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The White Man'S Burden

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Autor:  anton  30 November 2010
Tags:  Burden
Words: 519   |   Pages: 3
Views: 277

Rudyard Kipling was a man who grew up in a time period of imperialistic beliefs. Because of this it should not be surprising that he would write a poem against imperialism and its consequences. This poem is written as a warning to those engaging in imperialistic rule. Imperialism will not bring forth the right ends from means that may be good.

Britain's intent for the invasion was to better India as a whole. David Starr Jordan quotes Edward Markwick: "War's great purpose, is the fostering of strength, not physical strength alone, but the combination of moral, intellectual and physical strength." Markwick is pointing out the fact that Britain was trying to help Indian people grow intellectually and morally. However Jordan replies to this idea by saying,

But the actual effect of war is exactly the reverse of this. Its call is ever in Kipling's words, "Send forth the best ye breed." And the best never return.

Jordan is talking about how in war, no matter what the intent, the best that are sent do not return from the battles. W. A. Croffut wrote a poem dedicated to Kipling and the first stanza states,

Take up the White Man's burden,

Send forth thy radiant youth

To do the White Man's Duty --

To speed the White Man's truth;

To cheer the heavy-hearted,

To lift the sore oppressed;

To send the poor your bounty,

And give the hunted rest.


Here again is an argument presented for the spreading of "the White Man's truth." Although some think that trying to civilize В‘barbaric' countries will prove positive in the end, it is not always the case.

"The White Man's Burden" by Rudyard Kipling, was written to point out the wrongness of the dreaded slaughter going on in the Philippines. Winslow Warren speaks on Kipling's poem saying,

Such words come to us already with fearful import when the armies of a free republic are engaged in slaughtering men, women and children in the PhilippinesВ…those poor people have been guilty of the crime of desiring to govern themselves, and aspired to a freedom which we, of all people, claim to have bought of their old oppressors.

Warren tells of what is really going on in the Philippines due to imperialistic motives. He brings up numerous examples of imperialism that started with good means, and points out that they all have bad ends. He parallels the situation with the times in America before the Civil War when slave owners gloried in their happiness and civilizations that essentially came from their negroes in slavery. It was their drive for power while dreaming of manifest destiny that caused them to go lengths such as treating other humans as objects. The selfish ways of men drive imperialists to unfortunate extremes. Kipling wrote "The White Man's Burden" to point out wrongness that may have otherwise been overlooked by imperialists.

Imperialistic thinkers may begin with good intentions but history has proven imperialism as a failure. Imperialists needed to realize the gravity of their actions in gaining power. Kipling wrote to them as a warning of the dreadful outcomes of imperialistic rule.




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