TERRITORIALITY IN AMERICAN LAW
In 1899 the English writer Rudyard Kipling penned a poem entitled “The White Man's Burden.” The phrase is now famous, though few probably know that Kipling was its author. Fewer still know the full title: “The White Man's Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands.” Kipling published the poem to implore the United States, which had just defeated Spain in a war, to assume control of Spain's former colonies. By the end of the nineteenth century the United States had grown into an economic giant and had shown itself capable of vanquishing a once great European nation. Now, Kipling suggested, it was time to step into its natural role as an imperial power. His final verse made clear the stakes:
Take up the White Man's burden—
Have done with childish days—
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
Many Americans at the time agreed that victory in the Spanish-American War of 1898 demonstrated that the United States was now a world power of the first rank. Yet as the poem suggests, they were not entirely sure about ruling Spain's former colonial islands. Even if the United States did follow the lead of other great powers and build an overseas empire, it was unclear exactly how its colonies should be governed. Were the islands acquired from Spain subject to the same laws as ordinary American territory, or could the United