Filipino-American War

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The Philippine-American War [2] or the Filipino-American War was a conflict between the United States of America and the First Philippine Republic from 1899 through at least 1902, when the Filipino leadership generally accepted American rule. Skirmishes between government troops and armed groups lasted until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions of the war. [3]

The Muslim people in Mindanao conducted wholly independent resistance against American rule, which also lasted up to 1913. This is sometimes referred to as the second phase of the war.Template:Fact


In December 1898, the U.S. purchased the Philippines from Spain as part of the Treaty of Paris for the sum of US$20 million, 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 independence from Spain since 1896, had already declared independence on June 12, 1898, and had considered the Americans allies.

One common view of how the conflict began was that on February 4, 1899, a misunderstanding occurred between the two nations. A Filipino was shot by an American soldier at San Juan Bridge. It was believed that the American soldier gave fair warning to the Filipino as he entered U.S. borders, but that the man's inability to understand English led to the first shot that sparked the war.

On August 14, 1899, 11,000 American ground troops were sent to occupy the Philippines. They were successful in defeating the Philippine Army in just over three years, though sporadic guerrilla fighting continued until 1913.


Philippine Revolution

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

On July 7, 1892, Andrés Bonifacio, a warehouseman from Manila, founded the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (“The Highest and Most Honorable Society of the Sons of the Country”) or the Katipunan for short, a secret society which aimed to win independence from Spanish rule by armed revolt. The Katipunan spread throughout the provinces, and the Philippine Revolution of 1896 was spearheaded by its members.

While a charismatic and decisive figure, Bonifacio proved an ineffectual military leader and suffered defeats at the hands of the Spanish. On the other hand, the Revolution was fought on many local fronts, led by many leaders; in particular the fighters in Cavite province won early victories. One of the most influential and popular Caviteño leaders was Emilio Aguinaldo, mayor of Cavite El Viejo (modern-day Kawit), who now controlled much of eastern Cavite. Eventually, Aguinaldo and his faction gained control of the movement. The Katipunan was superseded by a revolutionary government, of which Aguinaldo was elected president, and the “outmaneuvered”. [3] Bonifacio was executed for treason.[1]

Aguinaldo's exile and return

Emilio Aguinaldo

By December 1897, the futility of the struggle was becoming apparent on both sides and came 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 800,000 pesos in three installments if Aguinaldo would go into exile. Aguinaldo then established himself in Hong Kong. Before leaving, Aguinaldo denounced the Revolution, exhorted Filipino combatants to disarm and declared those who continued hostilities to be bandits.[2] However, some Filipino revolutionaries did continue armed struggle against the Spanish crown.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Admiral George Dewey, having engaged and defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, ferried Aguinaldo back to the Philippines on May 19.[6] In a matter of months, the Philippine Army conquered nearly all 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.

By August, the Spanish had surrendered Manila, and the Americans had occupied it. 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. In order to save face, he proposed a mock battle with the Americans preceding the Spanish surrender; the Filipinos would not even 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”.[1]

The June 12 declaration of Philippine independence was not recognized by the United States or Spain, since 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 first and only president of what would be later called the First Philippine Republic. He later organized a Congress at Malolos, Bulacan to draft a constitution.[1]

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.”[6]

War begins

US troops in action during Philippine-American War

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, who had been brought to the islands by the U.S. Navy on the understanding that the Americans would help his cause. Hostilities started on February 4, 1899, when American soldier William W. Grayson shot a Filipino soldier who was crossing a bridge into Filipino-occupied territory in San Juan del Monte, an incident historians now consider to be the start of the war. U.S. President William McKinley later told reporters “that the insurgents had attacked Manila” in justifying war on the Philippines. The Battle of Manila (1899) that followed caused 2,000 casualties for Filipinos and 250 for the Americans. One Lt. Alfred C. Alford of the Kansas 20th may well be among the first Americans to perish in the conflict; he was killed in action in an advance on February 6.

The administration of U.S. President McKinley subsequently declared Aguinaldo to be an “outlaw bandit”, and no formal declaration of war was ever issued. Two reasons have been suggested for this:

  1. Calling the war the Philippine Insurrection made it appear to be a rebellion against a lawful government.[8]
  2. To enable the American government to avoid liability to claims by veterans of the action.Template:Fact

American escalation

A large American military force (126,000 soldiers) was needed to conquer the country, and the force was regularly engaged in war against Filipino forces for another decade. Also, Macabebe Filipinos were recruited by the U.S. Army. Twenty-six of the 30 American generals who served in the Philippines from 1898 to 1902 had fought in the Indian Wars.[9]

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

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 Battle of Tirad Pass to allow Aguinaldo to escape, but del Pilar was killed in the final attack. For the Filipinos, this battle remains their "Battle of Thermopylae". 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

Estimates of the Filipino forces vary between 80,000 and 100,000, with tens of thousands of auxiliaries. Lack of weapons and ammunitions was a significant impediment to the Filipinos. U.S. troop strength was 40,000 at the start of hostilities and peaked at 126,000 two years later.[10]

The goal, or end-state, sought by the First Philippine Republic was a sovereign, independent, socially stable Philippines led by the illustrado oligarchy. 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. The peasants, who provided the bulk of guerrilla manpower, had interests different from their illustrado leaders and the principales of their villages. 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.

The Filipino operational center of gravity was the ability to sustain its force of 100,000 irregulars in the field. 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. Their hope was that as president, the avowedly anti-imperialist William Jennings Bryan would withdraw from the Philippines. They pursued this short-term goal with guerilla tactics better suited to a protracted struggle. 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.[10]

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. The Philippine Army began staging bloody ambushes and raids. Most infamous were the guerrilla victories at Pulang Lupa and Balangiga. 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. Much worse were the concentration camps that civilians were forced into after being suspected of being guerrilla sympathizers. Thousands of civilians died in these camps. In nearly all cases, the civilians suffered much more than the guerrillas.

The subsequent American repression towards the population tremendously reduced the materials, men, and morale of many Filipino soldiers, compelling them in one way or another to surrender.

Decline and fall of the First Philippine Republic

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.

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

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. Three weeks later he publicly called on his followers to lay down arms. “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.”[11]

The capture of Aguinaldo dealt a severe blow to the Filipino cause, but not as much as the Americans had hoped. The less competent General Mariano Trias succeeded him but surrendered shortly after. Command then fell to the highly regarded General Miguel Malvar, who originally had taken a defensive stance against the Americans, but now launched all-out offensives against the American-held towns in the Batangas region. Though his victories were small, they were a testament that the war was not yet over.

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

Bell also relentlessly pursued Malvar and his men, breaking ranks, dropping morale, and forcing the surrender of many of the Filipino soldiers. Finally, in April 1902, after barely escaping capture, Malvar surrendered along with his sick wife and children and some of his most trusted officers who stood with him until the end. By the end of the month, nearly 3,000 of Malvar's men also surrendered.

With the surrender of Malvar, the last truly capable general of the Philippine Army, the Filipino fight began to dwindle even further. Command changed hands frequently, as each general, one after another, was killed, captured, or surrendered.

The United States government declared the “insurgency” officially over in 1902. The Filipino leaders, for the most part, accepted that the Americans had won.

However, some Filipino nationalist historians consider the war to have unofficially continued for nearly a decade, since bands of guerrillas, quasi-religious armed groups and other resistance groups continued to roam the countryside, still clashing with American Army or Philippine Constabulary patrols. These groups included that of Macario Sakay, a senior Katipunan member and general who attempted to form his own Republic, and the pulajanes, colorum or Dios-Dios groups of assorted provinces, led by messianic leaders. These were all dismissed by the American government as bandits, fanatics or cattle rustlers. Sakay was captured and executed in 1907 after accepting an amnesty offer, while the last of the latter groups were wiped out or had surrendered by 1913.[12]

American opposition to the war

Some Americans, notably William Jennings Bryan, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, 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. 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. 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, thus undermining white racial purity in America. 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 felt it 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.”[13]

In 1904 or 1905, Twain dictated "The War Prayer" in protest against the Philippine-American war. The story was initially rejected by his publisher. Twain is reported to have remarked, "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth." [14] The story was found in his manuscripts and published posthumously in 1923. [15]

Some later historians, such as Howard Zinn and Daniel Boone Schirmer, cite the Philippine–American War as an example of American imperialism.[16]


Some Filipinos wounded by the fighting in 1899

During the war 4,324 American soldiers died, 1,000–1,500 of which were from actual combat; the remainder died of disease. 2,818 were wounded. There were also 2,000 casualties that the Philippine Constabulary suffered during the war, over one thousand of which were fatalities. 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. These numbers take into account those killed by war, malnutrition, and a cholera epidemic that raged during the war.[17] 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.Template:Fact The American military and Philippine Constabulary still suffered periodic losses combating small bands of Moro guerillas in the far south until 1913.

The high Filipino casualty figures were due to 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 superb 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, many which had been taken from dead Spanish or American soldiers or smuggled into the country by their fellow Filipinos. 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. Most did not even have firearms. Many were forced to use bolos, spears, and lances against the Americans' superior arms. However the Filipinos did have the advantage of knowing their own country and terrain well, in contrast to the Americans who were fighting on foreign soil.

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

War crimes

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 a book entitled 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.”[18]

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” (concentration camps). Many of the civilian casualties resulted from disease and famine. Reports of the execution of U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the Filipinos led to savage reprisals by American forces. Many American officers and soldiers called war a “nigger killing business”.

American soldiers' letters and response

From almost the beginning of the war, soldiers wrote home describing, and even bragging about, 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.[19]

Once these accounts were widely reproduced, the U.S. War Department was forced to demand that General Otis investigate their authenticity. For each press clipping, he forwarded it to the writer’s commanding officer, who would then convince the soldier to write a retraction.

Private Charles Brenner of the Kansas regiment resisted such pressure. He insisted that Colonel Funston[20] 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 Otis went on, justifying the war crimes, “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.”[21]

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.[22]

Concentration camps

As one historian wrote about Marinduque, the first island with concentration camps:

“The triple press of concentration (camps), devastation, and harassment led Abad (the Marinduque commander) …to 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.”[23]

This assessment could probably be applied to all of the Philippines.

Filipino atrocities

To counter the bad press back in America, General Otis stated that insurgents tortured American prisoners in “fiendish fashion”, some of whom were buried alive, or worse, up to their necks in anthills to be slowly devoured. Others were castrated, had the removed parts stuffed into their mouths, and were then left to suffocate or bleed 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.” 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.[24]

Other events dubbed atrocities included those by General Vicente Lukban, the Filipino commander who masterminded the Balangiga Massacre in Samar province, a surprise attack that killed over fifty American soldiers. Media reports stated that many of the bodies were mutilated.[25] The attack itself triggered American reprisals in Samar, ordered by General Jacob Hurd Smith, who said, "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", and defined this as 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.[26]

Sergeant Hallock testified in the Lodge Committee that natives were given the water cure, “…in 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.”[27]

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. 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.[1]

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 in four reporters -- two English, one Canadian, and a 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.[28]

Emilio Aguinaldo also released some American prisoners so they could tell their own stories. In a Boston Globe article entitled “With the Goo Goos” 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.[29]

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.”[30]

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. MacArthur added a racial twist, asserting that Anglo-Saxons do not succumb to wounds as easily as do men of “inferior races.”[31]


In 1900, President William McKinley appointed William Howard Taft as chairman of a commission to organize a civilian government in the Philippines. Although Taft initially had been opposed to the annexation of the islands and told McKinley that his real ambition was to become a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, he reluctantly accepted the appointment when McKinley suggested that he would be “the better judge for this experience.”

From 1901 to 1903, Taft served as the first civilian governor-general of the Philippines, a position in which he was very popular among both Americans and Filipinos. For example, in 1902 Taft visited Rome to negotiate with Pope Leo XIII for the purchase of lands in the Philippines owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Taft then induced the United States Congress to appropriate $7,239,000 to purchase the lands, which he sold to Filipinos on easy terms. In 1903, President Roosevelt offered Taft the seat on the Supreme Court to which he had for so long aspired, but he reluctantly declined when native Filipino groups begged him to remain in Manila as governor-general.



In the south, Muslim Filipinos resisted until 1913; the so-called Moro rebellion. They were never part of Aguinaldo's movement but independently fought the Americans.


During this conflict, the Americans realized a need to be able to stop a charging tribesman with a single shot. To fill this need, the Colt M1911 Handgun was issued for its larger .45 caliber ammunition (45 ACP), resulting in additional stopping power.

English education and the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church was disestablished, and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed. However, the bulk of the land was quickly bought up by American companies with little going to Filipino peasants.Template:Fact

During the U.S. occupation, English was declared the official language, although the languages of the Philippine people were Spanish, Visayan, Tagalog, Ilokano, Pangasinan and other native languages. The English requirement barred many from political office and ensured a dependency on American administrators.

Also, five hundred and forty American teachers were imported aboard the USS Thomas. The first task of the Thomasites was to reform the education system to one that maintained an anti-Spanish curriculum but glossed over existing American atrocities.Template:Fact It also ensured that Filipino nationalism would rise no more as an important force.


In the fall of 1899, MacArthur, who was still loyal to General Otis, said to reporter H. Irving Hannock: When I first started in against these rebels, I believed that Aguinaldo’s troops represented only a faction. I did not like to believe that the whole population of Luzon — the native population that is — was opposed to us and our offers of aid and good government. But after having come this far, after having occupied several towns and cities in succession, and having been brought much into contact with both insurrectos and amigos, I have been reluctantly compelled to believe that the Filipino masses are loyal to Aguinaldo and the government which he heads.[32]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Agoncillo, Teodoro (1960 (Eighth edition 1990)). History of the Filipino People. ISBN 971-1024-15-2. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Past
  3. Miller, p. 34
  4. Ocampo, Ambeth R. (2005). "The First Filipino Novel". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  5. 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 on 2006-05-20.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Brands, H. W. (1992). Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines. Oxford University Press. p.46
  7. Steinberg, David Joel (1972). "An Ambiguous Legacy: Years at War in the Philippines". Pacific Affairs. 45 (2): 167. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help) Citing Kalaw, Maximo M. (1926). The Development of Philippine Politics, 1872–1920. p. 92–98 Miller states the amount was $800,000. (Miller, p. 35)
  8. Karnow, Stanley. In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines.  PAGE NUMBER?
  9. Boot, Max (2003). The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00721-X.  p. 127
  10. 10.0 10.1 Deady, 2005
  11. Brands p. 59
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named past
  13. Twain, Mark (October 6, 1900). "Mark Twain, The Greatest American Humorist, Returning Home". New York World.
  14. {{cite url =}}
  15. Twain, Mark (1904 - 1905). "Mark Twain, The War Prayer". alibris. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. Zinn, Howard (1999). A People’s History of the United States. Harper Collins Publishers. ; Schirmer, Daniel B. (1972). Republic or Empire: American Resistance to the Philippine War. Schenkman. 
  17. Smallman-Raynor, Matthew (1998). "The Philippines Insurrection and the 1902–4 cholera epidemic: Part I—Epidemiological diffusion processes in war". Journal of Historical Geography. 24 (1): 69–89. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  18. Boot, Max (April 1, 2002). The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00720-1.  p. 125.
  19. Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899–1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03081-9.  p. 88;
  20. 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.
  21. Miller, p. 89;
  22. Miller, p. 91
  23. 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.
  24. Miller, p. 92–93
  25. Boot, p. 102
  26. Miller, p. 91
  27. The Water Cure Described. Discharged Soldier Tells Senate Committee How and Why the Torture Was Inflicted. New York Times May 4, 1902. p. 13
  28. Miller, p. 93;
  29. Miller, p. 93;
    • Literary Digest Volume 18 (1899), p. 499
  30. Miller, p. 94;
    • Boston Globe June 27, 1900;
    • Literary Digest Volume 20 (1900), p. 25;
    • San Francisco Call December 8, 1899, February 16, 1900
  31. Miller p. 189
  32. Miller, p94; San Francisco Call, March 31 / September 1, 1899


  • Agoncillo, Teodoro A (1997). Malolos: The crisis of the republic. University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 971-542-096-6.  Kenton J. Clymer States “The book provides the best account to date of the inner dynamics of the Filipino side of the war.” — Review: Not so Benevolent Assimilation: The Philippine-American War, Reviews in American History Vol. 11, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 547–552
  • Brands, H. W. (1992). Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines. Oxford University Press. 
  • Deady, Timothy K.; “Lessons from a Successful Counterinsurgency: The Philippines, 1899–1902” Parameters, Vol. 35, 2005
  • Gates, John M. (1973). Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898–1902. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-8371-5818-4. 
  • Gates, John. “War-Related Deaths in the Philippines, 1898–1902”, Pacific Historical Review 53:367+ (1983)
  • Gates, John M., The US Army and Irregular Warfare, Chapter 3: The Pacification of the Philippines
  • Linn, Brian McAllister (2000). The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899–1902. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4948-0. 
  • May, Glenn Anthony (1991). Battle for Batangas: A Philippine Province at War. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04850-5. 
  • Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899–1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02697-8.  Kenton J. Clymer States “The War Miller describes is a more believable one than the one Gates pictures.”
  • Schirmer, Daniel B. (1972). Republic or Empire: American Resistance to the Philippine War. Schenkman. ISBN 0-87073-105-X. 
  • Schirmer, Daniel B. Stephen Rosskamm Shalom (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance. South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-275-X. 
  • Shaw, Angel Velasco (2002). Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899–1999. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-9791-1. 
  • David J. Silbey A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 (2007)
  • Smallman-Raynor, Matthew, and Andrew D Cliff. “The Philippines Insurrection and the 1902–4 cholera epidemic: Part I—Epidemiological diffusion processes in war” Journal of Historical Geography, v 24, n 1, January, 1998, p. 69–89
  • T.A. Agoncillo / M.C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People, Quezon City,1987, pp. 159
  • Twain, Mark and Jim Zwick (1992). Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-0268-5. 
  • Wolff, Leon. (1960). Little Brown Brother: How the United States Purchased and Pacified the Philippine Islands at the Century's Turn. Doubleday & Company, Inc. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 61-6528. 
  • Zwick, Jim. Friends of the Filipino People Bulletin
  • Zwick, Jim. Militarism and Repression in the Philippines
  • Zwick, Jim. “Prodigally Endowed with Sympathy for the Cause:” Mark Twain's Involvement with the Anti-Imperialist League” (Ephemera Society of America (January 1, 1992) ASIN B0006R8RJ8
  • Young, Kenneth Ray; The General's General: The Life and Times of Arthur Macarthur Westview Press, 1994

Further reading

External links