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“Thinking Through the Past” by John Hollitz

Main Purpose of the Article

The main purpose of the article is to explore the possible reasons behind the United States annexation of the Philippines, including gaining access to the Chinese market and a belief that wars are required to make the male population of the country manlier during the industrialization era (Hollitz 83).

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The Key Question

The key question is: What led the United States to war with Spain and annexation of the Philippines?

The Most Important Evidence

  1. Despite the low casualties in the Spanish-American War, the occupation of the Philippines cost more than 4000 lives and involved over 126,000 soldiers (Hollitz 83).
  2. The war against the Pilipino nationalists started after a private from Nebraska fired upon citizens who refused to halt (Hollitz 83).
  3. There was a movement in the United States that believed in building a base in the Philippines to secure a trade route to China (Hollitz 84).
  4. Imperialists saw the people of the Philippines as unfit to govern themselves (Hollitz 84).
  5. Anti-Imperialists promoted negative stereotypes of the Filipinos to show that the United States should not include them in the Republic (Hollitz 84).
  6. Filipinos were said to be feminine, savage, and childish and, therefore, less capable (Hollitz 84).
  7. Imperialists believed that holding colonies would prevent the men of America and the political system of the country from degenerating (Hollitz 84).
  8. Peace was perceived as a problem because politicians presumed that it could make young men effeminate (Hollitz 84).
  9. Theodore Roosevelt, in a letter to his friend, expressed these concerns as feelings of anxiety caused by the increased focus on luxury and diminishing birth rates, which he saw as signs of unmanly behavior (Hollitz 85).
  10. James C. Fernald saw war as one of the only ways to prevent being unfit to live in the Darwinian world (Hollitz 85).
  11. The same negative perspective on femininity was expressed by Fernald in a track titled “The New Womanhood,” where he states that only men are fit to be in the position of authority, penalty, and command (Hollitz 85).
  12. The Spanish-American war was seen as a great boon to the manhood of the population (Hollitz 86).
  13. Roosevelt, Beveridge, and Lodge glorified war as a means of strengthening the character of American men (Hollitz 87).
  14. They used noble-sounding intentions but saw the war in the Philipines as an opportunity to enhance the manhood of Americans while gaining a valuable trade route (Hollitz 87).
  15. Women’s equality was seen by them as foolish, and anti-annexationists were labeled as being effeminate (Hollitz 88).

The Key Concepts

The key concepts are imperialism, masculinity, femininity, war, annexation, power, trade route, character building, chauvinism, nationalism, racism.

The Main Conclusions

The main conclusions are that Imperialists relied on the idea that peace and femininity are negative traits for men, and therefore the war against Filipino nationalists should be waged to strengthen the manhood of the United States.

The Main Assumptions Underlying Author’s Thinking

The author assumes that the reader agrees that the United States annexed the Philippines with malicious intent.

Consequences of Author’s Reasoning

The author’s reasoning applies not only to the past but can be seen represented in modern culture and the history of United States intervention in foreign affairs, including the Vietnam War, the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the CIA meddling in the Middle East.

The Main Point of View

The main point of view of the author is that beliefs that see manhood closely tied to war and racial inequality lead to further armed conflict and imperialist actions.

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Work Cited

Hollitz, John. Thinking Through the Past, vol 2, Cengage Learning, 2014.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, February 17). “Thinking Through the Past” by John Hollitz.

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