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University founded in 1851 in Evanston, Illinois, considered one of the top universities in the United States. In the podcast, the hosts introduce Dr. Daniel Immerwahr, a history professor at Northwestern. His affiliation with this prestigious university lends credibility to his perspective and scholarship.
In the podcast, this phrase is part of an 1898 proclamation by President William McKinley; the phrase refers to the U.S. military commanders who were governing the Philippines after the islands were transferred from Spanish to American rule following the Spanish–American War, dashing the hopes of advocates in the Filipino independence movement.
Assimilation is the process of integrating or absorbing one culture into a more dominant culture; this often results in the loss of the unique characteristics of the less dominant culture. In the context of the podcast, President McKinley announced that instead of allowing Filipinos to be independent following the war with Spain, the United States would keep the nation as a colony. He added that the U.S. mission in the Philippines was one of “benevolent assimilation” in which the Filipinos would be absorbed into American culture and political ideology through the “mild sway of justice and right.”
Based on personal choice rather than a specific reason grounded in logic or science and, therefore, unpredictable. In the podcast, this word is part of President William McKinley’s 1898 proclamation regarding the intentions of the United States in assuming governance of the Philippines, “substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.” Here, “arbitrary rule” is a reference to past ruling powers of the Philippines, which McKinley suggests were not motivated by an ideology like America’s (prizing “individual rights and liberties”); instead, he suggests that the previous ruling party governed based on arbitrary whims and without a defined guiding philosophy.