Standing before Methodist delegates in 1899, President William McKinley described his decision to take the United States into a war with Spain over the Philippines. While he did not know exactly what to do when “the Philippines dropped into our [the United States’] laps,” McKinley stated that out of desperation he prayed for God’s guidance. The president’s options were as follows: He could do nothing at all, but that course would be “cowardly.” Or, he could turn the Philippines over to France or Germany, a decision he deemed “bad business”; McKinley could likewise simply let them govern themselves, but in a common late nineteenth-century Anglo estimation, they were “unfit for self-government.” Finally, the president concluded there was only one solution: To “educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them.” 1