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Cold War » 1900 » 1946

Philippine Insurrection and Independence

When: 1/01/1899 - 7/04/1946
Where: Philippines, Asia

The aftermath of the Spanish-American war left many problems with the United States to solve. One of the these problems was the acquisition of the Philippine Islands, which were ceded to the U.S. by Spain following the war in the Treaty of Paris in 1899.

Following this, the Filipino Insurrection occurred, also known as the Filipino-American War. The islands, at the time, were mainly held by Filipino revolutionaries who were led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Two American generals, Wesley Merritt and E.S. Otis, were in Manilla. Fighting began on February 4th, 1899 as Otis awaited reinforcements. In October of that year and offensive was staged by Otis, north of Manilla. After this offensive, Aguinaldo fled into the mountains, and guerrilla warfare ensued.

To win the support of the Filipino people, the American Army introduced several reforms. These included fiscal and legal reforms, organization of municipal governments, and the institution of public health programs. Despite these advances, guerrilla warfare continued, both sides committing acts of atrocity. This Philippino conflict ended up costing the U.S. more money and casualties than the entire Spanish American War.

In 1900, the U.S. overcame the opposition, and several thousand guerrillas surrendered in the months that followed. In March 1901 Aguinaldo was captured by General F.S. Funston.

In July, William Howard Taft took control of the colonial government and was the head of the civilian commission. Two Filipino generals surrendered in the period which followed, thus leading to an end to the Philippine Insurrection.

Competition for control of the islands intensified, between the U.S. and several European countries. As a result, President McKinley made the decision to give them back to Spain, or as an alternative, turn them over to France or Germany. This never occurred, as World War I set in.

In March 1934 the McDuffie-Tydings Act amended the Hawes-Cutting Act by establishing a ten year probationary period prior to the granting of Philippine independence. With the onset of World War II, a significant delay complicated matters.

At last, on July 4th, 1946, the Filipino people gained their independence.

McKinley's decision to take the Philippines in 1899 was based on the following (thoughts revealed in a 1903 interview):
  • We could not give them back to Spain - that would be cowardly and dishonorable.
  • We could not turn them over to France or Germany, our commercial rivals in the Orient - that would be bad business and discreditable.
  • We could not leave them to themselves - they were unfit for self-government, and they would soon have anarchy and misrule worse than Spain's was.
  • There was nothing left to do but to take all the Philippine islands, educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize them.

McKinley was under extreme stress at this time - in addition to various political pressures; he had to deal with the murder of his brother-in-law.

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History Fact of the Month
Did you know ...

The Origin of Valentine's Day?

Valentines day dates back to Roman times, when a holiday called The Feast of Lubercus was celebrated to protect shepherds and their flocks from wolves. During this time of year, goddess Juno Februata was honored by pairing boys and girls and denoting them 'partners' for a year.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 497 AD, in an effort to replace pagan holidays with Christian tradition. Although the pairing ritual was banished, romance remains the distinctive attribute of this holiday.

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