In order to better understand the poem “The Brown Man’s Burden” by Henry Du Pré Labouchère, it is always a good idea to put the text into perspective. Different perspectives can offer you a broader framework for analysis and help you engage in a meaningful dialogue about the text.

Periodical perspective

“The Brown Man’s Burden” appeared in 1899, during the Spanish-American war, and shortly after the publication of “The White Man’s Burden” by British author Rudyard Kipling. The first poem was addressed to the United States of America to intervene in the Philippines and make the islands a US colony, during the Spanish-American War.

The second poem was also addressed to the US, but as critique to colonialism and what it actually means - another form of enslavement.

The Philippines became an American colony at the end of 1898. 

Do you think that, if authors like Henry Du Pré Labouchère, Ernest Crosby and others who were against colonialism would have published such poems before Rudyard Kipling, they might have influenced the US’ decision with regards to the Philippines?

Consider that authors and writers during that time had more influence on society and politics, as compared to more modern times.

Relevance today

Do you think the views expressed by the poet in “...

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