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American Imperialism in the Philippines:


                              A Revolution in American Foreign Policy


                                           Carlos Macasaet




                                             English 11


                                          American History


                                           17 March 2000


                                               Outline


Thesis: 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 of

America.
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, America

captured the Philippines. This brought about questions of what America should do with the

Philippines. Soon, controversy ensued both in the American political arena as well as among its

citizens. Throughout its history, America had always been expansionistic, but it had always

limited 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 to

the 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 Europe

and sought to conquer the Philippines as an imperialist colony that they would rule either directly

or indirectly.


        Throughout its development, America has molded its expansionist policies, which it

confined to the North American continent. The ordinances of 1784, 1785 and 1787 governed the

acquisition and administration of new territory, which set a precedent for establishing future

territorial acquisitions as states equal to those already established[i]. They were designed to

settle the West in an orderly fashion while at the same time, lessening the possibility of

secessionist movements. More importantly, the ordinances served to prevent the emergence of

dependent colonies. In addition, by adding a new ―western‖ aspect to the national identity, they

set a trend for westward expansion (Henretta 181).
The Monroe Doctrine and the Manifest Destiny stated America‘s philosophies regarding

foreign policy. The Monroe Doctrine (1823), crafted by President Monroe and Secretary of State

John Quincy Adams, was a statement of America‘s foreign policy. It warned Europe to stay out

of the Western Hemisphere. Monroe particularly did not want Spain to attempt to reacquire its

former colonies that declared their independence (Monroe).


       The idea of Manifest Destiny stemmed in part from the ideas of the Monroe Doctrine. It

was an intangible concept best described as a pervasive thirst for expansion in America that

shaped American history. Americans believed that it was their destiny to encompass the entire

North American continent (Lubbrage 1). The westward migration of American settlers and

European 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 would

ensue 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 philosophies

of Manifest Destiny. He envisioned in America‘s future, the ―defence of humanity, of the

oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement.‖ He

believed that America was the chosen country to do this, as it did not have a history of conflict

except in the defense of its freedom (O‘Sullivan paragraph 4). Americans saw it as their divine

mission 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 ―Young

America‖ – which consisted mostly of southerners – took Manifest Destiny to a global scale by

looking 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 Franklin

Pierce pursued expansionist policies; in particular, he wanted Cuba. He saw Cuba as a

slaveholding Spanish possession that would become a slave state if annexed[1]. He hoped the

slaveholding elite in Cuba would declare independence from Spain. Once independent, he

would invite it to join the Union. In 1853, he secretly sent John A. Quitman to aid in the

revolution. While this was happening, he threatened war with Spain over its confiscation of an

American ship. Fearing the addition of a new slave state, however, northern Democrats in the

senate forced Pierce to back down (Henretta 378). This shows that at this time, domestic

political pressure limited foreign expansion.


       The Pierce administration, however, was still determined to acquire Cuba and so

Secretary 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 to

this, Soulé wrote a secret document, the Ostend Manifesto, which invoked the rhetoric of

Manifest Destiny. In it, he said that the mere possession of Cuba by Spain was a threat to

American security and America would be justified in seizing Cuba by force. The controversy

that ensued over this issue left it temporarily undecided (Henretta 378-379).


       Following the Civil War, expansionist ideals resurfaced and fundamental shifts in

American culture and society made imperialism more appealing. These shifts occurred in

economic, racial, cultural and military facets of America.


       Americans had sought a favorable balance of trade since 1876 (Suzara). An economic

boom, 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 of

coal, iron and steel.‖ (Karnow 89) Because America was still a developing country, it attracted

many foreign investors while very little was invested abroad (Karnow 82). In order to balance

out 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 manufactured

goods was increasing the fastest of all (Wolff 12). While most of the production – over 90

percent – was consumed in America, foreign markets were still very important. Americans

feared that its increasing production would far exceed its consumption. The solution was to

ensure that there would always be a market for its surplus products. This meant the necessity for

more 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‖, which

was based on Charles Darwin‘s theory of ―survival of the fittest‖, asserted Anglo-Saxon racial

superiority (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 was

partly influenced by Rudyard Kipling‘s poem ―White Man‘s Burden[ii]‖, which Kipling

specifically wrote to encourage America to colonize the Philippines. The poem advocated

imperialism 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 to

spread Christianity. At this time, America was predominantly Protestant while the Spanish

colonies were predominantly Roman Catholic. America also saw it as their duty to convert the

Catholics to Protestantism (Suzara).


       Americans also perceived a necessity of annexing some territory (Suzara). During the

1850‘s, Americans showed a certain arrogance because of their own independence. They seized

territory 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 Darwinism

asserting that ―not to advance is to recede‖ and therefore, in order to survive, America must

expand (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 in

Canada and Australia, it was acquiring more and more territories elsewhere. Soon the other

European 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 of

nationalism, America felt it had to join in the race. Also, in The Influence of Sea Power upon

history, 1600-1783, Captain Alfred T. Mahan emphasized the necessity of annexing the

Caribbean Islands, Hawaii and the Philippine Islands in order to create bases to protect American

commerce (―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 nineteenth

century, 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 an

agreement with Cuba. Instead, Spain tried to pacify the Cubans by sending General

ValerianoWeyler whose policy of reconcentration[2] of the Cubans greatly increased American

support for the Cuban cause. This led to widespread anti-Spanish sentiment in America, which

helped drive it to war in 1898 (Trask).


       The most important event in propelling America to war, however, was the sinking of the

Battleship Maine. The U.S.S. Maine was anchored in Havana simply to provide a naval

presence in Cuba. In February of 1898, an explosion on the Maine caused it to sink, killing 266

sailors. While investigations could not prove the exact cause of the explosion, many Americans

suspected a Spanish mine was to blame. Even though President McKinley strongly opposed any

military intervention, he was forced to give Spain an ultimatum. He demanded that Spain grant

Cuba its independence but Spain refused. On April 23, Spain ceased diplomatic negotiations and

on April 24, declared war[iv] (Trask).


       Immediately at the start of the war, Commodore George Dewey – who was stationed in

Hong Kong in preparation for an attack against the Spanish territories– set sail for the

Philippines (Henretta 594). On May 1, he defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. After this

victory, McKinley allowed a small army contingent to land in Manila to maintain pressure on

Spain, 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 the

Philippines. This forced Dewey and Major General Wesley Merritt – who had arrived with an

infantry – 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 Edward

P. 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 States

was ―very great and rich, and did not need colonies.‖ He also said that Dewey would put such a

statement in writing. Thus, Aguinaldo agreed to aid the Americans if Dewey gave him an

official request as well as a written pledge of U.S. support for his cause. However, E. Spencer

Pratt, the U.S. Consul in the Philippines, informed Dewey – who was in Hong Kong waiting for

Aguinaldo to join him – that Aguinaldo was willing to join him without mentioning Aguinaldo‘s

terms. Dewey tersely responded ―TELL AGUINALDO COME SOON AS POSSIBLE‖. When

Aguinaldo asked about the written pledge, Pratt told him that Dewey had assured him that the

United States would ―at least recognize the independence of the Philippines under an American

naval protectorate‖. He also assured him that ―The words of a United States navy officer and an

American consul represent a solemn pledge‖ and that ―The United States government is a very

honorable, 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 gradually

dissociate himself from Aguinaldo. Dewey‘s primary objective in the Philippines was to capture

Manila 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 Filipino

rebels and relations between the two soon declined (―Spanish‖ paragraph 4).


       At the end of the war, Spain relinquished control over Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and

Guam 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 the

Philippines. The treaty required two thirds of the senatorial vote to pass. It passed by merely

one 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 Great

Powers but he decided that to do so would be to relinquish valuable territory to ―our commercial

rivals in the Orient – that would have been bad business and discreditable.‖ The most practical

option, of course, was to grant the Philippines independence, but imperialists eventually

convinced McKinley that ―we could not leave [the Filipinos] to themselves – they were unfit for

self-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, fighting

broke out between Filipino guerrillas and American troops stationed in Manila. Faced with the

prospect of American annexation, Aguinaldo – who was declared president of the Philippines in

January – continued the struggle for freedom, only this time, from the Americans. This began

the Philippine American War[v]. Like the Spaniards in Cuba, the Americans needed to use the

same reconcentration strategy to deal with the Filipino guerrillas. Following America‘s victory

after 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 it

leaned on the side of imperialism. The arrogance that Americans exhibited in the mid-nineteenth

century 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 as

an effort to liberate the Spanish territories from the oppression of imperialism propelled America

to take the Philippines. Soon, however, this morphed into a struggle to crush the Filipino

independence movement. This was the first time American soldiers fought across the ocean and

the first time America acquired territory beyond its continent – the former colony itself becoming

imperialist. Because of the massive amount of European immigration into America, the nation

sought unity and cohesion and found it in its patriotic expansion. America had a high sense of

moral purpose. Unlike the Europeans who merely sought profit and power through their

imperialism, the Americans sought to spread the benefits of its culture to the world. McKinley

was swept up by these sentiments and allowed them to affect his foreign policy decisions. The

American excursions into the Philippines established an American presence in the Far East –

thus expanding America‘s foreign markets (Karnow 79-80). American businessmen also

realized the benefit of the Philippines as an Asian trading post (Suzara).


       Activities in the Philippines aroused much controversy in America. The Imperialists

advanced several practical arguments. They argued that expansion abroad would yield profit and

that the American economy would deteriorate without foreign markets (Karnow 82). Henry

Cabot 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 beyond

imagination.‖ Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, who shared the same sentiments, advocated

America‘s imperialism for the purpose of bettering the world by asserting ―We are a conquering

race … American law, American order, American civilization and the American flag will plant

themselves on shores hitherto bloody and benighted, but by those agencies of God henceforth to

be 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 members

included Andrew Carnegie and Mark Twain. Mark Twain noted that Americans ―have gone

there to conquer, not to redeem‖ the Philippines (Trask). Anti-imperialists argued that the

annexation of the Philippines violated the constitutional precept of government through the

consent of the governed. Carnegie was worried that these foreign ventures would dissipate the

nation‘s wealth. People also feared the influx of Filipinos that would ensue if America annexed

the Philippines. Racists were afraid that the ―yellow people‖ would contaminate American

culture (Karnow 82). Charles Shurz, a militant enemy of expansionism, argued that ―To annex

the Philippines, would not only violate America‘s principles of ‗right, justice and liberty‘, but

also 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. Presbyterian

ministers disdained the ―idea that the reign of Jesus is to be widened under the protection of

shells and dynamite.‖ (Karnow 82) The Democratic Party used the news of the atrocities

America was committing in the Philippines in its arguments against the imperialist Republican

Party (Corpuz 65).


       After defeating the Filipino Guerrillas, the American occupation regime began rebuilding

the 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 of

Philippine policy. Although the capture of the Philippines had expansionist aims, it did not

necessarily 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 and

assuming ―all military, civil and judicial powers necessary to govern the said islands.‖ After the

election, imperialists urged the passage of the Spooner bill. According to the Secretary of War

Elihu Root ―The army has brought the Philippines to the point where they offer a ready and

attractive field for investment and enterprise, but to make this possible there must be mining

laws, 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 Filipinos

and to declare America‘s withdrawal from the Philippines once a stable government was

established (Pomeroy 118-120). Arguments over trade policy, which resulted in the Insular

Cases (1899-1901), soon followed the arguments over the Spooner Bill. The Insular Cases

established a colonial relationship with the Philippines (Pomeroy 121-123).


       America eventually followed through with its promise to grant the Philippines full

independence in 1946 after almost half a century of U.S. colonial rule. This period of colonial

rule over the Philippines represented a unique era in the history of American foreign policy in

which imperialism replaced traditional forms of expansionism. The race for empire that America
had entered would eventually propel America into two world wars and transform the

isolationism 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 world

stage.
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. 2000


Trask, 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




[1] During this period before the Civil War, slaveholding and non-slaveholding states vied for
influence in the political arena. The balance between slave and free states was crucial.

[2] The Cuban resistance consisted entirely of guerrillas. The key to their success was to hide
among the villagers. General ValerianoWeyler y Nicolau recognized this. His policy of
reconcentration moved the Cuban civilians en masse to central locations under the control of the
Spanish 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: The
Philippines


In the North American Review of January, 1900, is an article
entitled "A Filipino Appeal to the People of the United
States," by ApolinarioMabini, formerly premier in
Aguinaldo's cabinet. It professes to correct mis-statements of
fact prejudicial to the Filipino cause, and it concludes thus:
The facts which I have related clearly disprove the assertion
by Americans that the Filipinos provoked the hostilities.. The
truth is that the Filipino people have never felt disposed to
measure their strength with powerful America, otherwise
Aguinaldo could not have put up with so many infamous
actions at the hands of the American generals. They have
always considered themselves little and insignificant beside
the American people and hence they never thought of
provoking the Americans, for they have always been aware
that, even if they should gain a few victories, the fortunes of
war would necessarily change as soon as reinforcements
arrived from America.

And it is still more true that the Filipino people, educated by
long sufferings during the protracted dominion of Spain, have
learned to reflect and to judge things calmly, even in the
midst of great excitement. They know that, no matter how
great and civilized a people may be, it contains bad men as
well as good men; and, therefore, they do not condemn all.
For the same reason they admire the bravery shown by the
American army in the recent fights; they still entertain,
unalterably, that friendship towards the American people
which places them above all other nations; they trust that the
popular government of America will not sink to the level of
the theocratic government of Spain, and that the spirit of
justice, now obscured by ambition, will again shine in their
firmament, as the civic virtues of their ancestors shine in their
history and traditions.

The Filipino people are struggling in defense of their liberties
and independence with the same tenacity and perseverance as
they have shown in their sufferings. They are animated by an
unalterable faith in the justice of their cause, and they know
that if the American people will not grant them justice there
is a Providence which punishes the crimes of nations as well
as of individuals.

The report of the second Commission, of which Judge Taft
was chairman, was laid before Congress in January, 1901. It
has much to say about the Friars, and the information is here
quoted in substance:

Ordinarily, the government of the United States and its
servants have little or no concern with religious societies or
corporations and their members. With us the Church is so
completely separated from the State that it is difficult to
imagine cases in which the policy of a church in the selection
of its ministers and the assignment of them to duty can be
regarded as of political moment, or as a proper subject of
comment in the report of a public officer. In the pacification
of the Philippines by our government, however, it is
impossible to ignore the great part which such a question
plays.

By the revolutions of 1896 and 1898 against Spain all the
Dominicans, Augustinians, Recoletos and Franciscans acting
as parish priests were driven from their parishes to take
refuge in Manila. Forty were killed and 403 were imprisoned
and were not all released until by the advance of the
American troops it became impossible for the insurgents to
retain them. Of the 1,124 who were in the islands in 1896
only 472 remain. The remainder either perished, returned to
Spain or went to China or South America.

The burning political question, discussion of which strongly
agitates the people of the Philippines, is whether the members
of the four great orders of St. Dominic, St. Augustine, St.
Francis and the Recoletos shall return to the parishes from
which they were driven by the revolution. Colloquially the
term "friars" includes the members of these four orders. The
Jesuits, Capuchins, Benedictines and the Paulists, of whom
there are a few teachers here, have done only mission work or
teaching, and have not aroused the hostility existing against
the four large orders to which we are now about to refer.

The truth is that the whole government of Spain in these
islands rested on the friars. To use the expression of the
provincial 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 topple
over." The number of Spanish troops in these islands did not
exceed 5,000 until the revolution. The tenure of office of the
friar curate was permanent. There was but little rotation of
priests among the parishes. Once settled in a parish, a priest
usually continued there until super-annuation. He was,
therefore, a constant political factor for a generation. The
same was true of the archbishop and the bishops. The civil
and military officers of Spain in the islands were here for not
longer than four years, and more often for a less period. The
friars, priests and bishops, therefore, constituted a solid,
powerful, permanent, well organized political force in the
islands which dominated politics. The stay of those officers
who attempted to pursue a course at variance with that
deemed wise by the orders was invariably shortened by
monastic influence.

Of the four great orders, one, the Franciscans, is not
permitted to own property, except convents and schools. This
is not true of the other three. They own some valuable
business property in Manila, and have large amounts of
money to lend. But the chief property of these orders is in
agricultural land. The total amount owned by the three orders
in the Philippines is approximately 403,000 acres.

In the light of these considerations it is not wonderful that the
people should regard the return of the friars to their parishes
as a return to the conditions existing before the revolution.
The common people are utterly unable to appreciate that
under the sovereignty of the United States the position of the
friar as curate would be different from that under Spain.

This is not a religious question, though it concerns the
selection of religious ministers for religious communities.
The Philippine people love the Catholic Church.

"The feeling against the friars is solely political. The people
would gladly receive as ministers of the Roman Catholic
religion any save those who are to them the embodiment of
all in the Spanish rule that was hateful. If the friars return to
their parishes, though only under the same police protection
which the American government is bound to extend to any
other Spanish subjects in these islands, the people will regard
it as the act of that government. They have so long been used
to having every phase of their conduct regulated by
governmental order that the coming again of the friars will be
accepted as an executive order to them to receive the friars as
curates with their old, all-absorbing functions. It is likely to
have the same effect on them that the return of General
Weyler under an American commission as governor of Cuba
would have had on the people of that island.

"Those who are charged with the duty of pacifying these
islands may, therefore, properly have the liveliest concern in
a matter which, though on its surface only ecclesiastical, is, in
the most important phase of it, political, and fraught with the
most critical consequences to the peace and good order of the
country in which it is their duty to set up civil government.
We are convinced that a return of the friars to their parishes
will lead to lawless violence and murder, and that the people
will charge the course taken to the American government,
thus turning against it the resentment felt towards the friars.

"The friars have large property interests in these islands
which the United States government is bound by treaty
obligations and by the law of its being to protect. It is natural
and proper that the friars should feel a desire to remain where
so much of their treasure is. Nearly all the immense
agricultural holdings have been transferred by the three
orders -- by the Dominicans to a man named Andrews, by the
Recoletos to an English corporation and by the Augustinians
to another corporation; but these transfers do not seem to
have been out-and-out sales, but only a means for managing
the estates without direct intervention of the friars, or for
selling the same when a proper price can be secured. The
friars seem to remain the real owners."




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Fourth International, February 1946




Chris Andrews

American Imperialism in the Philippines
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 in
October. The growing crisis in the Islands, developing toward civil war, made it necessary for
the 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 a
more equitable division of the product of their labor. For several years there was no effective
solution of the problem.

During the war the tenants organized a guerrilla army which Reportedly did good work against
the enemy. After the enemy was defeated in their localities, they did not disband, and today they
constitute a special problem which threatens the stability of the government.

How threatening, is explained by Limlangen, Governor of Pampanga Province. He confesses that
the government could not exist without ―the efficient handling of well-trained units of the United
States Army assigned to help maintain peace and order.‖ The peasantry, he added, clearly say
they 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. Army
Counter-Intelligence Corps was introduced which describes the agrarian guerrilla movement, the
Hukbalahaps, as follows: ―It is one of the largest and most powerful guerrilla organizationsin
central 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 Communist
Government 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 Bayan
Laban 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 landlords
and usurers. Now they refuse to disarm. These men and women trust no one but themselves; their
actions 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 workers
lived 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 in
Spain or in the United States. They had fabulous homes, automobiles, racing stables, fantastic
parties, 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 fields
for 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 no
schooling, two-fifths never went beyond the fourth grade.

Wall Street fostered and protected the growth of this parasitic wealthy Philippine ruling class to
aid U.S. domination. The Philippine Constabulary, especially trained by U.S. officers, protects
the possessing class. The native bankers, landlords, merchants and usurers maintain their corrupt
rule through one party—the Nacionalista Party.

The Filipino small farmer and tenant live in the squalor and misery which peasants throughout
the whole world know, including those of the United States itself. The Filipinos have been
pushed down into increasing poverty. Whereas in 1918 there were 1,500,000 farms operated by
their 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 1938
about 575,000.

The tenant or sharecropper must give 50 percent of his crop to the landlord. He has to borrow
money when prices of the crops are low. He must pay back at a time advantageous to the
landlord—who stores his share of the crop, waiting for the most favorable price.


Monstrous Usury System

The peasant, like all peasants throughout Asia, is in the grip of a monstrous usury system. He
pays interest rates from 100 to 400 percent. The landlord, the government official, and the usurer
all work together. They all bear arms. Buss describes one region where ―30,000 peons (live) at
the mercy of one landlord, usurer, official.‖ This landlord, holding all three posts, incarnates the
capitalist class itself, which as a rule does not reveal its domination of property, finance and
government so nakedly.

According to Buss, the sugar plantation owners keep three sets of books—one for the
government, one for the labor representatives, and one for themselves.

In past years there have been desperate agrarian outbreaks, Crushed by violence while the cries
of the victims were stifled by censorship. The Sakdalista revolt in the middle-thirties extended
over four provinces. Crowds of starving people broke into the rice warehouses. They were
demanding clean politics, tax revisions, tenantry reforms. The Philippine Constabulary shot them
down.

But despite persecution, unions and peasant organizations have grown. In Pampanga Province in
1940 the Socialist Party elected the mayors and councils of the eight largest towns. This province
is today a Huk stronghold. In the elections of 1941, however, the conduct of the bourgeoisie was
so 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 honest
election.

On December7, 1941 the AMT (General Confederation of Workers) asked MacArthur for arms
to defend themselves against the Japanese. They were refused and their leaders and spokesmen
thrown into prison. With the breakdown of U.S. rule, the AMT, the MPMP (National
Confederation of Peasants) and the PKM (National Peasants Party) set up the Huk movement on
March 29, 1942.They were aided by the Socialists and Stalinists who had merged into a single
party 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 Huk
fighters seized their arms from the Japanese. Later, in November1942, a small Chinese force, the
Wah 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 guerrilla
groups, set up by the American Army. Nevertheless, the Stalinists, through such Huk members
as they were able to confuse and mislead, attempted to bring the movement under the domination
of 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‖ under
the Americans to help carry on the war against Japan. In this same report the Daily Worker
protests about the injustice of the Americans who arrested ―Welman‖ the very next day. Huk
squadrons were being seized and disarmed, and the Daily Worker again cites with approval the
memo sent to the American officers by the Huk leader in Tarlac, E. Aquino, objecting to the
arrests and asking that all Huk units be ―inducted.‖ He pleaded that ―our common hope is for a
speedy 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 in
Chief Luis Taruc, and Castro Alejandrino. They were kept in prison for seven months without
trial.

Most sinister is the Malalos incident. The Huk squadrons 77 and 97 fought to the gates of Manila
with 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 American
hands (my emphasis—C. A.)they were attacked and liquidated by a guerrilla unit under a
Filipino named Maclang, who the Huks claimed was a collaborationist.‖ Later evidence showed
that 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 of
Malalos.‖ (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 leaders
who distinguished themselves in the guerrilla fighting. And what was the role of this native
capitalist class itself under Japanese rule? All testimony agrees that they collaborated. Claude
Buss, who was interned in the islands for two years, says: ―Tokyo has at least succeeded in
pasting its label upon practically every well-known leader of the former Nacionalista party.‖ At
the same time Buss puts forward the familiar imperialist alibi for white-washing the wealthy
collaborators. ―Conceivably the politicos have rendered a service to the Philippine nation that
could not have been rendered if the government had been taken over by irresponsible elements or
by the Japanese themselves.‖ (Fortune, December 1944).

This argument is boldly advanced by the collaborators themselves who now dominate the present
Osmena government. Three Collaborationist Supreme Court Justices are back in their posts.
Brigadier-General Manual Roxas helped draft the puppet government Constitution and was
Minister 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 such
thing 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 from
President Osmena in the early days of American ―liberation.‖




The masses watch the return of the collaborationist to power with bitterness and rising anger. By
a tremendous demonstration, marching to the Presidential palace 40,000 strong, they forced the
release 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 market
rages. Bridges, railroads, all transport and the large cities are destroyed. The American Army is
today 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 that
the 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 the
Philippines 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 the
misery left by the war was to pass through Congress a bill to pay the Congressmen their salaries
for the past three years.

The U.S. ruling class secured the Philippines as a by product of the Spanish-American War, with
which it formally made its debut into the society of the imperialists. The American public, up to
this time, had never even heard of the Philippines. But their attention was centered
sympathetically on the struggles of the Cubans for freedom from Spain. Secretly, Theodore
Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, sent Admiral Dewey with his fleet to the Far
East, 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 nobody
knows whom—furnished the pretext. The terrified Spaniards, knowing they were doomed,
consented to American demands on April 9, 1898. President McKinley delivered his war
message to Congress, regardless, the next day. American imperialism was not to be cheated out
of this war.

The war was over in 3 months. In two battles the Spanish fleets were destroyed completely and
Spanish imperialism knocked down to a third rate power.

All other sections of world capitalism looked on greedily. The American Ambassador in Berlin
reported, ―the German government clearly regards the emergency in the East as one from which
she must gain something or lose prestige with Europe and even with her own people.‖ German
battleships sailed into Manila Harbor and maneuvered near Dewey‘s fleet. But the American
imperialists were in no mood to divide the booty. The Germans and all other capitalists were so
informed in a blunt New York Times editorial. ―We ... acknowledge no overlord to tell us how
far 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 had
refused the first Spanish offer to surrender Manila, because ―I had no force with which to occupy
the 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 holding
out the Filipinos on one side and letting the Americans in on the other. General Anderson
reported how he kept the Filipinos out of their city by ―interposing our troops and placing
artillery to command their positions.‖ There followed a period of diplomatic stalling, because
Dewey 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 necessity
to ―put it down.‖

When more troops arrived, the Americans began the conquest. Two years of fighting and three
years of guerrilla warfare followed. In the war with Spain the United States lost only 379 men
killed in action, although 5,462 died in disease-infected soldiers‘ camps, most of them in the
United States. In the war against the Filipinos 60,000 troops were used; 4,300 were killed.


American Atrocities

Imperialism degrades both the conquered and the conquerors. The American soldiers were
inflamed to race hatred and atrocities by their own officers. The Filipino resistance was finally
broken by terror. Censorship covered the reign of massacre and torture until its purpose had been
gained. After a later storm of protest in the United States, a face-saving investigation was
launched.

L.F. Adams, private in a Missouri regiment, wrote home, ―We burned all their houses. I don‘t
know how many men, women and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any
prisoners.‖

General Bell estimated that in ―pacifying‖ Luzon, one-sixth of the population died. That would
be about 600,000.

The official Secretary of War‘s Memorandum of February 17, 1901 reveals the conduct of the
officers—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 of
age ….‖

Japanese General Yamashita, sentenced to hang for the atrocities committed in the interests of
his imperialism, should have asked for the punishment of Brigadier-General Smith, who was also
found guilty. His punishment—sentenced ―to be admonished by the reviewing authority.‖

American imperialism had its hands full with the Filipinos. Consequently it struck a typical
imperialist 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 Japanese
authority in Korea. In return, Premier Katsura agreed not to disturb American rule in the
Philippines. This agreement among brigands was kept entirely secret by President Theodore
Roosevelt, and by his emissary Taft, who later became President. It was revealed only years later
in 1924, accidentally turned up by a historian, browsing among T.R. Roosevelt‘s papers.


Independence Question Postponed Again

A puppet Philippine government was set up in 1907 by a restricted election in which only
property holders—about 100,000—could vote. An American Governor-General ruled with veto
power. Future ―independence‖ was continually talked about; it never came.

After the first World War, the triumphant American bourgeoisie tightened their grip on the
Philippines. They sent a new Governor-General, booted and spurred, the true symbol of the
colonial administrator. General Wood demonstratively withdrew the minor concessions
Woodrow Wilson had previously granted, abolished his Council of State (although it only had
advisory powers), took Cabinet Departments away from the Legislature, and used only military
men as his assistants.

The weak Philippine capitalist class had previously made use of ―Nationalization‖ to obtain state
aid for their growth. They had set up a National Bank, a National Coal Company, a National
Development Corporation and operated the Manila Railroad. Wall Street did not want such
examples of public ownership; General Wood forced their transfer into the hands of private
capitalists.

The Philippine bourgeoisie kept up a continual clamor for independence. By this agitation they
kept political influence over their own people who deeply desired it. Investigations and
discussions 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 question
of Philippine Independence was postponed. The Roosevelt Administration passed the
Independence Act of 1934, setting up the Commonwealth Government for 1935 and pledging
complete independence on July 4, 1945. This date was later postponed for one year. These
twelve years have been ominous ones; World War II has brought all questions and all pledges up
for reexamination.
The economic relationship with the United States is most important for the Philippine
bourgeoisie. They sell their sugar, hemp, copra, tobacco in the rich tariff-protected American
home market. But after the conquest of 1898, Wall Street found the Caribbean and Latin
American areas to be of greater profit for itself. A section of the American capitalists are anxious
to break the ties. The most eloquent defenders of independence on the U.S. Senate floor have
been the Utah beet sugar Senators and the Louisiana cane sugar Senators. Adding their voices are
the representatives of the dairy and tobacco interests.

Economic ―independence‖ for the Philippine bourgeoisie would be like amputation. 78% of their
exports go to the United States; 67% of their imports come from there. Just placing a 5% tariff
on 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 the
world is ruined by the war, and the Philippines itself is ravaged. Where could the Philippine
bourgeoisie find customers or markets? It is clear that they cannot survive as an independent
capitalist 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 the
Philippines against independence. Truman in October spoke guardedly about a ―necessary
program of Rehabilitation ... a determination of the fundamental problems involved in our
mutual relationship after independence.‖

The Philippines, of course, cannot gain genuine independence of the mighty economic, financial
and 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 write
in his column (September 8, 1945), ―The Philippines are going to get their independence on or
before July 4, 1946, as planned, despite rumors to the contrary. The assurance comes from the
highest source.‖

Wall Street has certain fixed demands. Secretary of the Navy Forrestal on May 26, 1945
proclaimed that the United States ―will continue to bear responsibility for the security of the
Philippines and will have bases and strategic areas supporting those bases to carry out that
responsibility.‖ This is axiomatic, for the Philippine bases are needed to form part of a great
fortified perimeter extending throughout the Pacific.

It is already clear that whether Wall Street grants a spurious ―independence‖ to the Philippines or
not will not make a decisive difference. The day when the colonial struggle could be assuaged by
such ―concessions‖ has long passed. The Philippine struggle for freedom has already been
merged with its struggle for social and economic freedom. The struggle of the Philippine masses
has 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 the
Philippine masses will finally achieve their victory.


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U.S Imperialism in the Philippines
Timeline created by gdavis in History
Timeline 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 Spain's loss. The independence movement in struggle within the
Philippines, the Spaniards in retreat, and the outward-looking Americans were destined to
converge on each other, and did so in a war that portrays American foreign policy's true intent
and sets the precedent for the next 100 years.

The reasons for American expansion and imperialism were relatively clear and in the public
domain, 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 and
respective 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 American
business 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 to
achieve the marketable product, the output. Expansion into other countries serves both of these
elements: it secures the raw materials needed by many diverse industries and provides a market
for those finished goods.

The political forces in the US, the US military, and the business community directly sponsored
this suitable relationship. The businesses state their "concerns" to the politicians in Congress and
the White House, who then order the military or some paramilitary group, such as today's CIA,
to carry out those orders.

At the turn of the century, US politicians were weighing concerns other than purely business
ones. They were also becoming players in the international empire scene. Since the US never
really had colonies of its own that it took over from non-Europeans, it had to settle for taking
over colonies from other colonial powers, a practice called neo-colonialism. The US was
attempting 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 to
replace. Thus, the US established itself as a world power and placed itself amongst the other
world powers.
By listening only to William McKinley, one would believe that the US's intentions in the "matter
of the Philippines" were motivated out of benign humanism: the US simply wanted to help them
rule themselves, because they were, of course, not fit to do it themselves. His reasoning for why
this was an American responsibility was simple: God had chosen the US to do it, to Christianize
the country-- properly this time (since the Spanish had already introduced Catholicism, which
was not true "Christianity").2

To most Americans, the Filipinos weren't even Catholic-- they were pagans. Thus, it was the
duty of America to teach them proper religion, educate them accordingly, instruct them how to
farm, build, and copulate correctly, etc. The policy makers in the US saw it as the responsibility
of the US to assimilate a foreign people on their own land to Western ways, just as the previous
colonial 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 and
Negroes were not" fit to govern themselves, Americans were also considered unfit to govern
themselves.3 In a precedence that later produced similar results in both World Wars, the Vietnam
War (for a while, at least), and the Persian Gulf War, a conflict was incited in order to unite US
citizens 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 labor
unions. With the frequency of strikes and related violence increasing in the US, there seemed to
be 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 a
race that is dissimilar in appearance) will cause people to forget about their internal struggles and
unite 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, who
escalated the conflict in Cuba, and then consequently in the Philippines. The American people
were given a number of reasons for why the US had to expand: the US had run out of frontier
and needed more land; if the US didn't, others would expand in to it; it was America's "duty" to
bring 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 market
represented more work for them (and, ideally, more job security) and customers for their
agricultural and industrial products. Americans would have to wait a number of decades before
they could see the evolutionary result of this global corporatization, which has denied many
Americans their jobs, without fundamentally changing the client-state relationship.

Due to this perception, some labor unions began supporting the American invasion of the
Philippines, although nearly all socialists and anarchists decried it. In every case where a union
publicly supported the war, the workers perceived a direct personal, fiscal benefit from it, such as
in the case of the Typographical Union who saw the expanse of the printing industry from more
English-speaking territories, would the Philippines be properly annexed and assimilated.
These policies and actions didn't, of course, conjure themselves out of thin air: they arose from
the handiwork of a number of American men who were responsible for the design of the
American empire that still exists today.

The noted historian and playwright, Gore Vidal lists what he calls the Four Horsemen-- the
individuals who created the nexus for America's rise to Empire: Alfred Thayer Mahan, Theodore
Roosevelt, Brooks Adams, and Henry Cabot Lodge. These individuals controlled and
manipulated their respective domains of the political structure to ensure the ends they desired.4

Mahan 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, via
expanding into the Pacific Ocean with coaling stations and military bases, and protecting the
Caribbean 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 under
a weak and indifferent Secretary, he started building the US's navy up with new steel ships, in
addition to making distinct policy plans. After leading the photo-op charge up San Juan Hill in
Cuba, he became a "national figure" and ran as McKinley's Vice President, only to become
President himself when McKinley was assassinated.

Adams, a historian/geopolitician, had lots of theories on how to build empires and he applied his
theories of centralization and economics to Mahan's. Compton's Encyclopedia Online comments
at length on the Adams family tree and has this to say on Brooks Adams: he was "[a] believer in
evolution, the theory of biological change from simple to complex life forms, Brooks developed
theories that occupied him most of his life: that history moves in cycles, that all nations move
through patterned stages, and that history is a science."5

Lodge, a Republican senator from Massachusetts, led Congress in its push for war with Spain
and the annexation of the Philippines. He chaired the Committee on the Philippines, which
attempted to determine the fate of the Philippines. The Committee eventually was coerced by
other senators to investigate the war that had developed in the Philippines, yet Lodge resisted to
these hearings, which started January 28, 1902. Nonetheless, he was still effective in keeping
them "on track".6

In addition to the designers, others facilitated, helped, and executed the invasion of the
Philippines and the creation of empire. President William McKinley regularly made religious
statements in form of pleas to the public's moral, missionary spirit, all the while negotiating with
large industrialists and businessmen. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, both
newspaper 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 Asiatic
Squadron of the US Navy when Roosevelt sent him to Manila Bay, ending in the complete
destruction of the Spanish armada in the bay. John Hay was an academic policy planner like
Adams who became Secretary of State, and later wrote the Open Door Notes which officially
declared the US as a world power by stating that no one could intrude upon its territory and that
the 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 assumed
the role of defending the US's course in the Philippines.8

The actual result of the Spanish-American War and the war of Filipino "insurrection" were not
all that unpredictable when considering the state-of-art US Naval fleet, the industrial and
economical capacity of the US, and the lack of suitable armaments, defensive equipment, and
personnel on the behalf of both the Spanish and the Filipinos. What was unpredictable at the
time was the degree of success and precedence that it would set-- in the form of a foreign policy
that would not deviate in any fundamental fashion for the next hundred years.

Thus, the actually war itself doesn't lend much evidence to critical analysis of this policy. Yet, a
brief overview is in order. After the successful intervention into Cuba, the US annexed Hawaii in
July of 1898 and Wake Island later that summer. The last vestiges of Spanish control were
overrun before the peace treaty with Spain (and a $20 million "sorry for the mess" fee) occurred
in 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 the
US used to help usurp the Spaniards from Manila. The fighting was ignited by an American
soldier who fired and killed a Filipino two days before the US Congress was scheduled to vote
on the Spanish-American Peace Treaty. Not surprisingly, shortly after the fighting started, the
Senate ratified a treaty of Philippine annexation by one vote.

By mid-1901 the US had squashed the Filipino independence movement, although fighting
continued on separate islands for many more years. Fifteen times as many US soldiers died in the
Philippines than did in Cuba and the war cost the US $600 million (although spurring on the war
industry machine and the US economy). At the same time, 200,000 Filipinos died, of which only
1 out of every 10 were combatants.9

In a closer analysis of the logical extensions of the American invasion of the Philippines, one
sees that many of the reasons the invasion took place still exist today for other actions the US
carries out. For example, this is the period in US history in which the greatest amount of arming
took place in the American military, to the point where when World War I started, the US was
nearly 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 is
assured that he would have appreciated the language used by the United States government to
describe its intervention in to that country's affairs, especially after Spain had left. As in the case
where Admiral Dewey remarks, "I thought they would be friendly to us and would help up; and
they were very ungrateful, I think, in turning against us after what we had done for them."10 What
the US "did" for the Filipinos it also did to a much greater extent for itself and without the
interest of those ungrateful Filipinos in mind at all.

Whenever discussing the matter of the Philippines to average American, politicians were
cautious to use only the terms "help" and not "business". "National interests" as a term came into
usage 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 his
most honest statements came when he described his own decision-making conclusions: First, the
islands couldn't go back to Spain (that would be cowardly and dishonorable). Secondly, France
and Germany couldn't be allowed to control them (he politely didn't mention Britain), since that
would be bad business practice. Third, under no condition could they be turned over to the
Filipinos for self-rule, since they were unfit for democracy and "Western civilization". Thus, it
was clear that the US had to do something on its own, because, of course, no other state was
capable of it, nor justified. In the process, McKinley said, the US would educate them, uplift
them, civilize them, and Christianize them.11

The first two reasons McKinley gives appear to be just like the policies that relatively equal
states do with each other-- playing the "look out for #1" game. However, his reasoning that
independence wasn't possible doesn't derive from the fact that the US was willing to give it
(which was undoubtedly untrue), but because the Filipinos wouldn't be able to govern
themselves. This can be easily interpreted to mean that the Filipinos would not choose to govern
their country in a way that was acceptable to the US. Woodrow Wilson, 16 years later, publicly
declared the rights of states to determine their own course and destiny, but then sent American
warships into a port in Veracruz, Mexico, for "refusing to apologize to the United States with a
twenty-one gun salute," killing a hundred Mexicans in the process. In the same fashion, William
McKinley publicly implied that he wanted states to rule themselves (if "capable"), but privately
made every attempt to control states whether directly as in the Philippines or indirectly such as in
the case of Cuba.12

By joining the "club of imperial powers", the US got "dragged" into the First World War in
1914, which was between imperial powers, and started from nothing more than a reactionary
assassination and rapid-mobilization policies, and then accelerated out of control, in a way
similar to how fights can break out so easily at sporting matches between opposing fans.13

Later, when World War II started, the US stayed out, and didn't seem to notice the atrocities
occurring in Eastern Europe, and it was only until the homogeny and business interests of the US
was threatened in the Pacific Ocean-- by Japanese imperialism and their attack upon Pearl
Harbor-- that the US finally joined with the Allied Powers.

After WWII, the US retained its outwardly "moral" objectives by supporting governments who
opposed communism, which was portrayed (quite accurately in the case of the USSR) as being
totalitarian and brutally repressive. The truth of the matter is that these governments were often
called "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 or
oligarchies. These states clearly have/had a long history of repression towards their citizens. In
this respect the goal of the US was very similar to that in the Philippines-- supporting any
governments who fostered a preferable and open economic climate to US products and
businesses, be it in the form of raw materials or cheap labor. Or, those who claimed to suitably
anti-communist, for propaganda reasons.14

In addition to the policy that was generated from the war in the Philippines, the very first
massive, organized protests against war in the US occurred, leading some to call the American-
Philippines War the US's first "Vietnam". Unlike in the late 1960's and early 1970's, the reasons
for opposition to US involvement in the Philippines weren't totally because of opposition to
imperialism (although many were); many, such as some who composed the Anti-Imperialist
League, felt that the US shouldn't "help" out the Philippines and should concentrate on domestic
matters. They embodied quite a bit of subtle racism, like Roosevelt did, but unlike Roosevelt
they didn't see the need to intervene "benignly". In Vietnam, the US waged a war on an
overwhelmingly civilian population to control it and it to US subservience. However, by the time
of the Vietnam War much of the major opposition to that certain war revolved around the
belligerence of the US, the suffering of the Vietnamese, the unwillingness of American troops to
fight, etc.15

This is not to suggest, however, that there wasn't dissent within the army during the war in the
Philippines. In fact, like the Vietnam War, much of the dissatisfaction came from black soldiers
who at the time were segregated. Many went AWOL, deserted, or actively joined forces with the
Filipinos once in the Philippines and after having seen the conditions of the people living there
and the way that they were treated by their own army. Once returning to the US, many blacks
openly spoke out against the US's actions in the Philippines and also the racism they experienced
when they were not treated equally as white soldiers who returned victoriously.16

White soldiers as well questioned the motives of the American-Philippine War, often because
they were ordered to target "everything over 10"; as in Vietnam, everyone was considered an
enemy collaborator.17

The concept of extending US authority over other countries started during the Spanish-American
War 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 deterrent
to 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 in
1990, the US stepped in to create a stronger US presence in the Persian Gulf and to curb the
threat of nationalism which could disrupt oil companies.18

It becomes vividly clear that the policies of the US are a linear progression built upon the
struggle to control the Philippines, and not scattered, unconnected decisions. Ever since the
American attempt to enforce its will upon the Philippines was initially blocked by the Filipino
people, the US has extended itself to whatever lengths to accomplish its goals-- creating
American prominence abroad while creating stable trade environments and jumping points to
other markets-- which remain unchanged.

                                              Notes

1. Zinn, Howard "A People's 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. Compton's Encyclopedia Online, Keyword: "Brooks Adams", Source:
http://www.optonline.com/comptons/ceo/00043_A.html
6. 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 Industrial
America", at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. The effect of media influence has
grown 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.htm
10. "American Imperialism", p.13. Interview of Admiral George Dewey called "Was there a deal
with Aguinaldo?"
11. "People's 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. "People's History of the US", pp.310-313.
17. Ibid, p. 308. This astonishing quote is ghastly similar to statements made after massacres in
Vietnam, such as My Lai.
18. "Deterring Democracy", pp.407-423.




                                                      U.S. History from the 1864 to 1917

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Spanish American War
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American imperialism in the philippines

  • 1. American Imperialism in the Philippines: A Revolution in American Foreign Policy Carlos Macasaet English 11 American History 17 March 2000 Outline Thesis: 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.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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 of America.
  • 4. 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, America captured the Philippines. This brought about questions of what America should do with the Philippines. Soon, controversy ensued both in the American political arena as well as among its citizens. Throughout its history, America had always been expansionistic, but it had always limited 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 to the 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 Europe and sought to conquer the Philippines as an imperialist colony that they would rule either directly or indirectly. Throughout its development, America has molded its expansionist policies, which it confined to the North American continent. The ordinances of 1784, 1785 and 1787 governed the acquisition and administration of new territory, which set a precedent for establishing future territorial acquisitions as states equal to those already established[i]. They were designed to settle the West in an orderly fashion while at the same time, lessening the possibility of secessionist movements. More importantly, the ordinances served to prevent the emergence of dependent colonies. In addition, by adding a new ―western‖ aspect to the national identity, they set a trend for westward expansion (Henretta 181).
  • 5. The Monroe Doctrine and the Manifest Destiny stated America‘s philosophies regarding foreign policy. The Monroe Doctrine (1823), crafted by President Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, was a statement of America‘s foreign policy. It warned Europe to stay out of the Western Hemisphere. Monroe particularly did not want Spain to attempt to reacquire its former colonies that declared their independence (Monroe). The idea of Manifest Destiny stemmed in part from the ideas of the Monroe Doctrine. It was an intangible concept best described as a pervasive thirst for expansion in America that shaped American history. Americans believed that it was their destiny to encompass the entire North American continent (Lubbrage 1). The westward migration of American settlers and European 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 would ensue 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 philosophies of Manifest Destiny. He envisioned in America‘s future, the ―defence of humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement.‖ He believed that America was the chosen country to do this, as it did not have a history of conflict except in the defense of its freedom (O‘Sullivan paragraph 4). Americans saw it as their divine mission 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 ―Young America‖ – which consisted mostly of southerners – took Manifest Destiny to a global scale by looking southward and to the Atlantic, particularly to Cuba, a major producer of sugar and
  • 6. tobacco. In addition, slaves worked the plantations of Cuba. At this time, President Franklin Pierce pursued expansionist policies; in particular, he wanted Cuba. He saw Cuba as a slaveholding Spanish possession that would become a slave state if annexed[1]. He hoped the slaveholding elite in Cuba would declare independence from Spain. Once independent, he would invite it to join the Union. In 1853, he secretly sent John A. Quitman to aid in the revolution. While this was happening, he threatened war with Spain over its confiscation of an American ship. Fearing the addition of a new slave state, however, northern Democrats in the senate forced Pierce to back down (Henretta 378). This shows that at this time, domestic political pressure limited foreign expansion. The Pierce administration, however, was still determined to acquire Cuba and so Secretary 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 to this, Soulé wrote a secret document, the Ostend Manifesto, which invoked the rhetoric of Manifest Destiny. In it, he said that the mere possession of Cuba by Spain was a threat to American security and America would be justified in seizing Cuba by force. The controversy that ensued over this issue left it temporarily undecided (Henretta 378-379). Following the Civil War, expansionist ideals resurfaced and fundamental shifts in American culture and society made imperialism more appealing. These shifts occurred in economic, racial, cultural and military facets of America. Americans had sought a favorable balance of trade since 1876 (Suzara). An economic boom, in which America‘s gross national product quadrupled, ―transformed America into the
  • 7. biggest granary on earth, a foremost manufacturer of consumer goods and a major producer of coal, iron and steel.‖ (Karnow 89) Because America was still a developing country, it attracted many foreign investors while very little was invested abroad (Karnow 82). In order to balance out 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 manufactured goods was increasing the fastest of all (Wolff 12). While most of the production – over 90 percent – was consumed in America, foreign markets were still very important. Americans feared that its increasing production would far exceed its consumption. The solution was to ensure that there would always be a market for its surplus products. This meant the necessity for more 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‖, which was based on Charles Darwin‘s theory of ―survival of the fittest‖, asserted Anglo-Saxon racial superiority (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 was partly influenced by Rudyard Kipling‘s poem ―White Man‘s Burden[ii]‖, which Kipling specifically wrote to encourage America to colonize the Philippines. The poem advocated imperialism by saying that it was the duty of the Anglo-Saxon race to colonize over inferior
  • 8. people to civilize them and make them more European-like (Fry 383). America also sought to spread Christianity. At this time, America was predominantly Protestant while the Spanish colonies were predominantly Roman Catholic. America also saw it as their duty to convert the Catholics to Protestantism (Suzara). Americans also perceived a necessity of annexing some territory (Suzara). During the 1850‘s, Americans showed a certain arrogance because of their own independence. They seized territory 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 Darwinism asserting that ―not to advance is to recede‖ and therefore, in order to survive, America must expand (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 in Canada and Australia, it was acquiring more and more territories elsewhere. Soon the other European 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 of nationalism, America felt it had to join in the race. Also, in The Influence of Sea Power upon history, 1600-1783, Captain Alfred T. Mahan emphasized the necessity of annexing the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii and the Philippine Islands in order to create bases to protect American commerce (―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 nineteenth century, the Cubans also sought their independence (591). In 1895, José Martí reinvigorated the
  • 9. 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 an agreement with Cuba. Instead, Spain tried to pacify the Cubans by sending General ValerianoWeyler whose policy of reconcentration[2] of the Cubans greatly increased American support for the Cuban cause. This led to widespread anti-Spanish sentiment in America, which helped drive it to war in 1898 (Trask). The most important event in propelling America to war, however, was the sinking of the Battleship Maine. The U.S.S. Maine was anchored in Havana simply to provide a naval presence in Cuba. In February of 1898, an explosion on the Maine caused it to sink, killing 266 sailors. While investigations could not prove the exact cause of the explosion, many Americans suspected a Spanish mine was to blame. Even though President McKinley strongly opposed any military intervention, he was forced to give Spain an ultimatum. He demanded that Spain grant Cuba its independence but Spain refused. On April 23, Spain ceased diplomatic negotiations and on April 24, declared war[iv] (Trask). Immediately at the start of the war, Commodore George Dewey – who was stationed in Hong Kong in preparation for an attack against the Spanish territories– set sail for the Philippines (Henretta 594). On May 1, he defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. After this victory, McKinley allowed a small army contingent to land in Manila to maintain pressure on Spain, 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 the Philippines. This forced Dewey and Major General Wesley Merritt – who had arrived with an infantry – to improvise. Their main concern was to defeat the Spaniards and so they enlisted the
  • 10. support of the Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo. When Aguinaldo asked Captain Edward P. 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 States was ―very great and rich, and did not need colonies.‖ He also said that Dewey would put such a statement in writing. Thus, Aguinaldo agreed to aid the Americans if Dewey gave him an official request as well as a written pledge of U.S. support for his cause. However, E. Spencer Pratt, the U.S. Consul in the Philippines, informed Dewey – who was in Hong Kong waiting for Aguinaldo to join him – that Aguinaldo was willing to join him without mentioning Aguinaldo‘s terms. Dewey tersely responded ―TELL AGUINALDO COME SOON AS POSSIBLE‖. When Aguinaldo asked about the written pledge, Pratt told him that Dewey had assured him that the United States would ―at least recognize the independence of the Philippines under an American naval protectorate‖. He also assured him that ―The words of a United States navy officer and an American consul represent a solemn pledge‖ and that ―The United States government is a very honorable, 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 gradually dissociate himself from Aguinaldo. Dewey‘s primary objective in the Philippines was to capture Manila 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 Filipino rebels and relations between the two soon declined (―Spanish‖ paragraph 4). At the end of the war, Spain relinquished control over Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to America and agreed that America would occupy Manila until a treaty was formed
  • 11. (Henretta 594). In the Treaty of Paris (1899), the United States paid Spain $20 million for the Philippines. The treaty required two thirds of the senatorial vote to pass. It passed by merely one 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 Great Powers but he decided that to do so would be to relinquish valuable territory to ―our commercial rivals in the Orient – that would have been bad business and discreditable.‖ The most practical option, of course, was to grant the Philippines independence, but imperialists eventually convinced McKinley that ―we could not leave [the Filipinos] to themselves – they were unfit for self-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, fighting broke out between Filipino guerrillas and American troops stationed in Manila. Faced with the prospect of American annexation, Aguinaldo – who was declared president of the Philippines in January – continued the struggle for freedom, only this time, from the Americans. This began the Philippine American War[v]. Like the Spaniards in Cuba, the Americans needed to use the same reconcentration strategy to deal with the Filipino guerrillas. Following America‘s victory after 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 it leaned on the side of imperialism. The arrogance that Americans exhibited in the mid-nineteenth century was still strong and this was just increased by the American victory in Manila Bay. It
  • 12. was like a rite of passage that elevated America to the ranks of the world powers. What began as an effort to liberate the Spanish territories from the oppression of imperialism propelled America to take the Philippines. Soon, however, this morphed into a struggle to crush the Filipino independence movement. This was the first time American soldiers fought across the ocean and the first time America acquired territory beyond its continent – the former colony itself becoming imperialist. Because of the massive amount of European immigration into America, the nation sought unity and cohesion and found it in its patriotic expansion. America had a high sense of moral purpose. Unlike the Europeans who merely sought profit and power through their imperialism, the Americans sought to spread the benefits of its culture to the world. McKinley was swept up by these sentiments and allowed them to affect his foreign policy decisions. The American excursions into the Philippines established an American presence in the Far East – thus expanding America‘s foreign markets (Karnow 79-80). American businessmen also realized the benefit of the Philippines as an Asian trading post (Suzara). Activities in the Philippines aroused much controversy in America. The Imperialists advanced several practical arguments. They argued that expansion abroad would yield profit and that the American economy would deteriorate without foreign markets (Karnow 82). Henry Cabot 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 beyond imagination.‖ Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, who shared the same sentiments, advocated America‘s imperialism for the purpose of bettering the world by asserting ―We are a conquering race … American law, American order, American civilization and the American flag will plant themselves on shores hitherto bloody and benighted, but by those agencies of God henceforth to be made beautiful and bright‖ (Karnow 109).
  • 13. The imperialists, however, faced much opposition. On June 15, 1898, The Anti- Imperialist League was formed to oppose the annexation of the Philippines. Its members included Andrew Carnegie and Mark Twain. Mark Twain noted that Americans ―have gone there to conquer, not to redeem‖ the Philippines (Trask). Anti-imperialists argued that the annexation of the Philippines violated the constitutional precept of government through the consent of the governed. Carnegie was worried that these foreign ventures would dissipate the nation‘s wealth. People also feared the influx of Filipinos that would ensue if America annexed the Philippines. Racists were afraid that the ―yellow people‖ would contaminate American culture (Karnow 82). Charles Shurz, a militant enemy of expansionism, argued that ―To annex the Philippines, would not only violate America‘s principles of ‗right, justice and liberty‘, but also 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. Presbyterian ministers disdained the ―idea that the reign of Jesus is to be widened under the protection of shells and dynamite.‖ (Karnow 82) The Democratic Party used the news of the atrocities America was committing in the Philippines in its arguments against the imperialist Republican Party (Corpuz 65). After defeating the Filipino Guerrillas, the American occupation regime began rebuilding the 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
  • 14. 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 of Philippine policy. Although the capture of the Philippines had expansionist aims, it did not necessarily 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 and assuming ―all military, civil and judicial powers necessary to govern the said islands.‖ After the election, imperialists urged the passage of the Spooner bill. According to the Secretary of War Elihu Root ―The army has brought the Philippines to the point where they offer a ready and attractive field for investment and enterprise, but to make this possible there must be mining laws, 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 Filipinos and to declare America‘s withdrawal from the Philippines once a stable government was established (Pomeroy 118-120). Arguments over trade policy, which resulted in the Insular Cases (1899-1901), soon followed the arguments over the Spooner Bill. The Insular Cases established a colonial relationship with the Philippines (Pomeroy 121-123). America eventually followed through with its promise to grant the Philippines full independence in 1946 after almost half a century of U.S. colonial rule. This period of colonial rule over the Philippines represented a unique era in the history of American foreign policy in which imperialism replaced traditional forms of expansionism. The race for empire that America
  • 15. had entered would eventually propel America into two world wars and transform the isolationism 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 world stage.
  • 16. 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.
  • 17. 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. 2000 Trask, 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.
  • 18. Endnotes [1] During this period before the Civil War, slaveholding and non-slaveholding states vied for influence in the political arena. The balance between slave and free states was crucial. [2] The Cuban resistance consisted entirely of guerrillas. The key to their success was to hide among the villagers. General ValerianoWeyler y Nicolau recognized this. His policy of reconcentration moved the Cuban civilians en masse to central locations under the control of the Spanish 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: The Philippines In the North American Review of January, 1900, is an article entitled "A Filipino Appeal to the People of the United States," by ApolinarioMabini, formerly premier in Aguinaldo's cabinet. It professes to correct mis-statements of fact prejudicial to the Filipino cause, and it concludes thus:
  • 19. The facts which I have related clearly disprove the assertion by Americans that the Filipinos provoked the hostilities.. The truth is that the Filipino people have never felt disposed to measure their strength with powerful America, otherwise Aguinaldo could not have put up with so many infamous actions at the hands of the American generals. They have always considered themselves little and insignificant beside the American people and hence they never thought of provoking the Americans, for they have always been aware that, even if they should gain a few victories, the fortunes of war would necessarily change as soon as reinforcements arrived from America. And it is still more true that the Filipino people, educated by long sufferings during the protracted dominion of Spain, have learned to reflect and to judge things calmly, even in the midst of great excitement. They know that, no matter how great and civilized a people may be, it contains bad men as well as good men; and, therefore, they do not condemn all. For the same reason they admire the bravery shown by the American army in the recent fights; they still entertain, unalterably, that friendship towards the American people which places them above all other nations; they trust that the popular government of America will not sink to the level of the theocratic government of Spain, and that the spirit of justice, now obscured by ambition, will again shine in their firmament, as the civic virtues of their ancestors shine in their history and traditions. The Filipino people are struggling in defense of their liberties and independence with the same tenacity and perseverance as they have shown in their sufferings. They are animated by an unalterable faith in the justice of their cause, and they know that if the American people will not grant them justice there is a Providence which punishes the crimes of nations as well as of individuals. The report of the second Commission, of which Judge Taft was chairman, was laid before Congress in January, 1901. It has much to say about the Friars, and the information is here quoted in substance: Ordinarily, the government of the United States and its servants have little or no concern with religious societies or corporations and their members. With us the Church is so completely separated from the State that it is difficult to
  • 20. imagine cases in which the policy of a church in the selection of its ministers and the assignment of them to duty can be regarded as of political moment, or as a proper subject of comment in the report of a public officer. In the pacification of the Philippines by our government, however, it is impossible to ignore the great part which such a question plays. By the revolutions of 1896 and 1898 against Spain all the Dominicans, Augustinians, Recoletos and Franciscans acting as parish priests were driven from their parishes to take refuge in Manila. Forty were killed and 403 were imprisoned and were not all released until by the advance of the American troops it became impossible for the insurgents to retain them. Of the 1,124 who were in the islands in 1896 only 472 remain. The remainder either perished, returned to Spain or went to China or South America. The burning political question, discussion of which strongly agitates the people of the Philippines, is whether the members of the four great orders of St. Dominic, St. Augustine, St. Francis and the Recoletos shall return to the parishes from which they were driven by the revolution. Colloquially the term "friars" includes the members of these four orders. The Jesuits, Capuchins, Benedictines and the Paulists, of whom there are a few teachers here, have done only mission work or teaching, and have not aroused the hostility existing against the four large orders to which we are now about to refer. The truth is that the whole government of Spain in these islands rested on the friars. To use the expression of the provincial 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 topple over." The number of Spanish troops in these islands did not exceed 5,000 until the revolution. The tenure of office of the friar curate was permanent. There was but little rotation of priests among the parishes. Once settled in a parish, a priest usually continued there until super-annuation. He was, therefore, a constant political factor for a generation. The same was true of the archbishop and the bishops. The civil and military officers of Spain in the islands were here for not longer than four years, and more often for a less period. The friars, priests and bishops, therefore, constituted a solid, powerful, permanent, well organized political force in the islands which dominated politics. The stay of those officers
  • 21. who attempted to pursue a course at variance with that deemed wise by the orders was invariably shortened by monastic influence. Of the four great orders, one, the Franciscans, is not permitted to own property, except convents and schools. This is not true of the other three. They own some valuable business property in Manila, and have large amounts of money to lend. But the chief property of these orders is in agricultural land. The total amount owned by the three orders in the Philippines is approximately 403,000 acres. In the light of these considerations it is not wonderful that the people should regard the return of the friars to their parishes as a return to the conditions existing before the revolution. The common people are utterly unable to appreciate that under the sovereignty of the United States the position of the friar as curate would be different from that under Spain. This is not a religious question, though it concerns the selection of religious ministers for religious communities. The Philippine people love the Catholic Church. "The feeling against the friars is solely political. The people would gladly receive as ministers of the Roman Catholic religion any save those who are to them the embodiment of all in the Spanish rule that was hateful. If the friars return to their parishes, though only under the same police protection which the American government is bound to extend to any other Spanish subjects in these islands, the people will regard it as the act of that government. They have so long been used to having every phase of their conduct regulated by governmental order that the coming again of the friars will be accepted as an executive order to them to receive the friars as curates with their old, all-absorbing functions. It is likely to have the same effect on them that the return of General Weyler under an American commission as governor of Cuba would have had on the people of that island. "Those who are charged with the duty of pacifying these islands may, therefore, properly have the liveliest concern in a matter which, though on its surface only ecclesiastical, is, in the most important phase of it, political, and fraught with the most critical consequences to the peace and good order of the country in which it is their duty to set up civil government. We are convinced that a return of the friars to their parishes
  • 22. will lead to lawless violence and murder, and that the people will charge the course taken to the American government, thus turning against it the resentment felt towards the friars. "The friars have large property interests in these islands which the United States government is bound by treaty obligations and by the law of its being to protect. It is natural and proper that the friars should feel a desire to remain where so much of their treasure is. Nearly all the immense agricultural holdings have been transferred by the three orders -- by the Dominicans to a man named Andrews, by the Recoletos to an English corporation and by the Augustinians to another corporation; but these transfers do not seem to have been out-and-out sales, but only a means for managing the estates without direct intervention of the friars, or for selling the same when a proper price can be secured. The friars seem to remain the real owners." Return to The Great Republic by the Master Historians (Vol 4) We encourage linking to this site. Click here for an example. DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ - By printing, downloading, or using you agree to our full terms. Review the full terms by clicking here. Below is a summary of some of the terms. If you do not agree to the full terms, do not use the information. Since some of this information is from historical sources it may be outdated and/or contain errors. It is for research purposes only. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages. We are not liable for any consequential, incidental, indirect, or special damages. You indemnify us for claims caused by you. This site and all of its contents are © 2002-2003 by LoveToKnow, Inc. Click here for Privacy Policy Fourth International, February 1946 Chris Andrews American Imperialism in the Philippines
  • 23. 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 in October. The growing crisis in the Islands, developing toward civil war, made it necessary for the 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 a more equitable division of the product of their labor. For several years there was no effective solution of the problem. During the war the tenants organized a guerrilla army which Reportedly did good work against the enemy. After the enemy was defeated in their localities, they did not disband, and today they constitute a special problem which threatens the stability of the government. How threatening, is explained by Limlangen, Governor of Pampanga Province. He confesses that the government could not exist without ―the efficient handling of well-trained units of the United States Army assigned to help maintain peace and order.‖ The peasantry, he added, clearly say they 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. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps was introduced which describes the agrarian guerrilla movement, the Hukbalahaps, as follows: ―It is one of the largest and most powerful guerrilla organizationsin central 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 Communist Government 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 Bayan Laban 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 landlords and usurers. Now they refuse to disarm. These men and women trust no one but themselves; their actions 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 workers lived 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 in Spain or in the United States. They had fabulous homes, automobiles, racing stables, fantastic parties, and the virtues and vices of luxury …. At the opposite end of the Social scale were the
  • 24. taos or peasants. They lived in one or two room huts and ate fish and rice. They worked in fields for 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 no schooling, two-fifths never went beyond the fourth grade. Wall Street fostered and protected the growth of this parasitic wealthy Philippine ruling class to aid U.S. domination. The Philippine Constabulary, especially trained by U.S. officers, protects the possessing class. The native bankers, landlords, merchants and usurers maintain their corrupt rule through one party—the Nacionalista Party. The Filipino small farmer and tenant live in the squalor and misery which peasants throughout the whole world know, including those of the United States itself. The Filipinos have been pushed down into increasing poverty. Whereas in 1918 there were 1,500,000 farms operated by their 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 1938 about 575,000. The tenant or sharecropper must give 50 percent of his crop to the landlord. He has to borrow money when prices of the crops are low. He must pay back at a time advantageous to the landlord—who stores his share of the crop, waiting for the most favorable price. Monstrous Usury System The peasant, like all peasants throughout Asia, is in the grip of a monstrous usury system. He pays interest rates from 100 to 400 percent. The landlord, the government official, and the usurer all work together. They all bear arms. Buss describes one region where ―30,000 peons (live) at the mercy of one landlord, usurer, official.‖ This landlord, holding all three posts, incarnates the capitalist class itself, which as a rule does not reveal its domination of property, finance and government so nakedly. According to Buss, the sugar plantation owners keep three sets of books—one for the government, one for the labor representatives, and one for themselves. In past years there have been desperate agrarian outbreaks, Crushed by violence while the cries of the victims were stifled by censorship. The Sakdalista revolt in the middle-thirties extended over four provinces. Crowds of starving people broke into the rice warehouses. They were demanding clean politics, tax revisions, tenantry reforms. The Philippine Constabulary shot them down. But despite persecution, unions and peasant organizations have grown. In Pampanga Province in 1940 the Socialist Party elected the mayors and councils of the eight largest towns. This province is today a Huk stronghold. In the elections of 1941, however, the conduct of the bourgeoisie was so corrupt and illegal, that Pedro Abed Santos, Socialist candidate for President, gave up his
  • 25. candidacy several weeks before the election date, declaring there was no possibility of an honest election. On December7, 1941 the AMT (General Confederation of Workers) asked MacArthur for arms to defend themselves against the Japanese. They were refused and their leaders and spokesmen thrown into prison. With the breakdown of U.S. rule, the AMT, the MPMP (National Confederation of Peasants) and the PKM (National Peasants Party) set up the Huk movement on March 29, 1942.They were aided by the Socialists and Stalinists who had merged into a single party 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 Huk fighters seized their arms from the Japanese. Later, in November1942, a small Chinese force, the Wah 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 guerrilla groups, set up by the American Army. Nevertheless, the Stalinists, through such Huk members as they were able to confuse and mislead, attempted to bring the movement under the domination of 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‖ under the Americans to help carry on the war against Japan. In this same report the Daily Worker protests about the injustice of the Americans who arrested ―Welman‖ the very next day. Huk squadrons were being seized and disarmed, and the Daily Worker again cites with approval the memo sent to the American officers by the Huk leader in Tarlac, E. Aquino, objecting to the arrests and asking that all Huk units be ―inducted.‖ He pleaded that ―our common hope is for a speedy 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 in Chief Luis Taruc, and Castro Alejandrino. They were kept in prison for seven months without trial. Most sinister is the Malalos incident. The Huk squadrons 77 and 97 fought to the gates of Manila with 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 American hands (my emphasis—C. A.)they were attacked and liquidated by a guerrilla unit under a Filipino named Maclang, who the Huks claimed was a collaborationist.‖ Later evidence showed that 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 of Malalos.‖ (DarrillBernegan, Far Eastern Editor of the New York Post, writing from Manila, December 3, 1945.) Role of Native Capitalists
  • 26. Backed by American military might, the Philippine capitalists are now murdering Huk leaders who distinguished themselves in the guerrilla fighting. And what was the role of this native capitalist class itself under Japanese rule? All testimony agrees that they collaborated. Claude Buss, who was interned in the islands for two years, says: ―Tokyo has at least succeeded in pasting its label upon practically every well-known leader of the former Nacionalista party.‖ At the same time Buss puts forward the familiar imperialist alibi for white-washing the wealthy collaborators. ―Conceivably the politicos have rendered a service to the Philippine nation that could not have been rendered if the government had been taken over by irresponsible elements or by the Japanese themselves.‖ (Fortune, December 1944). This argument is boldly advanced by the collaborators themselves who now dominate the present Osmena government. Three Collaborationist Supreme Court Justices are back in their posts. Brigadier-General Manual Roxas helped draft the puppet government Constitution and was Minister 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 such thing 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 from President Osmena in the early days of American ―liberation.‖ The masses watch the return of the collaborationist to power with bitterness and rising anger. By a tremendous demonstration, marching to the Presidential palace 40,000 strong, they forced the release of Luis Taruc and Alejandrino. They further put forward these moderate demands.
  • 27. 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 market rages. Bridges, railroads, all transport and the large cities are destroyed. The American Army is today 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 that the 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 the Philippines 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 the misery left by the war was to pass through Congress a bill to pay the Congressmen their salaries for the past three years. The U.S. ruling class secured the Philippines as a by product of the Spanish-American War, with which it formally made its debut into the society of the imperialists. The American public, up to this time, had never even heard of the Philippines. But their attention was centered sympathetically on the struggles of the Cubans for freedom from Spain. Secretly, Theodore Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, sent Admiral Dewey with his fleet to the Far East, 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 nobody knows whom—furnished the pretext. The terrified Spaniards, knowing they were doomed, consented to American demands on April 9, 1898. President McKinley delivered his war message to Congress, regardless, the next day. American imperialism was not to be cheated out of this war. The war was over in 3 months. In two battles the Spanish fleets were destroyed completely and Spanish imperialism knocked down to a third rate power. All other sections of world capitalism looked on greedily. The American Ambassador in Berlin reported, ―the German government clearly regards the emergency in the East as one from which she must gain something or lose prestige with Europe and even with her own people.‖ German battleships sailed into Manila Harbor and maneuvered near Dewey‘s fleet. But the American imperialists were in no mood to divide the booty. The Germans and all other capitalists were so informed in a blunt New York Times editorial. ―We ... acknowledge no overlord to tell us how far 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 had refused the first Spanish offer to surrender Manila, because ―I had no force with which to occupy the city and I would not for a moment consider the possibility of turning it over to the
  • 28. undisciplined insurgents.‖ The actual Manila surrender was arranged by the Spaniards holding out the Filipinos on one side and letting the Americans in on the other. General Anderson reported how he kept the Filipinos out of their city by ―interposing our troops and placing artillery to command their positions.‖ There followed a period of diplomatic stalling, because Dewey 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 necessity to ―put it down.‖ When more troops arrived, the Americans began the conquest. Two years of fighting and three years of guerrilla warfare followed. In the war with Spain the United States lost only 379 men killed in action, although 5,462 died in disease-infected soldiers‘ camps, most of them in the United States. In the war against the Filipinos 60,000 troops were used; 4,300 were killed. American Atrocities Imperialism degrades both the conquered and the conquerors. The American soldiers were inflamed to race hatred and atrocities by their own officers. The Filipino resistance was finally broken by terror. Censorship covered the reign of massacre and torture until its purpose had been gained. After a later storm of protest in the United States, a face-saving investigation was launched. L.F. Adams, private in a Missouri regiment, wrote home, ―We burned all their houses. I don‘t know how many men, women and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any prisoners.‖ General Bell estimated that in ―pacifying‖ Luzon, one-sixth of the population died. That would be about 600,000. The official Secretary of War‘s Memorandum of February 17, 1901 reveals the conduct of the officers—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
  • 29. a question by said Major Waller, asking for an age limit, designate the age limit as ten years of age ….‖ Japanese General Yamashita, sentenced to hang for the atrocities committed in the interests of his imperialism, should have asked for the punishment of Brigadier-General Smith, who was also found guilty. His punishment—sentenced ―to be admonished by the reviewing authority.‖ American imperialism had its hands full with the Filipinos. Consequently it struck a typical imperialist 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 Japanese authority in Korea. In return, Premier Katsura agreed not to disturb American rule in the Philippines. This agreement among brigands was kept entirely secret by President Theodore Roosevelt, and by his emissary Taft, who later became President. It was revealed only years later in 1924, accidentally turned up by a historian, browsing among T.R. Roosevelt‘s papers. Independence Question Postponed Again A puppet Philippine government was set up in 1907 by a restricted election in which only property holders—about 100,000—could vote. An American Governor-General ruled with veto power. Future ―independence‖ was continually talked about; it never came. After the first World War, the triumphant American bourgeoisie tightened their grip on the Philippines. They sent a new Governor-General, booted and spurred, the true symbol of the colonial administrator. General Wood demonstratively withdrew the minor concessions Woodrow Wilson had previously granted, abolished his Council of State (although it only had advisory powers), took Cabinet Departments away from the Legislature, and used only military men as his assistants. The weak Philippine capitalist class had previously made use of ―Nationalization‖ to obtain state aid for their growth. They had set up a National Bank, a National Coal Company, a National Development Corporation and operated the Manila Railroad. Wall Street did not want such examples of public ownership; General Wood forced their transfer into the hands of private capitalists. The Philippine bourgeoisie kept up a continual clamor for independence. By this agitation they kept political influence over their own people who deeply desired it. Investigations and discussions 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 question of Philippine Independence was postponed. The Roosevelt Administration passed the Independence Act of 1934, setting up the Commonwealth Government for 1935 and pledging complete independence on July 4, 1945. This date was later postponed for one year. These twelve years have been ominous ones; World War II has brought all questions and all pledges up for reexamination.
  • 30. The economic relationship with the United States is most important for the Philippine bourgeoisie. They sell their sugar, hemp, copra, tobacco in the rich tariff-protected American home market. But after the conquest of 1898, Wall Street found the Caribbean and Latin American areas to be of greater profit for itself. A section of the American capitalists are anxious to break the ties. The most eloquent defenders of independence on the U.S. Senate floor have been the Utah beet sugar Senators and the Louisiana cane sugar Senators. Adding their voices are the representatives of the dairy and tobacco interests. Economic ―independence‖ for the Philippine bourgeoisie would be like amputation. 78% of their exports go to the United States; 67% of their imports come from there. Just placing a 5% tariff on 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 the world is ruined by the war, and the Philippines itself is ravaged. Where could the Philippine bourgeoisie find customers or markets? It is clear that they cannot survive as an independent capitalist 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 the Philippines against independence. Truman in October spoke guardedly about a ―necessary program of Rehabilitation ... a determination of the fundamental problems involved in our mutual relationship after independence.‖ The Philippines, of course, cannot gain genuine independence of the mighty economic, financial and 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 write in his column (September 8, 1945), ―The Philippines are going to get their independence on or before July 4, 1946, as planned, despite rumors to the contrary. The assurance comes from the highest source.‖ Wall Street has certain fixed demands. Secretary of the Navy Forrestal on May 26, 1945 proclaimed that the United States ―will continue to bear responsibility for the security of the Philippines and will have bases and strategic areas supporting those bases to carry out that responsibility.‖ This is axiomatic, for the Philippine bases are needed to form part of a great fortified perimeter extending throughout the Pacific. It is already clear that whether Wall Street grants a spurious ―independence‖ to the Philippines or not will not make a decisive difference. The day when the colonial struggle could be assuaged by such ―concessions‖ has long passed. The Philippine struggle for freedom has already been merged with its struggle for social and economic freedom. The struggle of the Philippine masses has 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 the Philippine masses will finally achieve their victory. Top of page
  • 31. Main FI Index | Main Newspaper Index Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists‘ Internet Archive This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Trotskism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above. U.S Imperialism in the Philippines Timeline created by gdavis in History Timeline 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
  • 32. 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 Spain's loss. The independence movement in struggle within the Philippines, the Spaniards in retreat, and the outward-looking Americans were destined to converge on each other, and did so in a war that portrays American foreign policy's true intent and sets the precedent for the next 100 years. The reasons for American expansion and imperialism were relatively clear and in the public domain, 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 and respective 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 American business 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 to achieve the marketable product, the output. Expansion into other countries serves both of these elements: it secures the raw materials needed by many diverse industries and provides a market for those finished goods. The political forces in the US, the US military, and the business community directly sponsored this suitable relationship. The businesses state their "concerns" to the politicians in Congress and the White House, who then order the military or some paramilitary group, such as today's CIA, to carry out those orders. At the turn of the century, US politicians were weighing concerns other than purely business ones. They were also becoming players in the international empire scene. Since the US never really had colonies of its own that it took over from non-Europeans, it had to settle for taking over colonies from other colonial powers, a practice called neo-colonialism. The US was attempting 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 to replace. Thus, the US established itself as a world power and placed itself amongst the other world powers.
  • 33. By listening only to William McKinley, one would believe that the US's intentions in the "matter of the Philippines" were motivated out of benign humanism: the US simply wanted to help them rule themselves, because they were, of course, not fit to do it themselves. His reasoning for why this was an American responsibility was simple: God had chosen the US to do it, to Christianize the country-- properly this time (since the Spanish had already introduced Catholicism, which was not true "Christianity").2 To most Americans, the Filipinos weren't even Catholic-- they were pagans. Thus, it was the duty of America to teach them proper religion, educate them accordingly, instruct them how to farm, build, and copulate correctly, etc. The policy makers in the US saw it as the responsibility of the US to assimilate a foreign people on their own land to Western ways, just as the previous colonial 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 and Negroes were not" fit to govern themselves, Americans were also considered unfit to govern themselves.3 In a precedence that later produced similar results in both World Wars, the Vietnam War (for a while, at least), and the Persian Gulf War, a conflict was incited in order to unite US citizens 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 labor unions. With the frequency of strikes and related violence increasing in the US, there seemed to be 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 a race that is dissimilar in appearance) will cause people to forget about their internal struggles and unite 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, who escalated the conflict in Cuba, and then consequently in the Philippines. The American people were given a number of reasons for why the US had to expand: the US had run out of frontier and needed more land; if the US didn't, others would expand in to it; it was America's "duty" to bring 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 market represented more work for them (and, ideally, more job security) and customers for their agricultural and industrial products. Americans would have to wait a number of decades before they could see the evolutionary result of this global corporatization, which has denied many Americans their jobs, without fundamentally changing the client-state relationship. Due to this perception, some labor unions began supporting the American invasion of the Philippines, although nearly all socialists and anarchists decried it. In every case where a union publicly supported the war, the workers perceived a direct personal, fiscal benefit from it, such as in the case of the Typographical Union who saw the expanse of the printing industry from more English-speaking territories, would the Philippines be properly annexed and assimilated.
  • 34. These policies and actions didn't, of course, conjure themselves out of thin air: they arose from the handiwork of a number of American men who were responsible for the design of the American empire that still exists today. The noted historian and playwright, Gore Vidal lists what he calls the Four Horsemen-- the individuals who created the nexus for America's rise to Empire: Alfred Thayer Mahan, Theodore Roosevelt, Brooks Adams, and Henry Cabot Lodge. These individuals controlled and manipulated their respective domains of the political structure to ensure the ends they desired.4 Mahan 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, via expanding into the Pacific Ocean with coaling stations and military bases, and protecting the Caribbean 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 under a weak and indifferent Secretary, he started building the US's navy up with new steel ships, in addition to making distinct policy plans. After leading the photo-op charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, he became a "national figure" and ran as McKinley's Vice President, only to become President himself when McKinley was assassinated. Adams, a historian/geopolitician, had lots of theories on how to build empires and he applied his theories of centralization and economics to Mahan's. Compton's Encyclopedia Online comments at length on the Adams family tree and has this to say on Brooks Adams: he was "[a] believer in evolution, the theory of biological change from simple to complex life forms, Brooks developed theories that occupied him most of his life: that history moves in cycles, that all nations move through patterned stages, and that history is a science."5 Lodge, a Republican senator from Massachusetts, led Congress in its push for war with Spain and the annexation of the Philippines. He chaired the Committee on the Philippines, which attempted to determine the fate of the Philippines. The Committee eventually was coerced by other senators to investigate the war that had developed in the Philippines, yet Lodge resisted to these hearings, which started January 28, 1902. Nonetheless, he was still effective in keeping them "on track".6 In addition to the designers, others facilitated, helped, and executed the invasion of the Philippines and the creation of empire. President William McKinley regularly made religious statements in form of pleas to the public's moral, missionary spirit, all the while negotiating with large industrialists and businessmen. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, both newspaper 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 Asiatic Squadron of the US Navy when Roosevelt sent him to Manila Bay, ending in the complete destruction of the Spanish armada in the bay. John Hay was an academic policy planner like Adams who became Secretary of State, and later wrote the Open Door Notes which officially declared the US as a world power by stating that no one could intrude upon its territory and that the Chinese needed to open their markets up to the US and others. Finally, Albert Beveridge,
  • 35. another Republican senator (from Indiana), sat on the Committee on the Philippines and assumed the role of defending the US's course in the Philippines.8 The actual result of the Spanish-American War and the war of Filipino "insurrection" were not all that unpredictable when considering the state-of-art US Naval fleet, the industrial and economical capacity of the US, and the lack of suitable armaments, defensive equipment, and personnel on the behalf of both the Spanish and the Filipinos. What was unpredictable at the time was the degree of success and precedence that it would set-- in the form of a foreign policy that would not deviate in any fundamental fashion for the next hundred years. Thus, the actually war itself doesn't lend much evidence to critical analysis of this policy. Yet, a brief overview is in order. After the successful intervention into Cuba, the US annexed Hawaii in July of 1898 and Wake Island later that summer. The last vestiges of Spanish control were overrun before the peace treaty with Spain (and a $20 million "sorry for the mess" fee) occurred in 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 the US used to help usurp the Spaniards from Manila. The fighting was ignited by an American soldier who fired and killed a Filipino two days before the US Congress was scheduled to vote on the Spanish-American Peace Treaty. Not surprisingly, shortly after the fighting started, the Senate ratified a treaty of Philippine annexation by one vote. By mid-1901 the US had squashed the Filipino independence movement, although fighting continued on separate islands for many more years. Fifteen times as many US soldiers died in the Philippines than did in Cuba and the war cost the US $600 million (although spurring on the war industry machine and the US economy). At the same time, 200,000 Filipinos died, of which only 1 out of every 10 were combatants.9 In a closer analysis of the logical extensions of the American invasion of the Philippines, one sees that many of the reasons the invasion took place still exist today for other actions the US carries out. For example, this is the period in US history in which the greatest amount of arming took place in the American military, to the point where when World War I started, the US was nearly 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 is assured that he would have appreciated the language used by the United States government to describe its intervention in to that country's affairs, especially after Spain had left. As in the case where Admiral Dewey remarks, "I thought they would be friendly to us and would help up; and they were very ungrateful, I think, in turning against us after what we had done for them."10 What the US "did" for the Filipinos it also did to a much greater extent for itself and without the interest of those ungrateful Filipinos in mind at all. Whenever discussing the matter of the Philippines to average American, politicians were cautious to use only the terms "help" and not "business". "National interests" as a term came into usage 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.
  • 36. William McKinley spoke at length for the reasons for US intervention in the Philippines, and his most honest statements came when he described his own decision-making conclusions: First, the islands couldn't go back to Spain (that would be cowardly and dishonorable). Secondly, France and Germany couldn't be allowed to control them (he politely didn't mention Britain), since that would be bad business practice. Third, under no condition could they be turned over to the Filipinos for self-rule, since they were unfit for democracy and "Western civilization". Thus, it was clear that the US had to do something on its own, because, of course, no other state was capable of it, nor justified. In the process, McKinley said, the US would educate them, uplift them, civilize them, and Christianize them.11 The first two reasons McKinley gives appear to be just like the policies that relatively equal states do with each other-- playing the "look out for #1" game. However, his reasoning that independence wasn't possible doesn't derive from the fact that the US was willing to give it (which was undoubtedly untrue), but because the Filipinos wouldn't be able to govern themselves. This can be easily interpreted to mean that the Filipinos would not choose to govern their country in a way that was acceptable to the US. Woodrow Wilson, 16 years later, publicly declared the rights of states to determine their own course and destiny, but then sent American warships into a port in Veracruz, Mexico, for "refusing to apologize to the United States with a twenty-one gun salute," killing a hundred Mexicans in the process. In the same fashion, William McKinley publicly implied that he wanted states to rule themselves (if "capable"), but privately made every attempt to control states whether directly as in the Philippines or indirectly such as in the case of Cuba.12 By joining the "club of imperial powers", the US got "dragged" into the First World War in 1914, which was between imperial powers, and started from nothing more than a reactionary assassination and rapid-mobilization policies, and then accelerated out of control, in a way similar to how fights can break out so easily at sporting matches between opposing fans.13 Later, when World War II started, the US stayed out, and didn't seem to notice the atrocities occurring in Eastern Europe, and it was only until the homogeny and business interests of the US was threatened in the Pacific Ocean-- by Japanese imperialism and their attack upon Pearl Harbor-- that the US finally joined with the Allied Powers. After WWII, the US retained its outwardly "moral" objectives by supporting governments who opposed communism, which was portrayed (quite accurately in the case of the USSR) as being totalitarian and brutally repressive. The truth of the matter is that these governments were often called "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 or oligarchies. These states clearly have/had a long history of repression towards their citizens. In this respect the goal of the US was very similar to that in the Philippines-- supporting any governments who fostered a preferable and open economic climate to US products and businesses, be it in the form of raw materials or cheap labor. Or, those who claimed to suitably anti-communist, for propaganda reasons.14 In addition to the policy that was generated from the war in the Philippines, the very first massive, organized protests against war in the US occurred, leading some to call the American-
  • 37. Philippines War the US's first "Vietnam". Unlike in the late 1960's and early 1970's, the reasons for opposition to US involvement in the Philippines weren't totally because of opposition to imperialism (although many were); many, such as some who composed the Anti-Imperialist League, felt that the US shouldn't "help" out the Philippines and should concentrate on domestic matters. They embodied quite a bit of subtle racism, like Roosevelt did, but unlike Roosevelt they didn't see the need to intervene "benignly". In Vietnam, the US waged a war on an overwhelmingly civilian population to control it and it to US subservience. However, by the time of the Vietnam War much of the major opposition to that certain war revolved around the belligerence of the US, the suffering of the Vietnamese, the unwillingness of American troops to fight, etc.15 This is not to suggest, however, that there wasn't dissent within the army during the war in the Philippines. In fact, like the Vietnam War, much of the dissatisfaction came from black soldiers who at the time were segregated. Many went AWOL, deserted, or actively joined forces with the Filipinos once in the Philippines and after having seen the conditions of the people living there and the way that they were treated by their own army. Once returning to the US, many blacks openly spoke out against the US's actions in the Philippines and also the racism they experienced when they were not treated equally as white soldiers who returned victoriously.16 White soldiers as well questioned the motives of the American-Philippine War, often because they were ordered to target "everything over 10"; as in Vietnam, everyone was considered an enemy collaborator.17 The concept of extending US authority over other countries started during the Spanish-American War 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 deterrent to 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 in 1990, the US stepped in to create a stronger US presence in the Persian Gulf and to curb the threat of nationalism which could disrupt oil companies.18 It becomes vividly clear that the policies of the US are a linear progression built upon the struggle to control the Philippines, and not scattered, unconnected decisions. Ever since the American attempt to enforce its will upon the Philippines was initially blocked by the Filipino people, the US has extended itself to whatever lengths to accomplish its goals-- creating American prominence abroad while creating stable trade environments and jumping points to other markets-- which remain unchanged. Notes 1. Zinn, Howard "A People's 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.
  • 38. 5. Compton's Encyclopedia Online, Keyword: "Brooks Adams", Source: http://www.optonline.com/comptons/ceo/00043_A.html 6. 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 Industrial America", at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. The effect of media influence has grown 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.htm 10. "American Imperialism", p.13. Interview of Admiral George Dewey called "Was there a deal with Aguinaldo?" 11. "People's 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. "People's History of the US", pp.310-313. 17. Ibid, p. 308. This astonishing quote is ghastly similar to statements made after massacres in Vietnam, such as My Lai. 18. "Deterring Democracy", pp.407-423. U.S. History from the 1864 to 1917