The Philippine-American War

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The Filipino-American War

The Filipino-American War was a conflict between the U.S. government and the Philippines. The American government equated the Filipinos with savages and began to use guerrilla tactics. As the Philippine Army gained ground, battles of this magnitude became increasingly rare. In response, the Filipino Army adopted a more unconventional tactic: guerrilla warfare. Despite these advances, the U.S. government continued to equate the Filipinos with "savages" and a "savage" people.


The Philippine-American war, also known as the Filipino-American War, Tagalog Insurgency, and the Tagalog Insurrection, lasted from February 4, 1899 to July 4, 1902. Many historical figures of the time fought in the conflict. While the American forces ultimately won the war, many of the Filipino men were left as casualties. Read on for interesting facts about this conflict. And don't forget to check out the movie, "Twilight" starring James Bond.

Battles of this size became increasingly rare

Battles of this magnitude grew rarer as the conflict progressed. The Americans commanded a massive force of 125,000 soldiers, spending more than $400 million on the conflict. As the conflict went on, the Filipino resistance turned into a guerilla war, with Americans struggling to adapt to their methods. However, during the war's final years, battles of this size recurred.

Filipino Army switched to guerrilla tactics

The first battle of the Philippine-American War saw the Filipino Army switch from traditional warfare to guerrilla tactics. The American Army's superior firepower and weaponry had a telling effect on the Filipino soldiers. General Dewey launched SOO-pound shells into the Filipino trenches at close range. The battle was so devastating that American troops jokingly referred to it as a "quail shoot." The Filipinos were so terrified by the American firepower that they began piling up the dead on the breastworks and a British witness commented on the carnage.

U.S. government equated Filipinos to "savages"

The dehumanization of the Filipinos was a major reason for the uprising against U.S. rule. The Filipinos were labeled as uncivilized, which has a similar tone to the Chinese Exclusion Act of two decades earlier. As a result, the U.S. government equated Filipinos to "savages" and pushed the Filipinos into a racial hierarchy.

Anti-imperialists oppose annexation on racist grounds

The anti-imperialists argued that the Philippines deserved its own government. In response, US Senator Albert Beveridge denied Filipinos their right to self-government on racist grounds. In other words, racial prejudice mixed with imperial intentions pushed America to reject Filipino self-government. The Philippines did not gain full independence until 1946.

Efforts to gain outside support

During the Philippine-American war, American and Filipino forces clashed with each other over the control of Manila and the rest of the country. The Americans reacted in a variety of ways. First, they established a blockade of Havana and the island nation to the north and south. They also prepared to combat Spanish naval assistance. Second, they reorganized their defenses and increased their presence on the islands in the south. In March, they captured Malolos. In November, they launched major offensive operations, dispersing the revolutionary army in the Manila Bay and nearing Aguinaldo.

Spanish-American War delayed Philippine independence until after World War II

The first European to set foot in the Philippines was Ferdinand Magellan, who arrived in March 1521 while on his world-wide circumnavigation. He claimed the land for the king of Spain, but was assassinated by a local chief. Spanish expeditions to the Philippines followed, and in 1565, they settled Cebu, the first permanent settlement. The Spanish king named it after himself and wanted a share of the lucrative spice trade and better contacts with China. The Spanish also wanted the island to convert to Christianity, which was not popular at the time.

August 26, 2022


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