Philippine Annexation Cost
Strategic Value Justifies the Annexation Cost

"Strategically, the islands are of vast value, as it enables us to be near the Asiatic shore with a base of supplies and a body of troops ready to support the diplomatic measures of the U.S. to keep "open door."  I assure you that a division of troops on hand in the Philippines, with Manila or Subic Bay as a base, is worth more than the entire costs that we have been put to in the Philippines . . . our possessing this base should make enemies hesitate and will probably prevent an expansive war."

      • General Frederick Dent Grant, son of President Ulysses S. Grant, in a speech before the New York Society of the Founders and Patriots of America, December 10, 1904

Table of Philippine Annexation Cost
Cost Item Americans Filipinos Remarks
Political Repercussion War divided the U.S. into two political camps --the "Imperialists" and the "Anti-Imperialists" Lost the Philippine independence declared by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo; independence was postponed until July 4, 1946. Owing to the slow nature of the communications reaching the Philippine Islands, very few Filipinos knew that the U.S. was debating for their political future.
Human Lives Roughly 5,000 25,000 Soldiers; roughly 500,000 civilians The 'genocidal proportion' of war casualties was attributed to the reconcentrados instituted by the U.S. military in places like Batangas, some Bicol provinces and Marinduque.
War Cost $600,000,000 Carabao, a native water buffalo and a useful farm animal, was reduced to ten percent (shrank by 90%).  
Buyout of Friarlands $7,227,000 paid to Vatican for rougly 403,713 acres of friarlands    
Philippine Purchase $20,000,000 paid to Spain by the U.S. in compliance to Article III of the Treaty of Paries signed on December 10, 1898. The selling of the Philippines to the U.S. by Spain, through the Treaty of Paris, was felt by Mabini as a confirmation to the true colonial intentions of the U.S. on the Philippines. Treated as business transaction, the U.S. purchased the Philippine "assets and liabilities" --land as "assests" and the insurrection as "liabilities."
Legacy The U.S. realized later that the war was an embarrassment for the them --a superpower fighting a mere ragtag army Filipinos lost its dignity, in fighting a war with a just cause, when the U.S. downgraded the title of "war" to merely "insurrection." The downgrading of the "war" to merely "insurrection" by the U.S. may have been intentionally made in order to its embarrassment.
It proved that the U.S. will follow "where the flag goes," not what the Constitution says or limits. First Republic or Malolos Government dismantled, lost its independence only to be granted back on July 4, 1946 Original Independence Day was declared by Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898.

[Note: Insurrection is technically correct when describing Filipinos revolting against Spain.]

Friarland Purchased by the U.S. from Vatican
(Contract dated December 23, 1903.   Source: John Freman, Philippine Islands, p. 601)
Land Location Acreage Remarks
Cavite 121,747 Some lands were held for centuries, none less than one generation.
Laguna 62,172
Rizal 50,145
Bulacan 39,441
Rizal (Morong) 4,940
Bataan 1,000
Cebu 16,413
Cagayan 49,400 Government grant to Agustinian friars, Sept. 25, 1880
Mindoro 58,455 Government grant to Recoletos friars, 1894
Total Acreage 403,713 Notes: 

1.  The Franciscan were not allowed by its rules to posses any property.  It therefore had no agricultural lands, and no other property than dwelling-houses for members, two convents, and two infirmaries.

2.  See Senate Document No. 112, p. 27, 56th Congress, 2nd Session; and Senate Document No. 331, p. 180 of Part 1., 57th Congress, 1st Session. Published by the Government Printing Office, Washington.

Total Cost $ 7,227,000
Average Cost/Acre $ 17.90

Basis for Spain's Claim for Cempensation

Moral Question Behind Spain's Claim for Compensation

Spain's Claim for Sovereignty



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Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative (PAWCI)