concern themselves particularly about it. No view of the subject could be more short-sighted.
Imperialism as an adopted policy of the American Government, means new definitions of the words “patriotism,” “treason,” “pulic enemy,” etc., for the American people.
This is not merely true in theory; it is already evident in existing facts. Not the following language of a New York City daily, which voices the sentiment of the imperialists in this matter:—
“Certain members of the United States Senate misunderstand their position in, mistake their relation to, the country. They are not merely part of a defeated minority, as they might have been on any measure of entirely domestic concern. They are accomplices in a crushed conspiracy. It is quite within the merits of the case and the proprieties of speech to call them revolutionists who have failed, and therefore, rebels. But, whether we exercise that privilege or not, the fact remains that they have been banded with the armed and savage foes of their country against their country. In some respects they differ not at all from the white men whom Jackson found and hanged in the camp of Florida Indians. In others they approach the status of the members of the Hartford Convention, and in others that of the Secessionist members of Buchanan’s Cabinet, the most notorious of whom shipped arms to southern arsenals on the eve of rebellion. Their continuance of support to the ‘government’ of the dictator Aguinaldo after its followers had opened fire on the American outposts at Manila, in pursuance of a published and widely-circulated declaration of war against this country, undoubtedly constitutes them traitors in law and traitors of a sort for whom no sentimental sympathizers would go bail.”
These “certain members of the United States Senate” were those members who adhered to the principle of government by the consent of the governed, as maintained in the Declaration of Independence, and vindicated by the terrible ordeal of the Civil War. For their adherence to this principle, than which until less than a year ago no principle was considered more plainly or firmly established in American Government, these men, and members of the Senate at that, are denounced as rebels and traitors, who ought to be arrested and held without bail. This sentiment is mere sentiment as yet, but in the natural order of things it will come to be clothed with the authority and power of law.
This is what imperialism means to the opposing minority in Congress, and what it means to the like minority among every class of American citizens.