We have happened upon times which are not usual in history. The conditions which surround us, if not unique, are rare. The vast development of our nation during the past forty years, which was hidden from our mental view until the Spanish War disclosed It, has imposed upon us the heavy burdens of responsibility which are inseparable from power, and which Fate never places upon the shoulders of feeble races. In 1898, a duty which had haunted us for many years became plainly apparent. It was to rescue from misery a race of people who were our neighbors and friends. We determined to help them, not dreaming of profit for ourselves; but in this simple act of duty we unconsciously opened tidal gates, through which rushed upon us a flood of powers and duties which must be accepted and fulfilled—or we are not great. It is the test with which Fate tries our capacity for greatness.
It is not a question whether we like the Philippines, or need Porto Rico. They were given into our hands without consulting our wishes or our judgment. The guarding and governing of these distant territories; their improvement and the happiness of their people, is our work whether we like it or not.