Publication information
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Source: Chautauquan
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “‘The McKinley Islands’”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 34
Issue number: 2
Pagination: 119

“‘The McKinley Islands.’” Chautauquan Nov. 1901 v34n2: p. 119.
full text
Philippines (renaming as McKinley Islands); McKinley memorialization.
Named persons
George Dewey; James A. Garfield; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Philip II (Spain); Amerigo Vespucci.


“The McKinley Islands”

     It is assured that a costly monumental structure to commemorate the virtues and achievements of William McKinley will be erected in the cemetery at Canton, Ohio, and it is to be hoped that it will be more impressive than those which commemorate Garfield at Cleveland, Ohio, and Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois. A memorial project to which national importance is also guaranteed calls for the building of a McKinley arch at Washington, in connection with the national boulevard and memorial bridge across the Potomac which has been urged upon the attention of congress for several years. Another idea coming from “a high source at the capital” has been caught up with favor by a certain section of the press, not without a shock to the more thoughtful public, who are inclined to respect the ancient landmarks. It is proposed to call the Philippine archipelago by the name of “The McKinley Islands.” In behalf of this proposition it is urged that the old name perpetuates the memory of a foreign despot, who never did anything for the islands but oppress them, and that it is an unpleasant reminder of the centuries of Spanish misrule which were terminated by Admiral Dewey’s victory. The new name, it is argued, will appropriately mark the era of liberty and progress which President McKinley’s policy is opening for the islands. Striking as the suggestion is, and attractive as it may perhaps seem at first thought, the reasons against the change are too weighty to be overruled. It would be little short of barbarity for us to do away with a name which has the prescriptive right of four hundred years’ possession of the field. The Filipino is as patriotically proud of his name as the American is of his own national cognomen, and probably has as little regard for the Philip commemorated in the appellation as we have for that Amerigo Vespucci who somehow left his name to the continent which should have been Columbia. “Louisiana,” though named for a French king, was allowed to retain its name when adopted by the United States. It would have been a pity to change it to Jefferson. Surely McKinley himself would have been the first to raise his hand against a proffered honor which would change the map of the world and outrage the sensibilities of a long-suffering people. Veto of the suggestion is prompted by good taste and common sense.



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