Charles B. Spahr: The Imperialist Religion (1900)

Charles B. Spahr (1860-1904) was chairman of the executive committee of the Anti-Imperialist League of NewYork (1900-1904).  This satirical set of principles was intended to make people aware of the imperialist agenda.

                                                           The Creed

1. I believe in the old war taxes to prevent trade with Europe and the new war taxes to force trade with Asia.

2. I believe in excluding uneducated Europeans who wish to enter our territory, and in including uneducated Asiatics who wish to keep out.

3. I believe in home rule for Ireland but in alien rule for the Spanish islands.

4. I believe that whites and blacks have a right to govern themselves but not browns.

5. I believe in a Monroe doctrine which forbids Europe to interfere with self-government in America, but permits America to interfere with self-government in Asia.

6. I believe that governments get their just powers from the consent of the governed in America, but from contempt for the governed in Asia.

7. I believe that taxation without representation is tyranny when applied to us but philanthropy when applied by us.

8. I believe that forcible annexation is criminal aggression but that payment to non-owners makes it benevolent assimilation.

9. I believe that militarism and foreign broils strengthen despotism abroad but Republicanism at home.

10. I believe that American policies have made a little America, but that European policies will make a greater America.

                                                 The Ten Commandments

1. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me and only gold above me.

2. Thou shalt not worship any graven image except on bank notes.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain but shalt use it profitably to sanctify thy greed.

4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. On the seventh day thou shalt do no labor, but thy manservant and thy maid servant, thy freight trains, thy blast furnaces and thy sweat shops must be kept going.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother but disregard the fathers of thy country.

6. Thou shalt not kill except to extend trade.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery but may enter entangling alliances.

8. Thou shalt not steal but shall annex.

 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness, but censor the dispatches.

10. Thou shalt not covet but grab.

                                                          The Prayer

                          O Thou, who dost exalt the mighty and put down those of low degree, crush, we beseech thee, the struggles of the Filipinos for independence. Force them to recognize that, although they are willing to die for freedom, they are not fit to live in freedom. May they and all men forget the Declaration of Independence, or if they remember it may they also remember that it was not intended to apply to Malays. Strengthen in us the pride of race and the exalting conviction that we are not as other men are. Help us to scorn the Filipinos as children unworthy of the rights which our ancestors had from the days of barbarism. May we subject them to alien military rule knowing that this is the school in which self-government and manhood are developed. May our people forget that the Filipinos had established a government in which life and property were secure before we commanded them to lay down their arms, and enable the voters to rejoice when they read of villages destroyed for the preservation of property and men killed for the preservation of life. Forbid, O Lord, that we should treat the Filipinos as we have treated the countries of Spanish America in the past, protecting them against foreign aggression and permitting them the government of their choice. Aid us in our war of subjugation to the end that we may use the Filipinos to extend our trade -- and thy glory -- in the Orient. All this we ask in the name of Him who said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

Question:  Which ideas and activities is Spahr satirizing?