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March of the Flag (Modified)

Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.

Head Note: Beveridge gave this speech while he was campaigning to become a Senator for Indiana. The speech helped him win the election and made him one of the leading advocates of American expansion.

Fellow citizens,

It is a noble land that God has given us, a land that can feed and clothe the world. It is a mighty people that he has planted on this soil. It is a glorious history our God has given his chosen people, a history of soldiers who carried the flag across the blazing deserts and through the hostile mountains, even to the gates of sunset, a history of a people who overran a continent in half a century.

The opposition tells us that we should not govern a people without their consent. I answer, The rule of liberty that government gets its authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government. I answer, We govern the Indians without their consent, we govern our territories without their consent, we govern our children without their consent.

They ask us how we will govern these new lands. I answer: If England can govern foreign lands, so can America. If Germany can govern foreign lands, so can America.

What does all this mean for every one of us? It means opportunity for all the glorious young manhood of the republic — the most ambitious, impatient, militant manhood the world has ever seen. It means that the resources and the commerce of these immensely rich lands will be increased.

In Cuba alone, there are 15 million acres of uncut forest. There are mines of iron. There are millions of acres still unexplored.

It means new employment and better wages for every working man in the Union. . . .

Ah! as our commerce spreads, the flag of liberty will circle the globe. And, as they salute the flag, ignorant peoples will know that the voice of Liberty is speaking, at last, for them; that civilization is dawning, at last, for them — Liberty and Civilization, those children of Christ's gospel.

Fellow Americans, we are God’s chosen people.

[Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.]

Source: Excerpt from Albert J. Beveridge’s Senate campaign speech, September 16, 1898.