W.T. Stead, “The Americanization of the World.”
The Inevitable Transition
As previously suggested by Stead, the elite saw the transition of global superpower from Great Britain to the United States as inevitable; therefore they concluded that the co-opting of American political institutions would be necessary in order to remain in control.
I have previously outlined my working hypothesis regarding events since the mid- to late-nineteenth century, driven by the agenda of those commonly referred to as the Anglo-American elite (well, common for those who believe in such things). Consistent with my view that the elite saw, well in advance of the actual event, the eclipsing of Great Britain by the United States in the coming decades, Stead offers evidence in the form of William Gladstone:
It was not till the close of last century that the United States could be said to have secured the commercial primacy of the world. But the fact that they would supersede us had long been foreseen by the more prescient amongst us. Conspicuous among these was Mr. Gladstone, who in 1878 and again in 1890 expressed in the clearest terms his conviction…as to the inevitableness of the change…. (Page 342)
Mr. Gladstone in 1878, as previously in 1866, implored his countrymen to recognize the great duty of preparing “by a resolute and sturdy effort to reduce our public burdens in preparation for a day when we shall probably have less capacity than we have now to bear them.” (Page 343)
Gladstone had no doubt that the transition would occur, with Britain unable to hold supremacy over the United States. He said:
While we have been advancing with portentous rapidity, America is passing us by as if in a canter. There can hardly be a doubt, as between America and England, of the belief that the daughter at no very distant time will, whether fairer or less fair, be unquestionably stronger than the mother. (Page 343)
When Mr. Gladstone contemplated what he called “the paramount question of the American future” he expressed himself with the same sense of awe which filled the Hebrew prophet when he had a vision of the glory of the Lord and His train filled the Temple. (Page 439)
…he had enough faith in freedom to believe that it would work powerfully for good… (Page 440)
Gladstone’s credentials certainly qualify him to speak with knowledge regarding the geo-political and strategic condition of both Britain and the United States, and also as a public window to the elite for whom he worked:
William Ewart Gladstone, FRS, FSS (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898), was a British Liberal politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times (1868–1874, 1880–1885, February–July 1886 and 1892–1894), more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 when he resigned for the last time. He had also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times (1853–1855, 1859–1866, 1873–1874, and 1880–1882).
Stead examines, region by region, how the Americanization of various parts of the Empire and the world will come about. In several cases, a brief comment will be helpful to shed some light on the author’s thinking; as the author also has influence in the Empire, his thinking certainly is reflective of the thinking of those in position of power.
NB: what follows is a high level but lengthy review of the condition of the various British colonies and other regions of the world, regarding the relations of these with both Britain and the United States. I find many parts of this history and the views Stead presents fascinating. However, if you are familiar with this history or otherwise find the review tedious, I will suggest skipping ahead to the section entitled “An Anglo-American Path to World Peace.”
Stead begins with Ireland. The author describes America’s recent war against Spain “fought for the liberation of Cuba.” Like the question on the SAT exam, Cuba is to Spain as Ireland is to…England. Stead finds many reasons to suggest that something similar could occur in the latter situation.
Ireland was incorporated into the United Kingdom in 1801, through less-than-transparent means:
The passage of the Act [of Union] in the Irish Parliament was ultimately achieved with substantial majorities, having failed on the first attempt in 1799. According to contemporary documents and historical analysis, this was achieved through a considerable degree of bribery, with funding provided by the British Secret Service Office, and the awarding of peerages, places and honours to secure votes. Thus, Ireland became part of an extended United Kingdom, ruled directly by a united parliament at Westminster in London.
As an aside, could not this same paragraph be written about almost every vote involving the incorporation into and expansion of the European Union? Plus ça change, Plus c'est la même chose….
Just as with the Cubans, Stead sees the possibility that the Americans might be open to also offering liberation to the Irish.
…as far back as 1896, Mr. William O’Brien declared in the pages of the Nineteenth Century the possibility of American intervention on behalf of Ireland. He even suggested that after the next general election all the Nationalist members returned for Irish constituencies should refuse to come to Westminster, but should proceed to Washington to formally appeal before the Congress of the United States. (Page 48)
Stead sees a risk if the Irish members proceed in such a manner (and he does not dismiss the possibility), due to the number of Irish then living in the United States and the number of Irish politicians in positions of power in various levels of government in the US. The popular opinion in the US would not allow for pleas from Ireland to go unheeded.
As an aside, Stead references the periodical “Nineteenth Century” several times in this book.
The Nineteenth Century was a British monthly literary magazine founded in 1877 by Sir James Knowles. Many of the early contributors to The Nineteenth Century were members of the Metaphysical Society. The journal was intended to publish debate by leading intellectuals.
The magazine notably asserted, shortly before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, that "the only court in which nations' issues can and will be tried is the court of God, which is war."
Knowles was a well-connected man, and the Metaphysical Society was an interesting group:
Knowles became intimate with a number of the most interesting men of the day, and in 1869, with Tennyson's cooperation, he founded the Metaphysical Society, the object of which was to attempt some intellectual rapprochement between religion and science by getting the leading representatives of faith and unfaith to meet and exchange views. Members included Tennyson, Gladstone, W.K.Clifford, W. G. Ward, John Morley, Cardinal Manning, Archbishop Thomson, T. H. Huxley, Arthur Balfour, Leslie Stephen, and Sir William Gull.
But I digress….
While perhaps a bit over the top, the following is suggestive of the mood of the time:
Mr. McHugh, who, fresh from a British dungeon, accompanied by Mr. Redmond in 1901, in his pilgrimage to the United States, boldly proclaimed his belief that Ireland would soon take a greater step forward and would demand admittance into the Union as one of the United States. (Page 49)
Such feelings were not unknown in the US either:
Nine years ago this very subject was discussed by one of the sanest and most sagacious of American writers in an article published in the Contemporary Review of September, 1892. In this paper Dr. Shaw, who has been asked by the editor to set forth in plain terms what was the American view of Home Rule and Federation, referred to the possible consequences that might result from the refusal of the predominant partner to concede Home Rule to Ireland.
“If England persisted in this course,” said Dr. Shaw, “Ireland itself might flatter in its loyalty at some time of crisis. We do not want Ireland, yet obviously we could make her very comfortable and happy as a State in our Union.” (Page 50)
Dr. Shaw went on to suggest that the hoisting of an American flag over Ireland would be no different than the British flags flying over various parts of areas near to the United States.
South Africa, in the grips of a gold rush, was becoming home to thousands of gold seekers – many from the United States as well as from other corners of the world – none with any particular loyalty to England. Given the Boer war, the British could no longer even count on the loyalty of the Dutch population in the colony. (Page 52)
Stead is writing during the time of the Second Boer War:
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State.
The complex origins of the war resulted from more than a century of conflict between the Boers and the British Empire, but of particular immediate importance was the question as to which white nation would control and benefit most from the very lucrative Witwatersrand gold mines.
Stead suggests that South Africa might one day be lost to the United States, not because of the disloyalty of the Dutch, but because of these various newcomers who certainly had no particular allegiance to the British or Dutch.
The war apparently began out of the desire to secure the allegiance of these new Outlanders.
…the force which will dislodge the Afrikander Commonwealth from the position to which we have destined it in the orbit of the British Empire, and which will convert it into one of the stars in the constellation of the United States of America, will not in the first instance at least be Dutch…[but will be] because we can no longer depend on the support and co-operation in maintaining our authority over the much more immediately dangerous and uncontrollable element which we are doing our best to bring into existence in Johannesburg. (Page 52, emphasis added)
Stead offers a fascinating background story to the Boer War – the Jameson Conspiracy, the brainchild of Rhodes. It was a conspiracy to overthrow President Kruger. It should be recalled that Stead is a confidant of Rhodes.
…the present disastrous war in South Africa is the direct result of a jealousy of American influence. It is common ground that this war dates from the Jameson Raid. The raid begat the armaments, the armaments begat Lord Milner’s intervention, and that intervention brought on the war. But what begat the raid? Upon this point I can speak with authority, as I have frequently heard the whole story of that most disastrous blunder from the lips of the man who conceived the conspiracy, and risked everything in order to carry it out. (Page 53)
Of course, those lips belonged to Rhodes.
Further details of this unsuccessful conspiracy are worth noting:
In 1895, a plan was hatched with the connivance of the Cape Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes and Johannesburg gold magnate Alfred Beit to take Johannesburg, ending the control of the Transvaal government.
To suggest that Rhodes hatched the conspiracy out of animosity or fear of the Boers would be a great mistake, according to Stead. “Mr. Rhodes has always been very partial to the Dutch.” (Page 53)
[Rhodes’] object was not primarily but only incidentally to overthrow Kruger. His one supreme aim was to capture the Outlanders, to secure their allegiance to the British Empire, and to avert the one thing he dreaded most of all, the establishment of what he called an American Republic in the Transvaal….
What Mr. Rhodes thought he saw was the Rand filling up with a heterogeneous conglomerate of adventurous, unscrupulous, unattached mortals, all intent primarily on making their fortune. These men outnumbered the adult burghers of the Transvaal by four to one.
Mr. Rhodes was led to believe by his confidential informants that the Outlanders were not in the mood to tolerate any longer the authority of the Boers. …their complaint being the fact that Mr. Rhodes and the High Commissioner had never given them any effective assistance in their campaign against Krugerism. (Page 54)
These Outlanders had tremendous wealth at their disposal, and, as mentioned, came from all corners of the world – even those from the various parts of the Empire had no special allegiance to it. Rhodes felt that if he did not act to at least move in the direction of dealing with the issues of Mr. Kruger, he would awake one day to find…
…that a bloodless revolution had taken place in the Transvaal, that Paul Kruger had disappeared, and that in his place he would have to deal with a President of a new Republic flushed with victory, angry at being refused all help, and very much inclined to pay off old scores by being much more anti-British than the Boers had been. (Page 56)
Stead, calling this decision the “one fatal blunder” of Rhodes’ career, goes on to quote Rhodes:
“In fact, it seemed to me quite certain that if I did not take a hand in the game the forces on the spot would soon make short work of President Kruger. Then I should soon be face to face with an American Republic – American in the sense of being intensely hostile to and jealous of Britain…. The drawing power of the Outlander Republic would have collected round it all the other Colonies. They would have federated with it as a centre, and we should have lost South Africa. To avert this catastrophe, to rope in the Outlanders before it was too late, I did what I did.” (Page 56)
Apparently, the conspiracy failed because the Americans involved in the planned revolutionary movement backed out when they learned that the end result was for Dr. Jameson to take the region into the shadow of the British flag, with the governor to be appointed by the Colonial Office. (Page 57) The placement of Jameson as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony is ultimately, in fact, what took place once the British successfully prosecuted the war.
However, given Stead’s knowledge at the time of his book, he writes that the concern remains: South Africa is at risk of becoming Americanized, if not, in fact, formally part of the United States. From one of the members involved in the uprising: “President Kruger at his worst was an angel of light compared with Mr. Chamberlain. The man is as pig-headed as he is ignorant, and as unapproachable as the Mikado in old times.” Chamberlain, at that time, was Colonial Secretary. (Page 61)
Stead considers that ultimately Britain will consider itself lucky if all that it retains of its possessions is a coaling station at Simon’s Bay. He also suggests that the Afrikanders would consider that the US Navy might provide a more adequate protection against the possible advances of Germany, with German colonies at that time on both sides of South Africa. (Page 65)
While he sees a clear path to South Africa leaving the Empire, he does not see that it necessarily follows that it will align with the US although there are reasons that could lead to that outcome. One almost certain loss for the Empire; one more potential gain for the US. (Page 65)
Stead next turns to the West Indies and the region. He considers that this is the region most likely “to succumb to the operation of the law of political gravitation.” (Page 70)
He offers concrete reasons for such a shift:
…it is…indisputable that West Indians themselves attribute their disasters to the fiscal policy of the Empire to which they belong. Not only so, but the fact that the inhabitants did not suffer even worse things they attribute to the enterprise of a Boston man who established a flourishing trade in bananas with the United States. A writer in the Daily Telegraph of Jamaica, says: “Poor impoverished Jamaica should never be ungrateful to America for making markets for our sugar and bananas during a period when in England the policy was, ‘Oh, cut the painter, and let the colonies go!’” (Page 74)
The “Boston man” is Andrew Preston, and the company he formed with nine others was the Boston Fruit Company, later merged into the United Fruit Company.
It is not long since the United States admitted West Indian sugar free of duty, and that fact is not forgotten in Jamaica. (Page 74)
Stead cites Lord Pirbright, writing in the National Review in December, 1896:
Geographically much nearer to America than to Great Britain, they might seek and would certainly receive from the United States not alone the commercial facilities which we deny them, but other inducements of far greater importance. Trade would follow the flag. That flag would no longer be ours, and we might have to deplore not only the ruin but also the loss of our West Indian possessions. (Page 75)
An example of intervention by the United States in the West Indies was only recently offered, that of the intervention in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
The advent of the United States as a colonizing power in the midst of the West Indian Archipelago could not but thrill with excitement even the lethargic imagination of the lotus-eaters of our Colonies. (Page 76)
Puerto Rico, once freed from Spain, saw an increase in sugar production, from 40,000 tons to 100,000 tons and more. Coffee production increased significantly as well. (Page 76) This fact could not be lost on plantation operators in other parts of the West Indies:
…there is not a sugar island now under the Union Jack that will not be clamoring to be transferred to the United States. (Page 76)
With a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States on 27 May 1901, finding that Constitutional Rights do not necessarily follow the flag and thus allowing for special duties on goods imported from colonies and other possessions, the path was cleared for an increasing level of colonization by the United States to be combined with policies favorable to the mercantilist beneficiaries. (Page 77)
What decision is being referenced? In fact, it seems there were three decisions on that date, known as the Insular Cases, which are relevant:
These Insular Cases were all decided on 27 May 1901: the first two cases, DeLima v. Bidwell [182 U.S. 1] and Dooley v. United States [182 U.S. 222] posed the question: when the U.S. acquired Puerto Rico, did that island cease to be a "foreign country" within the meaning of existing Federal tariff laws? The Court answered "yes" in what were a 6-3 and a 5-4 decision, respectively: in DeLima, it ruled that imports from Puerto Rico were no longer subject to a tariff and, in Dooley, it made the same ruling as regards exports to Puerto Rico. But the final case, Downes v. Bidwell posed an even dicier question: was the island covered by the constitutional requirement [Article I, Section 8, clause 1] that "all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"? Put another way: did the U.S. Constitution automatically apply to the island of Puerto Rico once it had- as the Court had determined in the two earlier cases that day- ceased to be a "foreign country"?
Stead summarizes the effect as follows:
Porto Rico [sic] is not a ‘foreign country,’ and therefore the Dingley law, which levies duties upon goods imported from ‘foreign countries,’ does not apply to Porto Rico. Nor yet is Porto Rico a part of the United States. It is a domestic territory over which Congress had ‘unrestricted control.’ (Page 78)
Further, from the Boston Journal of September 6, 1901:
We take perhaps nine-tenths of Jamaica’s sugar, nearly all her fruit, much of her coffee and cocoa, a great share of her logwood, almost all her cocoanuts.
Jamaica is so near the United States and stands so closely related to our continental system, that this steady drift of her trade away from Great Britain and towards us is not strange. It is wholly natural and intelligible. But it is obvious that it makes the British connection increasingly difficult and expensive.
With Porto Rico enjoying absolute free trade with the United States, and Cuba almost its equivalent under reciprocity, the British West India possessions in the Antilles will either have to be given up or maintained at a cost out of all proportion to their real value to the Imperial Government. (Page 79)
Finally, one further report:
Sir Wemyss Reid has just told us that an American Cabinet Minister at Washington spoke to him as if the absorption of our West Indian Colonies by the United States was a foregone conclusion. (Page 81)
Newfoundland and Canada
…it would not be surprising if England’s oldest Colony were to be the first to desert the Empire in order to throw in her lot with the Republic…. Newfoundland alone, of all our Colonies, finds its vital interests sacrificed to the interests of Empire. None of our other Colonies has such a grievance as that which troubles the Newfoundlanders. (Page 83)
For two centuries, Newfoundland was not considered a colony, but more an “appendage to the cod fishery.” (Page 84)
But for this, it is impossible to believe that the men who negotiated the Treaty of Ryswick would ever have made over to the French Government the exclusive use of the French shore. (Page 84)
The use of three hundred miles of coast were deprived to the Newfoundlanders. As the population grew and multiplied, the consequences also increased. This treaty, subsequently confirmed at the Treaty of Utrecht, was based on the supposition that Newfoundland would be useful for nothing more than its coastline for the purposes of fishing. (Page 84)
Some years ago I had an opportunity of discussing the whole matter at length with the representatives sent over by the Newfoundland Government….if the British Government finally refused to clear out the French, they would be compelled as a mere matter of self-preservation to look to the only other government from whom they could obtain relief. It is very easy to understand how it was that the Newfoundlanders should turn a wistful and longing gaze towards Washington. (Page 85, 86)
Newfoundlanders alive at the time were not even born when these treaties were negotiated. They see themselves as hostage to Empire – France would retaliate with a squeeze against British interests in Egypt. Such a squeeze would no longer be a consideration if Newfoundland was instead under the Stars and Stripes. (Page 87)
Newfoundlanders are also made up of a good portion of Irish, whose general sentiments can be more amenable to the US than to Britain. Further, a reciprocity treaty negotiated between Newfoundland and the US was not approved by Britain – to the detriment of Newfoundland trade. (Page 90)
The consequences of a switch by Newfoundland would be significant, and not merely for the trade from Newfoundland. St. John’s harbor, in “the hands of a hostile power…would be a deadly menace to the whole of our Canadian trade.” (Page 90)
Conversely, Stead sees Canada as the least likely to be pulled into the US sphere – due to its large size and strength. It might be more likely that Canada goes it alone. (Page 91)
However, Stead does not see the threat as non-existent. Citing a conversation between Sir Hiram Maxim and some owners of valuable concessions in Canada – who suggested that their concessions would drastically increase under an annexation, if not a political annexation, at least an industrial annexation:
“What,” said Sir Hiram, ‘I thought you were all enthusiastic loyalists.” ‘We are loyal to the Empire,” was the reply, “but we all know that annexation will come some day, and when it comes, it will much more than double the value of our property.” (Page 103)
Stead cites two additional pressures: first, the continuous disputes about fishing on the Atlantic seaboard, and second, due to the discovery of gold in the Klondyke [sic], the continuance of Canadian trade in this region to pass through an American customs house. (Page 103, 104)
In the year 1895, Andrew Carnegie expressed strong sentiments regarding tariffs between the US and Canada:
Mr. Carnegie came out strongly in favor of imposing heavy duties upon all imports from Canada without regard to the doctrine either of Free Trade or Protection, but as a matter of high politics. (Page 114)
Carnegie called for excessively high tariffs, “not in dislike for Canada, but for love of her, in the hope that it would cause her to realize that the nations upon this continent are expected to be American nations, and I trust, finally, one nation, so far as the English speaking portion is concerned.” (Page 114)
Australia and New Zealand
Australia, as the first result of the Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth, put up a tariff wall between it and Great Britain. (Page 124) Further, the Parliament formulated a demand for a Monroe Doctrine for the Pacific – placing Australia immediately in the international arena and potentially at odds with Britain. (Page 128)
Moving on to New Zealand: writing in the Nineteenth Century in 1890, Mr. Bakewell, “a very intelligent resident in Auckland,” wrote regarding the readiness of the New Zealanders to transfer their allegiance from the British Empire to the United States:
If the question of annexation as a State to the United States of North America were put to the vote to-morrow, there would not be a thousand votes against it. (Page 143)
Stead adds that the United States has replaced the United Kingdom “as the natural refuge of the political refugee.” (Page 145)
Germany and Europe
Stead moves on to an examination of the rest of the world – the world outside of the British Empire. He first examines Germany. Stead sees the Kaiser unsuccessfully resisting Americanization against the successful Americanization of many German cities:
There are no more Americanized cities in Europe than Hamburg and Berlin. They are American in the rapidity of their growth, American in their nervous energy, American in their quick appropriation of the facilities for rapid transport…. The German manufacturer, the German shipbuilder, the German engineer are quick to seize and use the latest American machines. (Page 164)
The constant flow of German emigration to the United States of America has created a German-American…. (Page 165)
Against all these influences the Kaiser wages desperate but unavailing war. (Page 166)
It is not only Germany. Prince Albert of Belgium, upon returning from a trip to America, exclaimed to an American friend: “Alas! You Americans will eat us all up.” Admiral Canevaro, former Italian Foreign Minister, foresaw the need for European nations to unite – albeit as a counterforce against the Americans. (Page 179)
To defend themselves against the United States of America these thinkers advocate the creation of what, from a fiscal point of view, would be the United States of Europe. (Page 180)
The Ottoman Empire
Stead next examines the possibility that it would be the United States, out of all nations, to bring order to the “insoluble problem of the ownership of Constantinople.” (Page 183)
He sees this through the work of missionaries – or more precisely, the possibility that some brigand would capture and torment female American missionaries in the land of the Ottomans, raising the ire of Americans and this forcing the government to take military action. (Page 183)
When General Mossouloff, the director of foreign faiths within the Russian Empire, visited Etchmiadzin in the confines of Turkish Armenia, the Armenian patriarch spread before him a map of Asia Minor which was marked all over with American colleges, American churches, American schools, and American missions. (Page 191)
Taken from an unrelated February 1903 study, the list is rather extensive.
Stead theorizes on how this swelling of American popular support might come about: through an “unhanged ruffian” or a “Kurdish chief,” in a desire to avenge the wrongs against Islam on the nearest American mission station:
He will sweep down at the head of his troops upon a school or manse. The building will be given to the flames, the American missionary will be flung into the burning building to perish in the fire, while his wife and daughters will be carried off to the harem of some pasha. (Page 193)
Stead sees this as quite probable: “This outrage, after all, is nothing more that the kind of thing to which the Christian races of the East have had to submit from generation to generation.” The difference, he suggests, is that the victims this time “would differ from the Armenians in that they speak English. That one difference would be vital.” (Page 194)
In such a case, through the American government, “the doom of the Ottoman Empire would be sealed.” (Page 195)
Asia and the Pacific
In Asia, the Americans have recently begun to realize that the sea was not a divider, but uniter of nations.
The Americans have only just begun to realize that they also may hope to adopt the proud boast of their British forefathers, and to declare that the frontiers of the United States extend to the coastline of her enemies and rivals. (Page 199)
Stead goes on to list Hawaii, Samoa, Pago-Pago, Tutuila, and ultimately, Manila. (Page 200)
Well, not quite yet regarding Manila. Reflecting the attitude of the time (perhaps of all time), Stead comments:
…but three years of intermittent warfare waged by land and sea have not yet induced the Filipinos to recognize the brotherly love and benevolent intentions of the invaders. (Page 202, emphasis added)
The “brotherly love and benevolent intentions” of the Americans is well expressed in a quote from Senator Beveridge:
When Circumstance has raised our flag above them, we dare not turn these misguided children over to destruction by themselves or spoliation by others, and then make answer when the God of nations requires them at our hands, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Page 205)
Stead further comments on the eventually of cutting an Isthmian Canal through Central America. When a British ship heads west for the Orient, it will pass through seas with an American presence: Porto Rico, Cuba, the canal, and then Hawaii. (Page 203) And if the ship departs from Australia to Japan, it will pass the Philippines. (Page 204)
Stead credits the Americans with developing a policy toward China that brought the Americans into harmonious relations with all powers while not antagonizing their traditionally friendly relations with Russia. (Page 206) This, as opposed to the British method, whose talk of “open doors” always is tainted with menace toward Russia. (Page 207)
Stead gives at least some of the credit for the enlightened American approach to the Chinese Minister in Washington, the Americanized Mr. Wu. (Page 207)
Stead next moves to Japan:
One of the most remarkable instances of the exercise of American influence, the far-reaching consequences of which are absolutely incalculable is that of the awakening of Japan, one of the greatest achievements of the nineteenth century. That awakening was largely due to the action of the American Government. (Page 209)
Baron Kantero Kaneko, President of the America’s Friends Society of Japan, on the occasion of building a monument in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the arrival of Commodore Perry, offered the following praise to the United States in 1901:
True. Japan has not forgotten – nor will she ever forget – that next to her reigning and most beloved Sovereign whose high virtue and great wisdom are above all praise, she owes in no small degree her present prosperity to the United States of America in that the latter rendered her great and lasting service…. (Page 209)
Of course, Perry’s methods were not so friendly; surprising that he was held by some in Japan as only second to the Emperor!
Central and South America
Stead makes an interesting comment regarding Central and South America:
…there are few parts of the world which have been less Americanized than Southern America. (Page 214)
He attributes this to two factors: 1) the people in these regions are more beholden to the Pope than any western power (Page 215), and 2) the Monroe Doctrine is purely negative – forbidding additional territory to European States, thus guaranteeing to these South American governments a level of non-interference. (Page 216)
Argentina, Chili [sic], and Peru are considered commercial annexes of Great Britain by the author. (Page 217) Up until this time, there is little if any direct steamship service from the United States to South America – the most efficient route from the United States to South America is by sea through England. More trade is done with Canada than all of Central and South America by the United States. (Page 221) Roosevelt has an objective to change this and establish direct commercial relationships with steamship service. (Page 216)
Rhodes, having expressed the suggestion that, when Argentina previously defaulted on its debt, he would have occupied the country just as Britain occupies Egypt, also suggests – in order to avoid conflict with the Monroe Doctrine – that such an action should have been undertaken jointly with the United States. (Page 222)
Methods of Americanization
In subsequent chapters, Stead continues with an examination of how America Americanizes. He looks at religion (missionaries and revivalism); literature and journalism; art, science, and music; marriage; and sport.
His examination of journalism, specifically the brand practiced by William Hearst, is quite interesting. Hearst was an activist newspaper publisher, with very populist views:
One of the most recent exploits of the Hearst papers was to assist two young women in Chicago who, on behalf of the Teachers’ Federation, took legal action for the purpose of compelling the officials to make a fair assessment of property in Chicago. As the result of the support given to the teachers, property valued at £47,000,000 was added to the rateable value of the city of Chicago, which rendered it possible, without raising the rates, to add half a million to the revenue of the city. (Page 298)
Hearst papers had a very definite policy on foreign affairs: “Most of their demands in foreign affairs are now accepted by the nation.” (Page 299)
What were these policies? From Wikipedia:
The Morning Journal’s daily circulation would routinely climb above the 1 million mark after the sinking of the Maine and U.S. entry into the Spanish-American War, a war that some dubbed, "The Journal's War", due to the paper's immense influence in provoking American outrage against Spain. Much of the coverage leading up to the war, beginning with the outbreak of the Cuban Revolution in 1895, was tainted by rumor, propaganda, and sensationalism, with the 'yellow' papers regarded as the worst offenders. Indeed, the Journal and other New York newspapers were so one-sided and full of errors in their reporting that coverage of the Cuban crisis and the ensuing Spanish-American War are often cited as low points in the history of the American press. Huge headlines in the Journal assigned blame for the Maine’s destruction on sabotage - based on no actual evidence - and stoked public outrage and indignation against Spain.
While Hearst and the yellow press did not directly cause America's war with Spain, they did inflame public opinion to a fever pitch, which was a major influence in Pres. McKinley's decision to use force against Spain. Furthermore, Congressmen and other public officials of the time received most of their information from newspapers, and the Journal, World, and the more respectable New York Herald had by far the most informative, extensive, and influential coverage.
Hearst advocated domestic policies as well, and the list is valuable and prescient, to include: election of senators by the people; opposition to oppressive trusts; public ownership of public franchises; a graduated income tax; currency reform; national, state, and municipal improvements of the public school system. (Page 299) The list is the agenda of public policy success in the then-upcoming 15 years.
Stead continues with a review of American might in railways and the like:
[Americans have] built nearly half the railways in the world…. [Britain was not able to conquer the Sudan] without resorting to the humiliating necessity of accepting an American tender for the building of a bridge across the Atbara. (Page 361) Last autumn the American Bridge Company carried off contracts for constructing no fewer than twenty-eight bridges and viaducts required to complete the Uganda Railway…. The Americans have just built the largest bridge in the world over the Goktein in Upper Burma…. Mr. Rhodes experienced a cruel shock when…he discovered that Mr. Carnegie was able to deliver steel rails in South Africa at a lower price than any English manufacturer. (Page 362)
American locomotives are described as “the strongest haulers in the world, and they go at the greatest speed.” (Page 363) Stead continues with acknowledgement of the American desire to build a strong navy, despite having few overseas territories to protect. (Page 372)
When it comes to the build-up of trusts, no complaint is lodged regarding the diamond trust of De Beers along with Rhodes monopoly in South Africa. Likewise, there is no complaint regarding the trust building methods of J.P. Morgan. However, the same gracious treatment is not afforded to Rockefeller:
No one has made any complaint of the legitimacy of the methods adopted by Mr. Morgan or Mr. Rhodes in the buying up of competing interests. It is far otherwise with the methods adopted by Mr. Rockefeller, when he built up the gigantic monopoly which is known as the Standard Oil Trust of the United States. (Page 375)
The relationship of Rockefeller to McKinley and Germany on the one hand, and Morgan to Teddy Roosevelt and England on the other should be kept in mind, as I have previously described here.
An Anglo-American Path to World Peace
Many saw the joining of Britain and the United States as the key event in achieving world peace. Stead comments on statements from Rhodes in this regard:
How often have I not heard him deplore the insensate folly which robbed the world of its one great hope of universal peace. Only this year he inveighed, as is his wont, against the madness of the monarch which had wrecked the fairest prospect of international peace which had ever dawned upon the world.
“If only we had held together,” he remarked, “there would have been no need for another cannon to be cast in the whole world. The Federation of the English-speaking world would be strong enough in its command of all the material resources of the planet to compel the decision of all international quarrels by a more rational means than war.”
Nor has he abandoned the hope that even yet that great Federation may be brought about. (Page 403, 404)
Carnegie held a similar view, according to Stead:
If England and America were one they would be able to maintain the peace of the world and general disarmament. (Page 409)
Carnegie even wrote about such a union, in an article entitled “A Look Ahead,” published in the North American Review in June, 1892. In discussing the article, Carnegie states:
Turn up my “Look Ahead” which I published in the North American Review eight years ago, and you will find every forecast I made then is coming true…. We are heading straight to the Re-United States. Everything is telling that way…. It is coming, coming faster than you people in the Old World realize. (Page 406)
In this paper, written several years before the recognized beginning of the Great Rapprochement, Carnegie cites many references by American colonists, including Jefferson, prior to the signing of the Declaration stating that they do not wish for independence from Britain.
Carnegie sees reason for a re-union. First, in race:
…the American remains three-fourths purely British. The mixture of the German, which constitutes substantially all of the remainder, though not strictly British, is yet Germanic. The Briton of to-day is himself composed in large measure of the Germanic element, and German, Briton, and American are all of the Teutonic race.
Second, the ocean should no longer be a barrier:
No one questions that if, instead of eighteen hundred miles of water between America and Britain, there lay another Mississippi Valley, the English-speaking race would be one politically….oceans no longer constitute barriers between nations.
Third, he cites communication brought on by the telegraph. Additionally, he cites the overwhelming benefits and strength in such a race confederation.
The new nation would dominate the world and banish from the earth its greatest stain – the murder of men by men. It would be the arbiter between nations, and enforce the peaceful settlement of all quarrels….
He sees for Britain (and therefore the elite that use Britain as a tool) that there is no choice but re-union:
The only course for Britain seems to be reunion with her giant child, or sure decline to a secondary place, and then to comparative insignificance in the future annals of the English-speaking race, which is to increase so rapidly in America.
Carnegie concludes the article with the following “declaration of faith”:
Let men say what they will, therefore, I say as surely as the sun in the heavens once shone upon Britain and America united, so surely is it one morning to rise, shine upon, and greet again the reunited state of “The British-American Union.”
Stead comments that politicians cannot speak of this re-union publicly. But it is discussed by those he appropriately calls “Imperialists”:
…privately, no one who moves in political and journalistic circles can ignore the fact that many of the strongest Imperialists are heart and soul in favor of seeing the British Empire and the American Republic merged in the English-speaking United States of the World. (Page 404)
Stead knows that the masses in America could never be persuaded for such an arrangement. However, he finds favor for such an idea with what he describes as “two typical Americans,” one of which was Andrew Carnegie (as mentioned) and the other Hiram Maxim! (Page 405) Neither can really be called typical – unless typical means those elite who can help to move such an idea along to fruition, all behind the scenes in an indirect manner.
There comes recognition by Stead that the union cannot be overt – likely neither the people of the US nor the people of Britain would approve of political union:
Even if we cannot have the reunion, we might have the race alliance. (Page 418)
Stead cites Washington’s farewell address, where the retiring president says it is best to have as little political connection with other powers as possible. Stead notes that Washington did not say that there should be no connection, just as little as possible. So the door should remain open:
Whatever federation, alliance, or reunion may ultimately be effected, it is a condition sine qua non that each member of the federation shall retain freedom of national self-government…. (Page 419)
Of course, the freedom of national self-government is in form only, certainly not function.
Stead concludes by examining what is, therefore, to be done:
There lies before the people of Great Britain a choice of two alternatives. If they decide to merge the existence of the British Empire into the United States of the English-speaking World, they may continue for all time to be an integral part of the greatest of all World-Powers.
[The other alternative] is the acceptance of our suppression by the United States as the centre of gravity in the English-speaking world…. (Page 396)
Stead is correct about the choice that was to be made, but he was incorrect (or at least secretive) about who it was that would be making the choice. I am aware of no referendum by the British population on this issue – there was no democratic process. There certainly was not any formal political merging – joint legislatures and the like.
However, history makes clear that the elite knew the American train was leaving the station without their British car attached – recall Gladstone’s comments at the introduction of this essay. In order to remain in control, the elite knew that they must co-opt the train.
My conclusion: In this, they were successful.