Imperialism Dialogue between Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt Essay
To be very true, I am an anti-imperialist and there are many reasons behind it. I have full awareness, how race is given importance and how racial minorities are dealt unjustly on the basis of their belonging to a minority. All my works are indicative of the racial dealings in the society. The humanity of black people is left without any consideration and white people’s attitude is very cruel towards black population (Titta 1997). Not only are they regarded as full slaves but as non-human beings. White people keep the full right of exercising their control on black population with no say right. You can see that minority populations face at the hands of our government on the basis of imperialism and they have endured for centuries (Zwick 59). We can become a support for them by enabling them to gain freedom. The people of Philippines and black Americans should not be subjugated; they must have their own lives (Zwick 56). I am against President McKinley’s policies that are imperialist.
As far as I am concerned, I do not feel at all that I am anti-imperialist, as I believe that people can be controlled by the help of some governance that is strict. We are responsible for the minorities and it is our duty to give them protection whether it is possible with imperialism or any other way (Bartleby.com 2010). We have conquered the land of Philippines and its people have come under our control. Now, they require our support for their defense. Our national strength lies in the fact that United States of America is an imperialist state (Bartleby.com 2010). United States can become a better state if it handles the islands that surround it as the people that live there are in need of our assistance and support. We as world power have a natural right over controlling the minorities according to our own interest.
Mark Twain: Well, I believe that every person in this world has a natural right to live his own life with his own will and with full freedom. We conquered Philippines but we have no right to redeem its people (Titta 1997).
Theodore Roosevelt: Mr. Twain, you are highly mistaken my dear. Ruling over the world is not an easy task and countries cannot gain world power if we give freedom to everyone (Bartleby.com 2010). As a nationalist, we have to see the interests of our own state and land.
Mark Twain: But, this is colonialism and we are subjugating people only for our own interest. As human beings, we are not authorized to allocate people as superior or inferior. I do not say that we should not fight these people as sometimes fighting becomes essential for one’s own survival but we should act as their guardians and not as their masters.
Theodore Roosevelt: This is all non-sense. When we are able to conquer a land, we are undoubtedly the guardians of the natives of those lands and as guardians, we can be the masters of the natives as we are superior than them as we have conquered their land with our power.
Mark Twain: No sir, you are not right. United States is a major country with its own industries and secure financial position. We are not in need of any colonies and subjugated populations (Zwick 61). We can govern our own land and can practice administration in our own state. We do not require imperialistic policies for other lands.
Theodore Roosevelt: Well, well Mr. Twain, you are not aware of the state affairs, so you should not blow arrows in air. United States cannot remain remote by not interfering in the matters of other countries and states (Bartleby.com 2010). Independence cannot be given to the colonies that are under our control as it is impossible for us to remain world power without subjugation of the natives of our colonies. Stern action is required for controlling the independence attempts of the natives (United States History 2010).
Mark Twain: Mr. Roosevelt, I agree with you that United States of America cannot remain isolated. However, it can work on friendly terms with other states. I have written many works highlighting the issue of racism and subjugation of natives of colonies such as “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” and much more (Titta 1997). These works are ironic in nature and inform about racism that prevails in our society. They are also indicative of imperialistic opinions held by our leaders. European society considers its sole right to control the lives of African and Asian population and take benefit of their lands and properties.
Theodore Roosevelt: Oh, you have written so inspirational works and I cannot deny your efforts. Nevertheless, my dear, all these things appear well in writing and in practicality, all these issues are worthless. For the betterment of a state, a patriotic person should not look towards the usurpation of rights of other lands but the strength of one’s own land.
Mark Twain: I have joined “Anti-imperialist League” as I feel that our government is responsible for snatching away the rights of people in the lieu of imperialism (Titta 1997). Our government is only considering its own benefits and is not protecting the rights and lives of natives of conquered lands such as African lands. We say that we are the protectors of the natives but in fact, our government is only interested in gaining benefits from those lands. We are only exercising our power.
Theodore Roosevelt: It is impossible to make a person agree with you as everyone develops his ideas by regularly considering several situations. I as the person with authority have to see towards the benefit of my own state. Well, it is nice talking with you Mr. Twain.
Bartleby.com. Roosevelt’s Foreign Policy. 2010. Retrieved on 24th December 2010 from http://www.bartleby.com/170/11.html
Titta, R. Mark Twain and the Onset of the Imperialist Period. The Internationalist, 1997. Retrieved on 24th December 2010 from http://www.internationalist.org/marktwain3.html
United States History. Theodore Roosevelt. 2010. Retrieved on 24th December 2010 from http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h959.html
Zwick, Jim., ed. Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1992: 56-65.