One hundred and ten years after the invasion of the Philippine and Puerto Rican archipelagos by the U.S. military and the subsequent subjection of their peoples, which in the case of Puerto Rico has continued to this day, there is finally a much-needed and welcome comparative study focusing on the relations between U.S. imperial authorities and the local elites. Julian Go’s American Empire and the Politics of Meaning looks at the cultural front from 1898 to 1912, identifying it as the most strategic field in the process through which the U.S. agents attempted to educate the local elites in the ways of self-government. This is what came to be known as “Americanization,” a complex and somewhat haphazardly put together set of programs and institutions set up to provide the local population with lessons in democracy, which usually came to be dispensed in the most undemocratic of ways. The book is...

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