The Philippine-American War, 1898-1902

Tortured Benevolence:

The Philippine-American War, 1898 – 1902



The Philippine-American War of 1898 to 1902, also known as the Philippine Insurgency, encompassed instances of extreme patriotic fervor and intense brutality, founded on misunderstanding and miscommunication between the United States and the native revolutionary forces of the Philippines. In many ways this relationship followed the expected phases of a classical colonial conflict. Nevertheless, critical aspects of Insurgency historiography remain in dispute today because those same strong emotions and misunderstandings survive in current times. Consequently these differences reveal themselves in ideological variations among American historians, as well as in strong nationalist perspectives between Americans and Filipinos. The purpose of this study is to investigate those continuing differences.

Areas of Disagreement

Binary interpretations of the Insurgency began even as the conflict unfolded, as seen in the daily reports of journalists attached to American forces. Simultaneously in the United States, a battle of principles was fought in the press and on the floor of the U.S. Congress between Anti-Imperialists and the proponents of Manifest Destiny. Later American historians found their perspectives greatly influenced by the Cold War and Vietnam, and more recently by U.S. foreign policy in such twenty-first century conflicts as Afghanistan. The viewpoints of Filipino historians have varied as widely, depending upon their feelings about nationalism and America’s record of contributions to the development of Philippine nationhood. Questions of brutality and the prosecution of guerilla war have influenced historians of all persuasions. The list of competing interpretations is long, so this study will focus on a selection of points which demonstrate wide variations. We will trace these differences in Insurgency historiography by focusing our examination on the following key questions. These are:

  • The Revolution: What was the character of the revolution founded by the Filipinos? Who were its leaders and were they representative of the Filipino population? How did the Insurgency affect eventual Philippine nationhood?
  • Differences of Purpose: What were the “real” objectives for the United States in the Philippines? What assurances did representatives of the United States give to the revolutionaries? Why did differences in interpretation arise?
  • The Prosecution of the War: Was Insurgency combat unusually brutal and did the United States formally or informally practice actions that can be identified as “terror?” To what extent did issues of race effect acts on either side? How do the differences in reported brutality reveal the perspectives of the historians?

In the era of America’s interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of these questions are timelier than others. In particular, questions about the rules of war and the use of torture and “collateral damage” have immediate significance. Accordingly, this study will devote proportionally greater attention to these issues.

A Brief Outline of the Philippine-American War

In 1898, the United States defeated the geriatric Spanish Empire and acquired its overseas possessions in what Secretary of State John Hay described as that “splendid little war” and historian David Silbey calls “the final war of a frontier ethos.”[i]In a peripheral action of the Spanish-American War, Admiral George Dewey won a great victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Manila Bay. The United States thus found itself in unexpected possession of the Philippine archipelago, and of the native revolution then underway on many of the islands. In the opinion of Brian Linn, a leading historian of military strategy, “The taking of the Philippines from Spain may be ranked among the worst military blunders committed by an American government. It is a weak position that requires too many troops to defend.”[ii] The United States would quickly learn the truth of this assessment.

Native and mestizo Filipinos had resisted Spanish rule for over three centuries. When Andres Bonifacio founded the revolutionary Katipunan in 1892, hostilities against the Spanish became better organized and more concerted. But after initial success in the Cavite region, military efforts bogged down. By this time, leadership of Katipunan was shared between Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, the popular young ilustrado mayor of Cavite El Viejo. The Spanish offered an amnesty and bought off Aguinaldo and many of his compatriots, who went into exile in Hong Kong. There Aguinaldo denounced the Revolution and encouraged the remaining combatants to disarm. Many refused, staying in the mountains to fight on with Bonifacio.

After the Battle of Manila Bay, Aguinaldo, still the titular leader of the Philippine Revolutionary forces, returned from exile in Hong Kong to meet with American representatives and plead for their support in completing his defeat of Spanish ground forces. Failing to receive direct support, he and his army conquered nearly all of the colonial Spanish forces outside Manila. On June 12, 1898 Aguinaldo declared independence from his house in Cavite El Viejo. Meanwhile, the United States sent an expeditionary force of volunteers and state militias to Manila, commanded by General Ewell Otis, a veteran of campaigns against the American Indians. Although the Americans and the Revolutionaries initially cooperated against Spanish forces, distrust grew as the U.S. congress debated whether or not to annex the islands. The revolutionaries’ suspicions were confirmed when they learned of the Treaty of Paris, December 10, 1898, by which Spain “sold” the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. Open hostilities broke out in late 1898. The initial months of fighting were a disaster for the revolutionaries, who were repeatedly beaten in open battle.

Faced with constant defeat in conventional land combat, Aguinaldo switched to guerilla tactics in 1899 while waiting to see if political opposition in the United States would defeat the ratification of the annexation process, or lead to greater self-government for the native Filipinos. Guerilla war prolonged the conflict, but it did not significantly alter the military success of Yankee troops. American military and civilian administrators pursued an aggressive campaign of counter-insurgency while simultaneously building needed infrastructure and co-opting traditional power elites throughout the islands. The northern islands were systematically pacified through these practices. Aguinaldo was captured in March 23, 1901 in a daring raid by Frederick Funston and the official Revolutionary Government ceased to exist. The guerillas thereafter won several isolated victories under improvised leadership, but organized resistance had collapsed.

President Roosevelt declared the Philippine-American War over on July 4, 1902. Fighting continued thereafter in some areas, notably those southern islands inhabited by the Muslim Moros, where it persisted for many years. “The majority of Filipinos became reconciled to U.S. rule…and were granted increasing autonomy…far ahead of…European colonies.[iii] The Philippines were finally granted their complete independence in 1946.

This conflict has been alternatively called many things in America, most frequently the Philippine Insurrection, which implies rebellion against the legally constituted authority of the United States government in the Philippines. Yet Filipino historians would argue that the natives had been fighting for their independence for three centuries before the arrival of the Yankees. Accordingly, many have asked that history recognize the conflict as the Philippine-American War or some variant thereof. Today fewer American writers call the conflict an insurgency, although there are holdouts, especially among military historians such as Brian Linn and Victor Davis Hanson. This causes other historians such as David Silbey to accuse Linn (and by implication the others) of avoiding the question of insurgency vs. war and thus making their analysis “unsophisticated.”[iv]

For those wishing a more detailed examination of the Philippine-American War, acclaimed historian Brian Linn has written what is arguably the most popular survey work of the Insurrection in English. Linn is a military historian at the U.S. Army War College and his The Philippine War: 1898-1902 is widely used as a college text. It offers a detailed political and military narrative, broken down into province-by-province chronologies. Linn provides a balanced and detailed look at the progress of the war, covering military, political and diplomatic developments.[v]

In contrast to historians who perceive a program of overt imperialism, such as Howard Zinn, Linn proposes that American involvement in the Philippines “was accidental and incremental.”[vi] There was no deliberate plan to acquire the Islands, but rather a succession of crises, each of which required a response; each of which obligated the United States to deeper interest in Philippine affairs. He argues that the conflict was not a single campaign but rather a series of loosely-related actions with insurgent forces that were rarely united either politically or militarily. Historian Henry Graff follows the same line of reasoning, seeing the annexation as “the product…of accident and miscalculation.”[vii]

Linn further asserts that “neither the President nor his key advisers sought an empire.” McKinley was drawn into successively deeper commitment through a series of arguable assumptions: the Filipinos were not ready for self-government, the abandonment of the archipelago would result in its annexation by another Great Power, and U.S. popular opinion supported annexation.

Where Linn tends to depict the United States as clumsy and well-intentioned, other historians, especially Stuart Miller and James Blount, are far less kind. Filipino historian Floro Quibuyen, for example, speaks of “an American-triggered holocaust.”[viii]

The Questionable Existence of a Philippine National Identity

Over 7,000 islands form the Philippine archipelago group, which covers 500,000 square miles. At the time Spain conquered the Philippines, the natives had never been united under a single government, and even after the conquest, entire regions were ruled in name only. Inhabitants of the islands speak over seventy native dialects, only eleven of which may be considered major.[ix] The majority of Filipinos never learned Spanish or neighboring dialects and were therefore unable to understand one another.[x] It would seem obvious that the natives did not consider themselves a single people or political entity. Indeed, tribal rivalries between various religious, ethnic and language groups were frequent. The existence of a Philippine “consciousness” is debatable in this context.

Traditions of local development and isolation led to patterns of tribal behavior. David Sibley observes that “local loyalties – whether tribal or client/patron – remained more powerful than national ones.” In the absence of a traditionally-defined nation, Silbey does not see the United States as pursuing an imperialist agenda, but rather acting in simple self-interest. “By the standards of the day, sovereignty had passed legitimately from the Spanish to the Americans; the Philippines had not been an independent nation for centuries before that.”[xi] Silbey misspeaks here, since the Philippines had never been a single nation, but at best a collection of tribal units and small chiefdoms until the Spanish conquest. All the same he is correct in stating that “What broke out in the mid-1890s consisted of various groups led by leaders with various motives.”[xii]

Stanley Karnow echoes the assessment of others that Philippine society was “a complicated and often baffling web of real and ritual kinship ties – the antithesis of the American ideal of a nation. Personal rather than institutional relationships guide Filipinos.” Even today, he observes, “the calcified structure approaches feudalism in the rural areas.”[xiii] Consequently, “The Filipinos lacked a recorded history and common identity. Ethnic and regional rivalries chronically nagged Aguinaldo’s crusade.”[xiv]

Many oppose this line of analysis. For James Blount, who wrote in the early twentieth century, the Philippines were “an entire people united in aspiration, and looking to us for its fulfillment.”[xv] As another example, the diaries of Simeón Villa, a colonel in the Revolutionary Army, and Dr. Santiago Barcelona, a physician, are reproduced in Aguinaldo’s Odyssey. The Philippine Department of Education uses this book as a standard high school text. Its declared purpose is to celebrate the courage of the men who fought for “the country’s freedom.” This seems to be typical of Filipino histories which play down the wide variations in revolutionary fervor in the islands. It is ironic therefore, that Villa’s diary includes an entry in which he describes regular battles between villagers who “cannot look at each other without the desire to kill” even as the insurgency proceeds.[xvi]

Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso are Filipino historians who were educated in the United States but teach in Japan, thus their perspective may be influenced by both cultures. Their recent work, State and Society in the Philippines (2005), is a broad survey of the history of the Philippines, in which the Insurrection is only one part. It covers the evolution of Filipino attitudes about the Americans between Annexation and eventual Independence and is mostly focused on “the dilemma of state-society relations.” To the question of national identity, the authors believe the war with the United States was important “because it initiated Filipino nationhood.” They are highly critical of the continuing failures of the Philippine state to respond to the needs of its citizens, and the political chaos that has characterized most of its modern history. They identify the cause of this chaos in weaknesses “due in part to a history of state capture by sectoral interests [and] powerful landed elites” who oppose land reform. Abinales and Amoroso insist that (like Americans?) Filipinos harbor an “enduring suspicion of the strong state.”[xvii]

The fourth and fifth chapters of State and Society are concerned with Spain’s inability to reach political consensus as it attempted to centralize the state. Of particular relevance, they note that during the last phase of Spanish rule, increased emphasis on “class, culture and profession-based identities” began to replace ethnic distinctions and foster the development of the Filipino identity. Filipino nationalism developed in an environment of tension between “elite constitutionalism and radical lower-class ‘brotherhood.’”[xviii]

Emilio Aguinaldo would eventually become the leader of the Revolution. His chief advisor, Apolinario Mabini, left his personal account of the conflict in The Philippine Revolution. Although this work is a self-serving depiction of his own brilliance, Mabini inadvertently discounts the concept of a united politic when he recognizes the wide variation in cultures and local governments between the various islands. He asserts that the Philippine society “was already beginning to learn the art of living” when the Spaniards returned it to its “infancy.” Spain’s intent was to isolate the Filipinos from the outside world.[xix]

David Silbey’s A War of Frontier and Empire (2007) is the most recent history on the Philippine Insurgency to receive a lot of press coverage. Silbey adds few insights into the war beyond those covered more aptly by Brian Linn and Stanley Karnow, nor does he have any sort of profound thesis. He summarizes the conflict’s diplomatic and military history and then injects a few isolated personal accounts from American soldiers. Silbey is particularly interested in placing the conquest and occupation in the context of the ethical standards of the period. He comments that there was no Philippine “nation” prior to America’s having created one (emphasis added). “There was no single conception of state and nation that animated those fighting. There was, instead, a shaky coalition of groups that resisted. There was…no Philippine nation. They were made up of different ethnic groups, speaking different languages, and fighting in different ways.”[xx] Brian Linn is among those agreeing with Silbey, noting that the insurgent effort had only limited support throughout the archipelago.

Not surprisingly, Filipino historians starting in the 1950s saw the conflict as one of a nascent nation coming into its own, cruelly subjugated first by the Spanish and then by the United States. “To reduce it [the war] to an ‘insurgency,’ these historians believed, was to betray that nation.”[xxi]

An interesting challenge to Silbey’s construction of the United States as the instigator of Philippine nationalism is presented by Teodoro Agoncillo and Milagros Guerrero, two Filipino scholars who taught in the History department of the University of the Philippines in the 1960s and 1970s. Their book History of the Filipino People was a standard text for undergraduate and graduate classes during that period. It is a cultural history, with primary emphasis on the development of social and cultural institutions in the Philippines, and since it was written during the Ferdinand Marcos years, it provides an interesting contrast to the works that followed that oppressive regime. Agoncillo and Guerrero identify the beginnings of nationalism in the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. Although this uprising “was nothing more than a local manifestation of discontent [and not] the initial phase of a widespread rebellion,” Spanish friars used the Mutiny as an excuse to silence Filipino clerics who were agitating for reform. This led to the public garroting of Fathers Burgos, Gomez, and Zamora. Young Jose Rizal – one day to become the acknowledged “father” of Philippine nationalism – narrowly escaped arrest in the sweep of reformists. This influenced him to change his plans to become a Jesuit, and to become a “propagandist” instead. History of the Filipino People quotes Edmund Plauchut, a French writer who observed the reign of terror after the Mutiny: “The mass conversions of Creoles, mestizos and natives were a very great mistake. Up to then the different Philippine races had lived in distrust of one another; but in their common fate they learned the solidarity of their interests.” Of note, Agoncillo and Guerrero also recognize the role of Masonry as an influence on many prominent revolutionaries.[xxii]

Yet another approach to cultural history is seen in David Sturtevant’s Popular Uprisings in the Philippines (1976). Describing Philippine society prior to U.S. arrival, Sturtevant observes that class relations retained ‘’personalistic qualities,” which he explains as a form of hereditary patronage. Paternalism was the glue that held the social system together. “Prominent men regarded their dependents as children and treated them accordingly.” If Sturtevant is correct, then it was a system that treated its children strangely, because he adds that “absentee ownership destroyed the last vestiges of sentiment and compassion.”[xxiii]

We can summarize by concluding that the revolutionary impulse was chronically disunited because of the religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the islands. But to say that the Filipinos lacked “a national consciousness” is not the same as denying that they desired liberty. Indeed, Stanley Karnow has studied the contemporary 1900 fact-finding reports of lower-level Americans and found that they validate the Filipinos as “overwhelmingly” desiring independence, and further, Aguinaldo as enjoying broad support.[xxiv]

Rizal and the Nature of the Revolution

The nature of the original revolution against the Spanish, and its continuation against the Americans, are interpreted differently by various scholars. Although there were well over one hundred native revolts during the 333 years of Spanish rule, most historians identify Jose Rizal as the “father” of Philippine national identity. Rizal was a member of the educated elite, a Mason, and a writer in the Enlightenment tradition. His novel Noli Me Tangere, published in 1882, exposed the evils of Spanish rule to the world community. The impact of this book has been compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Filipino historians Patricio Abinales and Donna Amoroso interpret Rizal as the “most famous propagandist” in the Philippine’s past. Noli Me Tangere, which translates as “Touch Me Not,” was a general indictment of colonial society. Rizal “put into words – and the minds of his readers – a vision of the soon-to-arise Filipino nation.” In 1892 Rizal formed La Liga Filipina to pursue reform, but he was soon arrested and exiled to northern Mindanao. In his absence, Andres Bonifacio formed the Katipunan, a secret society dedicated to the overthrow of Spanish rule. In the opinion of Abinales and Amoroso, the change from Rizal to Bonifacio shifted the movement from elite reformism to lower-class radicalism.[xxv]

Declared an enemy of the Empire, Rizal was first exiled and then executed in 1896 by Spanish officials who incorrectly identified him with the outlaw revolutionary Katipunan organization. In fact, Rizal was a modest reformer. He called for greater Filipino representation and equal rights with other Spanish citizens. When Stanley Karnow quotes Rizal’s goals, they seem simple and unthreatening: “more care, better instruction, better officials…and more security for ourselves and our property.”[xxvi] The Katipunan was a much more immediate threat to Spanish rule, but it was not yet ready to act when it was betrayed by a village priest. The Empire reacted with great violence and after nine months of fighting, Aguinaldo and Bonifacio were forced to withdraw into the mountains.

In a strange twist, Rizal was adopted by the Americans as the principal Philippine martyr once the Insurgency was put down. As Stuart Miller observes, “Rizal was made a martyr for a revolution in which he was not interested.”[xxvii] It is therefore fascinating to watch Filipino scholars struggle between interpretations of Rizal as the patriot and Rizal as the tool of American propaganda. For example, Floro Quibuyen presents an extremely nationalistic interpretation of Rizal, just short of recommending canonization. His A Nation Aborted (1999) fails to explore the range of possibilities suggested by the title and instead offers a collection of essays which analyze Rizal’s major literary works. Quibuyen, arguing from a Marxist position, opens his essays with the note “This is yet another book on Rizal and the Philippine Revolution.”  For him, the revolution against Spain was a classical Marxist conflict between classes competing against each other for political power. He counters that Apolinario Mabini’s claim that “the Revolution of 1898 was supported by all classes” is true only to the extent that they were united against Spanish domination.[xxviii] Central to his argument are two charges: that Rizal, “with a bourgeois consciousness,” had as his goal the assimilation of the Philippines into the Spanish nation, while true revolutionaries such as Bonifacio strove for an independent identity; and that Rizal became the national hero largely through American sponsorship as part of a program to “deform and co-opt” the nationalist movement. Despite these apparent criticisms, Quibuyen treats Rizal as the inspiration for that movement.[xxix]

Quibuyen’s strange set of essays is frequently self-contradictory. At times Rizal is portrayed as a proto-Marxist, but at others he begins to sound like Ayn Rand, as in the comment that “For Rizal, the seizure of state power…cannot be a solution, for the simple reason that the state itself is the problem.”[xxx] Quibuyen seems to promote Herder’s concept of the nation – antiracist, antistatist, anti-imperialist – as the frame for his development, but he fails to persist with this argument. Rather he obliquely charges that “our historians unwittingly reproduce” American colonial discourse on Rizal.[xxxi]

Quibuyen rarely deviates from his primary objective, which is to establish Rizal as the mythic hero-statesman of Filipino nationalism, free of American taint. He makes frequent use of the term “moral vision” to contrast with what he sees as “a world increasingly deprived of compassion.” Consistent with New Left discourse, Quibuyen goes back to the roots of Philippine nationalism to trace its “deformation” by U.S. imperialism in the early twentieth century. His focus on the original nationalistic vision of Rizal appears at most times to be a smokescreen for a concerted attack on western values, technical progress, commercial exploitation, and a wide range of issues of cultural imperialism.

Non-Philippine authors also write hagiographies of Rizal. English historian Austin Coates, for example, identifies him as “the living soul of the insurrection” and notes that both Gandhi and Nehru sought inspiration from his writings. He informs us that Rizal’s life is the most highly documented life of any Asian of the nineteenth century. Coates opines that “Spanish rule was doomed” from the moment they executed Rizal. It is better to view Rizal as a champion of political revolution rather than social revolution. Not unlike the founders of the American Revolution, he sought to replace Spanish rule with a conservative rule by local elites. This does not mitigate his role as a symbol of Philippine nationalism, but it does explain Coates’ observation that “had Rizal been alive in 1898 he would unquestionably have rallied Philippine sympathy for the defeated Spain, thus placing an exceedingly complex obstacle to the realization of America’s imperialistic ambitions.”[xxxii]

Although nearly all Filipino histories recognize Rizal as the “father” of the Philippine Revolution, they differ substantially regarding his influence. Mabini cites Rizal and his novels as raising Filipino consciousness. These works, he says, influenced the Spanish negatively, “deepening the blindness and inciting the base passions of the authorities.”[xxxiii] More recently Marcelo del Pilar, a Filipino scholar, has offered Freemasonry as an alternative to Rizal. In his essay within John Schumacher’s The Propaganda Movement, 1880 – 1895 (1997), del Pilar identifies the Philippine Freemason movement as “the brain” of the people. Masonry is proposed as an alternative to Catholicism for educated Filipinos during the development of a revolutionary consciousness. According to del Pilar, a central article of Freemasonry drives the demand for social equality.  He quotes Pedro Sanciangco, an early Philippine “propagandist” as reasoning that Filipinos must have equal rights with the peninsulars.[xxxiv] It is interesting to note that there are similar connections between Freemasonry and Independence in both the American and the Mexican Revolutions. Further, the Mexican Revolution began with the modest demand that the mestizos be granted equal rights with the peninsulars; the American Revolution with the demand that English colonists be granted equal representation with their counterparts on the home isle.

American anti-imperialist James H. Blount condemns Rizal as ineffective. He was “a sort of ‘Sweetness and Light’ proposition, who only wrote about ‘The Rights of Man” and finally let the Spaniards shoot him…” (Italics in the original). Aguinaldo, in contrast, “was a born leader of men.”[xxxv] Blount credits Aguinaldo with beginning the revolutionary movement and praises the presidente and his compatriots for not using Spanish bribe money “in riotous living.”

Many historians of the Vietnam period, such as Raymond Nelson, view Rizal as an almost innocent victim of the nationalist passions he himself created. They tend to treat him briefly as an intellectual who failed to take part in organized opposition.[xxxvi]

A first-hand report by an officer in the insurgent forces, Apolinario Mabini, gives us insight into the Filipino view point of the times. Mabini fought against both the Spanish and the American forces and was a political-military advisor to Emilio Aguinaldo. He held the titles of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the ill-fated First Republic. Strangely, none of the reviewed historians has observed that Mabini’s rhetoric is decidedly Marxist, with references to class consciousness and condemnation of land ownership. A committed revolutionary whose role as the party intellectual parallels that of Trotsky, he was imprisoned by the Spanish for his membership in the Katipunan.

According to Mabini, the revolution was fought for “social equality between the dominant class and the native population”, and to promote “perfect justice.” Revolution was necessitated “by the ungratified aspirations of the people.” Adopting a Marxist voice, he asserts that “Agitation promoted by a particular class for the benefit of its special interests” is not a revolution. “All authority over the people resides, by natural law, in the people themselves.”[xxxvii]

In stark contrast to Mabini’s emphasis on class consciousness, a few American historians seek to minimize its influence. Brian Linn, for example, ignores any implications of a Marxist class war and states “Because the wealthy and powerful stayed out of the war, leadership devolved on outsiders and those on the margins of society.”[xxxviii]

So although his objectives of modest political reform seem rather limited by modern standards, Jose Rizal is universally acclaimed as the father of his nation. His name graces schools and hospitals throughout the Philippines. His later exploitation by the American colonial government is debated by scholars, but not by the Philippine public.

Aguinaldo as the Revolutionary Leader

A 27-year-old provincial mayor named Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy eventually assumed undisputed leadership of the Katipunan and the revolutionary movement. His power base came from landed elites in the region around Luzon. While the case is made that the Philippines were not a unified country, there is no doubt that individual regions such as Luzon had a significant history of resistance to colonial rule. Some of these deep feelings of identity are captured by Michael G. Price, writing in the Foreword to A. B. Feuer’s America at War (2002). Price believes the “Filipino patriots” ought to be compared with Washington and Jefferson, and that using the term insurrection for the conflict “delegitimizes” its noble purposes. It is curious therefore that Feuer, who writes extensively about the military history of the Pacific region, begin his collection of cultural exhibits and diary accounts with the memoirs of Philippine War correspondent John T. McCutcheon. McCutcheon conspicuously observes that various elements of the revolution refused to meet with Aguinaldo and to recognize him as the leader of the rebels.[xxxix]

The Spanish army won most of its battles against the insurgents and when in August 1897 Spanish governor Primo de Rivera offered amnesty, Aguinaldo and his cadre accepted. According to David Silbey, the peace treaty “in essence traded the end of the rebellion…for large sums paid to Aguinaldo and his closest advisors. To his credit, Aguinaldo deposited most of the money in a bank for future use in service of the revolution.”[xl] Stanley Karnow agrees with Silbey that Aguinaldo “behaved with singular probity after reaching Hong Kong, but adds that as a leader, he was naïve at best. As a case example, he later agreed to let General Merritt interpose his forces with American troops at Manila when it should have been obvious that this would wreck his plans to capture the capital.[xli]

Although most historians rate Aguinaldo a poor choice to lead a revolution, Max Boot describes him as “a talented guerilla leader.” Boot’s account typically depicts the Filipino patriots as brave and highly principled. Accordingly, his version of the Spanish bribe is that “Aguinaldo accepted an offer of 800,000 pesos in return for his pledge to leave the country, but he had no intention of giving up the struggle.” He describes Aguinaldo as actively seeking backing from the United States in Hong Kong and Singapore, whereas other historians such as Henry Graff and Brian Linn describe his actions as much more passive during his exile.[xlii]

Where Emilio Aguinaldo represented the traditional landed class, his chief rival for revolutionary leadership was Andres Bonifacio, a mestizo of common origins. Alfred McCoy has studied the continuing Filipino class tensions in his 1999 work, Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy. McCoy observes that “as a lower-class radical, Bonifacio had a populist ideal. He had his troops elect their commanding officers. By contrast, his rival, General Aguinaldo, was inspired by the Spanish ideal of the heroic commander…” True to his class, McCoy asserts, Aguinaldo gave military offices to those local landlords who would deliver “a hundred or so” of their retainers.[xliii]

Bonifacio was defeated militarily and denounced for his failure by the local elites in Cavite province. Soon after returning to the Philippines, Aguinaldo used this opportunity to have Bonifacio charged with treason, arrested, and secretly executed. Aguinaldo always denied responsibility, but total leadership of the Revolution passed to him. Unlike Bonifacio, Aguinaldo was successful in gaining the support of the powerful ladrones (educated Filipino land owners) and he was permitted to name himself the temporary dictator of the islands.

Aguinaldo did not, however, demonstrate any skills as a military leader. Military success belonged to the mercurial Antonio Luna, whose popularity began to threaten the presidente’s. In a fiercely disputed event, Luna was assassinated when he came to reconcile with Aguinaldo. Thereafter, Aguinaldo purged the officer corps of Luna’s chiefs of brigades and some were executed, adding to the suspicions that the presidente had ordered Luna’s death. Diverse opinions eddy around the assassination, and around the assessment of the presidente’s leadership skills. Floro Quibuyen, a later Filipino writer, charges that Aguinaldo “wrested the leadership from Bonifacio [and] failed to nurture the Revolution to fruition.”[xliv] Similar feelings are evident in the observations of Filipino sociologist Renato Constantino, who says that Aguinaldo ‘led the force that preempted the revolution. The government and society that [would have] resulted” from an Aguinaldo insurgency “would likely have resembled its predecessor in structure and control.”[xlv]

Brian Linn has an even bleaker assessment of Aguinaldo. Linn implies that he was opportunist focused on his own interests and reputation. After the execution of Bonifacio, Aguinaldo called for reforms – expulsion of the friars, representation in the Cortes, and an end to discriminatory laws – but settled for promises from the Spanish government, which gave him money he could use for his exile in Hong Kong.  Linn suggests that “an uncharitable explanation for his withdrawal to Hong Kong is that the imperial government bribed him. To his critics he was an opportunistic warlord.”[xlvi] Henry Graff echoes Linn’s view, concluding that Aguinaldo and the Katipunan were “bought off” with Spanish money and were sent to Hong Kong with a weak promise of liberalized Spanish control.[xlvii] A more forgiving Stuart Miller accepts that Aguinaldo “hoarded [the money] to buy arms [and] plan for the next round in the struggle.”[xlviii]

In addition to lacking leadership skills, Aguinaldo also lacked many of the tools required to exercise decisive control over his forces. When his officers misused their authority and power, he could do no better than to require them to take an oath “not to use [their weapons] for the purposes of robbery, assaults, kidnapping, acts of violence, or improper acts [and] shall recognize no other chiefs but the zone commanders.”[xlix] It is easy to unpack this one directive and see multiple levels of dysfunction in the revolutionary organization – poor selection of subordinates, revolutionary officers engaged in criminal activity, a disrupted civilian body, a broken command structure. Perhaps as Silbey observes, “the only thing that kept Aguinaldo from losing military (and perhaps civilian) control was that there simply was no one else with more credibility to take over.” In addition, Silbey argues, “Aguinaldo certainly demonstrated little that resembled military genius.”[l]

There are detractors for every characterization of personalities and events during the Insurgency. While later historians view Aguinaldo as opportunistic and focused on power, one American who participated directly in the conflict saw it otherwise. James H. Blount was an officer in the Volunteers between 1899 and 1901, and later a U.S. District Judge in the islands. Blount assessed that Aguinaldo “held the whole people in the hollow of his hand because he was…the incarnation of their aspirations.”[li] Blount may have been strongly influenced by the sentiments of Filipinos in the Luzon region where he spent most of his time.

Aguinaldo’s prospects temporarily looked better when his Spanish adversaries had been removed. Once back on Cavite after the American victory, he declared himself dictator and proclaimed independence. The new government would have extensive property qualifications to limit the electorate. “Aguinaldo’s revolution was political, not social. The revolution quickly spread beyond his control” as various local groups declared local independence, and set up their own revolts and organizations, often not aligned with his. That lack of alignment stemmed from Aguinaldo’s embrace of traditional class and power structures. For example, his first assembly in Batangas City, with a population of 33,000, found only 78 people eligible to vote.[lii] Historian David Joel Steinberg observes that the ilustrados dominated the revolutionary body, eliminating radical reform goals and limiting suffrage “to men of high character, social position, and honorable conduct.” [liii] A Filipina scholar, Luzviminda G. Tangcangco, adds details about the capture of the revolution by traditional elites in her essay “The Electoral System and Political Parties in the Philippines,” in Government and Politics of the Philippines. Tangcangco notes that under the Civil Law of 1902 the voting franchise was limited to men, 23 or older, who could speak, read, and write English or Spanish, and owned real property worth at least 500 pesos, or who had held local government positions prior to the occupation in 1899.[liv]

In the constitutional debates, Aguinaldo’s advisor Apolinario Mabini demanded a strong president who could act as a “politico-military dictator.” When the Revolutionary Congress rejected this, Mabini next tried to give the president “emergency” powers to arrest on his own authority, veto bills, and dissolve Congress. The elites in the Congress, fearing Mabini’s strident tone and agitation for greater participation by the lower classes, forced him to resign.[lv]

This tension within revolutionary circles is noted by all historians. “The independence movement was riven by ethnic and class divisions,” reports Max Boot. He also notes the damage wrecked when the first national assembly created a constitution that restricted the vote to landed gentry. Aguinaldo was eventually given the dictatorial powers proposed earlier by Mabini, but neither Mabini nor Luna was content with the lack of proposed social reform. They wanted to mobilize the peasants and challenge the existing power structure, “but Aguinaldo went along with the wealthy land owners.” Given this uneasy balance, it is perhaps not surprising that following their defeats in conventional battles with U.S. forces in February and March 1899, “a majority of the Congress voted to accept an accommodation with the occupiers.” Predictably, Luna threatened to have them arrested for treason. Some of the conservatives went to Manila and surrendered.[lvi]

Aguinaldo paid a steep price for siding with the ladrones over the interests of the broader Philippine population. The general population believed that his victory would mean a regime change, but it would not alter the status of the majority of Filipinos. As Stanley Karnow observes, “One ingredient absent from Aguinaldo’s program…contributed to his collapse: He failed to offer genuine change.” He showed little concern for even modest reforms; courted rich provincial families to boost his own prestige. “Numbers saw him as the champion of the oppressive oligarchy rather than as a Robin Hood.”[lvii]

Apolinario Mabini served Aguinaldo, but his first choice for leader was Luna. Once again channeling Trotsky, he excuses Luna’s “brute force” because the commander faced frequent challenges to his authority. General Luna could have imposed order, Mabini argues, if only he had been supported by Aguinaldo, who “was also beginning to grow jealous.” Although he does not offer a direct connection between the presidente and Luna’s assassination, he notes that “the death of Andres Bonifacio had plainly shown in Mr. Aguinaldo a boundless appetite for power.” He laments Luna’s death as the last hope of the Revolution. “With Luna…fell the Revolution.”[lviii]

Luna’s assassination continued to plague Aguinaldo throughout his life. It receives different historical treatments, depending upon the writer’s assessment of Aguinaldo as a leader. Brian Linn, for example, says “It is far more plausible that Aguinaldo arranged Luna’s murder, and in a way calculated to send a message to his other generals.”[lix] Raymond Nelson, always more interested in cultural issues than political history, likewise lays the execution/assassination of Bonifacio and Luna directly at Aguinaldo’s feet.[lx] We can also suspect that the question of regional and ethnic differences might have had a role in Luna’s death. He was from Ilocano, whereas most of the other leaders were Tagalogs. Doubts about ultimate responsibility force some observers such as David Silbey to avoid judgment and simply conclude that “Somehow Luna and his aide de camp ended up dead. The general belief seemed to be that, like Bonifacio, Aguinaldo had had Luna assassinated.”[lxi]

Filipino historians are even more reluctant to place the blame on Aguinaldo. For example, Teodoro Agoncillo and Milagros Guerrero first paint a negative picture of Luna as a martinet with “a terrible temper.” They report that he ordered the shooting of civilians and arrested members of the Cabinet who disagreed with him. Consequently, they designate his killers obliquely as “those who bore grudges,” but make no reference to Aguinaldo at all. “His assassins were never investigated.”[lxii]

Quite aside from internal purges, the Aguinaldo organization was continually split by infighting between members of his cabinet and his advisors over how to form a government and a constitution.[lxiii] The Revolutionary Council was critically weakened when, according to Abinales and Amoroso, “Once provincial elites understood that the Unites States was offering them the opportunity to run a state free from friar control…there was little to hold them to the goal of independence.”  Educated and elite Filipinos would insist to American delegations of the need of ‘American sovereignty’ for the good of “these ignorant and uncivilized people.”[lxiv]

Whatever Emilio Aguinaldo’s weaknesses may have been as a leader, his capture by Funston removed the chief symbol of the organized rebellion. Brian Linn views Aguinaldo’s capture as “the turning point of the war. Within a few days Aguinaldo began to discuss terms, and on 19 April he issued a proclamation calling on the guerillas to lay down their weapons and the Filipino people to accept United States authority.[lxv] In another case of uncommon agreement, David Silbey, like Linn, finds little to fault with Aguinaldo’s behavior inasmuch as “the revolution was, in fact, melting away in spring 1901 under the high heat of the American offensive and the continuing efforts at pacification.”[lxvi]

We can conclude our assessment of Emilio Aguinaldo by recognizing his value as a symbol for resistance to American control. Beyond that, his faults and poor decisions greatly outnumber his virtues. He failed to control his officers and his cabinet. He was ruthless in eliminating internal opposition, but once in power, proved indecisive. His embrace of the social status quo lessened his appeal to the majority of Filipinos. Once captured, he quickly declared the Revolution over and sided with the Americans, reinforcing the impression that for him, the Revolution was more about the aspirations of Aguinaldo than about the aspirations of the Filipino people.

Doubts About American Commitment to, and Recognition of, the Revolution

Between his exile to Hong Kong and the outbreak of hostilities, Emilio Aguinaldo met with a succession of U.S. representatives who he claims made various offers of support for the Revolution. For example, Aguinaldo claimed in his memoirs that the American consul in Singapore, E. Spencer Pratt, promised the United States would recognize the independence of the Philippine Islands, under a naval protectorate. Pratt consistently maintained that all he had done was to urge Aguinaldo to return to Hong Kong and meet with Dewey.

Stuart Miller observes that the failure of the McKinley administration to set clear guidelines and objectives meant that it was professional military men, “ill-suited to play diplomatic roles due to their training and temperaments,” who would meet with the hopeful representatives of the Party of National Liberation. Nevertheless, Miller  accepts Admiral Dewey’s claim that he made it clear that he could not commit his nation officially. For his part, it appears that Aguinaldo was willing to turn over foreign policy to the United States in return for their assistance, if only he could retain autonomy for internal affairs.[lxvii] Dewey later testified during Senate hearings that “They seemed to be all very young earnest boys. They were bothering me…and I did not attach the slightest importance to anything they could do, and they did nothing.” Correspondents reported home that “The Filipino leaders were from almost the first repelled and ignored.”[lxviii]

Aguinaldo also met with the U.S. military commander, General Otis. Miller criticizes Otis’s role in misleading Aguinaldo. He implies that Otis may well have given assurances to the presidente, consistent with his sweeping condemnation of the General as “a man of…limited ability and understanding.” He includes President McKinley in the list of the guilty for appointing Otis to the post of military commander in the first place.[lxix]

Where Miller finds fault with the inept diplomacy of American military leaders, Stanley Karnow points to the civilian government. Karnow characterizes President McKinley as having neither policy goals nor decisiveness and the U.S. diplomatic corps as comprised of amateurs and dilettantes who owed their jobs to political patronage. Congress was too divided to effectively interpose in the Spanish-American War, the annexation, or the counter-insurgency. The consequence of having such blunderers in charge was that “as in Korea, Vietnam and smaller engagements, presidents have steered the nation into military actions overseas without the specific consent of the legislature.”[lxx]

Karnow suspects that the problem of miscommunication began with Pratt’s clumsy diplomatic overreaching. “Aguinaldo…had been sorely misled by his [Pratt’s] attention.” He doubts, however, that Admiral Dewey added to the problem. Despite the claims in Aguinaldo’s memoirs, “Dewey was too experienced and disciplined to have given Aguinaldo a firm guarantee of U.S. support.” But Karnow then adds “Dewey probably planted in Aguinaldo’s head…the notion that America would not seek to control the Philippines.” Dewey in turn relied on U.S. consul Oscar Williams, who continually assured him that the rebels wanted the Philippines to become a U.S. colony.

Less than one hundred people showed up for Aguinaldo’s declaration of independence, which the Americans carefully avoided. Dewey told a Senate committee in 1902 that “I attached little importance to the proclamation. I never dreamed that they wanted independence.” This appears forgetful at best. Dewey had told General Anderson in 1898 that Aguinaldo seemed “intent on establishing his own government” and that this could be “awkward” if McKinley wished to annex the islands.[lxxi]

Some non-American historians accept the Filipino interpretation of the Dewey-Aguinaldo exchange without question. Austin Coates, for example, says that Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines only because the Americans had given “every outward indication of their intention that the country should become independent.” This confounds the timeline, by placing the assurance of support before Aguinaldo met with Dewey, and leaves only the Aguinaldo-Pratt meeting as the time when such “indication of intention” might have occurred. Coates does not give us an account of that meeting.[lxxii]

Columbia University scholar Henry Graff’s 1969 work American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection is another example of scholarly study conducted at the time of the Vietnam War, but it avoids much of the ideological outrage seen in works such as Stuart Miller’s. It is largely derived from the actual testimony before the Senate Committee on the Philippines, which ran to more than 3000 pages. Graff summarizes the most pointed and insightful exchanges and uses them to reconstruct the entire progress of the conflict. He seeks parallels between the two “imperialistic” endeavors of Vietnam and the Philippines, with the objective of understanding how the United States was pulled into a war that was at its height during the 1901 hearings. Graff presents the transcripts of testimony before a generally hostile Committee intent upon answering several key questions, among which are: Was there a deal with Aguinaldo? What was the nature of the counter-insurgency effort?, What was the capacity of the Filipinos to create their own nation? [lxxiii]

In particular, Graff replicates Coates and treats Aguinaldo’s accounts of his meetings with the Americans, and his recollection of their words of commitment, as fact. In testimony before the Senate Committee, Admiral Dewey denied there were any Filipinos under arms when he reached Manila. Further, he said that he had to encourage Aguinaldo to remain in the Philippines rather than to desert and go to Japan as he wished. “I never dreamed that they wanted independence.” When asked if he had ever recognized Philippine independence, Dewey replied “Oh, never.”[lxxiv] Testimony by other military men followed the same theme. For example, General Ewell Otis: “They never intended to secure their independence; they proposed to set up a government under Aguinaldo, possibly.”[lxxv]

Graff implies that the Admiral Dewey’s testimony is a fabrication and uses as partial proof a letter Dewey wrote to his superiors stating “In my opinion these people are superior in intelligence and more capable of self-governance than the natives of Cuba, and I am familiar with both races.” As a speculation for Dewey’s demeaning opinion of Aguinaldo, he quotes the admiral’s testimony that Aguinaldo “lived like a king…looting” and that ”I considered him then a man of no ability at all.”[lxxvi]

The United States finally made its appearance in Manila with the Filipinos already in armed revolt against Spain. Apolinario Mabini notes that Dewey proclaimed the U.S. would “help the Filipinos regain their natural rights.” “Everyone thought that the [United States]…had entered into a formal agreement… recognizing Mr. Aguinaldo as the representative of the Filipino people.” Mabini adds further that “I realized that the American representatives had limited themselves to ambiguous verbal promises, which Mr. Aguinaldo accepted” because he was fearful someone else would strike a separate understanding.[lxxvii]

An American counterpart to Mabini, James H. Blount, was an officer in the U.S. Volunteers in the Philippines between 1899 and 1901. He then served as a U.S. District Judge in the Philippines 1901-1905. Significantly, Blount was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League in the United States and consequently he takes the position that the American seizure and occupation of the Philippines was unjust. Characteristic of the biased license taken in histories of the time, in The American Occupation of the Philippines Blount constantly invents imagined dialog for all the participants. He inserts demeaning and inferential comments, but only as regards American statements. For example, in referring to the role of Foreign Counsel Pratt, he interjects: “Mr. Pratt writes the State Department, purring and patting thus…”[lxxviii] Blount frequently refers to Aguinaldo as Dewey’s “protégé”, thus implying a degree of sponsorship that the Admiral would not have adopted.

Throughout the competing interpretations, historians resort to inference to prove their point. For example, James Blount notes that the State Department admonished Pratt for implying that the U.S. would owe Aguinaldo anything in exchange for helping him. Thereafter, consistent with his imperialist conspiracy theory, Blount states that because the State Department did not send the same communication to Dewey, it had to mean that the Admiral was “to continue misleading Aguinaldo.”[lxxix]

The general tone of books written about the Philippines during the late twentieth century perpetuates Blount’s decidedly cynical views about American motives. Even works that are apparently about other topics insert a general condemnation of U.S. motives. For example, James Goodno’s The Philippines: Land of Broken Promises is an examination of the Filipino’s political struggle against the Marcos regime, focused on the eventual success of Corazon Aquino. Goodno is a foreign correspondent, not a historian, and in keeping with his overall theme of struggle against oppression, he describes American actions as unadulterated aggression and imperialism.[lxxx]

Max Boot avoids the tendency of other historians to take sides and states the obvious and reasonable explanation for the Dewey-Aguinaldo misunderstanding. “Aguinaldo may have been so desperate for American backing that he read more into Dewey’s vague assurances than the Admiral intended.” To reinforce his conclusion, Boot notes that Dewey refused to attend the ceremonies announcing independence, nor did he ever give any recognition to the new government.[lxxxi] We can speculate endlessly about what may have been the motives of the various players. It is more sensible to acknowledge Boot’s conjecture that hopes, fears, and clumsiness colored these exchanges in such a way as to maximize misunderstanding.



The Debate Over U.S. Objectives, Imperialism, and Philippine Sovereignty

Examination of the Philippine Insurgency inevitably turns to the question of American imperialism. Scholars are divided over whether the United States acted in cynical self-interest, or alternatively, were inspired by a vague naiveté of “uplifting the savage Filipino.” Both imperialists and anti-imperialists assumed that the Filipinos were not capable of self-government. For the former, this meant governing them; for the latter it implied avoidance of entanglement. The common tone of editorial coverage in America was also one of “uplifting savages.” [lxxxii] Many American historians broadly assume the Unites States’ good intentions. Stanley Karnow, for example, asserts that U.S. policy toward the Philippines “was enlightened compared to the repressive practices of European powers.” Karnow assigns this to “a belief still ingrained in Americans” that we can make others into our image. This thesis is captured by the title of his history, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (1989).[lxxxiii]

In contrast, Stuart Miller approaches this question by first deflating the American ethos.  He correctly observes that many “highly patriotic” Americans reflexively deny abuses such as the misuse of power, imperialism and militarism. Included in this group of deniers are some historians. For example, Miller reports, Albert Beveridge emphatically claimed American altruism in the Philippines and denied fault with the comment that “To have an empire one must have a monarchy.” Miller similarly criticizes John Gates’ Schoolbooks and Krags as an attempt to “whitewash the army’s conduct.” Some other historians such as Samuel Flagg Bemis excuse American imperialism and maltreatment as “a great aberration in American history.”[lxxxiv] The question is thus intensely debated.

Stanley Karnow steps back for a broader look at the Pacific region politics of the Great Powers, contrasting Europeans, “who merely lusted for power” with Americans who wished to spread their “exceptionalism.” But almost arguing against this interpretation, he provides much evidence of commercial and colonial interest. Asia was America’s new commercial frontier. The French, Germans, Japanese, British and Russians were all grabbing territory from Manchuria to Vietnam. In what Karnow might describe as a convulsive reflex, “The United States stumbled into a long, difficult and divisive ordeal.”[lxxxv]

Henry Graff, writing at the time of the Insurgency, assigns an arrogant elitist viewpoint to American politicians, and by implication, to the American public. He wants U.S. values and investment to be the salvation of the Filipinos, but not to be forced upon them. In this he echoes the “uplift” ethos that Miller disparages.  The testimony of William Howard Taft, then Governor of the Philippines, before Congress likewise followed the “uplift” theme: “It is the duty of the United States to establish there a government suited to the present possibilities of the people, which shall gradually change, conferring more and more right upon the people to govern themselves…(emphasis added)” Taft characterized the Filipinos as “indolent” because they lived in a tropical climate, but nevertheless “We think we can help these people; we think we can elevate them to an appreciation of popular government.[lxxxvi]

Stanley Karnow is a journalist, but enjoys an excellent scholarly reputation for the books he has written about the Pacific theatre over more than 30 years, including works about Vietnam, China and Southeast Asia. Karnow’s comprehensive In Our Image is one of the most frequently cited works on Philippine history. It is therefore noteworthy that Karnow, deeply critical of the Vietnam War, views American influence in the Philippines as positive and little tainted by imperialism. He is particularly interested in the way in which U.S. institutions were forced onto Filipino culture and how they did (or did not) “take.” In Karnow’s view, vacillation in U.S. policy regarding the Philippines is the byproduct of domestic American politics rather than a thoughtful foreign policy. Although U.S. efforts appear “bumbling and inconsistent,” they can be characterized as “uniquely benign.”[lxxxvii] He would therefore agree with historian Glenn May that America’s agenda started out as an exercise in “self-duplication.”[lxxxviii]

Other historians treat the lure of a colonial empire as a late nineteenth century cultural phenomenon. David Silbey is of this camp, noting that by 1885, “Manifest destiny had been manifested.” The Pacific – and its largely untapped markets – represented a possible new frontier. Silbey is joined by others in suggesting that Manifest Destiny was replaced by “a continuing sense of American exceptionalism.”[lxxxix] The frequent use of “American exceptionalism” across different histories suggests the enduring power of this theme. Given modern American rhetoric about “implanting democracy” in cultures without democratic traditions, these scholars appear to be on safe ground with their assessment.

Still other scholars, especially those of the New Left point of view, see the American role as unmitigated evil. For these writers, Miller asserts, “capitalism is the root of all evil,” including the evils of racism and imperialism. This category of critics typically makes no distinction between military imperialism and other forms of influence such as economic and cultural.[xc] Some New Left historians also see the anti-imperialist movement as a disguise for indirect control and exploitation.[xci] When Stuart Miller finally reveals his own opinion, it is to label claims of “uplift” as a “cloak of hypocrisy.” He has uncovered a report by lower-level American naval personnel who surveyed Luzon in 1898 and found a “universal” desire for independence.[xcii]

There is a common thread in both of these polar interpretations. The 1890 U. S. census determined that the American frontier no longer existed. Personalities like Frederick Jackson Turner and Senator Orville Pratt suggested that the next generation of Americans would have to look “to the oceans” for their next frontier. The scholarly consensus is that the American public was caught up in a sense of loss regarding the closure of the frontier. Consequently, in this context a growing discussion of an “empire doctrine” arose in the press and in congress.[xciii] A notable outlier to this reasoning is Field, who finds that “not until the…victory over Spain…was there an avalanche of demands for a Pacific empire.”[xciv] Stuart Miller concludes his examination of the war by placing the blame for American involvement on “the man in the street [who] shared the dreams of world power status, martial glory, and future wealth.”[xcv]

One key participant in this process claimed an unequivocal rationale for annexation. President McKinley reportedly found his answer in a God-inspired revelation during prayer. “There was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos and uplift them and Civilize and Christianize them…” Max Boot provides a more practical rationale that McKinley feared that if the U.S. did not annex the Philippines, Germany or Japan or some other power would step in, to the detriment of not only American but Filipino interests.[xcvi]

The story of President McKinley receiving holy guidance while praying for a solution to the Philippine question is a cherished part of American political folklore. This story was reported by a Methodist minister, James Rousling, who waited several years before relating the story. Historian Lewis Gould notes that the story is similar to one Rousling told of a meeting with Abraham Lincoln after Gettysburg.[xcvii] In fact it can be argued that McKinley gave an early indication of his views when he reversed Grover Cleveland’s policy on Hawaii. In 1897 he negotiated a treaty of annexation with the Hawaiian government that clearly went against the natives’ desire for self-government. The Hawaiian annexation provided a stepping-stone to markets in Asia, as would the takeover of the Philippines. Stanley Karnow is the only historian to mention the discovery, years after his death, of a rare handwritten note McKinley wrote immediately after the Battle of Manila Bay. He wrote in part “We must keep all we can get. We must keep what we want.”[xcviii] McKinley could have applied the Teller amendment, which guaranteed Cuban independence, to the Philippines. He didn’t. Karnow further suggests that McKinley feared “the wrath of the nation” if he did not annex the Philippines.[xcix]

The question of American intentions in the Philippines was hotly debated in the U.S. Senate during the Insurgency. James Blount, continuing his hyperbolic style, reinterprets a congressional speech that said “The United States hereby disclaims any…intention to exercise sovereignty…or control over said island.” Blount’s translation is “It is true that we do love the Almighty Dollar very dearly, oh, Sisters of the Family of Nations, but there are some axiomatic principles of human liberty that we love better…”[c] In a similar treatment, Blount suggests that the Teller amendment, by which the United States disavowed any future sovereignty over Cuba, intentionally omitted the Philippines (emphasis added).[ci]

The Preface to Blount’s The American Occupation of the Philippines states “We are keeping the Filipinos in industrial bondage…for…special interests in America.”[cii] In the opposing view, “uplift” spokesmen such as Senator Orville Pratt saw a God-given imperative to provide the Filipinos with “a government based on the principle of liberty no matter how many difficulties the problem may present.”[ciii] None of the twenty-first century histories reviewed address the parallel between this sentiment and recent American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Filipinos were well aware of the intense debate in the United States. Apolinario Mabini’s autobiography, for example, includes several entries in which he notes that in the U.S. opinion and statements were divided over how the Philippines would be treated, in some cases renouncing sovereignty.[civ] Aguinaldo and his cabinet proceeded to guerilla war in part because they believed that it would prolong the conflict and lead to further dissatisfaction in America.

The Philippine-American War spawned the Anti-Imperialist League, whose membership included illustrious Americans such as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie. The League may have had a peak membership of roughly 70,000, but this was far short of the ten million signatures they had expected to achieve. A tendency to making extreme claims of support and to repeating reported atrocities without corroboration discouraged others who opposed U.S. policy in the Philippines from siding with the League. Stuart Miller asserts that extreme rhetoric is the reason “more practical anti-imperialists…ended up having little to do with this organization.” Interestingly, Miller also claims that “few [contemporary?] academics left any of their records on the issue of imperialism.” His frame of reference is captured as he complains that the anti-imperialists were “elitists” who opposed egalitarian reforms and “the common man.”[cv]

Stanley Karnow agrees that the Anti-Imperialist League was tainted by opinions not easily accepted today. In addition to concerns about increasing power for “the common man,” other League spokesmen mixed appeals to liberty with appeals to darker emotions. Senator Carl Schurz, who helped found the League with Andrew Carnegie and others, argued that annexation would violate cherished American principles of “right, justice and liberty.” It would also bring an influx of “barbarous Asiatics.”[cvi]

The Debate Over Who Started the War

There is no debate that the war against the revolutionaries began when Private William Grayson shot a Filipino soldier in the dark on the night of February 4, 1899 at San Juan Bridge. The debate is rather over whether the shot was aggressive or defensive. David Silbey correctly points out that “Most historians have focused on the question of whether one side or another deliberately started the war to gain an advantage.”[cvii] Since this is an endless question, a more responsible line of inquiry would try to establish who was most advantaged by the war starting when it did.

There are many reasons why Emilio Aguinaldo should not have instigated hostilities. For one, at the time of the siege of Manila, his position within the revolutionary faction was not fully secure. He was arguing with wealthy factions in Hong Kong and “having difficulty controlling his subordinates, who were growing increasingly frustrated with the standoff with the U.S. Army.” Aguinaldo hoped that anti-imperialist sentiment in the United States would defeat approval of the peace treaty by which Spain ceded control of the islands to America.

“This anti-imperialist sentiment in the United States came largely, though not entirely, from the elite groups in the East [who] believed that the [United States’] spirit of liberation…was being betrayed by McKinley’s base annexation of the Philippines.”[cviii] A strong example of this is contained in a quote by Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts, argued that “You have no right…to impose on an unwilling people…your notions of freedom and notions of what is good.”[cix]  Unfortunately for Aguinaldo and the Revolution, anti-imperialist sentiment was not sufficiently broad or deep. Further, “the treatment of Native Americans gave the American legal system a set of case law that could be applied to the Philippines [that made the Filipinos] wards of the federal government, dependent on the goodwill of government officials. Tribes were only ‘local dependent communities’ rather than nations.” President McKinley also made a wise political move that would be used by subsequent presidents up to the twenty-first century. He made a vote against annexation a vote against the troops.

Despite many reasons why it should not be so, in his recent book A War of Frontier and Empire, David Silbey argues for Aguinaldo as the instigator.  “The Treaty of Paris made it clear to both sides that an amicable and mutually agreeable solution to the differences between the Americans and the Filipinos was unlikely. Aguinaldo did not tightly control his forces…And those men and officers were frustrated by months of waiting…Aguinaldo’s prestige had also suffered because of his continuing accommodation with Otis.”[cx]

It did not help the U.S. forces that early in the campaign the War Department reduced the size of their companies, replacing experienced men with raw recruits, resulting in turmoil in the ranks. The introduction of inexperienced personnel, combined with the continuing lack of clear political objectives, may have helped to create an environment where discipline and military expectations were hazy. Nevertheless, Max Boot concludes that while “most Filipinos had no desire to be ‘assimilated’…neither side was eager to commence hostilities.”[cxi]

Nebraska volunteers found themselves on the leading edge of the American lines. In addition to psychological factors of frustration and unclear objectives, “the extreme vulnerability of the Nebraskans’ position and the absence of a physical barrier made relations between the two sides exceptionally tense.” Consequently, once Grayson fired, the situation quickly escalated and firefights rapidly broke out all along the front. At the 1902 Senate hearings, Senator Thomas Patterson tenaciously pressed General Arthur MacArthur to admit that his troops had initiated hostilities without just cause. Nevertheless, historian Linn concludes that there is little evidence of conspiracy on either side. “The firefight was unplanned, a random occurrence. War was emphatically not desired in Washington.”[cxii]

Other historians are suspicious that the Americans provoked the war. An English observer admitted such in his comment that “It is very remarkable that the American troops should have been so well prepared for an unseen event as to be able to immediately and simultaneously attack…”[cxiii] Stuart Miller, for another example, sees a pattern in the orders and maneuvers that General Otis planned in the three weeks leading up to the outbreak. This notion is somewhat reinforced by the later testimony of General MacArthur that “Yes, we had a plan… I simply wired all commanders to carry out the prearranged plans.” It does not occur to Miller that this statement merely reflects normal military contingency planning. Nevertheless, Miller rather dilutes his own charge when he provides evidence that the point where shots were first fired was in a disputed territory between the two forces where control had changed hands several times.[cxiv]

The Philippine textbook of Teodoro Agoncillo and Milagros Guerrero, History of the Filipino People, repeatedly implies overt manipulation and provocation by the Americans leading up to the outbreak of hostilities. For example, when President McKinley’s “Benevolent Assimilation” Proclamation of December 1898, expressly used the words and expression “sovereignty,” “right of cession,” and “protection,” the authors see General Otis intentionally suppressing them because such sentiments would be “incendiary” to the Filipino Population. And in referring to the time immediately before the San Juan Bridge Incident where shots were first fired, they explain that “Since the American volunteers in Manila were not enough to fight the Filipinos, it was necessary for the American commissioners to prolong the conference…in order to give the American reinforcements time to arrive…before hostilities could start.” Examining the period immediately after shooting began, they report that when Aguinaldo asked to halt hostilities General Otis, who was sure of American victory, refused (emphasis added). “The fact that the American attack …was sudden showed that the Americans had planned the incident to force the issue against the Filipinos.”[cxv]

Apolinario Mabini also implies that the United States struck the first blow. “The Filipino forces…were not prepared for an attack.” He blames Aguinaldo for not giving more authority to his military subordinates through which they might have diffused the tension. Testimony by others has shown that Aguinaldo had little control over his subordinates.

During the first phase of the conflict, Aguinaldo repeatedly sought face-to-face battle. He had attempted to create a European-style army out of mixed forces, some experienced from the Spanish insurgency and many simply recent native recruits. His army suffered from critical weaknesses in training and leadership. Many of his officers were selected for birth and friendship rather than for demonstrated ability. Nevertheless, his troops fought with characteristic courage and ferocity. As a British military observer noted during the Assault on Manila during the Seven Years War, “Had their Skill or Weapons been equal to their Strength and Ferocity, it might have cost us dear. Although armed chiefly with Bows, Arrows, and Lances, they advanced up to the very muzzles of our Pieces, repeated their Assaults, and died like wild Beasts, Gnawing the Bayonets.”[cxvi]

Aguinaldo’s Decision to Engage in Guerilla Warfare

Many historians such as Timothy Deady have criticized Aguinaldo for not adopting the strategy of a guerilla war much earlier.[cxvii] In this vein, Max Boot observes that “Aguinaldo made the fatal mistake of trying to fight the U.S. Army in a conventional war.”[cxviii] Similarly, Stanley Karnow says “Aguinaldo and his staff were egregiously inept. Had he begun by pursuing an unconventional strategy, he might have prolonged the struggle, and ultimately exhausted the patience of the U.S. public – whose ardor increasingly waned as the war dragged on.” Karnow makes a direct comparison with the strategy of the North Vietnamese in their later war against the Americans, and compares Aguinaldo unfavorably with Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap.[cxix]

The weakness of the Philippine force is apparent only in hindsight. On the surface, an objective assessment at the beginning of the conflict would have rated the opposing forces as matched. The Regular U.S. Army had imploded after the Civil War and by 1875 it could muster about 25,000 men. U.S. troops were outnumbered more than 3 to 1. The Americans did not have extensive training, but the Army of Liberation did. And except for sea power the Americans did not have an edge in weapons. Certainly naval gunfire was significant in some early engagements, but if the U.S. Navy was thoroughly modern, the U.S. Army was “hopelessly antique.” The insurrectionists also had better interior lines of supply and better local intelligence. Regardless, during the period of conventional warfare, the Filipinos repeatedly folded under a determined American attack. Victories were excessively lopsided.

Brian Linn agrees that the Army of Liberation should have performed much better than it did. The leadership consistently failed to act on American mistakes. The army proved incapable of maneuver, and suffered from “an appalling lack of marksmanship.” But “there was no lack of courage and determination.”[cxx]

A few historians have assumed that the Americans possessed superior firearms, but rifle technology was equivalent, with a possible advantage to the Filipinos. Brian Linn points to the “deadly” marksmanship of the Americans, while according to David Silbey, a noteworthy factor was that “Philippine ammunition was inferior and often home-made.  Many of the insurgents had no rifles and used bolos. They had no artillery. But that is not quite enough.” Rather than a technological explanation for the inequality of results, Silbey posits a social factor. “The client-patron relationship still dominated Filipino society. [If patrons were not available] the insurgents would fight for a certain amount of time, and then make individual retreats. Silbey also speculates that “many Filipinos…had a different cultural conception of what war meant and how far to take the fighting.”[cxxi]

While the Army of Liberation had more field experience in the Philippines, the Americans had better training. An officer in the Pennsylvania volunteers noted that ”the Filipinos often fired early and maximum range while the Americans waited. Their fire had been high and wild.”[cxxii]

David Silbey calculates that even before declaring guerilla war, Aguinaldo had in effect made the decision by moving into the mountains, where he could not defend the Revolutionary government. His official decision came in November 1899. “It had been ten months since the war started, and the Philippines Republic had essentially ceased to exist.”[cxxiii] Aguinaldo met with his commanders on November 13, 1899 and thereafter announced his decision to suspend conventional warfare, saying “Guerillas cannot hope to defeat the enemy in the open field; they must wear down the occupying army until it finally tires of the struggle.” But Aguinaldo had no way of controlling events across the islands. His subordinate commanders – and those who had their own local revolutionary endeavors – had almost complete autonomy. In many provinces the guerillas created their own government structures, burning down whole towns if they refused to pay “taxes.” But in half of the provinces there was no fighting at all.[cxxiv]

The war now became a series of regional struggles. Brian Linn estimates that there were seldom more than a few hundred insurgents in any province, a proportion typical of guerilla phenomena. As a practical example of the effects of this decision, the supreme commander for Southern Luzon would later report that he had not heard from his president for six months. The decision to convert to guerilla warfare reduced the prestige of the insurgents and by mid-1900, it was necessary to order that Americanista civil officials were to be dealt with as traitors. The result was that, as Brian Linn states, “horrific internecine warfare raged throughout the archipelago.”[cxxv]

Terrorist groups like al-Qaeda “recruit in ungoverned or poorly governed areas where the humiliated and the have-nots struggle to survive.”[cxxvi] “A loose body of principles for fighting an unorthodox enemy emerged from the Indians wars, including: ensuring close civil-military coordination; providing firm but fair paternalistic governance; and reforming the economic and educational spheres.”[cxxvii]

Despite this, there is no evidence that the Revolutionary leadership advocated terrorism against the Americans. Some historians argue that the very persistence of the insurrection proves that it had strong local support. If this is so, Brian Linn wonders, “Why did the guerillas devote as much attention, or more, to discouraging collaboration as to fighting the occupying forces?”[cxxviii]

Some Filipinos appear to have had an early understanding of the probable progression of the conflict. Facing a strong American landing at the beginning of the war, a prominent Filipino attorney predicted “We will withdraw to the mountains and repeat the North American Indian warfare.”[cxxix] Apolinario Mabini has a somewhat different explanation, asserting that the nationalists prolonged hostilities because diplomacy was “a weapon fit only for the weak [and would] cease only when the revolutionists no longer had the means to continue it.”[cxxx]

After Aguinaldo’s capture, Americans expected a decrease in hostilities. Local commanders were told to prepare for civil government. They followed a standard approach – municipal councils were elected, sanitation increased, school construction started. The Army’s main task was to maintain order and serve as a police force. But the Filipino nationalists switched to guerilla tactics, singling out the presidentes who collaborated with the Americans. When these tactics turned the locals against the insurrectos, the guerillas retaliated with a reign of sangre y muerte (blood and death), killing barrio chiefs and burning houses. These actions inevitably turned the barrios more solidly against the guerillas.[cxxxi]

First-hand accounts of the guerilla’s experience confirm that they did not have the complete support of Filipino civilians. Simeon Villa’s diary describes Aguinaldo telling villagers that his forces are having “disastrous effects” on the Americans, even as his own entries reveal just how poor the guerilla’s intelligence was. They repeatedly underestimated American strength and location. Similarly, Dr. Barcelona’s diary tells us that when operating in unfamiliar territory, the insurgents had so little intelligence and so little local support that they were often lost.[cxxxii]

American Strategy and Response to Guerilla Warfare

Those interested in a detailed examination of the counterinsurgency campaign may wish to study Brian McAllister Linn’s, The US Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902, which looks closer at the role of the U.S. Army in the conflict than his later work. Linn looks into issues not typically covered by non-military historians, such as terrain, weather, the insurgent’s support infrastructure, and the American’s use of Filipino auxiliary forces. He includes sections on the use of terror, torture and destruction by both sides. In particular, Linn details how the Americans adapted their counter-insurgency techniques to each island group, thereby creating a text for future successful – and unsuccessful – actions.[cxxxiii]

Brian Linn judges that with the adoption of guerilla tactics, “the insurgents initially paralyzed the Army’s district command structure.” Consequently, decision-making fell to provincial commanders. A case example of response is that of Colonel William Duvall in the La Union sector, who co-opted a local religious fraternity, the Guardia de Honor, to counter guerilla actions in the villages. The Guardia traditionally opposed the landholding elites who supported Aguinaldo’s government. They advocated radical redistribution of wealth, so they had been “badly persecuted by the revolutionaries.” Composite U.S. Army-Guardia forces were effective against the insurgents. Linn sees the war in La Union as a civil war between the guerillas and the Guardia. Duval and his Guardia supporters realized that the majority of the insurgent’s support came from the upper classes. Accordingly, they demanded these elites to publically acknowledge American authority. “Guerilla activity was non-existent in the region after May 1900.”[cxxxiv]

The guerilla’s hit-and-run tactics seldom inflicted many casualties, but they did raise frustration among American soldiers expecting the Filipinos to “fight like real men.” Guerillas constantly participated in a strike against U.S. interests or collaborating Filipinos, and then blended into the local population. American troops would label this the amigo tactic. Even as biased an observer as James Blount sympathizes with the frustrations of soldiers who would capture an amigo while remembering the “sometimes proven mutilation of the bodies of [friends] after death.” It is not surprising that such dichotomies left many “in an ugly temper.”[cxxxv]

Despite this one mention Blount and Filipino historians minimize atrocities by the guerillas. Blount states that “Barbarities on their [the insurgents] side seemed to have been reserved for those of their own race whom they found disloyal to the cause of their country.”[cxxxvi] Other American historians recognize guerilla atrocities as a significant factor. Stuart Miller and Brian Linn both include individual testimony and personal letters from common soldiers who having seen their comrades “hacked to pieces…got orders to spare no one.”[cxxxvii] Several writers point to the disparity in killed-to-wounded ratios as evidence that wounded Filipino soldiers were being executed in large numbers. This would be lamely excused by General Otis, who claimed that more died because Americans were better marksmen, and by General MacArthur, who claimed that “inferior races” succumbed more easily to wounds.”[cxxxviii]

Works by American historians since the 1960s all make frequent reference to, if not direct comparisons with, the Vietnam War. There is a clear tendency to let the disappointment and disgust of that later conflict color assessments of the Philippines beyond the obvious parallels. It is difficult for some historians to maintain their objectivity. For example, Brian Linn may draw a dispassionate parallel by observing that “Unlike Vietnam, there were no key supply routes for the Americans to interdict or sanctuaries to invade. As Linn notes, “Many Americans, particularly in academia, interpret the Philippine War through an ideological perspective developed during the 1960s. The imperialist myth of selfless Americans saving their “little brown brothers” from the violent tyranny of Aguinaldo and the Tagalogs has long been discredited.”[cxxxix]

Filipino historians also freely make the connection between Vietnam and the Philippines. Historians Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis Francia edited Vestiges of War, The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream (2002), which title says much about the collection of essays. In their joint Foreword, the authors describe the Philippine-American War as “the United States’ first Vietnam War” because of its brutality and severity.” They note that most of the Filipino deaths were not in battle, but resulted from disease and starvation.[cxl]

And finally, perhaps the passions are not limited to recent histories. We need only to read James Blount’s The American Occupation of the Philippines written in 1912, to see references to Congress as “out-and-out land-grabbers” or quoting “Thou shalt not steal” from the Bible to realize that historians bring their emotions into their work.[cxli]

U.S. participation in the Boxer Rebellion served as an important background to the Insurgency and helped to establish expectations for it. Like the Philippines, China also pitted a significant disparity in forces, initial underestimation of the severity of conflict, significant imbalance in the ratios of killed and wounded between the combatants, and significant numbers of noncombatant casualties. Max Boot finds that in contrast to the brutality and rapine of Russian and German behaviors, American troops employed a program of building infrastructure in the Chinese zones they controlled, building hospitals and sanitary facilities, and establishing order.[cxlii] But while the army might share experience between China and the Philippines, it could not share troops. Brian Linn observes that the transfer of many marines to the Boxer expedition in 1900 left the Philippine contingent stretched thin and barely able to meet its commitments.[cxliii]

Governor Taft disagreed with General MacArthur’s assessment of broad hostility and harsh response. He believed the resistance was sustained by a program of “murder and assassination.” The “ignorant, superstitious and credulous” natives were manipulated by “unscrupulous leaders.” These views were shared by his contacts among upper-class Filipino society. Accordingly, he developed a “policy of attraction.” Stanley Karnow believes that by attracting able Filipino elites into the government, Taft “spared the United States from the stigma of outright imperialism.” It is not surprising, however, that the “policy of attraction” has many detractors among Filipino historians who view the collaborators as traitors.[cxliv]

The American response to guerilla warfare was thus a combination of “carrot and stick” – the application of harsh suppression balanced with changes aimed at improving the lives of the Filipino civilians. Even before Aguinaldo shifted tactics, President McKinley’s policy of Benevolent Assimilation had effectively “established conciliation as the cornerstone of military policy in the Philippines.” General Otis tried to create what today we call infrastructure, building schools and bridges, establishing a police force, hiring garbage collectors, etc. After just a few months, the American policy of benevolence “was winning converts among the more influential citizens.”[cxlv] Brian Linn praises MacArthur for realizing that civic action was not enough – one needed to use coercion as well. Nevertheless, civic action was “a crucial component of the American victory.” In contrast to the policy of exterminating the American Indians, this policy employed the formation of local governments, establishment of sanitary, educational and fiscal systems.[cxlvi]

The United States Army had direct experience in guerilla-type warfare in its own Civil War and in the Indian Wars. The application of this experience was openly referenced by Elihu Root in his eulogy for the Eighth Army Corps, where he said “Utilizing the lessons from the Indian wars, it [the Corps] has relentlessly followed the guerilla bands to their fastness in mountains and jungles and crushed them.”[cxlvii] In the Philippine Insurgency, “Americans conducted a decentralized war of small mobile units armed mainly with rifles and aided by native Filipinos, hunting guerillas who were increasingly isolated both by the indifference or hostility of much of the population and by the concentration of scattered peasant groups into larger settlements.” Accordingly, the military learned to (a) avoid big-unit search-and-destroy missions, (b) maximize the use of indigenous scouts and paramilitary forces, and (c) mobilize popular support by focusing on the improvement of infrastructure.[cxlviii]

American efforts were balanced between oppression and development. Military historian Max Boot, who sees American policies as more benign than many, ascribes U.S. success in the Philippines to “a measured application of incentives and disincentives.”[cxlix] Indeed, by 1940, the U.S. Marine Corps’ Small Wars Manual would instruct “In small wars, tolerance, sympathy, and kindness should be the keynote to our relationship with the mass of the population.” Nevertheless, a popular army song for U.S. troops under MacArthur had a chorus “Damn, damn, damn the Filipino…Civilize him with a Krag.”

President McKinley encouraged strenuous efforts to involve Filipinos in the new civil administration at all levels. His instructions to Taft specifically included this objective “…the natives of the islands…shall be afforded the opportunity to manage their own local affairs to the fullest extent of which they are capable, and subject to the least degree of supervision and control which a careful study of their capacities…shows to be consistent with the maintenance of law, order, and loyalty.”[cl]

In December 1900, “MacArthur declared that ‘all prominent families’ who had not publically committed themselves were to be assumed guilty of aiding the guerillas.” He tolerated the burning of crops and imposed “concentration” of civilians in ‘protected zones.” Everyone outside was assumed to be an enemy.[cli] MacArthur ordered General Hughes to take “drastic measures.” Orders to the troops were so ambiguous that they made it difficult to distinguish between civilian and guerrilla property. Hughes established “protected zones” where “friendlies” could be separated from the guerrillas. The army destroyed crops and the navy blockaded coastal trade and fishing – creating widespread deprivation and famine.[clii]

Another indirect tactic was to declare the Philippine-American war over, as President Roosevelt did on July 4, 1902. This meant that thereafter, the guerillas were fighting as insurgents against the legally constituted American government. As a charade for the actual conditions, it permitted General Otis to testify to congress in 1904 that there had been no warfare in the Philippines for two years. When Senator Hale protested this characterization, Otis said the only fighting had been with “the robbers.” Stuart Miller regards these statements as “delusions,” but in fact they represented the official administration position.[cliii] It is worth noting that by the time Roosevelt declared victory, the United States had lost 4,234 dead and suffered 2,818 wounded. By comparison, only 379 Americans were lost in combat in the entire Spanish-American War. 16,000 Filipinos died in battle and perhaps 200,000 civilians.[cliv]

Most of the historians reviewed assign the eventual success of the American counter-insurgency program to the combined approach, and especially to the patient development of civil infrastructure. For example, in Schoolbooks and Krags (1973), John Gates summarizes his book’s thesis by stating that the United States won the war “because it was able to structure a coherent pacification policy that balanced conciliation with repression.”[clv]

Yet another factor was the failure of the revolutionary forces to fully engage the civilian population. Noted Philippine scholar Glenn May argues that “from a purely military perspective, the U.S. victory in the Philippines was due more to the mistakes of the enemy than the cleverness of the U.S. command.” May also singles out Aguinaldo’s inept leadership and notes that “Aguinaldo and his army received lukewarm support from the Filipino masses.”[clvi] Brian Linn agrees, adding that “both the nationalists’ narrow geographic base and their elitist policies weakened their authority in the countryside and created considerable opposition. Aguinaldo was unable to place national interests above personal gain. In virtually every province, terrorism [by the insurgents] ultimately alienated the native population and encouraged collaboration with the occupiers.”[clvii]

A final phase would heavily color subsequent interpretations of the conflict. Once the Philippine-American War was declared officially over, the insurrectos in the northern islands were reclassified as “bandits,” but one significant ethnic group had been left intentionally untouched. These were the Moros in the south archipelago. The Bates Agreement of 1899 gave the Sultan of Sulu governing authority in the Sulu Islands in exchange for his recognition of U.S. sovereignty. The U.S. decided in 1903 to bring the Moros under control. The army moved cautiously to reduce opposition. Some army officers tried diplomacy, learning the Moro customs and beliefs, treating them with respect, “and emphasizing that the military would protect Islam.” These actions won over many local leaders. “The Philippine Commission announced that the United States would not interfere with tribal organization and culture [nor] seek to convert the Moros to Christianity.” The Moros were divided into tribal groups, each with its own language and customs. These tribes were frequently at war with each other. Consequently, American officers used these tribal animosities to their advantage, as they had learned with American Indians. The U.S. tried to win support by employing the tested strategy of expanding commerce, increasing education, improving public health, and building infrastructure. Despite these initiatives, the U.S. campaign to exert control without warfare broke down.

In an uncomfortable parallel to the suicide bombers of the twenty-first century, the Moros used the juramentado, or suicide attack, in which the individual tried to kill as many non-believers as possible before being killed. Most Moros were armed with swords or spears, requiring close contact to be effective.[clviii] The resulting bloody engagements received substantial (and often lurid) press coverage. It is the image of fanatical suicide charges, hacking bolos, and blazing 45 automatics that came to typify the Philippine conflict for many Americans.

More than the other phases of the conflict, the Moro pacification program also left indelible images of mass slaughter. The Army launched devastating attacks using “a rough hand,” killing Moros by the hundreds, and burning their houses and crops. The campaign worked, effectively ending large-scale resistance. Nevertheless, at the battle of Bud Dajo, U.S. troops killed over 600 Moros, including women and children. Large portions of the American press and public were outraged. Anti-imperialists accused the local commander of ruthless slaughter. The next commander dropped the wholesale punitive approach and tried punishing only individuals. He also used native troops wherever possible. His policy brought some stability and reduced tensions for a while. Then General John Pershing assumed command and decided to disarm the population, enraging the Moros. A final battle at Bud Bagsak in 1913 resulted in almost the entire 500 resisting Moros being killed. Bud Bagsak was, however, the last major case of Moro resistance.[clix]

Questions About Terror and Brutality

Both sides of the conflict engaged in brutal tactics, but historians disagree whether these acts meet the definition of “terror.” Stuart Miller correctly notes that virtually every member of the high command had spent most of his career “terrorizing Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, and the Sioux.” It was easy to apply similar tactics in the Philippines. What Miller seems to find surprising is that “the men in their command…carried out these orders with amazing, if not surprising, alacrity.”[clx] Certainly we can look to General Adna Chaffee, one of the principal players in the question of terror, as illustrative of this phenomenon. Chaffee spent most of his career as an Indian fighter and commanded the American expeditionary contingent in the Boxer crisis.

The upper ranks of the officer corps were dominated by Civil War veterans. Middle-level officers had served in the Indian Wars, while many junior officers were West Point graduates. Max Boot has determined that “out of 30 U.S. generals who served in the Philippines…26 had fought in the Indian Wars.”[clxi] As a consequence, their treatment of Filipino insurgents and civilians was heavily influenced by their prior experience. Military reports often reference these earlier counter-insurgency experiences. For example, after guerilla attacks in Abra province, Army response was “quick and drastic.” The army concentrated the population, burned houses and crops. In the words of an official Army report, “The entire population was as devoid of food products as was the valley of the Shenandoah after Sheridan’s raid (emphasis added).”[clxii]

“From its experiences in the Civil War and the Indian campaigns, the Regular Army had derived an informal but widely accepted pacification doctrine that balanced conciliation with oppression. This informal doctrine had a legal justification in General Orders (G.O.) 100 [which] emphasized the occupier’s obligation to restore order, protect property, and treat civilians with justice and humanity.” G.O. 100 held that continued resistance was a crime that justified immediate retaliation. “Guerillas and those who supported them could suffer the confiscation or destruction of their property, imprisonment, and even, under certain circumstances, summary execution.”[clxiii]

Military historian John Reed observes that “G.O. 100 had been written during the Civil War to help Union forces deal with the task of controlling occupied Southern territories.” It demanded the fair treatment of enemy soldiers and civilians, but allowed harsh retaliation if they did not meet standards of behavior. For example, civilians harboring guerillas could be punished with destruction of their property, so long as the destruction was not “wanton.” Thus “captured insurgents could be executed summarily. Towns giving support to Aguinaldo’s forces could be destroyed.”[clxiv]

In May 1900 the Judge Advocate ruled that “martial law applies throughout the archipelago,” apparently justifying G.O. 100. Although neither Otis nor MacArthur authorized full enforcement of the orders, junior officers used them freely. The difficulty with General Orders 100 was that they were left to the individual on the spot, whether officer or enlisted man, to interpret. By the time U.S. troops were fighting the insurgency in Panay, they regularly burned property and physically abused Filipinos. For example, they had a standing order to burn down any town from which they received sniper fire. “These retaliatory practices …were quite legal under G.O. 100 and international military law.”[clxv]

Under the guidelines of G.O. 100, civilians were forcibly relocated to specified areas where their actions could be monitored. Those who remained outside these designated zones were deemed guerillas suitable to be killed or captured. “Setting up concentration camps was a traditional counterinsurgency tactic, then being used by the British in South Africa and previously employed by the U.S. Army in its campaigns against Indians.” Max Boot asserts that these tactics were less brutal than those used by the Belgians in the Congo or the French in Algeria.[clxvi]

The diary of Dr. Santiago Barcelona, in particular, shows how easily guerillas – even the revolutionary leaders themselves – moved in and out of the settled communities without detection.[clxvii] Here they could blend in with the civilians until the next opportunity to strike at the Americans. This repeated use of the “amigo” tactic resulted in deep resentment in the U.S. troops, just as it would decades later in Vietnam. The army’s resentment was apparent when General Hughes testified before Congress that the destruction of native homes was as “punishment” for permitting “these people to come in there and conceal themselves.” He continued to state in several different ways that the Army resorted to these uncivilized tactics only when the enemy stopped fighting in a civilized manner. In a somewhat similar fashion, Governor Taft observed that the insurgents murdered their own people when they cooperated with the Americans, implying justice in harsh treatment. Later, speaking of possible violations after soldiers found their comrades mutilated, Taft reduced the issue to one of deficiency in lower-level officers. “American soldiers, under sergeants, even under second lieutenants, with yielded to their outraged feelings…”[clxviii]

In most cases it is difficult to parse out whether American officers ordered torture and harsh action, or simply ignored it when it happened. Max Boot observes that even prior to 1900, “the army had displayed considerable cruelty in fighting the Filipinos.” Without question, the abuse of American prisoners of war further inflamed the soldiers. “Some had limbs hacked off, eyes gouged out or were slow-roasted over a fire.” Boot concludes that senior officers did not usually order illegal conduct “but they often turned a blind eye.”[clxix]

By the time American counter-insurgency operations moved to the island of Samar, the insurgents were growing desperate. Aguinaldo’s subordinate commanders began a program of assassination of sympathizers and members of the Federalistas party.[clxx] On Samar, General Vincente Lukban had waged a guerilla war of severity, “burying americanistas alive” and hacking other collaborators to bits. In an effort to cooperate with the guerilla leader, the mayor of Balangiga reportedly requested U.S. troops as a pretext for helping Lukban set up the ambush.[clxxi] Brutality then took a decided turn for the worse with the Balangiga Massacre of September 28, 1901. In that action, guerrillas infiltrated the town dressed as laborers and women, and attacked the U.S. outpost at meal time, killing most of the troops. The guerillas used mostly bolos and afterwards mutilated the corpses. When the relief column arrived the scene was so ghastly that “the mythmaking began at once.” It was clear from later testimony “that the primary motive [of the attack] was to avenge [U.S.] soldier’s misconduct.” Regardless of its inspiration, the massacre prompted immediate and far-ranging retaliation against Filipino insurgents and civilians. Governor Taft later stated that the attack “stampeded” the army high command and led to the orders to “make a desert out of Balangiga.”[clxxii]

MacArthur selected General Jacob Smith to command the 6th Separate Brigade and take action in the Balangiga/Samar region.  The usually apologetic Brian Linn says that this appointment “must go down as one of the gravest blunders of the entire war.”[clxxiii] Smith had a propensity for violent extralegal action. He told a subordinate “It is more killing that I want.” He allegedly gave instructions to “kill and burn”, take no prisoners, make the interior of Samar “a howling wilderness,” and to regard every male over ten as a combatant.[clxxiv]

The Samar campaign puts David Silbey into an unusually pejorative mood. “The American presence in Samar in late 1901 and early 1902 was marked by vicious brutality in too many instances. A fair number of American officers, encouraged explicitly or implicitly by Smith, tortured and executed insurrectos, prisoners, and civilians without evidence or trial (emphasis added).That it was largely an aberration in the American effort does not excuse it.”[clxxv] Governor Taft was forced to take firm action and insisted that Chaffee curtail Smith’s acts. It is hard to reconcile Silbey’s charge that “a fair number of American officers” violated the rules of war, the directives of their civilian government, and the expected directives of conscience, with his conclusions. Silbey says that “The catastrophic American response on Samar seems more like frustration expressed as brutality than a reasoned military response.” Further, although both sides committed atrocities and used torture, “for the most part the war was executed without the kind of wholesale slaughter that was all too common in that period.”[clxxvi] Brian Linn is more forceful in asking us to discount the uncommon atrocity and brutality of the last phase of the war. “Samar cast a pall on the army’s achievement and, for generations, has been associated in the public mind as typifying the Philippine War.” Rudyard Kipling invented the phrase “a savage war of peace” in connection with the U.S. takeover of the Philippines, intending his poem as a further call for the “white man’s burden” to uplift the savage.[clxxvii] Linn observes that “The Philippine War was far more savage than many Americans were willing to tolerate.”[clxxviii]

The influence of contemporary events is more obvious in some histories than others. For example, Stuart Miller wrote “Our Mylai of 1900” in the midst of the Vietnam War (1970). The title of his article is the thesis, which draws strong parallels in the way in which tactical incidents were prosecuted in these two conflicts. A dozen years later in “Benevolent Assimilation” (1982) Miller broadened his charge to accuse the entire American nation. The coloration of Vietnam-era suspicion permeates this work, but the author repeatedly contrasts diplomatic and military actions with what he calls “the ideal of American innocence.” It has the overall appeal of a cautionary work. Nevertheless, despite Miller’s cynical use of “innocence,” his descriptions of the counter-insurgency are detailed in grim terms of rapine and racist outrage, especially when the center of action moves to the Moros after 1902.

Miller closes with references to William Calley and “earlier Mylais.” He issues a call for “a new, enlightened generation of sensitive Americans [to] their country’s inhumanity.”[clxxix] In contrast with this approach of blanket disapprobation, Brian Linn and John Gates are typical of the scholars who discredit the “Philippines as Vietnam” argument.[clxxx] Nevertheless, there are echoes of the Vietnam rhetoric in the testimony of Colonel Arthur Wagner who explained to the Senate Committee: “The destruction of the property of noncombatants …is inexcusable (but) it may be necessary [because] it may be impossible to separate the innocent from the guilty.” This sounds suspiciously like another colonel’s statement seventy years later that “It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.”[clxxxi]

As the author of the best-selling history Vietnam, Stanley Karnow can be expected to compare the Philippines with Vietnam. He sees complete similarity in the “nerve-wracking difficulty of distinguishing friend from foe. Racist sentiment…stimulated much of the antagonism toward the natives.” Karnow says soldiers commonly wrote home that they wanted to “blow every nigger into nigger heaven (emphasis added).” Nevertheless, Karnow acknowledges that many soldiers “recoiled from violating the rules of war” and that many others were punished for their crimes against the natives.[clxxxii]

Not all violations of the rules of war gained the notoriety of those following the Balangiga Massacre. For example, military trial records flatly describe the actions of a Major Edwin Glenn between October 1901 and January 1902. Glenn kidnapped civilians and tortured suspects – including three priests – and conspired to murder at least ten Filipinos. In his court-martial he was found to have shown “reckless disregard for human life” and was sentenced with far less fanfare than Smith or Waller.[clxxxiii] But as in the Vietnam War, Glenn and others received light sentences for their abuses. Stanley Karnow concluded that the 15/1 ratio of Filipino killed to wounded suggests that Americans routinely shot their prisoners. In Senate testimony, soldiers told of rounding up natives and shooting them “without a shred of evidence.” To diffuse criticism, Elihu Root published a list of thirty-nine soldiers convicted of cruelty. This backfired when it was revealed that most had merely been fined.[clxxxiv]

Some of the variation in military response has been attributed to inexperience and naiveté. The War Department decided to send its best Regular units to the war in Cuba, so the bulk of the expedition would come from state militia units. Most of the Volunteers were inexperienced and untrained recruits “who signed up in a burst of martial spirit.”[clxxxv] Nevertheless, the first instance of American reprisals against civilians occurred when the war was only one month old. Following an incident in which two American companies were ambushed, every town in a twelve-mile radius was burned to the ground. Such a reaction suggests intent and sanction rather than simple inexperience or long-term frustration.[clxxxvi]

Filipino writers show the same tendency to forgive the brutality of their own people while condemning it in their opponents. Apolinario Mabini, for example, treats the summary execution of certain Filipino secular priests as “instrumental.”[clxxxvii] In a sub-chapter of Agoncillo and Milagros’ History of the Filipino People entitled Barbarous Acts, we read: “In judging Filipino brutality, however, one must remember that the Filipinos, having been the victims of American apostasy and imperialistic designs disguised as ‘benevolent’ and ‘altruistic’, have little to answer for their behavior towards the Americans…” Sources in their book for the reports of American brutalities are from unaccredited Filipino accounts and the equally unaccredited personal accounts of Americans who “in a moment of moral agony”, divulged the details. Interestingly, in describing the “water cure,” the authors also mention the “rope cure,” which is similar to a garrote, but then add that the responsible American soldiers “were found guilty and reprimanded for their sadistic efforts.”[clxxxviii] It is not clear from context if we are to infer the word “reprimanded” is too lenient a verb.

Not all historians accept that the Samar campaign was extreme. In many of his works, Brian Linn sounds like an apologist for what others view as excessive American brutality. He complains that there are few works dealing with the guerilla war phase of 1900-1902. Linn faults historians Stuart Miller and Leon Wolf for basing their views “primarily on hostile anti-imperialist sources, having declared that Army policy throughout the Philippines was uniformly brutal.” But Philippine historians “have demonstrated conclusively that the American forces faced less a national uprising than a complex regional insurgency.”[clxxxix]

Linn is correct that some Filipino scholars have been quite easy on the actions of American troops. Teodoro Agoncillo, for example, paints a picture of the Yankee soldier as a “smiling” and humble man, more interested in building schools than “civilizing with a Krag.”[cxc] Floro Quibuyen rejects Agoncillo’s portrait, opposing the “deeply human” American with “marauding hordes of Krag-and-Gatling-gun-firing-and-flag-waving, cursing and raping and kicking soldiers.” He sees the Americans as “no different from their Japanese counterparts in 1942-1944.”[cxci] True to his nationalist and Marxist roots, Quibuyen informs us that “the American Anti-imperialist League has compiled hundreds of documented reports of the summary execution of prisoners, rampant rape and the abuse of civilians, and the looting of homes, among others.” Although his work was published in 1999, Quibuyen fails to state that many of these reports have been discounted by late twentieth century scholarship. There is little question that American troops widely practiced acts that are especially appalling to modern readers, but Quibuyen’s easy acceptance of these earlier reports, often recanted, taints his study.

Alarmed by reports of brutality in the Philippines, anti-imperialists in the U.S. Senate held hearings into the conduct of the war. Historians have viewed the purpose of these hearings differently over the years. James Blount says “Hear the still small voice of a nation’s conscience mingling with demagogic nonsense perpetrated by …Senators.”[cxcii] Rather than “nonsense’” David Silbey sees the Senate hearings as at least partially motivated by politics. Midterm elections and the maneuverings of ambitious politicians and army officers played a role. Regardless, “a series of trials drove home to the American public the violence and brutality committed there.” The new President, Theodore Roosevelt, used Henry Cabot Lodge to fight criticism in the public.[cxciii] Lodge could only weakly point out that atrocity had occurred on both sides.

Other than the campaign on Samar, when we observe the specific incidents where the rules of war were violated, they appear random rather than systematic or policy-driven. Notwithstanding this, historians with an agenda that assumes a broad policy of atrocity have seized on a number of personal accounts where individuals describe horrific acts of violence. Stuart Miller, for example, devotes an entire chapter of “Benevolent Assimilation” to such reports, only to add that a majority of these were later recanted or discredited.[cxciv] Despite these rationalizations, however, several incendiary incidents provided ample evidence that actions frequently exceeded official limits.

One of these incidents was Colonel Waller’s summary execution of ten porters without benefit of a trial. Waller cut his lines and plunged into the interior on reconnaissance with inadequate supplies and intelligence, leading to “one of the great American disasters of the war.” Waller selected some of his porters at random and had them executed without trial for “attempted treachery”, killing eleven to balance the eleven marines he lost on the march. His subsequent court-martial for murder is still controversial today. In an unusual reversal of roles, Brian Linn notes with implied disbelief that Stuart Millerand Stanley Karnow do not find Waller guilty of misconduct.[cxcv] Miller calls Waller an “honorable warrior” and Stanley Karnow refers to him as “a scrupulous professional” and a “scapegoat.”[cxcvi][cxcvii] The agenda of these writers is to condemn a broader program of injustice, while Linn’s purpose is to identify an individual “aberration.”

Eleven Americans had been lost During Waller’s grueling and disastrous search for guerillas. Waller started his ill-fated trek into the interior with 54 enlisted men and 33 Filipino porters. It was these porters who would suffer his summary executions. He became convinced that they were hording food from his troops. Waller himself was in a delirium when he gave the order, but the fact remains that those executed were not the ones who deserted, but rather the men who had not abandoned the sick and starved marines. The incident received great attention then, and it continues to be scrutinized today, for evidence of systematic intent.[cxcviii]

“It became necessary to expend eleven prisoners.” He was charged with murder, punishable with death under the Articles of War. Elihu Root decided to make an example of Waller. Although Waller protected his superior in his initial testimony, General Smith testified that he had ordered Walker to treat prisoners humanely. Walker then turned on him and was supported by others in his testimony.[cxcix]

The Waller incident led to the revelation that his superior, General Smith, had issued an order to execute all men on Samar capable of bearing arms who were not in a protected (concentration) camp. Smith defined this as anyone over the age of ten, this provoking a press conflagration “Kill Everyone Over Ten.” Smith would later be found guilty in a military trial, but only of using “improvident language” to his subordinates. His total punishment was an admonition and involuntary retirement.

We might assume that an actual program of illegal executions would not be documented. Instead, we see the Kansas volunteers reporting that during the attack on Caloocan on February 10, they shot five prisoners and cited orders that there was no place to keep them. Historians of an apologist stripe such as Linn note that Frederick Funston allegedly gave orders that made it “generally understood” no quarter was to be given. The order for “no quarter” is better understood when we consider Linn’s comment elsewhere that “Soldiers were alternatively amused and enraged by newspaper accounts that claimed they had slaughtered helpless Filipinos armed with no more than bows and arrows. But these complaints were mild compared to the outrage they felt at newspapers that espoused the anti-imperialist position and attacked the army.”[cc] Linn apparently means to emphasize that the soldiers took these brutal actions to be consistent with the times rather than a violation of the rules of war.

Much has been made of the issue of “water-boarding” since the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Seeking a parallel, some observers have compared this practice with the “water cure” used by Americans against unfortunate Filipinos. Both can be accurately termed torture, but the contemporary practice simulates drowning, often to the point where victims must be revived by a physician. The “water cure” was intended to inflict physical pain rather than psychological torture. Stuart Miller notes that “although the war’s critics would never be convinced of it, very few died from this very mild form of torture (emphasis added).”[cci] Brian Linn characteristically diminishes the emotional impact of torture by making the distinction that “Unlike executions, which usually were retaliatory, torture had a very practical motive – it was used to secure information or extort confessions.” He finds reports of “water cures” to be overstated, and in only a few cases were officers present.[ccii] David Silbey temporizes in similar fashion, concluding that despite its abhorrent nature, the water cure was an example of a practice that was “official or semiofficial policy. There is little evidence to suggest that the water cure was more prevalent than simple beatings or mock hangings or other forms of torture. Torture was never official American policy, but in many places it became de facto American practice.”[cciii]

When asked about the water cure, General Hughes told the Senate Committee “I never have learned anything about it,” and denied knowing what the term meant. Immediately thereafter, he stated that he knew of a single case. The men who actually carried out this procedure tended to downplay its significance as torture. For example, Pvt. Charles Riley described use of the water cure at Igbaras, Panay Island, in detail. He was emphatic that the procedure was used to extract information, not as punishment. Similarly, in describing his water cure experience, Cpl. Daniel Evans took pains to describe the good treatment most prisoners received.[cciv]

Some testimony painted a darker picture. During Lt. Colonel William Wilder’s sweep through the Rio Grande delta of Luzon, all 130 of his prisoners “were all killed in an attempt to escape.”[ccv] Sergeant Leroy Hallock described multiple uses of water cure over several days, ordered by his First Sergeant (under the command of Capt. Alexander Gregg), to identify those responsible for the torture-death of a comrade. Some of those being tortured later escaped and some were “killed while trying to escape.” Hallock also described the burning of the village of Tubungan with a population of “3 or 4,000.” Some towns were burned simply on hearsay.[ccvi] Unlike much other testimony which was later recanted, Hallock’s was not amended.

A significant part of the problem was that the military often had to set the political objectives in the absence of clear direction from Washington. Unfortunately, when objectives were established by the military, they were often not communicated clearly or thoroughly, thus creating a situation in which passion could skew decision-making. Brian Linn is particularly strong at dissecting the processes by which the insurgency shifted from conventional operations to a guerrilla war. He concludes that President McKinley’s hesitation and ambiguous instructions placed “an enormous burden” on his military commanders, who received a series of conflicting orders. Apropos to this study, Linn places American atrocities in the category of over-reaction to frustration, and to abuses committed by the insurgent “amigos.” He takes pains to place these acts in the context of an earlier time when conventional practices like third-degree police interrogation were more brutal than we expect today.[ccvii]

The concentration of “friendly” civilians into protected zones resulted in increased disease and often, starvation, as natives were unable to farm their lands efficiently. But privation also resulted from actions of the insurgents. In 1898 for example, the revolutionaries took thousands of agricultural workers out of the farming communities and had slaughtered draft animals for rations. Silbey calls the result “an agricultural crisis” that led to widespread starvation in some areas. His approach is always to balance actions by one side with those of the other, so he adds that disease and poor nutrition also had a significant impact on the American troops.[ccviii]

The debate about brutality hinges not so much on what occurred as to whether the events represented policy or aberration. The Samar campaign was the last of the Insurgency and it yielded some of the most memorable incidents, the Balangiga Massacre and the infamous directive to kill everyone over the age of ten and to turn the interior into a “howling wilderness.” But, Brian Linn asserts, even at the time these “two campaigns were recognized as atypical.” Ever the apologist, he complains “That they continue to be portrayed in both academic and popular accounts as representative of both U.S. Army pacification and Filipino resistance is one of the great historical fallacies of the war.”[ccix] Other historians perceive much clearer evidence of systematic violation of the rules of war.

The excesses of the Samar campaign were an embarrassment for President Roosevelt, who issued a statement when he forced General Smith into retirement after the trials. In part he said “Loose and inciting remarks by a high ranking officer can always provoke wrongdoing among those of his subordinates whose wills are weak or passions are strong.”[ccx] Thus the President divides the blame between an inept senior officer and his “weak” subordinates. Presumably the majority of the U.S. officer corps is neither of these.

The Question of Racism

Concerns about race were present from the beginning of the conflict. American newspapers conflated Filipinos with “Asiatics, Chinese Mestizos and other inferior races.”[ccxi] Political cartoons of the time depicted Filipinos alternatively as savages in grass skirts and as comic “Sambo” caricatures.[ccxii] On the floor of the Senate, “Pitchfork Ben” Tillmann opposed “Asiatic hybrids” and “inferior races” from being incorporated into the American politic. Maryland senator Arthur Gorman worried that annexation would “downgrade” white supremacy. Even American correspondent John Bass attributed the outbreak of hostilities to mutual “race apathy,” a judgment Stanley Karnow apparently agrees with.[ccxiii] Hard on modern ears, the easy racist language of the period was revealed when Private Grayson fired the shot that began the war and ran back to camp yelling that the “niggers are in here all through the yards.”[ccxiv]

While race prejudice played a role in the conduct and intensity of the conflict, many of these currents are not emphatically stated. Nevertheless, it is clear that many Americans arrived in the Philippines with preconceived expectations about race. Stuart Miller opines that “If a soldier arrived in the islands without a degree of racial hatred for the Filipinos, he was not very long in acquiring it (emphasis added).”[ccxv] 8th Corps commander General Merritt foresaw that the Filipinos “will regard us with the intense hatred born of race and religion.”[ccxvi] Another observer, correspondent John Bass, noted that “race differences have made themselves felt, which antagonize the native and exasperate our men.”[ccxvii] Bass does not say that these “differences” were race bias, but a minimum interpretation would be that he saw each group viewing the other with expectations of alienation.

Despite his anti-imperialist credentials, James Blount’s views on race mirror those of his time. He observes that the Philippine people should be able to govern themselves better than Cuba because Cuba is one-third Negro “One great difference between Cuba and the Philippines is that the latter country has no race cancer forever menacing its peace, and sapping its self-reliance. The Philippine people are absolutely one people, as to race, color, and previous condition.”[ccxviii] On the other hand, Blount notes that “as soon as the era of good feeling was over, our people quit treating the Filipinos as Perry did the Japanese in 1854, and began calling them “niggers” or “gugus.” The situation was provocative enough that General Otis had to issue a General Order prohibiting the use of these terms.[ccxix]

Max Boot begins his discounting of modern outrage by recognizing that “Critics have often attributed the soldier’s actions to racism.” Instead, Boot argues successively that isolated American garrisons faced grave difficulties in fighting insurrectionists who hid in the “amigos” communities; that this was also a more brutal time when American police used the “third degree”; and that the soldiers themselves were subjected to “harsh hazing and physical punishment.” Boot concludes that racism was not the driver of harsh treatment of the Filipinos, but rather that “the success of the U.S. counterinsurgency effort was not due to committing atrocities…but to paying attention to the rudiments of counterinsurgency strategy.”[ccxx]

Although normal racism may not have been widespread, the assumption of Philippine savagery was. Even Mabini saw this. “The Spaniards as well as the Americans have looked upon the Filipinos as half-savages unfit for government because they have always confused lack of experience with personal aptitude.”[ccxxi]

Black American soldiers continued to suffer racial bias from their white comrades in the Philippines. Not surprisingly, some admitted feeling uneasy about fighting people “of our own color,” but like their white comrades felt that their mission was not “for the soldier to decide.”[ccxxii] This ambivalence helps explain why many African-American soldiers decided to stay on in the Philippines after the insurrection. The Filipinos were “people of color” and army pensions gave them a strong economic posture.[ccxxiii]

Some writers propose American racism as a partial explanation for extreme brutality against the Filipinos.  Mark van Ells, however, is one of a large group that denies this easy conclusion. “That soldiers committed war crimes is true, but to declare that ‘race hatred brought American forces in the Philippines to the brink of genocide’ represents a caricature of the historical truth.”[ccxxiv] The notable lack of racial themes in Filipino histories may also be due to the actions immediately after the war was declared over. Unlike Spanish practice, once Governor Taft was in place, Filipinos moved into every level of the new American government.

Failure of Revolution; Its Consequences

Most American historians since Graff have argued that although a Philippine nation did not exist prior to the attempted revolution, the Insurgency created a national consciousness. Filipino historians ascribe various degrees of influence to the Insurgency, but all mention it as a major factor in forging a national identity. Nevertheless, the effort failed as a Revolution.

Apolinario Mabini blames the Revolution’s failure on bad leadership. He observes what many other American and Filipino historians have. “To sum it up, the Revolution failed because it was badly led; because its leader won his post by reprehensible rather than meritorious acts. He judged men by their…friendship and kinship. Forsaken by the people, he was bound to fall like a waxen idol.”[ccxxv] Military historian Brian Linn is representative of Americans who also blame Filipino leadership for much of the failure of the Insurgency. Linn is unsparing in his criticism of Aguinaldo and his generals, judging none of them capable of sustaining the effort required for success.

After his capture, Apolinario Mabini met with General Arthur MacArthur and General J. F. Bell, who demanded that he “unconditionally recognize American sovereignty in the Philippines.” True to his revolutionary principles, Mabini refused, but he nevertheless came to “avow that the United States will very probably try to fulfill their pledges.” He also placed the United States in the outer circle of imperialists, by making a distinction between conquerors who seek room for excess population, those who seek a market for their products, and those who have “the ambition to dominate foreign lands.”[ccxxvi] Emilio Aguinaldo was far more accommodating. He almost immediately collaborated with the Americans. Fortunately for Aguinaldo’s place in Philippine national history, “an impressive array of Filipino leaders” answered his appeal to surrender. Many of these men found places in the new government.[ccxxvii]

The Philippine-American War marked the first use of American troops in outside the North American continent. It took place at the same time as the United States’ participation in the Boxer intervention. Over the next century the War was followed by numerous other U.S. actions in various locations around the world. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, war weariness and the American public’s distaste for actions which appear imperialistic have often forced withdrawal from military commitments, as in the case of Vietnam, Lebanon, or Somalia. Today’s presumed foreign policy is incorporated in the “Powell Doctrine,” which holds that “America should unsheathe its sword only when its vital interests are threatened, and then only if it is prepared to use overwhelming force with total public support to achieve a fast victory and then go home.”[ccxxviii] Despite such a well-reasoned rule, interventions to export American-style democracy are still frequent.

American supervision of the Philippines was generally benign compared to that of other Western colonial powers. The program of investment, education and infrastructure improvement continued after the war. The sense of well-being and cooperation that developed was so strong that when the Japanese invaded in World War II, the vast majority of Filipinos sided with the Americans. As Stanley Karnow summarizes it, “The U.S. conquest of the Philippines had been as cruel as any conflict in the annals of imperialism, but hardly had it ended before Americans began to atone for its brutality.”[ccxxix]

David Silbey concludes his recent history by observing that “What is remarkable is how quickly both sides found out how to live together peaceably. Part of the reason [was] that many of the same people were ruling the Philippines before and after the arrival of the Americans.” Despite some overtones of racism during the conflict, Filipinos did not suffer the same degree of organized exclusion as did Asians. They fought “unswervingly” with the Americans in WWII, waging another guerilla war against the Japanese. The common language of English brought cultural unification. “America helped the Philippines become a nation, by violence and education.”[ccxxx]


The most interesting histories argue not over what happened, but rather why things happened. What the questions in this study have in common is that they are all debates between historians over the goals and intents of various individuals involved in the Philippine-American War. Thus human intention, impossible to know for certain, is left to the judgment, interpretation, and personal biases of each historian. As in all histories, the nature of the debate reflects the personality, the era, and the ideology of the writer. While the Philippine War was active, American observers brought their unresolved concerns about race and imperialism to the discussion. During the 1960s and 1970s, divisions over the Vietnam War colored historical narratives. In the twenty-first century American scholars must deal with new formulations of imperialism and colonialism. Filipino historians of all eras continue to face issues of unattained social goals and issues of identity, all of which find their way into their perspectives.

Questions of bias and objectivity are part of every history. But it is in many ways more important that we understand why the “water cure” repels us today than to understand why it was so easily accepted in 1900. It is more important that we learn how to avoid the human imperialistic impulse today than to ferret out why President McKinley may or may not have received divine instructions to annex the Philippines.

Henry Graff concluded that the Philippine-American War should be viewed primarily as an issue of cultural imperialism. He completed the epilogue of his study of Senate hearings with the observation that they “show the inherent awkwardness – to which most imperialists were blind – in seeking to impose the cultural outlook of the conqueror upon the conquered.”[ccxxxi] In a similar fashion, historians must always guard against blindly imposing their biases upon their readers.



[i] David J. Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899 – 1902. Hill and Wang: New York (2007). P. 218.

[ii] Brian McAllister Linn, “The Long Twilight of the Frontier Army” in Western Historical Quarterly 27, no. 2 (Summer 1996). P. 151

[iii] Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. Basic Books: New York (2002). P. 125.

[iv] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. xiv.

[v] Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War: 1899 – 1902. University Press of Kansas: Lawrence (2000). Pp. 1-427.

[vi] Howard Zinn, The Twentieth Century: A People’s History. Harper Collins: New York (1998). Linn, The Philippine War. P. 5.

[vii] Henry F. Graff, ed., American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection: Testimony taken from Hearings on Affairs in the Philippine Islands before the Senate Committee on the Philippines – 1902. Little, Brown and Company: Boston (1969).  P. 13.

[viii] Floro C. Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony, and Philippine Nationalism. Ateneo de Manila University Press: Quezon City (1999). P. 220.

[ix] Raymond Nelson, The Philippines. Walker and Company: New York (1968). Pp. 192

[x] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 8-9.

[xi] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire.P. xiv-xiii.

[xii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire.P. 13.

[xiii] Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines. Random House: New York (1989). Pp. 20, 22.

[xiv] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 185.

[xv] James H. Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines: 1898 – 1912. Oriole Editions: New York (1912). P. 24.

[xvi] Simeón Villa and Santiago Barcelona, Aguinaldo’s Odyssey. Philippine Department of Education: Manila (1963). Pp. 1-175.

[xvii] Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines. Rowman & Littlefield: New York (2005). Pp. 1-2, 113-4.

[xviii] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines. Pp. 87, 99.

[xix] Apolinario Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Republic of the Philippines Department of Education, National Historical Commission: Manila (1969). Pp. 17-20.

[xx] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. xii.

[xxi] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. xiii.

[xxii] Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People. R.P. Garcia Publishing: Quezon City (1973). Pp. 136-56.

[xxiii] David R. Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines, 1840-1940. Cornel University Press: Ithaca (1976). P. 40.

[xxiv] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 128.

[xxv] Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines. Rowman & Littlefield: New York (2005). Pp. 107-10.

[xxvi] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 175.

[xxvii] Stuart Creighton Miller, Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899 – 1903. Yale University Press: New Haven (1982). P. 33.

[xxviii] Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted. P. 280.

[xxix] Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted. Pp. 1-3.

[xxx] Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted. P. 5.

[xxxi] Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted. P. 72.

[xxxii] Austin Coates, Rizal: Philippine Nationalist and Martyr. Oxford University Press: London (1968). P. xvii -xxix.

[xxxiii] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 33-7.

[xxxiv] Marcelo del Pilar, quoted in John N. Schumacher, The Propaganda Movement, 1880 – 1895: The Creators of a Filipino Consciousness, The Makers of Revolution. Ateneo de Manila University Press: Quezon City (1997). P. 180.

[xxxv] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. Pp. 3, 6-7.

[xxxvi] Nelson, The Philippines. Pp. 192, Pp. 42-7.

[xxxvii] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Republic of the Philippines Department of Education, National Historical Commission: Manila (1969). Trans. by Leon Guerrero. Pp. 4-6, 13. Originally published in La Revolucion Filipina. Ed. Teodoro M. Kalaw. Bureau of Printing: Manila (1931). pp. 261-325.

[xxxviii] Linn, The Philippine War.  P. 78.

[xxxix] A. B. Feuer, America at War: The Philippines, 1898 – 1913. Praeger: Westport and London (2002).  Pp. xii, 39.

[xl] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 14-6.

[xli] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 122-3.

[xlii] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 103.

[xliii] Alfred W. McCoy, Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy. Yale University Press: New Haven (1999). Pp. 15-16.

[xliv] Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted. P. 4.

[xlv] Renato Constantino, Neocolonial Identity and Counter-consciousness. White Plains: M.E. Sharpe (1978). P. 270.

[xlvi] Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 17-9.

[xlvii] Graff, American Imperialism. P. x.

[xlviii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation.  P. 35.

[xlix] “General Orders to the Commanders of Zone Operations and Provincial Military Commanders,” February 7, 1899, in John R.M. Taylor, The Philippine Insurrection against the United States: A Compilation of Documents with Notes and Introduction, vol. 4. Pasay City: Eugenio Lopez Foundation (1971). P. 3.

[l] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 101, 216.

[li] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. Pp. 188-9.

[lii] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 21-2.

[liii] David Joel Steinberg, “An Ambiguous Legacy”: Years at War in the Philippines,” in Pacific Affairs 45 (1972). Pp. 164-90. P. 39.

[liv] Luzviminda G. Tangcangco, “The Electoral System and Political Parties in the Philippines,” in Government and Politics of the Philippines, ed. Raul P. de Guzman and Mila A. Reforma. Oxford University Press: New York (1988). P. 81.

[lv] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines. P. 116.

[lvi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 109-10.

[lvii] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 186.

[lviii] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 60-3.

[lix] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 136.

[lx] Raymond Nelson, The Philippines. Walker and Company: New York (1968). P. 51.

[lxi] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 102.

[lxii] Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People. R.P. Garcia Publishing: Quezon City (1973). P. 253-4.

[lxiii] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 52-7.

[lxiv] Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines. P. 117-9.

[lxv] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 264.

[lxvi] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 178-80.

[lxvii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 31, 36.

[lxviii] Hearings on Philippine Affairs, Senate Document 331, part 3, 57th Congress, 1st Session, 1901-2, proceedings of June 26-8, 1902. Also Boston Evening Transcript, Feb. 10, 1899.

[lxix] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 66.

[lxx] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 85, 87, 89, 111.

[lxxi] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 12, 14, 17, 20.

[lxxii] Austin Coates, Rizal: Philippine Nationalist and Martyr. Oxford University Press: London (1968). P. xxi.

[lxxiii] Graff, American Imperialism. Pp. I – 172.

[lxxiv] Graff, American Imperialism. Pp. 1 – 27.

[lxxv] Graff, American Imperialism.  P. 33.

[lxxvi] Graff, American Imperialism.  P. 22.

[lxxvii] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 51-2.

[lxxviii] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. 9.

[lxxix] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. 37.

[lxxx] James B. Goodno, The Philippines: Land of Broken Promises. Zed Books: London (1991). Pp. 1-316.

[lxxxi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 104.

[lxxxii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 15.

[lxxxiii] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 170.

[lxxxiv] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 1-2.

[lxxxv] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 80, 100, 106.

[lxxxvi] Graff, American Imperialism.  Pp. 30 – 46.

[lxxxvii] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 494

[lxxxviii] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 19.

[lxxxix] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 23-4.

[xc] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 3-4.

[xci] Christopher Lasch, “The Anti-Imperialists, The Philippines, and the Inequality of Man,” in Journal of Southern History 24 (1958). Pp. 319-31.

[xcii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 27, 41..

[xciii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 5.

[xciv] Field, American Imperialism.

[xcv] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 253.

[xcvi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 105.

[xcvii] Lewis L. Gould, The Spanish-American War and President McKinley. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas (1982). P. 109

[xcviii] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 108.

[xcix] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 129.

[c] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. 28.

[ci] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. 52.

[cii] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. vi.

[ciii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation.  P. 21.

[civ] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. P. 57.

[cv] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 106, 111, 115, 120.

[cvi] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 109-10.

[cvii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 65.

[cviii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 89.

[cix] Quoted in Garel Grunder, The Philippines and the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press (1951). P. 40.

[cx] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 61-5.

[cxi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 106.

[cxii] Linn, The Philippine War.  Pp. 45-6, 52-4.

[cxiii] William Thaddeus Sexton, Soldiers in the Sun. Harrisburg. (1939).

[cxiv] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 59, 62.

[cxv] Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People. R.P. Garcia Publishing: Quezon City (1973 Agoncillo and Guerrero, History of the Filipino People. P. 246-8.

[cxvi] Journal of Colonel William Draper, quoted in Nicholas Tracy, Manila Ransomed: The British Assault on Manila in the Seven Years War. University of Exeter Press: Devon (1995). P. 47.

[cxvii] Timothy Deady, “Lessons from a Successful Counterinsurgency: The Philippines, 1899-1902,”in Parameters 35, no. 1 (Spring 2005) P. 11.

[cxviii] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 126.

[cxix] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 185.

[cxx] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 62.

[cxxi] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 63. Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 72-7, 95.

[cxxii] Alexander Hawkins, “Official History of the Operations of the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry, U.S.V. in the Campaign in the Philippine Islands,” in Karl Irving Faust, Campaigning in the Philippines. New York: Arno (1970). P. 15.

[cxxiii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 120, 125.

[cxxiv] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 112-3.

[cxxv] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 186-7, 194-6.

[cxxvi] Robert M. Cassidy, “Winning the War of the Flea”, in Military Review, Oct. 2006. Pp. 2.

[cxxvii] Cassidy, “Winning the War of the Flea.” Pp. 3. Cassidy references Capt. Randolph B. Marcy (The Prairie Traveler: A Handbook for Overland Expeditions. Applewood Books: No further data), who used his experience in the Indian wars, as well as Turkish and French experience pacifying North Africa, to conclude (a) over-dispersion strips the counterinsurgent force of initiative, increases its vulnerability, and saps morale, (b) mobility is imperative, and (c) surprise is paramount. These conclusions suggest, for instance, using mobile mounted forces at night to surprise the enemy at dawn.

[cxxviii] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 192.

[cxxix] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 40.

[cxxx] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. P. 5.

[cxxxi] Brian M. Linn, “Provincial Pacification in the Philippines, 1900 – 1901: The First Department of Northern Luzon”, in Military Affairs, Vol. 51, No. 2 (April 1987). P. 63.

[cxxxii] Simeón Villa and Santiago Barcelona, Aguinaldo’s Odyssey. Philippine Department of Education: Manila (1963). Pp. 29, 70-2, 119.

[cxxxiii] Brian McAllister Linn, The US Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902. The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill (1989). Pp. 1 – 258.

[cxxxiv] Linn, “Provincial Pacification in the Philippines.” P. 62.

[cxxxv] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. Pp. 101-2.

[cxxxvi] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. 203.

[cxxxvii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 188 – 9.

[cxxxviii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 189.

[cxxxix] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 192, 328.

[cxl] Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis Francia, eds. Vestiges of War, The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899 – 1999. New York University Press: New York (2002). Pp. 3 – 21.

[cxli] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. Pp. 151, 179.

[cxlii] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 60-98.

[cxliii] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 208.

[cxliv] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 172-4.

[cxlv] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 30-31, 41.

[cxlvi] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 326-7.

[cxlvii] San Francisco Call, July 5, 1902.

[cxlviii] Cassidy, “Winning the War of the Flea.” P. 4.

[cxlix] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P.126.

[cl] William H. McKinley, “Instructions to the Taft Commission through the Secretary of War,” Unites States War Department, April 7, 1900, in Annual Report of the War Department, Government Printing Office: Washington (1909).

[cli] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 213-5.

[clii] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 306-9.

[cliii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 216.

[cliv] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 125.

[clv] John M. Gates, Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1899-1902. Greenwood Press: Westport (1973).

[clvi] Glenn A. May, A Past Recovered. New Day Publishers: Manila (1987). Pp. 157, 159.

[clvii] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 323-4.

[clviii] Charles Byler, “Pacifying the Moros: American Military Government in the Southern Philippines, 1899 – 1913”, in Military Review, May – June, 2005. Pp. 41-3.

[clix] Byler, “Pacifying the Moros. Pp. 42-4

[clx] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 195.

[clxi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 127-8.

[clxii] Brian M. Linn, “Provincial Pacification in the Philippines, 1900 – 1901: The First Department of Northern Luzon”, in Military Affairs, Vol. 51, No. 2 (April 1987). P. 65.

[clxiii] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 8 – 9.

[clxiv] John S. Reed, “External Discipline during Counterinsurgency: A Philippine War Case-Study, 1900-01,” in Journal of American-East Asian Relations 4, no. 1 (Spring 1995). Pp. 29-48.

[clxv] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 248-50.

[clxvi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace.  P. 124.

[clxvii] Villa and Barcelona, Aguinaldo’s Odyssey. Pp. 111-3.

[clxviii] Graff, American Imperialism.  Pp. 64, 90 – 2.

[clxix] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 115-6.

[clxx] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 180.

[clxxi] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 99-100.

[clxxii] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 310-2.

[clxxiii] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 312.

[clxxiv] General Court Marshall 30313 and 30739, and in “Report of Maj. Littleton W. T. Waller,” (1902), U.S. Marine Corps Historical Center. Pp. 8-10.

[clxxv] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 196.

[clxxvi] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 217.

[clxxvii] Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden. McClure’s Magazine: New York (1899).

[clxxviii] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 321, 327.

[clxxix] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 267.

[clxxx] Stuart C. Miller, “Our Mylai of 1900,” in Trans-Action 7 (September 1970). Pp. 19-26.

[clxxxi] Graff, American Imperialism.  P. 130.

[clxxxii] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 154.

[clxxxiii] GCM 34401 (Edwin F. Glenn), U.S. Marine Corps Historical Center, (1903), RG 153.

[clxxxiv] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 178, 188, 193.

[clxxxv] Linn, The Philippine War.  Pp. 6, 12.

[clxxxvi] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 69.

[clxxxvii] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 21-3.

[clxxxviii] Agoncillo and Guerrero, History of the Filipino People. Pp. 259-60.

[clxxxix] Linn, “Provincial Pacification in the Philippines.” P. 62.

[cxc] Agoncillo and Guerrero, History of the Filipino People. (1977).

[cxci] Quibuyen, A Nation Aborted.  P. 377.

[cxcii] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. P. 22.

[cxciii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 202-3.

[cxciv] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 219-52.

[cxcv] Linn, The Philippine War.  Pp. 316-9.

[cxcvi] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation.  P. 227.

[cxcvii] Karnow, In Our Image.  P. 193.

[cxcviii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Pp. 222-7.

[cxcix] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 121-3.

[cc] Linn, The Philippine War.  Pp. 124, 133.

[cci] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 213.

[ccii] Linn, The Philippine War.  Pp. 222-3.

[cciii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 164.

[cciv] Graff, American Imperialism.  Pp. 71-89.

[ccv] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 270.

[ccvi] Graff, American Imperialism.  Pp. 97-113.

[ccvii] Linn, The Philippine War. Pp. 1 – 427

[ccviii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 72, 90.

[ccix] Linn, The Philippine War.  P. 306.

[ccx] Feuer, America at War. P. 210.

[ccxi] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 25.

[ccxii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. Images between Pp. 128-9.

[ccxiii] Karnow, In Our Image. Pp. 134, 142.

[ccxiv] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. Pp. 106-7.

[ccxv] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 182.

[ccxvi] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 7.

[ccxvii] Linn, The Philippine War. P. 36.

[ccxviii] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. Pp. ix, xii.

[ccxix] Blount, The American Occupation of the Philippines. Pp. 100-101. See also Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 58.

[ccxx] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. 126.

[ccxxi] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. P. 69.

[ccxxii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 193.

[ccxxiii] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. P. 184.

[ccxxiv] Mark D. Van Ells, “Assuming the White Man’s Burden: The Seizure of the Philippines” in Philippine Studies 43 (1994). P. 617.

[ccxxv] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 63-4.

[ccxxvi] Mabini, The Philippine Revolution. Pp. 3, 10, 14.

[ccxxvii] Miller, Benevolent Assimilation. P. 171.

[ccxxviii] Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace. P. xix.

[ccxxix] Karnow, In Our Image. P. 196.

[ccxxx] Silbey, A War of Frontier and Empire. Pp. 208-11.

[ccxxxi] Graff, American Imperialism.  P. 171-2.