Performed by William Jennings Bryan
Recorded July 21, 1908

Imperialism is the policy of an empire, and an empire is a nation embracing different people living under different forms of government. The Republican party has never dared to admit its imperialistic purpose and yet it is administering a colonial policy upon a theory utterly opposed to the theory of self-government. The Democratic party has for nine years parted out the evils of colonialism. It has for nine years challenged the Republican party to discuss the governmental principles which underlie colonialism. And it opposes colonialism today as it has from the beginning. The platform adopted at Denver condemns the experiment in imperialism as an inexcusable blunder, which has involved us in enormous expense, brought us weakness instead of strength, and laid our nation open to the charge of abandoning the fundamental principles of a republic. The platform favors an immediate declaration of the nation’s purpose to recognize the independence of the Philippine Islands as soon as a stable government can be established. Such independence would be guaranteed by us, as we guarantee the independence of Cuba, until the neutralization of the islands can be secured by treaty with other powers. This does not mean a withdrawal from the Orient, for in the recognition of independence our government will retain such land as may be necessary for coaling stations and naval bases. The land thus retained will furnish us all the territory we need for commercial expansion, and it would be much easier to protect the Filipinos from outside interference when they are in possession of their own government, and thus interested in guarding it from without. It is now costing us more than 100 millions a year for the Army and Navy in excess of what it cost us ten years ago, and we are under suspicion in the Orient as long as we hold the Filipinos in subjection. The Orient is in a ferment; reform is making progress everywhere. Our nation, instead of discouraging this reform by the establishment of a colony in the Pacific, should be the leader in reform movement, and thus attach to itself the progressive element in all the countries of the East. It is to our commercial advantage to encourage the adoption of our ideals and our customs and these ideals and customs can be brought to the attention of Japan, China, India and the Philippines only by steadfast adherence to the traditions of our country. Thus our financial influence, as well as our political duty, lead us to renew our attachment to the Declaration of Independence and to the doctrines of the fathers. A republic can have no substance, it can have no colony; the proofs of imperialism, be they bitter or sweet, must be left to the children of monarchy. This is the one tree of which the citizens of a republic may not partake. It is the voice of the serpent and not the voice of God that bids us heed.