The World 's Fair An Attempt By The United States Government

1301 WordsJul 23, 20166 Pages
Introduction In 1904, millions of people visited the Philippine Exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair, observing the displays of native Filipinos and leaving with an impression of savagery. However, this impression was hardly incidental. To what extent was the 1904 World’s Fair an attempt by the United States government to justify its imperialist involvement in the Philippines? This fair was carefully engineered by the United States government to impart an uncivilized impression of Filipinos onto American fairgoers, thereby justifying the need for US involvement. This commission was a committee ordained by the US government to govern the newly acquired Philippine islands. This portion of the fair would likely not be present if the United…show more content…
By depicting the Filipinos as savages, the Commission hoped to prove that the Filipinos were no longer resisting American control and that the US government would benevolently assimilate and civilize the Filipinos. Additionally, the Commission also hoped to attract American capital and enterprise by displaying the products of its fertile lands and the abundant undeveloped mineral and timber resources. This essay will investigate the imperialist motivation behind and methods used in depicting the Filipinos as savages in need of civilization. It will also analyze the fair as a means to promote American investment the Philippines’ natural resources. The Spanish-American War The motives behind the conception of the 1904 exhibition are rooted in the United States’ diplomacy around and during the Spanish-American War in 1898. In the preceding decade, the United States continually attempted to exert its influence over Spanish-controlled Cuba. Although Spain had political control over Cuba, the United States had long been interested in annexing Cuba. This interest was initially sparked by commerce. By 1820, trade between the U.S. and Cuba had become so prevalent that many American politicians expected Cuba to become a part of the Union or an appendage to it. However, the rise of Cuban nationalism became an obstacle, as in 1898, Cuban revolutionaries began a three-year revolt against the Spanish colonial government. This threatened the United States’ economic ties with Cuba. In
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