Voices of Imperialism and War 

The Philippines: A Gift from the Gods

William McKinley"I would like to say just a word about the Philippine business. . .The truth is I don't want the Philippines, and when they came to us as a gift from the gods, I did not know what to do with them. . ." 
    •  William McKinley, explaining to a visiting Methodist clergymen
"The Philippines are ours as much as Louisiana by purchase, or Texas or Alaska." 
    • McKinley, in a speech to the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment, August 28, 1899
"I am not ashamed to tell  you, Gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance that one night. And one night later it came to me this way...There was nothing left for us to do but to take them all and to educate the Filipinos and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow me for whom Christ also died."
      • Mc Kinley, telling a team of peace negotiators in a send-off dinner before departing for Paris, France

[ Note: William McKinley, a Republican, the 25th U.S. President, serving from 1897 to 1901.  McKinley was hesitant on the Philippine issue at the beginning on moral and Constitutional grounds but was carried by the imperialist mood of the time.  Thus, he favored the total annexation of the Philippine archipelago and called for a Philippine colonial policy of benevolent assimilation after the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898.   McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and was succeeded by his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt.] 

Start of U.S. Philippine Involvement 

Admiral George Dewey"I have taken possession of the naval station at Cavite, Philippine Islands, and destroyed its fortifications. . .I control the bay completely and can take city at any time, but I have not sufficient men to hold. . ." 
      • Commodore George Dewey, in a cable to Washington, May 4, 1898 
[ Note: Commodore Dewey commanded the U.S. Asiatic Fleet at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898.  He destroyed the Spanish fleet commanded by Admiral Patricio Montojo in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898.  During the initial days of American involvement in the Philippines, Dewey established collaborative relationship with Emilio Aguinaldo but later denied it during the Senate hearings after the war.]
Start of Filipino-American Rift 
Wesley Merritt"We purposely gave the insurgents no notice of the attack on Manila, because we did not need their cooperation. We were moved by the fear that they might loot, plunder, and possibly murder. Aguinaldo's men and subordinate leaders in conversing with the American officers would frequently say that they intended to cut the throats of all the Spaniards in Manila." 
    • Major-General Wesley Merritt, commander of U.S. expeditionary
     forces, quoted by London Morning Post , 1898. 

[ Note: General Wesley Merritt served briefly as the first Military-Governor of the Philippines. He was a veteran of the Civil War and the western Indian campaigns. After the Protocol of Peace was signed, Merritt left for Paris to serve as military adviser to the U.S. peace commissioners.] 

Felipe Agoncillo"To pretend that the American army was solely responsible for the so-called conquest of Manila and Cavite, and to refuse the Filipino troops their share of that work is mean and unfair, and is not the truth." 
      • Felipe Agoncillo, in a reply to General Merritt's unfounded 
      fear of Filipino revenge against the Spaniards
[ Note: Felipe Agoncillo was the Philippine envoy to Europe during the pre-war days. He visited President McKinley on October 1, 1898 when the U.S.-Spain peace commission was negotiating for a treaty to lobby for Philippine independence but was turned down by McKinley. When the Treaty of Paris was signed Agoncillo returned to the U.S. to observe the U.S. Senate debate on the treaty ratification for Aguinaldo. He fled to Canada after the outbreak of the war to escape the blame unfairly put on him that he cabled Aguinaldo advising him to start the war in order to derail the treaty ratification process.] 
In Search of New Frontier 
 "Proponents of expansion had hailed the islands as America's 'new frontier,' and appropriately enough, the men who conquered the Philippines, particularly the volunteers, brought with them a frontier spirit steeped in an individualism that easily degenerated into lawlessness. Virtually every member of the high command had spent most of his career terrorizing Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, and the Sioux. Some had taken part in the massacre at Wounded Knee. It was easy for such commanders to order similar tactics in the Philippines, particularly when faced with the frustrations of guerrilla warfare. And the men in their command, many of whom were themselves descendants of old Indian fighters, carried out these orders with amazing, if not surprising, alacrity." 
  • Stuart C. Miller, in his book Benevolent Assimilation 
Troop Movement Starts in San Francisco, CA 


"Damn, damn, damn the  Filipinos!
 Cut-throat Khadiac ladrones!
 Underneath the starry flag
 Civilize them with a Krag
 And return us to our beloved home."
      •  A popular marching song 
51st Iowa in PresidioPhoto, showing the 51st Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment marching through the Lombard Street gate at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, in 1898 on their way to embark in a troop transport for a 30-day voyage to Manila. [Note: Click thumbnail photo to view larger photo]

For Old Glory and Country 

"I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark-skin and pull the trigger. . . Tell all my inquiring friends that I am doing everything I can for Old Glory and for American I love so well." 

    • A. A. Barnes, Third Artillery, describing the destruction of Titatia, Batangas.  
They Call It "A Route"

Filipino soldiersPhoto at left: Mass graves for the "uncivilized" dead Filipino soldiers after fighting broke out in Manila suburbs on February 4, 1899. 
"Impossible to embalm and ship bodies now. Experiment failure; weather warm, decomposition rapid. Process of embalming immediately after death unsuccessful. Of twelve bodies already sent to U.S., doubtful if some reach port." 
      • General Elwell Otis, in a cable to Adjutant General Corbin
US cemetery in ManilaPhoto at left: Decent burial for the Americans U.S. soldiers buried at Battery Knoll Cemetery in Manila. The photo was taken on Memorial Day May 30, 1899 only four months after fighting began. There would be many more deaths before the war would end. 
 "The capability of the Filipino for self-government cannot be doubted. Such men as Arellano, Aguinaldo, and many others whom I might name are highly educated, nine-tenths of the people read and write, all are skilled artisans in one way or another; they are industrious, frugal, temperate, and given a fair start, could look out for themselves, infinitely better than our people imagine. In my opinion they rank far higher than the Cubans of the uneducated Negroes to whom we have given the right of suffrage." 
  • Milwaukee Journal 
Bravery of the Enemy 

Henry W. Lawton"Taking into account the disadvantages thay [Filipinos] have to fight against in arms, equipment and military discipline, without artillery, short of ammunition, powder inferior, shells reloaded until they are defective. . .they are the bravest men I have ever seen. . .These men are indomitable." 
    • Brigadier General Henry W. Lawton 
[ Note: Brigadier General Henry W. Lawton was the highest-ranked U.S. casualty of the Philippine-American War. He won a Medal of Honor in the Civil War, and gained additonal fame when he captured the American Indian chief Geronimo.  During the American occupation of Cuba, after the Spanish-Wamerican War, he was became the military governor of Santiago, Cuba, prior to his Philippine assignment.  He was killed in the town of San Mateo on December 19, 1899, the first major causualty of guerilla warfare.] 
Anglo-Saxon Liberty
William Howard Taft"They [Filipinos] need the training of fifty or a hundred years before they shall even realize what Anglo-Saxon liberty is." 

"There are not in these islands more than six or seven thousand men who have any education that deserves the name most of them intriguing politicians, without slightest moral stamina and motivated only by personal interests." 


"They are an Oriental people, and the Oriental believes in saying to the person with whom he is talking what the person would like to hear. That is the tendency of the race." 

      • William Howard Taft, Civil Governor of the Philippines
[ Note: William Howard Taft, a judge from Cincinnati, Ohio, was the first U.S. civilian governor of the Philippines. He strongly influenced American colonial policy including the appointment of his "little brown brothers" in government positions while Emilio Aguinaldo was waging guerrilla warfare against the Americans. This photo shows a 325-pound Taft riding a carabao , a Filipino water buffalo.] 
Our "Little Brown Brothers" 

"They say I've got brown brothers here, 
but still I draw the line. 
He may be a brother of Big Bill Taft,
But he ain't no brother of mine." 
  • A ditty from an anonymous American soldier 

"Our 'little brown brother,' the Filipino pure and simple, whom we are so anxious to uplift to his proper plane upon earth and relieve from the burden cast upon him by heredity and a few hundred years of Spanish domination, is without doubt unreliable, untrustworthy, ignorant, vicious, immoral, and lazy. . .tricky, and, as a race more dishonest than any known race on the face of the earth."  
  • Charles Ballantine, Associated Press 
First American Teachers: The Thomasites
"We are not merely teachers. We are social assets and emissaries of goodwill." 
  • Philinda Rand, August 21, 1901 
Buffalo Soldiers 

African-American soldiers
"What are you coons doing here?"
      • White American soldier asking a member of the "Colored Regiment"

"To take up the white man's burden."

      • A black soldier replying, in reference to the poem 
      "The White Man's Burden" composed by Rudyard Kipling
[ Note: Known as the "Buffalo Soldiers," they served in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, in segregated regiments. Some 12,000 Buffalo Soldiers served during the Philippine-American War.]
Racial Prejudice 
"The country won't be pacified until the niggers are killed off like Indians." 
  • A Kansas regiment veteran 
"I hardly think that I was born to be killed by a nigger." 
    •  Private Christener 

"The boys go for the enemy as they were chasing jack-rabbits. I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening rod, good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they [Filipinos] come into the reservation and promise to be good 'injuns'." 

  • Colonel Frederick Funston
Dehumanization of Soldiers

"We have come as a Christian people to relieve them from the Spanish yoke and bear ourselves like barbarians." 
  • Major Mathew Batson 
Judges, Sheriffs and Executioners 

"Our soldiers here and there resort to horrible measures with the natives. Captains and lieutenants are sometimes judges, sheriffs, and executioners. 'I don't want any more prisoners sent into Manila,' was the verbal order from the Governor-General three months ago. It is now the custom to avenge the death of an American soldier by burning to the ground all the houses, and killing right and left the natives who are only 'suspects.' " 
  • New York World 
Comrades Growing Bloodthirsty 

"You see sights you could hardly believe, and life is hardly worth a thought. I have seen a shell from our artillery strike a bunch of Filipinos, and then they would go scattering through the air, arms, heads, all disconnected. And such sights actually make our boys laugh and yell, 'that shot was a peach'. A white man seems to forget that he is human." 
  • Charles Wyland, Washington Regiment 
A Mental Toll of the War

"That night there were several strange scenes that must have given the natives a strange idea of the civilization we wish to foist on them. Drunken men struck at each other in frenzy and smashed each other's heads on the ground, with sickening oaths, for no reason whatsoever, except their own distorted imagination." 
  • Soldier's Banner 
A Soldier's Disappointment in One's Country 
"I am disappointed in the United States, but it is still my country. I am sure the American people will see the right thing to do sooner or later. I only hope they see it in time." 
  • Lieutenant Samuel Powell Lyon, his doubts about the 
wisdom and legitimacy of the independence war 
Pre-War Atrocities 

"We have to kill one or two every night."
  • Private William Christiner, in a letter to his father, 
January 17, 1899, when the war was weeks away 
Denial of Atrocities 

"In substantially every case the report [of cruelty] has proved to be either unfounded or grossly exaggerated." 
  • Elihu Root, Secretary of War 
My Lai-type Incident 

"We struck through the grass as high as a man's head until both platoons had flattened them. We opened fire and killed all but one. They were unarmed." 
  • A Samar battalion veteran describing his own "search and destroy" 
mission against a harmless fishing village, during the late 1960s 
". . .since the victim has it in his own power to stop the process, or prevent it altogether before the operation has gone far enough to seriously hurt him, it [the 'water-cure'] cannot be labeled 'torture'." 
  • Reverend Homer Stunz 
Philippine Atrocities Compared to Other Countries 

"All you say about the Philippines, the conflict there between the Americans, military and civil, and the pig-headedness of the military and their habits of setting 'bulldogs to catch rabbits' is immensely cheering to me, because it is precisely what we are doing in South Africa."  
  •  Rudyard Kipling, disillusioned over the atrocities of the British Soldiers 
against the Boers, wrote the editor of the San Francisco Call 
Guerrilla Warfare

"When pursued too closely they hide their rifles and scatter to their homes, and no longer wear uniforms or any distinctive insignia but use the dress of noncombatants of the country." 

  • General Frederick Funston, conceding that he had underestimated 
the difficulties in "exterminating the enemy"
". . .they (guerrillas) seldom wore uniforms, disappearing and hiding their guns when hotly pursued, and reappearing as non-combatant peasants interrupted in agricultural pursuits, with invariable protestations of friendship. Hence, all such came to be known as 'amigos' and the 'amigo,' or friend, became a bitter by-word, meaning to all American soldiers throughout the archipelago an enemy falsely claiming to be a friend. And every Filipino was an 'amigo.' " 
  • James H. Blount, writer-historian 
"The situation is not miitary, for the reason tht these people will not fight soldiers except in small detachments, and when taken at great advantage. When we patrol their barrios, they greet us in the guise of peaceful laborers. We are confronted by an organized secret conspiracy, comprising large numbers of war rebels, robbers, and murderers." 
  • Captain R. K. Evans 
The Filipino Army  

Barefoot Filipino officers"A rag tag army." 
      • General Elwell S. Otis 

"The undeclared war in the Philippines has now been nearly twice as long as the war with Spain. The Filipinos, without effective artillery and lack of military form, have proved their touch and common feeling with all people who are fighting for the soil they were born on and for independence and self-government against an invading host." 

    • San Francisco Call 
[ Note: Many of the Filipino soldiers were barefooted, armed with old German-made rifles and U.S.-made Remingtons mostly captured from the Spaniards in a preceding revolution. The Filipinos may have outnumbered the Americans but only one out of four had rifles, the rest carried bolo knives.] 
Filipino Marksmanship 

"These fellow can't shoot! As long as they aim at us, we are all right." 

  • Lieutenant Charles Kilbourne 
[ Note: This is partly true when some Filipinos, due to lack of training and knowledge on the technical value of the rear guns sights, removed them from their guns to concentrate on the front sights.] 
The Dreaded Mercenaries of the War 
"I am king of the Macabebes and they are terrors. Word reaches a place that the Macabebes are coming and every Tagalog hunts his hole." 

  •  Major Mathew Batson, first commander of the Philippine Scouts, 
mercenaries composed of Macabebe tribesmen.
Macabebe scouts Macabebe Scouts with long hair captured by the forces of Emilio Aguinaldo during the revolutionary days Macabebe scouts Macabebe scouts in formation and completely armed with Krag rifles, serving the U.S. Army as mercenaries during the independence war. 
[ Note: The Macabebes had strong warrior traditions and had loyally served Spain in her suppression of the earlier insurrection; they had asked Madrid to relocate their village in the Carolines should the Filipinos win independence.] 
Loyalty to Country and Commander  

General Gregorio del PilarThe Boy General 

"The General [Aguinaldo] has given me the pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the Pass. I realize what a terrible task has been given me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great." 

      • General Gregorio del Pilar, in his last entry to his diary prior 
      to the Battle of Tirad Pass, where he died at age 24.
[ Note: The "Boy General," as he was known during the war, was Emilio Aguinaldo's best friend and constant companion. Together with General Manuel Tinio, del Pilar accompanied Aguinaldo to Hong Kong in his exile in compliance to the Biak-na-Bato Truce. With a handful of brave men he fought a delaying tactic at Tirad Pass to slow down the Americans who were relentlessly pursuing Aguinaldo's party.] 
Manuel Tinio y Bundok of IlocosThe Rear Guard 

"He [Aguinaldo] owed to the men of Generals del Pilar and [Manuel] Tinio, for this same breed of fighters who heroically and ably foiled the great manhunt of 1899 again saved Aguinaldo for a second time in 1900. But he owed it more to the Ilocano fighters of the Tinio Brigade, without whose presence in the North, Aguinaldo's 'odyssey' would have been nothing but a death march." 

    • Orlino Ochosa, in his book The Tinio Brigade: Anti-American 
    Resistance in the Ilocos Provinces 1899-1901 

[ Note: General Tinio was another Tagalog "boy" general of the Filipino forces who commanded the "Tinio Brigade" in the Ilocos region. He was only 21 years old when General del Pilar was killed at the Battle of Tirad Pass thereupon compelling himself to assume the rear guard command. Through his illusive guerrilla warfare he slowed down the Americans in their manhunt for General Emilio Aguinaldo thus extending Aguinaldo's "odyssey." After Aguinaldo was caught Tinio surrendered to General Bell and became the first governor of Nueva Ecija during the colonial era.] 

War Booty: As Ancient As War Itself 

Souvenir Hunting (from the enemy's dead body) 

"When [General Gregorio] del Pilar's body was found, American soldiers stripped it of every bit of clothing, took the rings from the fingers and a locket from the neck. Not a stitch of any kind was left on the body, everything being taken for souvenirs. For two days the body was left by the roadside unburied, until its odor was offensive, until some (natives) were ordered to cover it with dirt." 
  •  New York Evening Post 
Lowering the Standards of Warfare 

"Since the Filipinos began it, we must follow and lower ourselves to their level." 
  • Evening Post , in an editorial 
Dissension at Home 

"Dissension at home became more disagreeable than fighting the Filipinos. The Spirit of America became sour." 

  • Mark Sullivan, an editor 
A Soldier Staining his Good War Records  

    Andrew S. RowanLieutenant Andrew S. Rowan, of the 19th Infantry, distinguished himself  as a secret agent of the War Department in collecting information concerning Cuba and the insurgents. In various disguises he penetrated the island to the headquarters of General Calixto Garcia and delivered a message to the Cuban leader from General Nelson Miles.

    After his assignment in Cuba, Captain Rowan was transferred to the Philippines and saw action in the island of Bohol where he was confronted with heavy guerrilla activities. An article in the New York Times :

    "Captain Andrew Rowan of the 19th Infantry is under investigation for the destruction of a town and thereby causing an active renewal of the insurrection in the island of Bohol. A native who had assassinated a corporal was caught and killed. Captain Rowan then burned an adjacent town and the people, inflamed with rage, rejoined the insurgent chief, Samson." 

      • New York Times 
The Impression that War is Winding Down 

"It looks good on paper, but there really has been no reduction of the force here. These battalions [being sent home] are made up of men about to be discharged." 

  • A Lieutenant explaining in a letter to his wife. 
Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo wearing sword"A small insignificant looking man, very much like a Jap in appearance. He hasn't much to say by the influence he has over the natives and their devotion to him impressed me with his power over them." 
    • Lieutenant Frederick Sladen, aide to General Elwell Otis
General Arthur MarArthur"When I started in against these rebels, I believed that Aguinaldo's troops represented only a faction. I did not like to believe that the whole population of Luzon the native population that is was opposed to us and our offers for aid and good government. But after having come this far, after having occupied several towns and cities in succession, and having been brought much into contact with both insurrectos and amigos, I have been reluctantly compelled to believe that the Filipino masses are loyal to Aguinaldo and the government which he leads." 
      • General Arthur MacArthur 
[ Note: General Arthur MacArthur was the last overall military commander to serve the Philippines with vast powers. He was the father of General Douglas MacArthur. His rift with William Howard Taft during his Philippine days prevented MacArthur from being promoted to Chief of Staff.] 
Press Censorship
"All correspondents here satisfied with present censors." 

  •  General Elwell Otis 
"The censorship has compelled us to participate in this misrepresentation by excising or altering uncontroverted statements of facts on the plea that 'they should alarm the people at home," or 'have the people of the United States by the ears." 

  • New correspondents' protest against military governor's 
autocratic and arbitrary management of the news. 

"Every fight become a glorious American victory and we were drilled into writing, quite mechanically, wholly ridiculous estimates of the numbers of Filipinos killed." 
  •  Mr. Collins, a news correspondent 
Only Military Rule for Filipinos

    "Filipinos 'are incapable of gratitude, profligate, undependable, improvident, cruel, impertinent, superstitious, and treacherous all are liars even in the confessional.' Granting such people constitutional rights would be 'a reductio ad absurdum,' and military rule was the only possibility." 
    •  Theodore Woolsey, Yale law professor 
Contoversy Over Aguinaldo's Capture

Gen. Funston's Methods Used to Capture Aguinaldo 

[In reference to the Hague Conference of 1899] 

"When the capture of Aguinaldo by Funston was announced by cable, it was hailed as a great exploit. President William McKinley lost no time in making him a brigadier-general. But, as the details have to come to light, contempt and disgust have taken the place of admiration. The American people accepted, though not without some qualms of conscience, the forgery, treachery, and disguise with which Funston prepared his expedition. But until recently the full infamy of his conduct has not been understood. The historian of his expedition, Edwin Wildman, thus describes the last stage of Funston march: 

'Over the stony declivities and through the thick jungle, across bridgeless streams and up narrow passes the footsore and bone-racked adventures tramped, until their food was exhausted and they were too weak to move, though eight miles from Aguinaldo's rendezvous. A messenger was sent forward to inform Aguinaldo of their position and to beg for food. The rebel chieftain promptly replied by dispatching rice and a letter to the other officer in command, instructing him to treat the American prisoners well.'  
"The incident was passed over lightly in the earlier reports. Its significance has just begun to dawn upon the American people." 
  • Boston Post , Editorial, May 1902 
Frederick FunstonFavoring Funston's Methods 

"Funston's plan was well within the traditional 'ruses of war' that are 'as old as warfare itself.' As long as thegeneral 'did not break faith,' the forged documents and letters were acceptable since the United States was not at war 'with a civilized power,'and since the Aguinaldo party was not a signatory of the Hague Convention there was no obligation on the part of the United States to refrain from using the enemy's uniforms for the enemy's deception."

      • Professor Theodore Woolsey, Yale expert on international law 
 [Note: This photo shows Funston in the uniform of the Cuban Insurgent Army. He enlisted with the Cuban insurgents and went to Cuba in 1896, his first military service. Funston won a Congressional Medal for heroism in the Battle of Bagbag/Calumpit against the Filipino forces led by General Antonio Luna, and promotion to Brigadier-General.] 

Opposing Funston's Methods 

"Nothing more than a part of a lawless warfare being carried out under MacArthur's command." 
  • San Francisco Call 
Reactions to Aguinaldo's Swearing of Allegiance to the U.S 
"Few professional traders in patriotism have more successfully marketed their wares." 
  • Philadelphia Record 
"The bombastic, puerile, fawning, insincere statement of an opportunist in bad plight." 

  • Baltimore American 
Retaliation to the Balangiga Massacre

Jacob Smith and staff
Brigadier General Jacob "Howling Jake" Smith (wearing black boots) stands in front, second from right. Frederick Funston stands at far left of photo. General Arthur MacArthur (wearing white hat) stands in front between Funston and Smith. 
 "I want no prisoners, I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms [ten years of age and above] in actual hostilities against the United States." 
  •  General Jacob Smith, order to Major Littleton "Tony" Waller
"The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness." 
  • General Jacob Smith 
"Porter, I've had instructions to kill everyone over ten years old. But we are not making war on women and children, only on men capable of bearing arms. Keep that in mind no matter what orders you receive."
  • Major Littleton "Tony" Waller, to a fellow-officer 
[ Note: Jacob Smith was later court-martialed. Prior to the Philippine-American War, he was at the Wounded Knee massacre of the Sioux in 1890.] 
Batangas Scorched-Earth Campaign 

Consequence of War 

". . .it is an inevitable consequence of war that the innocent must generally suffer with the guilty . . . a short and severe war creates in the aggregate less loss and suffering than a benevolent war indefinitely prolonged." 

  • General Franklin Bell 

"Severely punish, in the same manner or lesser degree, the commission of acts denounced in the aforementioned articles." 
  • General Franklin Bell, in his order to his subordinates unknowingly violating 
his own interpretation of the Adjutant General's General Order 100 
Violations of Civilized Rules of Warfare 

    [General Franklin Bell's interpretation of General Orders No. 100, Adjutant-General's Office, 1863, as if the Filipinos knew these rules] 

    Section 26. Deceiving American officials and treacherously aiding and assisting the cause of the insurrection. 

    Section 63. The wearing of civilian clothes with no specific markings by the ordinary peasant, and returning home between battles and divesting themselves of the character and appearance of soldiers concealing their arms posing as peaceful citizens. 

    Other violations: cutting telephone lines, constructing traps, etc. 


Reconcentrados in Batangas Campaign 

"The word 'reconcentrado' has had an ugly sound in American ears, the hardship to the Filipinos of Batangas is not the mere leaving their homes, which are structures of straw and branches, only a little more elaborate that Indian wigwams. They can endure that, and perhaps profit by compulsory removal from abodes that long use and neglect have made unwholesome." 
  • Boston Journal
Concentration Camps 

"The entire population outside of the major sites in Batangas was herded into concentration camps, which were bordered by what Bell called 'dead lines.' Everything outside of the camps was systematically destroyed humans, crops, food stores, domestic animals, houses and boats." 
  • Stuart C. Miller, in his book Benevolent Assimilation 
J. Franklin Bell"General [J. Franklin] Bell does not propose to starve these people as Weyler did in the Cuban 'reconcentrados.' To propose that he does is an insult to a brave and honorable American soldier." 
      • Pittsburgh Times 
[ Note: General Bell was the "Butcher of Batangas," the U.S. equivalent of Spanish General Valeriano Weyler in Cuba.] 
Legislative Hegemony of the Ilustrados 

"The landowning ilustrado community, embodied by Pedro Paterno, Felipe Calderon, Benito Legarda, and Felipe Buencamino, established legislative hegemony over the executive coalition of Aguinaldo and Mabini. The radical goals disappeared as private property was guaranteed, and as the suffrage was limited to men of higher character, social position, and honorable conduct. Eighty of the 136 delegates were trained professionals (43 were lawyers). The government was inaugurated in 21 January 1899, was dominated by conservative ilustrados ." 

  • David Joel Steinberg 
Who Won the War? 

By 1908, even Taft found it necessary to assuage his conscience by voicing some concern over the ilustrado oligarchy that he had partially fostered. He reassured himself, however, that the American-sponsored educational system would eventually broaden the base of democracy in the Philippines. Instead, it expanded the oligarchy as it absorbed the newly rich and educated, not only to emasculate any potential challenge, but also to fill the need for an expanding political and economic leadership. 

Taft also understood that one way to quell the rebellion was to make its former leaders government officials, such as the president of the municipality of the governor of a province. Voting restrictions and indirect elections favored the more conservative ilustrado elite, which soon dominated the emerging government as it once had the Philippine Republic under Aguinaldo. 

Significantly, Rizal emerged as the untarnished national hero, not Aguinaldo, Aglipay, or the radical ilustrado, Mabini, all of whom were relegated to oblivion except for ceremonial occasions or when needed to serve the oligarchy's purposes. The Roman Catholic Church returned to a dominant position, and English replaced Spanish as the nearly universal medium of communication to bind together the many disparate groups in the islands, In short, this ilustrado elite had clearly defeated Mabini's "inner revolution." 

    • Stuart Miller in his book Benevolent Assimilation  
Dr. Jose RizalDr. Jose Rizal, an ilustrado patriot, national hero of the Philippines. He was blamed for masterminding the Katipunan Revolt in 1896 and was executed by the Spaniards. In actuality, Rizal favored assimilation through education and political reforms. Bishop AglipayReverend Bishop Gregorio Aglipay, who fought for the emancipation of the Filipino clergy founded the Philippine Independent Church as a result of religious schism dating back to the Revolutionary days in 1898.  He led a guerrilla group and fought against the Americans in the Ilocos region. 


1] Miller, Stuart C., Benevolent Assimilation , Yale University, New Haven, 1982 

2] Wolff, Leon, Little Brown Brother , Oxford University Press, New York, 1991 

3] Karnow, Stanley, In Our Image , Ballantine Books, New York, 1989 
[This book won the Pulitzer prize.] 

4] Agoncillo, Teodoro A., History of the Filipino People , Garotech Publishing, Quezon City, RP, 1990

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