The Gospel of Wealth
And Other Timely Essays
by Andrew Carnegie

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--- Page 135. The Gospel of Wealth - VIII Americanism versus Imperialism


Americanism Versus Imperialism

Part I

1. For several grave reasons I regard possessions in the far East as fraught with nothing but disaster to the Republic. Only one of these, however, can now be considered - the dangers of war and of the almost constant rumors and

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threats of war to which all nations interested in the far East are subject. There is seldom a week which does not bring alarming reports of threatened hostilities, or of new alliances, or of changes of alliances, between the powers arming for the coming struggle. It is chiefly this far Eastern question which keeps every ship-yard, gun-yard, and armor-yard in the world busy night and day, Sunday and Saturday, forging engines of destruction. It is in that region the thunderbolt is expected; it is there the storm is to burst.

To introduce this essay by Carnegie, the compiler feels it’s important to get a current perspective of that time from the “Century of Light.” A book written in 2001 under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice.

“From the point of view of wealth and influence, “the world” of 1900 was Europe and, by grudging concession, the United States. Throughout the planet, Western imperialism was pursuing among the populations of other lands what it regarded as its “civilizing mission”. In the words of one historian, the century’s opening decade appeared to be essentially a continuation of the “long nineteenth century”,3 an era whose boundless self-satisfaction was perhaps best epitomized by the celebration in 1897 of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, a parade that rolled for hours through the streets of London, with an imperial panoply and display of military power far surpassing anything attempted in past civilizations. As the century began, there were few, whatever their degree of social or moral sensitivity, who perceived the catastrophes lying ahead, and few, if any, who could have conceived their magnitude. The military leadership of most European nations assumed that war of some kind would break out, but viewed the prospect with equanimity because of the twin fixed convictions that it would be short and would be won by their side. To an extent that seemed little short of miraculous, the international peace movement was enlisting the support of statesmen, industrialists, scholars, the media, and influential personalities as unlikely as the tsar of Russia. If the inordinate increase in armaments seemed ominous, the network of painstakingly crafted and often overlapping alliances seemed to give assurance that a general conflagration would be avoided and regional disputes settled, as they had been through most of the previous century. This illusion was reinforced by the fact that Europe’s crowned heads - most of them members of one extended family, and many of them exercising seemingly decisive political power - addressed one another familiarly by nicknames, carried on an intimate correspondence, married one another’s sisters and daughters, and vacationed together throughout long stretches of each year at one another’s castles, regattas and shooting lodges. Even the painful disparities in the distribution of wealth were being energetically - if not very systematically - addressed in Western societies through legislation designed to restrain the worst of the corporate freebooting of preceding decades and to meet the most urgent demands of growing urban populations.

The vast majority of the human family, living in lands outside the Western world, shared in few of the blessings and little of the optimism of their European and American brethren. China, despite its ancient civilization and its sense of itself as the “Middle Kingdom”, had become the hapless victim of plundering by Western nations and by its modernizing neighbour Japan. The multitudes in India - whose economy and political life had fallen so totally under the domination of a single imperial power as to exclude the usual jockeying for advantage - escaped some of the worst of the abuses afflicting other lands, but watched impotently as their desperately needed resources were drained away. The coming agony of Latin America was all too clearly prefigured in the suffering of Mexico, large sections of which had been annexed by its great northern neighbour, and whose natural resources were already attracting the attention of avaricious foreign corporations. Particularly embarrassing from a Western point of view - because of its proximity to such brilliant European capitals as Berlin and Vienna - was the medieval oppression in which the hundred million nominally liberated serfs in Russia led lives of sullen, hopeless misery. Most tragic of all was the plight of the inhabitants of the African continent, divided against one another by artificial boundaries created through cynical bargains among European powers. It has been estimated that during the first decade of the twentieth century over a million people in the Congo perished - starved, beaten, worked literally to death for the profit of their distant masters, a preview of the fate that was to engulf well over one hundred million of their fellow human beings across Europe and Asia before the century reached its end.

These masses of humankind, despoiled and scorned - but representing most of the earth’s inhabitants - were seen not as protagonists but essentially as objects of the new century’s much vaunted civilizing process. Despite benefits conferred on a minority among them, the colonial peoples existed chiefly to be acted upon - to be used, trained, exploited, Christianized, civilized, mobilized - as the shifting agendas of Western powers dictated. These agendas may have been harsh or mild in execution, enlightened or selfish, evangelical or exploitative, but were shaped by materialistic forces that determined both their means and most of their ends. To a large extent, religious and political pieties of various kinds masked both ends and means from the publics in Western lands, who were thus able to derive moral satisfaction from the blessings their nations were assumed to be conferring on less worthy peoples, while themselves enjoying the material fruits of this benevolence.

To point out the failings of a great civilization is not to deny its accomplishments. As the twentieth century opened, the peoples of the West could take justifiable pride in the technological, scientific and philosophical developments for which their societies had been responsible. Decades of experimentation had placed in their hands material means that were still beyond the appreciation of the rest of humanity. Throughout both Europe and America vast industries had risen, dedicated to metallurgy, to the manufacturing of chemical products of every kind, to textiles, to construction and to the production of instruments that enhanced every aspect of life. A continuous process of discovery, design and improvement was making accessible power of unimaginable magnitude - with, alas, ecological consequences equally unimagined at the time - especially through the use of cheap fuel and electricity. The “era of the railroad” was far advanced and steamships coursed the sea-ways of the world. With the proliferation of telegraph and telephone communication, Western society anticipated the moment when it would be freed of the limiting effects that geographical distances had imposed on humankind since the dawn of history.”

(Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice [2001], Century of Light; pp.2-5)


“By God! In earthly riches fear is hidden and peril is concealed. Consider ye and call to mind that which the All-Merciful hath revealed in the Qur'an: `Woe betide every slanderer and defamer, him that layeth up riches and counteth them.'+F1 Fleeting are the riches of the world; all that perisheth and changeth is not, and hath never been, worthy of attention, except to a recognized measure.” (Bahá’u’lláh [1863-1892], Tablets of Baha'u'llah; Page 219)

constant rumors and threats of war

“Christ said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matt. x, 34), and He predicted a period of wars and rumors of wars, of tribulations and afflictions that would continue till the coming of the Son of Man "in the glory of the Father."” (J.E. Esslemont [1937]: Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p.46)

2. It is only four years since Japan defeated China and had ceded to it a portion of Chinese territory, the fruits of victory. Then appeared upon the scene a combination of France, Russia, and Germany, which drove Japan out of China. Russia took part of the spoils for herself, and Germany later took territory near by. Japan got nothing. Britain, the most powerful of all, stood by neutral. Had she decided to defend Japan, the greatest war ever known would have been the probable result; the thunderbolt would have fallen. Were the question to be decided to-day, it is now considered probable that Britain would support Japan.


Although the Universal House of Justice is speaking here of world conditions immediately after world war one, the theme of their exposition relates directly to the overall condition of the world due to colonization.

“Since the driving force of colonialism itself was economic exploitation, it was perhaps inevitable that most movements of liberation assumed a broadly socialistic ideological cast. Within only a few short years, these circumstances had created a fertile ground for exploitation by the world’s superpowers. For the Soviet Union, the situation seemed to offer an opportunity to induce a shift in the existing alignment of nations by gaining a preponderating influence in what was by now beginning to be called the “Third World”. The response of the West - wherever development aid failed to retain the loyalties of recipient populations - was to resort to the encouragement and arming of a wide variety of authoritarian regimes.

As outside forces manipulated new governments, attention was increasingly diverted from an objective consideration of developmental needs to ideological and political struggles that bore little or no relation to social or economic reality. The results were uniformly devastating. Economic bankruptcy, gross violations of human rights, the breakdown of civil administration and the rise of opportunistic elites who saw in the suffering of their countries only openings for self-enrichment - such was the heartbreaking fate that engulfed one after another of the new nations who, only short years before, had begun life with such great promise.”

(Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice [2001], Century of Light; pp.88-89)


“Hitherto the usual practice of mankind has been that if one nation attacked another, the rest of the nations of the world remained neutral, and accepted no responsibility in the matter unless their own interests were directly affected or threatened. The whole burden of defense was left to the nation attacked, however weak and helpless it might be. The teaching of Baha'u'llah reverses this position and throws the responsibility of defense not specially on the nation attacked, but on all the others, individually and collectively. As the whole of mankind is one community, an attack on any one nation is an attack on the community, and ought to be dealt with by the community. Were this doctrine generally recognized and acted on, any nation contemplating an aggression on another would know in advance that it would have to reckon with the opposition not of that other nation only, but of the whole of the rest of the world. This knowledge alone would be sufficient to deter even the boldest and most bellicose of nations. When a sufficiently strong league of peace-loving nations is established war will, therefore, become a thing of the past. During the period of transition from the old state of international anarchy to the new state of international solidarity aggressive wars will still be possible, and in these circumstances, military or other coercive action in the cause of international justice, unity and peace may be a positive duty. 'Abdu'l-Baha writes that in such case:--

A conquest can be a praiseworthy thing, and there are times when war becomes the powerful basis of peace, and ruin the very means of reconstruction. If, for example, a high-minded sovereign marshals his troops to block the onset of the insurgent and the aggressor, or again, if he takes the field and distinguishes himself in a struggle to unify a divided state and people, if, in brief, he is waging war for a righteous purpose, then this seeming wrath is mercy itself, and this apparent tyranny the very substance of justice and this warfare the cornerstone of peace. Today, the task befitting great rulers is to establish universal peace, for in this lies the freedom of all peoples.--The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 70-71.”

(J.E. Esslemont [1937]: Baha’u’llah and the New Era, pp.171-172)

It is interesting that Carnegie mentions that Britain was neutral in the conflict between China and Japan, and that France, Germany and Russia all got involved and distributed the spoils of war amongt them. Queen Elizabeth of Britain was one of the few world leaders directly addressed by Bahá’u’lláh that replied in a dignified manner to his summons. Bahá’u’lláh addressing Queen Victoria somewhere between 1868-1877 says;

"O Queen in London! Incline thine ear unto the voice of thy Lord, the Lord of all mankind, calling from the Divine Lote-Tree: Verily, no God is there but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise! …We have been informed that thou hast forbidden the trading in slaves, both men and women. This, verily, is what God hath enjoined in this wondrous Revelation. God hath, truly, destined a reward for thee, because of this. He, verily, will pay the doer of good, whether man or woman, his due recompense…We have also heard that thou hast entrusted the reins of counsel into the hands of the representatives of the people. Thou, indeed, hast done well, for thereby the foundations of the edifice of thine affairs will be strengthened, and the hearts of all that are beneath thy shadow, whether high or low, will be tranquillized.” (Bahá’u’lláh [1868-1977], Proclamation of Baha’u’llah; p.33)

Abdu’l-Baha says the following about Queen Victoria;

“Victoria, Queen of England, was really superior to all the kings of Europe in ability, justness and equitable administration. During her long and brilliant reign the British Empire was immensely extended and enriched, due to her political sagacity, skill and foresight.” (Abdu’l-Bahá [1912], Promulgation Universal Peace; p.282)

The following excerpt from the book entitled “Baha’u’llah” prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, points out the distinct difference in lauguage in which Baha’u’llah addressed the rulers of America and Great Britain, then to those rulers in mainland Europe and Asia:

“In Akka, Baha'u'llah continued the dictation of a series of letters to individual rulers, which He had begun in Adrianople. Several contained warnings of the judgment of God on their negligence and misrule, warnings whose dramatic fulfillment aroused intense public discussion throughout the Near East. Less than two months after the exiles arrived in the prison-city, for example, Fu'ad Pasha, the Ottoman foreign minister, whose misrepresentations had helped precipitate the banishment, was abruptly dismissed from his post and died in France of a heart attack. The event was marked by a statement which predicted the early dismissal of his colleague, Prime Minister Ali Pasha, the overthrow and death of the Sultan, and the loss of Turkish territories in Europe, a series of disasters which followed on the heels of one another.

A letter to Emperor Napoleon III warned that, because of his insincerity and the misuse of his power: "...thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought.... Hath thy pomp made thee proud? By My life! It shall not endure..."[79] Of the disastrous Franco-Prussian War and the resulting over- throw of Napoleon III, which occurred less than a year after this statement, Alistair Horne, a modern scholar of nineteenth century French political history has written:

History knows of perhaps no more startling instance of what the Greeks called peripateia, the terrible fall from prideful heights. Certainly no nation in modern times, so replete with apparent grandeur and opulent in material achievement, has ever been subjected to a worse humiliation in so short a time.

Only a few months before the unexpected series of events in Europe that led to the invasion of the Papal States and the annexation of Rome by the forces of the new Kingdom of Italy, a statement addressing Pope Pius IX had urged the Pontiff "Abandon thy kingdom unto the kings, and emerge from thy habitation, with thy face set towards the Kingdom... Be as thy Lord hath been.... Verily, the day of ingathering is come, and all things have been separated from each other. He hath stored away that which He chose in the vessels of justice, and cast into the fire that which befitteth it...."

Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, whose armies had won such a sweeping victory in the Franco-Prussian War, had been warned by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas to heed the example of the fall of Napoleon III and of other rulers who had been victorious in war, and not to allow pride to keep him back from recognizing this Revelation. That Baha'u'llah foresaw the failure of the German Emperor to respond to this warning is shown by the ominous passage which appears later in that same Book:

O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory.

A strikingly different note characterizes two of the major pronouncements, that addressed to Queen Victoria[83] and another to the "Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein." The former praises the pioneering achievement represented by the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire, and commends the principle of representative government. The latter, which opens with the announcement of the Day of God, concludes with a summons, a virtual mandate, that has no parallel in any of the other messages: "Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise."

(Prepared at the request of the Universal House of Justice by the Baha'i International Community Office of Public Information [1991], Bahá’u’lláh; Pages 21-22)

3. Germany obtained a concession in China, and Britain promptly appeared, demanding that Germany should maintain the "open door" in all her Chinese territory; the same demand was made on Russia. Both perforce consented. The far East is a mine of dynamite, always liable to explode. The relative strength of the powers contending for empire in the far East is as follows: Great Britain has 80 first-class ships of war, 581 war-ships in all; France has 50 first-class war-ships, and a total of 403; Russia has 40 first-class warship", 286: in all; Germany has 28 first-class war-ships, a total of 216. Japan will soon rank with Germany, and be stronger there because close to the scene of action.

“…an era whose boundless self-satisfaction was perhaps best epitomized by the celebration in 1897 of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, a parade that rolled for hours through the streets of London, with an imperial panoply and display of military power far surpassing anything attempted in past civilizations.” (Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice [2001], Century of Light; p.2)

4. The United States proposes to enter into the zone of danger with 18 first-class and a total of 81 ships. These would hardly count as half that number, however, owing to her greater distance from the battle-ground. Russia is 8000 miles,

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the other Europeans about 9000 miles from it. The United States is from 15,000 to 17,000 miles distant via the Cape and via the Straits; the route via Europe is about 12,000 miles, but that would be impracticable during war-time, as the American ships going via Europe would pass right into the trap of their European enemies.


Compose your differences, and reduce your armaments, that the burden of your expenditures may be lightened, and that your minds and hearts may be tranquillized. Heal the dissensions that divide you, and ye will no longer be in need of any armaments except what the protection of your cities and territories demandeth. Fear ye God, and take heed not to outstrip the bounds of moderation, and be numbered among the extravagant.

We have learned that you are increasing your outlay every year, and are laying the burden thereof on your subjects. This, verily, is more than they can bear, and is a grievous injustice. Decide justly between men, and be ye the emblems of justice amongst them. This, if ye judge fairly, is the thing that behoveth you, and beseemeth your station.

Beware not to deal unjustly with any one that appealeth to you, and entereth beneath your shadow. Walk ye in the fear of God, and be ye of them that lead a godly life. Rest not on your power, your armies, and treasures. Put your whole trust and confidence in God, Who hath created you, and seek ye His help in all your affairs. (Baha’u’llah [1863-1892], Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp.250-251)

5. The armies of the European nations are as follows: Germany's army on a peace footing numbers 562,352 men, on a war footing, 3,000,000 (and a large addition ordered); France's army on a peace footing, 615,413, on a war footing, 2,500,000; Russia's, on a peace footing, 750,944, on a war footing, 2,512,143. All Frenchmen and Germans over twenty, and all Russians over twenty-one years of age are subject to military service. They are, in fact, first soldiers, then citizens.

“How savage and fearful the ferocity of man against his fellowman! Consider what is taking place now in the Balkans, what blood is being shed. Even the wild beasts and ferocious animals do not commit such acts. The most ferocious wolf kills but one sheep a day, and even that for his food. But now in the Balkans one man destroys ten fellow beings. The commanders of armies glory in having killed ten thousand men, not for food, nay, rather, for military control, territorial greed, fame and possession of the dust of the earth. They kill for national aggrandizement, notwithstanding this terrestrial globe is but a dark world of grossest matter. It is a world of sorrow and grief, a world of disappointment and unhappiness, a world of death. For after all, the earth is but the everlasting graveyard, the vast, universal cemetery of all mankind. Yet men fight to possess this graveyard, waging war and battle, killing each other. What ignorance! How spacious the earth is with room in plenty for all! How thoughtful the providence which has so allotted that every man may derive his sustenance from it! The Lord, our Creator, does not ordain that anyone should starve or live in want. All are intended to participate in the blessed and abundant bestowals of our God. Fundamentally, all warfare and bloodshed in the human world are due to the lack of unity between the religions, which through superstitions and adherence to theological dogmas have obscured the one reality which is the source and basis of them all.” ('Abdu’l-Baha [1912]: Promulgation of Universal Peace; p. 396)

6. It is obvious that the United States cannot contest any question or oppose any demand of any one of its rivals which secures the neutrality of the other powers, as France, Germany, find Russia did that of Britain. She cannot stand alone. What the Saturday Review

    (2) "This is the British publication of course.

says here is true:

    Let us be frank and say outright that we expect mutual gain in material interests from this rapprochement. The American commissioners at Paris are making their bargains, whether they realize it or not, under the protecting naval strength of England, and we shall expect a material quid pro quo for this assistance. We expect the United States to deal generously with Canada in the matter of tariffs, and we expect to be remembered when the United States comes into possession of the Philippine Islands, and above all we expect her assistance on the day, which is quickly approaching, when the future of China comes up for settlement, for the young Imperialist has entered upon a path where it will require a strong friend, and a lasting friendship between the two nations can be secured not by frothy sentimentality on public platforms, but by reciprocal advantages in solid material interests.

“These masses of humankind, despoiled and scorned - but representing most of the earth’s inhabitants - were seen not as protagonists but essentially as objects of the new century’s much vaunted civilizing process. Despite benefits conferred on a minority among them, the colonial peoples existed chiefly to be acted upon - to be used, trained, exploited, Christianized, civilized, mobilized - as the shifting agendas of Western powers dictated. These agendas may have been harsh or mild in execution, enlightened or selfish, evangelical or exploitative, but were shaped by materialistic forces that determined both their means and most of their ends. To a large extent, religious and political pieties of various kinds masked both ends and means from the publics in Western lands, who were thus able to derive moral satisfaction from the blessings their nations were assumed to be conferring on less worthy peoples, while themselves enjoying the material fruits of this benevolence.” (Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice [2001], Century of Light; p.4)

7. Bishop Potter has recently stated that we must become the "cat's-paw of Britain" if we venture into the arena, and

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that is true. By Britain's neutrality, and by that alone, were we permitted to take the Philippines at all from Spain. But for that, France, Germany, and Russia never would have stood aloof, and the price demanded President McKinley has had to pay - the "open door," which secures the trade of our possessions for Britain. Nothing more significant has occurred than the statement of Senator Davis,

    (3) Henry Gassaway Davis (1823-1918), Senator from West Virginia, served as delegate to the first two International American Congresses.

chairman of the Senate Committee upon Foreign Relations, whose ability, influence, and position are alike commanding. He says:

    I favor a treaty of alliance including the United States, Great Britain, and Japan, for the protection of all their interests north of the equator. The rest of the world would have a wholesome fear, synonymous with respect, for us.

Baha'i Comment

8. We may assume after this that it is true that, just as we were allowed by Britain to take the Philippines from Spain, so our position in the East depends upon her continued support or alliance - rather a humiliating position, I should say, for the Republic. But let us see about alliances. Can we depend upon an alliance? National combinations change with alarming rapidity in Europe. France and Britain, allied, fought the Crimean War. They took Sebastopol as we took Manila. Their flags waved together there, but they did not consider that that fact gave them the right to demand territory. To-day Russia and France are in firm alliance against Britain and other nations. Germany fought Austria; to-day they are in the Triple Alliance together. Italy allied with France fought the battle of Solferino; to-day Italy is a member of the Triple Alliance against France. Europe is a kaleidoscope, where alliances change, dissolve, recombine, and take other forms with passing events. During the past week the bitter enmity which recently existed between Germany and Britain, owing to German interference in the Transvaal, is changed, and it is announced that "they see together upon

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many points and expect to co6perate more and more in the future." This morning the question is, Shall France and Germany combine for some common ends? This would have been considered remarkable a short time ago, but statesmen will remember that Germany and France did combine with Russia to drive Japan out of China. There is no alliance, not even the most apparently incongruous, that cannot be made, and that will not be made, to meet the immediate interests or ambitions of nations. Senator Davis seems to rest satisfied with an alliance for his country with Britain and Japan. If he had an alliance to-day, it might not be worth the paper it was written upon to-morrow.

One must recognize the foresight of Carnegie here to have the vision to see that these alliances between the nations were constantly in flux and certainly not reliable. In fact, the growing power of the Britain, U.S. alliance would cause Germany to escalate its material production.

“…as the Master had also warned - when Germany, feeling constrained by a growing web of hostile alliances, embarked on a massive naval building programme aimed at eliminating the previously accepted British lead.” (Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice [2001], Century of Light; p.29)

Carnegie says, “There is no alliance, not even the most apparently incongruous, that cannot be made, and that will not be made, to meet the immediate interests or ambitions of nations.”

“Material brotherhood does not prevent nor remove warfare; it does not dispel differences among mankind. But spiritual alliance destroys the very foundation of war, effaces differences entirely, promulgates the oneness of humanity, revivifies mankind, causes hearts to turn to the Kingdom of God and baptizes souls with the Holy Spirit.” ('Abdu’l-Baha [1912]: Promulgation of Universal Peace; p.130)

9. I say, therefore, that no American statesman should place his country in any position which it could not defend relying only upon its own strong right arm. Its arm at present is not much to depend upon; its eighty-one ships of war are too trifling to be taken into account; and as for its army what are its fifty-six thousand regulars? Its volunteers are being disbanded. Both its navy and its army are good for one thing only - for easy capture or destruction by either one of the stronger powers. It is the protection of Britain, and that alone, upon which we have to rely in the far East a slender thread indeed. Upon the shifting sands of alliances we are to have our only foundation.

Baha'i Comment

10. The writer is not of those who believe that the Republic cannot make itself strong enough to walk alone, and to hold her own, and to be an imperial power of herself, and not the weak protege of a real imperial power. But in order to make herself an imperial power she must do as imperial powers do - she must create a navy equal to the navy of any other power. She must have hundreds of thousands of regular troops to cooperate with the navy.

"…she must create a navy equal to the navy of any other power. She must have hundreds of thousands of regular troops to cooperate with the navy."

“…the greatest need of the world of humanity today is to receive the efficacy of the Holy Spirit. Until the Holy Spirit becomes effective, interpenetrating the hearts and spirits, and until perfect, reasonable faith shall obtain in the minds of men, it is impossible for the social body to be inspired with security and confidence. Nay, on the contrary, day by day enmity and strife shall increase among men and the differences and divergences of the nations shall augment; day by day additions to armies and navies of the world shall be made, and great is the fear of the great pandemic war, the war unparalleled in history; for armaments which heretofore have been so limited are now becoming amplified on a grand scale. It is becoming severe, drawing nigh unto the degree that men shall war upon the seas, war upon the plains, nay, rather, shall war in the very atmosphere; and such conditions of warfare never obtained in bygone days. The dangers of war grow equally with the growth of armaments.” (Abdu’l-Baha: Baha'i Scriptures, pp.280-281)

11. If she devoted herself exclusively and unceasingly to creating a navy equal to that of Britain, for instance, which is what she will need if she is not to be at the mercy of stronger powers, that will be the work of more than twenty years,

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building twenty war-ships per year; hitherto our navy has added only six per year. In order to get the men to man these ships, she must take the means to educate them. That she can do this there is no question; that the American either on sea or land is at least equal to the man of any other nation cannot be gainsaid. More than this, I know the American workman, especially the mechanic, to be the most skilful, most versatile, in the world - and victories at sea depend as much upon the mechanic below as upon the gunner on deck, and American gunners have no equals. It was no surprise to me that the American war-ships sunk those of Spain without loss. I spent last winter abroad in the society of distinguished men of European nations who congregate at Cannes. The opinion was universally held by them that for a time the Spanish navy would be master over us, although it was admitted the superior resources of the United States must eventually insure victory. I said then that, whenever any war-ships in the world met those of the American navy, the other war-ships would go to the bottom - for two reasons: first, our ships were the latest and their equipment was the best, and, second, I knew the kind of men who were behind the guns. If ever the Republic falls from her industrial ideals and descends to the level of the war ideals of Europe, she will be supreme; I have no doubt of that. The man whom this stimulating climate produces is the wiriest, quickest, most versatile of all men, and the power of organization exists in the American in greater perfection than in any other. But what I submit is that at present the Republic is an industrial hive, without an adequate navy and without soldiers; that she therefore must have a protector; and that if she is to figure in the East, she cannot be in any sense an imperial power at all. Imperialism implies naval and military force behind, Moral force, education, civilization, are not the backbone of Imperialism; these are the moral forces which make for the higher civilization, for Americanism. The foundation for Imperialism is

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brutal physical strength, fighting men with material forces, war-ships and artillery.

Baha'i Comment

12. The author of "A Look Ahead," which first appeared in the North American Review

    (4) Carnegie's own article, in June 1893 (CLVI, 685-710), reprinted in the 1893 edition of Triumphant Democracy.

is not likely to be suspected of hostility to the coming together of the English-speaking race. It has been my dream, and it is one of the movements that lie closest to my heart. For many years a united flag has floated from my summer home in my native land, the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack sewn together - the first flag of that kind ever seen. That flag will continue to fly there and the winds to blow the two from side to side in loving embrace. But I do not favor a formal alliance, such as that desired by Senator Davis. On the contrary, I rely upon the "alliance of hearts," which happily exists to-day. Alliances of fighting power form and dissolve with the questions which arise from time to time. The patriotism of race lies deeper and is not disturbed by waves upon the surface. The present era of good feeling between the old and the new lands means that the home of Shakspere and Burns will never be invaded without other than native-born Britons being found in its defense. It means that the giant child, the Republic, is not to be set upon by a combination of other races and pushed to its destruction without a growl coming from the old lion which will shake the earth. But it should not mean that either the old land or the new binds itself to support the other in all its designs, either at home or abroad, but that the Republic shall remain the friend of all nations and the ally of none; that, being free today of all foreign entanglements, she shall not undertake to support Britain, who has these to deal with. Take Russia, for instance. Only last year leading statesmen were pushing Britain into a crusade against that country. They proposed to prevent its legitimate expansion toward the Pacific - legitimate because it is over coterminous territory, which Russia can absorb and Russian-

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ize, keeping her empire solid. She knows better than to have outlying possessions open to attack. Russia has always been the friend of the United States. When Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of Great Britain, proposed to recognize the South, Russia sent her fleet to New York. Russia sold us Alaska. We have no opposing interests to those of Russia; the two nations are the only two great nations in the world solid, compact, impregnable, because each has developed only coterminous territory, upon which its own race could grow. Even in the matter of trade with Russia, our exports are increasing with wonderful rapidity. Shiploads of American locomotives, American steel bridges, and American electrical machinery for her leave our shores. Everything in which our country is either supreme or becoming supreme goes to Russia. Suppose Britain and Russia clash in the Far East and we have an alliance with Britain, we are at war against one of our best friends.

patriotism of race

“It is racial, patriotic, religious and class prejudice, that has been the cause of the destruction of Humanity.” (Abdu’l-Baha [1911]: Abdu’l-Baha in London,p.28)

“Both the material and intrinsic development of man are conditional upon amity and love and the greatest honor and pleasure in the human world is love; but the ways and means are different. Sometimes the cause of love is simply relationship and kinship; and sometimes it is a racial bond, patriotism, political affairs, etc. But, through all these various bonds and means it is impossible to obtain a real and pure love; it is rather superficial and temporary. Such love may easily be changed into enmity and rancor, for it is affected by the slightest manifestation of hostility; whereas a true and ideal love is faith and assurance.” (Abdu’l-Baha [1910]: Star of the West, Vol. 1:8, Aug. 1 1910, p.5)

13. The sister Republic of France and our own, from her very beginning, have been close friends. The services France rendered at the Revolution may be, but never should be, forgotten by the American. That some interests in France sympathized with Spain was only natural. The financial world in France held the Spanish debt. The religion of France is the religion of Spain. The enemies of the French Republic sided with the monarchy. But this can be said without fear of contradiction, that those who govern France stood the friends of our Republic, and that our enemies in France were also the enemies of the French government. An alliance with Britain and Japan would make us a possible enemy of France. I would not make an alliance which involved that. I would make no alliance with any power under any circumstances that can be imagined; I would have the Republic remain the friend of all powers. That has been her policy from the beginning, and so it should remain.

Baha'i Comment

14. When "the world shall have a wholesome fear, synonymous with respect, for us," as Senator Davis desires, it will

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not be a good day for the Republic. Adherence to Washington's desire seems better to me-that we should be the "friends of all nations"- a wholesome friendship instead of a "wholesome fear."

Baha'i Comment

15. Reference has been made to possible difference arising between the protector and its ward, but I do not wish to be understood as entertaining the belief that actual war is probable between them. Far from this, my opinion is that actual war will never exist again between the two branches of the English-speaking race. Should one have a grievance, the other would offer arbitration, and no government of either could exist which refused that offer. The most powerful government ever known in Britain was that of Lord Salisbury, when President Cleveland rightfully demanded arbitration in the Venezuelan case.

    (5) The boundary dispute between British Guiana and Venezuela, of long standing, came to a crisis in April 1895 with the arrest of two British officials. Cleveland, persuaded by the Venezuelan minister to invoke the Monroe Doctrine, sent a message to Congress virtually stating that British efforts to enforce claims on Venezuela without arbitration would be considered a cause of war. The question was eventually arbitrated in 1899. See also Essay XI, note 2.

As is well known, Mr. Gladstone's government had agreed to arbitration. Lord Salisbury, upon coming into power, repudiated that agreement. Lord Salisbury denied President Cleveland's request, and what was the result Some uninformed persons in the United States believe that he was compelled to withdraw his refusal and accede to President Cleveland's request by the attitude of the United States. That was only partially true. The forces in Britain supporting Lord Salisbury compelled him to reverse his decision. This is an open secret. Those nearest and next to him in power who sided with President Cleveland could be named; but the published cables are sufficient. The heir and the next heir to the throne cabled that they hoped and believed the question would be peacefully settled. That behind this cable was the Queen herself, always the friend of the Republic, need not be doubted.

Baha'i Comment

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16. The idea of actual war between Great Britain and the Republic can be dismissed as something which need not be taken into account; but what is to be feared is this: the neutrality of Britain -- even to-day desired by other powers - in case her ward gave her offense, or was, as she supposed, ungrateful, and did not make full return for the protection accorded to the weakling, as we have said. It did not require the active hostility of Great Britain to thwart Japan and push her out of her possessions, but simply her decision not to interfere on Japan's behalf. Had Japan had satisfactory advantages to offer to Britain, she might have had Britain's support. It is the satisfactory bargain that alliances are founded upon in Europe; every European nation has its price, and every one of them has something which the other covets. France could give Britain a free hand in Egypt. Germany could concur in Britain's acquisition of Delagoa Bay

    (6) In 1875 Marshal MacMahon, President of France, acting as arbitrator in a dispute between Great Britain and Portugal over the ownership of Delagoa Bay, awarded this port to Portugal, which began active colonization, extending westward and conflicting with British claims inland. The dispute lasted from 1880 to 1890, when Lord Salisbury delivered an ultimatum, as a consequence of which in 1891 Portugal conceded to Great Britain the right of preemption to her possessions south of the Zambesi River. The Transvaal Republic wanted a seaport, but in 1895 Great Britain annexed the territory between Zululand and Mozambique, thus cutting the Boer Republic off from any port. German interests in Africa looked with disfavor on further British colonial expansion.

and end her troubles in the Transvaal. This is something Britain dearly covets. Russia could give Britain a desired frontier in India. These nations have all co-related interests and desires, and no man can predict what alliances will be broken and what made - it is all a matter of self-interest. The United States has not this position. She has little desirable to offer in exchange for alliance, and in all probability she would be sacrificed for the aims of her strong rivals -- at least she might be, being herself powerless.

Baha'i Comment

17. When a statesman has in his keeping the position and interests of his country, it is not with things as they are to be in the future, but with things as they are in the present, that

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it is his serious duty to deal. The dream, in which no one perhaps indulges more than the writer, of the union of the English-speaking race, even that entrancing dream must be recognized as only a dream. The "Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World,"

    (7) "Till the war drum throbbed no longer and the battle flags were furled
    In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the world.”

    Locksley Hall, lines 127-128.

we know is to come. The evolutionist has never any doubt about the realization of the highest ideals from the operation of that tendency within us, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness. But he is no statesman - he is only a dreamer - who allows his hopes to stand against facts, and he who proposes that the United States, as she stands to-day, shall enter into the coming struggle in the far East, depending upon any alliance that can be made with any or all of the powers, seems unsuited to shape the policy or deal with the destinies of the Republic.

highest ideals

“…harmony, unity and love are held up as the highest ideals in human relationships.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America, November 9, 1956: Quoted in Lights of Guidance, p.222)

"that tendency within is"

“Self has really two meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Baha'i writings: one is self, the identity of the individual created by God. This is the self mentioned in such passages as 'he hath known God who hath known himself etc.'. The other self is the ego, the dark, animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. It is this self we must struggle against, or this side of our natures, in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain perfection.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 10, 1947: Quoted in Lights of Guidance, p.113)

“Little reflection, little admonition is necessary for us to realize the purpose of our creation. What a heavenly potentiality God has deposited within us! What a power God has given our spirits! He has endowed us with a power to penetrate the realities of things; but we must be self-abnegating, we must have pure spirits, pure intentions, and strive with heart and soul while in the human world to attain everlasting glory.” ('Abdu’l-Baha [1912]: Promulgation of Universal Peace; p.187)

18. Just consider her position, solid, compact, impregnable. If all the naval forces were to combine to attack her, what would be her reply. She would fill her ports with mines; she would draw her ships of war behind them, ready to rush out as favorable opportunities might offer to attack. But she would do more than this in extremity: she would close her ports, - a few loaded scows would do the business, - and all the powers in the world would be impotent to injure her seriously. The fringe only would be troubled; the great empire within would scarcely feel the attack.

Baha'i Comment

19. The injury she would inflict upon the principal powers by closing her ports would be much more serious than could be inflicted upon her, because non-exportation of food-stuffs and cotton would mean famine and distress to Britain and injure her to a greater degree than loss in battle. Even in France and in Germany the results of non-exportation would be more serious than the effects of ordinary war. It would only be a matter of a short time until the powers recognized how futile was their attempt to injure seriously this self-

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contained Republic, whose estate here lies secure within a ring fence.

"this self-contained Republic, whose estate here lies secure within a ring fence."

The United States has habitually imagined that it could exist in isolation from the rest of the world. George Washington said that this country should not become entangled in the affairs of other nations. But it’s obvious to all that the world is shrinking into a neighborhood and -- willingly or unwillingly -- America must assume her responsibility. The U.S. was yanked into WWII with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then they ventured into Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bosnia and numerous other areas.

"Paradoxical as it may seem, her only hope of extricating herself from the perils gathering around her is to become entangled in that very web of international association which the Hand of an inscrutable Providence is weaving." (Shoghi Effendi [1938], Advent of Divine Justice, pp.87-88)

“This nation, moreover, may well claim to have, as a result of its effective participation in both the first and second world wars, redressed the balance, saved mankind the horrors of devastation and bloodshed involved in the prolongation of hostilities…” (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel Of Faith, p.36)

It appears in the year 2002 that every feeble attempt at isolationism has been met with a crisis that forces the government to re-evaluate her stance. Most recently the terrorist attacks of profound economic implications on American soil. Of course Carnegie could scarcely imagine a contracted world in which trying to dismiss disturbances of the part would eventually visit it’s scourge upon the whole.

“One of the striking developments of this kind that Shoghi Effendi discerned in the Writings he was called on to interpret concerned the future role of the United States as a nation, and, to a lesser extent, its sister nations in the Western hemisphere. His foresight is all the more remarkable when one remembers that he was writing during a period of history when the United States was determinedly isolationist in both its foreign policy and the convictions of the majority of its citizens. Shoghi Effendi, however, envisioned the country assuming an "active and decisive part ... in the organization and the peaceful settlement of the affairs of mankind". He reminded Baha'is of 'Abdu'l-Baha's anticipation that, because of the unique nature of its social composition and political development - as opposed to any "inherent excellence or special merit" of its people - the United States had developed capacities that could empower it to be "the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement". Indeed, he foresaw the governments and peoples of the entire hemisphere becoming increasingly oriented in this direction.” (Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice [2001], Century of Light; p.52)

20. The national wealth would not grow as fast during the blockade, but that is all. Our foreign trade would suffer, but that is a trifle, not more than four per cent of our domestic commerce. No expert estimates the annual domestic exchanges of the people at less than fifty thousand millions of dollars; those of exports and imports have never yet reached Quite two thousand millions. The annual increase of domestic exchanges is estimated to be just about equal to the total of all our foreign trade, imports and exports combined. Labor would be displaced, but the new demand upon it caused by the new state of affairs would employ it all. We should emerge from the embargo without serious injury. So much for the impregnability of the Republic. To-day fortune rains upon her. For the first time in her history, she has become the greatest exporting nation in the world, even the exports of Britain being less than hers. Her manufactures are invading all lands; commercial expansion proceeds by leaps and bounds. New York has become the financial center of the world. It is London no more, but New York, which is to-day the financial center. This, however, is not yet to be claimed as permanent, but it promises to become so ere long, unless the Republic becomes involved in European wars through Imperialism. Labor is in demand at the highest wages paid in the world; the industrial supremacy of the world lies at our feet. Two questions are submitted to the decision of the American people: first, Shall we remain as we are, solid, compact, impregnable, republican, American? or, second, Shall we creep under the protection, and become, as Bishop Potter says, the "cat's-paw" of Britain, in order that we may grasp the phantom of Imperialism.


The Baha’i writings proclaim “religion” to be;

"a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world" and "the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world"; affirms its fundamental purpose to be the promotion of union and concord amongst men; warns lest it be made "a source of dissension, of discord and hatred"; commands that its principles be taught to children in the schools of the world, in a manner that would not be productive of either prejudice or fanaticism; attributes "the waywardness of the ungodly" to the "decline of religion"; and predicts "convulsions" of such severity as to "cause the limbs of mankind to quake." (Shoghi Effendi [1944], God Passes By, p.217)

When man vainly imagines that his own imaginings are “impregnable” God quickly takes action to humble our ego. For example, upon hearing of the Titanic calamity, Abdu’l-Baha stated;P> “…these events have deeper reasons. Their object and purpose is to teach man certain lessons. We are living in a day of reliance upon material conditions. Men imagine that the great size and strength of a ship, the perfection of machinery or the skill of a navigator will ensure safety, but these disasters sometimes take place that men may know that God is the real Protector. If it be the will of God to protect man, a little ship may escape destruction, whereas the greatest and most perfectly constructed vessel with the best and most skillful navigator may not survive a danger such as was present on the ocean. The purpose is that the people of the world may turn to God, the One Protector; that human souls may rely upon His preservation and know that He is the real safety. These events happen in order that man's faith may be increased and strengthened.” ('Abdu’l-Baha [1912]: Promulgation of Universal Peace; p.48)

21. If the latter be the choice, then it is submitted that we must first begin quietly to prepare ourselves for the new work which Imperialism imposes.

Baha'i Comment

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22. We need a large regular army of trained soldiers. There is no use trying to encounter regular armies with volunteers we have found that out. Not that volunteers would not be superior to the class of men we shall get to enlist simply for pay in the regular army, if they would enlist there and be trained, but because they are not trained. Thirty-eight thousand more men are to be called for the regular army; but it is easy "to call spirits from the vasty deep"

    (8) Henry IV, Act iii, scene 1, line 54.

- they may not come. The present force of the army is sixty-two thousand men by law; we have only fifty-six thousand, as the President tells us in his message. Why do we not first fill up the gap, instead of asking for legislation to enlist more? Because labor is well employed and men are scarce in some States to-day; because men who now enlist know for what they are wanted, and that kind of work is not what American soldiers have been asked to perform hitherto. They have never had to leave their own country, much less to shoot down men whose only crime against the Republic was that they, too, like ourselves, desired their country's independence and believed in the Declaration of Independence-in Americanism. The President may not get the soldiers he desires, and whom he must have if he is not to make shipwreck of his Imperialism. There is very grave reason to doubt whether the army can be raised even to one hundred thousand men without a great advance in pay, perhaps not without conscription. But surely before we appear in the arena in the far East we must have a large regular army.

Baha'i Comment

23. The second indispensable requirement is a navy corresponding, at least in some degree, to the navies of the other powers interested in the East. We can get this in twenty years, perhaps, if we push matters, but this means building twenty ships a year. The securing of men trained to man them will be as difficult a task as the building of the ships. When we have armed ourselves thus, but not till then,

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shall we be in a position to take and hold territory in the far East "by the sole power of our unlorded will," as we should hold it, or not hold it at all. To rush in now, without army or navy, trusting to the treacherous shifting foundation of anybody's "protection," or "neutrality," or "alliance," is to court defeat, and such humiliation as has rarely fallen to the lot of any nation, even the poorest and most madly or most foolishly governed. It is not good sense.

Baha'i Comment

24. This ends the subject upon which I undertook to write, but there remains the practical question, What shall we do with the Philippines? These are not ours, unless the Senate approves the treaty; but, assuming that it will, that question arises.

Philippines - synopsis of history

The islands were named for King Philip II [Son of Charles V] of Spain and were illegally ceded by Spain [along with Guam, Cuba and Puerto Rico] to the U.S. for 20 Million Dollars following the Spanish-American War in 1898. U.S. troops suppressed a guerrilla uprising in a brutal 6-year war from 1899-1905.

In 1934, the U.S. Congress passed an act which made the Phillipines a U.S. Commonwealth. On December 8, 1941, Japan occupied the islands during WWII. On July 4, 1946, independence was proclaimed in accordance with an act passed by congress by the U.S. Congress in 1934. A republic was established and Manuel Roxas became the President of the Republic of the Phillipines.

25. The question can best be answered by asking another: What have we promised to do with Cuba? The cases are as nearly parallel as similar cases usually are. We drove Spain out of both Cuba and the Philippines. Our ships lie in the harbors of both. Our flag waves over both. To Cuba the President in his message renews the pledge given by Congress - she is to be aided to form a "free and independent government at the earliest possible moment."

Baha'i Comment

26. The magic words "free and independent" will be accepted by the people of Cuba, and our soldiers hailed as deliverers. So well assured of this is our government that only one half the number of troops intended for Cuba are now to be sent there.

Baha'i Comment

27. Even if we were tempted to play false to our pledge, as the enemies of the Republic in Europe predict we shall, the aspirations of a people for independence are seldom quenched. There are a great number of Americans, and these of the best, who would soon revolt at our soldiers being used against the Cubans fighting for what they had been promised. The latest advices I have from Cuba are from a good source. This necessity is not likely to arise. Cuba will soon form a government, and, mark my prediction, she will ask for

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annexation. The proprietors of Cuba who will control the new government, and many Americans who are becoming interested with them in estates there, will see to this. "Free sugar" means fortune to all. Will the United States admit Cuba? Doubtful. But Cuba need not trouble us very much. There is no Imperialism here - no danger of foreign wars.

“…mark my prediction, she (Cuba) will ask for annexation.”

Cuba never did ask for annexation. In fact the twentieth century saw this island struggle to become as independent as possible from the United States.

“There is no Imperialism here (Cuba) - no danger of foreign wars.”

October 22, 1962 - President Kennedy announces to the world that the Soviet Union has deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba. This incident brings the world to the brink of nuclear war. Five days later the Cuban Missile Crisis is resolved with the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba and the US agreeing not to invade Cuba and to remove US missiles from Turkey. However the incident results in cementing a relationship between the Soviet Union and Cuba that lasts nearly 30 years and injects over $100 billion of Soviet aid and loans into Cuba.

Reference was at:

28. Now, why is the policy adopted for the island of Cuba not the right policy for the Philippine Islands? General Schofield

    (9) John McAllister Schofield (1831-1906), Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (1876-1881), commanding general of the army (1895), and noted, among other things, for his part in the acquisition of Pearl Harbor by the United States.

states that thirty thousand troops will be required there, as we may have to “lick them." What work this for Americans! General Miles

    (10) Nelson Appleton Miles (1839-1925), succeeded to Schofield's position in 1895. He was active in the Spanish-American War and afterwards.

thinks twenty-five thousand will do. If we promised them what we have promised Cuba, half the number would suffice, as with Cuba, - probably less, and we should be spared the uncongenial task of shooting down people who are guiltless of offense against us.

Baha'i Comment

29. If we insist "the slaves are ours because we bought them," and fail to tell them we come not as slave-drivers, but as friends to assist them to independence, we may have to "lick them," no doubt. It will say much for the Filipinos if they do rebel against "being bought and sold like cattle." It would be difficult to give a better proof of their fitness for self-government.


“It is forbidden you to trade in slaves, be they men or women. It is not for him who is himself a servant to buy another of God's servants, and this hath been prohibited in His Holy Tablet. Thus, by His mercy, hath the commandment been recorded by the Pen of justice. Let no man exalt himself above another; all are but bondslaves before the Lord, and all exemplify the truth that there is none other God but Him. He, verily, is the All Wise, Whose wisdom encompasseth all things.” (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 45)

Also Baha’u’llah revealed the following to Queen Victoria of England

“We have been informed that thou hast forbidden the trading in slaves, both men and women. This, verily, is what God hath enjoined in this wondrous Revelation.” (Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 60)

30. Cuba is under the shield of the Monroe Doctrine; no foreign interference is possible there. Place the Philippines under similar conditions until they have a stable government, when eight millions of people can be trusted to protect themselves. The truth is that none of the powers would risk the hostility of eight millions of people who had tasted the hope of independence. "Free and independent" are magical words, never forgotten, and rarely unrealized.

Monroe Doctrine

This was a principle of American foreign policy enunciated in President James Monroe's message to Congress, Dec. 2, 1823. It initially called for an end to European intervention in the Americas, but it was later extended to justify U.S. imperialism in the Western Hemisphere.

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31. Only one objection can be made to this policy: they are not fit to govern themselves. First, this has not been proved. This was said of every one of the sixteen Spanish republics as they broke away from Spain; it was said even of Mexico within this generation; it was the belief of the British about ourselves. There is, in the writer's opinion, little force in the objection. In the far East I have visited the village communities in India, to find even there a system of self-government dating back for two thousand years. In no country, not even the most backward, are government and "orders and degrees" of men not to be found. The head men of tribes and others of lesser authority are often selected by the members. In the wild lands of the Afridis - a tribe in India which has just baffled seventy thousand soldiers, native and British, the largest army ever assembled there-there is a system of self-government, and a rigid one. Human societies cannot exist without establishing, as a rule, peace and order in greater or less perfection.

Baha'i Comment

32. The Filipinos are by no means in the lowest scale - far from it; nor are they much lower than the Cubans. If left to themselves they will make mistakes, but what nation does not? Riot and bloodshed may break out -- in which nation are these absent? Certainly not in our own. But the inevitable result will be a government better suited to the people than any that our soldiers and their officers could ever give.


“Consider how discord and dissension have prevailed in this great human family for thousands of years. Its members have ever been engaged in war and bloodshed. Up to the present time in history the world of humanity has neither attained nor enjoyed any measure of peace, owing to incessant conditions of hostility and strife. History is a continuous and consecutive record of warfare brought about by religious, sectarian, racial, patriotic and political causes. The world of humanity has found no rest. Mankind has always been in conflict, engaged in destroying the foundations, pillaging the properties and possessing the lands and territory of each other, especially in the earlier periods of savagery and barbarism where whole races and peoples were carried away captive by their conquerors. Who shall measure or estimate the tremendous destruction of human life resulting from this hostility and strife? What human powers and forces have been employed in the prosecution of war and applied to inhuman purposes of battle and bloodshed? In this most radiant century it has become necessary to divert these energies and utilize them in other directions, to seek the new path of fellowship and unity, to unlearn the science of war and devote supreme human forces to the blessed arts of peace. After long trial and experience we are convinced of the harmful and satanic outcomes of dissension; now we must seek after means by which the benefits of agreement and concord may be enjoyed. When such means are found, we must give them a trial.” (Abdu’l-Baha [1912]: The Promulgation Of Universal Peace, p.229)

33. Thus only can the Republic stand true to its pledge that the sword was drawn only in the cause of humanity and not for territorial aggrandizement, and true to the fundamental principles upon which it rests: that "government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed"; that the flag, wherever it floats, shall proclaim "the equality of the citizen," "one man's privilege every man's right"; that "all men are created equal," not that under its sway a part only shall be citizens with rights and a part subjects without rights - freemen and serfs, not all freemen. Such is the issue between Americanism and Imperialism.

"the sword was drawn only in the cause of humanity"

“O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein… Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.

The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation.” (Baha’u’llah [1863-1892]: Gleanings From The Writings Of Baha'u'llah, p.249)

"government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed"

In contrast to this principle, in the Baha’i Faith, the governors are directly responsible to God rather than the governed. The current "Spiritual Assemblies" -- an appellation that must in the course of time be replaced by their permanent and more descriptive title of "Houses of Justice," are “invested with an authority rendering them unanswerable for their acts and decisions to those who elect them; solemnly pledged to follow, under all conditions, the dictates of the "Most Great Justice" that can alone usher in the reign of the "Most Great Peace" which Baha'u'llah has proclaimed and must ultimately establish;” (Shoghi Effendi [1944], "God Passes By", p.33)

"the equality of the citizen"

While this is a praiseworthy aspiration, the United States has had problems with this on its on soil. The “equality of the white citizen” would be perhaps a more accurate description of the United States at this time. Although Carnegie praises the high ideals of Americanism, he fails to acknowledge the brutal Imperialism of the United States to destroy the American Indian. He fails to point out the second class citizenship of the American Negro.

"No less serious is the stress and strain imposed on the fabric of American society through the fundamental and persistent neglect, by the governed and governors alike, of the supreme, the inescapable and urgent duty -- so repeatedly and graphically represented and stressed by Abdu'l-Baha in His arraignment of the basic weaknesses in the social fabric of the nation -- of remedying, while there is yet time, through a revolutionary change in the concept and attitude of the average white American toward his Negro fellow citizen, a situation which, if allowed to drift, will, in the words of Abdu'l-Baha, cause the streets of American cities to run with blood, aggravating thereby the havoc which the fearful weapons of destruction, raining from the air, and amassed by a ruthless, a vigilant, a powerful and inveterate enemy, will wreak upon those same cities." (Shoghi Effendi [1947-1957]: Citadel of Faith, p.126)

On the other hand, Abdu’l-Baha praises the efforts made by America is the arena of the emancipation of the Negro.

“But I wish to say one thing in order that the blacks may become grateful to the whites and the whites become loving toward the blacks. If you go to Africa and see the blacks of Africa, you will realize how much progress you have made. Praise be to God! You are like the whites; there are no great distinctions left. But the blacks of Africa are treated as servants. The first proclamation of emancipation for the blacks was made by the whites of America. How they fought and sacrificed until they freed the blacks! Then it spread to other places. The blacks of Africa were in complete bondage, but your emancipation led to their freedom also--that is, the European states emulated the Americans, and the emancipation proclamation became universal. It was for your sake that the whites of America made such an effort. Were it not for this effort, universal emancipation would not have been proclaimed. Therefore, you must be very grateful to the whites of America, and the whites must become very loving toward you so that you may progress in all human grades. Strive jointly to make extraordinary progress and mix together completely. In short, you must be very thankful to the whites who were the cause of your freedom in America. Had you not been freed, other blacks would not have been freed either. Now--praise be to God!--everyone is free and lives in tranquillity. I pray that you attain to such a degree of good character and behavior that the names of black and white shall vanish. All shall be called human, just as the name for a flight of doves is dove. They are not called black and white. Likewise with other birds.” (Abdu’l-Bahá [1912], Promulgation Universal Peace, pp.45-46)

"all men are created equal"

“O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.” (Baha’u’llah [1862-1863]: Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah, p.20)


“From darkest Africa the first stirrings of a conscious and determined revolt against the aims and methods of political and economic imperialism can be increasingly discerned, adding their share to the growing vicissitudes of a troubled age. Not even America, which until very recently prided itself on its traditional policy of aloofness and the self-contained character of its economy, the invulnerability of its institutions and the evidences of its growing prosperity and prestige, has been able to resist the impelling forces that have swept her into the vortex of an economic hurricane that now threatens to impair the basis of her own industrial and economic life. Even far-away Australia, which, owing to its remoteness from the storm-centers of Europe, would have been expected to be immune from the trials and torments of an ailing continent, has been caught in this whirlpool of passion and strife, impotent to extricate herself from their ensnaring influence.” (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 31)