Timeline of American Occupation

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The Philippine-American War has been described as the United State’s first Vietnam War because of its brutality and severity. According to the Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative (PAWCI), roughly 22,000 Philippine soldiers and half a million civilians were killed between 1899 and 1092 in Luzon and the Visayan Islands, while one hundred thousand Muslims were killed in Mindanao.

The United States joined the ranks of colonial powers in Asia with support from American Expansionists and Protestant missionaries, but over the objections of domestic tobacco and sugar producers. Strategic interests proved most decisive in the age of Alfred Thayer Mahan’s treatise on the necessity of naval power. The United States was pursuing an “Open Door” policy in China, and the possession of coaling stations was imperative to a would-be Pacific power.

Benevolent Assimilation

Imperialism was difficult to square with the country’s republican tradition, as the noisy Anti-Imperialist League kept reminding Americans. US leaders also had to contend with the likes of Mabini and other ilustrados, despite the prevailing lens of racism that tended to see Filipinos as uncivilized or savage. This difficult reality compelled the new colonizers to demonstrate that their rule would be better than Spain’s or that of any European power.

The result was President McKinley’s “benevolent assimilation” – the American promise to train Filipinos in democratic governance until they were “ready” to govern themselves. But the first order of business was to achieve control over the country.

1896| August 23| Philippine Revolution Begins|
1897| March 4| William McKinley inaugurated 25th President of the United States| 1898| February 9| De Lome’s letter came out of the press| | February 15| The American battleship Maine exploded near the port of Havana. Out of the 350 passengers, 266 died and many others were wounded.| |...
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