Albert Beveridge: "The March of the Flag"
Source Louis Proyect
Date 00/09/08/11:58

(Senator Albert Beveridge, who was Senator from Indiana between 1899-1911,
gave this campaign speech on September 16, 1898.)

The March of the Flag

It is a noble land that God has given us; a land that can feed and clothe
the world; a land whose coastlines would inclose half the countries of
Europe; a land set like a sentinel between the two imperial oceans of the
globe, a greater England with a nobler destiny.

It is a mighty people that He has planted on this soil; a people sprung
from the most masterful blood of history; a people perpetually revitalized
by the virile, man­producing working­folk of all the earth; a people
imperial by virtue of their power, by right of their institutions, by
authority of their Heaven-directed purposes-the propagandists and not the
misers of liberty.

It is a glorious history our God has bestowed upon His chosen people; a
history heroic with faith in our mission and our future; a history of
statesmen who flung the boundaries of the Republic out into unexplored
lands and savage wilderness; a history of soldiers who carried the flag
across blazing deserts and through the ranks of hostile mountains, even to
the gates of sunset; a history of a multiplying people who overran a
continent in half a century; a history of prophets who saw the consequences
of evils inherited from the past and of martyrs who died to save us from
them; a history divinely logical, in the process of whose tremendous
reasoning we find ourselves today.

Therefore, in this campaign, the question is larger than a party question.
It is an American question. It is a world question. Shall the American
people continue their march toward the commercial supremacy of the world?
Shall free institutions broaden their blessed reign as the children of
liberty wax in strength, until the empire of our principles is established
over the hearts of all mankind?

Have we no mission to perform no duty to discharge to our fellow man? Has
God endowed us with gifts beyond our deserts and marked us as the people of
His peculiar favor, merely to rot in our own selfishness, as men and
nations must, who take cowardice for their companion and self for their
deity-as China has, as India has, as Egypt has?

Shall we be as the man who had one talent and hid it, or as he who had ten
talents and used them until they grew to riches? And shall we reap the
reward that waits on our discharge of our high duty; shall we occupy new
markets for what our farmers raise, our factories make, our merchants
sell-aye, and please God, new markets for what our ships shall carry?

Hawaii is ours; Porto Rico is to be ours; at the prayer of her people Cuba
finally will be ours; in the islands of the East, even to the gates of
Asia, coaling stations are to be ours at the very least; the flag of a
liberal government is to float over the Philippines, and may it be the
banner that Taylor unfurled in Texas and Fremont carried to the coast.

The Opposition tells us that we ought not to govern a people without their
consent. I answer, The rule of liberty that all just government derives its
authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are
capable of self­government We govern the Indians without their consent, we
govern our territories without their consent, we govern our children
without their consent. How do they know what our government would be
without their consent? Would not the people of the Philippines prefer the
just, humane, civilizing government of this Republic to the savage, bloody
rule of pillage and extortion from which we have rescued them?

And, regardless of this formula of words made only for enlightened,
self­governing people, do we owe no duty to the world? Shall we turn these
peoples back to the reeking hands from which we have taken them? Shall we
abandon them, with Germany, England, Japan, hungering for them? Shall we
save them from those nations, to give them a self­rule of tragedy?

They ask us how we shall govern these new possessions. I answer: Out of
local conditions and the necessities of the case methods of government will
grow. If England can govern foreign lands, so can America. If Germany can
govern foreign lands, so can America. If they can supervise protectorates,
so can America. Why is it more difficult to administer Hawaii than Nevs
Mexico or California? Both had a savage and an alien population: both were
more remote from the seat of government when they came under our dominion
than the Philippines are to­day.

Will you say by your vote that American ability to govern has decayed, that
a century s experience in self­rule has failed of a result? Will you affirm
by your vote that you are an infidel to American power and practical sense?
Or will you say that ours is the blood of government; ours the heart of
dominion; ours the brain and genius of administration? Will you remember
that we do but what our fathers did-we but pitch the tents of liberty
farther westward, farther southward-we only continue the march of the flag?

The march of the flag! In 1789 the flag of the Republic waved over
4,000,000 souls in thirteen states, and their savage territory which
stretched to the Mississippi, to Canada, to the Floridas. The timid minds
of that day said that no new territory was needed, and, for the hour, they
were right. But Jefferson, through whose intellect the centuries marched;
Jefferson, who dreamed of Cuba as an American state, Jefferson, the first
Imperialist of the Republic-Jefferson acquired that imperial territory
which swept from the Mississippi to the mountains, from Texas to the
British possessions, and the march of the flag began!

The infidels to the gospel of liberty raved, but the flag swept on! The
title to that noble land out of which Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana
have been carved was uncertain: Jefferson, strict constructionist of
constitutional power though he was, obeyed the Anglo­Saxon impulse within
him, whose watchword is, ''Forwardl'': another empire was added to the
Republic, and the march of the flag went on!

Those who deny the power of free institutions to expand urged every
argument, and more, that we hear, to­day; but the people's judgment
approved the command of their blood, and the march of the flag went on!

A screen of land from New Orleans to Florida shut us from the Gulf, and
over this and the Everglade Peninsula waved the saffron flag of Spain;
Andrew Jackson seized both, the American people stood at his back, and,
under Monroe, the Floridas came under the dominion of the Republic, and the
march of the flag went on! The Cassandras prophesied every prophecy of
despair we hear, to­day, but the march of the flag went on!

Then Texas responded to the bugle calls of liberty, and the march of the
flag went on! And, at last, we waged war with Mexico, and the flag swept
over the southwest, over peerless California, past the Gate of Gold to
Oregon on the north, and from ocean to ocean its folds of glory blazed.

And, now, obeying the same voice that Jefferson heard and obeyed, that
Jackson heard and obeyed, that Monroe heard and obeyed, that Seward heard
and obeyed, that Grant heard and obeyed, that Harrison heard and obeyed,
our President today plants the flag over the islands of the seas, outposts
of commerce, citadels of national security, and the march of the flag goes

Distance and oceans are no arguments. The fact that all the territory our
fathers bought and seized is contiguous, is no argument. In 1819 Florida
was farther from New York than Porto Rico is from Chicago today; Texas,
farther from Washington in 1845 than Hawaii is from Boston in 1898;
California, more inaccessible in 1847 than the Philippines are now.
Gibraltar is farther from London than Havana is from Washington; Melbourne
is farther from Liverpool than Manila is from San Francisco.

The ocean does not separate us from lands of our duty and desire_ the
oceans join us, rivers never to be dredged, canals never to be re paired.
Steam joins us; electricity joins us-the very elements are in league with
our destiny. Cuba not contiguous? Porto Rico not contiguous! Hawaii and the
Philippines no contiguous! The oceans make them contiguous. And our navy
will make them contiguous.

But the Opposition is right- there is a difference. We did not need the
western Mississippi Valley when we acquired it, nor Florida! nor Texas, nor
California, nor the royal provinces of the far northwest We had no
emigrants to people this imperial wilderness, no money to develop it, even
no highways to cover it. No trade awaited us in its savage fastnesses. Our
productions were not greater than our trade There was not one reason for
the land­lust of our statesmen from Jefferson to Grant, other than the
prophet and the Saxon within them But, to­day, we are raising more than we
can consume, making more than we can use. Therefore we must find new
markets for our produce.

And so, while we did not need the territory taken during the past cen tury
at the time it was acquired, we do need what we have taken irl 18981 and we
need it now. The resource' and the commerce of the immensely rich dominions
will be increased as much as American energy is greater than Spanish sloth.

In Cuba, alone, there are 15,000,000 acres of forest unacquainted with the
ax, exhaustless mines of iron, priceless deposits of manganese, millions 0f
dollars' worth of which we must buy, to­day, from the Black Sea districts
There are millions of acres yet unexplored.

The resources of Porto Rico have only been trifled with. The riches of` the
Philippines have hardly been touched by the finger­tips of modern methods.
And they produce what we consume, and consume what we produce-the very
predestination of reciprocity-a reciprocity "not made with hands, eternal
in the heavens." They sell hemp, sugar, cocoanuts, fruits of the tropics,
timber of price like mahogany; they buy flour, clothing, tools, implements,
machinery and all that we can raise and make. Their trade will be ours in
time. Do you indorse that policy with your vote?

Cuba is as large as Pennsylvania, and is the richest spot on the globe.
Hawaii is as large as New Jersey; Porto Rico half as large as Hawaii; the
Philippines larger than all New England, New York, New Jersey and Delaware
combined. Together they are larger than the British Isles, larger than
France, larger than Germany, larger than Japan.

If any man tells you that trade depends on cheapness and not on government
influence, ask him why England does not abandon South Africa, Egypt, India.
Why does France seize South China, Germany the vast region whose port is

Our trade with Porto Rico, Hawaii and the Philippines must be as free as
between the states of the Union, because they are American territory, while
every other nation on earth must paty our tariff before they can compete
with us. Until Cuba shall ask for annexation, our trade with her will, at
the very least, be like the preferential trade of Canada with England.
That, and the excellence of our goods and products; that, and the
convenience of traffic; that, and the kinship of interests and destiny,
will give the monopoly of` these markets to the American people.

The commercial supremacy of the Republic means that this Nation t is to be
the sovereign factor in the peace of the world. For the conflicts of the
future are to be conflicts of trade-struggles for markets-commercial wars
for existence. And the golden rule of peace is impregnability of position
and invincibility of preparedness. So, we see England, the greatest
strategist of history, plant her flag and her cannon on Gibraltar, at
Quebec, in the Bermudas, at Vancouver, everywhere.

So Hawaii furnishes us a naval base in the heart of the Pacific; the
Ladrones another, a voyage further on; Manila another, at the gates of Asia
- Asia, to the trade of whose hundreds of millions American merchants,
manufacturers, farmers, have as good right as those of Germany or France or
Russia or England; Asia, whose commerce with the United Kingdom alone
amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars every year; Asia, to whom
Germany looks to take her surplus products; Asia, whose doors must not be
shut against American trade. Within five decades the bulk of Oriental
commerce will be ours.

No wonder that, in the shadows of coming events so great, free-silver is
already a memory. The current of history has swept past that episode. Men
understand, today, the greatest commerce of the world must be conducted
with the steadiest standard of` value and most convenient medium of
exchange human ingenuity can devise. Time, that unerring reasoner, has
settled the silver question. The American people are tired of talking about
money-they want to make it.

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