Anti-Imperialist League Collected Records
Held at: Swarthmore College Peace Collection [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore 19081-1399
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Anti-Imperialist League was formed circa June 1898 to oppose the war of the United States with Spain over Cuba's fight for independence from Spanish rule. The United States also wished to expand its influence in the Carribean and across the Pacfic and so annexed the Philippine Islands and Puerto Rico. The AIL included among its members such persons as Jane Addams, Fanny Baker Ames, Edward Atkinson, Mary Emma Byrd, Andrew Carnegie, Mary Fells, Maria Freeman Gray, William James, David Starr Jordan, Josephine Shaw Lowell, Lucia Ames Mead, Emily L. Osgood, Mary G. Pickering, Alice Thacher Post, Mary Schieffelin, Emma J. Smith, Mark Twain, Fanny Garrison Villard, and Erving Winslow. Eventually, the League grew into a bipartisan mass movement of some 30,000 members. It reached into 30 states, with various branches springing up. The League moved its main office from Boston to Chicago and then back to Boston (when the New England Anti-Imperialist League changed its name to the Anti-Imperialist League).
A peace treaty passed in the U.S. Senate on February 6, 1899 allowed for the independence of Cuba, and for the U.S. acquisition of Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Two days later, Filipinos led by Emilio Aquinaldo, were fighting Americans. In protesting the treaty, the 1899 Platform of the League stated: "We hold that the policy known as imperialism is hostile to liberty and tends toward militarism, an evil from which it has been our glory to be free. We regret that it has become necessary in the land of Washington and Lincoln to reaffirm that all men, of whatever race or color, are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We maintain that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. We insist that the subjugation of any people is 'criminal aggression' and open disloyalty to the distinctive principles of our Government. We earnestly condemn the policy of the present National Administration in the Philippines. . . . We denounce the slaughter of the Filipinos as a needless horror. We protest against the extension of American sovereignty by Spanish methods." Andrew Carnegie offered to buy the Philippines from the United States to give the islands their independence. Instead, American troops killed between 250,000 and 600,000 Filipinos, probably most of them civilians, and captured Aguinaldo in February 1902, at which time President Roosevelt pronounced that the war was over.
The Anti-Imperialist League continued to challenge American intervention abroad until 1920, but it was largely isolated from the peace movement and had lost most of its impact.
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for the records of this organization.
Acquisitions information is uknown.
Processed by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist, September 2001.
Items removed include a Poster (Broadside by Edward Atkinson "Cost of War and Warfare," 1904).
- Anti-Imperialist League (Boston, Mass.)
- American Anti-Imperialist League
- New England Anti-Imperialist League
- Swarthmore College Peace Collection
- Finding Aid Author
- Anne Yoder
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
- Use Restrictions
printed in the "Congressional Record"