Historical perspective

The poem “The White Man’s Burden” was written by Rudyard Kipling partly as an appeal for the United States to intervene in the Philippines and transform the islands into a US colony. The positive light in which he portrays the White Man and his civilising efforts, depicting them as a duty, suggests that Kipling wanted to encourage the US to practice colonialism to improve the lives of others.

Note that, while Kipling was a declared supporter of imperialism, he also experienced it directly, as he was born and raised in India under British rule, or, as it became known, “the British Raj”  His perspective on colonialism is, therefore, most probably influenced by his own experience. However, readers can imagine that, as a white, educated man in India, Kipling was in a socially advantaged position, and experienced and understood colonialism quite differently from native Indian people living under British control.

This suggests that...

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