America at War: The Philippines, 1898-1913

America at War: The Philippines, 1898-1913

America at War: The Philippines, 1898-1913

America at War: The Philippines, 1898-1913

Synopsis

Using previously unpublished diaries, letters, and photographs--plus the writings of war correspondent John T. McCutcheon--Feuer offers a vivid account of America's war in the Philippine Islands during the early part of the 20th century. This story highlights the experiences of the American soldiers, sailors, and marines who participated in the major battles. Not only did they fight a determined enemy, they also battled the weather, the jungle, and the diseases that threatened to take their lives. Their writings, including a section of poems and songs of the era, reveal the thoughts and anxieties of the American fighting man, serving his country nearly 8,000 miles from home.

Excerpt

Emilio Aguinaldo was born in Old Cavite, Luzon, on March 22, 1869, and was educated at the College of San Juan de Letran in Manila. In 1895 he became a leader in the Katipunan, a revolutionary society that sought complete independence from Spain.

In 1896 the Filipinos revolted against the heavy taxes imposed upon them by the Spanish government. People unable to pay their taxes were forced to toil at hard labor and work out payments at the rate of ten cents a day.

In September Aguinaldo, leading a ragtag band of soldiers, defeated Spanish General Aguirre’s regiment at the Battle of Imus. After his victory, Aguinaldo issued a manifesto urging the Filipino people to rally to the cause of the revolution. Then, two months later, he handed the Spanish another setback at Cavite. This victory incited the people in other provinces of Luzon to also take up arms against their oppressors. The Spanish, however, were determined to put down the revolt and defeated Aguinaldo’s followers in a series of battles.

In June 1897 Aguinaldo was forced to flee Cavite, and with a band of loyal Filipinos, he relocated in the mountains near Bulacan. In order to quell the rebellion the Spanish authorities reached an agreement with the revolutionaries whereby Spain would pay $800,000 to Aguinaldo in exchange for his voluntary exile to Hong Kong. The rebels would lay down their arms, and a general amnesty would be granted to Aguinaldo’s men. The Spanish government also promised to institute social reforms in the islands.

In early 1898 uprisings again began to take place on Luzon as the Spaniards continued their abusive treatment of the Filipinos.

After the sinking of the USS Maine in the harbor at Havana, Cuba, in February 1898, tensions between the United States and Spain quickly reached the boiling point. On April 22, E. Spencer Pratt, the U.S. Consul General at Sin-

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