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“The White Man’s Burden”: Kipling’s Hymn to U.S. Imperialism
George Mason University ^ | 02/01/1899 | Rudyard Kipling

Posted on 02/05/2005 5:37:04 PM PST by NMC EXP

In February 1899, British novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands.” In this poem, Kipling urged the U.S. to take up the “burden” of empire, as had Britain and other European nations. Published in the February, 1899 issue of McClure’s Magazine, the poem coincided with the beginning of the Philippine-American War and U.S. Senate ratification of the treaty that placed Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, and the Philippines under American control.

Theodore Roosevelt, soon to become vice-president and then president, copied the poem and sent it to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, commenting that it was “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.” Not everyone was as favorably impressed as Roosevelt. The racialized notion of the “White Man’s burden” became a euphemism for imperialism, and many anti-imperialists couched their opposition in reaction to the phrase.

Take up the White Man’s burden—

Send forth the best ye breed—

Go send your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden

In patience to abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple

An hundred times made plain

To seek another’s profit

And work another’s gain

Take up the White Man’s burden—

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better

The hate of those ye guard—

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah slowly) to the light:

"Why brought ye us from bondage,

“Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden-

Have done with childish days-

The lightly proffered laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years,

Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgment of your peers!

Source: Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden: The United States & The Philippine Islands, 1899.” Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Definitive Edition (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1929).


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: empire; imperialism; iraq; kipling; whitemansburden
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To: NMC EXP
I disagree with that from a moral standpoint.

No, you disagree from a LACK of morals standpoint.

Let the islamists rule over "their" part of Earth. Let the NAZIs rule over theirs. And the Communists. And the Klan. And the Huns and the Mongols.

What business is it of ours to oppose them? What "right" do we have to challenge their point of view?

Sleep well in your comfortable tomb, for that is what your life is.

51 posted on 02/05/2005 6:50:23 PM PST by Phsstpok ("When you don't know where you are, but you don't care, you're not lost, you're exploring.")
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To: NMC EXP

bttt


52 posted on 02/05/2005 6:52:44 PM PST by nopardons
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To: Arioch7

I am glad we got that one squared away.

If you have one for me make it a double single malt scotch on the rocks.

I gave it up a while back. I reckoned I'd finally had my share.


53 posted on 02/05/2005 6:53:04 PM PST by NMC EXP (Choose one: [a] party [b] principle.)
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To: xJones

If I misunderstood your meaning I beg you pardon.


54 posted on 02/05/2005 6:54:17 PM PST by NMC EXP (Choose one: [a] party [b] principle.)
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Comment #55 Removed by Moderator

Comment #56 Removed by Moderator

To: NMC EXP

I know nothing of Kipling, except his most famous poem which I think exemplifies President Bush.



" 'if' by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"




57 posted on 02/05/2005 6:56:47 PM PST by YaYa123 (@It's Perfect, Isn't it?.com)
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To: John_Wheatley

Yeah whatever was I thinking? :o)


58 posted on 02/05/2005 6:57:06 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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To: cyborg
Not all European colonists were created equal either if one studies England,France,Spain and Portugal together

That is part of my point. It's not "European" or "White" culture that is being defended. It is human advancement. It happened to take it's strongest hold on Europe, originally, but then grew to maturity in the freedom of the United States. It is the idea, not the race, that matters.

Notice that the United States is NOT a "white" nation. It is a country made up of people from all nations, all races, all cultures. Truly, we are the world. But, unlike the nation states we come from, we (those who get it) share a common set of ideals about advancing human freedom and dignity. Of protecting and preserving life. Of standing for moral principles, not merely pushing for personal advantage.

And France represents the crud left over after all of the good things left Europe.

Those who stayed behind in western Europe have very little to recommend them.

59 posted on 02/05/2005 6:57:57 PM PST by Phsstpok ("When you don't know where you are, but you don't care, you're not lost, you're exploring.")
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To: YaYa123
I still prefer Orwell to Kipling, and Shooting an Elephant to The Jungle Book.
60 posted on 02/05/2005 6:58:33 PM PST by dirtboy (.)
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To: Phsstpok

Agreed.


61 posted on 02/05/2005 6:59:04 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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Comment #62 Removed by Moderator

To: NMC EXP

I like Kipling ....I'm sure anyone who knows me here is absolutely shocked by that admission.

He knew his tribe.

W/O looking ahead, I'm going to bet the race hustlas are downthread preening....hope I'm wrong.


63 posted on 02/05/2005 7:00:25 PM PST by wardaddy (I don't think Muslims are good for America....just a gut instinct thing.)
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To: John_Wheatley

You sound like my mother!


64 posted on 02/05/2005 7:00:33 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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To: John_Wheatley
The British Empire was not a mistake, without it the world would be infinitely worse, but no empire lasts for ever.

Did I say that? No. I said that it was not a case of the Brits going out sayign "Ah what can I do to make the world better today". No, they went to enrich themselves and many times they ended up causing problems. On the whole they ended up on the positive side but still many of the problems created by that empire linger on -- the cross-tribal national divisios in Africa, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Kashmir, Iraq (a creation ofthe brits), the Durand line in Afghnanistan-Pakistan, the Palestine problem etc.

And if you are implying that America does not act in it's self-interest then you are wrong. American policy has benefits for the world, and it's democracies, but it would do nothing if it did not help itself first.

Did i say that? No. My post was not directed at American policies at all, just at the poem.
65 posted on 02/05/2005 7:01:31 PM PST by Cronos (Never forget 9/11)
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To: cyborg

well, actually, I'd put the Belgians at the bottom looking at what they did to the Congo. the French are pretty close though! What with Indo-China (Vietnam, Cambodia, etc), Algeria, West Africa etc. etc.


66 posted on 02/05/2005 7:02:36 PM PST by Cronos (Never forget 9/11)
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To: NMC EXP
"The Butterfly that Stamped" by Rudyard Kipling is great little story full of much wisdom.

Kipling was an excellent writer.
67 posted on 02/05/2005 7:02:56 PM PST by Red Sea Swimmer (Tisha5765Bav)
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To: Cronos

Definately agree on that...I wonder what King Leopold's hell is like? Hmmm....


68 posted on 02/05/2005 7:03:52 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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To: cyborg

By the way

I LOVE your mother.

And if that's you... pardon me, but... Just DAMN


69 posted on 02/05/2005 7:04:06 PM PST by Phsstpok ("When you don't know where you are, but you don't care, you're not lost, you're exploring.")
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To: Phsstpok
It doesn't make 'white men' better than other humans, merely the ones who got to a civilized state first.

Well, actually, "White" men didn't get to a civilised state first -- it was "brown" and "yellow" men in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, India, China who reached there first. But then, if by Whtie you mean Caucasian, you're partly correct as Mesopotamians, Canaanites and indians were and are caucasians and the Egyptians were partly caucasian.
70 posted on 02/05/2005 7:04:58 PM PST by Cronos (Never forget 9/11)
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To: Phsstpok

LOL that is me.


71 posted on 02/05/2005 7:04:59 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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Comment #72 Removed by Moderator

To: John_Wheatley

America is great because it has most every nation's best and brightest talent thanks to all the opportunity. If a nation's best leaves, not much is left behind but I'm just speculating.


73 posted on 02/05/2005 7:09:58 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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To: Cronos

Anyone especially interested in this subject might check out Niall Ferguson's `Empire'. (Conservative Book Club, on sale) I was surprised to learn that one of Ghandi's favorite poems was Kipling's 'If'.
Did you know that the Dutch sailed up the Thames at one point on time, causing the English to merge economically with them?
Not to defend them, but a couple outstanding Indian practices the British prohibited was burning widows on pyres and leaving female infants exposed to die.
And one of the legacies of the empire upon which the sun did not set, as the Viceroys ground their heels into the faces of our poor little brown brothers sitting in darkness: representative democracies.
Right, then.


74 posted on 02/05/2005 7:12:31 PM PST by OkieDoke
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To: Cronos

Anyone especially interested in this subject might check out Niall Ferguson's `Empire'. (Conservative Book Club, on sale) I was surprised to learn that one of Ghandi's favorite poems was Kipling's 'If'.
Did you know that the Dutch sailed up the Thames at one point on time, causing the English to merge economically with them?
Not to defend them, but a couple outstanding Indian practices the British prohibited was burning widows on pyres and leaving female infants exposed to die.
And one of the legacies of the empire upon which the sun did not set, as the Viceroys ground their heels into the faces of our poor little brown brothers sitting in darkness: representative democracies.
Right, then.


75 posted on 02/05/2005 7:13:27 PM PST by OkieDoke
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To: NMC EXP
If I misunderstood your meaning I beg you pardon.

I have to forgive you, because I've done it myself more than once.:)

76 posted on 02/05/2005 7:15:51 PM PST by xJones
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Comment #77 Removed by Moderator

To: OkieDoke; cardinal4
Did Kipling write this?

"Oh, the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga, the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga. The monkeys have no tails, they were bitten off by whales. Oh the monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga."

78 posted on 02/05/2005 7:20:47 PM PST by Ax (I learned all I needed to know about Islam during my two years in Saudi Arabia.)
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To: YaYa123
Might interest you to know that "If" was written about George Washington.

It is one of the "bracket poems" to "Brother Square-Toes" in Rewards and Fairies, one of Kipling's two 'children's books' about English history that are really not for children at all (he said as much in a letter to IIRC Cecil Rhodes.)

Kipling often "bracketed" his short stories with two poems that would introduce and sum up the short story.

If you read "Brother Square-Toes" you will see that it is about George Washington making hard decisions on behalf of the fledgling American government . . . after a dreadful confrontation with nay-sayers in his own cabinet, he tells Cornplanter, "My brothers know it is not easy to be a Chief."

On reflection, maybe even closer to President Bush than we thought. Somebody ought to send him the story to go with the poem (I'm sure people have sent him the poem alone!)

79 posted on 02/05/2005 7:23:18 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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Comment #80 Removed by Moderator

To: YaYa123

Okay--I officially have writer's cramp from hand copying these terrific poems--

goes to show you how lacking my education was, I hadn't read any of these before.

I think I will go out tomorrow and buy a book of his poems.Does anyone have any suggestions--I would like a book that has all three of the poems posted on this thread. Is there a "greatest hits" book? Ha, ha!!!


81 posted on 02/05/2005 7:23:36 PM PST by Txsleuth (Proud to be a Texan)
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To: cyborg

and as we all know....your mum is brilliant!


82 posted on 02/05/2005 7:25:48 PM PST by wardaddy (I don't think Muslims are good for America....just a gut instinct thing.)
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wrath of the anglo saxon bump...slow to stir.


83 posted on 02/05/2005 7:26:51 PM PST by wardaddy (I don't think Muslims are good for America....just a gut instinct thing.)
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To: wardaddy
Kipling just plain knew.

He wasn't always right, but he got a good percentage.

And he did indeed know his tribe well. If you want the true flavor of "the England of folklore and song," read his late short stories. I can heartily recommend "Friendly Brook," "My Son's Wife," "An Habitation Enforced," "The Tree of Justice," and "The Gardener." You will find them all here, the complete works of Kipling on-line.

84 posted on 02/05/2005 7:27:41 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: wardaddy

Yeah she never let's me forget ever so I'm just spreading around the nagging...errr motherly reminders.


85 posted on 02/05/2005 7:31:05 PM PST by cyborg (Department of Homelife Security threat level is GREEN.)
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To: Txsleuth
Rudyard Kipling has long been the poet laureate of professional soldiers and IMHO the greatest English poet of the 19th century. There are many fine anthologies of his poetry and/or his short stories.
86 posted on 02/05/2005 7:31:21 PM PST by hurly (A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds!)
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To: Txsleuth
You can get them on line in the post just above.

There are several good Kipling anthologies on the market. This is the one I have (in an older edition): Rudyard Kipling: The Complete Verse.

There are several different short story anthologies banging around. My favorite is The English in England, edited by Randall Jarrell, but I think it's out of print. Only thing on Amazon is a book apparently reviewing the book!

87 posted on 02/05/2005 7:31:55 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: AnAmericanMother

thank you so much for further information on the poem. I had no idea.


88 posted on 02/05/2005 7:36:05 PM PST by YaYa123 (@It's Perfect, Isn't it?.com)
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To: AnAmericanMother

Thank you for posting the Kipling site---I have bookmarked it and also copied your book suggestions--


89 posted on 02/05/2005 7:36:16 PM PST by Txsleuth (Proud to be a Texan)
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To: Txsleuth
Post # 84 will give you all his works on line.

Go for it! and don't forget his short stories.

If you like English history, get "Puck of Pook's Hill" and "Rewards and Fairies". As good as "The Jungle Book" in my opinion - deeper.

His great novel is Kim, a gorgeous panorama of India under the Raj . . . I read a review not long ago by an Indian writer, who compares Kim to Forster's A Passage to India and concludes that Kipling, after all, got it right and Forster got it wrong. (The fact that I agree whole-heartedly is mere coincidence ;-) ) Forster sees India as ultimately hollow - the terrifying empty BOUM echo in the cave - but Kipling sees India as beautiful, marvelous, and spiritually rich rather than hollow.

90 posted on 02/05/2005 7:38:50 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: Cronos
depends on what you mean by "civilization."

"brown" and "yellow" men in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, India, China

Theres a good argument that none of those cultures were "civilized" by current standards.

Again, human sacrifice, slavery, misogyny are not aspects of civilization, as we know it today.

91 posted on 02/05/2005 7:40:50 PM PST by Phsstpok ("When you don't know where you are, but you don't care, you're not lost, you're exploring.")
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Comment #92 Removed by Moderator

To: NMC EXP
LOL! Will do man.

Arioch7 out

93 posted on 02/05/2005 7:44:12 PM PST by Arioch7
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To: John_Wheatley
What a load of nonsense.

Yes, they are, aren't they?

(this from someone with a Belgian mother in law)

"Those who stayed behind" are always the losers in human progress. That's the definition of progress. That's why we need somewhere else to go. Without an outward destination the forces for progress and creation turn inward and become destructive.

We need frontiers or we become culturally constipated. Just look at western Europe, particularly France, as proof.

94 posted on 02/05/2005 7:44:32 PM PST by Phsstpok ("When you don't know where you are, but you don't care, you're not lost, you're exploring.")
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To: AnAmericanMother

Reading has always been my passion, but somehow my teachers never pointed me in Kipling's direction, and I guess I wasn't very adventuresome---

These books, short stories, and poems might have helped me years ago when I worked as a Medical Assistant to a Neurologist from India---he and his family went there twice a year and he spoke about India often, but I hadn't even read anything about India or works by Kipling--it might have helped me understand his "musings".


95 posted on 02/05/2005 7:45:25 PM PST by Txsleuth (Proud to be a Texan)
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To: Txsleuth
Glad to help!

It's not that your education has been lacking - Kipling has been out of fashion since the 1920s.

Everybody just labelled the poor man a "racist, imperialist, jingoistic warmonger" and shoved him aside. Apparently without reading his works (or doing the sort of selective editing that GMU apparently inflicted on "Recessional").

Reactionaries like me just ignored the "popular wisdom" and kept on reading him. But we are very few in number.

He has always been popular amongst military men, especially the navy guys, because he is almost reportorial in his descriptions of military matters in his stories.

I love him for his perfect ear for dialogue, his incisive descriptions, and the truth that always lurks around in his tales (call it a moral if you must). But he usually manages to put his finger right on some basic truth, as one of his characters says in one of his Masonic stories (as far as I know Kipling's Masonic stories and the Magic Flute are the only fiction that Freemasonry has inspired),

"‘That’s all right!’ the one-footed man spoke cautiously out of the side of his mouth like a boy in form. ‘But they’re the kind o’ copybook-headin’s we shall find burnin’ round our bunks in Hell. Believe me-ee! I’ve broke enough of ’em to know."

96 posted on 02/05/2005 7:46:54 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: Txsleuth

adventuresome=adventurous


97 posted on 02/05/2005 7:47:45 PM PST by Txsleuth (Proud to be a Texan)
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To: Txsleuth
We had an Indian summer intern in our office a couple of years ago. We went round and round about Kipling (she hadn't read him) and I think I persuaded her to give him a try.

A friend of mine went to Delhi to live with a friend's family a couple of years ago. I gave her Kim before she left - she said lots of it was still relevant!

One interesting point is that when Kipling first lived in India he lived among Muslims. He has a sympathy for them, but also clear insight into the difficulties presented by Islam . . .

99 posted on 02/05/2005 7:49:21 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: John_Wheatley
But if you go with that criteria, there has been no civilisation until the middle of the last century.

Not exactly. Those were just earlier stages on the road to progress. We would not now consider Romans or first century Israelites to be "civilized" by modern standards.

That's the nature of progress. You preserve what is good and move on from what is childish or actively bad.

That's what progress means. Going from lesser to greater things. Those lesser things were greater than what they came from. It doesn't make them right, just better than what came before them.

100 posted on 02/05/2005 7:49:44 PM PST by Phsstpok ("When you don't know where you are, but you don't care, you're not lost, you're exploring.")
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