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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Jim Zwick <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Jan 2008 15:47:43 -0500
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On 16 Jan 2008 at 12:28, Horn Jason wrote:

> Of course, if you mean Twain, let me humbly add that he did not
> consistently oppose "American Imperialism."


Can you or anyone cite an example of Mark Twain's inconsistency in
which he changed his mind to support American imperialism? Or was
his inconsistency always in the direction of opposing actions he once
supported? For example, in 1866 he supported U.S. annexation of
Hawaii but from 1867 onward he opposed it. Believing that it was waged
solely upon anti-imperialist grounds, he supported the Spanish-
American War to "free Cuba" but opposed the creation of an American
Empire through the Treaty of Paris that brought the war to a close and
was among the first to criticize the severely limited independence
granted to Cuba under the Platt Amendment. He also thought the
Spanish-American War would result in the liberation of the Philippines
from Spanish rule and consistently opposed the U.S. annexation of the
Philippines and the Philippine-American War. If he was ever inconsistent
about American imperialism in the opposite direction, I'd like to know
about it.

There is no mention of the decade-long mutual affiliation of Mark Twain
and William James with the Anti-Imperialist League in your book about
them so you might be interested in these two obituaries published in the
Report of the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Anti-Imperialist League
(Boston: Anti-Imperialist League, 1910):

"Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, author of 'To the Person Sitting in
Darkness,' employed in the cause of Anti-Imperialism and in behalf of
the Filipino those wonderful weapons of satire which were so absolutely
at his command, and the members of the League were able to
appreciate what is not yet justly understood: that, more then a brilliant
humorist, he was a passionate and zealous reformer;...

"Professor William James, of Harvard University, the sad echo of whose
name not only reaches the continents of America and Europe but is
heard with grief in Asia, where the Filipinos knew him as their wise and
faithful friend, will be missed because of the important influence he
exerted in promoting their liberation and the independence of their

Jim Zwick