Nic Aaron D. Cataquiz
11 – Our Lady of Fatima
The following shows the major events or laws that happened before the United States gave the Philippines its “independence”.
I. Treaty of Paris
In August 1898, the Spanish governor-general agreed with American commanders to surrender Manila to the Americans. On August 13, 1898, during the Battle of Manila, Americans took control of the city. In December 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Spanish–American War and selling the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. With this treaty, Spanish rule in the Philippines formally ended. The U.S. took over in owning the Philippines.
II. Jones Law
The ultimate goal for the Philippines was independence. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt said as early as 1901, “We hope to do for them what has never been done for any people of the tropics—to make them fit for self-government after the fashion of really free nations.” The Jones law was enacted by the 64th United States Congress on August 29, 1916 and contained the first formal and official declaration of the United States Federal Government’s commitment to grant independence to the Philippines. The law provides that the grant of independence would come only “as soon as a stable government can be established”, which was to be determined by the United States Government.
III. The Tydings-McDuffie Act
During first years, there were some conflicts between the U.S. and The Philippines but during World War I, they came together and the Filipinos fought alongside the Americans. After WWI ended, the U.S. continued to rule over the Philippines, and gradually their relationship became much more friendly. In 1934, the Tydings / McDuffie Law was passed, making the Philippines commonwealth of the U.S. The United States agreed to give the Philippines 10 years to prepare for their complete independence but because of WWII and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, that promise was not made until 1946. On July 4, 1946, the United States declared the Philippines an independent nation.
I. Evaluation of The Claim
According to Manuel L. Quezon, “If we compare our individual and civic traits with those that adorned our forefathers, we will find, I fear, that we, the Filipinos of today, have lost much of the moral strength and power for growth of our ancestors.” His statement shows a claim of fact supported by the major events that happened before his given address on Policies and Achievements of the Government and Regeneration of the Filipino.
Before gaining independence, language policy makers have already started discussing what would be the common language of the Philippines. Filipino became the national language, and English was given the status of an official language of the Philippines. The Treaty of Paris allowed the United States to “freely” take over the Philippines. In August 1901, 500 American teachers or also known as the Thomasites were sent by the United States to the Philippines. Thomasites were educating a lot of Filipinos for free back then. During that time, English began to be taught in the schools, and that was the language that the teachers would use. Of course, if English, a language, is taught, American literature would not be left behind.
This is where colonialism takes place. Collins English Dictionary defines colonialism as “the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas.” Filipino people might have enjoyed benefit of having free education but this was not the real reason why such development was made. The rules that had been imposed by the Americans to the Filipinos in relation to education also had negative effects. The Americans imposed these rules to achieve their main objective, which is to colonize and use the country and its people. Education was the most useful means or ways in pursuing a peaceful relationship with the Filipinos. Through education, the Americans influenced the Filipinos in terms of the way they eat, to love the American culture and most of all, to prioritize American products. If the Spaniards used religion as an excuse to capture Filipino’s hearts and minds, the Americans poisoned our way of thinking through education. The Filipino have neglected and set aside their own culture and their own identity.
In truth, United States valued the Philippines mainly because of economic and strategic reasons. Located in such an area blessed with natural resources, the Philippines was a tempting target for any country seeking to expand its power and influence in Asia; an example for this would be Japan who fought the Americans and Filipinos all together.