“The White Man’s Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands” (1899), by Rudyard Kipling, is a poem about the Philippine–American War (1899–1902), in which the writer   invites the United States to assume the  colonial control of that country.[1]

Originally, Kipling wrote the poem for the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837–1901), but it was exchanged for another poem written by Kipling:  “Recessional”. Later, he rewrote “The White Man’s Burden” to address and encourage the American colonization of the Philippine Islands. The title and themes of “The White Man’s Burden”  underline the belief of the Western world that industrialization was the way to civilise the Third World. Indeed, the poem positively represents colonialism as the moral burden of the white race, which is divinely destined to civilise the brutish and barbarous parts of the world; to wit, the Filipino people are “new-caught, sullen peoples, half-devil and half-child”.

Watch and listen to the analysis below:

 

 

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