Boston, Nov.30th, 1899. –Erving Winslow, secretary of the Anti-Imperialist League, sent the following Thanksgiving Greeting to the President:

“Lovers of liberty, who would rather be the hunted patriot than the blood-guilty usurper today, will nevertheless use it to pray that he, who has given America her first Thanksgiving of Shame, may be brought to repentance and a better mind.”

Mark Twain was a founding member of the Anti-Imperialist League in 1899. The group was very influential and popular, but the league seems to have fallen to the same fate that many of the late 1800s radical anti-imperialist groups did. They were not revolutionary enough. For example, this league started to fall apart over disagreements about the 1900 Presidential Election regarding William Jennings Bryan, and eventually disbanded after the US entered WWI. Sounds like the present ‘anti-war’ movement: falling apart over the election of Barack Obama, and now being defunct and nearly irrelevant as the US continues to invade Afghanistan.

Another problem with these groups is that they had no other goals than, “ending imperialism.” They had pet issues like the annexation of the Philippines, or the occupation of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and despite its anti-war record, the League could not not get its members to agree to oppose the US intervention in WWI.

The left has not learned anything today. These groups still hope that political leaders will come to repent and renounce their evil ways. And these groups remain loyal to the nation-state. Erving Winslow declares herself, and the group, as hunted patriots.