Igorot History 101: Lesson 03

Hereunder is an account of the historian Howard Fry on why America invaded the Philippines (compare with its invasion of Iraq):

…”Even before the sinking of the US warship “Maine” in Havana, President McKinley had a strong desire for America to acquire the Philippines and have it as their possession for some years just as what Great Britain had done to Hongkong. After Dewey’s victory in Manila Bay, President McKinley after much thinking had the conviction that the Filipinos could not be restored to Spain, turned over to France, or Germany, or given their immediate independence, for which in his judjment, they were unfit, but the United States must take all the islands, and “educate the Filipinos and uplift and civilize and Christianize them” (Latourette, et al., 362).

A year before the sinking of the USS Maine, Commodore George Dewey, a US naval commander assigned to the Asiatic Squadron, at his own request, made an intensive study of the Philippines because he anticipated that war between USA and Spain was inevitable. He then sailed from Hongkong to the Philippines in April of 1898 and on May 1, 1898 he and his men engaged the Spanish Squadron in the battle of Manila Bay. Since the Spaniards offered little resistance, Dewey defeated them without a loss of a single man. His victory led to the US acquisition of the Philippines which made Senator Cabot Lodge to declare that the US now controls practically one side of the Pacific Ocean and that the position of the Philippines would make them the controlling power in the Pacific (Fry, xxi).

On April 4, the Schurman Commission issued a proclamation that, in part, said:

‘…..The supremacy of the United States must and will be enforced throughout every part of the Archipelago and those who resist it can accomplish no end other than their own ruin.’

Source: Kittong-Chaokas, Mountain Province: Past and Present, 2009.

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