Driven by competition with each other and economic pressures at home, the world’s major powers ventured to ever-distant lands to spread their religion, culture, power, and sources of profits. (This coincided with the annexation of Hawaii as a U.S. territory in congressional votes in June and July of the same year.) As an Aboriginal mother, I am deeply concerned that our national broadsheet finds the neglect of Aboriginal children to be a source of entertainment and ridicule.Bill Leak’s cartoon, published in The Australian on Thursday, showed an Aboriginal policeman telling an Aboriginal dad that he needed to sit down and talk to his son about personal responsibility. In this rendering, progress—economic, technological, and cultural—is spread through global military aggression. Britain, the more powerful military partner, shows celebrated victories over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and over the French and Spanish navies at Trafalgar in 1805. As the golden goose, China’s perceived mass market was to be protected for free trade against takeover by increasingly assertive foreign powers.
Ugly and shocking scenes of violence in 19th-century American life are ironically captioned as “refined and elegant” to challenge the self-image of a nation contributing cash “to save the heathen of foreign lands” while ignoring its own barbarity.Raising money to “Save the Foreign Devils” recurs in the visual record. The father, clutching a beer can, looked at his boy and responded: “Yeah righto, what’s his name then?” As a daughter of an Aboriginal man and the wife of an Aboriginal man, I know that Bill Leak’s claim that Aboriginal fathers are neglectful is not representative of Aboriginal family life.
The U.S. entered the elite group of world powers with victories in the “Spanish-American War” (written in the clouds over the naval battle on the right).
“The White Man’s Burden” was used by both pro- and anti-imperialist factions.At the core of the “White Man’s Burden” is a reluctant civilizer who takes up arms for “the purpose of relieving grievous wrongs,” in the words of President William McKinley.
— President McKinley at the Conference of Foreign Missions.” The fallen man clasps the flag of the Philippine independence movement, inscribed with the words “Give Us Liberty.” His hat quotes the most famous phrase in the U.S. And the third was the anti-foreign Boxer Uprising in China in 1899–1901, which led to military intervention by no less than eight foreign nations including not only Tsarist Russia and the Western powers, but also Japan.Civilization and barbarism were vividly portrayed in the visual record.
Britain stepped in to defend the rights of the immigrants, known as Despite public neutrality, the U.S. and Britain covertly supported each other. The issue in front of us is institutional violence by white men against Aboriginal children. When applied to people and cultures, the “survival of the fittest” doctrine gave wealthy, technologically-advanced countries not only the right to dominate “backward” nations, but an imperative and duty to bring them into the modern world. Given the fact that Twain was famous and widely admired for his outspokenness, it is especially disconcerting to learn that he and his close supporters concluded that challenging the mystique of “civilization and progress” in such stark terms was not feasible given the political and religious fervor of the times.At the same time, however, the suppression of “The War Prayer” helps highlight the courage and critical edge that many political cartoonists brought to the very same subject of spreading death and destruction in the name of civilization and progress. “Hawaii” and “Porto Rico” are model female students. — The U.S. must govern its new territories with or without their consent until they can govern themselves.”Uncle Sam breaks up a fight between students identified as “Cuban Ex-Patriot” and “Guerilla” in his “New Class in the Art of Self-Government.” The famous white-haired general, Máximo Gómez, a master of insurgency tactics in the Cuban Independence War (1895–1898) reads a book with his name on it. Even the Civil War is referenced, in a wall plaque: “The Confederate States refused their consent to be governed; but the Union was preserved without their consent.” Refuting the right of indigenous rule was based on demonstrating a population’s lack of preparation for self-governance.The image exhibits a racist hierarchy that places a dominant white American male in the center, and on the fringes, an African-American washing the windows and Native-American reading a primer upside down. Generic names on the gravestones are coupled with places of origin, including England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Gibraltar, India, Ceylon, and Egypt, indicating the diversity of those recruited to fight and die for the British Empire. Lasting from June 20 to August 14, 1900, the siege was the catalyst for a rescue mission by the Allied forces of eight major world powers.Invading foreign lands was a relatively new experience for the U.S.
In his 1898 notes for the Treaty of Paris—which ended the Spanish-American War with Spain surrendering Cuba and ceding territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines—McKinley made a prototypical statement of the civilizer’s responsibilities in the kind of rhetoric still used today:We took up arms only in obedience to the dictates of humanity and in the fulfillment of high public and moral obligations.
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