"Civilization Begins at Home"

The beginning of U.S. expansion overseas, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, coincided with the peak years of racial violence and lynchings in the United States. Meanwhile, jingoists insisted that the United States should spread "civilization" to other peoples around the world. Anti-imperialists pointed out that ongoing racial injustices were evidence that the U.S. itself was uncivilized. In this cartoon, President William McKinley eyes a map of the Philippines, which was soon to become a U.S. territory, while a figure representing Justice pulls back the curtain to reveal a lynching scene in America's back yard.  

View High-resolution

Source | "Civilization Begins At Home," (New York: New York World, reprinted in Literary Digest, 26 November 1898).
Creator | Unknown
Item Type | Cartoon
Cite This document | Unknown, “"Civilization Begins at Home",” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 22, 2014, http://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/628.