The Full Wiki

More info on Philippine-American War

Philippine-American War: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Philippine-American War

Include this on your site/blog:


(Redirected to Philippine–American War article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Philippine-American War
Fil-American War Feb 04,1899.jpg
The Battle of Manila, February 1899.
Date Filipino Rebellion: June 2, 1899 – July 4, 1902[a]
Moro Rebellion: 1899–1913
Location Philippines, Southeast Asia
Result United States victory and dissolution of the First Philippine Republic.
United States gained control of the Philippines.
Philippines First Philippine Republic
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Revolutionary forces
Philippines Pulajanes
Late 19th Century Flag of Sulu.svg Sultanate of Sulu
Philippines Moro
United States United States
Philippine Constabulary
Philippine Scouts
Philippines Emilio Aguinaldo
Philippines Miguel Malvar
Philippines Manuel Tinio
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Arcadio Maxilom
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Macario Sakay
Philippines Dionisio Seguela
Late 19th Century Flag of Sulu.svg Sultan of Sulu
United States William McKinley
United States Theodore Roosevelt
United States Elwell Otis
United States Arthur MacArthur
United States John Pershing
United States Jacob Smith
80,000[citation needed] ~126,000 total[1][2]

~24,000 to ~44,000 field strength[3][4]

Casualties and losses
~12,000–20,000 killed[1][5] 4,196 killed, ~3,000 wounded;

2,000 Philippine Constabulary killed or wounded[6]

34,000 to 1,000,000 Philippine civilians killed including deaths from famine and disease[5][7][8]
a July 4, 1902 is the official ending date of the war, though the Moro, the Pulahanes, the remnants of the Katipunan, and the Tagalog Republic, continued hostilities until June 15, 1913.[9][10]

The Philippine–American War, sometimes known as the Philippine War of Independence or the Philippine Insurrection (1899–1902)[11] was an armed military conflict between the Philippines and the United States, which arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic against United States' annexation of the islands.[12][13] The war was a continuation of the Philippine struggle for independence, following the Philippine Revolution and the Spanish-American War.

The struggle officially began on June 2, 1899, when the Philippines declared war against the United States and it officially ended on July 4, 1902, after Aguinaldo's surrender.[9][14] However, remnants of the Katipunan and other resistance groups, such as the Muslims and Pulajanes, continued hostilities until June 15, 1913 (Battle of Bud Bagsak).[9][10]

Opposition to the war inspired Mark Twain to found the Anti-Imperialist League on June 15, 1898. British poet Rudyard Kipling wrote The White Man's Burden, about colonialism. In its aftermath, the war and United States' occupation would change the cultural landscape of the islands, as the people dealt with an estimated 200,000–1,500,000 casualties, disestablishment of the Catholic Church as the state religion, and the introduction of the English language as the primary language of government and some businesses. In 1916 the United States granted the Philippines autonomy and promised eventual self-government, which came in 1934, and eventual independence in 1946.



Philippine Revolution

On July 7, 1892 Andrés Bonifacio, a warehouseman and clerk from Manila, established the Katipunan, a revolutionary organization which aimed to gain independence from Spanish colonial rule by armed revolt.[15] The Katipunan spread throughout the provinces, and the Philippine Revolution of 1896 was led by its members, called Katipuneros.[9][16] Fighters in Cavite province won early victories. One of the most influential and popular Cavite leaders was Emilio Aguinaldo, mayor of Cavite El Viejo (modern-day Kawit), who gained control of much of eastern Cavite. Eventually Aguinaldo and his faction gained control of the leadership of the movement. In 1897, Aguinaldo was elected president of an insurgent government while the “outmaneuvered”[9] Bonifacio was executed for treason.[9][17] Aguinaldo is officially considered the first president of the Philippines.

A late 19th century photograph of Filipino Katipuneros.
1899 political cartoon by Winsor McCay. Uncle Sam (representing the United States), gets entangled with rope around a tree labelled "Imperialism" while trying to subdue a bucking colt or mule labeled "Philippines" while a figure representing Spain walks off over the horizon carrying a bag labeled "#20,000,000".

Aguinaldo's exile and return

Emilio Aguinaldo in the field.

By December 1897 the struggle had come to a stalemate. In August 1897 armistice negotiations were opened between Aguinaldo and the current Spanish governor-general, Fernando Primo de Rivera. By mid-December an agreement was reached in which the governor would pay Aguinaldo a sum described in the agreement as "$800,000 (Mexican)" in three installments if Aguinaldo would go into exile.[18][19] Aguinaldo then established himself in Hong Kong.[18][20] Before leaving, Aguinaldo denounced the Revolution, exhorted Filipino combatants to disarm and declared those who continued hostilities to be bandits.[9] However, some Filipino revolutionaries did continue armed struggle against the Spanish colonial government.[9][21][22][23][24][25]

Aguinaldo wrote retrospectively in 1899 that he had met with U.S. Consuls E. Spencer Pratt and Rounceville Wildman in Singapore between April 22 and 25, and that they persuaded him to again take up the mantle of leadership in the revolution, with Pratt communicating with Admiral George Dewey (the U.S. Navy's Asiatic Squadron commander) by telegram, passing assurances from Dewey to Aguinaldo that the United States would at least recognize the independence of the Philippines under the protection of the United States Navy, and adding that there was no necessity for entering into a formal written agreement because the word of the Admiral and of the United States Consul were in fact equivalent to the most solemn pledge that their verbal promises and assurance would be fulfilled to the letter and were not to be classed with Spanish promises or Spanish ideas of a man’s word of honour.[26] Aguinaldo reports agreeing to return to the Philippines, traveling from Singapore to Hong Kong aboard the steamship Malacca, onwards from Hong Kong on American dispatch-boat McCulloch, and arriving in Cavite on May 19.[26] The New York Times wrote on August 6, 1899 that Pratt had obtained a court order enjoining the publication of certain statements "... which might be regarded as showing a positive connection" between himself and Aguinaldo.[27] The Times reports the court ruling to uphold Mr. Pratt's position that he had "no dealings of a political character" with Aguinaldo and the book publisher withdrew from publication statements to the contrary.[27]

In Camiguin, Aguinaldo reports meeting with Admiral Dewey, and recalls: "I asked whether it was true that he had sent all the telegrams to the Consul at Singapore, Mr. Pratt, which that gentleman had told me he received in regard to myself. The Admiral replied in the affirmative, adding that the United States had come to the Philippines to protect the natives and free them from the yoke of Spain. He said, moreover, that America is exceedingly well off as regards territory, revenue, and resources and therefore needs no colonies, assuring me finally that there was no occasion for me to entertain any doubts whatever about the recognition of the Independence of the Philippines by the United States."[26] By late May Dewey had been ordered by the U.S. Department of the Navy to distance himself from Aguinaldo lest he make untoward commitments to the Philippine forces.[28]

In a matter of months after Aguinaldo's return, the Philippine Army conquered nearly all of Spanish-held ground within the Philippines. With the exception of Manila, which was completely surrounded by the Philippine Army of 12,000, the Filipinos now controlled the Philippines. Aguinaldo also turned over 15,000 Spanish prisoners to the Americans, offering them valuable intelligence. On June 12 Aguinaldo declared independence at his house in Cavite El Viejo.

On August 13, with American commanders unaware that a peace protocol had been signed between Spain and the United States on the previous day, American forces captured the city of Manila from the Spanish.[29] Governor-General Fermin Jaudenes had made a secret agreement with Dewey and General Wesley Merritt. Jaudenes specifically requested to surrender only to the Americans, not to the Filipino rebels. To save face, he proposed a mock battle with the Americans preceding the Spanish surrender; the Filipinos would not be allowed to enter the city. Dewey and Merritt agreed to this, and no one else in either camp knew about the agreement. On the eve of the mock battle, General Thomas M. Anderson telegraphed Aguinaldo, “Do not let your troops enter Manila without the permission of the American commander. On this side of the Pasig River you will be under fire”.[30]

At the beginning of the war between Spain and America, Americans and Filipinos had been allies against Spain in all but name; now Spanish and Americans were in a partnership that excluded the Filipino insurgents. Fighting between American and Filipino troops almost broke out as the former moved in to dislodge the latter from strategic positions around Manila on the eve of the attack. Aguinaldo had been told bluntly by the Americans that his army could not participate and would be fired upon if it crossed into the city. The insurgents were infuriated at being denied triumphant entry into their own capital, but Aguinaldo bided his time. Relations continued to deteriorate, however, as it became clear to Filipinos that the Americans were in the islands to stay.[28]

The June 12 declaration of Philippine independence had not been recognized by either the United States or Spain, and the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which was signed on December 10, 1898, in consideration for an indemnity for Spanish expenses and assets lost.

On January 1, 1899 Aguinaldo was declared President of the Philippines — the only president of what would be later called the First Philippine Republic. He later organized a Congress at Malolos, Bulacan to draft a constitution.[31]

Admiral Dewey later argued that he had promised nothing regarding the future:

“From my observation of Aguinaldo and his advisers I decided that it would be unwise to co-operate with him or his adherents in an official manner... In short, my policy was to avoid any entangling alliance with the insurgents, while I appreciated that, pending the arrival of our troops, they might be of service.”[24]

War against the United States

Conflict origins

Filipino soldiers outside Manila in 1899.

On June 12, 1898, Filipino revolutionary forces under Aguinaldo (later to become the President of the insurgent First Philippine Republic) proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

Wounded American soldiers at Santa Mesa, Manila in 1899.

The declaration, however, was not recognized by the United States or Spain, as the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, in consideration for an indemnity for Spanish expenses and assets lost.

Tensions between the Philippine and the American governments existed because of the conflicting movements for independence and colonization, aggravated by the feelings of betrayal on the part of Aguinaldo. The Malolos Congress declared war on the United States on June 2, 1899, with Pedro Paterno, President of Congress, issuing a Proclamation of War.[32] The Philippine-American war ensued between 1899 and 1902.

First Philippine Commission

On January 20, 1899 President McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission (the Schurman Commission), to investigate conditions in the islands and make recommendations. In the report that they issued to the president the following year, the commissioners acknowledged Filipino aspirations for independence; they declared, however, that the Philippines was not ready for it. Specific recommendations included the establishment of civilian government as rapidly as possible (the American chief executive in the islands at that time was the military governor), including establishment of a bicameral legislature, autonomous governments on the provincial and municipal levels, and a system of free public elementary schools.[33][34]

On November 2, 1900 Dr. Schurman signed the following statement:

"Should our power by any fatality be withdrawn, the commission believe that the government of the Philippines would speedily lapse into anarchy, which would excuse, if it did not necessitate, the intervention of other powers and the eventual division of the islands among them. Only through American occupation, therefore, is the idea of a free, self-governing, and united Philippine commonwealth at all conceivable. And the indispensable need from the Filipino point of view of maintaining American sovereignty over the archipelago is recognized by all intelligent Filipinos and even by those insurgents who desire an American protectorate. The latter, it is true, would take the revenues and leave us the responsibilities. Nevertheless, they recognize the indubitable fact that the Filipinos cannot stand alone. Thus the welfare of the Filipinos coincides with the dictates of national honour in forbidding our abandonment of the archipelago. We cannot from any point of view escape the responsibilities of government which our sovereignty entails; and the commission is strongly persuaded that the performance of our national duty will prove the greatest blessing to the peoples of the Philippine Islands." [...][35]

First shots

This print, titled "The Battle of Paceo, February 4–5, 1899, Philippine Islands", is a depiction of initial hostilities between Philippine and American forces.

The conflict began on the night of February 4, 1899 when a Filipino soldier was shot by an American soldier, Pvt. William W. Grayson (an English immigrant who acquired U.S. citizenship in 1900[36]). San Juan Bridge in modern San Juan City, Metro Manila was considered the site of the event until 2003, when the Philippine National Historical Institute found that it actually happened in Sociego and Silencio Streets in Santa Mesa, Manila (moving a marker).[37] Immediately before the shooting, Grayson and others witnessed a series of outpost signals.[36] Grayson's own account subsequently states:

"In a moment, something rose up slowly in front of us. It was a Filipino. I yelled “Halt!” and made it pretty loud, for I was accustomed to challenging the officer of the guard in approved military style. I challenged him with another loud “halt!” Then he shouted “halto!” to me. Well, I thought the best thing to do was to shoot him. He dropped. Then two Filipinos sprang out of the gateway about fifteen feet from us. I called "Halt" and Miller fired and dropped one. I saw that another was left. Well, I think I got my second Filipino that time. We retreated to where our six other fellows were and I said "Line up fellows, the niggers are in here all through these yards.[38]" We then retreated to the pipe line and got behind the water work main and stayed there all night. It was some minutes after our second shots before Filipinos began firing.[39][40]

An eyewitness account from an American sergeant states that the shot Filipino was a "particularly abusive" officer who would curse at the sentries, regularly accompanied by a drunken mob. (This account conflicts with Grayson's version in some ways; it also claims "fire immediately erupted all along the [American] line" and "a large group of Filipinos, screaming at the top of their lungs" rushed the bridge and were checked by volley fire, details absent from Grayson's account).[41] Some posit that the shot Filipino was himself probably drunk.[42][43] One account says there were four Filipinos, drunk and unarmed, who mocked Grayson's challenge.[43] For more details see Battle of Manila (1899).

However, according to a 2004 article in KASAMA, the newsletter of the Solidarity Philippines Australia Network (SPAN), the book The forbidden book: the Philippine-American War in political cartoons asserts:

A Chicago Chronicle cartoon in January 1900 showed President McKinley preventing Uncle Sam from reading the “Forbidden Book” about the “true history of the war in the Philippines.”...

On February 4, 1899, the United States went to war based on a false claim that Filipinos began attacking American soldiers in Manila. The first shots were actually fired by an American soldier as Filipinos crossed a bridge, and historians would later discover a “prearranged plan” by the U.S. military to precipitate a war as soon as an incident was provoked. Misled by false reports, the Senate passed (by one vote) a treaty to annex the Philippines. President McKinley would later justify the war by claiming that God had counseled him to take the Philippines in order to civilize and Christianize the Filipinos. What was really behind the annexation was the need for overseas markets and raw materials for American industry.[44]

Fighting soon erupted in Manila. On February 5 General Arthur MacArthur ordered his troops to advance without investigating the incident.[45]

Aguinaldo was in Malolos when the conflict started. That same night, a Filipino captain wired Malolos, stating the Americans had started the hostilities. The next day (February 5) Aguinaldo sent an emissary to General Elwell Otis to sue for peace, saying "the firing on our side the night before had been against my order." Otis replied: "Fighting having begun, must go on to the grim end."[46] Aguinaldo then sent a telegram to all "local chiefs" informing them of the hostilities.[46]

According to Murat Halstead, official historian of the U.S. Philippine Expedition, Aguinaldo issued the following proclamation:

I order and command:

1. That peace and friendly relations with the Americans be broken and that the latter be treated as enemies, within the limits prescribed by the laws of war.

2. That the Americans captured be held as prisoners of war.

3. That this proclamation be communicated to the consuls and that congress order and accord a suspension of the constitutional guarantee, resulting from the declaration of war.

Section 3 of this proclamation invoked Article 30 of the Malolos Constitution, effectively giving a seven-member Permanent Commission within the First Philippine Republic the power to govern the by decree and to temporarily suspend some civil rights guarantees.

This proclamation may have been embodied in the aforementioned telegram, but Halstead dates it to February 4.[47]

Aguinaldo also ordered an investigation of the events. It was learned that 200-300 American troops were shipped to Cavite on the morning of February 4, but were sent back to Manila without disembarking; also, on February 2 and 3, Filipino employees on American ships were dismissed from service for no apparent reason. Considering the American attack was sudden, these events led to Filipino suspicions that the Americans had planned to force them into war. In contrast, American authorities made no investigations and instead declared all-out war.[46] Filipino historians Agoncillo and Renato Constantino both say American aggression sparked the war.[9][46]

The Malolos Congress only declared war on the United States on June 2, 1899, with Pedro Paterno, President of Congress, issuing a Proclamation of War.[48][49] Prior to this proclamation, several battles had already occurred.[46]

U.S. President William McKinley later told reporters “that the insurgents had attacked Manila” in justifying war on the Philippines.[50] The McKinley administration declared Aguinaldo to be an “outlaw bandit”, and no formal declaration of war was ever issued.

Second Philippine Commission

The Second Philippine Commission (the Taft Commission), appointed by McKinley on March 16, 1900, and headed by William Howard Taft, was granted legislative as well as limited executive powers. Between September 1900 and August 1902 it issued 499 laws. A judicial system was established, including a Supreme Court, and a legal code was drawn up to replace antiquated Spanish ordinances. A civil service was organized. The 1901 municipal code provided for popularly elected presidents, vice presidents, and councilors to serve on municipal boards. The municipal board members were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining municipal properties, and undertaking necessary construction projects; they also elected provincial governors.[33][51]

American escalation

Pasig — Oregon Volunteer Infantry on firing line, March 14, 1899.

U.S. troop strength averaged 40,000 and peaked at 74,000.[3] Typically only 60 percent of American troops were combat troops, with a field strength ranging from 24,000 to 44,000.[3] A total of 126,468 US soldiers served there.[2] After the official end to the war, U.S. forces were regularly engaged against Filipino guerrilla forces for another decade. Also, Macabebe Filipinos were recruited by the United States Army. Twenty-six of the 30 American generals who served in the Philippines from 1898 to 1902 had fought in the Indian Wars.[52]

By the end of February 1899 the Americans had prevailed in the struggle for Manila, and the Philippine Army was forced to retreat north. Hard-fought American victories followed at Quingua (April), Zapote Bridge (June), and Tirad Pass (December). With the June assassination of General Antonio Luna by rivals in the Philippine leadership, conventional military leadership was weakened. Brigadier General Gregorio del Pilar fought a delaying action at Tirad Pass to allow Aguinaldo to escape, at the cost of his life. After this battle and the loss of two of their best generals, the Filipinos' ability to fight a conventional war rapidly diminished.

Philippine war strategy

Manila — Filipino attack on the barracks of Co. C, 13th Minnesota Volunteers, during the Tondo Fire.

Estimates of the Filipino forces vary between 80,000 and 100,000, with tens of thousands of auxiliaries.[3] Lack of weapons and ammunition was a significant impediment to the Filipinos.

The goal, or end-state, sought by the First Philippine Republic was a sovereign, independent, socially stable Philippines led by the ilustrado (intellectual) oligarchy.[53] Local chieftains, landowners, and businessmen were the principales who controlled local politics. The war was strongest when illustrados, principales, and peasants were unified in opposition to annexation.[53] The peasants, who provided the bulk of guerrilla manpower, had interests different from their illustrado leaders and the principales of their villages.[53] Coupled with the ethnic and geographic fragmentation, unity was a daunting task. The challenge for Aguinaldo and his generals was to sustain unified Filipino public opposition; this was the revolutionaries' strategic center of gravity.[53]

The Filipino operational center of gravity was the ability to sustain its force of 100,000 irregulars in the field.[54] The Filipino general Francisco Makabulos described the Filipinos' war aim as, “not to vanquish the U.S. Army but to inflict on them constant losses.” They sought to initially use conventional tactics and an increasing toll of U.S. casualties to contribute to McKinley's defeat in the 1900 presidential election.[54] Their hope was that as President the avowedly anti-imperialist William Jennings Bryan would withdraw from the Philippines.[54] They pursued this short-term goal with guerrilla tactics better suited to a protracted struggle.[54] While targeting McKinley motivated the revolutionaries in the short term, his victory demoralized them and convinced many undecided Filipinos that the United States would not depart precipitately.[54]

Guerrilla war phase

In 1900 Aguinaldo shifted from conventional to guerrilla warfare, a means of operation which better suited their disadvantaged situation and made American occupation of the Philippine archipelago all the more difficult over the next few years. In fact, during just the first four months of the guerrilla war, the Americans had nearly 500 casualties.[55] The Philippine Army began staging bloody ambushes and raids, such as the guerrilla victories at Paye, Catubig, Makahambus, Pulang Lupa, Balangiga and Mabitac. At first, it even seemed as if the Filipinos would fight the Americans to a stalemate and force them to withdraw. This was even considered by President McKinley at the beginning of the phase.

The shift to guerrilla warfare, however, only angered the Americans into acting more ruthlessly than before. They began taking no prisoners, burning whole villages, and routinely shooting surrendering Filipino soldiers. Civilians were forced into concentration camps, after being suspected of being guerrilla sympathizers. Thousands of civilians died in these camps. The camps and slaughter of civilians was excused by the fact that the media told the American population that the savages were little children needing America's help and cleansing. The guerilla warfare helped this case by giving a moral right to what the American's were doing since the "savages" were cowardly uncivilized enemies.[56]

The subsequent American oppression of the population tremendously reduced the materials, men, and morale of many Filipino soldiers, compelling them in one way or another to surrender. The start of guerrilla warfare fuelled pro war journalists with more material to spin. The journalists basically criticized the Filipinos for their style of waging war.[57]

Decline and fall of the First Philippine Republic

A group of Filipino combatants are photographed just as they lay down their weapons prior to their surrender.

The Philippine Army continued suffering defeats from the better armed American Army during the conventional warfare phase, forcing Aguinaldo to continuously change his base of operations, which he did for nearly the length of the entire war.

On March 23, 1901 General Frederick Funston and his troops captured Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela, with the help of some Filipinos (called the Macabebe Scouts after their home locale) who had joined the Americans' side. The Americans pretended to be captives of the Macabebes, who were dressed in Philippine Army uniforms. Once Funston and his “captors” entered Aguinaldo's camp, they immediately fell upon the guards and quickly overwhelmed them and the weary Aguinaldo.

On April 1, 1901, at the Malacañang Palace in Manila, Aguinaldo swore an oath accepting the authority of the United States over the Philippines and pledging his allegiance to the American government. On April 19, he issued a Proclamation of Formal Surrender to the United States, telling his followers to lay down their weapons and give up the fight. “Let the stream of blood cease to flow; let there be an end to tears and desolation,” Aguinaldo said. “The lesson which the war holds out and the significance of which I realized only recently, leads me to the firm conviction that the complete termination of hostilities and a lasting peace are not only desirable but also absolutely essential for the well-being of the Philippines.”[58][59]

The capture of Aguinaldo dealt a severe blow to the Filipino cause, but not as much as the Americans had hoped. General Miguel Malvar took over the leadership of the Filipino government, or what remained of it.[60] He originally had taken a defensive stance against the Americans, but now launched all-out offensive against the American-held towns in the Batangas region.[10] General Vincente Lukban in Samar, and other army officers, continued the war in their respective areas.[10]

In response General J. Franklin Bell adopted tactics to counter Malvar's guerrilla strategy. Forcing civilians to live in hamlets, interrogating suspected guerrillas (and regular civilians alike), and his scorched earth campaigns took a heavy toll on the Filipino revolutionaries.[61]

Bell also relentlessly pursued Malvar and his men, breaking ranks, dropping morale, and forcing the surrender of many of the Filipino soldiers. Finally, Malvar surrendered, along with his sick wife and children and some of his officers, on April 13, 1902. By the end of the month nearly 3,000 of Malvar's men had also surrendered. With the surrender of Malvar, the Filipino war effort began to dwindle even further.

Official end to the war

The Philippine Organic Act of July 1902 approved, ratified, and confirmed McKinley's Executive Order establishing the Philippine Commission and stipulated that a legislature would be established composed of a lower house, the Philippine Assembly, which would be popularly elected, and an upper house consisting of the Philippine Commission. The act also provided for extending the United States Bill of Rights to Filipinos.[33][51]

On July 2 the Secretary of War telegraphed that the insurrection against the sovereign authority of the U.S. having come to an end, and provincial civil governments having been established, the office of Military governor was terminated. On July 4 Theodore Roosevelt, who had succeeded to the U.S. Presidency after the assassination of President McKinley on September 5, 1901, proclaimed a full and complete pardon and amnesty to all people in the Philippine archipelago who had participated in the conflict.[62][63]


The war unofficially continued for nearly a decade as Constantino has suggested, since groups collectively know as Irreconcilables remained active. These included remnants of the Katipunan, and other resistance groups continued to their struggle by fighting the United States Military or Philippine Constabulary.[9] After the close of the war, however, Governor-General Taft preferred to rely on the Philippine Constabulary in a law-enforcement role rather than on the American army. He was, in fact, criticized for this.[64]

Simeon Ola of Guinobatan, Albay in the Bicol region has been suggested as the last Filipino general to surrender (on September 25, 1903) in place of Malvar.[65]

In 1902 a veteran Katipunan member and self-proclaimed generalisimo named Macario Sakay attempted to form his own Republic, called Katagalugan after Bonifacio's, in southern Luzon. After years of resistance he was captured and executed in 1907 after accepting an amnesty offer.[9][66]


Quasi-religious armed groups included the pulajanes (so called because of their red garments), colorum (from a corruption of the Latin in saecula saeculorum, part of the Glory Be to the Father prayer), and Dios-Dios (literally "God-God") groups of assorted provinces. These groups were mostly composed of farmers and other poor people led by messianic leaders, and they subscribed to a blend of Roman Catholicism and folk beliefs. For example, they used amulets (called agimat or anting-anting), believing they would become bulletproof. One of these leaders was Dionisio Seguela, better known as Papa Isio (Pope Isio). The last of these groups were wiped out or had surrendered by 1913.[9]

These resistance movements were all dismissed by the American government as banditry, fanaticism or cattle rustling.[9]

Moro Rebellion

The American government had a peace treaty with the Sultanate of Sulu at the outbreak of the war with Aguinaldo that was supposed to prevent war in Moro territory. However, after the resistance in the north was crippled, the United States began to colonize Moro land that provoked the Moro Rebellion. Beginning with the Taraca, which occurred on April 4, 1904, American forces battled Datu Ampuanagus, who surrendered after losing 200 members of his people.[9][67] Numerous battles would occur after that up until the end of the conflict on June 15, 1913. During the conflict, the battles of Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak were among the most notable since casualties included women and children[10]

Political atmosphere

American opposition

Some Americans, notably William Jennings Bryan, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Ernest Crosby, and other members of the American Anti-Imperialist League, strongly objected to the annexation of the Philippines. Other Americans mistakenly thought that the Philippines wanted to become part of the United States.[citation needed] Anti-imperialist movements claimed that the United States had become a colonial power, by replacing Spain as the colonial power in the Philippines. Other anti-imperialists opposed annexation on racist grounds. Among these was Senator Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina, who feared that annexation of the Philippines would lead to an influx of non-white immigrants into the United States. As news of atrocities committed in subduing the Philippines arrived in the United States, support for the war flagged.

Mark Twain famously opposed the war by using his influence in the press. He said the war betrayed the ideals of American democracy by not allowing the Filipino people to choose their own destiny.

“There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it — perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands — but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector — not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now — why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation.”[68]

Some later historians, such as Howard Zinn and Daniel Boone Schirmer, cite the Philippine–American War as an example of American imperialism.[69]

Filipino collaboration

Some of Aguinaldo's associates supported America, even before hostilities began. Pedro Paterno, Aguinaldo's prime minister and the author of the 1897 armistice treaty with Spain, advocated the incorporation of the Philippines into the United States in 1898. Other associates sympathetic to the U.S. were Trinidad Pardo de Tavera and Benito Legarda, prominent members of Congress; Gregorio Araneta, Aguinaldo's Secretary of Justice; and Felipe Buencamino, Aguinaldo's Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Buencamino is recorded to have said in 1902: "I am an American and all the money in the Philippines, the air, the light, and the sun I consider American." Many such people subsequently held posts in the colonial government.[9]

U.S. Army Captain Matthew Arlington Batson formed the Macabebe Scouts[70] as a native guerrilla force to fight the insurgency. Later, these scouts became the Philippine Scouts and Philippine Constabulary, which saw action against resistance groups.


Some Filipinos wounded by the fighting in 1899.

In the official war years, there were 4,196 American soldiers dead, 1,020 of which were from actual combat; the remainder died of disease, and 2,930 were wounded.[6] There were also 2,000 casualties that the Philippine Constabulary suffered during the war, over one thousand of which were fatalities. It should be noted that total Filipino casualties was at the time and still is a highly-debated, argued, and politicized number. It is estimated that some 34,000 Filipino soldiers lost their lives and as many as 200,000 civilians may have died directly or indirectly as a result of the war, most due to a major cholera epidemic that broke out near its end.[71] Philippine military deaths are estimated at 20,000 with 16,000 actually counted, while civilian deaths numbered between 250,000 and 1,000,000 Filipinos.[8] These numbers take into account those killed by war, malnutrition, and a cholera epidemic that raged during the war.[7] The Philippine–American War Centennial Initiative gives an estimate of 510,000 civilian deaths, and 20,000 military deaths, excluding 100,000 deaths from the Moro Rebellion.[citation needed] The American military and Philippine Constabulary still suffered periodic losses combating small bands of Moro guerrillas in the far south until 1913.

Filipino soldiers killed during the Battle of Manila. Original caption is "Insurgent dead just as they fell in the trench near Santa Ana, February 5. The trench was circular, and the picture shows but a small portion."
American Colonel John M. Stotsenburg was killed during the Battle of Quingua

The high Filipino casualty figures were a combination of the superior arms and even more superior numbers of the Americans, who were equipped with the most modern, up-to-date weapons in the world, including Krag-Jørgensen bolt-action rifles and machine guns, and who were also well-led. Furthermore, U.S. warships stood ready to destroy Philippine positions when needed. In contrast, the Filipinos were armed with a motley collection of rifles such as Mausers and Remingtons, many which had been taken from dead enemy soldiers (including Spanish troops from the previous conflict) or smuggled into the country by their fellow Filipinos.[72] Their artillery was not much better, consisting mostly of worn-out artillery pieces captured from the Spanish. Although they did have a few Maxim and Gatling machine guns, along with a few modern Krupp artillery pieces, these were highly prized and taken to the rear for fear of capture before they could play any decisive role. Ammunition and rifles became more scarce as the war dragged on, and Filipinos were forced to manufacture their own, like the homemade paltik. Still most did not even have firearms. Many used bolos, spears, and lances in fighting, which also contributed to high casualty figures when such obsolete weapons were used against the Americans' superior arms. However, the Filipinos did have the advantage of knowing their own country and rough terrain well, in contrast to the Americans who were fighting on foreign terrain.

In recognition of United States military service during the Philippine–American War, the United States military created two service decorations which were known as the Philippine Campaign Medal and the Philippine Congressional Medal.

Ratio of Filipinos wounded

The most conclusive evidence that the enemy wounded were being killed, came from the official reports of Otis and his successor, General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., which claimed fifteen Filipinos killed for every one wounded. In the American Civil War, the ratio had been five wounded for every soldier killed, which is close to historical norm. Otis attempted to explain this anomaly by the superior marksmanship of rural southerners and westerners in the U.S. military, who had hunted all their lives.[73]


American atrocities

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order "KILL EVERY ONE OVER TEN" was the caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The bottom caption exclaimed, "Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines". Published in the New York Journal-American, May 5, 1902.

In 1908 Manuel Arellano Remondo, in General Geography of the Philippine Islands, wrote: “The population decreased due to the wars, in the five-year period from 1895 to 1900, since, at the start of the first insurrection, the population was estimated at 9,000,000, and at present (1908), the inhabitants of the Archipelago do not exceed 8,000,000 in number.”[74]

United States attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns[61] where entire villages were burned and destroyed, torture (water cure[75]) and the concentration of civilians into "protected zones"[76]. Many of the civilian casualties resulted from disease and famine.

In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported:"The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog...."[77]

In an article, We Charge Genocide: A Brief History of US in the Philippines, appearing in the December, 2005 issue of Political Affairs (the official magazine of the Communist Party USA), E. San Juan, Jr., director of the Philippines Cultural Studies Center, Connecticut, argued that during the Philippine–American War (1899–1902) and pacification campaign (1902–1913), the operations launched by the U.S. against the Filipinos, an integral part of its pacification program, which they quoted as claiming the lives 1.4 million Filipinos, constituted genocide.[78]

American soldiers' letters and response

From almost the beginning of the war, soldiers wrote home describing the atrocities committed against Filipinos, soldiers and civilians alike. Increasingly, such personal letters, or portions of them, reached a national audience as anti-imperialist editors across the nation reproduced them.[79]

Once these accounts became popular press fodder, the War Department became involved and demanded that General Otis investigate their authenticity. Each press clipping was forwarded to the original writer’s commanding officer, who would then convince or force the soldier to write a retraction of the original statements.[80]

Private Charles Brenner of the Kansas regiment resisted such pressure.[citation needed] He insisted that Colonel Funston[81] had ordered that all prisoners be shot and that Major Metcalf and Captain Bishop enforced these orders. Otis was obliged to order the Northern Luzon sector commander, General MacArthur, to look into the charge. Brenner confronted MacArthur’s aide with a corroborating witness, Private Putman, who confessed to shooting two prisoners after Bishop or Metcalf ordered, “Kill them! Damn it, Kill them!” MacArthur sent his aide’s report on to Otis with no comment. Otis ordered Brenner court-martialed “for writing and conniving at the publication of an article which... contains willful falsehoods concerning himself and a false charge against Captain Bishop.” The judge advocate in Manila convinced Otis that such a trial could open a Pandora’s box because “facts would develop implicating many others.”

General Otis sent the Brenner case to Washington writing: “After mature deliberation, I doubt the wisdom of court-martial in this case, as it would give the insurgent authorities a knowledge of what was taking place and they would assert positively that our troops had practiced inhumanities, whether the charge should be proven or not, as they would use it as an excuse to defend their own barbarities; and it is not thought that his charge is very grievous under the circumstances then existing, as it was very early in the war, and the patience of our men was under great strain.”[82]

Towards the end of 1899 General Otis attempted to repair his battered image. He began to work to win new friends among the journalists in Manila and bestowed favors on any journalist who gave him favorable press.[83]

Concentration camps

As one historian, Andrew J. Birtle, wrote about Marinduque, the first island with concentration camps:

“The triple press of concentration (camps), devastation, and harassment led Abad (the Marinduque commander) request a truce to negotiate surrender terms... The Army pacified Marinduque not by winning the allegiance of the people, but by imposing coercive measures to control their behavior and separate them from the insurgents in the field. Ultimately, military and security measures proved to be the (essential element) of Philippine pacification.”[84]

Filipino atrocities

U.S. Army General Otis stated that Filipino insurgents tortured American prisoners in “fiendish fashion”. According to Otis, many were buried alive, or were placed up to their necks in anthills. Others had their genitals removed and stuffed into their mouths, and were then executed by suffocation or bleeding to death. It was also stated that some prisoners were deliberately infected with leprosy before being released to spread the disease among their comrades. Spanish priests were horribly mutilated before their congregations, and natives who refused to support Emilio Aguinaldo were slaughtered by the thousands. American newspaper headlines announced the “Murder and Rapine” by the “Fiendish Filipinos.”[85] General “Fighting Joe” Wheeler insisted that it was the Filipinos who had mutilated their own dead, murdered women and children, and burned down villages, solely to discredit American soldiers.[85]

Other events dubbed atrocities included those attributed by the Americans to General Vicente Lukban, allegedly the Filipino commander who masterminded the Balangiga massacre in Samar province, a surprise Filipino attack that killed almost fifty American soldiers. Media reports stated that many of the bodies were mutilated.[86] The attack itself triggered American reprisals in Samar, ordered by General Jacob Hurd Smith, who reportedly ordered his men to kill everyone over ten years old. To his credit, Major Littleton Waller countermanded it to his own men. Nevertheless, some of his men "undoubtedly" carried out atrocities.[83] Smith was court-martialed for this order and found guilty in 1902, which ended his career in the U.S. army.[87] Waller was found guilty of killing eleven Filipino guides.[87]

Sergeant Hallock testified in the Lodge Committee that natives were given the water cure, “ order to secure information of the murder of Private O'Herne of Company I, who had been not only killed, but roasted and otherwise tortured before death ensued.”[88]

On the Filipino side, information regarding atrocities comes from the eyewitnesses and the participants themselves. In his History of the Filipino People Teodoro Agoncillo writes that the Filipino troops could match and even exceed the Americans' penchant for brutality regarding prisoners of war. Kicking, slapping, and spitting at faces were common. In some cases, ears and noses were cut off and salt applied to the wounds. In other cases, captives were buried alive. These atrocities occurred regardless of Aguinaldo's orders and circulars concerning the good treatment of prisoners.[89]

Worcester recounts two specific Filipino atrocities as follows:

"A detachment, marching through Leyte, found an American who had disappeared a short time before crucified, head down. His abdominal wall had been carefully opened so that his intestines might hang down in his face.

Another American prisoner, found on the same trip, had been buried in the ground with only his head projecting. His mouth had been propped open with a stick, a trail of sugar laid to it through the forest, and a handful thrown into it.

Millions of ants had done the rest."[90]

Reporters and Red Cross accounts contradict Otis

During the closing months of 1899 Emilio Aguinaldo attempted to counter General Otis’s account by suggesting that neutral parties — foreign journalists or representatives of the International Red Cross — inspect his military operations. Otis refused, but Emilio Aguinaldo managed to smuggle four reporters — two English, one Canadian, and one Japanese — into the Philippines. The correspondents returned to Manila to report that American captives were “treated more like guests than prisoners,” were “fed the best that the country affords, and everything is done to gain their favor.” The story went on to say that American prisoners were offered commissions in the Filipino army and that three had accepted. The four reporters were expelled from the Philippines as soon as their stories were printed.[91]

Emilio Aguinaldo also released some American prisoners so they could tell their own stories. In a Boston Globe article entitled “With the Goo Goo’s” Paul Spillane described his fair treatment as a prisoner. Emilio Aguinaldo had even invited American captives to the christening of his baby and had given each a present of four dollars, Spillane recounted.

Naval Lieutenant J.C. Gilmore, whose release was forced by American cavalry pursuing Aguinaldo into the mountains, insisted that he had received “considerable treatment” and that he was no more starved than were his captors. Otis responded to these two articles by ordering the “capture” of the two authors, and that they be “investigated”, therefore questioning their loyalty.[92]

When F.A. Blake of the International Red Cross arrived at Emilio Aguinaldo’s request, Otis kept him confined to Manila, where Otis’s staff explained all of the Filipinos' violations of civilized warfare. Blake managed to slip away from an escort and venture into the field. Blake never made it past American lines, but even within American lines he saw burned out villages and “horribly mutilated bodies, with stomachs slit open and occasionally decapitated.” Blake waited to return to San Francisco, where he told one reporter that “American soldiers are determined to kill every Filipino in sight.”[93]


Cultural impact

The Roman Catholic Church was disestablished and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed. The land amounted to 170,917 hectares (422,350 acres), for which the Church asked $12,086,438.11 in March 1903.[94] The purchase was completed on 22 December 1903 at a sale price of $7,239,784.66.[95] The land redistribution program was stipulated in at least three laws: the Philippine Organic Act[96], the Public Lands Act[97] and the Friar Lands Act[98].[99] Section 10 of the Public Land Act limited purchases to a maximum of 16 hectares for an individual or 1024 hectares for a corporation or like association.[97][100] Land was also offered for lease to landless farmers, at prices ranging from fifty centavos to one peso and fifty centavos per hectare per annum.[97][100] Section 28 of the Public Lands Act stipulated that lease contracts may run for a maximum period of 25 years, renewable for another 25 years.[97][100]

U.S. President McKinley, in his instructions to the First Philippine Commission in 1898, ordered the use of the Philippine languages as well as English for instructional purposes. The American administrators, finding the local languages to be too numerous and too difficult to learn and to write teaching materials in, ended up with a monolingual system in English with no attention paid to the other Philippine languages except for the token statement concerning the necessity of using them eventually for the system.[101]

In 1901 at least five hundred teachers (365 males and 165 females) arrived from the U.S. aboard the USS Thomas. The name Thomasite was adopted for these teachers, who firmly established education as one of America's major contributions to the Philippines. Among the assignments given were Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, and Masbate. Twenty-seven of the original Thomasites either died of tropical diseases or were murdered by outlaws during their first 20 months of residence. Despite the hardships, the Thomasites persisted, teaching and building learning institutions that prepared students for their chosen professions or trades. They opened the Philippine Normal School and the Philippine School of Arts and Trades (PSAT) in 1901, and reopened the Philippine Nautical School, established in 1839 by the Board of Commerce of Manila under Spain. By the end of 1904, primary courses were mostly taught by Filipinos under American supervision.[102]

Philippine independence

On January 20, 1899, President McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission (the Schurman Commission), a five-person group headed by Dr. Jacob Schurman, president of Cornell University, to investigate conditions in the islands and make recommendations. In the report that they issued to the president the following year, the commissioners acknowledged Filipino aspirations for independence; they declared, however, that the Philippines was not ready for it. Specific recommendations included the establishment of civilian government as rapidly as possible (the American chief executive in the islands at that time was the military governor), including establishment of a bicameral legislature, autonomous governments on the provincial and municipal levels, and a system of free public elementary schools.[103]

The Second Philippine Commission (the Taft Commission), appointed by McKinley on March 16, 1900, and headed by William Howard Taft, was granted legislative as well as limited executive powers. Between September 1900 and August 1902, it issued 499 laws. A judicial system was established, including a Supreme Court, and a legal code was drawn up to replace antiquated Spanish ordinances. A civil service was organized. The 1901 municipal code provided for popularly elected presidents, vice presidents, and councilors to serve on municipal boards. The municipal board members were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining municipal properties, and undertaking necessary construction projects; they also elected provincial governors. In July 1901 the Philippine Constabulary was organized as an archipelago-wide police force to control brigandage and deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement. After military rule was terminated on July 4, 1901, the Philippine Constabulary gradually took over from United States army units the responsibility for suppressing guerrilla and bandit activities.[103]

From the very beginning, United States presidents and their representatives in the islands defined their colonial mission as tutelage: preparing the Philippines for eventual independence. Except for a small group of "retentionists," the issue was not whether the Philippines would be granted self-rule, but when and under what conditions. Thus political development in the islands was rapid and particularly impressive in light of the complete lack of representative institutions under the Spanish. The Philippine Organic Act of July 1902 stipulated that, with the achievement of peace, a legislature would be established composed of a lower house, the Philippine Assembly, which would be popularly elected, and an upper house consisting of the Philippine Commission, which was to be appointed by the president of the United States.[103]

The Jones Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1916 to serve as the new organic law in the Philippines, promised eventual independence and instituted an elected Philippine senate. The Tydings-McDuffie Act (officially the Philippine Independence Act; Public Law 73-127) approved on March 24, 1934 provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence (from the United States) after a period of ten years. World War II intervened, bringing the Japanese occupation between 1941 and 1945. In 1946, the Treaty of Manila (1946) between the governments of the U.S. and the Republic of the Philippines provided for the recognition of the independence of the Republic of the Philippines and the relinquishment of American sovereignty over the Philippine Islands.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Historian Paul Kramer revisits the Philippine-American War", The JHU Gazette (Johns Hopkins University) 35 (29), April 10, 2006,, retrieved 2008-03-18 
  2. ^ a b Deady 2005, p. 62
  3. ^ a b c d Deady 2005, p. 55
  4. ^ Ramsey 2007, p. 115
  5. ^ a b Guillermo, Emil (February 8, 2004). "A first taste of empire". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 03J.,6070988. 
  6. ^ a b Chambers & Anderson 1999
  7. ^ a b Smallman-Raynor 1998
  8. ^ a b Burdeos 2008, p. 14.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Constantino 1975
  10. ^ a b c d e Agoncillo 1990, pp. 247–297
  11. ^ Wolters, W.G. (2004), "Philippine War of Independence", in Keat Gin Ooi, Southeast Asia: A historical encyclopedia from Angkor Wat to East Timor, II, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1576077705, 
  12. ^ Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain; December 10, 1898, Yale University, 
  13. ^ Carman Fitz Randolph (2009), "Chapter I, The Annexation of the Philippines", The Law and Policy of Annexation, BiblioBazaar, LLC, ISBN 9781103324811, 
  14. ^ Delmendo 2004, p. 47.
  15. ^ Agoncillo 1990, p. 149
  16. ^ Agoncillo 1990, pp. 149–166
  17. ^ Agoncillo 1990, pp. 180–181
  18. ^ a b Aguinaldo 1899 Ch.2
  19. ^ The Mexican dollar at the time was worth about 50 U.S. cents, according to Halstead 1898, p. 126
  20. ^ Agoncillo 1990, p. 187
  21. ^ Miller 1982, p. 34
  22. ^ Ocampo, Ambeth R. (January 7 2005). "The First Filipino Novel". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  23. ^ "Chronology of Significant Events Relating to the Career of Emilio Aguinaldo with Respect to the Various Imperialist and Anti-Imperialist Campaigns in the Philippines". Retrieved 2006-05-20.  (from internet archive)
  24. ^ a b Brands 1992, p. 46
  25. ^ Steinberg 1972, p. 167, Citing Kalaw 1926, pp. 92–98.
    (Miller states that the amount was $800,000. Miller 1982, p. 35)
  26. ^ a b c Aguinaldo 1899
  27. ^ a b Spencer-Pratt and Aguinaldo, The New York Times, August 26, 1899,, retrieved 2007-12-26 
  28. ^ a b Seekins, Donald M. (1991), "Historical Setting—Outbreak of War, 1898", in Dolan, Ronald E., Philippines: A Country Study, Washington: Library of Congress,, retrieved 2007-12-25 
  29. ^ The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War, U.S. Library of Congress,, retrieved 2007-10-10 
  30. ^ Agoncillo 1990, p. 196
  31. ^ Agoncillo 1990, pp. 199–212
  32. ^ Pedro Paterno's Proclamation of War, MSC Schools, Philippines, June 2, 1899,, retrieved 2007-10-17 
  33. ^ a b c "Philippines: United States Rule". U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  34. ^ Worcester 1914, p. 180 Ch.9
  35. ^ [456] Report Philippine Commission, Vol. I, p. 183.
  36. ^ a b Ocampo, Ambeth (March 7, 2008), The first shot, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 
  37. ^ Carvajal, Nancy C. "RP-US war actually began in Manila, not San Juan." Philippine Daily Inquirer. 02/04/2008.
  38. ^ Ambeth R. Ocampo (6 November 2008), The first shot, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 
  39. ^ Wildman 1901
  40. ^ "I. The Philippine American War", Philippine Centennial Celebration collection,, citing Bautista 1998, p. , 
  41. ^ Feuer 2002, pp. 89-90
  42. ^ Karnow 1990, p. 
  43. ^ a b Blitz, p. 32
  44. ^ Ignacio, Abe, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel & Helen Toribio. Forbidden Book. KASAMA Vol. 18 No. 3 / July–August–September 2004 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network.
    ^ Abe Ignacio (2004). The forbidden book: the Philippine-American War in political cartoons. T'Boli. ISBN 9781887764612. 
  45. ^ Agoncillo 1990, p. 217
  46. ^ a b c d e Agoncillo 1990, p. 218
  47. ^ Halstead 1898, p. 318
  48. ^ "Pedro Paterno's Proclamation of War", Philippine Centennial Celebration collection,, citing Bautista 1998, p. , 
  49. ^ Halstead 1898 ch.28
  50. ^ Nancy C. Carvajal (March 2, 2008), Manila to commemorate start of the Philippine-American War, Philippine Daily Inquirer,, retrieved 2008-08-07 
  51. ^ a b "The Philippine Bill of July 1902". online digital library. July 1, 1902. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  52. ^ Boot 2003, p. 127
  53. ^ a b c d Deady 2005, p. 57
  54. ^ a b c d e Deady 2005, p. 58
  55. ^ Sexton 2008, p. 237
  56. ^ Philip A.(2004)COLONIALISM IN DENIAL: US PROPAGANDA IN THE PHILIPPINE— AMERICAN WAR. Social Alternatives Vol. 23 No.3, Third Quarter, 2004
  57. ^ Paul A.K (2006)Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U.S. Empire: The Philippine- American War as Race War. Diplomatic History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (April 2006);
    ^ Paul Alexander Kramer (2006), "The Philippine-American Ware as Race War", [9780807856536 The blood of government: race, empire, the United States, & the Philippines], UNC Press, pp. 130–147, .
  58. ^ Aguinaldo's Proclamation of Formal Surrender to the United States, - Philippine Culture, April 19, 1901,, retrieved December 5, 2009 .
  59. ^ Brands 1992, p. 59
  60. ^ Cruz, Maricel V. "Lawmaker: History wrong on Gen. Malvar." Manila Times, January 2, 2008
  61. ^ a b Schirmer & Shalom 1987, p. 18
  62. ^ Worcester 1914, p. 180
  63. ^ GENERAL AMNESTY FOR THE FILIPINOS; Proclamation Issued by the President, July 4, 1902,, retrieved 2008-02-05 
  64. ^ Worcester 1914, p. 240 Ch.14
  65. ^ Dy-Liacco, Leonor R. (1996). Sarung Dolot sa Satuyang Ina. J & R Printing Co. Inc.
  66. ^ Froles, Paul, Macario Sakay: Tulisán or Patriot?, Philippine History Group of Los Angeles, 
  67. ^ "Mindinao, Sulu, and ARMM". Retrieved 2008-04-27. 
  68. ^ Twain, Mark (October 6, 1900). "Mark Twain, The Greatest American Humorist, Returning Home". New York World.  (from internet archive)
  69. ^ Zinn 1999; Schirmer 1972
  70. ^ NEW FILIPINO HORSE.; Four Troops of Macabebes to be Formed with Americans as Officers, NY Times, July 17, 1900.
  71. ^ [ John M. Gates, “War-Related Deaths in the Philippines”, Pacific Historical Review , v. 53, No. 3 (August, 1984), 367-378;
    ^ John M. Gates, War-Related Deaths in the Philippines, 1898-1902 The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Aug., 1984), pp. 367-378
  72. ^ Anderson 2009, p. 47.
  73. ^ Hector Santos, ed. (June 15, 1997), "The Balangiga Massacre: Getting Even", Philippine History and Culture Series, The Philippine History Group of Los Angeles,, retrieved 2007-12-21 
  74. ^ Boot 2003, p. 125
  75. ^ Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare, Wikisource (multiple mentions)
  76. ^ Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare#The Orders of Bell and Smith, Wikisource.
  77. ^ quoted in A People's History of the United States (1980), Howard Zinn, Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-014803-9
  78. ^ E. San Juan, Jr. (2005). "We Charge Genocide: A Brief History of US in the Philippines". Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  79. ^ Miller 1982, p. 88;
  80. ^ Miller 1982, p. 89.
  81. ^ New York Sun March 10, 1902; p. 234–235. In 1902 Funston toured the United States speaking to increase public support for the war in the Philippines. He said: “I personally strung up thirty-five Filipinos without trial, so what was all the fuss over Waller's ‘dispatching’ a few ‘treacherous savages’? If there had been more Smiths and Wallers, the war would have been over long ago. Impromptu domestic hanging might also hasten the end of the war. For starters, all Americans who had recently petitioned Congress to sue for peace in the Philippines should be dragged out of their homes and lynched."— Colonel Frederick Funston at a banquet in Chicago.
  82. ^ Miller 1982, p. 89;* Storey, Moorfield and Codman, Julian. "Secretary Root's Record: “Marked Severities” in Philippine Warfare". Philippine Investigating Committee: 12–15. 
  83. ^ a b Miller 1982, p. 91
  84. ^ Birtle, Andrew J. (April 1997). "The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine Islands, April 1900 – April 1901". The Journal of Military History 61: 255–282. doi:10.2307/2953967. 
  85. ^ a b Miller 1982, pp. 92–93
  86. ^ Boot 2003, p. 204
  87. ^ a b "Bob Couttie"
  88. ^ "THE WATER CURE DESCRIBED.; Discharged Soldier Tells Senate Committee How and Why the Torture Was Inflicted". The New York Times. May 4, 1902. p. 13. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  89. ^ Agoncillo 1990, pp. 227–231
  90. ^ Worcester 1914, p. 237 Ch.14
  91. ^ Miller 1982, p. 93;
  92. ^ Miller 1982, p. 93;
  93. ^ Miller 1982, p. 94;
  94. ^ Escalante 2007, pp. 223,224.
  95. ^ Escalante 2007, p. 226.
  96. ^ An Act Temporarily to provide for the administration of the affairs of civil government in the Philippine Islands, and for other purposes. (Philippine Bill of 1902), Corpus Juris online Philippine law library,, retrieved 2008-01-07 
  97. ^ a b c d Act No. 926, enacted October 7, 1903, ChanRobles law library.
  98. ^ Act No. 1120, enacted April 26, 1904.
  99. ^ Escalante 2007, p. 218.
  100. ^ a b c Escalante 2007, p. 219.
  101. ^ Andrew Gonzalez (1998), "The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines" (PDF), Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development (De La Salle University, via 19 (5&6): 513,, retrieved 2008-04-09 
  102. ^ Thomasites: An army like no other, Government of the Philippines, October 12, 2003, archived from the original on 2008-04-29,, retrieved 2008-04-09 
  103. ^ a b c Ronald E. Dolan, ed. (1991), "United States Rule", Philippines: A Country Study, Washington, D.C.: GPO for the Library of Congress,, retrieved 2008-01-05 
  • Philip A.(2004)COLONIALISM IN DENIAL: US PROPAGANDA IN THE PHILIPPINE—AMERICAN WAR. Social Alternatives Vol. 23 No.3, Third Quarter, 2004. (Abstract at
  • “Race-Making and Colonial Violence in the U. S. Empire: The Philippine-American War as Race War,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (April 2006), 169-210. (Adapted version at


Further reading

  • The "Lodge Committee" (a.k.a. Philippine Investigating Committee) hearings and a great deal of documentation were published in three volumes (3000 pages) as S. Doc. 331, 57th Cong., 1st Session An abridged version of the oral testimony can be found in: American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection: Testimony Taken from Hearings on Affairs in the Philippine Islands before the Senate Committee on the Philippines—1902; edited by Henry F Graff; Publisher: Little, Brown; 1969. ASIN: B0006BYNI8
  • Richard W. Stewart, General Editor, Ch. 16, Transition, Change, and the Road to war, 1902-1917", in "American Military History, Volume I: The United States Army and the Forging of a Nation, 1775-1917", Center of Military History, United States Army, ISBN 0-16-072362-0
  • Wilcox, Marrion. Harper's History of the War. Harper, New York and London 1900, reprinted 1979. [Alternate title: Harper's History of the War in the Philippines]. Also reprinted in the Philippines by Vera-Reyes.
  • Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare — Wikisource
  • Linn, Brian McAllister. The Philippine War 1899–1902. University Press of Kansas, 2000. ISBN 0-7006-0990-3.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Philippine-American War was a conflict beween the armed forces of the United States and insurgent groups like in the Philippines from 1899 through 1913.


McKinley claims God told to take Philippines

  • Hold a moment longer! Not quite yet, gentlemen! Before you go I would like to say just a word about the Philippine business. I have been criticized a good deal about the Philippines, but don’t deserve it. The truth is I didn’t want the Philippines, and when they came to us, as a gift from the gods, I did not know what to do with them. When the Spanish War broke out Dewey was at Hongkong, and I ordered him to go to Manila and to capture or destroy the Spanish fleet, and he had to; because, if defeated, he had no place to refit on that side of the globe, and if the Dons were victorious they would likely cross the Pacific and ravage our Oregon and California coasts. And so he had to destroy the Spanish fleet, and did it! But that was as far as I thought then.
When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. I sought counsel from all sides—Democrats as well as Republicans—but got little help. I thought first we would take only Manila; then Luzon; then other islands perhaps also. I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way—I don’t know how it was, but it came:
(1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be cowardly and dishonorable;
(2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable;
(3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and
(4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. [1]
And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department (our map-maker), and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States (pointing to a large map on the wall of his office), and there they are, and there they will stay while I am President!--President William McKinley.[2]

Paris Peace Conference

  • "for American energy to build up such a commercial marine on the Pacific Coast as should ultimately convert the Pacific Ocean into an American lake, making it far more our own than the Atlantic Ocean is now Great Britain's"--Whitelaw Reid, part of the commision sent to Paris to negotiate the Treaty of Paris to end the Spanish-American War.[3]

Start of the war

  • "The fighting ... was precipitated by ... two native soldiers who refused to obey the order of a sentry who challenged their passage to his post.... They insolently refused to [halt] and continued to advance," so the sentry shot them. [4]
  • " About eight o’clock, Miller and I were cautiously pacing our district. We came to a fence and were trying to see what the Filipinos were up to. Suddenly, near at hand, on our left, there was a low but unmistakable Filipino outpost signal whistle. It was immediately answered by a similar whistle about twenty-five yards to the right. Then a red lantern flashed a signal from blockhouse number 7. We had never seen such a sign used before. In a moment, something rose up slowly in front of us. It was a Filipino. I yelled “Halt!” and made it pretty loud, for I was accustomed to challenging the officer of the guard in approved military style. I challenged him with another loud “halt!” Then he shouted “halto!” to me. Well, I thought the best thing to do was to shoot him. He dropped. If I didn’t kill him, I guess he died of fright. Two Filipinos sprang out of the gateway about 15 feet from us. I called “halt!” and Miller fired and dropped one. I saw that another was left. Well, I think I got my second Filipino that time..."--Private William W. Grayson, with another soldier, encountered three armed Filipinos on a bridge in San Juan del Monte near Manila.[5]
  • The U.S. troops were "expecting trouble and were glad to have an opportunity to square accounts with the natives, whose insolence of late was becoming intolerable."[6]
  • "The slaughter at Manila was necessary, but not glorious. The entire American population justifies the conduct of its army at Manila because only by a crushing repulse of the Filipinos could our position be made secure....We are... the trustees of civilization and peace throughout the islands"...the "white man's burden" had been thrust on the United States by "the impotent oppression of Spain and the semi-barbarous conduct of the Philippines."[7]
  • "fighting, having begun, must go on to the grim end." --General Elwell S. Otis response when Emilio Aguinaldo tried to stop the war by sending an emissary to General Otis to appeal for an end to the fighting.

American torture and atrocities against Filipinos

See the extensive Anti-Imperalist summary of the findings of the Lodge Committee on wikisource. Listing many of the eyewitness accounts of the attrocities and the military and government reaction.

Military officers

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order "KILL EVERYONE OVER TEN" was the caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The bottom caption exclaimed, "Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines."

"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States.” General Jacob H. Smith said.

Since it was a popular belief among the Americans serving in the Philippines that native males were born with bolos in their hands, Major Littleton "Tony" Waller asked "I would like to know the limit of age to respect, sir?."

"Ten years," General Jacob H. Smith said.

"Persons of ten years and older are those designated as being capable of bearing arms?" "Yes." General Jacob H. Smith confirmed his instructions a second time.[8]

  • I personally strung up thirty-five Filipinos without trial, so what was all the fuss over Waller's "dispatching" a few "treacherous savages"? If there had been more Smiths and Wallers, the war would have been over long ago. Impromptu domestic hanging might also hasten the end of the war. For starters, all Americans who had recently petitioned Congress to sue for peace in the Philippines should be dragged out of their homes and lynched.--Colonel Frederick Funston at a banquet in Chicago. [9]
  • Major Edwin Glenn did not deny that he made forty-seven prisoners kneel and "repent of their sins" before ordering them bayoneted and clubbed to death.[10]
  • "It may be necessary to kill half the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present semi-barbarous state affords."--General William Shafter[12]
  • "One-sixth of the natives of Luzon have either been killed or have died of the dengue fever in the last few years. The loss of life by killing alone has been very great, but I think not one man has been slain except where his death has served the legitimate purposes of war. It has been necessary to adopt what in other countries would probably be thought harsh measures."--General James Bell, May 3, 1901, New York Times explaining why one-sixth of the population of Luzon had died in the previous two years of the Philippine insurrection.[13]
  • "I suppose that this dengue fever and the sickness which depopulated Batangas is the direct result of the war, and comes from the condition of starvation and bad food which the war has caused." --Senator George Hoar[14]

Enlisted men

Also see the wikisource page: Anti-Imperialist League pamplet: Soldiers' Letters Being Materials for the History of a War of Criminal Aggression publishing scores of letters from soldiers admitting attrocities.

  • "We take no prisoners. At least the Twentieth Kansas do not."--Arthur Minkler, of the Kansas Regiment[15]
  • "They were the first goo-goos I ever saw turn white."--Claude F. Line, a young private, described not only his love of home and family, but also his delight at terrifying two Filipino civilians.[16]
  • "It makes me sick to see what has been said about him (General Jacob H. Smith). If people knew what a thieving, treacherous, worthless bunch of scoundrels those Filipinos are, they would think differently than they do now. You can't treat them the way you do civilized folks. I do not believe that there are half a dozen men in the U.S. army that don't think Smith is all right."--Smith's medical officer[17]


  • "You have sacrificed nearly seventeen thousand American lives—the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps. Your generals are coming home from their harvest bringing sheaves with them, in the shape of other thousands of sick and wounded and insane to drag out miserable lives, wrecked in body and mind. You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and of the horror of the water torture. Your practical statesmanship which disdains to take George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or the soldiers of the Revolution or of the Civil War as models, has looked in some cases to Spain for your example. I believe—nay, I know—that in general our officers and soldiers are humane. But in some cases they have carried on your warfare with a mixture of American ingenuity and Castilian cruelty.

    Your practical statesmanship has succeeded in converting a people who three years ago were ready to kiss the hem of the garment of the American and to welcome him as a liberator, who thronged after your gay men when they landed on those islands with benediction and gratitude, into sullen and irreconciliable enemies, possessed of a hatred which centuries can not eradicate." --Senator George Hoar. From a speech in the United States Senate in May, 1902 chastizing the Philippine-American War and the three Army officers, including General Jacob H. Smith who were court-martialed.[19]
  • "You never hear of any disturbances in Northern Luzon; and the secret of its pacification is, in my opinion, the secret of the pacification of the archipelago. They never rebel in Northern Luzon because there isn't anybody there to rebel. The country was marched over and cleaned out in a most resolute manner. The good Lord in heaven only knows the number of Filipinos that were put under ground. Our soldiers took no prisoners, they kept no records; they simply swept the country, and, wherever or whenever they could get hold of a Filipino, they killed him. The women and children were spared, and may now be noticed in disproportionate numbers in that part of the island."--From a Republican Congressman, who visited the Philippines during the summer of 1901 Boston Transcript, March 4, 1902[20]
  • "Until recently, I had thought that these things (torture) were sporadic and isolated, but I have been forced to the belief that they are but a part of the general plan of campaign." --Senator Joseph Lafayette Rawlins of Utah Philippine Question Up In The Senate, New York Times May 7, 1902 p. 3[21]

Newspaper reporters

  • "The present war is no bloodless, fake, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insgurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog, a noisome reptile in some instances, whose best disposition was to the rubbish heap. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectors, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses. It is not civilized warfare, but we are not dealing with civilized people. The only thing they know and fear is force, violence, and brutality, and we give it to them."--A reporter for the Philadelphia Ledger, Nov. 19, 1900 Later in the article he stipulated that such tactics were necessary and long overdue. [22]
  • "In some sections our people have adopted the policy of giving no quarter, and we are getting reports of insurgent bands of from ten to fifty being surrounded and every man killed. Young had one killing of 318 lately, and J. M. Bell a killing of 156, while there have been several ranging from 50 to 100."--New York Evening Post reporter[23]
  • "The time has come, in the opinion of those in charge of the War Department, to pursue a policy of absolute and relentless subjugation in the Philippine Islands. If the natives refuse to submit to the process of government as mapped out by the Taft Commission, they will be hunted down and will be killed until there is no longer any show of forcible resistance to the American government. The process will not be pleasant, but it is considered necessary."--Boston Advertiser[24]

Contemporary commentary

  • "In many letters there is an eerie contrast between the writers' disregard for the slaughter of Filipino goo-goos and their concern for the health of their parents and friends. William Eggenberger described with boyish glee an incident in which he and a fellow private had terrorized the inhabitants of a nipa hut by sticking their bayonets through the side of the house. He then concluded his letter with the request: "Don't you and the old man work so hard all the time… hoping these lines will find you all in the best of health, a kiss for you all."--Richard E. Welch, Jr., a professor of history at Lafayette College[25]

Water torture

  • "A man is thrown down on his back and three or four men sit or stand on his arms and legs and hold him down; and either a gun barrel or a rifle barrel or a carbine barrel or a stick as big as a belaying pin, -- that is, with an inch circumference, -- is simply thrust into his jaws and his jaws are thrust back, and, if possible, a wooden log or stone is put under his head or neck, so he can be held more firmly. In the case of very old men I have seen their teeth fall out, -- I mean when it was done a little roughly. He is simply held down and then water is poured onto his face down his throat and nose from a jar; and that is kept up until the man gives some sign or becomes unconscious. And, when he becomes unconscious, he is simply rolled aside and he is allowed to come to. In almost every case the men have been a little roughly handled. They were rolled aside rudely, so that water was expelled. A man suffers tremendously, there is no doubt about it. His sufferings must be that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown. ... I did not stop it, because I had no right to.... Major Geary was about sixty yards away. --Lieutenant Grover Flint; S. Doc. 331, 57 Congressional 1 Session (1903), page 1767-1768
  • "A company of Macabebes enter a town or barrio, catch some man, -- it matters not whom, -- ask him if he knows where there are any guns, and, upon receiving a negative answer, five or six of them throw him down, one holds his head, while others have hold of an arm or a leg. They then proceed to give him the "water torture," which is the distension of the internal organs with water. After they are distended, a cord is sometimes placed around the body and the water expelled. From what I have heard, it appears to be generally applied; and its use is not confined to our section. Although it results in the finding of a number of guns, it does us an infinite amount of harm. Nor are the Macabebes the only ones who use this method of obtaining information. Personally, I have never seen this torture inflicted, nor have I ever knowingly allowed it; but I have seen a victim a few minutes afterward, with his mouth bleeding where it had been cut by a bayonet used to hold the mouth open, and his face bruised where he had been struck by the Macabebes. Add to this the expression of his face and his evident weakness from the torture, and you have a picture which once seen will not be forgotten. I am not chickenhearted, but this policy hurts us. Summary executions are, and will be, necessary in a troubled country, and I have no objection to seeing that they are carried out; but I am not used to torture. The Spaniards used the torture of water, throughout the islands, as a means of obtaining information; but they used it sparingly, and only when it appeared evident that the victim was culpable. Americans seldom do things by halves. We come here and announce our intention of freeing the people from three or four hundred years of oppression, and say, "We are strong, and powerful, and grand." Then to resort to inquisitorial methods, and use them without discrimination, is unworthy of us, and will recoil on us as a nation."--George Kennan [27]
  • "We have a company of Macabebe scouts who go out with white troops, and, if they cannot get any guns voluntarily, they proceed to give the fellows the water cure; that is, they throw them on their backs, stick a gag in their months to keep it open, then proceed to fill them with water till they cannot hold more. Then they get on them, and a sudden pressure on the stomach and chest forces the water out again. I guess it must cause excruciating agony."--Unnamed officer[28]

Opposition to the war

See the famous Senator George Frisbie Hoar speech against the war on

  • "When Andrew Carnegie protested that shooting Filipinos would destroy the Republic , Secretary of State John Hay observed, 'He does not seem to reflect that the government is in a somewhat robust condition even after shooting down several American workers in his interest at Homestead.'"[29]
  • "I would gladly pay twenty million today to restore our republic to its first principles."--Andrew Carnegie, explaining why he would buy the Philippines from the United States in order to give the islands their independence.[30]
  • "To be popular is easy; to be right when right is unpopular, is noble... I repudiate with scorn the immoral doctrine, 'Our country, right or wrong.'"--Andrew Carnegie[31]
  • "The Kingdom of Heaven is to come as a grain of mustard seed, not as a thirteen-inch shell."--The Rev. H.P. Faunce, Baptist minister.[32]
  • "Extending the Blessings of Civilization to our Brother who Sits in Darkness has been a good trade and has paid well, on the whole; and there is money in it yet, if carefully worked--but not enough, in my judgment, to make any considerable risk advisable. The People that Sit in Darkness are getting to be too scarce--too scarce and too shy. And such darkness as is now left is really of but an indifferent quality, and not dark enough for the game. The most of those People that Sit in Darkness have been furnished with more light than was good for them or profitable for us. We have been injudicious... Is it, perhaps, possible that there are two kinds of Civilization--one for home consumption and one for the heathen market?"--Mark Twain, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness"
  • "God damn the U.S. for its vile conduct... We can destroy their [Filipino] ideals but we can't give them ours."--William James, on American annexation of the Philippines and the guerrilla war it engendered.[33]
  • "If we turn this war, which was heralded to the world as a war of humanity, in any sense into a war of conquest, we shall forever forfeit the confidence of mankind."--Carl Schurz, reform journalist and senator
  • "The United States has lost her unique position as a leader in the progress of civilization and has taken up her place simply as one of the grasping and selfish nations of the present day."--Charles Eliot Norton[34]
  • "They rely mostly on large sales, and for large sales on sensational news. Now nothing does so much to keep sensational news coming in over the considerable period of time as war... Next to war they welcome the Promise of war."--E.L. Godkin, editor of The Nation[35]
  • "The Cost of a National Crime," "The Hell of War and Its Penalties," "Criminal Aggression"--titles of three pamphlets sent by Edward Atkinson, a founder of the Anti-Imperialist League, to American troops in the field in the Philippines, as a test of free speech. Postmaster Charles Smith declared the pamphlets "seditious" and had them removed from the mail.[36]
  • "If all these imaginings are in vain, and our success is a rapid and bloodless one as the most sanguine can hope, such a victory is more dangerous than defeat. In the intoxication of such a success, we would reach out for fresh territory, and to our present difficulties would be added an agitation for the annexation of new regions which, unfit to govern themselves, would govern us. We would be fairly launched upon a policy of military aggression, of territorial expansion, of standing armies and growing navies, which is inconsistent with the continuance of our institutions. God grant that such calamities are not in store for us."--Moorfield Storey, president of the Anti-Imperialist League[37]
  • "It's time to let the Philippines go. They're our -- they are our achilles heel." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1914.[38]

Support for the war

  • "Finally, it should be the earnest wish and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of Benevolent Assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule." --William McKinley, December 21, 1898 [39]
  • "Whether we like it or not, we most go on slaughtering the natives in English fashion, and taking what muddy glory lies in wholesale killing til they have learned to respect our arms. The more difficult task of getting them to respect our intentions will follow. The struggle must continue until the misguided creatures there shall have eyes bathed in enough blood to cause their vision to be cleared, but that those whom they are now holding as enemies have no purpose toward them expect to consecrate to liberty and to open for them a way to happiness."[40]
  • "Whether we like it or not, we must go on slaughtering the natives in English fashion, and taking what muddy glory lies in wholesale killing til they have learned to respect our arms. The more difficult task of getting them to respect our intentions will follow."[41]
  • "It is against the interests of the United States to have the fruits of Dewey's victory gathered by insurgents.... No native dictatorship or so-called republic is wanted until the United States fixes on its Philippine policy When a flag replaces the blood-and-fear ensign of Spain, it should be our flag. Afterward there will be enough time to discuss native problems."[42]
  • "The patriots of a year ago have become savages to be treated after the manner of savages . . . more power to the Krag-Jorgensen rifle that does the treating."[43]
  • "Where the Filipinos have destroyed millions of dollars worth of property, our soldiers have saved many millions of dollars worth, besides many lives, by fighting the fires set by the direction of the Filipino army" [44]
  • “The Philippines are ours forever.... And just beyond the Philippines are China’s illimitable markets. We will not retreat from either. We will not repudiate our duty in the archipelago. We will not abandon our opportunity in the Orient. We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee under God, of the civilization of the world. The Pacific is our ocean... . Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer...The Philippines give us a base at the door of all die East...No land in America surpasses in fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and cocoanuts, hemp and tobacco...The wood of the Philippines can supply the furniture of the world for a century to come. At Cebu the best informed man on die island told me that 40 miles of Cebu's mountain chain are practically mountains of coal...I have a nugget of pure gold picked up in its present form on the banks of a Philippine creek...My own belief is that there are not 100 men among them who comprehend what Anglo-Saxon self-government even means, and there arc over 5,000,000 people to be governed. It has been charged that our conduct of the war has been cruel. Senators, it has been the reverse...Senators must remember that we are not dealing with Americans or Europeans. We are dealing with Orientals.”--Senator Albert J. Beveridge January 9, 1900 See for Beveridge's full speech.[45]

Profit motive

  • “We make no hypocritical pretense of being interested in the Philippines solely on account of others. While we regard the welfare of these people as a sacred trust, we regard the welfare of the American people first. We see our duty to ourselves as well as to others. We believe in trade expansion.” --Senator Henry Cabot Lodge[46]
  • “The guns of Dewey in Manilla Bay were heard across Asia and Africa, they echoed through the palace at Peking and brought to the Oriental mind a new and potent force among western nations. We, in common with the countries of Europe, are striving to enter the limitless markets of the east...These people respect nothing but power. I believe the Philippines will be enormous markets and sources of wealth.”--Columbus and Western Civilization by Howard Zinn [47]
  • "There was nothing wrong with the profit motive and gain should be the only reason for American expansion into the Pacific."[48]
  • Andrew Carnegie argued that formal empires were obsolete because economic penetration could achieve control over foreign lands without the cost and conquest of administration. [49]
  • "The peaceful conquest of Mexico was a perfectly legitimate form of expansion. We could fill all of the tropical countries with consular agents, men trained to stand for good order and to work for American interests, for less than it costs to subdue a single tropical island" -- David Starr Jordan The Control of the Tropics, Guton's Magazine 8 (1890): 408-410; [50]

Race in relation to the conflict

  • That we have inspired a considerable part of the Philippine population with a feeling of intense hostility toward us, and given them reason for deep-seated and implacable resentment, there can be no doubt. We have offered them many verbal assurances of benevolent intention; but, at the same time, we have killed their unresisting wounded, we hold fifteen hundred or two thousand of them in prison, we have established at Guam a penal colony for their leaders, and we are now resorting directly or indirectly to the old Spanish inquisitorial methods such as the "water torture" in order to compel silent prisoners to speak or reluctant witnesses to testify...that they present generations of Filipinos will forget these things is hardly to be expected.--Journalist George Kennan (a staunch imperialist)[51]
  • "The United States at the present moment is not, technically, engaged in any war. But it is engaged in the warlike enterprise of putting down what is technically an insurrection—a large baffling one. It seems strange to Americans that Filipinos--or so many of them--are bitterly opposed to our sovereignty. They must know it is likely to be a great improvement over former conditions...Nevertheless they fight on."[52]

Racism (white man's burden)

See also: "The White Man's Burden".

  • "Questions of conscience need not trouble us...Here are rich lands, held by those who do not or cannot get the best out of them, and awaiting the fructifying application of capital and organization in commerce. Under this beneficent view the natives, an inferior race, must get out or become laborers. "The Filipino is an incumbrance to be got rid of, unless he accepts the mandates of a purchasing and a conquering power."--Worthington C. Ford[53]
  • "There is no question that our men do 'shoot niggers' somewhat in the sporting spirit, but that is because war and their environments have rubbed off the thin veneer of civilization...Undoubtedly, they do not regard the shooting of Filipinos just as they would the shooting of white troops. This is partly because they are "only niggers," and partly because they despise them for their treacherous servility...The soldiers feel they are fighting with savages, not with soldiers."--H.L. Wells New York Evening Post.[54]
  • "Our troops in the Philippines...look upon all Filipinos as of one race and condition, and being dark men, they are therefore 'niggers,' and entitled to all the contempt and harsh treatment administered by white overlords to the most inferior races."--Boston Herald correspondent in the Philippines.[55]
  • "The unfortunate misunderstanding between American and Filipino," was explained with an allegory about a man, a boy, and an apple. When the man sees the fruit just out of the boy's reach, he first gives the youth a boost, but then decides to grab the fruit for himself. When the boy fights for the apple, he gets only a spanking for his trouble. "From the Filipino point of view that is about the situation of Aguinaldo and his followers with reference to the Americans. They actually thought ... that they would be able to maintain their own independence."[56]
  • "Malays [of the Philippines] are by no means savages, though their place on the scale of civilization is far from high."[57]
  • "According to one of their priests, "they are big children, who must be treated as little ones."[58]
  • "Today the torrid zone is a belt of semibarbarism. Its inhabitants resist the civilization of the temperate zones instinctively, because they know they have not the mental and moral fiber to uphold it.... Climate and costless sustenance have made these people what they are, and no great intellectual and industrial advance can be expected until the conditions are changed."[59]
  • How "strange" it was that "such an easy, slumbering, happy-go-lucky race ... should have such turbulent politics." No one in the Philippines except the Japanese had "the least idea of how to make machinery do the work of man." --Unnamed American Merchant[60]
  • "However lacking in intelligence the natives of the Philippines generally may be, they could not in truth be characterized as savages.... The islands' leading tribe, the Tagals are as industrious as the Chinese and Japanese, and more easily controlled and less annually disposed than the latter."[61]
  • "Orderly children, respected parents, women subject but not oppressed, men ruling but not despotic, reverence with kindness, obedience in affection...these simple, orderly people ... ought to be very happy under the enlightened rule of a European power."[62]
  • "our continental optimism is vigorous enough to cross oceans and ignore racial boundaries . . . . The press of the Country has not refrained from pointing out that as a people we are equal to any demands that may be put on us."[63]
  • Filipinos are "treacherous, arrogant, stupid and vindictive, impervious to gratitude, incapable of recognizing obligations. Centuries of barbarism have made them cunning and dishonest. We cannot safely treat them as equals, for the simple and sufficient reason that they could not understand it. They do not know the meaning of justice and good faith. They do not know the difference between liberty and license.... These Filipinos must be taught obedience and be forced to observe, even if they cannot comprehend, the practices of civilization."[64]
  • "The trouble is not what [U.S. negotiators] propose, but to whom they propose it. They have treated, as a government capable of negotiation, a bedizened ragtag and bobtail.... The deference with which these people have been received, the long conferences in which their "views" have been seriously entertained and discussed, the grandeur in which they have been allowed to parade before their compatriots--all these have inflated their simian vanity."[65] (The definition of "simian" is relating to, characteristic of, or resembling an ape or a monkey.)
  • "the American soldier viewed his Filipino enemies with contempt because of their short stature and color. Contempt was also occasioned by the refusal of the Filipino 'to fight fair'- to stand his ground and be shot down like a man. When the Filipino adopted guerrilla tactics, it was because he was by his very nature half-savage and half-bandit. His practice of fighting with a bolo on one day and assuming the guise of a peaceful villager on the next proved his depravity."--Richard E. Welch, Jr., a professor of history at Lafayette College[66]


  • "In my opinion, these people are far superior in their intelligence and more capable of self-government than the natives of Cuba, and I am familiar with both races."--George Dewey[67]

The more things change…

(Similarities between the 1900 election, the mood of the country, and Philippine-American War in contrast to the 2004 election, the contemporary mood of the country and the Iraq War)

Rumors of draft and low military volunteer rate

  • "A better index of war-weariness than poor protest turnouts might have been the low enlistment rate for a third wave of volunteers as the second one approached its eighteenth month of service. The rate was low enough to foster rumors of pending conscription (a draft). The Reverend…Berle, a pacifist and anti-imperialist, actively spread the alarm of peacetime draft." [68]

Jennings' Defeat

  • "[1900 Democratic presidential candidate] Colonel William Jennings Bryan anti-imperialism was never very convincing, and as the campaign unfolded, the issue [of imperialism] was increasingly ignored." [69]

Criticism of those opposed to the war

Critics characterized the Anti-imperialists League leaders as “unhung traitors”, the commander of the New York chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic demanded that all League members be stripped of their citizenship and “denied the protection of the flag they dishonor.[70]

  • "Why should Chicago tolerate a conference of anti-imperialist traitors any more than it should tolerate a convention of acknowledged incendiaries or anarchists?"[71]
  • "Anti-imperialists League should send rifles, Maxim guns and ammunition to the Filipinos so that it would, at least be more openly and frankly treasonable."[72]
  • "What would have happened during the Civil War if a public meeting had been cheer Jeff Davis and denounce Lincoln as a murderer?"[73]
  • "I will not say that the men who are encouraging the Filipino soldiers here are traitors to their country,but I will say, and I think with justice, that the men who are shooting from ambush there are allies in the same cause, and both are enemies to the interest and credit of our country."--Secretary of War Elihu Root[74]
  • "What said Lawton-Lawton, Indiana's pride? "If I am shot down by a Filipino bullet it might as well come from one of my own men beause the continuance of the fighting is cheifly due to reports that are sent out from America." Who will wear this on his forehead, the everlasting brand which Lawton's words burn? I am merely stating the truth...I state the facts. The defeat of the opposition to the government here is the defeat of the opposition to the government there." --Senator Albert Beveridge[75]

Roosevelt in the war

  • "The country needs selfless leaders like Teddy, who left office to be in the thick of the fight and not the other way around."[77]

Rules of war don't apply in the Philippines

  • Since guerrilla warfare was contrary to "the customs and usages of war," those engaged in it "divest themselves of the character of soldiers, and if captured are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war."--General Arthur MacArthur, December 20, 1900[78]

Slang which developed in the Spanish-American War

  • Asiatic - An odd person, one who acts abnormal, crazy.
  • Back bone - Courage.
  • Bolo - A man who shoots badly. One who would be better off with a bolo than a rifle.
  • Boondocks - A distant unpopulated place (comes from the Tagalog word "bundok," meaning "mountain.)
  • Goo-goo - A Filipino.
  • Khaki - The color and name of the summer uniform.
  • Police - To clean up an area.
  • Shave tail - A newly commissioned Lieutenant.


  1. ^ Paraphrasing Historian Lewis Gould: It is remotely possible but highly unlikely McKinley said: "educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died." For an in-depth discussion of this question, see Lewis Gould, The Presidency of William McKinley 1980, pp. 140-142
  2. ^ Manifest Destiny, Continued: McKinley Defends U.S. Expansionism; General James Rusling, “Interview with President William McKinley,” The Christian Advocate 22 January 1903, 17; Reprinted in Daniel Schirmer and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, eds., The Philippines Reader (Boston: South End Press, 1987) page 22–23.
  3. ^ (PBS Microsoft Word Doc) Prophetically, Theodore Roosevelt was very afraid that Japan would strike America in the Philippines and get us involved in an Asian war, an Asian war which he believed the American people were in no way prepared to handle.
  4. ^ Quote found at this link
    Benevolent Assimilation The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903, Stuart Creighton Miller, (Yale University Press, 1982): p. 20; Whitelaw Reid, Making Peace with Spain: The Diary of Whitelaw Reid, September to December 1898, ed. H. Wayne Morgan; America's Road to Empire, page 86 ff.; U.S. Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1898, page 904-09.
  5. ^  Christopher A. Vaughan, The "discovery" of the Philippines by the U.S. Press, 1898-1902The Historian, Winter, 1994; New York Sun
  6. ^  See Vaughan; New York Herald
  7. ^  Aguinaldo: A Narrative of Filipino Ambitions (1901), Wildman, Edwin, Norwood Press; Bautista, Veltisezar The Filipino Americans (From 1763 to the Present)(2002), Bookhaus ISBN: 0931613175; The Philippine-American War (1899-1902); Excerpts from: The Filipino Americans (From 1763 to the Present)
  8. ^  See Vaughan; Chicago Times-Herald; "The Third Battle of Manila," Literary Digest 18 (1899): 180.
  9. ^  See Miller, p. 220; PBS documentary "Crucible of Empire"; Philippine NewsLink interview with Bob Couttie author of "Hang the Dogs, The True and Tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre" Ten days after President McKinley’s death, the residents of Balangiga, a tiny village 400 miles southeast of Manila, attacked the local U.S. garrison. While U.S. soldiers ate breakfast, the church bells rang a signal. Filipinos brandishing machetes emerged from their hiding places. Forty-eight Americans, two-thirds of the garrison, were butchered, in what is called the Balangiga massacre. On the orders of General Jacob H. Smith, U.S. troops retaliated against the entire island (600 square miles) of Samar where Balangiga is located. The exchange is known because of two courts-martials: one was of Waller who was later court-martialed for ordering or allowing the execution of a dozen Filipino bearers, and the court-martial of Gen. Jacob H. Smith who was actually court-martialed for giving that order. They jury is out to the extent that order was carried out, because Littleton Waller actually countermanded it to his own men and said "[Captain David] Porter, I've had instructions to kill everyone over ten years old. But we are not making war on women and children, only on men capable of bearing arms. Keep that in mind no matter what other orders you receive." Undoubtedly, some men did attrocities regardless of Waller's commands.
  10. ^  See Miller, p. 234-235, New York Sun March 10, 1902; Monthly Review; "Kipling, the ‘White Man’s Burden,’and US Imperialism", November 2003
  11. ^  See the full document on wikisource: Soldiers Letter's during the Philippine-American War; Philippine History Group of Los Angeles The Balangiga Massacre: Getting Even
  12. ^  Destroy All Goo-Goos; Zinn, Howard (1980), A People's History of the United States, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-060-14803-9, page 315; Philippine Section of A People's History of the United States
  13. ^  See Zinn, page 315-316
  14. ^  The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine Islands, April 1900-April 1901, Andrew J. Birtle, The Journal of Military History, April, 1997, Vol. 61, No. 2, p. 255; Jessup, Philip Caryl, Elihu Root, Dodd, Mead, & Co., p. 341
  15. ^  Philippine Investigating Committee/Lodge Committee Report
  16. ^  See Miller, p. 235 Private letter from Roosevelt to Speck von Sternberg, July 19, 1902, in Elting Morison, editor, The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 3, page 297-98.
  17. ^  Springfield Republican, April 25, 1900; Philippine Investigating Committee/Lodge Committee Report
  18. ^  See Miller, p. 236
  19. ^  See Miller, p. 94; San Fransisco Call, August 28, 1899; F. Luzviminda, "The First Vietnam: The Philippine-American War," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, December, 1973, p. 4; History Lesions
  20. ^  See Miller, p. 121
  21. ^  An imperial moment: in previous times of war fever, clear voices have called for a return to U.S. ideals,The Nation, December 23, 2002, No. 22, Vol. 275; Pg. 16
  22. ^  Salt Lake City Tribune editorial, 1899; Quoted in Chomsky, Noam, Turning the Tide : U.S. Intervention in Central American and the Struggle for Peace, South End Press, 1986, ISBN 0896082679
  23. ^  New York Tribune editorial, 1899; See Chomsky, p. 162
  24. ^  See Vaughan; San Francisco Chronicle, 10 June 1898.
  25. ^  See Vaughan; "The Third Battle of Manila," Literary Digest 18 (1899): 180.
  26. ^  See Vaughan; Munsey's Magazine 21 (1899): 704-5
  27. ^  See Miller, p. 147. This quote is from 1900, Senator Chauncey Depew spoke at Carnegie Hall, to support Theodore Roosevelt’s candidacy for vice-president. Depew was celebrating the conquest of the Philippines as a beginning of the American penetration of China.
  28. ^  Congressional Record, Senate, 56th Congress, 1st session, Jan. 9, 1900, 704–712; See Zinn, page 314
  29. ^  See Miller, p. 147; San Francisco Call, September 21, 1900
  30. ^  See Miller, p. 147;New York Sun, June 24, 1900
  31. ^  See Miller, p. 119
  32. ^  See Miller, p. 119 To classify this "peaceful penetration," David Starr Jordan coined the term "permeation".
  33. ^  See Miller, p. 154; Springfield Republican, March 15, 1901, Literary Digest 31 (1900):365; Philippine Investigating Committee/Lodge Committee Report
  34. ^  See Miller, p. 153; Public Opinion 30 (1901):326
  35. ^  See Vaughan; Worthington C. Ford, "Trade Policy with the Colonies," Harper's New Monthly Magazine 99 (1899): 293.
  36. ^  See Vaughan; Oscar K. Davis, "Today In the Philippines," Munsey's Magazine 21 (1899): 1934.
  37. ^  See Vaughan; "The Prizes of Victory," Munsey's Magazine 19 (1898): 544.
  38. ^  See Vaughan; The Nation 66 (June 23, 1898): 476.
  39. ^  See Vaughan; "High Civilization in the Philippines Impossible," Literary Digest 17 (1898): 243.
  40. ^  See Vaughan; San Francisco Chronicle, 5 June 1898.
  41. ^  See Vaughan; American Monthly Review of Reviews
  42. ^  See Vaughan; Literary Digest 17 (1898): 24-6.
  43. ^  See Vaughan; Harper's New Monthly Magazine 98 (May 1899): 861
  44. ^  See Vaughan; Washington Star
  45. ^  See Vaughan; The Press
  46. ^  See Vaughan; Hubert H. Bancroft, The Great Republic by the Master Historians, Reprint: Kessinger Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 1419164783; The Nation 69 (August 24, 1899); Richard H. Titherington, "Our War with Spain," Munsey's Magazine 21 (1899): 582
  47. ^  See Miller, p. 155
  48. ^  See Miller, p. 137
  49. ^  See Miller, p. 107; Inter-Ocean Newspaper
  50. ^  See Miller, p. 107
  51. ^  See Miller, p. 107; The New York Times
  52. ^  See Miller, p. 107; Philadelphia Press
  53. ^  See Miller, p. 145;Literary Digest 21 (1900): p 514
  54. ^  See Miller, p. 145; San Fransisco Call September 26, 1900
  55. ^  See Miller, p. 145; New York Sun September 24, 1900
  56. ^  Philippine History Group of Los Angeles The Balangiga Massacre: Getting Even

Further reading

Wikipedia has an article about:
  • The Philippine "Lodge committee" hearings (A.K.A. Philippine Investigating Committee) and a great deal of documentation were published in three volumes as S. Doc. 331, 57th Cong., 1st Session An abridged version of the oral testimony can be found in: American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection; edited by Henry F Graff; Publisher: Little, Brown; 1969. ASIN: B0006BYNI8

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address