The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902
Your assignment today will focus on the highly controversial Phillippine-American War. Also known as the “Philippine War of Independence” or the “Philippine Insurrection,” this conflict lasted from 1899 to 1902 between the United States and Filipino revolutionaries.
In 1896 Filipinos began fighting for their independence from Spain and expected the United States would help them. Instead, the United States bought the Philippines from Spain and ignored any talk of autonomy. Fighting erupted soon afterwards between U.S. And Filipino revolutionary forces on 4th February 1899 and quickly escalated when the First Philippine Republic declared its independence on 2 June 1899. Just over a century after their revolution, Americans now found themselves on the other side, attempting to crush a colonial rebellion. The United States fared better than the British Empire, and the war officially ended on 2 July 1902 with an American victory. A low-intensity guerilla war would continue for the rest of the decade.
In 1902 the U.S. Congress passed the Philippine Organic Act that granted Filipinos very limited self-government. It was not until 14 years later, with the passage of the 1916 Philippine Autonomy Act (“Jones Act”), that the United States promised eventual independence to the Philipines. In 1934 the Philippine Independence Act created the Commonwealth of the Philippines, with full independence to be granted in 1944. WW2 prevented this, and finally, in 1946, the Treaty of Manila granted independence.
In the decade immediately after the annexation of the Philipines, there was opposition from many prominent Americans. Notably, William Jennings Bryan, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Ernest Crosby, and other members of the American Anti-Imperialist League strongly objected to the annexation of the Philippines. Anti-imperialist movements claimed that the United States had become a colonial power by replacing Spain as the colonial power in the Philippines.
Other anti-imperialists opposed annexation on racist grounds. Among these was Senator Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina, who feared that annexation of the Philippines would lead to an influx of non-white immigrants into the United States.
As news of atrocities committed to subduing the Philippines arrived in the United States, popular support for the war disappeared, and ordinary Americans began questioning America’s imperial expansion.
It is 1901, and you are a member of the Anti-Imperialist League. You believe that the Philippine-American War is unjust, immoral, and undermines core American values. The executive committee of the League has asked its members to publically oppose the War and explain to the American public why the annexation of the Philipines in unAmerican. You need to decide what arguments you want to make and how you will present them. Members of the League used everything from song lyrics to satirical cartoons to oppose the war.
You can find examples of different primary sources here: Week 4 Wednesday Primary Sources – American Anti-Imperialist League.pdf Download Week 4 Wednesday Primary Sources – American Anti-Imperialist League.pdf
Specifically, your source is worth 50 points and should contain the following elements:
Source Format (25 points) – You will be graded on the historical authenticity of your source. You can choose one of these formats:
Satirical song lyrics – you can rewrite the lyrics to a famous song Americans in 1900 would recognise. You can find examples here: https://www.loc.gov/collections/patriotic-melodies/?dates=1900-1909&st=gallery (Links to an external site.)
Speech – you can write or record the speech
Satirical cartoon – You should attempt to create this by hand.
Source Content (25 points) – Whichever type of source you choose, you will have to argue against the Philippine-American War using the types of arguments familiar to the American Anti-Imperial League.
The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902