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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Lightening the White Man's Burden

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Pears' Soap Company, LIGHTENING THE WHITE MAN'S BURDEN (1899). Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Creator Unknown
Context The White Man's Burden became an idea that American imperialists used to justify territorial expansion.
Audience McClure's Magazine readers
Purpose To show how businesses capitalized upon the idea of the White Man's Burden

Historical Significance

In October 1899, this advertisement appeared in McClure's Magazine to persuade readers that purchasing Pears' Soap would lighten the White Man's Burden by "teaching the virtues of cleanliness." The advertisement shows Admiral George Dewey washing his hands, ships in the background, and the scene of a missionary handing soap to a native.

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