Ever wonder what happens to a country when a group of politicians get together and decide to purchase land, to try and create a mirror image of their society in that new colony, and instill their culture? Surely, there have been numerous others. In this paper, the attempt is to provide nominal (as an extensive and exhaustive one goes beyond the parameters of this works purpose) insight into the inner workings of American reign in the Philippines from the late nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on those policies ramifications on the lives of the affected.
The story with the Americans really begins with the purchase of the Philippines for twenty million dollars accounted for in the Treaty of Paris of 1898 that secured Cuban independence, the ceding of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam to the U.S. from Spain (McDuffie, Piggrem, and Woodsworth, AP Exam: US History 123).
During that time, according to Lena Mendoza Strobel, professor at Sonoma State University, the Americans belief that the masses (in the Philippines) would only be content under a firm patriarchy helped shape a western policy that asserted political and socioeconomic dominance (Coming Full Circle 41). What that meant and means for the natives of the country are Americanized processes of schooling, American military outposts, American-owned businesses, and an instilling of American norms and values that were and are detrimental to the preservation and development of the existing-prior-to-unwanted-influences, indigenous Filipino one. Because of such ludicrously imposed laws as the Sedition Law of 1901 that provided thatOrder now
Every person who shall utter words or speeches, write, publish or circulate, scurrilous libels against the government of the United States or the insular government of the Philippine Island shall be punished by a fine of not more than US $2000 or by imprisonment not exceeding two years or both
as noted by Leonard Davis in his book, The Philippines: People, Poverty & Politics, many Filipinos were forced into cooperation and obedience to this, their new colonizers way, of allowing them to live (38). The reality is that the development of political consciousness and individual freedom, two of the cornerstones America presented to the world as its contribution to the Filipino people were, for the most part, superficial because what they really did was, unlike the Spanish, was leave a legacy of economic exploitation through the entering of American goods free of duty, making the country the U.S. principal market in the Orient and having all roads, bridges and other construction work made with American equipment, materials and vehicles (Davis, The Philippines: People, Poverty & Politics 38).
Through such flippant control, domination, insensitivity, and magnanimous bigotry, the external image that appeared before the world was that the U.S. was performing humanitarian acts of compassion and aide to an uncivilized people. However, internally, the goals of the country really were not to create independence and freedom, but rather to propel their own political and economic interest, or, at least, those people in power in the U.S. In fact, as Stanley Karnow says it in his Pulitzer prize-winning book, In Our Image: Americas Empire in the Philippines, while speaking of the then President McKinleys Secretary of War, Elihu Root, that Root epitomized the sentiments of his government-official contemporaries when he indirectly asserted that (through Karnows words), Filipinos could not possibly comprehend the concept of government by consent of the governed (169).
And, that as such, that they needed to be civilized according to their (U.S.) standards; in other words, to transplant its values and institutions so that it would be a mirror-image of his peoples society, with the corollary being U.S. control of policies and government (Karnow, In Our Image 170).
The ramifications of American rule before and after their reinstatement of Filipino statehood and reign in 1946 have yielded great consequences for that countrys people.
On the one hand, they did manage to greatly multiply the level of democracy and self-government nowhere seen in comparison during the Spanish reign and, according to Amparo S. Lardizabal and Felicitas Tensuan-Leogardo, editors of Readings On Philippine Culture and Social Life, introduced popular education through the public school system (88). On the other hand, they have also introduced such .