Philippine-American War

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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.


American Justification[edit]

  • President McKinley told Congress that his inspiration for invading the Philippines came in a dream from God. "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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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]

Politicans[edit]

  • "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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

See the famous Senator George Frisbie Hoar speech against the war on wikisource.org.

  • "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[edit]

  • "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 wikisource.org for Beveridge's full speech.[45]

Profit motive[edit]

  • “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[edit]

  • 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)[edit]

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]

Respect[edit]

  • "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…[edit]

(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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

  • "[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[edit]

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 held...to 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[edit]

  • "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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.

Notes[edit]

  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

External links[edit]

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