The Truth Behind The Notion Of The White Man’s Burden

The responsibility of white people to help less fortunate people in other nations.

The burden of the white man had many consequences, and ultimately resulted in death for Americans. White man’s load had long-lasting effects on American society.

The rise of White Man’s Burden led to an imperialist culture (as a result of the empire’s expansion and control over foreign countries as well as the colonial and dependency system). James Mansergh the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1901 addressed International Engineering congratulated fellow engineers for ‘taking the white man’s load’ around the globe. The term originated from “The White Man’s Burden”, a Kipling’s hymn to the U.S. The policy of a nation extending its power and influence through the acquisition of other territories or colonization.

Take up White Man’s Burden

Send forth your best breed

Send your Sons to Exile

To serve your captives’ need

The heavy harness

The wild and the fluttered people

You new-caught, sulky peoples

Half devil child

Take up White Man’s Burden

The “white man’s load” refers to the idea of superiority of white Anglo Saxtons and their “burden” in helping their black little brothers. The idea that non-whites are subhuman was used to justify imperialism.

This issue was a reflection of the dominant attitudes in the ideologies of that time, namely the notion of white superiority. White people in that era believed God had blessed them with the permission and power to assist those who weren’t white. Though the idea wasn’t universally accepted, it was a driving force for the expansion of America. Due to the excitement of the Spanish war and the triumphant victory, there was an increase in the number of people who wanted to fight. United States believed that any nation that could do what America could, would. Anti-imperialism was swept aside by the belief that America had the ability to do it better. John Hay, Secretary of State, called the “splendid small war” an easy victory against Spain in 1899. The Philippine-American War followed shortly after.

The Philippine-American War was the result of white men’s burden. Over 4,200 Americans died in a war that was fought by Americans who were convinced that they had a God-given duty to “aid” underdeveloped nations. The Philippine Organic Act – approved on July 1 1902- extended the United States Bill of Rights for Filipinos. And On July 2 the United States Secretary of war telegraphed to say that since insurrections against the United States were over and civil governments had been set up throughout the Philippine archipelago and the office of military government was terminated. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Philippine president, declared on April 9, 2002 that the Philippine-American War ended in 1902, with General Miguel Malvar’s surrender. She also declared that this date was a centennial holiday, as well as a non-working day in Batangas Province, Lipa, and Tanaun Cities. The White Man’s Burden was sung. Who will sing “The Brown Man’s?”

Mark Twain’s “The Stupendous Procession”.


  • kaylarusso

    Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.



Kayla Russo is an educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is a 27 yo educational blogger and volunteer and student who loves to help others learn.

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