American Imperialism in the Philippines: A Revolution in American Foreign Policy Carlos Macasaet English 11 American History 17 March 2000 OutlineThesis: In the nineteenth century, America pursued a policy of imperialism in the Philippines under the guise of protecting the world from the oppression of Spanish rule. This caused much controversy both in the political arena as well as among the citizens. I. Throughout its development, America has crafted its expansionist policies; this expansion, however, had always been confined to the North American continent. A. The philosophies of the ordinances of 1784, 1785 and 1787 as well as the Monroe Doctrine and the Manifest Destiny governed the acquisition of new territory. B. In the Ostend Manifesto, America looks to acquire Cuba.
II. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, there was an urge to expand outside of the continent for various reasons. A. Americans believed themselves to be racially superior to others. B. America wanted a favorable balance of trade. C. America needed to make exports exceed imports. D. America was looking for fresh land to conquer (islands in warm oceans). E. America sought to spread Christianity. F. America sought to expand foreign markets. G. There was the necessity of annexing some property. H. America had a strong sense of nationalism during the era known in Europe as the Race for Empire.III. When the issue of the Philippines arises, there is a stark break with past forms of imperialism. Instead of seeking to add the Philippines as a state, America sought the conquest of the Philippines as an imperialist colony that they would rule either formally or informally. A. War with Spain. B. Domestic motives for expansionism.
C. Debates over the issue of imperialism.IV. Administration of the Philippines. A. The American administration of the Philippines was a completely new experience for the nation that was once itself colonized by another nation. B. After the election of 1900 debates over Philippine policy ensued.V. The Philippines gains its independence in 1946 after being an imperial territory ofAmerica.
American Imperialism in the Philippines: A Revolution in American Foreign Policy In 1898, in an effort to free Cuba from the oppression of its Spanish colonizers, Americacaptured the Philippines. This brought about questions of what America should do with thePhilippines. Soon, controversy ensued both in the American political arena as well as among itscitizens. Throughout its history, America had always been expansionistic, but it had alwayslimited itself to the North American continent. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century,however, there emerged a drive to expand outside of the continent. When America expanded tothe Philippines, the policy it followed was a stark break from past forms of expansionism.Despite much controversy, America followed the example of the imperialistic nations in Europeand sought to conquer the Philippines as an imperialist colony that they would rule either directlyor indirectly. Throughout its development, America has molded its expansionist policies, which itconfined to the North American continent. The ordinances of 1784, 1785 and 1787 governed theacquisition and administration of new territory, which set a precedent for establishing futureterritorial acquisitions as states equal to those already established[i]. They were designed tosettle the West in an orderly fashion while at the same time, lessening the possibility ofsecessionist movements. More importantly, the ordinances served to prevent the emergence ofdependent colonies. In addition, by adding a new ―western‖ aspect to the national identity, theyset a trend for westward expansion (Henretta 181).
The Monroe Doctrine and the Manifest Destiny stated America‘s philosophies regardingforeign policy. The Monroe Doctrine (1823), crafted by President Monroe and Secretary of StateJohn Quincy Adams, was a statement of America‘s foreign policy. It warned Europe to stay outof the Western Hemisphere. Monroe particularly did not want Spain to attempt to reacquire itsformer colonies that declared their independence (Monroe). The idea of Manifest Destiny stemmed in part from the ideas of the Monroe Doctrine. Itwas an intangible concept best described as a pervasive thirst for expansion in America thatshaped American history. Americans believed that it was their destiny to encompass the entireNorth American continent (Lubbrage 1). The westward migration of American settlers andEuropean immigrants to the Midwest in the 1840‘s and 1850‘s prompted this movement.Swayed by popular zeal for expansion, political leaders chose to neglect the conflicts that wouldensue with Mexico and Great Britain (Henretta 360). In his document entitled Manifest Destiny(1845) – from which the movement received its name – O‘Sullivan articulated the philosophiesof Manifest Destiny. He envisioned in America‘s future, the ―defence of humanity, of theoppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement.‖ Hebelieved that America was the chosen country to do this, as it did not have a history of conflictexcept in the defense of its freedom (O‘Sullivan paragraph 4). Americans saw it as their divinemission to expand to spread democracy and Christianity (Henretta 360). A critical turning point in American expansion was when America first looked to Cuba.During this period of westward expansion, the new political movement known as ―YoungAmerica‖ – which consisted mostly of southerners – took Manifest Destiny to a global scale bylooking southward and to the Atlantic, particularly to Cuba, a major producer of sugar and
tobacco. In addition, slaves worked the plantations of Cuba. At this time, President FranklinPierce pursued expansionist policies; in particular, he wanted Cuba. He saw Cuba as aslaveholding Spanish possession that would become a slave state if annexed. He hoped theslaveholding elite in Cuba would declare independence from Spain. Once independent, hewould invite it to join the Union. In 1853, he secretly sent John A. Quitman to aid in therevolution. While this was happening, he threatened war with Spain over its confiscation of anAmerican ship. Fearing the addition of a new slave state, however, northern Democrats in thesenate forced Pierce to back down (Henretta 378). This shows that at this time, domesticpolitical pressure limited foreign expansion. The Pierce administration, however, was still determined to acquire Cuba and soSecretary of State William L. Marcy commanded Pierre Soulé, the American minister to Spain,―to detach that island from the Spanish dominion‖ by purchase. Therefore, Soulé offered Spain$130,000 for Cuba. Spain, however, found this offer insulting and rejected it. In response tothis, Soulé wrote a secret document, the Ostend Manifesto, which invoked the rhetoric ofManifest Destiny. In it, he said that the mere possession of Cuba by Spain was a threat toAmerican security and America would be justified in seizing Cuba by force. The controversythat ensued over this issue left it temporarily undecided (Henretta 378-379). Following the Civil War, expansionist ideals resurfaced and fundamental shifts inAmerican culture and society made imperialism more appealing. These shifts occurred ineconomic, racial, cultural and military facets of America. Americans had sought a favorable balance of trade since 1876 (Suzara). An economicboom, in which America‘s gross national product quadrupled, ―transformed America into the
biggest granary on earth, a foremost manufacturer of consumer goods and a major producer ofcoal, iron and steel.‖ (Karnow 89) Because America was still a developing country, it attractedmany foreign investors while very little was invested abroad (Karnow 82). In order to balanceout this unequal flow of funds, America had to make its exports exceed its imports (Karnow 82).By 1895, foreign business had drawn near the 2 billion mark and the export of manufacturedgoods was increasing the fastest of all (Wolff 12). While most of the production – over 90percent – was consumed in America, foreign markets were still very important. Americansfeared that its increasing production would far exceed its consumption. The solution was toensure that there would always be a market for its surplus products. This meant the necessity formore foreign markets (Pomeroy 18-20). Richard E. Welch corroborates this in his book―Response to Imperialism: The United States and the Philippine-American War, 1899-1902‖: Business leaders, convinced that the home market was inadequate to the needs of expanding industrial production, persuaded the administration that an island empire would increase exports and foreign commerce and provide protection and stimulus for the China trade. (3) There was also the issue of race. Herbert Spencer‘s idea of ―Social Darwinism‖, whichwas based on Charles Darwin‘s theory of ―survival of the fittest‖, asserted Anglo-Saxon racialsuperiority (Karnow 81). America, successor to Britain as leader of the Anglo-Saxon race,believed that it had to spread its culture and institutions over the earth (Karnow 81). This waspartly influenced by Rudyard Kipling‘s poem ―White Man‘s Burden[ii]‖, which Kiplingspecifically wrote to encourage America to colonize the Philippines. The poem advocatedimperialism by saying that it was the duty of the Anglo-Saxon race to colonize over inferior
people to civilize them and make them more European-like (Fry 383). America also sought tospread Christianity. At this time, America was predominantly Protestant while the Spanishcolonies were predominantly Roman Catholic. America also saw it as their duty to convert theCatholics to Protestantism (Suzara). Americans also perceived a necessity of annexing some territory (Suzara). During the1850‘s, Americans showed a certain arrogance because of their own independence. They seizedterritory from Mexico and contemplated seizing Cuba and Santo Domingo (Karnow 81). In―The Law of Civilization and Decay‖, Brooks Adams called upon the ideals of Social Darwinismasserting that ―not to advance is to recede‖ and therefore, in order to survive, America mustexpand (Henretta 590). America also felt that it had to join in the European race for empire.Throughout the nineteenth century, as Britain was granting freedom to many of its territories inCanada and Australia, it was acquiring more and more territories elsewhere. Soon the otherEuropean countries followed suit. Aside from a source for creating mercantilist empires,colonies had become a symbol of stature for nations (Jantzen 570). Because of a strong sense ofnationalism, America felt it had to join in the race. Also, in The Influence of Sea Power uponhistory, 1600-1783, Captain Alfred T. Mahan emphasized the necessity of annexing theCaribbean Islands, Hawaii and the Philippine Islands in order to create bases to protect Americancommerce (―Chronology‖ paragraph 3). When the issue of the Philippines arose during of the Spanish-American War, however,America pursued an expansionist policy that broke sharply with past forms of expansion.According to Henretta, as Spain lost its South American possessions in the early nineteenthcentury, the Cubans also sought their independence (591). In 1895, José Martí reinvigorated the
Cuban struggle for freedom that had been quelled during the Ten Years‘ War[iii] (1868-1878).Sympathizing with the Cubans, President Grover Cleveland pushed Spain to come to anagreement with Cuba. Instead, Spain tried to pacify the Cubans by sending GeneralValerianoWeyler whose policy of reconcentration of the Cubans greatly increased Americansupport for the Cuban cause. This led to widespread anti-Spanish sentiment in America, whichhelped drive it to war in 1898 (Trask). The most important event in propelling America to war, however, was the sinking of theBattleship Maine. The U.S.S. Maine was anchored in Havana simply to provide a navalpresence in Cuba. In February of 1898, an explosion on the Maine caused it to sink, killing 266sailors. While investigations could not prove the exact cause of the explosion, many Americanssuspected a Spanish mine was to blame. Even though President McKinley strongly opposed anymilitary intervention, he was forced to give Spain an ultimatum. He demanded that Spain grantCuba its independence but Spain refused. On April 23, Spain ceased diplomatic negotiations andon April 24, declared war[iv] (Trask). Immediately at the start of the war, Commodore George Dewey – who was stationed inHong Kong in preparation for an attack against the Spanish territories– set sail for thePhilippines (Henretta 594). On May 1, he defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. After thisvictory, McKinley allowed a small army contingent to land in Manila to maintain pressure onSpain, which many hoped would lead to an early end to the war (Trask). McKinley, however, did not really have a plan for dealing with the Spaniards in thePhilippines. This forced Dewey and Major General Wesley Merritt – who had arrived with aninfantry – to improvise. Their main concern was to defeat the Spaniards and so they enlisted the
support of the Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo. When Aguinaldo asked Captain EdwardP. Wood of the U.S.S. Petrel – who was in the Philippines to negotiate on behalf of Dewey –what America‘s intentions towards the Philippines were, Wood responded that the United Stateswas ―very great and rich, and did not need colonies.‖ He also said that Dewey would put such astatement in writing. Thus, Aguinaldo agreed to aid the Americans if Dewey gave him anofficial request as well as a written pledge of U.S. support for his cause. However, E. SpencerPratt, the U.S. Consul in the Philippines, informed Dewey – who was in Hong Kong waiting forAguinaldo to join him – that Aguinaldo was willing to join him without mentioning Aguinaldo‘sterms. Dewey tersely responded ―TELL AGUINALDO COME SOON AS POSSIBLE‖. WhenAguinaldo asked about the written pledge, Pratt told him that Dewey had assured him that theUnited States would ―at least recognize the independence of the Philippines under an Americannaval protectorate‖. He also assured him that ―The words of a United States navy officer and anAmerican consul represent a solemn pledge‖ and that ―The United States government is a veryhonorable, very just and very powerful government‖ (Karnow 110-112). By May, however, to prevent him from making any untoward promises to the Filipinos,the U.S. Department of the Navy ordered the recently promoted Admiral Dewey to graduallydissociate himself from Aguinaldo. Dewey‘s primary objective in the Philippines was to captureManila and he believed that this could best be achieved without the help of the Filipino―insurgents‖. Towards the end of July, America‘s 12,000 troops equaled those of the Filipinorebels and relations between the two soon declined (―Spanish‖ paragraph 4). At the end of the war, Spain relinquished control over Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico andGuam to America and agreed that America would occupy Manila until a treaty was formed
(Henretta 594). In the Treaty of Paris (1899), the United States paid Spain $20 million for thePhilippines. The treaty required two thirds of the senatorial vote to pass. It passed by merelyone vote. This explains why Americans were unsure how to proceed with the Philippines.McKinley had several options. He could return the Philippines to Spain, but that seemed―cowardly and dishonorable‖. Alternatively, he could divide the Philippines among the GreatPowers but he decided that to do so would be to relinquish valuable territory to ―our commercialrivals in the Orient – that would have been bad business and discreditable.‖ The most practicaloption, of course, was to grant the Philippines independence, but imperialists eventuallyconvinced McKinley that ―we could not leave [the Filipinos] to themselves – they were unfit forself-rule – and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse that Spain‘s was‖(Karnow 127-128). On February 4, 1899, two days before the Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris, fightingbroke out between Filipino guerrillas and American troops stationed in Manila. Faced with theprospect of American annexation, Aguinaldo – who was declared president of the Philippines inJanuary – continued the struggle for freedom, only this time, from the Americans. This beganthe Philippine American War[v]. Like the Spaniards in Cuba, the Americans needed to use thesame reconcentration strategy to deal with the Filipino guerrillas. Following America‘s victoryafter three years of fighting, Judge William Howard Taft established a civilian government(Henretta 598). After defeating Spain, America was uncertain as to what to do with the Philippines but itleaned on the side of imperialism. The arrogance that Americans exhibited in the mid-nineteenthcentury was still strong and this was just increased by the American victory in Manila Bay. It
was like a rite of passage that elevated America to the ranks of the world powers. What began asan effort to liberate the Spanish territories from the oppression of imperialism propelled Americato take the Philippines. Soon, however, this morphed into a struggle to crush the Filipinoindependence movement. This was the first time American soldiers fought across the ocean andthe first time America acquired territory beyond its continent – the former colony itself becomingimperialist. Because of the massive amount of European immigration into America, the nationsought unity and cohesion and found it in its patriotic expansion. America had a high sense ofmoral purpose. Unlike the Europeans who merely sought profit and power through theirimperialism, the Americans sought to spread the benefits of its culture to the world. McKinleywas swept up by these sentiments and allowed them to affect his foreign policy decisions. TheAmerican excursions into the Philippines established an American presence in the Far East –thus expanding America‘s foreign markets (Karnow 79-80). American businessmen alsorealized the benefit of the Philippines as an Asian trading post (Suzara). Activities in the Philippines aroused much controversy in America. The Imperialistsadvanced several practical arguments. They argued that expansion abroad would yield profit andthat the American economy would deteriorate without foreign markets (Karnow 82). HenryCabot Lodge, a proponent of imperialism, declared, ―We must on no account let the islands go… We hold the other side of the Pacific, and the value to this country is almost beyondimagination.‖ Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, who shared the same sentiments, advocatedAmerica‘s imperialism for the purpose of bettering the world by asserting ―We are a conqueringrace … American law, American order, American civilization and the American flag will plantthemselves on shores hitherto bloody and benighted, but by those agencies of God henceforth tobe made beautiful and bright‖ (Karnow 109).
The imperialists, however, faced much opposition. On June 15, 1898, The Anti-Imperialist League was formed to oppose the annexation of the Philippines. Its membersincluded Andrew Carnegie and Mark Twain. Mark Twain noted that Americans ―have gonethere to conquer, not to redeem‖ the Philippines (Trask). Anti-imperialists argued that theannexation of the Philippines violated the constitutional precept of government through theconsent of the governed. Carnegie was worried that these foreign ventures would dissipate thenation‘s wealth. People also feared the influx of Filipinos that would ensue if America annexedthe Philippines. Racists were afraid that the ―yellow people‖ would contaminate Americanculture (Karnow 82). Charles Shurz, a militant enemy of expansionism, argued that ―To annexthe Philippines, would not only violate America‘s principles of ‗right, justice and liberty‘, butalso bring an influx of more or less barbarous Asiatics into the US.‖ (Karnow 109-110)Workers also feared that Filipino immigrants would compete with them for jobs. Presbyterianministers disdained the ―idea that the reign of Jesus is to be widened under the protection ofshells and dynamite.‖ (Karnow 82) The Democratic Party used the news of the atrocitiesAmerica was committing in the Philippines in its arguments against the imperialist RepublicanParty (Corpuz 65). After defeating the Filipino Guerrillas, the American occupation regime began rebuildingthe Philippines along the American model. According to OnofreCorpuz, the Americans―energetically embarked on constructive projects in the fields of education, health and sanitation,public works, communications, transportation, resources development, legal and juridical reform,and technological innovation.‖ (66) In 1935, America made the Philippines into a semi-autonomous commonwealth. The previous year, Congress passed the Philippine Independence
Act, which was based on traditional imperialist rhetoric. It arranged for a preparatory period(1935-1946) in which America would prime the Filipinos for independence (Corpuz 66). America‘s administration over the Philippines also brought about much controversy[vi].Immediately following the 1900 U.S. election was the first conflict over the formation ofPhilippine policy. Although the capture of the Philippines had expansionist aims, it did notnecessarily mean that expansionists had full control of the administration of the Philippines.Senator John C. Spooner of Wisconsin proposed a bill to quell the Filipino resistance andassuming ―all military, civil and judicial powers necessary to govern the said islands.‖ After theelection, imperialists urged the passage of the Spooner bill. According to the Secretary of WarElihu Root ―The army has brought the Philippines to the point where they offer a ready andattractive field for investment and enterprise, but to make this possible there must be mininglaws, homestead and land laws, general transportation laws, and banking and currency laws.‖Lodge hoped to pass the bill past the anti-imperialist opposition by reserving the right to alter it.Those who opposed the bill tried to amend it to extend constitutional guarantees to the Filipinosand to declare America‘s withdrawal from the Philippines once a stable government wasestablished (Pomeroy 118-120). Arguments over trade policy, which resulted in the InsularCases (1899-1901), soon followed the arguments over the Spooner Bill. The Insular Casesestablished a colonial relationship with the Philippines (Pomeroy 121-123). America eventually followed through with its promise to grant the Philippines fullindependence in 1946 after almost half a century of U.S. colonial rule. This period of colonialrule over the Philippines represented a unique era in the history of American foreign policy inwhich imperialism replaced traditional forms of expansionism. The race for empire that America
had entered would eventually propel America into two world wars and transform theisolationism of the Monroe Doctrine into the interventionism of the Truman Doctrine[vii].America had adopted a new foreign policy in which it sought to take an active role in the worldstage.
Works Cited―Chronology.‖ The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War. (1999): n. pag. Online. Internet. 19 Jan. 2000. Available http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/chronology.html.Corpuz, Onofre D. The Philippines. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965.Fry, Howard T. ―The Breakdown of the American Democratic Experiment in the Philippines: An Historical Analysis of a Crisis in Modernization.‖ Australian Journal of Politics and History. 23(3) (1977): 383-402.Henretta, James A., David Brody, and Lynn Dumenil. America: A Concise History. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin‘s, 1999.Jantzen, Steven L., Larry S. Krieger, and Kenneth Neill. World History: Perspectives on the Past. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1992.Karnow, Stanley. In Our Image: America‘s Empire in the Philippines. New York: Random House Inc., 1989.Lubragge, Michael T. ―ManifestDestiny.‖ The American Revolution - an .HTML project. Groningen: Department of Alfa-informatica, University of Groningen, 3 Jun. 1997. Six pp. Online. Internet. 19 Jan. 2000. Availablehttp://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/E/manifest/manifxx.htm.Monroe, James. The Monroe Doctrine. 1823. Online. The Freedom Shrine. Internet. 27 Jan. 2000. Availablehttp://www.freedomshrine.com/documents/monroe.html.O‘Sullivan, John L. ManifestDestiny. 1839. Online. South Hadley: Ferraro, 1999. Online. Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy Pre-1898. Internet. 27 Jan. 2000. Availablehttp://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/osulliva.htm.
Patrick, John. ―Lessons on the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.‖ Learning Materials for Secondary School Courses in American History, Government, and Civics. (1987): n. pag. Online. Internet. 19 Jan. 2000. Available http://www.statelib.lib.in.us/WWW/ihb/tlnword.html.Pomeroy, William J. An American Made Tragedy: Neo-Colonialism and Dictatorship in the Philippines. New York: International Publishers, 1974.Schoenherr, Steven. ―Daniel Boone and Kentucky.‖ (1999): n. pag. Online. Internet. 19 Jan. 2000. Availablehttp://ac.acusd.edu/history/classes/civ/boone.html.―Spanish-American War and Philippine Resistance.‖ U.S. Department of the Army: Army Area Handbooks. 1993. St. Louis. Online. UM-St. Louis Libraries. Internet 12 Mar. 2000. Available gopher://gopher.umsl.edu:70/00/library/govdocs/armyahbs/aahb4/aahb0247.Suzara, Raul. Personal interview. 16 Jan. 2000Trask, David. ―The Spanish-American War.‖ The World of 1898: The Spanish American War. (1998): n. pag. Online. Internet. 19 Jan. 2000. Available: http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/trask.html.Welch, Richard E., Jr. Response to Imperialism: The United States and the Philippine-American War, 1899-1902. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1979.Wolff, Leon. Little Brown Brother: How the United States Purchased and Pacified the Philippine Islands at the Century‘s Turn. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1961.
Endnotes During this period before the Civil War, slaveholding and non-slaveholding states vied forinfluence in the political arena. The balance between slave and free states was crucial. The Cuban resistance consisted entirely of guerrillas. The key to their success was to hideamong the villagers. General ValerianoWeyler y Nicolau recognized this. His policy ofreconcentration moved the Cuban civilians en masse to central locations under the control of theSpanish Army. The idea was to keep the civilians alive until Spain had won a victory.Unfortunately, more than 30 percent of the civilians died because of bad living conditions(Trask).[i] For more information on this, see: Schoenherr, Patrick paragraphs 9-10 and Henretta pp. 180-181.United States imperialism: ThePhilippinesIn the North American Review of January, 1900, is an articleentitled "A Filipino Appeal to the People of the UnitedStates," by ApolinarioMabini, formerly premier inAguinaldos cabinet. It professes to correct mis-statements offact prejudicial to the Filipino cause, and it concludes thus:
The facts which I have related clearly disprove the assertionby Americans that the Filipinos provoked the hostilities.. Thetruth is that the Filipino people have never felt disposed tomeasure their strength with powerful America, otherwiseAguinaldo could not have put up with so many infamousactions at the hands of the American generals. They havealways considered themselves little and insignificant besidethe American people and hence they never thought ofprovoking the Americans, for they have always been awarethat, even if they should gain a few victories, the fortunes ofwar would necessarily change as soon as reinforcementsarrived from America.And it is still more true that the Filipino people, educated bylong sufferings during the protracted dominion of Spain, havelearned to reflect and to judge things calmly, even in themidst of great excitement. They know that, no matter howgreat and civilized a people may be, it contains bad men aswell as good men; and, therefore, they do not condemn all.For the same reason they admire the bravery shown by theAmerican army in the recent fights; they still entertain,unalterably, that friendship towards the American peoplewhich places them above all other nations; they trust that thepopular government of America will not sink to the level ofthe theocratic government of Spain, and that the spirit ofjustice, now obscured by ambition, will again shine in theirfirmament, as the civic virtues of their ancestors shine in theirhistory and traditions.The Filipino people are struggling in defense of their libertiesand independence with the same tenacity and perseverance asthey have shown in their sufferings. They are animated by anunalterable faith in the justice of their cause, and they knowthat if the American people will not grant them justice thereis a Providence which punishes the crimes of nations as wellas of individuals.The report of the second Commission, of which Judge Taftwas chairman, was laid before Congress in January, 1901. Ithas much to say about the Friars, and the information is herequoted in substance:Ordinarily, the government of the United States and itsservants have little or no concern with religious societies orcorporations and their members. With us the Church is socompletely separated from the State that it is difficult to
imagine cases in which the policy of a church in the selectionof its ministers and the assignment of them to duty can beregarded as of political moment, or as a proper subject ofcomment in the report of a public officer. In the pacificationof the Philippines by our government, however, it isimpossible to ignore the great part which such a questionplays.By the revolutions of 1896 and 1898 against Spain all theDominicans, Augustinians, Recoletos and Franciscans actingas parish priests were driven from their parishes to takerefuge in Manila. Forty were killed and 403 were imprisonedand were not all released until by the advance of theAmerican troops it became impossible for the insurgents toretain them. Of the 1,124 who were in the islands in 1896only 472 remain. The remainder either perished, returned toSpain or went to China or South America.The burning political question, discussion of which stronglyagitates the people of the Philippines, is whether the membersof the four great orders of St. Dominic, St. Augustine, St.Francis and the Recoletos shall return to the parishes fromwhich they were driven by the revolution. Colloquially theterm "friars" includes the members of these four orders. TheJesuits, Capuchins, Benedictines and the Paulists, of whomthere are a few teachers here, have done only mission work orteaching, and have not aroused the hostility existing againstthe four large orders to which we are now about to refer.The truth is that the whole government of Spain in theseislands rested on the friars. To use the expression of theprovincial of the Augustinians, the friars were "the pedestal,or foundation, of the sovereignty of Spain in these islands,"which, being removed, "the whole structure would toppleover." The number of Spanish troops in these islands did notexceed 5,000 until the revolution. The tenure of office of thefriar curate was permanent. There was but little rotation ofpriests among the parishes. Once settled in a parish, a priestusually continued there until super-annuation. He was,therefore, a constant political factor for a generation. Thesame was true of the archbishop and the bishops. The civiland military officers of Spain in the islands were here for notlonger than four years, and more often for a less period. Thefriars, priests and bishops, therefore, constituted a solid,powerful, permanent, well organized political force in theislands which dominated politics. The stay of those officers
who attempted to pursue a course at variance with thatdeemed wise by the orders was invariably shortened bymonastic influence.Of the four great orders, one, the Franciscans, is notpermitted to own property, except convents and schools. Thisis not true of the other three. They own some valuablebusiness property in Manila, and have large amounts ofmoney to lend. But the chief property of these orders is inagricultural land. The total amount owned by the three ordersin the Philippines is approximately 403,000 acres.In the light of these considerations it is not wonderful that thepeople should regard the return of the friars to their parishesas a return to the conditions existing before the revolution.The common people are utterly unable to appreciate thatunder the sovereignty of the United States the position of thefriar as curate would be different from that under Spain.This is not a religious question, though it concerns theselection of religious ministers for religious communities.The Philippine people love the Catholic Church."The feeling against the friars is solely political. The peoplewould gladly receive as ministers of the Roman Catholicreligion any save those who are to them the embodiment ofall in the Spanish rule that was hateful. If the friars return totheir parishes, though only under the same police protectionwhich the American government is bound to extend to anyother Spanish subjects in these islands, the people will regardit as the act of that government. They have so long been usedto having every phase of their conduct regulated bygovernmental order that the coming again of the friars will beaccepted as an executive order to them to receive the friars ascurates with their old, all-absorbing functions. It is likely tohave the same effect on them that the return of GeneralWeyler under an American commission as governor of Cubawould have had on the people of that island."Those who are charged with the duty of pacifying theseislands may, therefore, properly have the liveliest concern ina matter which, though on its surface only ecclesiastical, is, inthe most important phase of it, political, and fraught with themost critical consequences to the peace and good order of thecountry in which it is their duty to set up civil government.We are convinced that a return of the friars to their parishes
From Fourth International, February 1946, Vol.7 No.2, pp.41-44.Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.The censorship imposed upon the Philippines after American ―liberation‖ began to be lifted inOctober. The growing crisis in the Islands, developing toward civil war, made it necessary forthe Truman administration to begin to prepare the American public for bloody measures.Official documents state the issue very clearly. In a letter dated October26, 1945,to Paul V.McNutt, former Philippines High Commissioner, Truman wrote:In the provinces near Manila thousands of sharecroppers organized some years ago to demand amore equitable division of the product of their labor. For several years there was no effectivesolution of the problem.During the war the tenants organized a guerrilla army which Reportedly did good work againstthe enemy. After the enemy was defeated in their localities, they did not disband, and today theyconstitute a special problem which threatens the stability of the government.How threatening, is explained by Limlangen, Governor of Pampanga Province. He confesses thatthe government could not exist without ―the efficient handling of well-trained units of the UnitedStates Army assigned to help maintain peace and order.‖ The peasantry, he added, clearly saythey await only the withdrawal of American troops in order to settle past accounts.What kind of settlement do they want? In the recent Yamashita trial a report of the U.S. ArmyCounter-Intelligence Corps was introduced which describes the agrarian guerrilla movement, theHukbalahaps, as follows: ―It is one of the largest and most powerful guerrilla organizationsincentral Luzon. It owes no allegiance to the United States, the Philippine Commonwealth or Japan…. Its policy is definitely Communistic … Its plans include the establishment of a CommunistGovernment in the Philippines after the war on the early Russian model.‖ (my emphasis—C.A.)The Hukbalahaps, or Huks, take their name from their formal Tagalog title, Hukbong BayanLaban saHapon—Peoples Anti-Japanese Army. Everyone admits they fought well. Brigadier.General Decker of the U.S. Army calls them ―one of the best Fighting units I have ever known.‖However, they killed not only Japanese but also rich Philippine collaborators, hated landlordsand usurers. Now they refuse to disarm. These men and women trust no one but themselves; theiractions make it clear that they fought in their own name and for their own ends.The Philippine bourgeoisie prospered under 40 years of American rule; the peasants and workerslived in starvation. Illness and servitude. Claude Buss, a former ranking member of the U.S.Commissionin the Philippines, says in the December 1944 Fortune:At the outbreak of the war the very rich in the Philippines lived on the scale of aristocrats inSpain or in the United States. They had fabulous homes, automobiles, racing stables, fantasticparties, and the virtues and vices of luxury …. At the opposite end of the Social scale were the
taos or peasants. They lived in one or two room huts and ate fish and rice. They worked in fieldsfor 30 or 40 cents a day and paid over a good share of their wages to the landlord or usurer.Buss describes one-half of the population as illiterate. Two thirds of the adults have had noschooling, two-fifths never went beyond the fourth grade.Wall Street fostered and protected the growth of this parasitic wealthy Philippine ruling class toaid U.S. domination. The Philippine Constabulary, especially trained by U.S. officers, protectsthe possessing class. The native bankers, landlords, merchants and usurers maintain their corruptrule through one party—the Nacionalista Party.The Filipino small farmer and tenant live in the squalor and misery which peasants throughoutthe whole world know, including those of the United States itself. The Filipinos have beenpushed down into increasing poverty. Whereas in 1918 there were 1,500,000 farms operated bytheir owners, by 1938 the number had shrunk to 804,000. As wealth concentrated at the top,hand-to-mouth tenantry swelled at the bottom. In 1918 there were 435,000 tenants; by 1938about 575,000.The tenant or sharecropper must give 50 percent of his crop to the landlord. He has to borrowmoney when prices of the crops are low. He must pay back at a time advantageous to thelandlord—who stores his share of the crop, waiting for the most favorable price.Monstrous Usury SystemThe peasant, like all peasants throughout Asia, is in the grip of a monstrous usury system. Hepays interest rates from 100 to 400 percent. The landlord, the government official, and the usurerall work together. They all bear arms. Buss describes one region where ―30,000 peons (live) atthe mercy of one landlord, usurer, official.‖ This landlord, holding all three posts, incarnates thecapitalist class itself, which as a rule does not reveal its domination of property, finance andgovernment so nakedly.According to Buss, the sugar plantation owners keep three sets of books—one for thegovernment, one for the labor representatives, and one for themselves.In past years there have been desperate agrarian outbreaks, Crushed by violence while the criesof the victims were stifled by censorship. The Sakdalista revolt in the middle-thirties extendedover four provinces. Crowds of starving people broke into the rice warehouses. They weredemanding clean politics, tax revisions, tenantry reforms. The Philippine Constabulary shot themdown.But despite persecution, unions and peasant organizations have grown. In Pampanga Province in1940 the Socialist Party elected the mayors and councils of the eight largest towns. This provinceis today a Huk stronghold. In the elections of 1941, however, the conduct of the bourgeoisie wasso corrupt and illegal, that Pedro Abed Santos, Socialist candidate for President, gave up his
candidacy several weeks before the election date, declaring there was no possibility of an honestelection.On December7, 1941 the AMT (General Confederation of Workers) asked MacArthur for armsto defend themselves against the Japanese. They were refused and their leaders and spokesmenthrown into prison. With the breakdown of U.S. rule, the AMT, the MPMP (NationalConfederation of Peasants) and the PKM (National Peasants Party) set up the Huk movement onMarch 29, 1942.They were aided by the Socialists and Stalinists who had merged into a singleparty in 1938.Avisantos, the original leader and a Socialist, was killed fighting. Luis Taruc,described as a former Socialist, head of the General Confederation of Workers, took his place.Centered in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, and Laguna, the Hukfighters seized their arms from the Japanese. Later, in November1942, a small Chinese force, theWah Chi, linked to the Stalinist Yenan government in China, aided the Huks.During the Japanese occupation there were clashes between the Huks and the other guerrillagroups, set up by the American Army. Nevertheless, the Stalinists, through such Huk membersas they were able to confuse and mislead, attempted to bring the movement under the dominationof U.S. imperialism in line with the Stalinist policy of all-out support of the imperialist war.Thus, the Daily Worker of September 15, 1945 proudly cites the case of one Huk member,called ―Welman,‖ who ―had urged the Huk soldiers on their duty to apply for induction‖ underthe Americans to help carry on the war against Japan. In this same report the Daily Workerprotests about the injustice of the Americans who arrested ―Welman‖ the very next day. Huksquadrons were being seized and disarmed, and the Daily Worker again cites with approval thememo sent to the American officers by the Huk leader in Tarlac, E. Aquino, objecting to thearrests and asking that all Huk units be ―inducted.‖ He pleaded that ―our common hope is for aspeedy victory over Japan.‖The Wall Street imperialists however pursued a brutal and bloody policy toward the Huks.Following plans laid down in advance, the Americans immediately arrested Huk Commander inChief Luis Taruc, and Castro Alejandrino. They were kept in prison for seven months withouttrial.Most sinister is the Malalos incident. The Huk squadrons 77 and 97 fought to the gates of Manilawith the American 6th Army. When the Japanese retreated, they were curtly ordered to disarm.―As the disarmed men passed through the rich little town of Malaloswhich was in Americanhands (my emphasis—C. A.)they were attacked and liquidated by a guerrilla unit under aFilipino named Maclang, who the Huks claimed was a collaborationist.‖ Later evidence showedthat they were first imprisoned, then led out, 2 or 3 at a time, and shot. 109 were thus massacred.―The Americans arrested Maclang but held him only three days. Later he was made mayor ofMalalos.‖ (DarrillBernegan, Far Eastern Editor of the New York Post, writing from Manila,December 3, 1945.)Role of Native Capitalists
Backed by American military might, the Philippine capitalists are now murdering Huk leaderswho distinguished themselves in the guerrilla fighting. And what was the role of this nativecapitalist class itself under Japanese rule? All testimony agrees that they collaborated. ClaudeBuss, who was interned in the islands for two years, says: ―Tokyo has at least succeeded inpasting its label upon practically every well-known leader of the former Nacionalista party.‖ Atthe same time Buss puts forward the familiar imperialist alibi for white-washing the wealthycollaborators. ―Conceivably the politicos have rendered a service to the Philippine nation thatcould not have been rendered if the government had been taken over by irresponsible elements orby the Japanese themselves.‖ (Fortune, December 1944).This argument is boldly advanced by the collaborators themselves who now dominate the presentOsmena government. Three Collaborationist Supreme Court Justices are back in their posts.Brigadier-General Manual Roxas helped draft the puppet government Constitution and wasMinister without Portfolio in the Cabinet of José P. Laurel, the puppet President. Nevertheless,Roxas is today President of the Philippine Senate. Roxas boldly proclaims: ―there is no suchthing as a collaborator.‖ Backed by the support of the Philippine industrialists and landowners,he drove out of office, Tomas Confesor, a liberal guerrilla leader who got a Cabinet Post fromPresident Osmena in the early days of American ―liberation.‖The masses watch the return of the collaborationist to power with bitterness and rising anger. Bya tremendous demonstration, marching to the Presidential palace 40,000 strong, they forced therelease of Luis Taruc and Alejandrino. They further put forward these moderate demands.
1. Discontinuance of illegal searches, unwarranted arrests and third degree methods used in exacting confessions. 2. Increase in peasants share of the harvest. 3. Minimum daily wage of 3 pesos ($1.50) for workers. 4. Purchase of large landed estates and their sale in small parcels to present occupants. 5. Prompt prosecution of known pro-Japanese persons in high official and commercial positions.Philippine economy has been smashed to the ground by successive invasions. The black marketrages. Bridges, railroads, all transport and the large cities are destroyed. The American Army istoday the largest employer, and thousands are glad to work for their meals alone.The landlords who were afraid to go to the fields in the past three years are now demanding thatthe tenants pay 50 percent of their crops for those years – or else suffer ejection. The tenants,who staked their lives, keep their arms, hold to the land, and refuse to be ejected. Thus thePhilippines hover on the verge of civil war with only the U.S. Army maintaining a semblance of―law and order.‖ Meanwhile, the only action of the Philippine Government to alleviate themisery left by the war was to pass through Congress a bill to pay the Congressmen their salariesfor the past three years.The U.S. ruling class secured the Philippines as a by product of the Spanish-American War, withwhich it formally made its debut into the society of the imperialists. The American public, up tothis time, had never even heard of the Philippines. But their attention was centeredsympathetically on the struggles of the Cubans for freedom from Spain. Secretly, TheodoreRoosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, sent Admiral Dewey with his fleet to the FarEast, to plan his attack upon the Philippines, two months before outbreak of the Spanish-American War. The sinking of the battleship Maine in the Harbor of Havana, Cuba—by nobodyknows whom—furnished the pretext. The terrified Spaniards, knowing they were doomed,consented to American demands on April 9, 1898. President McKinley delivered his warmessage to Congress, regardless, the next day. American imperialism was not to be cheated outof this war.The war was over in 3 months. In two battles the Spanish fleets were destroyed completely andSpanish imperialism knocked down to a third rate power.All other sections of world capitalism looked on greedily. The American Ambassador in Berlinreported, ―the German government clearly regards the emergency in the East as one from whichshe must gain something or lose prestige with Europe and even with her own people.‖ Germanbattleships sailed into Manila Harbor and maneuvered near Dewey‘s fleet. But the Americanimperialists were in no mood to divide the booty. The Germans and all other capitalists were soinformed in a blunt New York Times editorial. ―We ... acknowledge no overlord to tell us howfar we may profit by the excellence of our gunnery and the valor of our troops.‖Now began the five-year war against our allies, the ―liberated‖ Filipinos. Admiral Dewey hadrefused the first Spanish offer to surrender Manila, because ―I had no force with which to occupythe city and I would not for a moment consider the possibility of turning it over to the
undisciplined insurgents.‖ The actual Manila surrender was arranged by the Spaniards holdingout the Filipinos on one side and letting the Americans in on the other. General Andersonreported how he kept the Filipinos out of their city by ―interposing our troops and placingartillery to command their positions.‖ There followed a period of diplomatic stalling, becauseDewey felt he didn‘t have sufficient troops. Individual travelers reported peace in the interior.The people were setting up a Republic. But the Americans spoke of ―disorder‖ and the necessityto ―put it down.‖When more troops arrived, the Americans began the conquest. Two years of fighting and threeyears of guerrilla warfare followed. In the war with Spain the United States lost only 379 menkilled in action, although 5,462 died in disease-infected soldiers‘ camps, most of them in theUnited States. In the war against the Filipinos 60,000 troops were used; 4,300 were killed.American AtrocitiesImperialism degrades both the conquered and the conquerors. The American soldiers wereinflamed to race hatred and atrocities by their own officers. The Filipino resistance was finallybroken by terror. Censorship covered the reign of massacre and torture until its purpose had beengained. After a later storm of protest in the United States, a face-saving investigation waslaunched.L.F. Adams, private in a Missouri regiment, wrote home, ―We burned all their houses. I don‘tknow how many men, women and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take anyprisoners.‖General Bell estimated that in ―pacifying‖ Luzon, one-sixth of the population died. That wouldbe about 600,000.The official Secretary of War‘s Memorandum of February 17, 1901 reveals the conduct of theofficers—and their punishment. Some random examples: ―The punishment inflicted by Lieutenant Thomas was very severe and amounted almost to torture and his actions cannot be too much deplored nor too emphatically denounced.‖ Fined $300—reprimanded for cruelty and assaulting prisoners. Captain Brandle—tortured prisoners by hanging them by the neck for ten seconds.— Reprimanded. The infamous Brigadier-General Jacob H. Smith ―pacified‖ the Island of Samar, instructing his officer, Major L.T. Waller, ―I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn. The more you will kill and burn, the better you will please me.‖ (Secretary of War Root‘s letter to President T.R. Roosevelt, July 12, 1902.)The official report further states: ―He did give to said Major Waller further instructions that he(General Smith) wanted all persons killed who were capable of bearing arms, and did, in reply to
a question by said Major Waller, asking for an age limit, designate the age limit as ten years ofage ….‖Japanese General Yamashita, sentenced to hang for the atrocities committed in the interests ofhis imperialism, should have asked for the punishment of Brigadier-General Smith, who was alsofound guilty. His punishment—sentenced ―to be admonished by the reviewing authority.‖American imperialism had its hands full with the Filipinos. Consequently it struck a typicalimperialist bargain with its rival, Japan, then fighting Korean insurgence. In the cynical Taft-Katsura agreement of July 29, 1905, Secretary of War Taft agreed not to disturb Japaneseauthority in Korea. In return, Premier Katsura agreed not to disturb American rule in thePhilippines. This agreement among brigands was kept entirely secret by President TheodoreRoosevelt, and by his emissary Taft, who later became President. It was revealed only years laterin 1924, accidentally turned up by a historian, browsing among T.R. Roosevelt‘s papers.Independence Question Postponed AgainA puppet Philippine government was set up in 1907 by a restricted election in which onlyproperty holders—about 100,000—could vote. An American Governor-General ruled with vetopower. Future ―independence‖ was continually talked about; it never came.After the first World War, the triumphant American bourgeoisie tightened their grip on thePhilippines. They sent a new Governor-General, booted and spurred, the true symbol of thecolonial administrator. General Wood demonstratively withdrew the minor concessionsWoodrow Wilson had previously granted, abolished his Council of State (although it only hadadvisory powers), took Cabinet Departments away from the Legislature, and used only militarymen as his assistants.The weak Philippine capitalist class had previously made use of ―Nationalization‖ to obtain stateaid for their growth. They had set up a National Bank, a National Coal Company, a NationalDevelopment Corporation and operated the Manila Railroad. Wall Street did not want suchexamples of public ownership; General Wood forced their transfer into the hands of privatecapitalists.The Philippine bourgeoisie kept up a continual clamor for independence. By this agitation theykept political influence over their own people who deeply desired it. Investigations anddiscussions followed. Minor concessions were again made by Stimson who replaced Wood.But in 1931 Japan smashed into China. World War II began to loom up. Once again the questionof Philippine Independence was postponed. The Roosevelt Administration passed theIndependence Act of 1934, setting up the Commonwealth Government for 1935 and pledgingcomplete independence on July 4, 1945. This date was later postponed for one year. Thesetwelve years have been ominous ones; World War II has brought all questions and all pledges upfor reexamination.
The economic relationship with the United States is most important for the Philippinebourgeoisie. They sell their sugar, hemp, copra, tobacco in the rich tariff-protected Americanhome market. But after the conquest of 1898, Wall Street found the Caribbean and LatinAmerican areas to be of greater profit for itself. A section of the American capitalists are anxiousto break the ties. The most eloquent defenders of independence on the U.S. Senate floor havebeen the Utah beet sugar Senators and the Louisiana cane sugar Senators. Adding their voices arethe representatives of the dairy and tobacco interests.Economic ―independence‖ for the Philippine bourgeoisie would be like amputation. 78% of theirexports go to the United States; 67% of their imports come from there. Just placing a 5% tariffon Philippine imports to the United States for 1941, as required by the 1934 Act, caused a crisis.Congress had to suspend the tariff rates which were supposed to steadily increase. Today theworld is ruined by the war, and the Philippines itself is ravaged. Where could the Philippinebourgeoisie find customers or markets? It is clear that they cannot survive as an independentcapitalist nation. And in addition, they face a raging political and social crisis at home.Both Paul V. McNutt, now renominated to be High Commissioner in the Philippines by Truman,and Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, issued statements in March 1945, counseling thePhilippines against independence. Truman in October spoke guardedly about a ―necessaryprogram of Rehabilitation ... a determination of the fundamental problems involved in ourmutual relationship after independence.‖The Philippines, of course, cannot gain genuine independence of the mighty economic, financialand military power of American capitalism. The question, however, of a spurious ―formal‖independence is still open and there is evidently division among the Wall Street masters. Wm.Philip Simms, Foreign News Editor of the New York World-Telegram, goes so far as to writein his column (September 8, 1945), ―The Philippines are going to get their independence on orbefore July 4, 1946, as planned, despite rumors to the contrary. The assurance comes from thehighest source.‖Wall Street has certain fixed demands. Secretary of the Navy Forrestal on May 26, 1945proclaimed that the United States ―will continue to bear responsibility for the security of thePhilippines and will have bases and strategic areas supporting those bases to carry out thatresponsibility.‖ This is axiomatic, for the Philippine bases are needed to form part of a greatfortified perimeter extending throughout the Pacific.It is already clear that whether Wall Street grants a spurious ―independence‖ to the Philippines ornot will not make a decisive difference. The day when the colonial struggle could be assuaged bysuch ―concessions‖ has long passed. The Philippine struggle for freedom has already beenmerged with its struggle for social and economic freedom. The struggle of the Philippine masseshas already merged with the national and class struggles now raging in Indonesia, Indo-China,China. It is only on that broader arena, and united with the socialist struggles of the west, that thePhilippine masses will finally achieve their victory.Top of page
Main FI Index | Main Newspaper IndexEncyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists‘ Internet ArchiveThis work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freelycopy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Pleasecredit the Encyclopedia of Trotskism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, andnote any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.U.S Imperialism in the PhilippinesTimeline created by gdavis in HistoryTimeline Text view Event Event Title: Event Description: Date: Jose Rizal publishes an Noil Me Tangere (The Lost Eden) popularizes 06/14/1886 anti-Spanish novel the independence sentiment. Spanish execute Rizal for instigating 08/26/1896 Spanish execute Rizal insurrection; public outrage spawns a rebellion. Commodore George Dewey attacks Manila Harbor where he faces the Spanish naval The U.S. attacks a presence. 12 hours later the spanish surrendered 05/01/1898 Spanish Fleet in Manila their naval base in Manila Harbor as 10 of their Harbor ships lay destroyed. Fun Fact- Only 1 American soldier was killed. Taft improves economic conditions, settles disputes over church ownership of land, 01/17/1902 Insurrection Ends establishes pensionado program, allowing Filipinos to study in the U.S., which helped modernize and westernize the country. The U.S. passes The The Jones Law establishes elected Filipino 10/19/1916 Jones Law legislature with the house and the senate. A plebiscite approves the ManulOuezon is the first president. The establishment of the 03/19/1935 Philippines is promised full independence Commonwealth of the within 10 years. Philippines. U.S. gives The Manuel Roxas y Acuna is elected as the first 12/31/1946 Philippines their president of the new republic. freedom
Peace Treaty is Signed Philippines eventually recieves $800m in 05/20/1951 with Japan reparations payments. Timespan Timespan Title: Timespan Description: Dates: 05/19/1542 The Spanish have control over the Phillippines The Spanish have to until 1901 when the Americans attack the control of the Philippines 09/30/1901 Spanish and take control of the land. 01/01/1898 Colonization of the United States wanted the Philippines to be a US to Philippines by the US colony and make them Americans. 12/31/1946 02/04/1899 The Filipinos fight the Americans for The Philippine- to independence from America so they can American War 07/04/1902 become their own nation.o step in and reap the benefits of Spains loss. The independence movement in struggle within thePhilippines, the Spaniards in retreat, and the outward-looking Americans were destined toconverge on each other, and did so in a war that portrays American foreign policys true intentand sets the precedent for the next 100 years.The reasons for American expansion and imperialism were relatively clear and in the publicdomain, as they still are. The primary concern of the US has been, and continues to be, business.Being one of the few countries largely founded by corporations, the US retains its heritage andrespective focus. When the US does not actively cater to the needs of specific businessmen,companies, and industries, it, at the very least, takes into account the necessity of the Americanbusiness climate and recognizes how it can facilitate a larger business market.Business itself relies on two different elements, input and output. The input is necessary toachieve the marketable product, the output. Expansion into other countries serves both of theseelements: it secures the raw materials needed by many diverse industries and provides a marketfor those finished goods.The political forces in the US, the US military, and the business community directly sponsoredthis suitable relationship. The businesses state their "concerns" to the politicians in Congress andthe White House, who then order the military or some paramilitary group, such as todays CIA,to carry out those orders.At the turn of the century, US politicians were weighing concerns other than purely businessones. They were also becoming players in the international empire scene. Since the US neverreally had colonies of its own that it took over from non-Europeans, it had to settle for takingover colonies from other colonial powers, a practice called neo-colonialism. The US wasattempting to join the prestigious ranks of Great Britain, France, Portugal, the Dutch, Germany,Japan, and Spain. Spain, being in the decline, is the country that the US wisely singled out toreplace. Thus, the US established itself as a world power and placed itself amongst the otherworld powers.
By listening only to William McKinley, one would believe that the USs intentions in the "matterof the Philippines" were motivated out of benign humanism: the US simply wanted to help themrule themselves, because they were, of course, not fit to do it themselves. His reasoning for whythis was an American responsibility was simple: God had chosen the US to do it, to Christianizethe country-- properly this time (since the Spanish had already introduced Catholicism, whichwas not true "Christianity").2To most Americans, the Filipinos werent even Catholic-- they were pagans. Thus, it was theduty of America to teach them proper religion, educate them accordingly, instruct them how tofarm, build, and copulate correctly, etc. The policy makers in the US saw it as the responsibilityof the US to assimilate a foreign people on their own land to Western ways, just as the previouscolonial power, Spain had done.In addition to the desires of these planners to control the foreign population of the Philippines,they also wanted to control the domestic population. Just as they "shouted[sic] that Filipinos andNegroes were not" fit to govern themselves, Americans were also considered unfit to governthemselves.3 In a precedence that later produced similar results in both World Wars, the VietnamWar (for a while, at least), and the Persian Gulf War, a conflict was incited in order to unite UScitizens behind the US government, economy, and political system.This era was a time of previously unheard of dissent and unrest, coming from both the agrarian(rural) and industrial (urban) sectors, in the form of Granges and Farmer Alliances, and laborunions. With the frequency of strikes and related violence increasing in the US, there seemed tobe a growing demand for a social revolution (or some would call it a Socialist Revolution).Political leaders have been very astute in noticing that an international conflict (especially with arace that is dissimilar in appearance) will cause people to forget about their internal struggles andunite together to fight the external "enemy". Theodore Roosevelt knew this, as did George Bush.The perception of the American people was manipulated by the press and politicians, whoescalated the conflict in Cuba, and then consequently in the Philippines. The American peoplewere given a number of reasons for why the US had to expand: the US had run out of frontierand needed more land; if the US didnt, others would expand in to it; it was Americas "duty" tobring its version of civilization to the Filipinos; and that businesses simply needed the markets.As much as the common person despised big business, they also realized that a foreign marketrepresented more work for them (and, ideally, more job security) and customers for theiragricultural and industrial products. Americans would have to wait a number of decades beforethey could see the evolutionary result of this global corporatization, which has denied manyAmericans their jobs, without fundamentally changing the client-state relationship.Due to this perception, some labor unions began supporting the American invasion of thePhilippines, although nearly all socialists and anarchists decried it. In every case where a unionpublicly supported the war, the workers perceived a direct personal, fiscal benefit from it, such asin the case of the Typographical Union who saw the expanse of the printing industry from moreEnglish-speaking territories, would the Philippines be properly annexed and assimilated.
These policies and actions didnt, of course, conjure themselves out of thin air: they arose fromthe handiwork of a number of American men who were responsible for the design of theAmerican empire that still exists today.The noted historian and playwright, Gore Vidal lists what he calls the Four Horsemen-- theindividuals who created the nexus for Americas rise to Empire: Alfred Thayer Mahan, TheodoreRoosevelt, Brooks Adams, and Henry Cabot Lodge. These individuals controlled andmanipulated their respective domains of the political structure to ensure the ends they desired.4Mahan was a historian and naval officer who wrote "The Influence of Sea Power on History,1660-1783". He laid out the central tenets of how the US should go about creating its empire, viaexpanding into the Pacific Ocean with coaling stations and military bases, and protecting theCaribbean Sea and Latin America from other like-thinking imperial powers.Roosevelt was able to get himself appointed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, where undera weak and indifferent Secretary, he started building the USs navy up with new steel ships, inaddition to making distinct policy plans. After leading the photo-op charge up San Juan Hill inCuba, he became a "national figure" and ran as McKinleys Vice President, only to becomePresident himself when McKinley was assassinated.Adams, a historian/geopolitician, had lots of theories on how to build empires and he applied histheories of centralization and economics to Mahans. Comptons Encyclopedia Online commentsat length on the Adams family tree and has this to say on Brooks Adams: he was "[a] believer inevolution, the theory of biological change from simple to complex life forms, Brooks developedtheories that occupied him most of his life: that history moves in cycles, that all nations movethrough patterned stages, and that history is a science."5Lodge, a Republican senator from Massachusetts, led Congress in its push for war with Spainand the annexation of the Philippines. He chaired the Committee on the Philippines, whichattempted to determine the fate of the Philippines. The Committee eventually was coerced byother senators to investigate the war that had developed in the Philippines, yet Lodge resisted tothese hearings, which started January 28, 1902. Nonetheless, he was still effective in keepingthem "on track".6In addition to the designers, others facilitated, helped, and executed the invasion of thePhilippines and the creation of empire. President William McKinley regularly made religiousstatements in form of pleas to the publics moral, missionary spirit, all the while negotiating withlarge industrialists and businessmen. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, bothnewspaper editors in New York, accelerated the affairs in Cuba and the "conventional wisdom"of the necessity for empire creation.7 Admiral George Dewey was the commodore of the AsiaticSquadron of the US Navy when Roosevelt sent him to Manila Bay, ending in the completedestruction of the Spanish armada in the bay. John Hay was an academic policy planner likeAdams who became Secretary of State, and later wrote the Open Door Notes which officiallydeclared the US as a world power by stating that no one could intrude upon its territory and thatthe Chinese needed to open their markets up to the US and others. Finally, Albert Beveridge,
another Republican senator (from Indiana), sat on the Committee on the Philippines and assumedthe role of defending the USs course in the Philippines.8The actual result of the Spanish-American War and the war of Filipino "insurrection" were notall that unpredictable when considering the state-of-art US Naval fleet, the industrial andeconomical capacity of the US, and the lack of suitable armaments, defensive equipment, andpersonnel on the behalf of both the Spanish and the Filipinos. What was unpredictable at thetime was the degree of success and precedence that it would set-- in the form of a foreign policythat would not deviate in any fundamental fashion for the next hundred years.Thus, the actually war itself doesnt lend much evidence to critical analysis of this policy. Yet, abrief overview is in order. After the successful intervention into Cuba, the US annexed Hawaii inJuly of 1898 and Wake Island later that summer. The last vestiges of Spanish control wereoverrun before the peace treaty with Spain (and a $20 million "sorry for the mess" fee) occurredin December 1898, officially giving the US permission to occupy the islands. By February 1899,the Filipinos revolted against American rule, led by EmilianoAuginaldo-- the very man that theUS used to help usurp the Spaniards from Manila. The fighting was ignited by an Americansoldier who fired and killed a Filipino two days before the US Congress was scheduled to voteon the Spanish-American Peace Treaty. Not surprisingly, shortly after the fighting started, theSenate ratified a treaty of Philippine annexation by one vote.By mid-1901 the US had squashed the Filipino independence movement, although fightingcontinued on separate islands for many more years. Fifteen times as many US soldiers died in thePhilippines than did in Cuba and the war cost the US $600 million (although spurring on the warindustry machine and the US economy). At the same time, 200,000 Filipinos died, of which only1 out of every 10 were combatants.9In a closer analysis of the logical extensions of the American invasion of the Philippines, onesees that many of the reasons the invasion took place still exist today for other actions the UScarries out. For example, this is the period in US history in which the greatest amount of armingtook place in the American military, to the point where when World War I started, the US wasnearly on an even "playing-field" as the rest of the European powers.George Orwell was not, of course, writing at the time of the Philippine "Insurrection", but it isassured that he would have appreciated the language used by the United States government todescribe its intervention in to that countrys affairs, especially after Spain had left. As in the casewhere Admiral Dewey remarks, "I thought they would be friendly to us and would help up; andthey were very ungrateful, I think, in turning against us after what we had done for them."10 Whatthe US "did" for the Filipinos it also did to a much greater extent for itself and without theinterest of those ungrateful Filipinos in mind at all.Whenever discussing the matter of the Philippines to average American, politicians werecautious to use only the terms "help" and not "business". "National interests" as a term came intousage at this time, as it became to be analogous to "business interests"; the educated knew this,but the rest of the public were simply led to believe that somehow these "national interests"improved their lives more than indirectly through fattening the pockets of industrialists.
William McKinley spoke at length for the reasons for US intervention in the Philippines, and hismost honest statements came when he described his own decision-making conclusions: First, theislands couldnt go back to Spain (that would be cowardly and dishonorable). Secondly, Franceand Germany couldnt be allowed to control them (he politely didnt mention Britain), since thatwould be bad business practice. Third, under no condition could they be turned over to theFilipinos for self-rule, since they were unfit for democracy and "Western civilization". Thus, itwas clear that the US had to do something on its own, because, of course, no other state wascapable of it, nor justified. In the process, McKinley said, the US would educate them, upliftthem, civilize them, and Christianize them.11The first two reasons McKinley gives appear to be just like the policies that relatively equalstates do with each other-- playing the "look out for #1" game. However, his reasoning thatindependence wasnt possible doesnt derive from the fact that the US was willing to give it(which was undoubtedly untrue), but because the Filipinos wouldnt be able to governthemselves. This can be easily interpreted to mean that the Filipinos would not choose to governtheir country in a way that was acceptable to the US. Woodrow Wilson, 16 years later, publiclydeclared the rights of states to determine their own course and destiny, but then sent Americanwarships into a port in Veracruz, Mexico, for "refusing to apologize to the United States with atwenty-one gun salute," killing a hundred Mexicans in the process. In the same fashion, WilliamMcKinley publicly implied that he wanted states to rule themselves (if "capable"), but privatelymade every attempt to control states whether directly as in the Philippines or indirectly such as inthe case of Cuba.12By joining the "club of imperial powers", the US got "dragged" into the First World War in1914, which was between imperial powers, and started from nothing more than a reactionaryassassination and rapid-mobilization policies, and then accelerated out of control, in a waysimilar to how fights can break out so easily at sporting matches between opposing fans.13Later, when World War II started, the US stayed out, and didnt seem to notice the atrocitiesoccurring in Eastern Europe, and it was only until the homogeny and business interests of the USwas threatened in the Pacific Ocean-- by Japanese imperialism and their attack upon PearlHarbor-- that the US finally joined with the Allied Powers.After WWII, the US retained its outwardly "moral" objectives by supporting governments whoopposed communism, which was portrayed (quite accurately in the case of the USSR) as beingtotalitarian and brutally repressive. The truth of the matter is that these governments were oftencalled "democratic"-- as in the cases of Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey,Indonesia, and other states-- while they were, more often than not, military dictatorships oroligarchies. These states clearly have/had a long history of repression towards their citizens. Inthis respect the goal of the US was very similar to that in the Philippines-- supporting anygovernments who fostered a preferable and open economic climate to US products andbusinesses, be it in the form of raw materials or cheap labor. Or, those who claimed to suitablyanti-communist, for propaganda reasons.14In addition to the policy that was generated from the war in the Philippines, the very firstmassive, organized protests against war in the US occurred, leading some to call the American-
Philippines War the USs first "Vietnam". Unlike in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the reasonsfor opposition to US involvement in the Philippines werent totally because of opposition toimperialism (although many were); many, such as some who composed the Anti-ImperialistLeague, felt that the US shouldnt "help" out the Philippines and should concentrate on domesticmatters. They embodied quite a bit of subtle racism, like Roosevelt did, but unlike Rooseveltthey didnt see the need to intervene "benignly". In Vietnam, the US waged a war on anoverwhelmingly civilian population to control it and it to US subservience. However, by the timeof the Vietnam War much of the major opposition to that certain war revolved around thebelligerence of the US, the suffering of the Vietnamese, the unwillingness of American troops tofight, etc.15This is not to suggest, however, that there wasnt dissent within the army during the war in thePhilippines. In fact, like the Vietnam War, much of the dissatisfaction came from black soldierswho at the time were segregated. Many went AWOL, deserted, or actively joined forces with theFilipinos once in the Philippines and after having seen the conditions of the people living thereand the way that they were treated by their own army. Once returning to the US, many blacksopenly spoke out against the USs actions in the Philippines and also the racism they experiencedwhen they were not treated equally as white soldiers who returned victoriously.16White soldiers as well questioned the motives of the American-Philippine War, often becausethey were ordered to target "everything over 10"; as in Vietnam, everyone was considered anenemy collaborator.17The concept of extending US authority over other countries started during the Spanish-AmericanWar with Cuba, which was left independent, but very "open to American business interests".This is the same policy that drives the US in its Middle East policy: keeping Israel as a deterrentto Arab self-determinism and forcing openness to American (and British) oil companies. Thus,when Iraq decided to challenge the Western-installed monarchy of Kuwait by invading it in1990, the US stepped in to create a stronger US presence in the Persian Gulf and to curb thethreat of nationalism which could disrupt oil companies.18It becomes vividly clear that the policies of the US are a linear progression built upon thestruggle to control the Philippines, and not scattered, unconnected decisions. Ever since theAmerican attempt to enforce its will upon the Philippines was initially blocked by the Filipinopeople, the US has extended itself to whatever lengths to accomplish its goals-- creatingAmerican prominence abroad while creating stable trade environments and jumping points toother markets-- which remain unchanged. Notes1. Zinn, Howard "A Peoples History of the United States: 1492-Present", New York:HarperCollins, 1995, pp.290-291.2. Ginger, Ray "Age of Excess", Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 1975, p.214.3. Vidal, Gore "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire", Berkeley: Odonian Press, 1992,pp.16-17.4. Ibid, pp.10-11.
5. Comptons Encyclopedia Online, Keyword: "Brooks Adams", Source:http://www.optonline.com/comptons/ceo/00043_A.html6. Graff, Henry F. (ed) "American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection", Boston: Little,Brown and Company, 1969, pp. xvi and xx.7. Porter, Kimberly, class lecture November 5, 1999 in "History 407: Rise of IndustrialAmerica", at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. The effect of media influence hasgrown exponentially since it was first utilized in the Spanish-American War.8. "American Imperialism", pp. xvii and xx.9. Couttie, Robert "The War in the Philippines", Source:http://www.spanam.simplenet.com/Philippines.htm10. "American Imperialism", p.13. Interview of Admiral George Dewey called "Was there a dealwith Aguinaldo?"11. "Peoples History of the US", pp.305-306.12. Ibid, p.349.13. Ibid, p.350.14. Chomsky, Noam "Deterring Democracy", New York: Hill and Wang, 1992, pp.45-58.15. "American Imperialism", p. xv. Points to connection to Vietnam War.16. "Peoples History of the US", pp.310-313.17. Ibid, p. 308. This astonishing quote is ghastly similar to statements made after massacres inVietnam, such as My Lai.18. "Deterring Democracy", pp.407-423. U.S. History from the 1864 to 1917