Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden,” 1899

Rudyard Kipling wrote this poem after the United States went to war with Spain in 1898. Kipling’s poem encouraged Americans to embrace imperialism in order to spread civilization to the far reaches of the globe, even if the task would be greeted with enmity and resentment. The concept of the “White Man’s Burden” has become shorthand for describing Western attitudes toward the “backwardness” of the rest of the world. – M.B. Masur, St. Anselm College


Kristin L. Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven, CT, 1998).

Frank A. Ninkovich, The United States and Imperialism (Malden, Massachusetts, 2001).

Anders Stephanson, Manifest Destiny American Expansionism and the Empire of Right (New York, 1995).


Kipling, “White Man’s Burden,” 1899