The United States Military Government of the Philippine Islands (Filipino: Pamahalaang Militar ng Estados Unidos sa Kapuluan ng Pilipinas) was a military government in the Philippines established by the United States on August 14, 1898, two days after the capture of Manila, with General Merritt acting as military governor. During military rule (1898–1902), the U.S. military commander governed the Philippines under the authority of the U.S. president as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. After the appointment of a civil Governor-General, the procedure developed that as parts of the country were pacified and placed firmly under American control, responsibility for the area would be passed to the civilian.
General Merritt was succeeded by General Otis as military governor, who in turn was succeeded by General MacArthur. Major General Adna Chaffee was the final military governor. The position of military governor was abolished in July 1902, after which the civil Governor-General became the sole executive authority in the Philippines.
Under the military government, an American-style school system was introduced, initially with soldiers as teachers; civil and criminal courts were reestablished, including a supreme court; and local governments were established in towns and provinces. The first local election was conducted by General Harold W. Lawton on May 7, 1899, in Baliuag, Bulacan.
United States Military Government of the Philippine Islands
Location of Philippine Islands in Asia
|Status||Unincorporated territory of the United States|
|Common languages||English, Tagalog, and other Philippine languages|
|Government||Military occupational transitional government|
|Elwell S. Otis|
|Arthur MacArthur, Jr.|
(jointly with Civil Governor William Howard Taft)
|14 August 1898|
|10 December 1898|
|4 February 1899|
|31 March 1899|
|16 March 1900|
|23 March 1901|
|16 April 1902|
|1 July 1902|
|1898||343,385.1 km2 (132,581.7 sq mi)|
By June, U.S. and Filipino forces had taken control of most of the islands, except for the walled city of Intramuros. Admiral Dewey and General Merritt were able to work out a bloodless solution with acting Governor-General Fermín Jáudenes. The negotiating parties made a secret agreement to stage a mock battle in which the Spanish forces would be defeated by the American forces, but the Filipino forces would not be allowed to enter the city. This plan minimized the risk of unnecessary casualties on all sides, while the Spanish would also avoid the shame of possibly having to surrender Intramuros to the Filipino forces. On the eve of the mock battle, General Anderson telegraphed Aguinaldo, "Do not let your troops enter Manila without the permission of the American commander. On this side of the Pasig River you will be under fire".
On August 13, with American commanders unaware that a ceasefire had already been signed between Spain and the U.S. on the previous day, American forces captured the city of Manila from the Spanish in the Battle of Manila. The battle started when Dewey's ships bombarded Fort San Antonio Abad, a decrepit structure on the southern outskirts of Manila, and the virtually impregnable walls of Intramuros. In accordance with the plan, the Spanish forces withdrew while U.S. forces advanced. Once a sufficient show of battle had been made, Dewey hoisted the signal "D.W.H.B." (meaning "Do you surrender?), whereupon the Spanish hoisted a white flag and Manila was formally surrendered to U.S. forces. This battle marked the end of Filipino-American collaboration, as the American action of preventing Filipino forces from entering the captured city of Manila was deeply resented by the Filipinos. This later led to the Philippine–American War, which would prove to be more deadly and costly than the Spanish–American War.
Article V of the peace protocol signed on August 12 had mandated negotiations to conclude a treaty of peace to begin in Paris not later than October 1, 1898. President McKinley sent a five-man commission, initially instructed to demand no more than Luzon, Guam, and Puerto Rico; which would have provided a limited U.S. empire of pinpoint colonies to support a global fleet and provide communication links. In Paris, the commission was besieged with advice, particularly from American generals and European diplomats, to demand the entire Philippine archipelago. The unanimous recommendation was that "it would certainly be cheaper and more humane to take the entire Philippines than to keep only part of it." On October 28, 1898, McKinley wired the commission that "cessation of Luzon alone, leaving the rest of the islands subject to Spanish rule, or to be the subject of future contention, cannot be justified on political, commercial, or humanitarian grounds.The cessation must be the whole archipeligo or none.The latter is wholly inadmissible, and the former must therefore be required." The Spanish negotiators were furious over the "immodist demands of a conqueror", but their wounded pride was assauged by an offer of twenty million dollars for "Spanish improvements" to the islands. The Spaniards capitulated, and on December 10, 1898, the U.S. and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris, formally ending the Spanish–American War. In Article III, Spain ceded the Philippine archipelago to the United States, as follows: "Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, and comprehending the islands lying within the following line: [... geographic description elided ...]. The United States will pay to Spain the sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) within three months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty."
In the U.S., there was a movement for Philippine independence; some said that the U.S. had no right to a land where many of the people wanted self-government. In 1898 Andrew Carnegie, an industrialist and steel magnate, offered to buy the Philippines for $20 million and give it to the Filipinos so that they could be free of United States government.
On November 7, 1900, Spain and the U.S. signed the Treaty of Washington, clarifying that the territories relinquished by Spain to the United States included any and all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago, but lying outside the lines described in the Treaty of Paris. That treaty explicitly named the islands of Cagayan Sulu and Sibutu and their dependencies as among the relinquished territories.
The Spanish had yielded Iloilo to the insurgents in 1898 for the purpose of troubling the Americans. On January 1, 1899, news had come to Washington from Manila that American forces which had been sent to Iloilo under the command of General Marcus Miller had been confronted by 6,000 armed Filipinos, who refused them permission to land. A Filipino official styling himself Presidente Lopez of the Federal Government of the Visayas informed Miller that "foreign troops" would not be landed "without express orders from the central government of Luzon" On December 21, 1898, President McKinley issued a Proclamation of Benevolent Assimilation. General Otis delayed its publication until January 4, 1899, then publishing an amended version edited so as not to convey the meanings of the terms "sovereignty", "protection", and "right of cessation" which were present in the unabridged version. Unknown to Otis, the War Department had also sent an enciphered copy of the Benevolent Assimilation proclamation to General Marcus Miller in Iloilo for informational purposes. Miller assumed that it was for distribution and, unaware that a politically bowdlerized version had been sent to Aguinaldo, published it in both Spanish and Tagalog translations which eventually made their way to Aguinaldo. Even before Aguinaldo received the unaltered version and observed the changes in the copy he had received from Otis, he was upset that Otis had altered his own title to "Military Governor of the Philippines" from "... in the Philippines." Aguinaldo did not miss the significance of the alteration, which Otis had made without authorization from Washington.
On January 5, Aguinaldo issued a counter-proclamation summarizing what he saw as American violations of the ethics of friendship, particularly as regards the events in Iloilo. The
proclamation concluded as follows:
My government can not remain indifferent in view of such a violent and aggressive seizure of a portion of its territory by a nation which arrogated to itself the title champion of oppressed nations. Thus it is that my government is disposed to open hostilities if the American troops attempt to take forcible possession of the Visayan Islands. I denounce these acts before the world, in order that the conscience of mankind may pronounce its infallable verdict as to who are the true oppressors of nations and the tormentors of human kind.
After some copies of that proclamation had been distributed, Aguinaldo ordered the recall of undistributed copies and issued another proclamation, which was published the same day in El Heraldo de la Revolucion, the official newspaper of the Philippine Republic. There, he said partly,
I equally protest in the name of the Filipino people against the said intrusion, because as they have granted their vote of confidence appointing me president of the nation, although I don't consider that I deserve such, therefore I consider it my duty to defend to death its liberty and independence.
Otis, taking these two proclamations as a call to arms, strengthened American observation posts and alerted his troops. In the tense atmosphere, some 40,000 Filipinos fled Manila within
a period of 15 days.
Meanwhile, Felipe Agoncillo, who had been commissioned by the Philippine Revolutionary Government as Minister Plenipotentiary to negotiate treaties with foreign governments, and who had unsuccessfully sought to be seated at the negotiations between the U.S. and Spain in Paris, was now in Washington. On January 6, he filed a request for an interview with the President to discuss affairs in the Philippines. The next day the government officials were surprised to learn that messages to General Otis to deal mildly with the rebels and not to force a conflict had become known to Agoncillo, and cabled by him to Aguinaldo. At the same time came Aguinaldo's protest against General Otis signing himself "Military Governor of the Philippines."
On January 8, Agoncillo gave out this statement:
The Filipino committees in London, Paris and Madrid about this time telegraphed to President McKinley as follows:
On January 8, Aguinaldo received the following message from Teodoro Sandiko:
The New York Times reported on January 8, that two Americans who had been guarding a waterboat in Iloilo had been attacked, one fatally, and that insurgents were threatening to destroy the business section of the city by fire; and on January 10 that a peaceful solution to the Iloilo issues may result but that Aguinaldo had issued a proclamation threatening to drive the Americans from the islands.
By January 10, insurgents were ready to assume the offensive, but desired, if possible, to provoke the Americans into firing the first shot. They made no secret of their desire for conflict, but increased their hostile demonstrations and pushed their lines forward into forbidden territory. Their attitude is well illustrated by the following extract from a telegram sent by Colonel Cailles to Aguinaldo on January 10, 1899:
Aguinaldo approved the hostile attitude of Cailles, for there is a reply in his handwriting which reads:
On 31 January 1899, The Minister of Interior of the revolutionary First Philippine Republic, Teodoro Sandiko, signed a decree saying that President Aguinaldo had directed that all idle lands be planted to provide food for the people, in view of impending war with the Americans.
Worcester writes that General Otis' account of the opening of active hostilities was as follows:
"The insurgents had thus succeeded in drawing the fire of a small outpost, which they had evidently labored with all their ingenuity to accomplish, in order to justify in some way their premeditated attack. It is not believed that the chief insurgent leaders wished to open hostilities at this time, as they were not completely prepared to assume the initiative. They desired two or three days more to perfect their arrangements, but the zeal of their army brought on the crisis which anticipated their premeditated action. They could not have delayed long, however, for it was their object to force an issue before American troops, then en route, could arrive in Manila."
Thus began the Insurgent attack, so long and so carefully planned for. We learn from the Insurgent records that the shot of the American sentry missed its mark. There was no reason why it should have provoked a hot return fire, but it did.
The result of the ensuing combat was not at all what the Insurgents had anticipated. The Americans did not drive very well. It was but a short time before they themselves were routed and driven from their positions.
Aguinaldo of course promptly advanced the claim that his troops had been wantonly attacked. The plain fact is that the Insurgent patrol in question deliberately drew the fire of the American sentry, and this was just as much an act of war as was the firing of the shot. Whether the patrol was acting under proper orders from higher authority is not definitely known.
Other sources name the two specific U.S. soldiers involved in the first exchange of fire as Privates William Grayson and Orville Miller of the Nebraska Volunteers.
Subsequent to the conclusion of the war, after analyzing captured insurgent papers, Major Major J. R. M. Taylor wrote, in part,
On February 4, Aguinaldo declared "That peace and friendly relations with the Americans be broken and that the latter be treated as enemies, within the limits prescribed by the laws of war." On June 2, 1899, the Malolos Congress enacted and ratified a declaration of war on the United States, which was publicly proclaimed on that same day by Pedro Paterno, President of the Assembly.
As before when fighting the Spanish, the Filipino rebels did not do well in the field. Aguinaldo and his provisional government escaped after the capture of Malolos on March 31, 1899 and were driven into northern Luzon. Peace feelers from members of Aguinaldo's cabinet failed in May when the American commander, General Ewell Otis, demanded an unconditional surrender. In 1901, Aguinaldo was captured and swore allegiance to the United States, marking one end to the war.
make recommendations. The three civilian members of the Philippine Commission arrived in Manila on March 4, 1899, a month after the Battle of Manila which had begun armed conflict between U.S. and revolutionary Filipino forces. The commission published a proclamation containing assurances that the U.S. "... is anxious to establish in the Philippine Islands an enlightened system of government under which the Philippine people may enjoy the largest measure of home rule and the amplest liberty."
After meetings in April with revolutionary representatives, the commission requested authorization from McKinley to offer a specific plan. McKinley authorized an offer of a government consisting of "a Governor-General appointed by the President; cabinet appointed by the Governor-General; [and] a general advisory council elected by the people." The Revolutionary Congress voted unanimously to cease fighting and accept peace and, on May 8, the revolutionary cabinet headed by Apolinario Mabini was replaced by a new "peace" cabinet headed by Pedro Paterno. At this point, General Antonio Luna arrested Paterno and most of his cabinet, returning Mabini and his cabinet to power. After this, the commission concluded that "... The Filipinos are wholly unprepared for independence ... there being no Philippine nation, but only a collection of different peoples."
In the report that they issued to the president the following year, the commissioners acknowledged Filipino aspirations for independence; they declared, however, that the Philippines was not ready for it.
Should our power by any fatality be withdrawn, the commission believe that the government of the Philippines would speedily lapse into anarchy, which would excuse, if it did not necessitate, the intervention of other powers and the eventual division of the islands among them. Only through American occupation, therefore, is the idea of a free, self-governing, and united Philippine commonwealth at all conceivable. And the indispensable need from the Filipino point of view of maintaining American sovereignty over the archipelago is recognized by all intelligent Filipinos and even by those insurgents who desire an American protectorate. The latter, it is true, would take the revenues and leave us the responsibilities. Nevertheless, they recognize the indubitable fact that the Filipinos cannot stand alone. Thus the welfare of the Filipinos coincides with the dictates of national honour in forbidding our abandonment of the archipelago. We cannot from any point of view escape the responsibilities of government which our sovereignty entails; and the commission is strongly persuaded that the performance of our national duty will prove the greatest blessing to the peoples of the Philippine Islands.
Specific recommendations included the establishment of civilian government as rapidly as possible (the American chief executive in the islands at that time was the military governor), including establishment of a bicameral legislature, autonomous governments on the provincial and municipal levels, and a system of free public elementary schools.
The Second Philippine Commission (the Taft Commission), appointed by McKinley on March 16, 1900, and headed by William Howard Taft, was granted legislative as well as limited executive powers. On September 1, the Taft Commission began to exercise legislative functions. Between September 1900 and August 1902, it issued 499 laws, established a judicial system, including a supreme court, drew up a legal code, and organized a civil service. The 1901 municipal code provided for popularly elected presidents, vice presidents, and councilors to serve on municipal boards. The municipal board members were responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining municipal properties, and undertaking necessary construction projects; they also elected provincial governors.
On March 3, 1901 the U.S. Congress passed the Army Appropriation Act containing (along with the Platt Amendment on Cuba) the Spooner Amendment which provided the President with legislative authority to establish of a civil government in the Philippines. Up until this time, the President been administering the Philippines by virtue of his war powers. On July 1, 1901, civil government was inaugurated with William H. Taft as the Civil Governor. Later, on February 3, 1903, the U.S. Congress would change the title of Civil Governor to Governor-General.
A highly centralized public school system was installed in 1901, using English as the medium of instruction. This created a heavy shortage of teachers, and the Philippine Commission authorized the Secretary of Public Instruction to bring to the Philippines 600 teachers from the U.S.A. — the so-called Thomasites. Free primary instruction that trained the people for the duties of citizenship and avocation was enforced by the Taft Commission per instructions of President McKinley. Also, the Catholic Church was disestablished, and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed.
The Philippine Organic Act of July 1902 approved, ratified, and confirmed McKinley's Executive Order establishing the Philippine Commission, and also stipulated that the bicameral Philippine Legislature would be established composed of an elected lower house, the Philippine Assembly and the appointed Philippine Commission as the upper house. The act also provided for extending the United States Bill of Rights to the Philippines.
On July 2, 1902 the Secretary of War telegraphed that the insurrection against the sovereign authority of the U.S. having come to an end, and provincial civil governments having been established, the office of Military Governor was terminated. On July 4, Theodore Roosevelt, who had succeeded to the U.S. Presidency after the assassination of President McKinley on September 5, 1901 proclaimed a full and complete pardon and amnesty to all persons in the Philippine archipelago who had participated in the conflict.
On April 9, 2002, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo proclaimed that the Philippine–American War had ended on April 16, 1902 with the surrender of General Miguel Malvar, and declared the centennial anniversary of that date as a national working holiday and as a special non-working holiday in the Province of Batangas and in the Cities of Batangas, Lipa and Tanaun.
Some sources have suggested that the war unofficially continued for nearly a decade, since bands of guerrillas, quasi-religious armed groups and other resistance groups continued to roam the countryside, still clashing with American Army or Philippine Constabulary patrols. American troops and the Philippine Constabulary continued hostilities against such resistance groups until 1913. Some historians consider these unofficial extensions to be part of the war.
|United States Military Government||Philippine Republic|
|Established||14 August 1898||23 January 1899|
|Constitutional Document||War powers authority of the President||Malolos Constitution|
|Head of State||President of the United States||President of the Philippines|
|Head of Government||Military Governor of the Philippine Islands||Prime Minister of the Philippines|
|Legislative||Martial Law (1898-1900)
Philippine Commission (1900-1902)
|Military||United States Armed Forces||Philippine Republican Army|
|Official Language(s)||English||Spanish, Tagalog|