THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN WAR
In the Philippines when I was growing up, our history lessons focused on the Philippine revolution against Spain and the heroism of revolutionaries who sacrificed all to win our freedom. 12 June is our Independence Day, even though we hardly had a chance to enjoy freedom before our exhausted revolutionaries found themselves fighting another, unequal war with the United States. The Philippine American War is important not just to Filipinos but to the rest of the world because it marks the moment the United States assumed its current role as world superpower. For us Filipinos though, it is a moment that continues to impact our lives and identities wherever in the world we live.
And yet it is a forgotten piece of history. I chose the Philippine American War as the historical setting of Bone Talk because I wanted to explore this missing jigsaw piece of my story.
This page is a Primer on the war that stole independence from right under our noses – and that still shackles our sense of self as a nation. I have included informative videos by Kirby Araullo and Crash Course, plus political cartoons of the 1900s to help us ponder the public attitudes of the era. I have depended on Arnaldo Dumindin's Filipino American War site for guidance on the detail of the war. Check it out to find a wealth of facts and photographs.
HISTORY DOES NOT HAPPEN IN ISOLATION. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PHILIPPINES WERE TRIGGERED, NOT JUST BY LOCAL EVENTS BUT BY DEVELOPMENTS ALL OVER THE WORLD: THE UNITED STATES DRIVE TO ANNEX TERRITORY, THE IMPERIAL ATTITUDES IN THE WEST, THE DECLINE OF SPAIN, THE RISE OF LIBERAL IDEAS AND NATIONALISM IN EUROPE. HERE IS A VIDEO ABOUT U.S. IMPERIALISM BY CRASH COURSE THAT MIGHT HELP EXPLAIN WHAT LED TO THE PHILIPPINES BECOMING A COLONY OF THE U.S.. AND HERE ARE SOME EXCELLENT VIDEOS BY KIRBY ARAULLO ABOUT THE WAR.
WATCH WATCH WATCH WATCH
BY WAR'S END, THE U.S. HAD COINED A DESIGNATION FOR ITS NEW COLONIES: THEY WERE UNINCORPORATED TERRITORIES OF THE U.S. – MEANING THEY 'BELONGED TO THE UNITED STATES, WITHOUT HAVING BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE UNITED STATES'. THE U.S. GRANTED THE PHILIPPINES INDEPENDENCE ON 4 JULY 1946 (INCIDENTALLY, THE DAY IT DECLARED VICTORY OF THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN WAR), BUT THE U.S. STILL OWNS 14 UNINCORPORATED TERRITORIES, INCLUDING PUERTO RICO AND GUAM.
I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO EXAMINE THESE POLITICAL CARTOONS PUBLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE TIME OF THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN WAR. WHAT DO THEY TELL US ABOUT HOW AMERICANS REGARDED U.S. TERRITORIAL EXPANSION AT THE TIME? HOW ARE NON AMERICANS PORTRAYED? WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS SO? HAVE AMERICAN ATTITUDES CHANGED SINCE?