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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
Unformatted Document Text:  Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers 6 enterprising competitors?" 9 The timing issue was given a prescient spin in a missive to the Seattle Post Intelligencer: "The year 1898 bids fair to be a decisive one as far as America’s commercial relations are concerned." 10 It was, indeed. Barrett had foretold the American incursion into the Philippines in February of 1897 when, after visiting the islands as part of an East Asian tour, he wrote of Manila: “It is plain that the city is not protected with reference to defense against a foreign power. It could easily be razed to the ground by a half dozen modern gunboats.” 11 Having learned in Siam how loudly Big Stick diplomacy could speak, Barrett was acutely aware of the importance of an armed state vehicle on which his commercial vision could be floated. That vision was exemplified by the way he had introduced the Philippines to most American readers for the first time through a commodity-oriented metaphor linked to the more familiar and integrally linked Spanish colony nearer to home, Cuba: After the famous Manila hemp, the greatest wealth of the Philippines is in sugar, as is that of Cuba. While Cuban tobacco in the shape of fragrant Havanas rules the market of the new world, the Manila cigars supply the demand of the old world. The United States buys the major portion of Cuba’s exports and a goodly portion of those of the Philippines. Both possess inexhaustible and varied resources, which at present are only partially developed.” 12 While focused on tangible symbols, Barrett’s commercial world view spoke not to the mass of American readers, but to the captains of industry and brokers of power who were more likely to help enact the expansive policies he advocated. The North American Review, aimed at just such readers, was thus a perfect venue for the upwardly mobile scribe. 13 When the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War, the Battle of Manila Bay, shifted a broader audience’s attention to the Philippines in 1898, the recently replaced consul exploited his diplomatic connections and his Vermont ties to the man of

Authors: Vaughan, Christopher.
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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
6
enterprising competitors?"
9
The timing issue was given a prescient spin in a missive to
the Seattle Post Intelligencer: "The year 1898 bids fair to be a decisive one as far as
America’s commercial relations are concerned."
10
It was, indeed. Barrett had foretold the American incursion into the Philippines in
February of 1897 when, after visiting the islands as part of an East Asian tour, he wrote
of Manila: “It is plain that the city is not protected with reference to defense against a
foreign power. It could easily be razed to the ground by a half dozen modern gunboats.”
11
Having learned in Siam how loudly Big Stick diplomacy could speak, Barrett was acutely
aware of the importance of an armed state vehicle on which his commercial vision could
be floated. That vision was exemplified by the way he had introduced the Philippines to
most American readers for the first time through a commodity-oriented metaphor linked
to the more familiar and integrally linked Spanish colony nearer to home, Cuba:
After the famous Manila hemp, the greatest wealth of the Philippines is in
sugar, as is that of Cuba. While Cuban tobacco in the shape of fragrant
Havanas rules the market of the new world, the Manila cigars supply the
demand of the old world. The United States buys the major portion of
Cuba’s exports and a goodly portion of those of the Philippines. Both
possess inexhaustible and varied resources, which at present are only
partially developed.”
12
While focused on tangible symbols, Barrett’s commercial world view spoke not to
the mass of American readers, but to the captains of industry and brokers of power who
were more likely to help enact the expansive policies he advocated. The North American
Review, aimed at just such readers, was thus a perfect venue for the upwardly mobile
scribe.
13
When the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War, the Battle of
Manila Bay, shifted a broader audience’s attention to the Philippines in 1898, the recently
replaced consul exploited his diplomatic connections and his Vermont ties to the man of


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