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President McKinley Addresses Methodist Ministers on Philippines - Timeline Event

Time Period

11-21-1899

Description

President William McKinley had been fatigued with fighting wars. He served in the Civil War and just finished the Spanish-American War in 1898. "I have seen the dead piled up, and I do not want to see another," he claimed.

However, there was increased pressure to annex the Philippines before another dominant world power did. Some argued that it could be a gateway territory to various areas of Asia as well.

On November 21, 1899, President McKinley told five prominent clergymen of the Methodist Episcopal Church that, in praying for God’s guidance, he had been divinely inspired to annex the Philippines and "Christianize" their citizens. The decision was a strong reversal from his previous stance on war, and his justification was odd given how Filipinos had been Christian for centuries. Nonetheless, many historians argue that divine inspiration was a means to succumb to imperialistic pressures.

In any case, this event reflected blurred boundaries between religion and American politics, between religious crusade and military opportunity.

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Photographs

President William McKinley portrait- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-5627
President William McKinley portrait- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-5627

American soldiers in the Philippines- Wikimedia Commons
American soldiers in the Philippines- Wikimedia Commons

Methodist missionaries to the Philippines- Internet Archive- from The Philippine Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church by Homer C. Stuntz
Methodist missionaries to the Philippines- Internet Archive- from The Philippine Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church by Homer C. Stuntz

Signing the Peace Protocol of the Spanish-American War- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-88471
Signing the Peace Protocol of the Spanish-American War- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-88471

Book/Journal Source(s)

Lippy, Charles H., and Peter W. Williams, 1988. Encyclopedia of American Religious Experience New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Web Source(s)

https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=1257
"Decision on the Philippines"

Web Page Contributor

Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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