What was America's foreign policy in the Philippines after
the Spanish-American War and what were the effects?
Gabrielle Cornelio 08-09

Post-Spanish-American War
The end of the Spanish-American War was declared with the Treaty of Paris in 1898. One of its provisions was that the US would gain control of the Philippine Islands for no more than $20 million. Little did the Americans know, however, that that one Asian nation would cost them much more.

The US government and William McKinley, who was president at the time, believed that, overall, the Philippines would bring prosperity and a new sense of power in the world. Merchants and investors saw new opportunities from the land and believed that, by having access to Chinese ports, there would be wealth in the trade markets. In addition, industrialists and pro-expansionists accepted the idea of purchasing the islands because it would give the US a new name as an overseas imperialistic force. They hoped that through an "open-door policy" (which McKinley and his secretary of state, John Hay achieved) the United States would have equal opportunity in China and be at an even level with the powerful European nations. The Philippines was hoped to become a vital military and economic base and outlet for this competition between the major powers.

"With our protective tariff wall around the Philippine Islands, its ten million inhabitants,
as they advance in civilization, would have to buy our goods,
and we should have so much additional market for our home manufactures."1
– Henry Cabot Lodge and Steven Elkins, 1898

However, it became apparent also that pro-expansionist and anti-imperialist forces would clash.

Policy in the Philippines
McKinley started to "Americanize" this new frontier by stationing US troops throughout the islands. By doing so, he would be rescinding the Filipinos' proclamation of independence from Spain made in that same year. The Filipino people, fresh from the war for independence, had already made their own constitution and instilled their new president, Emilio Aguinaldo, who was the leader of the revolutionaries.

Because of the US's purchase of the Philippines, President McKinley did not recognize Aguinaldo, their constitution, nor the independent republic as a whole. As a result, the US entered into a fight against the Filipino "rebels." The president ordered more troops to the islands in order to enforce annexation orders and suppress Aguinaldo's supporters.

WILLIAM MCKINLEY http://www.independent.co.uk/news/presidents/william-mckinley-1417412.html

“White Man’s Burden”
More important then suppressing rebels, the US government hoped to expand their power overseas in Asia, civilize the Filipinos, and spread democracy (or so they told the American public). By declaring this "fight for democracy," the government tried justified their harsh treatment of Filipino civilians and the extended occupation by troops. Even though the Filipino people thought that US occupation would be temporary, they soon realized that the US was only replacing the Spanish rule that the revolutionaries had fought to eradicate.

Theodore Roosevelt, who would become president in 1901, believed that pursuing these aggressive foreign controls would mean moving away from isolationism and towards achieving his "big-stick" policy.



The Major Effect: The Philippine-American War (1899-1902)
On February 4, 1899, American soldiers fired on an innocent Filipino citizen who they assumed was armed. This was the first shot of the three-year-long Philippine-American War.

“It was a Filipino. I yelled 'Halt!' and made it pretty loud...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.” 2
– American Soldier Grayson, fired first shot

In March of 1901, US troops captured Emilio Aguinaldo, the Filipinos' sole major leader. Consequently, the Filipino troops surrendered to the US forces.

The war ended on July 4, 1902 after hard battles and numerous casualties. President Theodore Roosevelt, who claimed US victory and a peace proclamation, declared the annexation of the Philippine colony. However, his belief that the Philippines would prove to be a major territory for securing the US as a supreme power ended when the Japanese claimed control of the Philippines from 1941 to 1942. During this battle for the reclamation of the Philippine islands, the American and Filipino troops fought alongside each other. It soon became apparent to Roosevelt, though, that the nation would not be able to be easily defended by the military later on.

Watch "Phillippine War Images"

Even after the Philippine-American war, the US maintained the continuation of "Americanization" of the Philippine people, hoping to achieve its goal of "democratizing the world." It was starting to become evident to the people that the US only hoped to gain power and become an imperialistic force among foreign nations.
Independence (Finally)

After 1902 and the declaration of the official end of war, fighting continued between US soldiers and Filipino revolutionaries, even for almost a century thereafter. In 1916, Congress, under Woodrow Wilson, promised the Philippines a framework for independence and a self-ruling government. However, it was only until thirty years later, in 1946, that the US recognized full Philippine independence and surrendered its control over the territory. It does not come to a surprise, though, that it took forty-six more years for the US to withdraw all of its troops and truly accept its fomer-colony's autonomic government.

Long-Term Effects
Ultimately, the United States' policies in the Philippines and the resulting war marked the beginning of IMPERIALISTIC views and policies toward foreign nations.

On the homefront, a split deepened between the American people over whether US foreign policy in the Philippines was justified and successful or neither. Many people came to see the policies as that of Spanish imperialism and abusive towards the Filipino people. One group, the Anti-Imperialist League formed during the Spanish-American War, held these views opposing expansionism. Members of the league, such as Mark Twain, saw US occupation as merely a way to kill the Filipinos then civilize them, as the government publicized

“About 8000 [Filipinos] have been completely civilized and sent to Heaven, I hope you like it." 3
– Andrew Carnegie

The US empirical policies that were utilized in the Philippines became an example for future aggressive foreign policies.

Works Cited
1 - The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship and Resistance. 21-22. Schirmer, Daniel. Shalom, Stephen, eds. Boston: South End P, 1987.
2- The Outlook for the Philippines. 93. Russell, Charles Edward. New York: The Century Co, 1922.
3- The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society, Vol II, from 1865. 592. Nash, Gary B. Jeffrey, Julie Roy. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006.

"Diplomacy in American Imperialism & Spanish-American War." Shmoop History. 29 May 2009 <http://www.shmoop.com/analysis/history/us/american-imperialism-spanish-american-war/analytic-lenses-diplomacy.html>.

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"American Foreign Policy - The Turning Point, 1898-1919." The Future of Freedom Foundation. Raico, Ralph. 29 May 2009

"Theodore Roosevelt: Foreign Policy." 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 29 May 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/509347/Theodore-Roosevelt/8430/Foreign-policy>.

"The History Guy: Philippine-American War 1899-1902." 2008. The History Guy. Lee, R. 29 May 2009. <http://www.historyguy.com/PhilipineAmericanwar.html>.