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"The White Man's Burden" (Excerpt)

In February 1899, British novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled “The White Man’s Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands.” In this poem, Kipling urged the U.S. to take up the “burden” of empire, as had Britain and other European nations. Theodore Roosevelt, soon to become vice-president and then president, described it as “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.”

Take up the White Man's burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
Take up the White Man's burden—
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit
And work another's gain.

Source | Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden: The United States & The Philippine Islands, 1899." McClure's Magazine 12 (February, 1899).
Creator | Rudyard Kipling
Item Type | Fiction/Poetry
Cite This document | Rudyard Kipling, “"The White Man's Burden" (Excerpt),” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 19, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/769.

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