Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Albert Beveridge | The March of the Flag Speech

Albert Beveridge | The March of the Flag Speech Albert Beveridge, an enthusiastic imperialist, was campaigning for the Indiana senator seat in 1898 when he delivered The March of the Flag speech. The speech, which was published later in the Indianapolis Journal, was pronounced one month after the signing of armistice. The speech aimed at promoting US imperialism both as a divine and national mission that originated with Thomas Jefferson. In the speech, he used religious rhetoric and invoked God eleven times to appeal to an audience. The audience expected politicians to know the Holy Scriptures and took divine Providence as Manifest Destiny. He envisaged the US taking a colonial which he defined in terms of a divine mission. Running as the party of prosperity, economic stability and the gold standard, Republicans won the 1896 presidential election. William McKinley easily defeated the populist Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan, having gotten enormous campaign contributions mainly from big businesses. He was to usher in a long period of republican dominance in the countys politics. During the period, Cuba was experiencing a humanitarian crisis and the US intervened by attacking Spain in April 1898, quickly acquiring Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. However, in the Philippines, it took a long and brutal war to quell mounting internal rebellion. When the speech was being delivered, the status of the new territories had not been settled. Through the speech, Beveridge put forward the idea that the US was obligated to extend civilization to the conquered territories as a key platform for bolstering American economic strength. The speech aimed at celebrating American victory. However, behind the enthusiasm lay a burning desire to counter the critics of the imperialist move who Beverage referred to as they in the speech (paragraph 10). The critics, who constituted the great proportion of the electorate, were adamantly opposed and very reluctant to embrace an idea of an imperial America. The speech starts with adulation of his country in epic terms (paragraphs 1-3). Later, he puts across the main issue behind the campaign in paragraphs 4 to7: the decision to or not to pursue an imperialist policy. In paragraphs 8-11, he justifies his countrys pursuance of the imperialist policy and answers objections of anti-imperialists. The objections, he says defies the notion of patriotism and celebration of Americas power. Beveridges first argument was founded on the fact that his countys geographical position gave it political and economic power in terms of resources, size and location dividing the two imperial oceans. This assertion implied that Americas superiority was beyond that of all European powers. In paragraph 3, he refers to myth of the west in relation to the unexplored land or wilderness (paragraph 3). He mentions the heroes of expansionary wars and puts forward a mythic observation of the western conquest of the 1840s (paragraph 7). Beveridges third argument centres on racial superiority. He alludes to the blood (paragraph 2) and evokes the feeling of power associated as evidenced by the virility of the countrys multiplying people. In his view, the increase in American population is sue to their virility and is not related to immigration: this illustrates the mythic approach that America gives to its problems. President Roosevelt would pose as an energetic and virile man on several occasions. This cult of force, power and energy suggests a Darwinian twist in Beverigdes ideas. He also uses religious arguments to advance his idea of imperialism. Reading through the speech, one can be forgiven for thinking that it is a piece of O Sullivans Manifest Destiny. The only variation is that Beveridges religious propositions were mostly expressed in a scientifically inspired language. To his country, the grace of God is feels as inevitable. He later makes reference to natures law in regard to the divine determinism thereby directing his argument in a pseudo scientific explanation of imperialism. In paragraph 5, Beveridge adds yet another dimension to his argument-that of a historical mission of duty. This suggests a traditional puritan idea of stewardship as renewed by the Gospel of wealth during the Gilded Age. Stewardship aimed at civilising people and converting them to Christianity at the same time. Along with the call to stewardship came the need to extend democracy to those perceived to be oppressed. Ironically, the freedom that the American liberators could bring didnt go as far as extending freedom to all. Beveridge calls it rules of liberty self-government. Beveridges insistence on the sense of mission blankets what is a major preoccupation for his country economical predominance. In paragraph 6, he uses the word reward in reference to the parable of Talent. This is a clever marriage of religious economic rhetoric. In his view, rewards were to come in form of new riches and markets- an idea prevalent in the Gospel of wealth that takes wealth for Gods blessing. This shows that the real aim behind imperialism is indeed commercial supremacy. The recurrence of the words domination and power in last paragraph are indicators of this fact. Contextually, the approaching elections were his countrys short term preoccupation. In the long term, the preoccupation was whether the new territories would be annexed to America. Beveridge wanted even more territories to be annexed after the Philippines. His stand was that the values of the American Revolution were not contradictory to the policy of annexation and the views of those living in the annexed territories. To him, the colonised were inferior people who couldnt enjoy the values of American Revolution in equal measure to the Americans. This was a flat rejection of the notion of equality (paragraph 8-10). The constitution should not follow the flag- i.e. the annexed territories shouldnt enjoy the constitutional entitlements of his countrys constitution. His racist mindset clearly comes to the fore in chapter 10 when he describes as inferior the people of foreign lands as savages and alien populations. He envisaged a colonial America governing the new territories since England did it to America. Besides, he explains that the Indians experience offered ideas as to how to handle the conquered. In clearly distinctive wording of we versus them, he is opposed to assimilation of those savages with the mainstream Americans (paragraph 8). His mentality correlates well with that of southerners towards the blacks prior to the Civil War. Finally, he defends the Philippines conquest as a rampart to the then greedy competition for territories by world powers saying that if US didnt do it, other powers would do so. The article is no doubt a celebration of American mythical and heroic founding. It features an explicit show of force and brutality: economic domination of conquered territories, virility of the American population, racial competition and accumulation of wealth at the expense of conquered territories. It evokes the feeling of American supremacy since its founding and the brutal materialism that continues to define American way of life down to the present. The vocabulary indicates both cynicism and naivety. The militant celebration served to convince the deeply cynical electorate to pull in the direction of imperial America. It is naive to the fact that such imperialism deeply violated the values of America as a nation, a fact that could not resonate well with not only the electorate but also the leftist leaning statesmen of the time. To best drive his point home, he insisted on syntactical patterns and repetition of words to bring the audience to his point of focus. His frequent use of questions and answers gave the speech a polemical quality and seemed like a dialogue with his audience. This particularly made the cynical audience evaluate its stand with every posing of a question and giving of a suggested answer. The speech is highly representative of a critical and decisive moment of history in the making of American nation, capturing in great colour the prevalent ideology then. The speech brought out the natural fusion of state policy and Biblical injunction (religion). Implicit in the speech is the ideology that the non-white world was inferior and unable to govern itself. It therefore needed the benevolent Americans civilizing affects. Alexander K. McClure, ed (1902). Famous American Statesmen Orators. VI. New York: F. F. Lovell Publishing Company. p. 3. Book Review: A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights Book Review: A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights Book review of A FIELD OF ONE’S OWN: GENDER AND LAND RIGHTS IN SOUTH ASIA by BINA AGARWAL (Cambridge South Asian Studies, 1994) This book is first of its kind. It is the first major study of gender and land rights of woman in the region. This book aims to tackle various gender bias arguments that are put forward by patriarchal society for not giving women the land rights. This book has been of utmost significance in affecting policies providing land rights to women. As in India, it prepared the ground for the incorporation of fairly radical recommendations in Ninth Five year plan. It also led ministry of rural areas and employment in November, 1997 to set up 3 member committee for Gender equality in land devolution in tenurial laws to reform the rules governing inheritance of agricultural land.[1] Book starts with emphasising the role of women in major movements be it Chipko movement in UP or Bodhgaya movement in Bihar, yet women did not receive any share of land that was distributed after these movements. She also describes these struggles vividly at the end of the book that how women participated in Tebhaga struggle, Telangana struggle, Bodhgaya struggle yet the benefits were received all by males and they were said to get back to their household work. It is only in Bodhgaya struggle that they managed to get land jointly in their names after a strenuous struggle. Agarwal pointed out the role of the state in establishing women’s land rights through land distribution. There has been always focus on basic needs such as education, health of women, but she explains it is equally important to focus on giving land rights to women in policy formulation. State has assumed that giving land to male would take care of complete family including women. Assumption of family as singl e entity and benefits get distributed equally holds in state’s allocation of land. But she said that bargaining power plays as much role inside household as much in market. She stressed on women having â€Å"independent rights in land† demanding rights not just in law but in practice as well. This is what would essentially give women more bargaining power according to her. Though she says that an even joint title over land is also beneficial for women than having no land but having independent control over land would give them greater flexibility. Role of the state in establishing land rights for women have been emphasised often in this book. It has well evidenced in this book that because state does not show much interest in giving rights to women that the issue remains suppressed under the carpet. Like it was shown in the case of Garos, a tribal community in North-east India that state policies was largely responsible for erosion of women land rights. She very well also focuses on the fact that how scholars and policy makers have wrongly interpreted Marxist ideology. Engels said â€Å"In capitalist societies, gender relation would be hierarchical among property owning families of bourgeoisie where women did not go out to work and egalitarian in property less proletarian families where women were in labour force.† It was essentially focusing on the fact that abolition of private property could restore women land rights. This was largely ignored by even the left wing parties whose main focus was on land redistribution. While discussing the absence of a gendered focus in redistributive programmes, Operation Barga in West Bengal is taken as a case in point, where primarily men were registered. While the criticism on grounds of non-registration of women is perfectly valid, the critique mounted of the Left certainly needs to take note of the issues involved, especially since the left-inclined women were some of the most outspoken in demanding land rights for women. While pointing out the patriarchal bias in land reforms implemented by Left-led governments, it may have also been useful to explore what implications the abandonment of the land reforms programme altogether by other political configurations has on the economy in general and the lives of women specifically.[2] Agarwal claims that despite the legislations favouring land rights to women, very few have effective land control. Even in the few cases where women had land rights, the right to decision concerning sale of land or produce of land rests with male family head or male kin. In some cases, land rights were not given in a fair manner. Women would get a lower share than their male counterparts. Agarwal then comes on to the issue which is the main argument of Agarwal on why land rights are at all important for women and society in general. It is premised on: a) women’s bargaining power increases in home as well as in society (b) it is easy to find non farm employment opportunities (c) children are better taken care of if women has the money in her hand (d)Security of women will be assured if she has an asset (e)land will not be fragmented if it in the hands of women and its productivity will rise and so on. Likewise various reasons for giving rights to women have been brought forth from welfare, empowerment and equality perspectives. Enough reasons and counter reasons of providing land to women have been provided. Though scholars like Cecile Jackson has argued that increased women participation in land rights will induce conflict in household rather than mitigating it[3]. But Agarwal argues here that women already are in conflict in household going through various forms of harassment and violence. She says â€Å"In any case, if everything difficult were to be set aside on the argument that it might cause intra-family conflict, then where would we go with women’s struggles over reproductive rights, or over gend er-equal education, or over their freedom to choose their marriage partners or professions, and so on?†[4] She claims that giving rights to women who works on land will lead to more productivity from some empirical works. But Jackson refuses to take this argument and says this is just the logic of incentives that work here. So even if men are given rights they will have more incentive to increase productivity. But to propose that transfer of land from male to female ownership within a landed household is justified on this evidence is another matter entirely. Agarwal very well inculcated the argument of increasing bargaining power of women at household, community and the state level for empowerment of women. A member’s bargaining position is determined by the strength of person’s fall back position. If women possess an asset it will not only improve their fall back position but also give them greater bargaining power both within the household as well as outside. They can bargain for subsistence within the family and for fair distribution of resources in the community. Implicit or explicit bargaining can occur between an individual and the community over the rules governing economic resource use, political positions and social behaviour. Women’s bargaining strength with the state depends on factors such as whether they are able to organize themselves into groups and garner the support of media. Agarwal also brings forth the fact that it is majorly inheritance and succession practices which is customary rather than defined by law. In this customary inheritance of ancestral property, land goes to males of the family. She has pointed that this succession practice was not biased earlier where tribes like Garos, Nayars in India and many in Sri Lanka gave land rights and inheritance rights to women. However this has slowly eroded due to changes in customary practices and scarcity of land over which women had little control. She tries to find out what really defines land rights or inheritance rights for women by studying various communities in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. She extensively studies and tabulates the nature of communities, marriage practices, marries close kin or not, residence after marriage, sexual freedom. Causation was established thus that if women marry with a close kin or remain within the village after marriage they can exercise control ov er any inherited property. However even in matrilineal or bilateral communities, jural authority or authority to participate in caste council rested with males. This is an essential feature which restricted women to have control over their lands. Their participation in caste councils have been fundamentally restricted which intensified the sufferings of women as there was no one to listen to their apathy. So as Agarwal says they ‘largely remain takers and not makers of many decisions that deeply affect their lives’. This is emphasised often that if women enter the struggle through ‘state apparatus’, it could be a crucial step towards women empowerment. Agarwal has also captured the essential aspect of this debate that why women don’t exercise their rights even if they can and is defined under law. Women tend to face various difficulties while inheriting land in traditionally patrilineal communities. They tend to voluntarily give up land rights in lieu of getting access to her brother’s house. Brother’s support is considered crucial in every aspect of women’s life customarily. Also women are at the receiving end of hostility from male kin in case she tries to exercise her rights. They are dependent on male kin for mediation with outside world. Other reason is that she finds it difficult to have land rights is lack of support from village bodies and government official as they are not allowed to participate in village panchayats and state bodies. Also the patwaris (village land records official) commonly present in Northern India favour custom law over existing law by registering land in names of males of the family only. Again the concern of unwillingness of the state and government officials to protect the rights of women is put forth. Even if the state enforces laws for women but it does not ensure practice of it rather promotes unwritten customary laws. Thus she points out that it will be less difficult to enforce land rights in Nepal, Sri Lanka and south India where the customs favouring women rights are into existence. It would be much difficult to apply in Pakistan, Northern India. Further Agarwal gives counter arguments for the reasons put forward by patriarchal society for not giving share of economic resources to women. Firstly, it is believed that if women own land they will not be able to access resources and since they are generally illiterate they will not be able to cultivate effectively. Agarwal counter argued it by providing a very admiring solution to this. She said that it will be effective if women could cultivate jointly as a group. This way they can pool resources and also can access credit easily. Also women have extensive knowledge of indigenous seeds and farming technique. If women operate as a group they can exercise greater bargaining power over community resources than if they work individually. Secondly, according to the slogan ‘land goes to the tiller’, women cannot have the right over land. Though it is the women who cultivate land yet they hold no rights over it. It was said that land will go to the tiller. Women were not a llowed to plough the land not just because of heaviness of the work but it is considered against the customs. So though the women sow the seed and harvested the crops without which there would have been no production yet they were denied land rights just if they did not plough the land. Another argument that is put forward by patriarchal society which though has been captured by other scholars like Goody(1973, 1976) that if women were given rights on ancestral property then their marriages have been tried to control. This argument is refreshed by Agarwal through empirical evidence taking in account both immovable and movables given as dowry. Patriarchal society claims that they give women their due share when they depart from house after marriage. But it is not recorded on the paper neither it is distributed in a fair manner. Also generally immovable like land is not passed on to daughter due to various considerations of distance and marrying a non kin. So generally the dowry that t he daughter gets is not used by her rather her in-laws use it. It is very interesting how she has captured the fact that songs, words and silence has been used as mediums of protest. Songs of folklore have been given as example to get an understanding of the fact that women interweave their sufferings in songs which pokes at patriarchal society. Sometimes silence and other times words were used as mediums to protest against the society which largely denies them rights. Small protests at home like daring to leave the house of husband is highlighted by Agarwal to point that woman actually suffered but did not come up openly to ask their rights. Various solutions have been put forward at the end of the book in the chapter ‘The long march ahead’. a)It is essential that state policies should be framed to incorporate gender equality b) Inheritance rather than dowry is the critical aspect for gaining bargaining power in household c) greater participation of women in jural bodies and representation in decision making bodies at village level d) women can acquire land rights as a group as it promotes infrastructural support. These solutions are expressed by Agarwal as, (p.494) â€Å"The shift in approach from welfare oriented to empowerment oriented, from top-down to participative, and from individual focused to group focused, in the 1980s, is an important step forward.† Agarwal concludes that struggle for gender equity is no different from struggles on many other fronts such as for democratic rights, against communalism etc. Also there has been increasing interaction among women groups internationally across Asia which has the potential for catalysing the formation of regional pressure groups around common concerns. It is not very clear how giving land rights will improve condition of women and productivity of land as there are many other empirical evidence other than those quoted by her that reveal in opposite direction. Whether land rights could be a single solution to various problems faced by women is doubtful. But land rights could be considered to be an essential first step towards women empowerment. As Agarwal makes it clear that what has crucial bearing on gender relation is not just rights over economic resources but also how, that is the process through which it is acquired. Acquiring those rights will require simultaneous struggles agains t many different facets of gender inequalities embedded in social norms and practices, access to public decision-making bodies at every level, gendered ideas and representations, and so on. It will require shifts in power balances in women’s favour in several different arenas: within the household, in the community and the market, and at different tiers of the state apparatus. REFERENCES: Bina Agarwal â€Å"Women’s Land Rights and the Trap of Neo-Conservatism: A Response to Jackson† (2003), Journal of Agrarian change 571-585 Bina Agarwal, Gender and land rights revisited: Exploring the new prospects through the state, family and market, Journal of Agrarian Change, 2003, 184-224 Cecile Jackson â€Å"Gender Analysis of Land: Beyond Land Rights for Women?† (2003) 3 Journal of Agrarian Change 453-480 Indu Agnihotri â€Å"Bringing Land Rights Centre-Stage† (1996), Economic and Political Weekly [1] Agarwal, Journal of Agrarian Change, 2003 [2] Indu Agnihotri â€Å"Bringing Land Rights Centre-Stage† (1996), Economic and Political Weekly [3] Cecile Jackson â€Å"Gender Analysis of Land: Beyond Land Rights for Women?† (2003) 3 Journal of Agrarian Change 453-480 [4] Agarwal Bina â€Å"Women’s Land Rights and the Trap of Neo-Conservatism: A Response to Jackson† (2003), Journal of Agrarian change 571-585

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