Courtesy Reuters

African Facts and American Criticisms

PEOPLE who live in a city get a wholly different impression of it from strangers who look at it from a neighboring hill. The two parties would find difficulty, if they could conduct a discussion by telephone, in coming to any sound conclusions about its architecture or layout. Much the same is true of an institution. It seems desirable, therefore, before discussing any part of that most controversial of institutions, the British Colonial Empire (as distinct from the dominions), to consider frankly the American and British views of it, in the hope that the distance which separates them may at least be measured, and even, possibly, narrowed.

The American view which reaches us through war's interruptions and by way of our shrunken newspapers may be put in the following brief and therefore blunt terms: "The British are guilty of a sin called Empire. They committed it against the American people until these broke clear of British control to become a nation. The Americans are innocent of any such a guilt. They thus are in a moral position to condemn Britain as they watch her continuing in her way of sin against other people. The situation is the more distressing to Americans as they are being asked, in this war, to defend and support the British Empire."

Now let us move over to the British angle of vision: "The American colonists were, in the main, an extension of the British people. They enjoyed a liberty then unknown to colonists of other empires. When a British government foolishly tried to restrict this liberty, the Americans, having reached a situation in which they could dispense with British protection, very rightly asserted their independence. The same expansive energy continued to carry both peoples forward. The Americans, finding a large and undeveloped continent at their doors, drove across it, and, indeed, beyond it. The British, confined to a small island, burst out into large and undeveloped regions overseas. Neither nation allowed the rights or interests of

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