Monday, November 07, 2005


“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” - Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996

"For a people to be without history, or to be ignorant of its history, is as for a man to be without memory - condemned forever to make the same discoveries that have been made in the past, invent the same techniques, wrestle with the same problems, commit the same errors; and condemned, too, to forfeit the rich pleasures of recollection. Indeed, just as it is difficult to imagine history without civilization, so it is difficult to imagine civilization without history." - American historian Henry Steele Commager (1965)

"If it is commercialism to want the possession of a strategic point [Philippines] giving the American people an opportunity to maintain a foothold in the markets of that great Eastern country [China], for God's sake let us have commercialism." --Senator Mark Hanna

THE PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR was a war between the armed forces of the United States and the Philippines from 1899 through 1913. This conflict is also known as the Philippine Insurrection. This name was historically the most commonly used in the U.S., but Filipinos and an increasing number of American historians refer to these hostilities as the Philippine-American War, and in 1999 the U.S. Library of Congress reclassified its references to use this term.

Origins of the War
December 1898, the U.S. purchased the Philippines from Spain at the Treaty of Paris for the sum of 20 million United States dollars, after the U.S. defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War. The U.S. government made plans to make the Philippines an American colony. However, the Filipinos, fighting for their independence from Spain since 1896, had already declared their independence on June 12. On August 14, 11,000 ground troops were sent to occupy the Philippines. Emilio Aguinaldo, on January 1, 1899, was declared the first President. He later organized a Congress at Malolos, Bulacan to draft a constitution.


The Start of the War
Tensions between the Filipinos and the American soldiers on the islands existed because of the conflicting movements for independence and colonization, aggravated by the feelings of betrayal on the part of the Filipinos by their former allies, the Americans. Hostilities started on
February 4, 1899 when an American soldier shot a Filipino soldier who was crossing a bridge into American-occupied territory in San Juan del Monte. Historians recognize this incident to be the start of the war. US President William McKinley later told reporters, "that the insurgents had attacked Manila" to justify a U.S. war on the Filipinos.

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The administration of US President McKinley subsequently declared Aguinaldo to be an "outlaw bandit". However, no formal
declaration of war was ever issued. Two reasons have been given for this. One is that calling the war the Philippine Insurrection made it appear to be a rebellion against a lawful government, when, in fact, the only part of the Philippines under American control was Manila. The other was to enable the American government to avoid liablility to claims by veterans of the action.

American Escalation
A large American military force (126,000 soldiers) was needed to occupy the country, and would be regularly engaged in war against Filipino rebels for another decade. Also,
Macabebe Filipinos were recruited by the United States Army.

By the end of February, the Americans had prevailed in the struggle for Manila, and the Philippine Army of Liberation 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 and the death of Brigadier General Gregorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, the Filipinos' ability to fight a conventional war was rapidly diminishing. As of 1900, therefore, Aguinaldo ordered his army to engage in guerilla warfare, a means of operation which better suited them and made American occupation of the archipelago all the more difficult over the next few years. Subsequent American defeats at Mabitac and Balangiga were not, however, sufficient to turn the tide of the struggle.

In March
1901, Aguinaldo was captured by the Macabebe Scouts, under the command of Brigadier General Frederick Funston in Palanan, Isabela. On July 4, 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt declared the war was over. The Americans gradually succeeded in taking control of urban and coastal areas by the end of 1903. In 1907, Macario Sacay, one of the last remaining Filipino generals fighting against the Americans, was captured and hanged.

While some measures to allow partial self-government were implemented earlier, the guerrilla war did not subside until
1913 when US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a change in policy that would, after a transitional period, grant the Philippines full independence. In the south, Muslim Filipinos resisted until 1916—the so-called Moro rebellion. The fierceness of the resistance forced the American development and deployment of the Colt .45 pistol, which had a large enough caliber round to knock back a charging rebel.


Opposition to the War
Some Americans, notably
Mark Twain and, Andrew Carnegie strongly objected to the annexation of the Philippines. Other Americans mistakenly thought that the Philippines wanted to become part of the United States. Anti-imperialist movements claimed that the United States had betrayed its lofty goals of the Spanish-American War by becoming a colonial power, merely replacing Spain in the Philippines. As news of atrocities committed in subduing the Philippines arrived in the Unites States, support for the war flagged.

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During the war, 4,234 American soldiers were killed and 2,818 were wounded. Philippine military deaths are estimated at 20,000 while civilian deaths numbered in 250,000 to 1,000,000 Filipinos. U.S. attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns where entire villages were burned and destroyed, torture (
water cure) and the concentration of civilians into "protected zones". Many of these civilian casualties resulted from disease and famine. Reports of the execution of U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the Filipinos led to disproportionate reprisals by American forces. Many American officers and soldiers called war a "nigger killing business".

During the U.S. occupation,
English was declared the official language, although the languages of the Philippine people were Spanish, Visayan, Tagalog, Ilocano and other native languages. Six hundred American teachers were imported aboard the U.S.S. Thomas. Also, the Catholic Church was disestablished, and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed.

1914, Dean C. Worcester, U.S. Secretary of the Interior for the Philippines (1901-1913) described "the regime of civilization and improvement which started with American occupation and resulted in developing naked savages into cultivated and educated men."


"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler

“Nations whose NATIONALISM is destroyed are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

"We shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know..." - SOCRATES

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

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