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Jim Zwick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 17:05:47 -0500
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You have said that Twain supported "liberating Cuba."  That is, in
fact, an excellent example of Twain being misled by wartime
propaganda.  He recognized that and reversed his position to become
one of the earliest critics of the protectorate established over Cuba by
the United States (its "independence" was severely limited by the
Platt Amendment).  In "The Stupendous Procession," an article he
was writing in February of 1901, the month the restrictions on Cuban
independence were proposed, Twain portrayed the U.S. Congress as
poised to bind Cuba with a new set of handcuffs and leg-irons. A year
later, contrasting the influence of training in the nation's old
democratic and new imperial ideals, he wrote in "As Regards
Patriotism": "Training made us nobly anxious to free Cuba; training
made us give her a noble promise [of independence]; training has
enabled us to take it back."

Using Cuba as an example of "liberation" that Twain supported only
highlights the danger of believing wartime propaganda.  As Twain
pointed out, Cuba was not "liberated," and the war had many other
consequences that were not expressed up-front that he vehemently
opposed.  You can support the current war all you want, but pointing
to Twain's position on Cuba undermines your arguments.

If anyone looks up "As Regards Patriotism" and doesn't find that
passage, you'll need to read the text as it appeared in Frederick
Anderson's _A Pen Warmed-up In Hell: Mark Twain in Protest_, Louis
Budd's _Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches and Essays_, or my
anthology of his writings on the Philippine-American War (and
probably some other recent anthologies).  Albert Bigelow Paine
censored that essay before publishing it in _Europe and Elsewhere_,
and the censored text was later reprinted in numerous other
anthologies before the full text was first published in Anderson's

Jim Zwick