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Article reading and then response

Read the attached history articles and then Write a 2-3 page response paper on a topic relating to Early U.S. Empire in the Pacific Racializing the Philippines.  Your argument should be something along the lines of “why did the US change their view of the Filipinos as savages or lesser human beings rather than equals the had seen prior to gaining the US territory.”

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Race and the San Francisco School Board Incident:

Contemporary Evaluations

Author(s): David Brudnoy
Source: California Historical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (Sep., 1971), pp. 295-312
Published by: University of California Press in association with the California Historical
Society
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David Brudnoy
Lecturer in history at Northeastern
University, editor, and contributor to
many journals.

Race and the San Francisco School Board Incident:

Contemporary Evaluations

In July of 1971, Federal Judge Stanley Weigel ordered the San Fran
cisco School Board to effect a massive school integration plan. In mak
ing his decision, Judge Weigel was dealing with a phenomenon which
has a long history in San Francisco and California as a whole. In 1870
the state legislature provided for the establishment of separate schools
for non-white children, a provision not formally removed from the
books until 1946. In 1905; the San Francisco School Board took advan
tage of this law to order Asian children to attend a separate, all-Asian
school. David Brudnoy discusses the implications of the School Board’s
order and the national and international reactions it provoked.

Concern as to the consequences which could result from the San
Francisco school board’s decision to establish separate schools for
Oriental pupils in 1905 was expressed by many people on both

sides of the Pacific, as well as by observers in Europe. A representative of
the Japanese-American press appraised the situation in its early stages as
“no longer confined to a handful of school children; it has assumed inter
national proportions.”1 A Southern congressman phrased his foreboding in
black-white terms:

If the President should fail to have his way . . . and California officials should stand
firm in defense of the unquestioned right of that State, the danger of a permanent
estrangement between our country and Japan will have been increased, first, by
reason of the blunder of the President in boosting the Japanese into the belief that
they were being unfairly treated and, secondly, by reason of the failure of the Presi
dent in this pending conference itself.
Whereas if, upon the other hand, the President should succeed in including the

officials of California to recede from their position we will become the laughing
stock in the face of the whole civilized world. Such a position will come home to
grieve us, not only in Cuba, but in every State North and South . . . Indeed, the
negro [sic] children and the Chinese children here at home in every State will
vehemently demand the same right to send their children to the same schools that
the white children attend, and we will have no good reason left for refusing
these demands.2

295

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296 California Historical Quarterly

The cauldron of diplomatic tension which was set boiling by the school
board affair continued to simmer even after the incident itself was os

tensibly cooled. Writing to Secretary of State Elihu Root in July of 1907,
Theodore Roosevelt declared: “I am more concerned over the Japanese
situation than almost any other. Thank Heaven we have the navy in good
shape.”3 Relations between Japan and America, which had begun with
such high hopes in the mid-nineteenth century, took a dismal turn. The
Treaty of 1854, arranged by Commodore Perry and the Tairo Ii Naosuke,
read in part:

There shall be a perfect, permanent, and universal peace and a sincere and cordial
amity between the United States of America . . . and the Empire of Japan, . . . and
between their people respectively, without exception of persons and places.

And the revised treaty of 22 November 1894?in force in 1906?specified:

Article I: . . . The citizens or subjects of each High Contracting Power shall . . .
in all… matters connected with the administration of justice . . . enjoy all the rights
and privileges enjoyed by native citizens or subjects. . . .4

But a clause in a California state law read:

. . . trustees shall have power to exclude children of filthy and vicious habits, or
children suffering from contagious or infectious diseases, and also to establish sep
arate schools for Indian children and for children of Mongolian or Chinese descent.

When such separate schools are established, [such] children must not be admitted
into any other school.5

Availing themselves of the opportunity thus presented, the San Francisco
school board in May, 1905, issued a resolution declaring its intention to
establish separate schools for Chinese and Japanese pupils, “not only for
the purpose of relieving the congestion at present prevailing in our schools,
but also for the higher end that our children should not be placed in any
position where their youthful impressions may be affected by association
with pupils of the Mongolian race.”6 Though the school board was urged
to carry out its segregation policy by the newly-formed Japanese and

Korean Exclusion League, for some reason it did not do so at that time.
The active campaign against the Japanese which began in a series of articles
in the San Francisco Chronicle in February, 1905, came to fruition in
violence at the time of the earthquake of April 18, 1906, and in the next
year.7 Though sporadic, attacks on Japanese grew more frequent and
damage was extensive. But the Japanese, realizing the circumstances under
which the city was struggling, remained patient. Businesses were wrecked,
and persons, including a prominent seismography expert from Tokyo, Dr.
T. Omori, were stoned by ruffians.8

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 297

On October 11, 1906, the San Francisco school board passed a second
resolution and moved immediately to implement it:

Resolved, that in accordance with Article X, section 1662, of the school law of
California, principals are hereby directed to send all Chinese, Japanese or Korean
children to the Oriental public school [located near the earthquake-devastated
Chinatown] on and after Monday, October 15, 1906.9

The Japanese press was greatly disturbed by this. One of the most jingoistic
of the Tokyo dailies, Maruichi, stated on October 21 in an agitated tone
that Japan should send her navy to chastise the Americans. Theodore
Roosevelt went into a rage, moved to sue the Board of Education, threat
ened to send in troops and directed Secretary Root to cable the American
ambassador in Tokyo to give assurances to Japan. The President told Con
gress on December 3: “… [the anti Japanese hostility] is most discreditable
to us as a people and may be fraught with the gravest consequences to the
nation…. To shut them out from the public schools is a wicked absurdity.”
And he recommended passage of an act providing for naturalization of the
Japanese. As is well known, however, Roosevelt favored exclusion as sound
and proper policy, decrying only the manner in which some were seeking
to bring this about.10

The President was vigorously opposed for his position, the San Francisco
Courant remarking that “no such rebuke has been leveled at an American
city by an American President since Andrew Jackson’s time, if then.”11
On December 18, Roosevelt submitted to Congress the November report
of his Secretary of Commerce and Labor, Victor Metcalf, and this, too,
was vigorously opposed by those who defended the school board’s action.
Roosevelt then “invited” the school board and Mayor Schmitz to Washing
ton for consultations, and they did come, on February 8, 1907. On the
fifteenth of February a compromise was reached whereby “the Californians
got what they most wanted, assurances that the influx of coolies would be
stopped; the federal administration got what it most wanted?a promised
repeal of the school order. The San Francisco delegation, fully aware that
a surrender on the school issue would cause a storm of protest in their
city, were reluctantly brought around to Roosevelt’s point of view. . . ,”12
The school order was rescinded on March 13, except insofar as it applied
to Chinese and Korean children; the “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” further
limiting Japanese immigration, was concluded, and the affair was officially
closed.

However, soon after the delegation returned to San Francisco, mobs
renewed their attacks on the Japanese.

Within two weeks after the riots, the opposition leaders in Japan were speaking
openly of war, and the press of the United States and of Europe was reporting that
the affair had become so serious that France had extended her good offices to pro

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298 California Historical Quarterly
mote an understanding. This last rumor appears to have been without foundation,
for the diplomatic situation was in no way disquieting, but it contributed to the
growing feeling that affairs were nearing a crisis.13

The next two years witnessed the world cruise of the American fleet,
Roosevelt’s advocacy of building up the navy, and diplomatic measures
designated to ward off any possible American-Japanese conflict.14 The aura
of suspicion, hate and fear symbolized by the school board incident was to
last, first in diminished and then in gradually heightened form, to World

War II.

This study of an important incident in the worsening of Japanese-Ameri can relations is concerned with attitudes. It is not intended here to
discuss in detail the chronological unfolding of events; the brief historical
resume above must suffice for that. Professor Thomas Bailey has asserted
that the story is one of race prejudice and should be seen primarily in that
light; the validity of his contention is tested here by reference to the rele
vant opinions of various individuals, publications, and organizations. I have
concentrated primarily on one motivating impetus to the affair because of

my belief that on the American side the injustices committed were largely
the result of a particular racialist viewpoint; as the gyrating melody of
diplomacy was played in the upper registers, the basso ostinato of racialism
droned on in the lower.

In considering the affair, the early warnings of the President of the
United States and the later evaluation of the situation by the President of
Stanford University were kept in mind as poles between which to view the

multitude of opinions. Writing to Senator Lodge on May 15 and June 5,
1905, Roosevelt said:

I am utterly disgusted. . . . The feeling of the Pacific Coast people … is as foolish
as if conceived by the mind of a Hottentot. [With] careless insolence [they wish]
grossly to insult the Japanese . . . and at the same time … be given advantages in
Oriental markets. . . . With besotted folly [the West Coast people] are indifferent
to building up the navy while provoking this formidable new power?a power
jealous, sensitive and warlike and which, if irritated could at once take both the

Philippines and Hawaii from us if she obtained the upper hand on the seas.15

Seven years later, Stanford University President Jordan observed the school
affair in this light:

The extravagance of the press in both nations stirred up all the latent partisanship
in both races involved. On the one hand the injuries to the Japanese children were

grossly exaggerated. On the other hand, gratuitous slanders were invented to justify
the actions of the school board.16

The bold assertion of the editor of the Coast Seamen’s Journal must be
taken seriously: “the opposition to Oriental immigration is justified upon

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 299
the single ground of race. . . . The race differences between these people is
radical and irreversable. . . ,”17 What a majority of Americans may have
felt remains subordinate in importance to the expressions of opinion by
those who spoke and wrote. The “case” here presented, therefore, is an
indictment of America’s part in the incipient stages of the tragedy of

American-Japanese hostility by those who commented on it at the time.
The heavy blame which is justly levied upon the Japan of the 1930’s and
early 1940’s for her role in the destruction of world peace is not absolved
by reference to this earlier American injustice to Japanese people. Without
an understanding of it and of the succession of slights which followed,
however, the picture of the ’30’s and ’40’s becomes lopsided, and conclu
sions are bound to be distorted.18

Agitation against the Japanese proved to be a popular pastime of poli l ticians and propagandists in California beginning about 1900. Denis
Kearney had hardly put down his “The Chinese Must Go” placards when
he picked up one labeled “The Japanese are the Yellow Peril,” dropped,
perhaps, by a disciple of the notorious Dr. O’Donnell, an abortionist who
had uttered the cry “Japs Must Go” for the first (recorded) time in San
Francisco in 1887. Kearney had a taste for the Apocalyptic: “I tell you
solemnly that if the fathers and mothers of this country don’t see it now,
they will see it later on to their sorrow when it will grow to such size that
it will take bloodshed to settle it.”19

It seemed to many as if anti-Japanese agitation in labor-dominated San
Francisco was due in large measure to the machinations of local labor
political organs.20 Candidates of all major parties stood on platforms con
structed of old anti-Chinese planks up-dated to draw attention to the new
Japanese “menace.” Mass meetings were held to protest the presence of the
Japanese on all grounds imaginable. Yet, despite the capital to be gained
from pandering to the anti-Japanese bias of many constituents, political
profit cannot have been the chief motive occasioning the school board
incident, as it was hardly exploited by politicians until criticism was drawn
from “hostile” sources such as Japan, Roosevelt, the “East,” and Europe.21

When the assertion was made that Japanese were entitled to attend the
same schools as whites because of the 1894 treaty, the discussion of that
treaty and of its subordination to, or supremacy over, local laws became a
prominent issue. The matter of the legality or illegality of the school board
action in light of the treaty was the vehicle whereby certain defenders of
the American Way of Life declared their intention of showing the federal
government the proper order of things.

The Administration’s view was expressed by Elihu Root in an article
in the inaugural volume of a new scholarly journal. The San Francisco
board did provide schooling for Oriental children, Root asserted, but not

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3 oo California Historical Quarterly

the same schooling as for whites and other resident aliens. The 1894 treaty
did not guarantee schools to the Japanese in California, he felt, but only
“equality of treatment with the citizens of other foreign nations. . . ,”22
Accordingly, Root reasoned, if California provided schools for alien chil
dren, it must include Japanese children too. Seeing the treaty-making power
of the United States as superior to the laws of the several states, and hence
viewing the San Francisco issue as one not involving the states rights
theory, Root wrote that “it follows of necessity that the treaty-making
power alone was authority to determine what those rights, privileges, and
immunities shall be.”23 In the preceding issue of the same journal, the editors
asserted that the Japanese of San Francisco had been denied proper rights
and privileges under the most-favored nation concept.24 The term em
ployed, in the pages of the American Journal of International Law and
elsewhere, was “equivalent if not identical” school facilities.

Both scholarly and popular opinion relied strongly on this doctrine,
derived, of course, from the “separate but equal” ruling of the Supreme
Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which enshrined as the law of the
land a much earlier judgment by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of Massachusetts, Lemuel Shaw, allowing separate schools for children of
different color.25 Professor Amos S. Hershey not only minimized the inci
dent, calling it a “trivial matter . . . the segregation of less than one hundred
Japanese pupils in the oriental school of San Francisco,” but also dismissed
the notion that the Japanese were entitled to school privileges by the treaty:
“Even if this were the case, it by no means follows that such a provision
would be constitutional or that, if constitutional, Japanese children could
not be segregated in separate schools.”26 Hershey differentiated the “broad
constructionist” argument (that the treaty power of the federal govern
ment is unlimited) from the “strict constructionist” argument (that such
power is limited), bemoaned that the broad constructionists seemed to have
won in this case, and asserted his own view that the “federal government
[does not have] the right, by treaty or otherwise, to encroach upon the

police power or reserved rights of the States to the extent of directing or
controlling their public school system.”27

Hershey’s view was popular with those asserting the rightness of San
Francisco’s course. President Altmann of the school board, for instance,
flatly declared that “if there is a violation of the treaty rights between the
two governments the fault is not ours; it is with the legislature that passed
the law.”28 And such was the respondent’s argument in the case of Keikichi
Aoki v. M. A. Deane, which came before the Supreme Court of California
in March, 1907. Deane was principal of the Redding primary school, from

which ten year old, Japanese-born, Keikichi Aoki was barred in accordance
with the city regulation, and to which the boy, through his father, Michit
sugu Aoki, sought admittance by legal action. Aoki saw the word “reside”

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 301
in the 1894 treaty as including attendance in schools. The respondent, rep
resented by William G. Burke, City Attorney, denied this construction
and, furthermore, hinted that the treaty might be “unconstitutional and
nugatory” because it was in excess of the authority given to the President
and was a trespass on the reserve powers of the States guaranteed by
Amendment X of the United States Constitution.

Never before has any attempt been made to enforce a right of this character through
treaty manipulations on behalf of foreign subjects. Efforts have been repeatedly
made on the part of citizens of the United States to defeat legislation by the States
establishing separate schools for persons of the colored race. Several of the States
of the Union have enacted statutes and they are still now in full force and effect,
establishing separate schools for negro children, and the [right to so establish such
schools as has been challenged on the] ground that such legislation was in conflict
with the fourteenth amendment, . . . guaranteeing to its citizens equal privileges,
rights and immunities, and the equal protection of the laws.29

The halls of Congress reverberated with stirring defenses of California’s
bold posture. California is a sovereign state:

The State of California has the right to determine for itself the rules and regula
tions for the conduct of its schools as it has to determine any other question in the
multitude of reserved rights of the States. No Court has ever decided that the
General Government, either by an act of Congress or by the exercise of the treaty
making power, can invade the common school system of the States, the impulsive
declaration of the President about sending the army and Navy to protect the
Japanese to the contrary notwithstanding.30

The treaty be dawtned:

So I contend . . . first, that there is no conflict between the treaty and the Cali
fornia school law; second, that if there is a conflict, the treaty must give way, for
the California school law is an exercise of the police power, and therefore superior,
subject to repeal by no authority on earth save by her State legislature.31

They all look alike:

… I am for the State of California as against any race or nation, because it is an
American State and part of the United States. I am with the people of California,
because this Japanese question is the Chinese question with another name.32

Representative Michalek concluded his remarks by asserting that the ex
clusion of Japanese labor is as important as adherence to* the Monroe
Doctrine.

The bulk of scholarly opinion, however, disagreed with Hershey and the
popularizers of his view. Professors Charles Hyde, William D. Lewis,
Simeon E. Baldwin, and Mr. Arthur K. Kuhn, for example, writing in
respected law journals, asserted the supremacy of the treaty-making powers

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3 o 2 California Historical Quarterly

of the United States?the broad constructionist argument. Nevertheless, the
editors of The American Journal of International Law, in the issue contain
ing Secretary Root’s piece, evaluated a contradictory theory as follows:

In a very careful and sane article by Theodore P. Ion, in the Michigan Law
Review for March, 1907, it is contended on authority and reason that the treaty
does not confer the right of education in the public schools; that the state of
California performs its international duty, supposing the Japanese have the right
claimed, by furnishing equal, not identical, facilities; that foreigners cannot well
claim to enjoy in this country greater rights and privileges than native-born citizens
of the United States enjoy, referring especially to the situation of the negro.33

At the base of the ruling against the Japanese children there was a feeling l that Japanese could not be assimilated. Olaf Tveitmoe, a Swedish im
migrant who was president of the Japanese and Korean Exclusion League,
who had a criminal record, and who was the alter-ego of P. H. McCarthy,
head of San Francisco trades-unionism, spoke of Japan as an industrial and
military menace. The Japanese people themselves

do not, will not, and can not amalgamate with out people . . . they remain at heart
Mongols still. The Jap never assimilates? Why should he? He belongs to a race and
a civilization centuries ahead of our own. He is perfectly willing to learn anything
of use from anybody who can teach him. But everything he learns and . . . acquires
is for Japan. He has no attachment and no affection save for his own people and
for his own land. … In sex relations, Japanese ideas and ideals are so far apart from
our own that it is unjust to judge them by our standards. As to chastity, the Jap
is simply unmoral.34

Most of the observers whose opinions were reported asserted (albeit in
prose less purple than Tveitmoe’s) that the Japanese is one type, the white
another. Particularly was this so, they felt, with adults of the two races.35

The Chronicle explained “Why Japanese are Objectionable in Schools”
thus: “Whatever the status of the Japanese children while still young and
uncontaminated, as they grow older they acquire the distinctive character,
habits and moral standards of their race, which are abhorrent to our people.

We object to them in the familiar intercourse of common school life as we
would object to any other moral poison.”36

It was maintained that there were countless Japanese, many of them
adults, in the primary and secondary schools of San Francisco: “It is diffi
cult to tell the age of a Japanese boy or man, and we have learned from
experience that we could not take their word for it. The parents of white
children?especially of girls in the adolescent period?began to feel that
these men should be excluded from the public schools altogether. . . .”37

Even when it was not asserted that the children were adults, it was obvious

that they were unacceptable: “The people of California will never permit

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 303
children of Asiatic descent to sit at the same desk and occupy the same
room with white children. The Government of the United States is power
ful, but not powerful enough for that.”38

This, then, was the menace, the scholar battalion of the Yellow Peril
army. In fact, in the San Francisco school system, there were 93 Japanese
people, one-third of them American-born (thus citizens). Sixty-five were
boys, thirty-four under age fifteen, thirty-one over fifteen, of which two
were over twenty and of which the average age of the remainder was
seventeen and one-half years old.39 (The census of 1910 listed 41,346 Jap
anese in California, of which 4,518 lived in San Francisco, less than two
percent of the total population of that city.) Hugh Borton asserts that
“since there were only 93 persons affected by this order, it had obviously
been motivated by racial prejudice against the Japanese.”40 The late A.

Whitney Griswold maintained further that “the school board seems to have
acted more in response to a desire to humble the Japanese than on the merits
of the case presented,”41 and there were numerous assertions by teachers and
principals that the Japanese were model pupils, personally clean and moral.
Yet as “tens of thousands of parents in San Francisco and perhaps hundreds
of thousands on the Pacific Coast, were deceived and excited by this unfair
presentation of the case, the Board of Education and the San Francisco
newspapers are largely responsible for the state of feeling thus brought
about.”42

Some soothingly reassured the nation that the incident would be amic
ably settled and everything would be all right. Certain observers later felt
the problem to have been a matter of economic competition rather than of
racial antipathy. Attacks on Japanese restaurants and other non-union
establishments added support to former mayor James Phelan’s observation,
that “the racial question has been unfairly injected into the situation. There
is practically no racial prejudice, but the working men have been urged not
to patronize the Japanese restaurants, for instance, because they are con
ducted by non-union help. . . .”43

The old anti-Chinese arguments about the unreliability and mercilessness
of Chinese employees were trotted out, with the added filip that the Jap
anese were worse even than the Chinese. California’s Hayes, the Con
gressional champion of Japanese exclusion, spoke in Washington of the
cheap labor swamping the American labor market, and of a people so
heinous as to be undesirable under any circumstances:

. . . unblushing lying is so universal among the Japanese as to be one of the leading
national traits; . . . the Japanese people do not understand the meaning of the word
“morality,”. . . there is no such word in Japanese corresponding to “sin,” because
there is in the ordinary Japanese mind no conception of its meaning. There is no
word corresponding to the word “home,” because there is nothing in the Japanese
domestic life corresponding to the home as we know it.44

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304 California Historical Quarterly

The Nation’s evaluation of Hayes is noteworthy: “He indulged in this kind
of claptrap in spite of the fact that the whole Pacific Coast is suffering from
lack of labor. The development of all its industries is retarded for want of
hands. An immediate influx of from fifty to one hundred thousand Chinese
and Japanese would be a great blessing.”45

I think it fair to suggest, with Professor Bailey and the correspondent
for an Outlook article, “The Attacks on the Japanese,” that the problems
of economic competition and racial prejudice were inter-related, if not
actually two sides of the same inflated coin.

. . . the attacks upon peaceable and law-abiding Japanese, the exclusion of Japanese
pupils from the public schools attended by whites, the boycott of the Japanese
restaurants last fall and the stoning of some of them this spring, are all due, directly
or indirectly to a feeling of racial antipathy aroused by the trades unions for selfish
economic reasons, and greatly intensified by the activity of the Japanese Exclusion
League and the one-sided treatment of the question at issue by the San Francisco
press.46

In 1905, the organization known as the Japanese and Korean Exclusion League (later The Asiatic Exclusion League) lumbered into existence,
with the above-mentioned O. E. Tveitmoe as founder and first president.
Though, as has been noted, anti-Japanese sentiment preceded the founding
of the organization, there can be little doubt that the League, aided by the
politicians Abe Ruef and Mayor Schmitz, was in large part responsible for
creating the school question, for aggravating the boycots and perhaps for
encouraging the attacks on Japanese.47 The League was particularly hostile
to the school board when it returned from the “sell-out” in Washington.
In the midst of the imbroglio, the World’s Work appraised the League
thus: “Such a league, if it confine its activity to legitimate matters, may go
far toward the simplification of this most difficult and involved question
If it plunge ahead blindly, following the dictates of race prejudice, passion,
or mere jealousy, it will become a menace not only to California but to the
United States itself.”48

An examination of their activities evinces doubt that the League mem
bers, with their single-minded determination to rid California of its
Orientals as well as of its Oriental “problem,” could have served to do
anything but stir up trouble. The League’s pronouncements represent the

whole spectrum of invective leveled against the Japanese, whether of an
explicitly racial type or not. The school question, for the League and
its allies, served as an initiating vehicle for launching the exclusion move

ment, and as such it was deliberately provocative. “The school question
is a mere incident in our campaign for Japanese exclusion.”49

“We ask that the Chinese Exclusion Act shall be extended to embrace

Japanese and all other Asiatic laborers,” said Representative Hayes in Con
gress.50 “Californians want to be rid of the Japanese. . . . Whether the put

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 305
ting out of the way involves the US in a war with Japan or whether the
thing can be done smoothly and peacefully is a matter of supreme indif
ference to the people of the Golden State.”51 Montaville Flowers excoriated
the United States for allowing Japan to see how she could get what she
wanted by appeal to international sentiments, and he blamed the Japanese
for provoking the affair themselves.52 The Japanese were accused of im
periousness, impudence, of taking honors in school away from white
children, of moral laxity (concubinage, picture brides, prostitution), and
of a rich catalogue of sins. Representative Webb, ever alert to the dangers
of miscegenation, disturbance of the national order, and so forth, was
especially agile:

The free-school privilege of California is a gift to the Japanese which they are not
compelled by any law, regulation or ordinance to accept. The only condition which
the State attaches to the gift is that, if they do accept it, they must do so in certain
school buildings, which are as comfortable as those in which the whites attend
school. … It is the height of Oriental conceit to demand more. It is the climax of
Japanese swell-headedness to persist in their demands, [applause] This insistence in
demanding that they be allowed to attend white schools proves their unfitness to
enjoy such a privilege, [applause] The sons of Nippon should be made to under
stand that notwithstanding their recent victory over decrepit Russia, they cannot
compel the Young Giant of the West to abrogate her laws or destroy her customs
simply to meet the Japanese caprice or tickle Japanese fancy, [applause]53

Outbursts of this sort and attacks against Japanese were seen by Roose
velt as cracks in the diplomatic wall “which would plunge us into war.”54
That was was the most serious conceivable consequence of the affair is
obvious. Yet, we must recognize that in the many issues involved, the many
attitudes of hostility and defensiveness expressed, the essential feature, that
which stands preeminent, was racism. Professor Bailey has savored the
multitude of ingredients in this particular stew:

The labor union group in California felt that they had been sold out; the exclusionists
considered the agreement but a halfway measure; the anti-exclusionists regarded the
settlement as a step in the wrong direction; the states rights advocates, on the Coast,
as well as farther east, deplored the unprecedented extension of the federal arm;
the Southern whites feared a dangerous precedent that might later be used against
negro segregation . . . and the Japanese masses were disgruntled . . . because of veiled
discrimination involved.55

The Western states were almost uniformly hostile to the Japanese, and
within this hostility there loomed large the specter of race. Justified, per
haps, in fearing a submergence of native culture by a hypothetical, over
large influx of Asians?a scant possibility?the Californians and their sup
porters veered into sophistry when attempting to bring about their desired
goal, exclusion of Orientals through any means possible. Though a few

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3 06 California Historical Quarterly

Western papers stood out at least partially as defenders of the Japanese, and
though various chambers of commerce, churches, missionaries, and educa
tors deplored the hostility, many Californians, desiring to preserve the
white race against the relentless competition of the Asians, indulged in
gutter abuse.56 Their hope was to end immigration and thus end the prob
lem, “for the Japanese now here would die off. . . ,”57 With every weapon
in its arsenal the “yellow press” of California and its friends sought to
breathe a current of fear and loathing of the Japanese into the Western
atmosphere. California’s friends in Congress stood ready to defend her:
“Those people in California are right in requiring the Japanese and the
Chinese and the negro and other alien races to attend separate schools. That
separation of the races is best for every race and for everybody.”58 Some
shouted for war. Representative Hayes was ready to go: “If we are to have

war with Japan, let’s have it right away. We are ready and they are not.”59
The Eastern papers stood aloof and frowned, though often with visions

of lost commerce dancing in their heads:

. . . the people of the United States have occasion to be ashamed of themselves. . . .
If the people of the coast are in truth engaging in any form of anti-Japanese crusade
or are showing a prejudice against the Japanese, they are open to the emphatic
condemnation of the whole people of this country. Our interests in the Far East, to
speak commercially, are too heavy and important to be placed in jeopardy by a

wanton insult of the dominant power.60

Roosevelt, the patrician Easterner, exemplifying a peculiar, though fash
ionable, blend of polite Social Darwinian prejudice and egalitarian repub
licanism, expressed displeasure both with Japan, for being too excitable,
and with California?particularly with the latter. After the tensions had
eased, Roosevelt, though seeing the Japanese-American crisis as the most
significant in his administration, wrote calmly of the problem to Repre
sentative William Kent of California: “Our line of policy must be adopted
holding ever in view the fact that this is a race question, and that race
questions stand by themselves. . . .”61 Roosevelt wanted exclusion of labor
ers by mutual agreement, and complete freedom of movement for the
upper elements of both the white and Japanese peoples.

The East was almost unanimous in condemning the Californians for
their methods, while approving in general their desire to prevent “coolie”
immigration. The European press was also of this mind. As the reaction
of all the foreign press but the Japanese is beyond the scope of this study,
suffice it to say that much European comment was alarmist in its prediction
of war as a result of the school controversy, while only those areas among
the world’s nations which shared California’s problems (such as Australia
and Western Canada) sided with the American Giant of the West in her

approach to the problem.

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 307

Japanese observers, of course, were deeply disturbed. Press comments in
the first month of the controversy, October, 1906, ran the gamut of

opinion:

. . . the incident of the expulsion of all Japanese children from California schools has
made the already full cup flow over. . . . The Jiji Shimpo is astounded at this action
on the part of the San Francisco authorities. It has not believed such a thing possible
in America, the country which, above all others, prides itself on being guided by
principles of freedom and benevolence. There have been of late many evidences of
the growth of anti-Japanese feeling in the United States, but the Jiji has been
restrained from commenting on them, remembering, as it always does, what Japan
owes to America and with what feelings she has always regarded her great trans
Pacific neighbor. . . . The Kokumin Shimbun, however, is disposed to make light of
this affair . . . reminding them [the Japanese] that the centre of discussion is a
vicious circle of western politicians who are governed almost entirely by the labour
ing class. . . . The Asahi Shimbun is disposed to minimize the school incident. It
thinks that the objectionable step taken by the education authorities will be revoked.
. . . the American population includes a very unruly element which . . . lynches

prisoners, burns negroes alive and commits other shocking outrages. It is not impos
sible that these lawless persons should turn their hand against the Japanese inhabitants
of San Francisco.62

Japan was pleased that Roosevelt seemed about to champion her. The
President’s friend, Baron Kaneko, called Roosevelt’s December 3, 1906,
speech to Congress, “the greatest utterance by an American president since

Washington’s farewell address.” To the Japanese, Secretary Metcalf’s mis
sion to San Francisco was “convincing proof of the disinterestedness and
sincerity of the Roosevelt administration.”63 Though the Japanese com

munity in San Francisco expressed its indignation at the strong diet of
abuses it had been fed, Japan itself was at first willing to trust to the federal
government to work out a settlement. “When such amicable settlement is
unattainable, then, and then only, should we talk of retaliation.”64 How
ever, Japan plainly saw the racial impetus and loudly resented it: “The
people of Japan, living under their gentle government, can not allow the
people of San Francisco to discriminate against innocent school children
on the pretext of racial differences. It is the foundation of our civilization
and of our actual ability to enjoy the blest liberty of equal rights.”65

In November, 1906, the Japanese press quieted temporarily, desiring not
to magnify the incident or allow it to disturb friendly United States
Japanese relations. But as the racial aspect grew, the press again became
disturbed. The Kokumin Shimbun urged Japanese to forget about San
Francisco and head out to South America where chances for happiness
were better. In mid-November, hopes for early settlement dimmed and the
Japanese set in for a long wait.

Dean Mitsukuri of Tokyo Imperial University’s College of Sciences,
wrote President Jordan of Stanford in December:

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3 o 8 California Historical Quarterly
The remedy against immigration of lower-class Japanese is to be sought in coming
to a diplomatic understanding in the matter. The Japanese government would be
open to reason. But to pass a law condemning the Japanese wholesale, for no other
reason than that they are Japanese, would be striking Japan in her most sensitive
point. An open declaration of war would not be resented so much. The reason is not
far to seek. Japan has had a long struggle in recovering her rights as an independent
state and in obtaining a standing in the civilized world. If now her old friend . . .
should turn her back on her and she would no longer associate with her on even
terms, the resentment must necessarily be very bitter.66

Japanese reaction grew even more bitter in 1907 as the order of the
Board of Education gnawed at Japanese who came to regard the incident
not so much an invasion of treaty rights, but as a breach of international
comity. Politicians of the opposition Progressive Party, led by Count
Okuma, took the lead in attacking United States’ racial hostility, and, by
inference, the impotence of the party in power in Japan. Japan’s govern

ment responded by taking advantage of the incident “to create a diversion
at Washington and to create popular sentiment in Japan in favor of
increased military and naval appropriations,”07 (as did Roosevelt here). But
it is palpably unfair to imply, as did the Seattle Call, that Japan had
fomented the situation on the West Coast, using it to its own advantage
to offset claims that American trade was being unfairly treated in

Manchuria.68

As the historical narrative has been briefly described above, it suffices to
add that the crisis passed without leading either to war between the

two nations or to armed clashes between the whites and Japanese in San
Francisco, other than incidental, isolated brawls. We know now that Japan
was in nowise confident of victory in a war with the United States, that she
could not support it economically (having just exhausted her finances in
the war with Russia), and did not want it then.

It is to be wondered if it often, or ever, occurred to the Japanese that
what they protested so dramatically and with such justice when applied to
themselves, was accepted by them with such equanimity when applied to
the Chinese and Koreans in America. This lack of sympathy by the Jap
anese for other East Asians likewise discriminated against is but a single
example of one minority group’s willingness to regard with indifference the
discrimination against other minority groups by the dominant group. Here,
however, the greater wrong and the greater tragedy was that breach of
faith demonstrated by so many Americans. (A lesser wrong, but one worth
pondering, is that the defenders of the Japanese in America were, like
Roosevelt, so often motivated in their concern by awareness of Japan’s
might, and that in the school compromise itself, the Japanese were there
after allowed to attend the “white” schools, but the Koreans and Chinese

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 309
were not.) Though the possibility of hostile economic competition or the
troubles which might have come out of unrestricted Japanese immigration

were causes for reasoned concern, the “Yellow Peril” was a fiction. Though
the Japanese “menace” in San Francisco was a figment of the yellow jour
nalist’s pen, the potential menace to international comity, and to inter
national peace, as a result of the fears thus excited, was real. That such
American nativism as was manifested in the San Francisco school affair had

not resulted in even more intense international and internal difficulty, is a
noteworthy, though separate, subject.

NOTES
i. The Japanese American (San Francisco), October 25, 1906, quoted in Monta

ville Flowers, The Japanese Conquest of American Opinion (New York, 1917), 13.
2. Hon. George G. Gilbert of Kentucky, speech in the House of Representatives,

“The Japanese School Question,” February 12, 1907. An interesting variant of this
sentiment was quoted in “The Japanese Protest,” Nation, LXXXIII (November 3,
1906), 364: “For a nation of Yellow people to arrogate unto itself the methods of
civilized Powers in protecting its citizens against wrongs suffered abroad is the purest
insolence.” The Nation was quoting agitators; its editorial stand decried such
remarks.

3. Letter, Roosevelt to Root, July 13, 1907, in H. F. Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt:
A Biography (New York, 1931), 407.

4. The treaty of 1854 is discussed in Sidney Gulick, The American Japanese
Problem (New York, 1914), 32. The treaty of 1894 1S analyzed in part in The Jap
anese School Segregation Case, No. 4754, in the Supreme Court of the State of Cali
fornia, Keikichi Aoki v. M. A. Deane (March, 1907).

5. Quoted and discussed in William Thompson, “San Francisco and the Japanese,”
World Today, XI (December, 1906), 1310.

6. John P. Young, “The Support of the Anti-Oriental Movement,” Annals of
the American Academy of Political and Social Science, XXXIV (September, 1909),
236. At that time, there was no congestion in the schools. See Eleanor Tupper and

George E. McReynolds, Japan in American Public Opinion (New York, 1937),
19-42, passim. Possibly because of the lack of urgency, or “congestion,” at the time,
the resolution attracted little attention, and Japanese protest of it then, if there was
any, was not recorded.

7. It is ironic that the outbreak of anti-Japanese violence occurred at just the
time when Japan most showed concern for San Francisco’s problems. The Japanese

Red Cross, for instance, had given $244,960 for relief of the earthquake victims, a
figure in excess of the aid given by other nations. However, following the earth
quake, a shortage of school buildings, hence congestion, finally developed.

8. See Yamato Ichihashi, “Emigration from Japan and Japanese Immigration into
the State of California” (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1914),
281.

9. Quoted in the Metcalf Report, “Final Report on the Situation Affecting the
Japanese in the City of San Francisco, California,” message from the President of the
United States to Congress (December 18, 1907), 3.

10. Roosevelt’s speech is in J. D. Richardson, ed., Messages and Papers of the
Presidents (Washington, 1911). In his Autobiography (New York, 1913), 411,
Roosevelt wrote of the long-time strong feeling in California against immigration

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31 o California Historical Quarterly
of Asiatic laborers: “I believe this to be fundamentally a sound and proper attitude,
an attitude which must be insisted upon, and yet which can be insisted upon in such
a manner and with such courtesy and such sense of mutual fairness and reciprocal
obligation and respect as not to give any just cause of offense to Asiatic peoples.”

ii. Quoted in Current Literature, XCII (January, 1907), 7.
12. Thomas Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt and the Japanese American Crises (Stan

ford, 1934), 143.
13. Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, 201.
14. Thomas Bailey, “The World Cruise of the American Battleship Fleet 1907

1909,” Pacific Historical Review, I, 4 (December, 1932), wrote that the cruise had
been in the planning for two years, although Roosevelt’s Autobiography mentions
that it was decided suddenly. According to Bailey, Roosevelt had postponed the trip
during the San Francisco imbroglio to avoid further misunderstanding. See p. 390,
quoting the Boston Evening Transcript, July 1, 1907.

15. From Lodge Mss., quoted in Howard Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise
of America to World Power (Baltimore, 1957), 327

16. David Starr Jordan, “Relations of Japan to the United States,” in George
Blakeslee, ed., Japan and Japanese-American Relations (New York, 1922), 7.

17. Walter MacCarthy, “Opposition to Oriental Immigration,” Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science, XXXIV, 2 (September, 1909),
3?7

18. Three recent, important studies are Roger Daniels, The Politics of Prejudice:
The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion
(Gloucester, Mass., 1966); Raymond Esthus, Theodore Roosevelt and Japan (Seattle
and London, 1966); and Charles Neu, An Uncertain Friendship: Theodore Roosevelt
and Japan, 1906-1 yog (Cambridge, Mass., 1967). Still of considerable importance is
Bailey’s Theodore Roosevelt, which also serves as a handy source of some less acces
sable primary sources.

19. Denis Kearney, quoted by William Inglis, “The Width of a School Bench,”
Harper’s Weekly, LI (January 19, 1907), 83.

20. See Jokichi Takamine, “The Japanese in America,” in Blakeslee, Japanese
American Relations, 27; and World Today, XI, 6 (December, 1906). The latter saw
the labor unions as a prime cause of California’s race problem, working hand-in-glove

with the Exclusion League to incite hostility.
21. See Sidney Gulick, American-Japanese Problem, for examples of the vicious,

often contradictory, grounds for desiring Japanese exclusion; Fred H. Matthews,
“White Community and ‘Yellow Peril,'” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, L, 4
(March, 1964), for an appraisal of Gulick’s efforts on behalf of the Japanese and
for the activities of others on the scene; and George Mowry, The California Pro
gressives (Berkeley, 1951).

22. Elihu Root, “The Real Questions under the Japanese Treaty and the San
Francisco School Board Resolution,” American Journal of International Law, I
(April, 1907), 277.

23. Ibid., p. 283. Root was more accurate in his analysis of constitutional and
international law than in his appraisal of the extent of bitterness evoked by the
issue: “. . . never for a moment was there as between the government of the United
States and the government of Japan, the slightest departure from perfect good
temper, mutual confidence, and kindly consideration.” Ibid., 276.

24. “The Japanese School Question,” American Journal of International Law, I
(January, 1907) 150-53.

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Race and the San Francisco School Board 311
25. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). The iMassachusetts precedent is

Roberts v. City of Boston, 5th Cush. 198.
26. Amos S. Hershey, “Japanese School Question and the Treaty-making Power,”

American Political Science Review, I (May, 1907), 393, 399-400.
27. Ibid., 409.
28. Quoted in William H. Thompson, “San Francisco and the Japanese,” World

Today (November 3, 1906), 1310.
29. Japanese School Segregation Case. The respondent’s brief skillfully wove in a

mass of precedent cases, including Plessy, Roberts.
30. Gilbert, “Japanese School Question.”
31. Rep. Edwin Y. Webb of North Carolina, speech in the House of Repre

sentatives, “The Treaty-making Power and the State and the Japanese San Francisco
School Controversy,” February 16, 1907.

32. Rep. Anthony Michalek of Indiana, speech in the House of Representatives,
“Immigration Bill?Exclusion of Japanese Labor,” December 18, 1906.

33. American Journal of International Law (April, 1907), 451-52.
34. Quoted in World Today, XI (December, 1906), 1311.
35. Matthews, “Yellow Peril,” 623, discusses the “bogey of miscegenation” which

was the “most powerful of the evolutionary arguments in stampeding sentiment
against the Japanese.”

36. San Francisco Chronicle, November 6, 1906.
37. Flowers, Japanese Conquest, 11-12.
38. San Francisco Argonaut, November 10, 1906.
39. See Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Kennan, “The Japanese in the

San Francisco Schools,” Outlook, LXXXVI (June, 1907), 246-52.
40. Hugh Borton, Japan’s Modern Century (New York, 1955), 305. See also the

statement by President Jordan in Ichihashi, “Emigration.”
41. A. Whitney Griswold, The Far Eastern Policy of the United States (New

Haven, 1938, reissued 1962), 350.
42. Kennan, “Japanese,” 251.
43. Review of Reviews, XXXVI (July, 1907), 63.
44. Speech by Hayes in the House of Representatives, March 13, 1906, quoted in

Yamato Ichihashi, Japanese in the United States (Stanford, 1932), 239.
45. “The Japanese Protest,” Nation, LXXXIII (1906), 364.
46. Outlook, LXXXVI (June 29, 1907) 460-62. Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, 43,

writes: “The Japanese children were set apart because the whites were prejudiced
against them, and the source of this prejudice, at least in San Francisco, appears to
have been the belief that coolie labor was thwarting the work of the unions and
lowering the American standard of living.”

47. See Yamato Ichihashi, Japanese Immigration, Its Status in California (San
Francisco, 1915), S5

48. “The Japanese in California,” World’s Work, XIII (March, 1907), 3690.
49. Coast Seamen’s Journal, 1907, quoted in Carey Mac Williams, Prejudice: Jap

anese Americans: Symbol of Racial Intolerence (Boston, 1944), 28.
50. Hayes, “The Treaty-making Power and the Government.”
51. Inglis, “Width of a School Bench,” 82.
52. Flowers, Japanese Conquest, 11, 12, 16-17.
53. Webb, “Treaty-making Power.”
54. Quoted in Current Literature, XCII, 7.
^. Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, 186,

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312 California Historical Quarterly
$6. Tupper and McReynolds, Japan, abstract the journal sentiments. Papers

friendly to the Japanese included: Providence Journal, New York Tribune, New
York Evening Post, New York Globe, Philadelphia Press, Washington Evening Star,
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Outlook. Western papers not strongly anti-Japanese, or
friendly to them, included the Tacoma Ledger, Tacoma Daily News, Seattle News,
Seattle Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Strongly anti-Japanese among the Eastern
newspapers were the Hearst journals; and among the Western and Southern journals,
those strongly anti-Japanese included the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco
Examiner, San Francisco Call, Berkeley Gazette, Sacramento Union, Charleston
News and Courier, Louisville Courier-Journal, and the New Orleans Times
Democrat.

57. Samuel McClintock, “Anti-Japanese Legislation,” World Today XVI (1909),
2J2′

58. Gilbert, “Japanese School Question.” Other speeches of this nature in 1907
were delivered by Senators Barron of Georgia, Tillman of South Carolina, Under
wood of Alabama, Burgess of Texas, and Williams of Mississippi. It should be noted
that although the Southern legislators strongly tended, with their constituants, to be
opposed to an influx of Japanese laborers, they preferred not to vote for an exclusion
bill. They feared that by so doing, too much power would be given to the Presi
dent, thus interfering with the states rights principle. When the exclusion vote was
taken, most of the opposition was from these Southern Democrats.

59. Hayes, November 1906, quoted in Mac Williams, Prejudice, 31.
60. From the Washington Evening Star, quoted by the Literary Digest (Novem

ber 30, 1906), 632, in Jesse Steiner, The Japanese Invasion (Chicago, 1917), 44.
61. Quoted by Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, 318. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice,

36, writes of Roosevelt: “. . . despite his frequent protests to the contrary he was,
along with the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries, a convinced racist.

He was, however, willing to treat certain individuals of any race as equals.”
62. Japan Weekly Mail (October 27, 1906), 542-43. Of the Japanese papers, the

most influential were the Jiji Shimpo, Kokumin Shimbun, and Asahi Shimbun. The
Mainichi, as mentioned above, was jingoistic, as was the Soko Shimbun.

63. Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, 86.
64. From Soko Shimbun, October 25, 1906, quoted in Metcalf, “Report,” 21. On

October 25, four days after San Francisco excluded the Japanese children from the
white schools, Viscount Aoki, the Japanese ambassador, called on Root demanding
equality in treatment. And shortly thereafter, Mr. (later Baron) Ishii, director of the
Commercial Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Office, was sent to San Francisco to
study the school affair, in which city he was “most mercilessly and cruelly knocked
down by some Americans,” T. G. Komai, “America and Japan: The Japanese Case,”
Spectator (August 9, 1913), 441.

65. Soko Shimbun, October 26, 1906, in Metcalf, “Report,” 20.
66. Quoted in World Today, XI (December, 1906), 1312-13.
67. MacWilliams, Prejudice, 27. Esthus, Theodore Roosevelt, sees the president’s

desire for naval expansion as perhaps having contributed to his tactics in the school
crisis; however, Esthus concludes that racial prejudice was the crux of the matter.

Neu, Uncertain Friendship, is less concerned with the navy aspect and instead writes
that Roosevelt’s fear for Republican party strength in the West made him sensitive
to labor demands and anti-Japanese sentiments of West Coast citizens.

68. See Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt, 34.

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  • Contents
  • 295
    296
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  • Issue Table of Contents
  • California Historical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (Sep., 1971), pp. 221-342
    Front Matter
    Ethnic Experiences in California History: An Impressionistic Survey [pp. 221-233]
    The Native American Experience in California History [pp. 234-242]
    Senator William Gwin: Moderate or Racist? [pp. 243-255]
    The Political Development of the Black Community in California, 1850-1950 [pp. 256-266]
    Golden Mountain of Lead: The Chinese Experience in California [pp. 267-276]
    The Lord and the Drayman: James Bryce vs. Denis Kearney [pp. 277-284]
    The Chinese Must Go! [pp. 285-294]
    Race and the San Francisco School Board Incident: Contemporary Evaluations [pp. 295-312]
    Executive Order 9066 All Enemies Look the Same [pp. 313-320]
    The Function of Anglo-American Racism in the Political Development of “Chicanos” [pp. 321-337]
    Book Reviews
    Review: untitled [pp. 338-339]
    Review: untitled [pp. 339-340]
    Review: untitled [p. 340-340]
    Review: untitled [pp. 340-341]
    Review: untitled [p. 342-342]
    Back Matter

Chapter One

american military medicine faces west

On June 13, 1900, Captain S. Chase de Krafft, m.d., a volunteer as-sistant surgeon with the American forces in the Philippines, reported
from his post at Balayan the death from ‘‘hemoglobinuric fever’’ of Private

Glenn V. Parke of the 28th Regiment. In January, Parke had fallen out of

a march ‘‘from physical exhaustion’’ and was sent to the hospital in Ma-

nila. When he rejoined his company a few months later he appeared to be

well but soon succumbed to ‘‘malarial fever intermittent.’’ On the long, hot

march to Balayan, Parke had fallen out again and was admitted to the post

hospital with an acute attack of diarrhea. After daily doses of quinine and

thrice-daily strychnine, the soldier soon returned to duty. But his malarial

fever recurred: back in hospital he was ‘‘seized with a severe attack of bili-

ous vomiting,’’ and later his urine was red and scanty. The bilious vomit-

ing, diarrhea, and fever persisted, along with pain over the liver; his entire

body was soon ‘‘saffron-colored.’’ His urine became darker and more con-

centrated. Within a few hours, the patient sank into delirium and then coma,

dying early in the morning. Parke had told the surgeon he was twenty-three

years old, though most suspected he was no more than twenty-one; in any

case, his body was quickly buried in the north side of the cemetery at Balayan.

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14 american military medicine faces west

De Krafft then turned his attention to ensuring the well-being of the re-

maining troops.∞

Tropical disease would take the lives of many U.S. soldiers during the

Philippine-American War. From General Wesley Merritt’s assault on Manila

on July 31, 1898, until the war gradually eased in 1900, more than six hun-

dred soldiers were killed or died from wounds received in battle, and another

seven hundred died of disease.≤ The record of Parke’s clinical course presents

in unusual detail an example of diagnosis and treatment in the medical corps

of the U.S. Army during the first year of the campaign. The army surgeon in

the field was still likely to attribute illness to exhaustion or reckless behavior

and to favor explanations that implied a mismatch between bodily constitu-

tion and circumstance. In his extensive case notes, de Krafft nowhere men-

tions germs, even though the microbial causes of diarrhea and malaria had

been established for many years. Parke’s feces were not cultured for bacteria;

his blood was not examined for the malaria parasite. Instead, the surgeon

carefully described the vitality and appearance of the patient, the strength of

his pulse, the qualities of his dejecta, and the hourly variations in body tem-

perature. The diagnosis was expressed not in terms of any causative organism

but as a type of fever, a bodily response not identified with any inciting agent.

In a tropical environment, in conditions that supposedly depleted white con-

stitutions, the surgeon turned naturally to stimulants—strychnine, quinine,

mustard plasters, and eggnog—to rally Parke’s resisting powers.≥ There was

no suggestion that a medication might attack directly a microbe or other

specific cause. The surgeon hoped to restore his patient’s balance and vitality

and thus combat the nonspecific challenges of overwork or feckless behavior

in trying foreign circumstances.

The surgeon’s meticulous attention to this individual case reveals more

than just the expediency and deftness required in clinical engagement under

such grueling conditions. It also indicates medical priorities in the U.S. mili-

tary at the outset of the war. In an elaborate epidemiological reconstruction of

the effects of the Philippine-American War on the local population, Ken de

Bevoise has estimated that the annual death rate in the archipelago, previ-

ously a high thirty per thousand, soared to more than sixty per thousand

between 1898 and 1902, and that more than seven hundred thousand Fili-

pinos died in the fighting or in concomitant epidemics of cholera, typhoid,

smallpox, tuberculosis, beriberi, and plague.∂ Displaced and destitute, some-

times crowded into reconcentration camps, ordinary Filipinos were especially

vulnerable to disease. Endemic infection, previously contained, flared into

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american military medicine faces west 15

epidemics; new diseases, some perhaps carried by invading troops, soon be-

came rife. But the spread of disease among local communities was not, in the

early stages of war at least, the main concern of the medical corps of an

attacking army.

The job of a military surgeon, recently codified in the U.S. Army, was

clearly delimited.∑ During battle, the care and evacuation of sick and wounded

soldiers would inevitably preoccupy the military surgeon; at other times, in

the respite from the demands of surgical treatment of acute cases, the surgeon

worked to ensure the sanitation of camps and the hygiene of troops. ‘‘A

military surgeon who believes he is appointed for the sole purpose of extract-

ing bullets and prescribing pills,’’ according to Captain Charles E. Woodruff,

m.d., was ‘‘a hundred years behind the times.’’∏ The medical officer was also a

sanitary inspector, responsible for the scrutiny of food, provision of adequate

clothing, ventilation of tents, disposal of wastes, and the general layout and

‘‘salubrity’’ of camps. In the past, according to Woodruff, the military sur-

geon might have restricted himself to preventing and eradicating ‘‘hospital

contagion’’—gangrene among the wounded and fever (usually typhus) among

long-term inmates—but now, in the ‘‘modern era,’’ he had a duty to provide

for the well-being of troops. Thus de Krafft, after hastening the disposal of

Parke’s body, had gone about trying to prevent other cases. ‘‘The army medical

officer,’’ noted a contemporary observer, ‘‘ceased to be primarily a general

practitioner in becoming the administrative officer of a sanitary bureau, with

certain clinical duties when accident or the failure of prevention placed the

individual soldier for special care in a hospital ward.’’π

In seeking to protect white soldiers, the military surgeon in the Philippine-

American War repeatedly assayed the nature of the territory and climate and

the character and behavior of troops and local inhabitants. Like medicine

more generally, army sanitary science was heedful of environment, social life,

and morality; always conservative, it tried to guard against any radical depar-

ture from the body’s accustomed locale and mode of existence. Alterations in

living conditions, in patterns of human contact, and in exposure to different

climates might exert a direct impact on the soldier’s body and temperament,

or they might imply some perilous modification of his microbial circum-

stances. For troops like Parke, going to the tropics to fight a war meant

encountering a peculiar new physical environment and exotic disease ecology.

The conditions would be incongruent with those that whites experienced

in most of the United States, and therefore potentially harmful in ways as

yet undetermined. To predict and stave off disease, the medical officer had

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16 american military medicine faces west

figure 1. U.S. troops on the road to Malalos, 1899 (rg 165-pw-81608, nara).

to understand the effect of an alteration in circumstances or habits on his

charges and learn how to mitigate or combat the pathological concomitants

of change and mobility. To stay healthy the soldier must either reassert his

previous pattern of life or establish a different means of coping with the novel

environment and deployment. Military medicine in the Philippines thus was

predicated on appraisal of territory, climate, and behavior; it sought con-

stantly to protect the vulnerable alien race from strange circumstances and

dangerous habits and to teach presumably transgressive soldiers how they

might inhabit a new place with propriety and in safety.

Most of the troops in the Philippines would describe themselves as white—

the term crops up repeatedly in letters and reports—so it is tempting to regard

military medicine, at least in part, as an effort to gauge white vulnerability

and to strengthen white masculinity in trying foreign circumstances.∫ Indeed,

it often proves difficult to extricate concerns about the character of whiteness

from fears of disease in the tropics. Would the white race degenerate and die

off in a climate unnatural to it? Would the discord of race and place produce a

deterioration of white physique and mentality that shaded into disease? Were

the tropics inimical to the white man? Such questions still puzzled medical

officers and soldiers alike. Most of the time, of course, military surgeons like

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american military medicine faces west 17

de Krafft were preoccupied with alleviating disease and treating injuries. But

sanitary duties ensured that medical officers would also strive to restructure

and secure the boundaries of white masculinity in the colonial tropics, to

determine how to preserve Anglo-Saxon virility and morality in a hostile

region, a place bristling with physical, microbial, and native foes. As so often

in the past century, the U.S. Army provided a model, an ideal space, for

working out political and social problems that also beset the unruly public

sphere—whether in the metropole or the colony. Thus the care and disciplin-

ing of white troops would come to serve as a test case for how to manage

white American colonial emissaries and later as a guide to how natives might

be reformed into self-disciplined ‘‘nationals.’’Ω In order to understand these

subsequent transfers and substitutions it is necessary to take a closer look at

the fighting white man and his tropical burden.

to the philippines

Admiral George Dewey’s victory over the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay on

May 1, 1898—one of the early engagements of the Spanish-American War—

signaled the entry of a new colonial power into Southeast Asia. President

William McKinley hurriedly arranged to send a military expedition, assembled

mostly in the western states, to take possession of the Philippines. But by the

time the U.S. Army arrived later in 1898, Spanish authority had collapsed, and

Emilio Aguinaldo’s rebel forces had taken control of most of the provinces.

The commander of the Spanish garrison in Manila surrendered to the expedi-

tionary forces, and so Filipino troops, spurned as allies, decided to entrench

themselves around the city. In the Treaty of Paris, signed on December 10,

1898, Spain disregarded Filipino nationalist aspirations and formally awarded

the United States sovereignty of the archipelago. During the next four years,

American forces engaged in a bitter and brutal campaign against the Philippine

insurrectos in order to secure the new possessions.∞≠ The logic of westward

expansion was to leave the United States with a Southeast Asian empire, one

that would last another forty or so years. In supplanting Spain, America thus

unexpectedly took its place in the region alongside the Dutch in the East Indies,

the British in Malaya and Hong Kong, and the French in Indochina. But for

U.S. colonialists, these older European imperial entanglements would more

commonly constitute object lessons than models worth emulating.

The troops had arrived in an archipelago of over seven thousand islands,

supporting a population of close to seven million people, most on the island

of Luzon. With a mean annual temperature of eighty degrees Fahrenheit, an

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18 american military medicine faces west

average humidity of 79 percent, and distinct wet and dry seasons, the climate

of Manila assuredly is tropical, however one might imagine that indefinite

quality. The rainy season lasts from June through November, after which the

weather can be quite pleasant, tempered by sea breezes. Although Manila’s

average temperature may be a little higher and its humidity a little less, it

seemed to many Americans that the weather there might be similar to condi-

tions prevailing in Rangoon, Bombay, and Calcutta.∞∞ It was in any case a

climate few Americans had experienced.

As Benedict Anderson has remarked, ‘‘Few countries give the observer a

deeper feeling of historical vertigo than the Philippines.’’∞≤ In the late six-

teenth century, the Spanish had occupied Luzon and made Manila their capi-

tal. After three hundred years of Spanish clerical colonialism, fewer than 10

percent of the local inhabitants were literate in Spanish, yet some of the

Catholic religious orders—the Jesuits and Dominicans especially—had sup-

ported pioneering natural history and astronomical research, and from the

seventeenth century had even sponsored universities in the archipelago. Thus

José Rizal, novelist, physician, and nationalist, in the 1880s reflected that ‘‘the

Jesuits, who are backward in Europe, viewed from here, represent Progress;

the Philippines owes to them their nascent education, and to them the Natural

Sciences, the soul of the nineteenth century.’’ Various religious orders had

established hospitals for the poor, and colleges for the small mestizo and

criollo elite. The San Francisco Corporation founded the San Lazaro Hospital

in 1578, initially for the poor in general but after 1631 reserved for the

increasing number of lepers. In Manila, the Hospital de San Juan de Dios, for

the care of poor Spaniards, opened in 1596; and the Hospital de San José was

established in Cavite in 1641. The University of Santo Tomás, which the

Dominicans founded in 1611, belatedly allowed the organization of faculties

of medicine and pharmacy in 1871. Scientific and medical journals soon

proliferated: the Boletín de medicina de Manila (1886), the Revista farma-

céutica de Filipinas (1893), the Crónicas de ciencias médicas (1895), and

others. Provincial medical officers, the médicos titulares, were first appointed

in 1876; and the Board of Health and Charity, equivalent to a public health

department, was established in 1883 and expanded in 1886. Sanitary condi-

tions in the capital were changing during this period. The government put

sewers underground in Manila during the 1850s; in 1884, the Carriedo wa-

terworks opened, giving the city the purest water in Southeast Asia.∞≥ The

central board of vaccination had been producing and distributing lymph since

1806; by 1898 there were 122 regular vaccinators—notoriously inept and

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american military medicine faces west 19

figure 2. Manila street scene, Binondo 1899 (rg 165-pw-35-9, nara).

lazy—passing the time in Manila and the major towns.∞∂ In 1887, the Spanish

colonial authorities set up the Laboratorio Municipal de Manila to examine

food, water, and clinical samples—but evidently it was rarely used.∞∑ None-

theless, it is clear that recognizably modern structures of public health and

medical care were taking shape in Manila and its immediate hinterland.

The 1870s had witnessed vast improvements in communication with Eu-

rope and an expansion of traffic between metropole and colony. From 1868,

vessels could use the Suez Canal, reducing the journey between Europe and

the Philippines from four months to one month by steamer. In 1880, cable

linked Manila more closely to Europe than ever before. Better connections

with Spain reduced the influence of foreign traders in Manila and encouraged

Spaniards to move to the islands. In 1810, there had been fewer than four

thousand peninsulares and Spanish mestizos in the archipelago, mostly clus-

tered in Manila (compared to several million indios throughout the archipel-

ago); in 1876, four thousand peninsulares and more than ten thousand mes-

tizos and criollos lived in the Philippines; by 1898 the numbers had swelled to

more than thirty-four thousand Spaniards, including six thousand govern-

ment officials, four thousand army and navy personnel, and seventeen hun-

dred clerics.∞∏

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20 american military medicine faces west

As they increasingly became committed to nationalism, science, anticleri-

calism, and political reform, a growing number of mestizos and criollos in the

archipelago began to call themselves Filipinos and to represent themselves as

ilustrados, or enlightened reformers.∞π In part, the progressive sentiment, ex-

pressed first in the Propaganda movement, derived from Spanish liberal and

secular agitation, which had culminated in the revolution of 1868—just as

the conservative reaction in Spain was echoed in the Philippines after the

1872 Cavite rebellion. But local factors also contributed. The school reforms

of 1863 had established a framework, still grossly inadequate, for a state

system of primary education. Improved commercial opportunities allowed

the expansion of the middle class; ambitious and progressive Filipinos began

sending their sons to France and Spain for higher education; talented local

candidates resented the peninsulares, who took most of the top government

posts; and more efficient communication helped to break down regional sepa-

ratism and conflict in the islands. Furthermore, racial distinctions became

especially marked toward the end of the century, and there emerged ‘‘a ten-

dency to thrust the native aristocracy into a secondary place, to compel them

to recognize ‘white superiority,’ to a degree not so noticeable in the earlier

years of Spanish rule.’’∞∫ Initially, local ambitions and resentments found

expression in moderate groups such as Rizal’s Liga Filipina. But in 1892,

Andrés Bonifacio organized the Katipunan, an anticlerical and anti-Spanish

brotherhood that in 1896 led an insurrection against Spanish control. The

friars attributed disaffection to ‘‘Franc-Masonería,’’ for them the epitome of

everything pernicious in modern life; and the Spanish army attempted to

suppress the rebellion, employing such brutality that even moderates turned

against Spanish rule.∞Ω But by the time Aguinaldo was able to declare the

Philippine Republic in 1899, the United States had claimed the archipelago.

José Rizal, the so-called First Filipino, was one of the leaders of the rising

generation of nationalists. From the Jesuits at the Ateneo de Manila Rizal had

received a solid grounding in the sciences, even if he subsequently argued that

Jesuit education had seemed progressive only because the rest of the Philip-

pines was mired in medievalism. But at Santo Tomás, studying science, he

found that the walls ‘‘were entirely bare; not a sketch, nor an engraving, nor

even a diagram of an instrument of physics.’’ A mysterious cabinet contained

some modern equipment, but the Dominicans made sure that Filipinos ad-

mired it from afar. The friars would point to this cabinet, according to Rizal,

to exonerate themselves and to claim that it was really ‘‘on account of the

apathy, laziness, limited capacity of the natives, or some other ethnological or

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american military medicine faces west 21

figure 3. Interior of the Spanish Bilibid Hospital. Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive
Center.

supernatural cause [that] until now no Lavoisier, Secchi, nor Tyndall has

appeared, even in miniature, in this Malay-Filipino race!’’≤≠ (Still, it should be

recalled that nowhere else in Southeast Asia was education available at such

an advanced level.)≤∞ In 1882, Rizal traveled to Spain to study medicine, and

he later visited France and Germany. He was astonished and embarrassed by

the political and scientific backwardness of the imperial power. In Europe,

medicine, political activism, and the writing of his brilliantly sardonic novels

occupied most of his time, but after Rizal returned to the Philippines and was

confined at Dapitan, he also began collecting plants and animals and discov-

ered new species of shells.≤≤ During this period, Rizal engaged in a copious,

self-consciously enlightened correspondence with Ferdinand Blumentritt, the

Austrian ethnologist, and translated into Spanish many of his works on the

Philippines.≤≥ For Rizal, a commitment to science and reason informed patri-

otism, and patriotism implied a scientific orientation to the world. Unim-

pressed, the clerical-colonial authorities executed the First Filipino in 1896.

Rizal did not live to see the United States completing the work of Spain and

crushing the nationalist forces. The Philippine-American War would directly

and indirectly cause widespread sickness, injury, and suffering as well as

destroy much of the recently constructed apparatus of education and public

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22 american military medicine faces west

health in the archipelago. The nascent, weak public health system broke

down completely, the Filipino sick and wounded overwhelmed local hospi-

tals, vaccination ceased altogether, and colleges and universities either closed

or struggled to graduate students. Thus as Americans assumed control they

found little evidence of previous scientific and medical endeavor and felt

justified in representing the Spanish period as a time of unrelieved apathy,

ignorance, and superstition, in contrast to their own self-proclaimed moder-

nity, progressivism, and scientific zeal.

the army medical department

When John Shaw Billings addressed the graduating class of the Army Medical

School in 1903, he celebrated the great progress in military medicine he had

observed over the past fifty years. Billings recollected that the president of the

Army Medical Board who examined him in 1861 had been inclined to remi-

nisce along the same lines, praising the recent introduction of anesthesia and

the new operations for excision of joints. The examining surgeon in those

days had heard of the clinical thermometer and the hypodermic syringe but

doubted that either would prove useful. The young physician, soon to join the

Army of the Potomac, was asked to describe ‘‘laudable pus’’ and the best

means of securing healing by second intention. He was questioned on the

means of preventing malaria and typhoid fever among troops. ‘‘If I had re-

ferred to bacilli, hematozoa, flies and mosquitoes, as you would probably do,

I don’t think I should have passed.’’ Just as the symbol of the old military

surgeon was the scalpel, his new emblem ought to be the microscope. ‘‘Forty

years ago the microscope was mainly used by physicians as a plaything, a

source of occasional amusement,’’ Billings recalled. ‘‘Today the microscope is

one of our most important tools.’’≤∂ Although the bookish sanitarian was

perhaps overestimating the bacteriological grasp of most military surgeons

and ignoring the difficulties of using the new techniques in the field, it was

true that during the previous forty years the role of the army medical officer

had changed beyond recognition.

The intellectual and professional transformation of military medicine en-

compassed both its therapeutic and its prophylactic aspects. The new medical

officer combined clinical duties with administrative tasks designed to prevent

disease outbreaks, or at least to provide early warning of them. Of course, in

times of war it was still the care of the sick and wounded that took most of the

time and energy of the military surgeon. Since the Civil War, changes in the

combat zone and in medical technology had transformed the scope and char-

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american military medicine faces west 23

acter of these clinical duties. By the 1890s, antiseptic methods prevailed in

the operating room, primary union could be secured in gunshot wounds,

depressed skull fractures were operable, and wounds of the intestine, once

considered beyond surgical relief, on occasion were sutured in risky laparoto-

mies. The military surgeon was more confident and optimistic than ever be-

fore in his ability to intervene clinically. General George M. Sternberg, m.d.,

the surgeon general of the army and the president of the Association of Mili-

tary Surgeons, in 1895 observed that his colleagues, as a consequence of these

advances, would have ‘‘to devote much more time to individual cases than

was thought necessary during our last war.’’≤∑ The army needed more medical

staff, with better training, and it needed more ambulance officers and sanitary

assistants to take on the first-aid work. The trained surgeon could then move

from the firing line, where staunching hemorrhage was the most that could be

done, to the new field hospital, where he now might operate.≤∏

If all had gone well, by the time the wounded soldier arrived at a distant

field hospital, an elastic bandage (or, more likely, the old-fashioned tourni-

quet) would have been applied on the firing line to stop any hemorrhage, and

at the dressing stations bleeding vessels tied with ligatures of catgut or silk and

wounds plugged with gauze.≤π In the field hospital, the patient might receive

opium to relieve pain and to prevent the ‘‘depression of shock,’’ though some

medical officers preferred to administer alcohol by mouth, enema, or hypo-

dermic injection, on occasion combining it with nitroglycerine. At the hos-

pital, surgeons took special care to remove any foreign bodies, any contami-

nants, and they would enlarge the wound if necessary. ‘‘One speck of filth, one

shred of clothing, one strip of filthy integument left in ever so small a wound

will do more harm, more seriously endanger life, and much longer invalid the

patient, than a wound half a yard long in the soft parts, when it is kept

aseptic,’’ warned one military sugeon.≤∫ If the campaign had been long and

severe, with the soldiers hard-pressed and huddled together without bathing

facilities or changes of clothing, ‘‘they are quite apt to get into a horrible

condition of filth and the presumption will be in favor of every wound being

infected and apt to do badly.’’≤Ω In such conditions, conservative treatment

was often fatal, and any attempt at asepsis would be better than none.

Of course strict asepsis was usually impossible in the field. And even when

antiseptics were available, it was sometimes hard to find the large quantities

of pure water required to dilute them. ‘‘You can imagine our horror,’’ a

surgeon recalled, ‘‘to find ourselves in the midst of a dozen or two operations

with dirty, bloody hands and instruments, blood, vomited matter and other

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24 american military medicine faces west

filth strewn on the ground, and no water to clean up.’’≥≠ Nor was it easy to

keep boiling water clean on an open campfire: the smoke would rise and

spread dirt and soot on it. Operations in the open and even in tents would

quickly be covered in dust if the wind rose, often making even ‘‘the antiseptic

lotions look like mud.’’≥∞ The exigencies of battle left no time for microscopic

examinations or bacteriological cultures: the surgeon depended still on his

senses and acted in response to his disgust with obvious filth and foreign

matter. For surgeons, even those trained in microbiology, dirt simply implied

the presence of germs of infection. And on the firing line and in the field

hospital, dirt was everywhere.

Increasingly, between battles and skirmishes, the military surgeon per-

formed sanitary duties too. ‘‘The progress and popularization of sanitary

science were such that commanding officers did not dare to pass unnoticed

the suggestions of their medical officers,’’ noted a contemporary observer

(and an inveterate optimist).≥≤ The sanitary science of the military officer was

still, in practice, largely predicated on knowledge of the geographical land-

marks of disease, although empirical suspicions of unhealthiness could in

theory be tested bacteriologically. Most physicians at the end of the nine-

teenth century expected to find a specific microbial pathogen for each disease,

but these etiological agents, even the more cosmopolitan bacteria, might still

have a distinctive geographical distribution. Captain Edward L. Munson,

m.d., in his massive Theory and Practice of Military Hygiene, conceded that

mosquitoes might transmit malaria, but still he wondered if drinking water

from marshes or swamps would also give rise to the disease.≥≥ Professor

J. Lane Notter, an international expert on military hygiene, advised an au-

dience of medical officers that, while each disease is ‘‘due to a specific micro-

organism,’’ all diseases ‘‘like plants and animals, can only flourish within

certain geographical limits.’’≥∂ Qualities of soil, water, and climate gave some

pathogens sustenance and not others: the sanitary officer therefore continued

to monitor the situation and ventilation of the camp. For the moment, bac-

teriology might adjust or extend the preexisting framework of geographical

pathology; it would take another decade or more to dismantle the old concep-

tual edifice altogether.

Medical geographers during the nineteenth century had suggested a great

many landmarks to identify pathological agency. For most of the century

scholars had assumed that the environment might exert a direct noxious effect

on the human constitution, with the exact outcome depending ultimately on

hereditary and behavioral factors.≥∑ But since the 1870s, it seemed that in-

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american military medicine faces west 25

direct mechanisms—microbiological mediators of physical and social cir-

cumstances—would incite most diseases.≥∏ This presented a practical prob-

lem for the military surgeon in the field since conditions were not stable

enough for a detailed, painstaking search for microbial nuisances. Medical

officers rarely had easy access to a laboratory, and microscopes and culture

media were scarce; nor was there time to wait for bacteriological confirma-

tion of pathogenic organisms. In order to act expeditiously, the military physi-

cian often fell back on the old, timeworn geographical settings and correlates

of pathology.≥π

In practice, then, bacteriology had touched little more than the margins of

the military surgeon’s spatial imagination. Munson advised that the location

of the camp was ‘‘a matter of the greatest importance in maintaining the

health and efficiency of troops,’’ but this precept was rarely put to bacterio-

logical test. Thus Munson drew on commonplace empirical knowledge when

remarking that ‘‘newly ploughed ground should never be employed for camp-

ing purposes, although a site which has long been under cultivation is usually

healthful.’’ He generally recommended a pure, dry, sandy soil: ‘‘Exhalations

from damp ground are powerfully depressing to the vitality of the human

organism, and favor the occurrence of rheumatism and neuralgia as well as

the invasion of the system by infectious germs, certain of which best retain

their vitality and perpetuate their kind amid such environment.’’≥∫ More fas-

tidiously still, Colonel C. M. Woodward advised his fellow surgeons that the

ground for camp should be elevated, bordering on a rapidly running stream,

and away from any swamps. Every tent must be raised during the day to

permit free circulation of air. ‘‘Company quarters,’’ he advised, ‘‘should al-

ways be kept thoroughly policed and freed from all appearance of evil—that

is, all scraps of paper and refuse of any kind should not be allowed to collect

on or about quarters or in camp, for although they may not be positively

unsanitary in their presence, they look so.’’≥Ω Professor Notter urged medical

officers to avoid valleys so narrow that the air stagnates, ground immediately

above marshes, and fresh clearings. ‘‘Dampness of soil adds immeasurably to

camp diseases’’; but he argued that sandy soils also ‘‘act prejudiciously both

by not disinfecting these organic matters and by their drying power, so that

when clouds of sand are raised by the wind, these clouds carry particles of

organic matter.’’ Men should never be allowed to sleep below the level of the

ground, in excavated tents, ‘‘exposed to ground-air emanations.’’∂≠ The de-

caying of organic material in the soil suggested the presence of pathogenic

germs—but on few occasions were these suppositions tested.

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26 american military medicine faces west

Colonel Dallas Bache, m.d., expected that ‘‘certain sanitary interrogato-

ries will be put to any important situation, and the replies carefully consid-

ered,’’ before a place was chosen for camp: ‘‘manifestly a very great range of

questions upon climate, soil, water, and waste disposal must be met.’’∂∞ Evi-

dence pointed, for instance, to a ‘‘malady of the wind’’—as of the sea—

requiring the hygienist to consider carefully the lay of the land and its ventila-

tion. The attributes of the soil, including its texture, temperature, and water

and mineral content, also had ‘‘well-established or highly probable relations

to health,’’ contributing to the origin or spread of many diseases.∂≤ ‘‘We can-

not afford to neglect the evidence,’’ Bache warned his colleagues in 1895,

‘‘that makes a close ally of the soil with malaria, and proclaims it the nursery

of neuralgia, catarrhs, rheumatism, and consumption; more constant and

insidious foes to the military community than the Indian.’’ He suggested that

the new science of bacteriology had simply indicated that the soil ‘‘offers itself

as a culture medium or refuge in general terms’’ for the agents of cholera,

typhoid fever, diarrhea, and dysentery.∂≥ These diseases might lurk in the

environment, ready to subvert the soldier’s health.

Conditions of military life also drew attention to the health threats of

overcrowding and the need for meticulous group discipline and personal

hygiene. Thus concern with the management of populations would often

accompany territorial appraisal on the march. Just as the new bacteriology

might be superimposed on old landmarks of geographical pathology, so too

might it give further pathological depth to old fears of bad behavior and

unregulated social contact. The danger of contracting venereal disease, espe-

cially from prostitutes of another race, was well recognized, but increasingly

it was suspected that even nonvenereal social contact with one’s peers might

prove risky.∂∂ Therefore the bodies and habits of soldiers, as much as the

territories they passed over, needed constant surveillance and care. It was

important, from the beginning, to ensure that recruits derived from sturdy

and reliable stock. Since the 1880s, all recruits went through a physical exam-

ination and a cursory assessment of mentality and character before enlist-

ment. The advantage of this procedure, according to Bache, was that it re-

jected ‘‘material that would swell the death and discharge rates.’’∂∑ ‘‘A man

who is incapable of sustaining the fatigue of a four-mile march,’’ noted Colo-

nel Herbert Burrill, m.d., ‘‘would be an incubus on the rapid movement of

troops.’’∂∏ Worse, he was also more susceptible to disease, whatever its cause,

and perhaps more likely to pass it on. Munson observed that ‘‘recruits must

be of trustworthy physique and sound constitution before the military char-

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american military medicine faces west 27

acter can be developed, and the physically, mentally and morally defective are

hence to be uniformly rejected as unfit for service.’’ The army would take

sober men from the ‘‘lower walks of life and the laboring classes’’ and train

their character and body.∂π Those resistant to military discipline must be

excluded. In his revision of Tripler’s Manual, Colonel Charles R. Green-

leaf, m.d., an assistant surgeon general of the army, insisted that no recruits

be drawn from the ‘‘vagrant and criminal classes.’’∂∫ Munson, too, advised

against admitting ‘‘men whose physical faults render them unfit for duty and

susceptible to disease, whose undetected affections may be transmitted to

others or whose moral obliquities induce malingering and desertion.’’∂Ω

Military surgeons knew from experience that physical training and disci-

pline could transform eligible raw material into good soldiers. As Munson

wrote, ‘‘Strength, activity, endurance and discipline, combined with sound

bodily health, are the first requisites of the soldier.’’ These qualities, he ar-

gued, were ‘‘the foundation upon which the whole structure of military effi-

ciency rests.’’ But mental and moral training must always accompany physical

development; otherwise the recruit would become just ‘‘sluggish muscle piled

on the back of a listless and indifferent mind and an irresolute and halting

will.’’ Instead, the ideal citizen-soldier should be ‘‘of manly character, willing,

brave, steadfast, zealous, enthusiastic, of good humor, and possessed of initia-

tive.’’ Munson wanted thus to make ‘‘the man in the ranks a part of an

intelligent machine to act at the voice of a commander.’’∑≠ This efficient per-

formance demanded an education in temperance and self-restraint. In accor-

dance with the emphasis on a simple mode of life, the soldier was advised

against dietary indiscretion and alcohol abuse. It was important more gener-

ally to regulate intake and excretion to achieve a balance of the bodily system.

The soldier’s clothing, for example, ought to ensure that he maintained a

stable temperature and evaded heatstroke, fatigue, and any diseases brought

on by chill. The army ration would deliver a balanced diet of protein, starch,

fat, and salts.∑∞

The well-trained soldier was expected to recognize and avoid sanitary

hazards, especially those related to disposal of excreta. Munson, throughout

his career in the army, and later as advisor to the Bureau of Health in the

Philippines, would warn of the dangers of promiscuous defecation, a failing

that at least seemed readily disciplined in white soldiers. Experience had

convinced him that ‘‘the care of latrines is a most important factor in the

preservation of the health of the command.’’ Indeed, ‘‘raw troops living like

savages in their disregard of sanitary principles, without moving camp as

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28 american military medicine faces west

often as do these savages, cannot fail to be scourged by epidemic disease as a

result of their ignorance and neglect.’’ Education and camp inspection were

unremitting; ‘‘camp police’’ would discipline those who refused to find the

distant latrines.∑≤ In the military service, the removal of excreta and the main-

tenance of personal cleanliness would normally receive more emphasis than

in white civilian life, in recognition of the special health risks of shared and

often crowded living conditions. The personal hygiene of soldiers in the line

was regulated as never before. Since the 1880s, far in advance of the British

army, all military posts in the United States had provided bathing facilities for

troops. Each American soldier was now required ‘‘to wash the face, head,

neck and feet once daily, cleanse the hands prior to each meal and bathe his

entire body at least as often as once in five days.’’ His personal cleanliness and

propriety had become ‘‘a constant object of solicitude on the part of his

superiors.’’∑≥

When epidemics broke out among troops, as they often did despite even

the best policing, the military hygienist set about to inquire into their history

and predisposing causes and then recommend measures of control. In the

1890s, the sanitary officer could draw on a large repertoire of interventions.

These included isolation of the diseased, prevention of crowding, purifying of

food and water, avoidance of unripe or decomposing vegetables, eradication

of ‘‘soil pollution,’’ whitewashing or burning of infected localities. destruc-

tion of infected articles. disinfection of privies, urinals, sinks, and drains,

checking of ventilating appliances, protection from dampness, the daily airing

of bedding, healthy amusements and exercise, prevention of intemperance

and promiscuity, and, in the case of smallpox, vaccination.∑∂ It was gradually

becoming more likely that the surgeon would seek to identify a microbial

cause of the epidemic and, if successful, attune his response accordingly. In the

summer of 1898, when typhoid, or camp fever, spread among the troops

assembling in the United States to fight the war with Spain, General Sternberg

appointed a board of investigation that included Major Walter Reed, m.d., to

show what could be done with new scientific techniques.∑∑ The board visited

all the large camps in the United States, studying the water supply, the quality

and quantity of food, the nature of the soil, the arrangement and size of tents,

the location of sinks, and the disposal of human waste. ‘‘Scientific investiga-

tions of the blood,’’ including application of the Widal test for the typhoid

organism, indicated that most of what had passed for ‘‘malarial fever of a

protracted variety’’ should have been diagnosed as typhoid. Frequently, the

presence of typhoid was deliberately hidden: ‘‘in one command the death-rate

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american military medicine faces west 29

from indigestion was put down as fifteen percent.’’∑∏ The board carefully

assessed the various proposed explanations for the epidemic. They concluded

it derived not from sending northern men into a southern climate or from the

locality or simply the massing of so many men in one place. Rather, the cause

was ‘‘camp pollution,’’ that is, the improper disposal of excreta. On hearing

of this conclusion, Sternberg recommended to the adjutant general that sub-

ordinates clean up the camps, discourage flies, and sterilize the excreta of

typhoid cases.∑π But by then the disease had mostly run its course.

At the end of the nineteenth century, an education in the principles of

modern hygiene was supposed to inform the military surgeon’s sanitary work.

When a candidate passed the medical department’s competitive examina-

tions, he had to attend a four-month (later eight-month) course at the Army

Medical School in Washington, D.C. Sternberg had established the school in

1893 to teach army regulations, customs of service, examination of recruits,

care and transportation of the wounded, and field hospital management.

Special emphasis was placed on military hygiene and sanitation and on ‘‘clini-

cal and biological microscopy, particularly as bearing on disinfection and

prevention of disease.’’∑∫ Billings taught military hygiene, Reed instructed

students in bacteriology, Major Charles Smart, m.d., was in charge of sani-

tary chemistry, and Professor C. W. Stiles lectured on parasites in man. Ac-

cording to Dr. Charles H. Alden, the school’s director, the courses provided

for ‘‘a study of Hygiene in all its various branches, of air and water and their

impurities, clothing, food, exercise, barrack and hospital construction, sewer-

age and drainage, sanitary chemistry and practical bacteriology.’’ Laboratory

work was a prominent feature of the course, supposedly ‘‘consuming most of

the students’ time.’’∑Ω

In 1898, at the beginning of a long tropical war in the Philippines, the army

medical service appeared to exercise more influence over the care of troops

than ever before. Even if the medical department’s grasp on bacteriology was

still weak at times, its organizational structure was stronger than ever. At the

outbreak of the Spanish-American War the department consisted of 177 com-

missioned officers and 750 enlisted men. A permanent sanitary organization

was attached to each regiment. For every 1,000 of strength, there were now

3 medical officers, 1 hospital steward, 2 acting hospital stewards, 1 nurse,

1 cook, and 3 orderlies; 2 company bearers were detailed for every 100 men

on the line. Each division, 10,000 men strong, was provided with a field

hospital, including 9 medical officers and 27 privates, members of the hospi-

tal corps, male nurses or ‘‘sanitary soldiers,’’ who cared for the sick and

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30 american military medicine faces west

wounded.∏≠ In the recent past, line and staff were inclined to scorn medical

officers for their attempts to ‘‘coddle’’ soldiers. But this attitude was changing.

The military surgeon possessed the authority accorded to his rank, the grow-

ing dignity of his profession, and now the freshly minted currency of lab-

oratory science. Woodruff found that he rarely needed to compel ordinary

soldiers ‘‘to get well,’’ for they would ‘‘readily submit to all reasonable restric-

tions and methods of treatment, and many unreasonable ones too.’’∏∞ The

military surgeon toward the end of the nineteenth century was gaining confi-

dence in his new expertise, grappling with bacteriology, and attempting to

incorporate novel pathogens into familiar patterns of environmental and so-

cial etiology. But his skills would be severely tested abroad, among the foreign

disease ecology of the tropics.

american military medicine in the tropics

The warfare around Manila at first was mostly of a continental type, with the

deployment of columns and the entrenchment of positions. The medical de-

partment was hard-pressed with the care of wounded and the establishment

of divisional or general hospitals, though some public health work did begin

soon after the occupation of Manila. During the first year of the war, the

medical service concentrated on surgery and devising an easily movable front

line, a more or less constant means of supply and evacuation, and well-

determined depots for the sick in the general hospitals. The volunteer sur-

geons and those from the National Guard generally proved unprepared for

war conditions. According to Lieutenant Colonel John van Rensselaer Hoff,

m.d., the leading administrative reformer in the sanitary bureau, there was,

among regimental medical officers and hospital stewards, ‘‘scarcely an officer

or man who possessed the slightest knowledge of medico-military matters.’’

Indeed, the medical department was ‘‘quite as much in need of training in the

theory of the special military work of the sanitary corps, as were the troops of

the line in their routine of ‘fours right and fours left.’ ’’∏≤ Lieutenant Colonel

Jefferson D. Griffiths, m.d., the medical director of the Missouri National

Guard, found his new circumstances particularly challenging. ‘‘As surgeons,’’

he recalled, ‘‘we thought we could amputate a limb. We were familiar with

laparotomies, and had an idea that we were fully competent to deal with the

necessities of the occasion. Many of us even thought we knew something

about the proper sanitation of camps, and disinfection.’’ But after a few weeks

in the military, ‘‘we found our ignorance was sublime.’’∏≥

Most of the surgeons streaming into military service found themselves in

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american military medicine faces west 31

figure 4. Square at Malalos, March 1899 (rg 165-pw-3h, nara).

Griffith’s predicament. In particular, the contract surgeons had no special

training in military hygiene and knew nothing of army administrative proce-

dures. So pressing was the need for surgeons that the rigorous physical and

professional examinations for entry into the medical department had been

suspended. Few volunteers possessed Henry F. Hoyt’s experience of frontier

medical practice and knowledge of modern hygiene. The ‘‘red-haired Indian-

fighter,’’ as he called himself, had set up a practice in New Mexico and tended

railway workers there, before becoming commissioner of health for St. Paul,

Minnesota, where he vaccinated widely and opened a bacteriology labora-

tory. Assigned as chief surgeon in the Second Division, Eighth Army Corps,

Hoyt arrived in Manila in December 1898. The general advance of the army

on Aguinaldo’s trenches around the city was his first experience under fire.

Wearing a white cork East India helmet, ‘‘being fearful of sunstroke in the

tropics under a campaign hat,’’ the medical officer gave first aid to the

wounded and then sent some back for ‘‘aseptic surgery.’’∏∂ Regulations called

for two men of the hospital corps to carry each litter, but Hoyt soon saw that

‘‘even six white men’’ could not manage it ‘‘in that hot, humid tropical cli-

mate,’’ and he recommended that ‘‘Chinese coolies’’ be substituted.∏∑ The

army continued to advance through ‘‘rough country and impenetrable

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32 american military medicine faces west

jungle,’’ all the while dodging brisk sniper fire, leaving transportation for the

wounded far in the rear. The retreating army had destroyed the bridges, and

ambulances could not cross the streams. Although the railway track was

quickly repaired, Aguinaldo had kept most of the rolling stock. But using ‘‘a

bunch of Igarote [sic] prisoners as motive power,’’ Hoyt was able to improvise

boxcars as ambulances for the wounded. When a fierce battle outside Malalos

left four Americans dead, thirty wounded, and eleven with ‘‘heat exhaus-

tion,’’ he even tried ferrying the casualties by canoe.∏∏

In May 1899, Hoyt established the first field hospital in the islands. He se-

lected five ‘‘commodious houses’’ and connected them with a bamboo porch,

an expedient that won praise from Senator Albert Beveridge when he visited.

Soon afterwards, an ambulance brought Simon Flexner and Lewellys Barker,

a pathologist and a physician from the Johns Hopkins University, keen to

study tropical disease. According to Hoyt, they were like most young Ameri-

can men, ‘‘wild to get a taste of real war at the front.’’∏π But they did not linger.

Hoyt himself had by then tasted rather too much of the Philippines. During

the advance from Malalos he was ‘‘seized with a severe attack of amebic

dysentery’’ and ‘‘fainted away.’’ Sent to the new convalescent hospital on

Corregidor Island, he grew worse and was ordered home. ‘‘The change and

sea air did wonders,’’ and, as he neared his homeland, he began to gain

strength.∏∫

Lieutenant Franklin M. Kemp, m.d., also remembered clearly his first time

under fire, as the army attacked Aguinaldo’s trenches. Kemp, like Hoyt an

experienced hygienist, had arrived in Manila in August 1898 and spent the

next few months in ‘‘the teaching of men to save their lives, or those of their

comrades when wounded.’’ During his daily drill and lecture, Kemp gave the

men practical instruction in minor surgery, first aid, and transportation of the

wounded. ‘‘They were taught to regard the first aid packet as their most

precious possession, after their rifle.’’∏Ω On the night of February 4, 1899, as

the American forces moved out of Manila, Kemp stationed the hospital corps

with litters along the Singalong Road and was soon busy dressing the

wounded who staggered out from the brushwood. As they retreated, Filipinos

kept up a ‘‘constant and severe cross-fire,’’ yet ‘‘the hospital corps men seemed

to be ubiquitous, going from one pit to another, across open spaces, appar-

ently bearing charmed lives.’’π≠

By April, when the army was advancing on Santa Cruz, Laguna, Kemp had

learned to put the hospital corps five or ten paces in the rear of each company,

with Chinese bearers a further hundred yards behind. The Chinese were

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american military medicine faces west 33

proving themselves better able to withstand the intense heat than American

litter-bearers, and with ‘‘the usual Oriental stoicism’’ they often worked ‘‘ap-

parently beyond the limits of human endurance.’’ They were under the charge

of a private in the hospital corps ‘‘who could swear volubly in Chinese and

was further assisted by a huge navy revolver and a big stick.’’π∞ For two weeks

the troops moved through country that had never carried wheeled transporta-

tion before: they were compelled to make roads, build bridges, and ford

rivers, with little to guide them. But Kemp and his corps were by then pre-

pared for such conditions: ‘‘My coolies would have the locality all cleaned up

before the train arrived, the carts containing the medical, the surgical and the

sterilizing chests coming next. In a few minutes the division field hospital

would be established and in thorough running order, rounds made, operating

table improvised and all dressings and operations performed. Ambulances

would be parked and cleaned and made ready for instant use.’’π≤

And before long, they would pack up and move on again. After crossing the

Pasig River, the troops endured the hardest day’s march that Kemp could re-

member. All day, under fire from the enemy, they trudged across rolling land,

‘‘destitute of water,’’ covered with ‘‘rank weeds and grass to one’s waist,’’

intersected with deep ravines, with absolutely no shade and a temperature of

110 degrees Fahrenheit. ‘‘Water gave out early in the morning,’’ Kemp wrote;

‘‘tongues were so swollen that one could not speak; men dropped down in

simple heat exhaustion or in convulsions, not one at a time, but in squads of

five or six.’’ Even in the seasoned 14th Infantry, almost 40 percent of the

complement succumbed that day.π≥ Kemp was kept busy in his improvised

hospital till late at night.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lippincott, m.d., the chief surgeon for the Divi-

sion of the Pacific and Eighth Army Corps, recalled that the wounded and sick

generally did well during the early stages of the Philippines campaign, and the

medical department performed its duties ‘‘cheerfully and efficiently.’’π∂ ‘‘Of

course we had excellent surgeons on the firing line’’—men like Hoyt and

Kemp—who ‘‘saw the wounded were well cared for before transportation,

whether by ambulance, rail, or water, to the First Reserve [Hospital], and the

men arrived in as good condition as could be expected.’’π∑ Lippincott had

converted the Spanish military hospital into the First Reserve Hospital in

August 1898, a few days after the fall of Manila. Erected just twelve years

earlier, the hospital accommodated between eight hundred and a thousand

patients. The wards seemed well constructed ‘‘and very large and roomy, but

the location [was] bad owing to the swampy surroundings.’’ Not surprisingly,

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34 american military medicine faces west

figure 5. Wounded arriving in Manila, c. 1899 (rg 200-pi-46a, nara).

the ‘‘sewer and closet arrangements, like everything of the kind in Manila,

were unsanitary,’’ but they were soon altered to resemble ‘‘the good features

of the hospitals in America.’’ Initially, all the sick and seriously wounded

came to this large hospital, but less than a month later Lippincott established

the Second Reserve in an abandoned convent, for the overflow from the First

Reserve. In November 1898, the Corregidor Hospital opened on a site that

Lippincott described as ‘‘a model spot for a large hospital.’’π∏ The environ-

mental conditions of the island seemed to revitalize most American soldiers:

the temperature was ten degrees below Manila’s, there was no malaria, shade

trees abounded, and the saltwater bathing was excellent.

Yet medical conditions were not as satisfactory as Lippincott implied.

Lieutenant Colonel Alfred A. Woodhull, m.d., Lippincott’s successor as chief

surgeon in Manila, reported that the two reserve hospitals were ‘‘swollen out

of all proportions,’’ and barracks had to be used for the overflow.ππ He was

disturbed above all by the condition of the First Reserve Hospital: ‘‘The

hospital grounds have been in a wretched state of police; the Hospital Corps

seems to have neither system nor order for its control; there is no dining room,

no proper facilities for the preparation of food or its distribution . . . the wards

that I have incidentally passed through have been dirty and in poor order,

they are horribly overcrowded and insufficiently manned.’’π∫ He had found a

‘‘large and foul bathroom and privy’’ next to the main kitchen; many of the

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american military medicine faces west 35

wards were ‘‘polluted with the remains of food.’’πΩ During the wet season, the

tent wards were awash with water, ‘‘literally an ankle deep.’’∫≠ Lieutenant

Conrad Lanza, confined to the hospital in June 1899, complained that the

army ration he received was ‘‘uneatable’’ and members of the hospital corps

were ‘‘habitually disrespectful and inattentive.’’∫∞ Nurse Mary E. Sloper al-

leged that the sputum of tuberculosis patients overflowed receptacles onto the

floor; and the two large jugs in the center of the ward, filled daily with fresh

drinking water, contained bugs and worms in the slime at the bottom. Ac-

cording to Nurse Sloper, patients slept in dirty linen, discarded by previous

inmates, and their bodies were never washed.∫≤ Conditions in hospitals out-

side Manila were scarcely better. The hospital at Corregidor remained under

canvas six months after its establishment. The field hospitals proved woefully

inadequate too. ‘‘There are innumerable regimental hospitals that in my judg-

ment are pernicious,’’ Woodhull lamented, ‘‘but which are authorized and

supported. These are rendezvous of idlers and malingerers made possible

merely because efficient medical officers, or in fact any at all, cannot be as-

signed to them.’’∫≥

Others echoed Woodhull’s complaints of inadequate medical staffing.

Hoyt repeatedly pointed out the deficiencies in personnel, ambulances, and

transportation at the front. He could count on only two surgeons on duty

with each regiment when, for ‘‘service in the tropics,’’ there should be at least

three. Kenneth Fleming, in the hospital corps, wrote to his ‘‘dear ones at

home’’ to tell them that ‘‘the Stuerd is sick and the Dr. is in Bunate and that

leaves me in a pretty tight place but their is nothing much to do hear but hold

sick call and I can atend to one company . . . I havent killed any body yet and I

don’t intend to do that.’’∫∂ Major General H. W. Lawton criticized the scarcity

of medical attendants in his division: ‘‘At present one surgeon is forced to

travel a line of mud and water . . . a distance of some four miles by road in

performance of his duties, and he is far from being well himself.’’ To send

someone to his assistance would leave another command entirely without

medical services.∫∑ In response to these and other complaints, Sternberg dis-

patched more contract surgeons and hospital corps. But soon after arriving,

many of them would fall ill. Of the medical officers ‘‘actually on duty in

Luzon, seven are disqualified on account of sickness,’’ Woodhull reported,

and many others had been ‘‘placed upon selected duty on account of their

health.’’ The chief surgeon found himself constantly shifting the remaining

healthy medical officers from one battalion to another. It was difficult to keep

up. Woodhull’s first knowledge of an expedition was often ‘‘an announce-

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36 american military medicine faces west

figure 6. U.S. Ambulance Corps, c. 1899 (rg 200-pi-11c, nara).

ment from [the regiment] that it was moving off with an inadequate medical

force.’’∫∏ Sternberg sent out even more contract surgeons, but within months

Woodhull was listing another twenty-five vacancies, each case a result of

‘‘sickness,’’ ‘‘gastro-enteritis,’’ ‘‘dysentery,’’ ‘‘repeatedly breaking down,’’ or

just ‘‘weakened health.’’∫π

The duties of those medical officers who remained fit were long and ar-

duous. During the wet season the roads they traveled became quagmires, and

on crossing the rice fields ‘‘not infrequently the officers are wet up to their

waists even when it is not raining.’’ The daily sick call often took several

hours when companies were scattered across many miles of defenses. ‘‘The

weather is always warm,’’ Woodhull reported, ‘‘and the atmosphere is gener-

ally humid, so that when the sun is unobstructed its direct rays are distress-

ing and it is always oppressive in the field.’’∫∫ Woodhull found many of his

contract surgeons lacking in aptitude and industry under these conditions.

Among them was a man who had worked well in the field but had ‘‘no more

judgment than to turn over sick call to his wife’’ and therefore marked him-

self as ‘‘certainly not the sort of person from whom the best service can be

obtained.’’ Indeed, Woodhull constantly expected ‘‘to hear of his breaking

down.’’ Another was ‘‘notoriously frail physically’’ and ‘‘exceedingly slow

and over-cautious.’’ Others appeared to be malingering or else just ‘‘dead

wood.’’ ‘‘It is very trying,’’ Woodhull wrote, ‘‘to be credited with such as these

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american military medicine faces west 37

figure 7. Operating station, c. 1899 (rg 165-pw-g, nara).

and expected to get good work out of them.’’∫Ω Most of the contract surgeons

were merely ‘‘young men of small personal experience,’’ and very few had

made ‘‘a special study of the diseases of this climate.’’Ω≠

the racial economy of the tropics

In January 1900, Lieutenant P. C. Fauntleroy, m.d., proudly described his

Second Division field hospital at Angeles, which then consisted of nine adjoin-

ing dwellings, all connected by bamboo and nipa covered ways. The water

from the well seemed pure enough, but even so Fauntleroy made sure it was

always filtered and boiled. The hospital bedding was regularly disinfected and

boiled to prevent the spread of tinea, measles, and other skin irritations.

Fauntleroy suspected that the origin of the many cases of malaria and intesti-

nal disease he encountered was ‘‘to be found in the constant exposure while

on the march and especially on outpost duty at night, to the prevailing condi-

tions natural to this section, and to the flooding of the land for agricultural

purposes,’’ which had made the ground damp. ‘‘Irregular and often hasty

eating of food’’ may have added to the level of morbidity.Ω∞ These environ-

mental and behavioral explanations did not mean that the medical officer

discounted germs as the causes of disease; it was just that germs seemed to

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38 american military medicine faces west

possess older geographical and moral correlates. In perplexing cases of fever,

Fauntleroy would look for malaria parasites in the blood, but generally he

could discern clear clinical signs—often a distinctive rash or fever pattern—

indicating a specific disease and excusing him from deploying the microscope.

Lippincott reported that most of the ‘‘diseases incidental to the tropics’’

could be encountered in the Philippines. Dysentery was always present; lep-

rosy was common, and enteric fever, or typhoid, ‘‘long ago became fastened

to the coast line.’’ The ‘‘inordinate activity of the skin’’ made severe ‘‘dermatic

affections’’ nearly universal among white soldiers. ‘‘Slight injuries often result

in long unhealed ulceration,’’ the chief surgeon noted, ‘‘and this is due to

excessive perspiration with its attending debility.’’Ω≤ Vaccination and revac-

cination of the troops against smallpox ‘‘of a type especially severe to the

white’’Ω≥ and endemic among Filipinos went on ‘‘as systematically as the drills

at a well-regulated post.’’Ω∂ ‘‘Malarial poisoning’’ was widespread, though

not nearly as malignant as first feared; all the same, many regiments, beset

with sporadic outbreaks, had required quinine prophylaxis. Not surprisingly,

the wet season was the harbinger of death and disease, since ‘‘the camps were

not only quagmires, but the soldiers were often drenched for days together.’’

The results of this miserable predicament were dysentery, persistent diarrhea,

rheumatism, enteric fever, and more malaria. During 1899, the worst year of

the campaign, 36 officers and 439 soldiers were killed or died from wounds

received in action, 8 officers and 131 soldiers died from ‘‘other forms of

violence,’’ and 16 officers and 693 men fell to disease, principally diarrhea

and dysentery, smallpox and typhoid. Additionally, more than 1,900 soldiers

were transferred back to the United States on account of sickness. The Ameri-

can army in the Philippines therefore lost through death, discharge, or trans-

fer almost 14 percent of the average mean strength present (which was a little

under 28,000 men). The sick rate—a more accurate measure of the incapacity

of an army—was of course much higher.Ω∑

Although it was now generally accepted that ‘‘climate cannot generate

fever no more than it can generate plants and animals,’’ most physicians and

their patients continued to believe that tropical conditions would reduce an

alien race’s general resistance to disease and present it with novel microbial

pathogens for which it was unprepared.Ω∏ Malaria had become prevalent

among white troops because ‘‘the depressing influence of the tropical climate

lessens the individual’s normal resisting powers and thereby prepares a favor-

able soil for the invasion of parasites.’’Ωπ Even familiar, cosmopolitan diseases

exerted a more deleterious effect in the devitalizing tropics. Smallpox ‘‘in this

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american military medicine faces west 39

latitude and longitude,’’ according to Hoyt, was ‘‘very fatal, especially to the

white man.’’Ω∫ The experience of Major Charles F. Mason, m.d., in treating

typhoid among American soldiers in the Philippines convinced him that ‘‘the

disease is more severe than in the temperate zone, and more fatal in its re-

sults.’’ΩΩ Sternberg warned, ‘‘The spread of diarrhea and dysentery is indi-

rectly promoted and their danger aggravated by the alternate heat and rains

of a tropical climate and by the lowering of vital powers consequent on heat

exhaustion.’’∞≠≠ Notter, too, had observed that ‘‘the mortality from enteric

fever in hot climates is always more than in temperate zones,’’ owing no

doubt to ‘‘the diminished resistant power of the individual.’’ The more potent

‘‘undermining factors’’ appeared to be youth and recent arrival in the foreign

environment. Yet he had also noticed how ‘‘prolonged residence in a hot cli-

mate doubtless deteriorates the system’’ and led to the diminution of Anglo-

Saxon ‘‘energy’’—though he hastened to assure his readers that ‘‘the influence

of ‘climate’ as a direct etiological factor of cholera or enteric fever . . . is

baseless in fact.’’∞≠∞

The encounters of military surgeons in the Philippines seemed to confirm

that the white race was likely to degenerate and sicken in the tropics. Accord-

ing to Greenleaf, ‘‘the principal medical feature’’ of the San Isidro campaign in

April 1899 was the ‘‘severe physical hardship’’ white troops endured: ‘‘The

very bullock trains had to be helped by hand, under intense heat and at-

mospheric humidity.’’ As a result, many soldiers succumbed to exhaustion,

and 530 of them, almost 15 percent of the command, were admitted to the

field hospital. Such incidents reinforced the conviction, held by physicians

and ordinary soldiers alike, that ‘‘the Anglo-Saxon cannot work hard physi-

cally in the tropics without suffering physical harm from the sun and cli-

mate.’’∞≠≤ This meant in practice that only Filipinos and Chinese should per-

form heavy manual labor, such as lugging ambulance litters. But what was

fighting a war if not a form of hard labor? Few medical officers doubted that

the typical white soldier, marching and fighting ‘‘under very exhausting con-

ditions of country and climate,’’ could not ‘‘endure the same amount of nerve

tension and physical strain that he can in a temperate zone.’’ ‘‘Recuperation

and convalescence in this climate are slow,’’ reflected Greenleaf, and ‘‘were an

epidemic of any character to occur among men in that condition, its effects

would probably be very disastrous.’’∞≠≥ In Mason’s opinion, ‘‘the great major-

ity of white men in the tropics suffer a gradual deterioration of health and

year by year become less and less fit for active service.’’∞≠∂ American so-

journers might watch as ‘‘the sun cast long fingers of light’’ through the

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40 american military medicine faces west

banana palms; they might gaze on ‘‘a blue sky, a gray beach, besprinkled with

beautifully tinted shells’’—but they were never allowed to forget the ‘‘gener-

ally accepted fact that [whites] cannot permanently adapt to the climatic

conditions of this zone.’’∞≠∑

The mental and moral qualities of the white race, finely attuned to a more

stimulating environment, seemed especially likely to jangle and twang in trop-

ical circumstances. The common enervation might on occasion slide into

serious mental disorder. In the opinion of Surgeon Joseph A. Guthrie, ‘‘The

Philippine sun seems to have a powerful influence upon the body, an over-

stimulating effect, like unto the surcharged x-ray, penetrating the skin along

the nerve fibers and exerting its influence upon the entire nervous system.’’∞≠∏

Munson, in contrast, was convinced that tropical service inevitably caused ‘‘a

depression of vital and nervous energy’’ and bred ‘‘nostalgia, ennui and dis-

content’’ among nonnative troops. Soon they became ‘‘wearied, fagged, and

unable to concentrate their ordinary amount of brain power on any one sub-

ject.’’∞≠π Episodes of the ‘‘depressing condition known as nostalgia,’’ brought

on by fighting far from home in a foreign climate, occurred regularly, espe-

cially among the less worldly rural recruits. ‘‘In individual cases of illness,’’

Greenleaf reported, ‘‘nostalgia became a complication that aggravated origi-

nal disease and could not be removed while the patient remained in the

islands.’’∞≠∫ ‘‘The sudden transfer to a foreign land,’’ recalled Major Louis

Mervin Maus, m.d., ‘‘separation from sweethearts, wives and family, the

constant influence of conversation regarding the horrors of tropical diseases

and climate, mental forebodings as to evil happenings, produced in a large

number of the men, unaccustomed to absence from home, nostalgia which

gradually merged into mental depression, apathy, loss of vitality, neuras-

thenia, melancholia and insanity.’’∞≠Ω Reeling between overstimulation and

depression, the common soldier was struggling to maintain his usual equable

temperament. At home, many came to believe the heat had driven men mad.

In February 1900, the Evening Star in Washington, D.C., warned that ‘‘dur-

ing the last three months nearly 250 demented soldiers have been sent across

the continent [to Washington] and it is said that 250 more will arrive soon

from Manila. In nearly all cases the men are violently insane.’’∞∞≠

In 1902, reviewing the lessons of recent tropical service, Munson con-

cluded that there was ‘‘ample proof that tropical heat and humidity produce

marked changes in body-function which exert an effect adverse to the health

and existence of all but the native-born.’’ Heat and humidity increased Euro-

pean body temperature and perspiration while reducing pulse rate, blood

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american military medicine faces west 41

pressure, and urine production. The number and function of ‘‘red blood

corpuscles’’ diminished in whites transplanted to the tropics. Therefore, even

if they avoided specific disease, ‘‘residence in hot climates, under circum-

stances of ordinary life, has an adverse effect on the white race.’’ Speaking

from experience, Munson could not doubt that ‘‘the Anglo-Saxon branch of

the Teutonic stock is severely handicapped by nature in the struggle to colo-

nize the tropics.’’∞∞∞ It mattered little whether Providence or evolutionary

mechanism had matched race to climate: whatever the explanation, whites in

the tropics were out of place, and degeneration and disease would be the

natural rewards of environmental transgression.

The apprehensions and anxieties of American medical officers were hardly

novel. Most medical authorities and social theorists in the nineteenth century

held that the boundaries within which an individual could stay healthy and

comfortable coincided with the region in which his race had long been situ-

ated. To venture beyond this natural realm in any circumstances seemed

hazardous; to go abroad and fight a war on treacherous ground was to court

disaster. For the past century, medical geographers had discussed whether

Europeans might adapt themselves, or acclimatize, to a tropical environment

—and the answer was still, even in the 1890s, unsettled. A general sense of

climatic anxiety and pessimism pervaded the medical and colonial literature.

Thus E. A. Birch, in Andrew Davidson’s Hygiene and Diseases of Warm

Climates, explained to his readers that a tropical climate would always be ‘‘in-

imical to the European constitution.’’ A continued high temperature seemed

to produce in the white body ‘‘an excessive cutaneous action, alternating

with internal congestions.’’ Although ‘‘the effort of nature is to accommodate

the constitution to the newly established physiological requirements,’’ there

would be an inherent racial limit to this functional adjustment.∞∞≤ It comes as

no surprise that the conventional concern about racial displacement was

applied to the Philippines. Benjamin Kidd, an English social Darwinist, be-

lieved that ‘‘the attempt to acclimatize the white man in the tropics must be

recognized as a blunder of the first magnitude. All experiments based on the

idea are foredoomed to failure.’’ On the eve of the U.S. Army’s invasion of the

Philippines, Kidd pointed out that ‘‘in climatic conditions that are a burden to

him, in the midst of races in a different and lower stage of development;

divorced from the influences that have produced him, from the moral and

political environment from which he sprang, the white man . . . tends to sink

slowly to the level around him.’’ For in the tropics, ‘‘the white man lives and

works only as a diver lives and works under water.’’∞∞≥

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42 american military medicine faces west

But not all was lost on diving into the tropics. Medical officers in the

Philippines gradually became more confident that proper attention to per-

sonal hygiene at least slowed the decay of the white racial constitution in a

foreign environment. Thus the care of the body and the tempering of behavior

might preserve and supplement the white soldier’s powers of resistance and so

mitigate the presumed transgression against nature. In other words, personal

hygiene would perhaps allow alien Americans to function as if in sealed

hermetic microenvironments, to equip themselves with a sanitary armature

against the climate. Evidently, if a white American soldier was to withstand

his depleting circumstances, his ‘‘habits, his work, his food, his clothing, must

be rationally adjusted to his habitat’’—not to make him like the locals but to

protect him from going native. The basic precepts of tropical hygiene were

simple enough: avoid the sun, stay cool, eat lightly, drink alcohol in modera-

tion or not at all. In Mason’s experience, ‘‘errors of diet, abuse of alcoholics,

chilling after over-heating, especially at night, excessive fatigue, and the use of

the heavy cartridge belt’’ had all been ‘‘powerful disposing factors’’ to invalid-

ing and death in the tropics.∞∞∂

The proper attire, diet, and conduct of American troops in the Philippines

excited much expert commentary. Captain Matthew F. Stelle, m.d., in dis-

cussing the appropriate dress for a soldier in the tropics, admitted he had

scarcely heard of khaki before 1898, but since then it had rapidly replaced

blue as the distinctive coloration of the U.S. soldier. The lighter color, which

deflected the sun, certainly seemed better adapted to the tropics. But he re-

mained convinced that the old campaign hat used in the Philippines absorbed

and concentrated the sun’s rays and was ‘‘the most certain, rapid and perma-

nent hair-eradicator that was ever invented.’’∞∞∑ Mason confirmed the hat’s

evil effects. He reported that a thermometer placed under a felt campaign hat

registered 100.2 degrees, but under a khaki hat, left out in the sun, it never

exceeded 92 degrees. His conclusion was that the campaign hat was ‘‘not fit

for tropical service.’’∞∞∏

When Stelle first ventured into the tropics, it seemed he was asked at least

forty times a day, ‘‘Have you got an abdominal bandage?’’ ‘‘People were daft

on the subject,’’ he said. Although he later came to believe that ‘‘no greater

fake was ever perpetrated’’ and that it was ‘‘a bad habit, a vice, a disease,’’ he

had become addicted to it, as had so many others, and ‘‘nothing but death can

rescue us.’’∞∞π Guthrie was equally convinced that the popular flannel abdom-

inal bandage was unnecessary, yet he continued to advise Americans in the

tropics to protect their abdomen with a blanket when sleeping, to prevent

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american military medicine faces west 43

them ‘‘chilling’’ through evaporation of sweat.∞∞∫ Members of the Philippine

Commission, the new executive government, also concluded that the ‘‘ab-

dominal band is necessary for perhaps fifty percent of Anglo-Saxons. One can

try to do without it, but if one develops diarrhea, the best thing to do is wear

it.’’∞∞Ω Captain Woodruff, however, expressed his objections to abdominal

bands and other warm clothing with characteristic bluntness: ‘‘We are less in

danger of chills,’’ he declared, ‘‘than of being devoured by polar bears.’’ The

white man in the tropics could not cool off day or night, no matter how hard

he tried. In these circumstances, ‘‘as little clothing as possible is the rule, and

that clothing should be such as to interfere in no way whatever with getting

rid of surplus heat.’’∞≤≠

The effort to formulate the ideal ration for the white man in the tropics

was similarly predicated on the perceived need to prevent the accumulation of

excessive heat and thus restore the preexisting balance of the white constitu-

tion. Munson wanted more vegetables and less protein and fat in order to

avoid ‘‘hyper-stimulation of the liver.’’∞≤∞ Surgeon Hamilton Stone argued

that in the tropics, ‘‘where the excretory organs are always overtaxed,’’ there

was a marked tendency ‘‘for us to eat too much,’’ especially the bulletproof

army hardtack, some of it rumored to be left over from the Civil War.∞≤≤

Greenleaf, however, did not see any need to change the quantity of the tropi-

cal ration but suggested a decrease in the meat component and an increase in

cereals. If the ‘‘nitrogenous and fatty elements’’ were reduced, then the diet

would approximate that which sustained the local inhabitants.∞≤≥ But Wood-

ruff, not surprisingly, challenged this objective too. ‘‘If we eat like natives,’’ he

predicted, ‘‘we will become as stupid, frail and worthless as they are.’’ The

real reason disease seemed so severe in the tropics was, he thought, that ‘‘the

white man is exhausted by idleness and insufficient food and has no resis-

tance.’’ Experience had shown him that ‘‘the tropical heat causes a great

expenditure of nervous and muscular force,’’ so to balance this, to ‘‘supply the

wastes and help to prevent exhaustion,’’ more animal food was required, not

less.∞≤∂ Such debates over white nutrition, dress, and behavior in the tropics

would continue for the next twenty years.

manly white tropical soldiers

American whiteness and masculinity were both more readily discerned and

more highly valued in the tropics than at home; they appeared at once more

vulnerable and more necessary.∞≤∑ The figure of ‘‘whiteness,’’ whether defi-

cient or overassertive, became a means through which Americans declared

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44 american military medicine faces west

their presence in the Philippines. The white troops endured fatigue, fever, and

nostalgia, all of which seemed to sap or undermine the race’s reserves of

energy and character. They often felt out of place, not in sympathy with

tropical circumstances. Their medical officers attributed racial deterioration

and disease to a mismatch between bodily constitution and environment—

sometimes the environment was directly noxious, at other times it was micro-

biologically mediated. Soldiers felt awry and uncomfortable; their doctors

confirmed and further specified the pathological consequences of displace-

ment into a foreign climate and exotic disease ecology.

If whites were proving so vulnerable to tropical conditions, what was to be

done? Medical officers sought to limit the troops’ contact with microbes, espe-

cially the unfamiliar ones that appeared to prevail in the new territory. More-

over, they attempted to manage the selection, conduct, clothing, diet, and per-

sonal hygiene of soldiers in order to build up resisting powers and strengthen

the constitution. In multiple ways, then, the military sanitarian was delimiting

the boundaries of whiteness in the Philippines, counterposing it to an un-

wholesome and morbific climate and ecology and thus refiguring what it

would mean to be a real white man—a vigorous American citizen-soldier—in

the tropics. Evidently, remaining or becoming successfully white in the tropics

was going to entail continual medical surveillance and discipline.

Facing west from California’s shores, some Americans observed their

whiteness become more visible again, this time in relation to the multiply

threatening tropical milieu. Frederick Jackson Turner claimed that the strug-

gle with savages and wilderness on the continental frontier transformed Euro-

peans into Americans.∞≤∏ As that frontier closed, a new one opened on the

other side of the Pacific, one markedly more militarized and medical. In the

crucible of the Philippines ‘‘borderlands,’’ American whiteness and masculin-

ity would again be refashioned: now it was the medical officer who took

charge of the process and determined the results.

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Chapter 2
From Hide to Heart
The Philippine-American War as Race War

There is no question that our men do “shoot niggers” somewhat in the sporting spirit. . . . Undoubtedly, they do not
regard the shooting of Filipinos just as they would the shooting of white troops. . . . The soldiers feel that they are
fighting with savages, not with soldiers.
H. L. WELLS, 1900

The warfare that has extended the boundaries of civilization at the expense of barbarism and savagery has been
for centuries one of the most potent factors in the progress of humanity. Yet from its very nature it has always and
everywhere been liable to dark abuses.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, 1902

On February 9, 1899, an editorial in the New York Times raised a dangerous crisis of
recognition that had broken open in Philippine-American relations over the previous week.
The piece, titled “The Status of the Filipinos,” promoted the Senate ratification of the Treaty of
Paris, which would formally transfer sovereignty over the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba
to the United States. With that treaty, Spain’s former subjects in the Caribbean and the Pacific
would become “dependent people under a military government established by the President.”
The problem was that over the previous half year in the Philippines “several thousand of these
new dependent peoples of ours” had “gone through the motions of setting up a Government at
Malolos.” American troops had been greeted as something less than liberators. On the
contrary, Filipinos had decided “we are invaders of their land” and, in the past week, had
“taken up arms against us.” What was the status of the “rebels” at this strange moment of
transition? As “Spanish subjects not yet denationalized,” they were not yet external to Spain
and thus could not be “regarded as the public enemy.” At the same time, as Congress had not
yet established their status, they were not yet internal to the United States and did “not as yet
owe us allegiance.” The only way to resolve the paradox was to exchange ratifications with
Spain: the passage of formal, legal sovereignty from Spain to the United States would legally
invent an “insurrection,” with the revolutionaries’ status becoming “that of insurgents against
their own Government.” At the same moment, the “name and nature of their offense” would
change. While Americans might recognize and “look with leniency” on rebels who “had been
persuaded to consider themselves an independent nation resisting a foreign foe,” once “our
sovereignty” was established “the fiction of an independent Government at Malolos” could not
be tolerated any more than “we tolerated it at Richmond some years ago.” Formal annexation
by treaty would simultaneously dissolve the United States’ foreignness in the Philippines, turn
imperial war into civil war, and convert the soldiers of the Philippine Army into
“insurrectionists.” Ridding Filipinos of their “delusions” would be “painful work” but

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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necessary for the “peace” of what the editorial preemptively and prematurely called “our
domain.”1

The Senate would take the editorialist’s advice, inventing the “Philippine Insurrection” in
the process. While it was not the absolute beginning point of Philippine-American history, the
war between the United States and the Philippines dramatically changed the histories of both
societies and the history of their interconnection. Within U.S. military history, the war was the
United States’ first of many troop deployments in Asia in the twentieth century and delivered
the United States an important, if vulnerable, site for the projection of force.2 Within the history
of the United States’ “informal empire,” the war led to the acquisition of naval bases and
coaling stations that facilitated U.S. commercial penetration into the region. As a moment in
U.S. political and cultural history, the war prompted significant debates on American national
exceptionalism, the meanings of “empire,” and the racial and political implications of colonial
war and occupation.

The war marks an equally important set of transitions in Philippine history. For Filipinos,
the war meant trading—after an eight-month interval of embattled political independence—one
imperial antagonist for another. In military terms, it involved the continuation of the revolution
against a newly arrived and ill-prepared force. Socially, it meant widespread destruction,
dislocation, and death that would cast a long shadow over the coming decades. Politically, it
led to the reconsolidation of urban and rural elite structures that more radical sectors of the
revolution had challenged, as former revolutionary leaders came to negotiate with the U.S.
invaders over terms of peace and collaboration. Where Philippine history crosses over into
U.S. historical consciousness, the “Philippine Insurrection” is nearly always rushed through on
the way to a regime of benevolence and uplift. In the present account, by contrast, the latter
cannot be understood without the former: the war’s patterns of violence and race-making set
many of the terms for subsequent colonial state-building and Filipino-American politics. The
ragged outer edge of the war in chronological terms—it was declared to be over many times
before its actual close—was representative of the way the conflict shaped the “postwar” order.
Born in violence, the United States’ colonial period of the next five decades would be
characterized by a tense and brutal dialectic of force and “attraction.”

Specifically, this chapter sees the Philippine-American War as race war: a war whose ends
were rationalized in racial terms before domestic publics, one in which imperial soldiers
came to understand indigenous combatants and noncombatants in racial terms, one in which
race played a key role in bounding and unbounding the means of colonial violence, and in
which those means were justified along racial lines.3 While race has long been an emphasis of
the war’s historians, both in terms of troop conduct and domestic U.S. debate, this chapter
emphasizes the contingency and indeterminacy of the process by which the United States’
racial-imperial ideologies took shape.4 Rather than featuring the “projection” or “export” of

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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preexisting formations, the war prompted, and was in turn fundamentally structured by, a
process of racialization in which race-making and war-making were intimately connected.

This contingency was due to the entanglement of race-making in the ongoing problematic of
recognition. Both sides in the conflict sought to justify their ends in the war, and their means in
fighting it, before American and international publics. Defenders of the Philippine Republic
argued that their war was one of national liberation and self-defense and sought recognition for
Philippine independence in terms of Filipino socio-cultural standing and “civilization,” in
ways similar to the earlier Propaganda movement. On the United States’ side, the promotion of
the ends of imperial war led to two interconnected processes of racialization. In the first,
American imperialists racialized themselves as “Anglo-Saxons” in order to legitimate the
controversial U.S. war as racially and historically inevitable: Americans were inheritors of
Anglo-Saxon virtues, foremost among them the capacity for empire-building. Where “anti-
imperialists” claimed, often in national-exceptionalist terms, that the war was contrary to U.S.
republican traditions, imperialists would counter that racial-exceptionalist traditions of Anglo-
Saxon empire-building went deeper. In the second, American imperialists would, in the
interests of derecognizing the Philippine Republic, racialize Philippine society into a set of
fragmented and warring “tribes” that were “incapable” of nationality. What might otherwise
appear to be an emerging nation and state in the islands was merely the illegitimate will-to-
power of a single tribe of Tagalogs over the others. As projects to justify the ends of U.S.
imperial war, the Anglo-Saxonizing of the United States and the tribalization of the Philippines
were mutually constitutive.

Each side would also seek recognition of its cause in its means of fighting. On the
Philippine side, it was hoped that powerful, “civilized” countries might acknowledge the
republic if its forces fought a civilized war, waged in conventional formations, demonstrated
discipline, and treated prisoners humanely. War would be a Propaganda movement by other
means. American soldiers, officers, and policy makers acknowledged a similar relationship
between civilization and war. But within the Euro-American world, patterns of warfare were
important markers of racial status: civilized people could be recognized in their civilized
wars, savages in their guerrilla ones. This interconnection meant that race-making and changing
strategies and tactics moved together in a dark, violent spiral. When Filipino forces adopted
guerrilla tactics after 1899, for example, Americans recognized in it the work of savages rather
than soldiers: not just another set of tactics, guerrilla war was the inherent war of preference of
“lower races.” This racialization of guerrilla war raised the central question of whether
Filipinos, in waging a savage war, were owed the restraints that defined civilized war. Many
U.S. soldiers and officers answered this question negatively.5 In numerous settings, guerrilla
war developed into a war of racial exterminism in which Filipino combatants and
noncombatants were understood by U.S. troops to be legitimate targets of violence. The heart
of the United States’ emerging imperial racial formation was rich in contradictions: the people

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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of the Philippines did not possess enough of what Gen. Arthur MacArthur would call
“ethnological homogeneity” to constitute a nation-state, but they did have enough to be made
war upon as a whole.6

Tensions of Recognition
The forces that pushed the Asiatic Squadron out to Manila Bay were complex and continue to
be debated by historians.7 As early as late 1897, officers in the Navy Department and Naval
War College anticipating war with Spain had drafted war plans that included the temporary
occupation of Manila in order to deny Spain revenue, to provide a base of operations, and to
gain leverage for a more favorable peace settlement.8 These war plans were compatible with,
if they were apparently developed independently of, a political elite aggressively committed to
overseas empire, advocates of a “large policy,” such as Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Republican of Massachusetts. In late
1897 and early 1898, both men pressured President William McKinley to see geopolitical
opportunity in the war with Spain: by seizing Spain’s largest Asian colony—in whole or in
part—the United States would gain a strategic foothold from which to wedge open China’s
markets, a rationale for building up U.S. naval strength, and the recognition and respect of the
world’s imperial powers.

February 15, 1898, provided large-policy advocates the opening they had hoped for, when
the USS Maine exploded mysteriously in Havana harbor, where it had been sent to hold
American options open and to protect the property of U.S. citizens. An investigatory
commission suspected Spanish weapons of mass destruction, and the Maine disaster was
assumed to be the work of Spanish treachery by interventionists in the McKinley
administration and in the imperialist press. While the advocates of intervention called for the
“liberation” of Cuba, just ten days after the disaster, Roosevelt ordered Commodore George
Dewey and the Asiatic Squadron to depart San Francisco for Hong Kong to await further
instructions. Following a U.S. declaration of war, Dewey was to proceed to Manila Bay to
engage Spanish naval forces there.

Looming war between Spain and the United States finally gained Filipinos elements of the
recognition and reform from Spanish authorities that Propaganda writers had sought since the
1880s. Rumors of a westbound U.S. Navy and a sudden need for Filipino allies to defend the
islands loosened the Spanish reform imaginary, at least in instrumental terms. With blood from
the San Nicolas massacre hardly dry, the new governor-general, Basilio Augustín, inaugurated
both a Filipino militia and a consultative assembly, staffed by conservative Filipino elites.9

With others, Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda hastily reknotted previously irrelevant ties of
blood and history, calling on indios to fight off the Americans, “who lack the Catholic faith of
Spain,” who have “not the maternal blood, nor the noble magnanimity, nor the community of

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
Created from ucsc on 2019-05-24 22:52:58.
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interests of history, dating back to more than three centuries.” Americans, unlike the Spanish,
did not have “the mixture of blood that circulates through the veins of many of us,” blood that
“in a hundred glorious deeds” had been shed “in our common defense, united by a common
brotherhood, the sons of the mother country and of the colony.” Americans would establish “an
insuperable barrier . . . between [you] and your vainglorious masters.”10

Exiled revolutionaries were divided and willing to play both sides. The end of April 1898
saw Miguel Malvar in Hong Kong negotiating with Spaniards for autonomy and Emilio
Aguinaldo in Singapore negotiating with a U.S. consul for recognition of Philippine
independence. From late March to early April, Aguinaldo had a number of meetings with
Captain Wood, acting on behalf of Commodore Dewey, who had urged him to return and
continue the revolution, assuring him that Americans would supply him with necessary arms.
By Aguinaldo’s account, Wood had stated that the United States was “a great and rich nation
and neither needs nor desires colonies”; he would not put these commitments in writing
without Dewey’s approval.11 Later that month, Aguinaldo received yet more enthusiastic
assurances from the U.S. consul at Singapore, E. Spencer Pratt, who summoned him to a
private meeting. Again according to Aguinaldo, Pratt urged him to continue the revolution,
citing the advent of war between Spain and the United States; he held up the Teller
Amendment, disallowing a permanent Cuban colony, as evidence that the United States had no
intent to occupy the Philippines. Like Wood, he would not commit these promises to writing.
Pratt arranged for Aguinaldo’s travel back to Hong Kong, where he might meet with Dewey
himself; before leaving, Aguinaldo arranged for Pratt to purchase arms for the revolution.

The United States declared war against Spain on April 25, and Dewey was ordered to
proceed immediately to Manila Bay to engage the Spanish squadron. Where Aguinaldo had
hoped Dewey would recognize the revolution by carrying him back to Manila Bay triumphantly
in his flagship, he discovered upon arrival in Hong Kong that Dewey had left without him. The
U.S. consul in Hong Kong, Rounseville Wildman, informed Aguinaldo that Dewey had left
instructions for him to arrange for Aguinaldo’s return to the Philippines; Wildman also agreed
to purchase arms for the revolutionaries, although a second shipment never materialized
despite completed payments.

On May 1, the U.S. Asiatic Squadron utterly destroyed the Spanish naval forces at Manila
Bay, and the revolutionaries in Hong Kong debated strategy. Aguinaldo wanted a written
promise of recognition from Dewey but also felt compelled to establish a revolutionary
government quickly before his rivals could. The exiles were deeply suspicious of U.S.
intentions, as reflected in a late-April circular sent to Manila with José Alejandrino, who had
been allowed to travel with Dewey. The present situation, stated the circular, was
“exceedingly dangerous for the Philippines.” Having engaged in discussions with the consuls
and Dewey, the exiles had “infer[red] that they are trying to make colonies of us, although they

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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said they would give us independence.” It was “advisable to simulate belief at the same time
equipping ourselves with arms.” A part of the revolutionary forces would “aid the Americans
by fighting with them in order to conceal our real intentions,” while “part will be held in
reserve.” If the United States “triumphs and proposes a colony we shall reject such offer and
rise in arms.”12

While Dewey had severed the transoceanic cable, and the character of his victory remained
unclear in Washington, McKinley ordered U.S. troops to be sent to the Philippines.
Mobilization efforts in the Spanish-Cuban-American War attempted to balance the competing
demands of state National Guard units for participation and the War Department’s desire for
sufficient manpower and an efficient, trained force. An initial plan for the expansion of regular
forces to 67,000 and the use of only 60,000 volunteers failed, and McKinley called instead for
125,000 volunteers, undermining any hopes for an orderly mobilization or a trained fighting
force. During the chaotic period that followed, new volunteers would be sworn into federal
service through an additional oath of enlistment to serve for the duration of the war. The first
three expeditions left San Francisco to great fanfare between May 25 and June 27; by late July,
nearly 11,000 U.S. soldiers had arrived. Among them were fifteen state volunteer units, who
would remain in the islands until mid-1899, when they would be replaced by regular army
units. Officers and ordinary soldiers admitted complete ignorance regarding the character of
the islands or their people; they were also unclear as to the exact nature of their mission.

The victorious dewey held Aguinaldo at arm’s length until mid-May, sending a cruiser to bring
him to Manila. The content of their meetings remains unclear, the controversy hinging on
different understandings, and manipulations, of the symbolism of recognition. Aguinaldo
claimed Dewey had honored him as a general, urged the lifting of a Philippine flag, and
promised U.S. recognition of Philippine independence. Dewey had supplied arms to the
revolutionaries upon their landing in Cavite on May 19. On the twenty-sixth, Secretary of the
Navy John D. Long cabled Dewey warning him to avoid “political alliances with the
insurgents or any faction in the Islands that would incur liability to maintain their cause in the
future”; on June 3, Dewey answered that he had complied.13 At the same time, Dewey had
“given [Aguinaldo] to understand that I consider insurgents as friends, being opposed to a
common enemy.”14

Aguinaldo quickly mobilized forces throughout the region to resume the aborted revolution.
In doing so, he was extremely aware of the tenuous diplomatic position in which the revolution
found itself and urged a “civilized” war on Spanish land forces. The quest for recognition must
continue in the context of war. “[I]n respect to our conduct,” he wrote in a May 21
proclamation, he had informed Dewey and “other nations” that “we shall carry on a modern
war.” When a Spaniard surrendered, “he must be pardoned and treated well,” so that
subsequently “you will see that our reputation will be very good in the eyes of all Europe,

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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which will declare for our independence.” If “we do not conduct ourselves thus,” he warned,
“the Americans will decide to sell us or else divide up our territory, as they will hold us
incapable of governing our land.”15 Aguinaldo’s predictive sense and success in controlling his
troops were conveyed in a subsequent report by U.S. consul O. F. Williams. While Spaniards
in the campaign had “cruelly and barbarously slaughter[ed] Filipinos taken in arms” and “often
noncombatants, women, and children,” Williams observed, victorious insurgents would “spare
life, protect the helpless, and nurse, feed, and care for Spaniards taken prisoner and for
Spanish wounded as kindly as they care for the wounded fallen in their own ranks.” In doing so
they were, of course, “following American example.”16

Aguinaldo took advantage of his consolidation of revolutionary forces to declare the
Philippine Islands independent at a ceremony held on June 12 in Cavite, three weeks after the
first U.S. expedition’s departure from San Francisco. Such a declaration might galvanize the
Filipino populace behind Aguinaldo’s leadership and simultaneously raise the stakes in
negotiations with the United States and other powers, from the recognition of belligerency to
the recognition of independent statehood. The “Act of the Proclamation of Independence of the
Filipino People” was a bold statement of the “independence of our territory” and the “recovery
of our sovereignty.” Witnessed by “the Supreme Judge of the Universe” and protected by “the
Mighty and Humane North American Nation,” the “inhabitants of all these Philippine Islands”
asserted their right to be “free and independent,” with “every political tie” between the
Philippines and Spain “completely severed and annulled.” It acknowledged “the Dictatorship”
established by Aguinaldo, “the Supreme Chief of the nation,” which “this day commences to
have a life of its own.”17 The “life” of this nation was heralded with the performance of a
newly written national anthem, and the Philippine national flag was unfurled for the first time.

The ceremony’s success in gaining recognition was ambiguous. Commodore Dewey politely
declined an invitation but sent a colonel of artillery, J. M. Johnson, who witnessed the
ceremonies and signed the declaration as a witness, “the only foreigner” present.18 Statements
of recognition flowed, however, freely from the consuls, Pratt and Wildman. Just days before
the declaration, on June 8, a delegation of Filipinos had gone to Pratt’s office—decorated
simply with a U.S. flag and a portrait of Aguinaldo—and “serenaded” him. Dr. Isidoro de
Santos expressed gratitude for Dewey’s “moral and material support” through Pratt, “the
genuine representative of the great and powerful American Republic.” He hoped that
“persevering in its humanitarian policy,” the United States would “continue to support” Pratt’s
agreement with Aguinaldo, “that is to say, the independence of the Philippine Islands, under an
American protectorate.”19 The Straits Times reported Pratt’s response the following day. He
recalled how, after one hour’s meeting, he had decided that Aguinaldo was “the man for the
occasion” and arranged his meeting with Dewey, hailing Aguinaldo’s “co-operating on land
with the Americans at sea.”20

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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Wildman was even more exuberantly committed. “Your work and ability has been fully
recognized by not only the people of the United States, but by the entire civilized world,” he
wrote Aguinaldo July 25. He urged Aguinaldo to “stand shoulder to shoulder with our forces”
and to prevent “any small differences of opinion and fancied slights” from keeping his troops
from “freeing your Islands.” Wildman reported ominous word of a European scramble for the
islands, which would “require all the power of the United States and Great Britain to keep
your Islands in tact [sic] and to hold you as the first man in them.” He assured Aguinaldo that
he had “vouched for your honesty and earnestness of purpose to the President of the United
States and to our people, and they are ready to extend their hand to you as a Brother, and aid
you in every laudable ambition.” Recalling that the United States had liberated Cuba rather
than intervening “for the love of conquest or the hope of gain,” he promised that “[w]hatever
the final disposition of the conquered territory may be,” Aguinaldo could “trust the United
States that justice and honor will control all their dealings with you.”21

In step with contemporary, preprofessional U.S. diplomatic practice, Pratt and Wildman
were in essence independent operators, embracing the rush of history, exaggerating their own
authority, and cutting deals opportunistically.22 The State Department belatedly imposed its
will. Secretary of State William R. Day rebuked Pratt for failing to “avoid unauthorized
negotiations with the Philippine insurgents.” Pratt’s speech had “occasioned a feeling of
disquietude and a doubt as to whether some of your acts may not have borne significance and
produced an impression which this Government would be compelled to regret.”23 Tensions
between metropolitan mandates and local compromises would continue until the outbreak of a
second war. Dewey and Thomas Anderson, commander of U.S. Army troops, both had
instructions not to communicate directly with Aguinaldo. But Anderson had actively sought
Aguinaldo’s cooperation, particularly in the delicate matter of the removal of Filipino troops
from Cavite so that it might be occupied by U.S. troops. On July 4, 1898, he wrote that he and
his forces had “entire sympathy and most friendly sentiments for the native people of the
Philippine Islands.” Referring to Aguinaldo as “your excellency,” he explained that in
occupying Cavite, he did “not wish to interfere with your residence here and the exercise by
yourself and other native citizens of all functions and privileges not inconsistent with military
rule.”24 Aguinaldo, suspicious of the arrival of U.S. troops, demanded a written request that
would formally recognize his government but ultimately agreed to move his troops prior to the
written agreement; the request was never submitted.

Competitive State-Building
As Aguinaldo and others feared, the arrival of U.S. Army expeditions from late June through
late July turned the balance decisively against their recognition. With additional troop strength,
U.S. commanders felt less need for Filipino allies against the Spanish and more concern for the

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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question of how to keep the “insurgents” outside of Manila when it fell. This latter
preoccupation emerged in secret dialogues between U.S. and Spanish officers who,
understanding their desperately weakened position, agreed to surrender in a prearranged battle
in mid-August with the assurance that Filipino troops would not be allowed to enter the city.
U.S. officers alerted Filipino forces that the coming battle was to be entirely between
Spaniards and Americans. On August 13, Anderson sent a telegram to Aguinaldo warning
tersely, “Do not let your troops enter Manila. On this side of the Pasig River you will be under
fire.”25

That day, U.S. troops stormed the city, facing ineffectual Spanish fire; U.S. commanders
charged their soldiers with keeping Filipino forces outside the city, but without engaging them.
At one point outside Intramuros, or “Walled City,” Filipino forces encountered U.S. troops,
which pushed them aside; in some instances, Spaniards caught between them rushed to the U.S.
lines for protection. The surrender agreement dissolving Spanish authority in the islands—
Spain’s final official act following over three hundred years of colonial rule and the United
States’ first—marked a racial distinction between Spain’s “European” and “native” troops.26

Spain’s flag was hauled down, and the U.S. flag was raised over Manila, to remain there until
the Japanese occupation in 1941. Despite their sense of triumph, American troops were
unsettled by conditions that were, in the words of Iowa volunteer Joseph Markey, “the most
singular in war’s history.” Manila was “a city occupied by victorious troops, the enemy
walking peacefully in the streets, while the supposed allies are armed and at the very outskirts
of the city.”27

The exclusion of Filipino troops from Manila was reflected in the first U.S. declaration of
sovereignty over the Philippines: the instructions McKinley had given to General Merritt on
May 12, which Merritt had translated into Tagalog and Spanish and circulated only on August
14. The instructions, which formally governed Filipino-American relations during the
negotiations at Paris, preemptively claimed for the United States a wide degree of sovereignty
in the islands. The Philippine Republic, its officers, and its army did not appear in them. In that
manufactured vacuum, U.S. commanders were charged with guaranteeing the security of
persons and property in the Philippines. They were to be given rights to all public property and
were to enforce existing Spanish laws until revoked by the occupying power. They were to
publish proclamations explaining that the United States’ intention was not to make war against
Filipinos but to “protect them in their homes, in their employments, and in their personal and
religious rights.” In the case of disorder, they were authorized to replace Filipino officials
with officials from the United States and to establish courts of justice. They were charged with
protecting, so far as it was possible, churches, schools, and monuments; transportation systems
could be seized but not retained. Taxes formally remitted to the Spanish government would be
paid to the occupation government toward its expenses; private property seized would be paid
for “at a fair valuation.”28

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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In the tense period between the U.S. occupation of Manila and early the following February,
the Philippines found itself between two colliding declarations of sovereignty: Aguinaldo’s
declaration of June 12 and McKinley’s, circulated after August 14. During that period, Manila
and its outskirts were characterized by competitive state-building between Filipinos and
Americans: both the Philippine Republic and U.S. Army forces in occupied Manila struggled
to construct states to fill in the outlines of their respective declarations with political facts on
the ground. Philippine state-building had a two-month lead on U.S. imperial state-building.
Following the Declaration of Independence, Aguinaldo had moved quickly to build a viable
state, formally renaming the “Dictatorial Government” a “Revolutionary Government,” issuing
the terms for municipal and provincial governments and courts, establishing an executive
cabinet, and providing for a future congress to be elected by an elite male suffrage. State
revenues were to be drawn in through citizenship certificates, bonds, sliding-scale taxes, and
land seizures. In July, the new state inaugurated an official organ, El Heraldo de la
Revolución, which published circulars, orders, and revolutionary speeches; it, along with the
semiofficial newspaper La Independencia, was meant to be a concrete and mobile
representation of the Philippine Republic’s sovereignty before audiences both within and
outside the archipelago, symbols of, and means to, a Filipino “imagined community” united by
news and literary association.29 Republic state-building continued in full force following the
U.S. occupation of Manila. In August, local governments were ordered to reopen schools; a
“Literary University” was established. That month, Aguinaldo ordered the seat of government
moved to Malolos, fearing an armed clash with the Americans in Manila. In the middle of
September, the first Philippine Congress was convened at Malolos: the congress, which
drafted a constitution based in part on those of Belgium, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica,
Brazil, and France, was an elite-dominated institution that enfranchised and won over
influential ilustrados fearful of a revolutionary government dominated by military executives
and the “ignorant” masses beneath them.30

The Philippine Republic took explicit steps to prevent U.S. advances in the game of
competitive state-building. Officials passed a law requiring foreign travelers to carry passes
signed and secured from high government officials; foreigners engaged in the shipping business
would have to have permits to operate; laws prohibited Filipinos from contracting with
foreigners without government consent; no laborers but Filipinos could unload cargoes. The
new state also prohibited any foreign vessel from landing troops on Philippine soil.31 At the
same time, Aguinaldo and other Filipino leaders strategically invoked American precedents in
the interests of winning U.S. recognition. Speaking before the Malolos congress, Aguinaldo
dispatched Spain by lamenting that it had once been “a kingdom well-known for goodness like
the great North American nation,” an “honorable friend” who showed “the greatness of her
government to the world,” by “aiding the enslaved countries to rise to their feet, and not
colonizing them for her advantage.” He then declared Philippine independence by borrowing

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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and adapting the Monroe Doctrine against the United States itself. “[N]ow we witness the truth
of what the famous President Monroe said, that the ‘United States is for the Americans,’” he
said. “[N]ow I answer that ‘the Philippines is for the Filipinos.’”32

U.S. military commanders also extended their control through competitive state-building in
Manila and elsewhere. Inside the city, they took over policing and criminal justice and
inaugurated sanitary campaigns that would protect U.S. forces from disease, advertise the
United States’ “benevolence,” and through its close ties with spies, yield intelligence. These
efforts also involved the enlistment and cultivation of ilustrado elites in the city who were, in
many cases, eager to find a potential counterweight to the revolution. In their relationship to the
Philippine Army on the edge of the city, U.S. commanders’ demands tested the limits of their
sovereignty, calling for the release of the Philippine Army’s Spanish prisoners, for example,
which Aguinaldo refused. U.S. commanders were also aggressive in seeking territorial
concessions, calling for the abandonment of two suburbs that they maintained were formally
inside the boundary lines of Manila. Gen. Elwell Otis stated that failure to comply would
result in “forcible action.”33 Otis followed Aguinaldo’s withdrawal with yet another demand
on the strategic suburb of Pandacan; following protests, Aguinaldo again pulled back his
forces, although he successfully resisted the establishment of a U.S. hospital there.34

Filipino state-building had transnational dimensions, with recognition sought through
international diplomacy. Aguinaldo appointed diplomatic emissaries to travel to European
capitals and to Washington to lobby for the recognition of the Philippine Republic. These
agents launched legal and historical arguments for the sovereignty of the Philippine Republic
and the impossibility of the islands’ legitimate transfer from Spain to the United States. These
claims were forcefully expressed by Felipe Agoncillo, the representative of the Philippine
Republic sent to the United States to lobby on behalf on Philippine independence. In his
January 30, 1899, “Memorial to the Senate of the United States,” Agoncillo asserted that the
United States’ formal recognition of the Philippine Republic had already been established by
U.S. consular and naval dealings with Aguinaldo’s government. By the time of the United
States’ declaration of war, he claimed, the army of the Philippine Revolution had advanced
sufficiently against Spanish forces that Spain had no legal title or right to cede the islands to
the United States. Furthermore, Filipinos had successfully undermined Spanish control, as
rebellions in lowland areas had broken out “continuously with greater or less fury for the past
hundred years.” Including Muslims and animists within the boundaries of the new Filipino
polity, he noted that “a large number of my countrymen” had “never been subdued by Spanish
power.” Agoncillo backed this legal-sovereignty argument with facts on the ground, in the
shape of a map showing Americans in control of 143 square miles of the islands, and
Filipinos, 167,845 square miles. Agoncillo also appealed to the United States’ own history and
political institutions, inviting American attention “to several notable and exact American
precedents” and urging “the Republic of America” to “adhere to the teachings of international

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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law as laid down by some of its founders.”35

Whether undertaken in the form of competitive state-building, external diplomacy, or
publication, many of the revolutionaries’ campaigns for recognition were waged in the
language of “civilization.” During mid-1898, Filipino leaders had emphasized the favorable
treatment of Spanish prisoners as outward demonstrations of the revolution’s civilization. The
republic’s publications also frequently tied sovereignty to claims of social-evolutionary
standing. Agoncillo himself published an essay entitled “Are the Filipinos Civilized?” for a
popular American magazine in May 1899, answering affirmatively.36 This brand of argument
was common in La Independencia, whose editors saw it—much as had the editors of La
Solidaridad—as a means of projecting Filipino civilization toward the outside world. In their
first issue, the editors described “Our Program” as “demonstrating the ideal and the supreme
aspiration of the country,” “publicizing the priorities of our government,” and “requesting
recognition of our independence from other nations, grounding ourselves in the capacity of the
race, in the deeds that outwardly reveal our culture and in the vitality that we demonstrate in
governing 26 provinces with more than 3 million inhabitants.”37

Cultural evidence of such “capacity” poured off the pages of La Independencia. Its banner
head promised “Literature, Arts, Commerce, Economic Questions, News from Abroad,
Drawings, Chronicles of Art, War Notes, Correspondents in all the provinces of the
Archipelago, London, Paris, Madrid, Singapore, Hong-Kong and Saigon.”38 The paper featured
articles on “The Culture of the Filipinos” and descriptions of “Our People” and simultaneously
attacked “Campaigns of Hate” and “Racial Hatreds.”39 During late 1898 and early 1899, it
defended the sovereignty of the republic through reports of successful rule in the provinces and
the humanitarian treatment of Spanish prisoners and exposed suspicious U.S. maneuvers. At the
same time, it highlighted treatises on “modern” government, including civil service reform,
municipal budgeting, public instruction, moral reform, public hygiene, and “the spirit of
association.”40

The other face of La Independencia looked anxiously inward; while the newspaper itself
was meant to reveal “the union of the Filipinos,” its editors admitted that the popular classes
had been “distanced” and that print propaganda was needed to ground Filipinos “into a single
soul.” As one editorial ominously suggested, displaying “capacity” before European and U.S.
audiences necessitated government without dissent and the sacrifice of democracy and popular
participation. Precisely because Filipinos were often depicted as “savage and uncivilized,” it
was necessary for “all classes” to “demonstrate that there is sensibleness and nobility among
our people.” Accusations from without could foreclose possibilities for internal conflict. The
editorial urged that in their political behavior, Filipinos demonstrate that “we know how to
govern and be governed without quarreling or factions, with perfect discipline and order as if
we had been habituated to this life from ancient times.”41

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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While U.S. officers on the ground continually attempted to use the revolution without
recognizing it, at least some of the “civilizational” campaign appears to have been convincing.
Dewey informed Washington that he viewed Filipinos as “far superior in their intelligence and
more capable of self government than the natives of Cuba.”42 General Anderson cabled
Washington conceding “with all deference that we have heretofore underrated the natives.”
Filipinos were “not ignorant, savage tribes, but have a civilization of their own.” Though
“insignificant in appearance,” they were “fierce fighters, and for a tropical people are
industrious.”43 Even following the outbreak of war, Gen. Charles King, writing in a Milwaukee
newspaper, asserted that “[t]he capability of the Filipinos for self-government can not be
doubted.” Their leaders were “highly educated”; the population was “industrious, frugal,
temperate” and could “look out for themselves infinitely better than our people imagine.” Like
Dewey, he believed they ranked “far higher than the Cubans”; they were also superior to “the
uneducated negroes to whom we have given the right of suffrage.”44

Filipino-American Encounters
On the ground, relations between Filipinos and American soldiers were as varied as the
questions of recognition they raised. U.S. soldiers in occupied Manila found themselves in an
enticing, disturbing, and illegible Filipino urban world; Filipinos unsure of the invading army’s
status were wary of the Americans in political terms but eager for their business. Most social
contacts were commercial in nature, with Filipinos and Americans first meeting each other
haggling over food, transport, liquor, and sex. Clashing interests, failed translations, mutual
suspicions, and questions of jurisdiction sometimes erupted into animosity and conflict,
especially where U.S. soldiers became drunk and disorderly or failed to pay their debts.
Soldiers commonly characterized Filipinos on the whole as filthy, diseased, lazy, and
treacherous in their business dealings, sometimes applying the term “nigger” to them. One
anonymous black soldier, reflecting back on this period, stated that the subsequent war would
not have broken out “if the army of occupation would have treated [Filipinos] as people.” But
shortly after the seizure of Manila, white troops had begun “to apply home treatment for
colored peoples: cursed them as damned niggers, steal [from] them and ravish them, rob them
on the street of their small change, take from the fruit vendors whatever suited their fancy, and
kick the poor unfortunate if he complained.”45

As more than one soldier made clear, one of the chief sources of rising American animus
against Filipinos was a crisis of martial masculinity.46 U.S. soldiers sent west during the
Spanish-Cuban-American War had thrilled at the idea of killing Spaniards in manly combat,
only to see their quest for martial glory culminate in a “sham battle” in mid-August and a quick
armistice. Disappointment at the loss of genuine combat opportunity was compounded by strict
orders not to engage Filipino troops. The time required for treaty negotiation and confirmation

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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was paid for on the ground in American masculinist angst. Some American troops ably shifted
their attention from Spanish to potential Filipino antagonists.47 Irving Speer noted hopefully in
late August that he and others had been told “that there were other city [sic] still held by the
Spaniard[s] and that we would see plenty of fighting before we left the Islands also that the
Fipilinos [sic] were getting ugly at not being allowed to enter the city.” By early November, he
observed that the “men [were] getting more disatisfied, now that peace is almost sure between
Spain and the U.S.”48 The soldiers “all want to fight, and would be terribly disappointed and
chagrined if they didn’t get what they came over here for,” wrote Claude Myers to his parents
in January 1899. “Besides, if we are going to get into trouble, we want to get into it now, while
we are feeling that way.” If the soldiers were “held back too long,” he feared, “that feeling
might wear off.”49 If an abstract desire for war fueled U.S. hostilities, so did Filipino
assertions and U.S. orders not to engage. According to Speer, when Filipino troops would
advance, “our outpost would fall back,” and soon Filipino soldiers “thought we were cowards,
and began to insult while on guard[,] call us all kinds of names and dare us to stand our
grounds.”50 It was bad enough that “the people in the city call us cowards and the spaniard
women spit on you as you pass beneath her window or through [throw] dirty water on you.”51

Close to American military interlocutors he would soon flatter with a campaign book, Karl
Irving Faust blamed the war on Filipino soldiers’ “continuous insults,” which Americans had
“endure[d] . . . with patience.” This “restraint” had been wrongly interpreted by the Filipinos
as “manifestations of cowardice,” making them foolhardy. Meanwhile, American restraint
boiled into ferocious anger. “Upon the part of the rank and file of the Americans,” Faust
recalled, “and doubtless, also, upon the part of many of the officers, there grew up a feeling of
intense personal hatred of their tormentors, and an earnest desire to be turned loose upon them
and kill them.”52

As U.S. troops’ animosity intensified, Filipinos developed suspicions of the U.S. military
presence in the islands in which circulating rumors of race played an important role. Where
U.S. forces had deliberately left their ultimate intentions ambiguous, Filipinos filled this gap
with their knowledge of the United States’ domestic racial history. “One of the stories that
received universal acceptance,” reported General McReeve, “was that ever since the
Americans had liberated their negro slaves they had been looking around for others and thought
they had found them at last in the Philippines.”53 Two naval officers reported that many
Filipinos they encountered “have been prejudiced against us by the Spaniards,” charges “so
severe that what the natives have since learned has not sufficed to disillusion them.” Two
points in particular had stood out regarding “our policy toward a subject people”: “that we
have mercilessly slain and finally exterminated the race of Indians that were native to our soil
and that we went to war in 1861 to suppress an insurrection of negro slaves, whom we also
ended by exterminating. Intelligent and well-informed men have believed these charges. They
were rehearsed to us in many towns in different provinces, beginning at Malolos. The Spanish

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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version of our Indian problem is particularly well known.”54

One black veteran reported during this period that when Filipinos were “told of America’s
treatment of the black population,” they were “made to feel that it is better to die fighting than
to become subject to a nation where, as they are made to believe, the colored man is lynched
and burned alive indiscriminately.”55 Correspondent Frederick Palmer blamed the outbreak of
war, in part, on precisely these suspicions. Once Americans had allowed Aguinaldo and his
compatriots, who were “familiar . . . with the position of the colored man in our Southern
States,” to become “convinced that their lot was to be that of the ‘nigger,’” the Filipinos had
begun to isolate U.S. troops. “All prominent Filipinos” that Palmer had spoken with had
agreed: “If the status of the negro, as they understood it, was to be theirs in the new system,
they would have to leave the islands anyway, and they had concluded to make a fight before
going.”56

Parallel to the rising hostility and suspicion was a kind of competitive sociability among
Spaniards and Filipinos for U.S. recognition. In occupied Manila, U.S. soldiers found
themselves drinking and card-playing with the Spanish soldiers they had defeated; U.S.
officers were invited to the homes of high Spanish officials and wealthy Spanish merchants,
presumably learning much about the indigenous population of the islands in the process. At the
same time, Manila’s Filipino elites actively courted the U.S. officials in their midst with what
were for the Americans awe-inspiring demonstrations of hospitality. The result, in the interval
between wars, was a striking amount of recognition, as U.S. soldiers came to know individual
Filipinos and their families and visited their churches and homes. Up until the very brink of
war, American soldiers frequented Filipino concerts, dances, ceremonies, and dinners, often
recording their admiration for Filipino grace, generosity, and artistic achievement in their
diaries and letters. One striking example was a poem presented at a Thanksgiving dinner in
Manila in November 1898, which recalled the recent fall of Manila and expressed the
soldiers’ thanks:

We’re thankful that the City’s ours, and floats the Stars and Stripes; We’re thankful that
our cause is one that from these Islands wipes The degenerate oppressors of a brother
human kin Who now—beneath “Old Glory”—a nation’s place may win.57

There were dark signs here: the U.S. flag as the sole guarantor of liberty; passive Filipinos as
objects of U.S. redemption; the sense that Filipinos still had a “nation” to win ahead of them
“beneath ‘Old Glory.’” As later colonial history would show, “brothers” were not necessarily
equals. But what was striking in light of future developments was that Filipinos were still
“human kin.”

Filipino-American sociability and its impact on the politics of recognition can also be
found in the short story “Itamo, the Insurrecto: A Story of the Philippines,” published in

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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December 1898 in a short-lived U.S. Army magazine in Manila, Soldier’s Letter. At the story’s
beginning, the narrator, an American soldier stationed near Manila before its fall, finds “[a]ll
things on the Island of Luzon . . . new and strange,” especially the mysterious Filipino soldiers
outside the city. Making his way to the Filipino lines, he encounters “great disappointment” in
the shape of Itamo, an “insurrecto”: short in stature, his uniform “a collection of rags,” his use
of a Spanish Mauser sporadic and inaccurate. After the fall of Manila, the narrator finds
himself in the Alhambra Café, where he is eagerly greeted by “a handsome native, dressed in
the height of eastern fashion . . . with regular features. . . . [H]is bronze skin made a fine
contrast to his white clothes, white shirt, collar and tie.” It takes the American a moment to
recognize “the dirty, half-fed, native soldier of the trenches”; indeed, he “marveled at the
transformation.” The two strike up a friendship, the narrator tells us, “wandering through the
narrow, crooked streets sightseeing, and he delighted to show me his own people.”58

The narrator loses track of his friend and is later sent on a mission into the countryside
where, riding at night, he is overtaken by three armed natives. Two mistake him for a hated
Spaniard, but the third man, the narrator’s “lost friend” Itamo, quickly recognizes his American
companion and warns his compatriots away; when they refuse, he engages one of them in
battle. The battle is “a magnificent exhibition of skill”; Itamo defeats his antagonist, only to be
stabbed by another, whom the narrator then shoots and kills.59 While recognition here was still
highly limited— Itamo’s sacrifice for the American is taken for granted, for example—the
narrator’s collegiality with the “insurrecto” is still striking in light of what was to come.

Given the wide latitude of McKinley’s instructions, Americans and Filipinos also met as
members of rival states-in-the-making, as U.S. soldiers consolidated military control over
Manila and its municipal government— from sanitation to law enforcement—and Filipino
soldiers extended the republic’s control in the wake of Spanish defeats. Competitive state-
building, sociability, and the question of recognition all converged in the inland expedition of
Luzon taken by two naval officers, William Wilcox and L. R. Sargent, in November and
December 1898. While the two men’s task was “of a very indefinite nature,” it was
fundamentally a problem of recognition: they were to determine whether the institutions
controlling the Filipino countryside constituted a state and, if a state, whether it was hostile or
not to two wandering U.S. naval officers. As Sargent put it, they were “to proceed as far to the
northward as the character of the country and the attitude of the natives would permit, and to
return only when forced to do so.”60

If border control was a state’s measure, then the Philippine Republic was up and running:
Aguinaldo offered the two friendship and verbal consent but no written passports. As a result,
the two set out relying on local presidentes, who provided them local passports, carriers, and
safe passage between towns, although at least one had hesitated to give assistance in fear that
“any incident” might “create a wrong and injurious impression of the good faith of the

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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Philippines.”61 Wilcox noted, of elaborate balls and operas staged in their honor, that he had
never “been treated with more kindly hospitality.” Sargent, however, observed that Filipino
responses to them varied to a frustrating degree between “the coldest suspicion” and “the most
demonstrative hospitality.” Some members of the principalía may have seen great advantage in
winning over two naive Americans; others may have seen in them only the opening wedge of
an invasion. At one town they might be greeted “by the ringing of the church bells and the
music of the band, and at the next by the critical cross-questioning of the local authorities.”62

This illustration from the short story “Itamo, the Insurrecto,” written by a U.S. soldier in the Philippines in late 1898 and
published in the Soldier’s Letter, suggests the complex interactions and perceptions of U.S. forces in the islands before the
outbreak of the Philippine-American War, some of which were conducive to U.S. recognition of Filipinos. In the story, a U.S.
soldier dismisses the dirty “insurrecto” Itamo whom he meets in a trench, then befriends the same man—mannerly and properly
dressed—when they meet again in a Manila café. The story thematizes issues of misapprehension and argues that Filipino
insurgents were civilized and deserving of recognition. Reproduced from the Soldier’s Letter with permission, Lopez Memorial
Museum.

In either case, local officers of the republic lost no chance to represent to visiting
Americans their authority and popular support. Wilcox and Sargent were regularly treated to
elaborate Filipino patriotic celebrations, stirring declarations of independence, and impressive
military drills. “At that time the enthusiasm of the people was tuned to the highest pitch,”
reported Sargent. “In every village, every man was training in arms. Companies were formed
of boys, from eight years of age upward.” He had witnessed the “impressive ceremony” that
transferred control from a military officer to an elected official in a “simple and efficient”
civil government. The new governor “declared the purpose of the people to expend the last

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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drop of their blood, if necessary, in defending the liberty thus gained against the encroachments
of any nation whatsoever.” Many times villagers had gathered in the large room of the
Presidencia where the two men were quartered and “put their whole hearts into the songs in
which their patriotism found vent.”63 When asked about the Philippines’ status, “leading
townspeople” had answered in unison that they would “accept nothing short of
independence.”64

But even as Wilcox and Sargent worked their way across Luzon, the unstable political
window through which they were traveling began to close. As steamers and telegraph lines
brought word of the Treaty of Paris from Hong Kong newspapers, Wilcox and Sargent faced
stiffer restrictions. “Already the hope was fading that freedom from Spain meant freedom of
government,” wrote Sargent. “The feeling toward Americans was changing, and we saw its
effect in the colder manner of the people, and in their evident desire to hustle us along the most
direct road to Manila.”65 The party came under greater scrutiny and was detained or forced
back, subject to a new regulation that travelers not “carry arms, nor approach within 200
meters of a fortification, not make any plans, or take photographs of them.”66 Their final report,
written upon their return in December, was a curious hybrid that, on the one hand, took note of
tactical and logistical questions appropriate to war and, on the other, recognized the legitimacy
of the republic, the fervor of Filipino revolutionary aspirations, and the varied capacities of
the Filipino people. Perhaps on these latter merits—perhaps due to bureaucratic inertia—it
was issued into the public record as a Senate document only in 1900, a year and a half after it
was originally filed.

While Wilcox and Sargent were traveling in the Luzon provinces, U.S. and Spanish
commissioners in France settled the disposition of the Philippine Islands, culminating in the
signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. McKinley’s intentions for the islands
from May through October remain difficult to discern: he used vague and ambiguous rhetoric in
public addresses but had unambiguously sent thousands of troops to the islands as a potential
occupying force.67 He appears to have initially favored the seizure of only a coaling station in
the islands and had become persuaded that the taking of Luzon would be necessary to secure it.
The decisive month appears to have been October, when McKinley stumped for candidates in
the Midwest and used the opportunity both to tutor and test political audiences on the
Philippines. On October 28, McKinley had cabled the commissioners at Paris that they must
press for the entire archipelago, as the cession of Luzon alone would leave the rest of the
islands subject to Spanish authority and to potential great-power contention, neither of which
could be “justified on political, commercial, or humanitarian grounds.”68

While the U.S. commissioners at Paris had differed on a proper course, they successfully
pushed for what Spanish negotiators bitterly called the “immodest demands of a conqueror.”69

With the United States occupying Manila and the Philippine Revolution spreading, Spanish

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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representatives were left with few options and accepted a U.S. offer of $20 million for
“Spanish improvements” to the islands, signing the treaty on December 10. While in Manila
and its environs questions of recognition had been ambiguous over the previous months, they
had been stark at Paris: no Filipino representatives were recognized in treaty negotiations, and
the islands’ inhabitants, their rights and aspirations, and the Philippine Republic that acted in
their name had played a minimal role in Spanish and U.S. discussions.

McKinley effectively closed the first chapter in the recognition debate in his statement of
December 21, with Wilcox and Sargent scarcely out of the woods. Authored by Elihu Root and
later known as McKinley’s “Benevolent Assimilation” proclamation, it narrated the American
destruction of the Spanish fleet and the Treaty of Paris, laid a claim to U.S. sovereignty over
the entire archipelago, and sketched a bare-bones military government with improvised ground
rules for the maintenance of property rights, taxation, and tariffs. McKinley seemed most
concerned, however, with the recognition of U.S. sovereignty by Filipinos. In an effort to
extend U.S. power “with all possible despatch,” U.S. military commanders in place were to
announce “in the most public manner” that the Americans had come “not as invaders or
conquerors, but as friends, to protect the natives in their homes, in their employments, and in
their personal and religious rights.” It should be the military’s “paramount aim” to “win the
confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in
every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of
free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of benevolent
assimilation, substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.”70 Most
significantly, the proclamation was a formal derecognition of the Philippine Republic and
established the relationship between the United States and Filipinos as that of sovereign state
to passive, individual subjects. The term “assimilation,” by which the address would come to
be known, held more than a hint of malice: the very fact that it required the adjective
“benevolent” to soften it suggested more or less directly that there were kinds of assimilation
that were not. It was also a striking reversal of the Propaganda use of the term. Where
ilustrado activists had used it to call for Philippine rights like those enjoyed in Spain,
McKinley’s declaration imposed exceptional forms of sovereignty unlike those that defined the
United States.

December and January saw passionate Senate and public debate on the question of the
treaty’s ratification. McKinley campaigned by touring in the South, asserting U.S. sovereignty
and “duty” in the Philippines in advance of ratification. Senators attached various resolutions
to the treaty: that would deny the United States the power “to acquire territory to be held and
governed permanently as colonies” under the Constitution; that stated the United States’ goal
was to prepare Filipinos for self-government; that stipulated Filipinos should be granted
independence as soon as a stable government was established; and that would detach
ratification from endorsement of a future colonial policy.71 It was a highly, but not exclusively,

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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partisan debate, with annexationists, many of them Republican, speaking out in the name of the
United States’ duty, the extension or nonretraction of the flag, commercial opportunities in
Asia, and the “uplift” of Filipinos. “Anti-imperialists,” many of them Democrats, called
“imperialism” a threat to the United States’ domestic freedoms and racial integrity and
condemned the belief in Filipino “assimilation” as folly. While the sides were closely
matched, Republican political bribery and William Jennings Bryan’s support for the treaty
(ostensibly on the grounds that it would allow the Senate to grant Philippine independence with
a simple majority) pushed it to an extremely narrow passage on February 6.

One factor in the treaty’s ratification may have been the outbreak of war in the islands
between U.S. and Philippine forces. Both sides had feared the political implications of war:
treaty advocates feared ambivalent senators might hesitate to annex a colonial war; treaty
opponents despaired that it would be impossible to argue for lowering the flag where U.S.
soldiers’ blood had been shed. January had seen a series of abortive negotiations between
Aguinaldo and Otis; the latter had seen them as a stalling tactic that would permit the arrival of
additional U.S. forces. On February 4, U.S. sentries fired on Filipino troops outside Manila,
and hostilities, long awaited on both sides, erupted. Nonetheless, the outbreak of war surprised
and horrified domestic American observers, who believed U.S. Army reports of Filipino
aggression as its trigger.

Why do they hate us? some asked. For some, the fact of conflict itself ended the debate on
Filipino recognition. “The Filipinos have chosen a bloody way to demonstrate their incapacity
for self-government,” wrote the New York Times, “but it has been effectual.” Special hostility
was directed at Filipinos’ failure to recognize the Americans as liberators. The Times could
not comprehend Filipinos’ ingratitude in launching an “insane attack . . . upon their liberators.”
Unwilling to attribute much agency to Filipinos themselves, it blamed the “disastrous effect” of
U.S. “anti-imperialist” propaganda, which had convinced Filipinos of a “plot to put the yoke of
a fresh vassalage on their necks.” As a result, “blood has been shed, sedition fomented, hatred
and distrust engendered”; what it called “our long task” in the Philippines had become “more
difficult.” “We meet these people now not as pupils at school,” it observed, “but as armed
rebels in the field.” Nonetheless, the military’s task was, “with all needed firmness” and
“force proportioned to the degree of resistance,” to educate Filipinos, who must be “made to
understand that they must recognize our authority and obey.”72

War for Recognition
The first few months of combat saw U.S. forces defeat and overrun the republican army
outside of Manila and capture several important cities, especially Malolos, the republic’s
capital, Panay, and Iloilo. Filipino military casualties were high, and in the case of the latter
city, naval bombardment resulted in massive destruction and loss of civilian life.73 Landing in

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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Iloilo after the bombing, Thomas Osborne confronted impressions that would “never grow old
to my memory.” “Every house in town was burned,” he wrote, “and I saw dead women, dead
horses, dead men, dead dogs, dead cows and many burned people,” some with “both legs shot
off others with one arm torn off and their carcasses lying partly in the fire and partly out.”74

In important ways, the first period of the war continued the struggle over recognition, as
each side attempted, in its combat, to persuade the other side of its “civilization.” U.S. Army
policy sought to achieve Filipino recognition as well as submission. General MacArthur
emphasized in his field orders that “one of the most important duties of American soldiers to
assist in establishing friendly relations with the natives” was “kind and considerate treatment
in all matters arising from personal contact.”75 General Henry Lawton told a subordinate that
pacification would require the U.S. Army to “impress the inhabitants with the idea of our good
intentions and destroy the idea that we are barbarians or anything of that sort.”76 However
profound the failure of recognition had been at the level of diplomacy, the U.S. Army still
recognized its enemy sufficiently to fight in conventional ways. This approach came to be
known as the “friendly policy,” a term that emphasized the voluntary and benevolent nature of
“civilized” war.

At the same time, the U.S. government advanced what came to be known as the “policy of
attraction,” aimed at achieving the recognition of Filipino elites. It was undertaken most
energetically by the Philippine Commissions, the first of which arrived just one month into the
war, on March 5. The commission, under Cornell president Jacob Gould Schurman, was
composed of a diplomat, two military officers, and one scientist. It was charged with advisory
and investigative responsibilities, but its second incarnation, under William Howard Taft,
would be given legislative and executive functions and emerge as the core of the “postwar”
government. Once settled into the Audiencia, former home of the Spanish Supreme Court, the
commission’s daily sessions became the central ritual of urban, wartime collaboration, where
informants, especially ilustrados, exchanged testimony favorable to U.S. sovereignty for
political patronage.77 While the commission prided itself on its consultation with “men of all
classes,” its itemized list of interlocutors was striking for its lack of breadth: “bankers,
brokers, merchants, lawyers, physicians, railroad and shipowners, educators, and public
officials.”78

Over the next year, the commission built an authoritative record of affairs in the Philippines
aimed at defending U.S. retention of the islands, while “attracting” key sectors of the
Philippine elite. It also developed a compelling account of the revolution in dialogue with
these elites: the “insurrection” was the work of a small faction, usually a “single tribe” of
Tagalogs, and would evaporate with the conciliation of elites, accompanied by symbolic
efforts at “benevolence.” As one “attracted” Filipino put it, one should deal with the rebellion
as one would deal with a stubborn donkey, “with a rattan in one hand and a lump of sugar in the

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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other.”79 By May, the policy of attraction appeared to be yielding important political results:
the defection of key ilustrados and their taking up posts in the military government, especially
Benito Legarda, Felipe Buencamino, Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera, and Cayetano Arellano; the
inauguration of Pardo de Tavera’s proannexation newspaper La Democracia; and the
displacement of Apolinario Mabini’s irreconcilable faction within the republic by more
conciliatory elements.

In carrying out its own policy of “attraction,” the U.S. Army extended recognition to
Filipino military units, eventually organized as the Philippine Scouts. In doing so, it was
adopting Spanish colonial precedents: the Spanish colonial army had recruited Macabebes
from Pampanga province to serve in its colonial militias in campaigns against bandits,
animists, and revolutionaries, as well as in foreign campaigns. The U.S. Army was also acting
on broader traditions of European and American imperialism. As Capt. Charles Rhodes noted
in a 1902 essay, Britain and other colonial empires had used native forces in crushing colonial
resistance, nor had the United States “disdained to use native against native” in its wars for the
continent. The recruitment of the Scouts had been the initiative of Lt. Matthew A. Batson, who
in July 1899 had requested permission to recruit a single company of “Macabebe Scouts” as
guides; their assistance to U.S. forces overcame initial suspicions by U.S. commanders, who
ordered the recruitment of more units in late 1899 and 1900, as both guides and combat
forces.80

Filipino units became a military necessity as resistance to U.S. control outlasted
congressional authorization for the U.S. volunteer army, which returned to the United States by
July 1901, leaving only U.S. Regulars and Scouts. As recruitment of Filipinos was extended in
the context of guerrilla war, it was also centralized and standardized. Until July 1901,
collaborating Filipino units had been civilian contractors with the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster
Department. By early 1902, new congressional legislation and army regulations established a
unified system of Philippine Scouts, composed of fifty companies for a total of approximately
5,000 men under the direct control of the U.S. Army. It would play a crucial role in the
eventual suppression of the “insurrection,” especially in terms of local geographic, linguistic,
and social knowledge.81

But where the U.S. Army attracted Filipino military forces, it recognized them as members
of “tribes.” Scout recruitment was heaviest in Pampangan and Ilocano speaking areas, and
thinnest among Tagalogs. In organizing units, U.S. officers followed Spanish precedent in
segregating soldiers within units by tribe—as well by prohibiting each “tribal” company from
engaging in operations within their home region. The July 1901 reorganization of the Scouts
had replaced earlier military-geographic designations—such as the 3rd and 4th District Scouts
—with tribal ones, such as the Ilocano Native Scouts. For U.S. commanders, winning the war
would mean fomenting and attempting to direct race war between specific Philippine tribes.

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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Indeed, the recruitment of Macabebes had been consciously undertaken not only because of
their reputed loyalty and prowess in fighting for a prior colonial power but also because of
their “racial” animosity toward Tagalogs, which some called their “hereditary enemies.”
According to one newspaper report, Macabebes’ hatred for Tagalogs was “a wonderful kind of
hate,” with “no reason, no palliation.”82

At the same time, U.S. officers hesitated to recognize the Scouts fully, suspecting their
courage, fearing desertion and the sale of U.S. arms to insurgents, and blocking the promotion
of Filipinos to officer positions. Some feared that “race” might trump “tribe,” that U.S. efforts
to promote and harness conflict between tribes might give way before a race war uniting all
Filipinos against Americans. Batson recalled that when he had initially asked General Otis for
permission to recruit Macabebes, Otis had told him he expected they would “ ‘put a bolo in
your throat.’” The “general feeling among American officers,” he wrote, “was that every
Filipino was really an insurgent,” a sentiment that had resulted in “the oppression of thousands
of innocent natives.”83

As the Americans sought Filipino recognition of their authority, Filipino spokesmen also
continued the struggle for recognition in the midst of war, promoting Filipino civilization to the
wider world as a claim for independence. “We, the Filipinos, are civilized, progressive and
peace-loving people,” asserted Galiciano Apacible in a Spanish-language memorandum
written from Toronto in June 1900, translated and published by the Anti-Imperialist League,
called “Al Pueblo Americano” (To the American People). Apacible urged Americans to
“weigh our statements against the fallacies that Imperialism employs to mask its designs.”
These statements bore striking resemblance to the claims mounted by Filipino Propagandists as
early as the 1880s. As evidence of Filipinos’ right to self-government, the author invoked many
witnesses who had spoken “with an impartial spirit of observation” of

our exceptional culture, of our capacity to achieve every advancement, of the two
centuries of well-received literary education that we bear, of the small number of
illiterates found among the inhabitants of the islands, of the men of science and art,
judges, military officers, and high dignitaries of the Church, sons of the Philippines,
that in Europe, especially in Spain, were recognized for their true merit, achieving high
positions, academic laurels, honors of all kinds.84

Filipinos had demonstrated these capacities best in the establishment of the Philippine
Republic. Rather than giving in to revolutionary excess, Filipinos had established an orderly
governing infrastructure, one that made science, technology, and education the hallmarks of
civilization. Under the republic,

all the administrative mechanisms, disturbed by the recent conflict, were reorganized,

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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the mails, telegraphs and railroads functioned regularly, electric lighting was
established in some communities, a new University was created, four institutions of
secondary education and numerous primary schools and, in sum, the new nationality
embarked upon a path of ordered evolution that promised a most smiling future.85

“The imperialist cannons can boast they have disrupted all this!” he wrote. This had not been
inevitable: indeed, U.S. soldiers after Dewey’s victory had “applauded the new oceanic
nation, at the same moment that ours acclaimed liberating America.” That had been “the time of
beautiful fiction”; now the hour of “cruel disenchantment” had come. While Filipinos had
expected to find liberation in America’s shadow, America had merely “plagiarized” Spain’s
“boastful tyrannies.” Filipinos had been compelled to demonstrate their right to independence
through righteous war. “[I]f our conditions of culture and character makes us worthy of
independence,” he wrote, Filipinos had earned this right even more so by “the high motives
that always inspired our rebellious actions.”86

Along with demonstrating their “culture and character,” some Filipino leaders conceived
the struggle as explicitly antiracial. One anonymous address, “To the Filipino People,”
captured by the U.S. Army, affirmed Filipino bravery and sacrifice and laid claim to divinely
granted freedoms. “We are living on one planet under the same celestial vault,” it stated, “and
if we differ in color, it is because of the distant latitudes in which we are, and this difference in
no way signifies any superiority of the one over the other.”87 Foreign Secretary Apolinario
Mabini urged his countrymen to “revindicate our own sovereignty” and to disbelieve promises
of deliverance by outsiders like the Philippine Commission, who must not be trusted, “above
all when separated by the impassable abyss opened by race hatred.” Even if the U.S.
Constitution followed its flag with “the rights and liberties of American citizens,” he warned,
“race hatred will curtail these prerogatives.” Annexation to the United States in whatever form,
Mabini maintained, would “unite us perpetually to a nation whose manners and customs are
distinct from ours, who hate mortally the colored race, and from which we shall not be able to
separate ourselves except by means of a war.”88

Race-Making and Annexation
Race was a central issue of debate, as the administration struggled to defend the war and
annexation before U.S. publics.89 It was, in particular, pressed by U.S.-based “anti-imperialist”
societies that had been inaugurated in 1898 and banded together into the Anti-Imperialist
League.90 The league, which organized chapters in Boston, Washington, Chicago, and numerous
other smaller cities, drew on diverse political roots, many of them in earlier reform
movements, from civil service reform leagues, to single-tax leagues, to abolitionism.91 Anti-
imperialism did not fit neatly into the party system, comprising a loose coalition of

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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conservative and white-supremacist Democrats and an older generation of liberal
Republicans. During treaty negotiations, their hope was to turn U.S. public opinion against
Philippine annexation, using extensive lobbying and educational campaigns; following the
outbreak of war in February 1899, they had criticized the U.S. invasion as unjust in both ends
and means.92

Some anti-imperialism was directed at achieving, and connecting, the sociocultural
recognition of Filipinos and the political recognition of the Philippine Republic. The anti-
imperialist publication Facts about the Filipinos, for example, relied on tropes and authorities
similar to those used by the Propaganda movement, citing Blumentritt at length in
foregrounding the islands’ “Christianized and Long Civilized Malays.” Describing the
inhabitants’ architecture, clothing, agriculture, and industries, Blumentritt declared the
Philippines’ Malay population “a highly gifted and ambitious people, who deserve and will
continue to deserve the sympathy of civilized Europeans.” Among their virtues were
hospitality, artistic achievement, and “a self-control which resembles that of northern
peoples,” as demonstrated in their disciplined fighting against both Spain and the United
States. A subsequent issue hailed Filipinos’ “Intellectual Attainments and Education,” citing
such key Propaganda reference points as the paintings of Juan Luna y Novicio and the Sucesos
de las Islas Filipinas by Antonio de Morga. This recognition was, however, always
predicated on sharp, hierarchical distinctions between “civilized” and “uncivilized” peoples,
the latter of which were always exceptionalized and minoritized.93

Much anti-imperialism, however, was not based on recognition of Filipinos or the
Philippine Republic.94 Especially early on, more insular anti-imperialisms predominated,
which saw Americans as empire’s only victims and imagined this victimization as the United
States’ racial “corruption” by potential colonial subjects. The diversity of this racial anti-
imperialism reflected the broad range of anti-imperialist politics.95 Carl Schurz, for example,
asserted that colonial empire posed two related threats to the United States: if colonial
subjects were denied political rights, it would inevitably undercut those rights for Americans;
if they were granted political rights, the political agency of “backward races” would destroy
U.S. institutions. The new subjects were “exclusively of races to whom the tropical climate is
congenial,” including “Malays, Tagals, Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Negritos, and various
more or less barbarous tribes in the Philippines.” While some were “quite clever in their
way,” most were “utterly alien to us”; their tropical environment made them “incapable of
being assimilated to the Anglo-Saxon.” If incorporated, they would remain a “hopelessly
heterogeneous element” in the population, and the “homogeneousness of the people of the
republic, so essential to the working of our democratic institutions,” would be “irretrievably
lost.”96

Mrs. Jefferson Davis’s form of anti-imperialism was a southern, white, paternalist one that

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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argued on the basis of the “Negro problem” that the nation should protect itself by refusing an
additional “white man’s burden.” While she understood the Philippines to be “a sort of human
mosaic” of “tribes, nationalities and races”—“impossible to classify”—she was certain that
among them were “several millions of negroes” that should not be annexed to the United
States’ still unsolved “negro problem.” Imperial war would compel the United States to rule
over a resentful population of Philippine “negroes,” “more ignorant and more degraded than
those in our Southern States.”97

This “anti-imperialist” cartoon by Charles Neland, published in the New York Herald, July 3, 1898, represents one unsatisfying
resolution to the paradox of an empire-building republic. Congruent with other wartime images, the Philippine population as a
whole is pictured as “savage.” The perils of granting these savages political representation are illustrated when the Philippine
“representative” to the House, voting with his spears on an appropriation bill, sends the rest of the legislature into flight. The
cartoon suggests that Filipino “incapacity for self-government” could threaten the United States’ own political institutions. From
Neland, Cartoons of Our War with Spain.

Anti-imperialist racism was also articulated by those concerned with the racial rights of
white laborers, who directed their attention to the threat of potential in-migration of Filipino
workers that might erode the labor rights and racial integrity of white workingmen. Samuel
Gompers feared that colonialism meant the annexation of “coolie” labor standards that would
undercut the hard-won freedoms of white workers and prophesied that the nation would be
inundated by new and undesirable tides of “aliens.” “If the Philippines are annexed,” he asked,
how would it be possible to prevent “the hordes of Chinese” and the Philippines’ “semi-

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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savage races” from “swarming into the United States [and] engulfing our people and our
civilization?” How to “close the flood gates” against immigrants “coming from what will then
be part of our own country?”98

The racial meaning of war and annexation was also debated in the African American
press.99 Some black editorialists argued that the new colonial annexations would provide a
new outpost of Jim Crow, explicitly challenging arguments for “benevolence.” As the
Washington Bee put it, if blacks were “denied their rights in this country, the same conditions
would obtain in the Philippines when once the whites got control.”100 One writer noted
sardonically that when “one of the great Christian countries” found land it desired, it was
“quickly seized with a commendable desire to spread the benign influence of civilization over
the natives,” but “what a remarkably small number of natives are left after this process of
civilizing has been completed!”101

Many critical editors made equivalences between imperialism and Jim Crow, urging their
readers to break with traditional Republican allegiances and encouraging young black men to
refuse Philippine military service. “The policy of the national administration in dealing with
the Filipinos is the same as that of the Democratic state administrations in dealing with the
colored people in the southern states,” said the Richmond Planet.102 The denial of republican
government to Filipinos was, in the words of one editorialist, “the same old fear of ‘nigger
dominance’ albeit it is to be 8000 miles away.”103 Another writer turned this connection the
other way around, condemning what he called “North Carolina imperialism,” when William
Jennings Bryan failed to intervene to prevent that state’s Democrats from disenfranchising
blacks. “Does Mr. Bryan’s zeal for ‘consent of the governed’ extend to native American
citizens or is it limited to Malays?” the author inquired.104

Some turned the imperialist language of “liberty” inward, arguing that imperialist charity
should begin at home. Chicago lawyer Beauregard F. Mosely stated that “[t]he expansion we
are sadly in need of is wise laws, free schools in Alton and everywhere which black and white
may attend, [and] the death penalty for lynchers.” Here was an “expansion” “besides which the
dream of the ‘Expansionist,’ with his few beggarly islands, is a pitiful thing.”105 The Cleveland
Gazette observed wryly, of the U.S. military campaign against the Boxer Rebellion, that
“[f]rom a race standpoint there are plenty of ‘Boxers’ (Red Shirts, Ku Klux and the like) in the
South who are greatly in need of the presence of soldiers.”106 The Indianapolis Recorder noted
similarly that it was “a sinful extravagance to waste our civilizing influence upon the
unappreciative Filipinos, when it is so badly needed right here in Arkansas.”107

Some black leaders made the still more controversial move of declaring solidarity or even
identity with Filipinos. “[T]here is some analogy between the struggle which is now going on
among the colored people for constitutional liberty and that of a similar race in the orient and
hence a bond of sympathy naturally springs up,” wrote the Washington Bee.108 Noting that the

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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islands’ inhabitants were “dark races,” the A.M.E. Church Review suggested that Filipino
resistance and black mobilizations in the United States were both part of a larger, global
pattern:

If we further consider that almost all the other movements involving the existence and
integrity of weaker governments are against the dark races in Africa and Asia, and add
to that the domestic problem of the American Negro, we are struck with the thought that
a startling world movement has begun which is no less than the stirring of the spirit of
civilization and [progress] among the dark-skinned races, to lead on, doubtless, to an
adjustment which shall in the cycles change the present relation of oppressor and
oppressed to that of coadjutors in the world’s redemption.109

The Cleveland Gazette stated that Filipinos were “foreign members” of blacks’ own racial
household.110 Some papers, however, especially the Indianapolis Freeman, challenged these
connections, urging blacks to support the Republican Party and the war as an expression of
“patriotism.” “Imperialism and race issues have no connection,” the Freeman stated.111 “The
strife is no race war,” it had declared earlier. “It is quite time for the Negroes to quit claiming
kindred with every black face from Hannibal down. Hannibal was no Negro, nor was
Aguinaldo.”112

The task of rationalizing the war in its ends and means before the American public led to the
active production of a novel, imperial-racial formation by the war’s defenders. This formation
had a dual character, simultaneously and reciprocally racializing Americans and Filipinos in
new ways. Its first half racialized the U.S. population as “Anglo-Saxons” whose overseas
conquests were legitimated by racial-historical ties to the British Empire. Opponents of the
treaty and the war frequently argued that while the U.S. continental empire had involved the
legitimate unfolding of republican institutions into empty (or emptied) space, the Philippine
annexation constituted a disturbing departure from the United States’ exceptional and
exemplary political traditions, one that would ultimately undermine the nation’s moral and
political foundations. This apparent violation of U.S. historical laws was answered with
extralegal claims of racial essence. Specifically, the war’s advocates subsumed U.S. history
within longer, racial trajectories of Anglo-Saxon history that folded together U.S. and British
imperial histories. The Philippine-American war was a natural extension of Western conquest,
and both taken together were the organic expression of the desires, capacities, and destinies of
Anglo-Saxon peoples. “Blood,” in the phrase widely used in this context, “was thicker than
water,” specifically the Atlantic that separated American and British “cousins.” Americans, as
Anglo-Saxons, shared Britons’ racial genius for empire-building, a genius that they must
exercise for the greater glory of the “race” and to advance civilization in general.113 Anglo-
Saxonist racial exceptionalism was given its most resonant expression in February 1899, when

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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Rudyard Kipling published “The White Man’s Burden” in McClure’s. The poem condensed
racial destiny and humanitarian martyrdom, recasting Americans as a “race” with an inevitable
imperial destiny.

If the advocates of war attempted to racialize the U.S. population as “Anglo-Saxon” in
defense of empire, they simultaneously racialized the Philippine population in ways that would
legitimate U.S. conquest of the islands before domestic and international skeptics. Just as the
Spanish had, the Americans would develop their own imperial indigenism aimed at denying
Filipinos political power on the basis of attributed socio-cultural and racial features.
Specifically, the Philippine Republic would be derecognized as nothing more than the will to
power of what was called a “single tribe” of Tagalogs. Conventional evolutionary theory held
that societies, in evolving from savagery to civilization, moved in political terms from “tribal”
fragmentation to “national” unity and toward the elusive goal of “ethnological homogeneity.”114

To successfully recognize tribes—marked by language, religion, political allegiance, or other
features—was to disprove a nation’s existence. Enumerate a society’s fragments, and what
might otherwise have looked like a nation became merely the tyranny of one tribe over others;
what might have appeared to be a state became instead a problem of imperial
“assimilation.”115

The “tribalization” of the republic would rhetorically eradicate the Philippine Republic as
a legitimate state whose rights the United States might have to recognize under international
law. This argument was forcefully advanced by the Philippine Commission’s report, whose
first installment was issued in January 1900, and which represented the most influential effort
to reduce the Philippine Republic to what came to be called the “single tribe” of the Tagalogs.
The report’s section entitled “The Native Peoples of the Philippines,” written by University of
Michigan zoologist Dean C. Worcester, began by admitting disputes over the civilization of the
islands’ people: “The most diverse and contradictory statements are frequently met with
concerning the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands, at present collectively known as
‘Filipinos.’ Some writers credit them with a high degree of civilization, and compare them to
the Pilgrim Fathers or the patriots of ’76, while others regard even the more highly civilized
tribes as little better than barbarians.”116

Worcester set out to “reconcile views which are apparently contradictory” based on their
investigation of Philippine conditions.117 After a brief review of opposing views, he presented
his conclusions, which drew heavily on Blumentritt’s wave migration theory. The Philippine
population consisted of “three sharply distinct races,” the Negrito, the Indonesian, and the
Malayan.118 Early migrations by the Negritos, a group “near the bottom of the human series,”
had been displaced by invasions of Indonesians and Malayans with superior racial constitution
and civilization.119 Out of these three races had sprung “numerous tribes, which often differ
very greatly in language, manners, customs, and laws, as well as in degree of civilization.”120

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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Worcester’s migration theory, unlike that of the Propaganda movement, did not emphasize an
exceptional “third wave” predisposed to assimilation and civilization but rather the chaos,
multiplicity, and backwardness produced when successive migration waves crashed on
Philippine shores.

The argument of tribal anarchy, based on Blumentritt’s theory, became the centerpiece of
arguments against Filipino self-government. The very scientific framework that ilustrados had
used to exceptionalize themselves as a civilized wave of migration was now being used to
deny the islands’ peoples as a whole self-government on the basis of their fragmentation. “The
most striking and perhaps the most significant fact in the entire situation,” began the section of
the commission’s report entitled “Capacity for Self-Government,” “is the multiplicity of tribes
inhabiting the archipelago, the diversity of their languages (which are mutually unintelligible),
and the multifarious phases of civilization—ranging all the way from the highest to the lowest
—exhibited by the natives of the several provinces and islands.”121

While Worcester admitted it was “extremely difficult to arrive at anything approaching a
correct estimate of the numbers of even the more important civilized tribes,” the report was a
powerful representation of the commission’s ability to encapsulate the Philippine population
by scientific means and gave birth to one of its most widely employed “facts”: the number
eighty-four as the total number of Philippine “tribes.” In future debates, the figure, meant to
convey impossible plurality, would echo through imperial argumentation in defense of the
commission’s central ethnological and political conclusion: “The Filipinos are not a nation,
but a variegated assemblage of different tribes and peoples, and their loyalty is still of the
tribal type.”122

Worcester would be followed quickly into the “tribes” question by anti-imperialist and
Filipino nationalist publicists. In 1900, for example, Filipino nationalist Sixto Lopez was
asked by the New England Anti-Imperialist League to produce “a brief statement of the facts”
on the tribes, “as a native of the country, and as one who has given some attention to the
ethnography of the Archipelago, both by personal research and by a study of the best works on
the subject.” For Lopez, the commission’s findings had been “entirely incorrect.” The number
eighty-four had been the product of “imagination, bad spelling, translation, subdivision, and
multiplication.” The commission had badly transcribed already inaccurate Spanish records,
mistaken the mountain peoples for lowland villagers, confused racial groups for language
groups, and exaggerated the differences between these languages. “It would be just as absurd
to regard the Americans as one tribe and the ‘Yankees’ as another,” he wrote, “and then to
increase these two tribes into four or more by misspelling the word ‘Americans,’ or by
translating it into French.” To imagine that tribal anarchy would result without U.S. control, he
asserted, was “as absurd as to suppose that the inhabitants of Massachusetts would rend the
men of New Hampshire or Rhode Island.” Lopez also answered the charge that the islands’

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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linguistic pluralism would lead to chaos by reminding his readers that the population of most
countries possessed the ability to speak more than one language “with perhaps the exception of
the United States.”123

Lopez’s defensive homogenization of the Philippine population led him to minimize and
exceptionalize animist and Muslim groups along nationalist-colonialist lines. Ninety-five
percent of the Filipino population, he claimed, “belong to one race and all of them are
Christian people practicing the morals and arts of civilization.” The “so-called ‘tribes’” were
actually a small minority, analogous to “the uncivilized or semi-civilized remnants of the
Indian tribes still inhabiting certain parts of the United States.” Filipinos could not be Indians,
in other words, because they had “their own” Indians. At the same time, Lopez refuted charges
of “barbarism” against these groups; in reality, non-Christians had “a religion and a code of
morals of their own.” Like the Propaganda writers, Lopez and his anti-imperialist allies feared
that Filipinos were being misrecognized as savages by American audiences. When the anti-
imperialists published his family story, they did so in order to introduce Americans to “the
interior of a Filipino household, disabusing them, to a large extent, of the idea that the Filipinos
are people of a distinctly inferior race, to be likened to our Indian tribes.”124

Race-Making and Colonial Warfare
Even as the Filipino leadership cast the war as an expression of civilization, part of an
increasingly desperate bid for international recognition, U.S. soldiers racialized the
“insurrection” with striking speed and intensity. What had been diffuse and fragmented prewar
animosities congealed into novel racial formations at the very center of U.S. soldiers’ popular
culture, capable of defining a wartime enemy and organizing and motivating violence against it.
“A lively hatred of our newly declared enemy was the one enthusiasm of the camp,” wrote a
corporal in the Montana regulars in July 1899.125 The race-making process is vividly
illustrated by terminological shifts in the diaries and letters home of U.S. volunteers in the
early months of the war. Although the linguistic starting points and end points differed, many
soldiers progressively racialized their terms for the insurgents specifically, and Filipinos
generally, although in few cases did these terms entirely replace other terms like “insurgent” or
“native.”

Andrew Wadsworth, for example, a twenty-eight-year-old sergeant in the First Nebraska
Volunteers, had observed shortly after arrival in Manila that “the natives are bright and
intelligent as the average run of people” and admired their art, musicianship, and
industriousness. Three months later, as tensions sharpened between U.S. and Filipino troops,
Wadsworth’s assessment darkened. “I didn’t even like a negro, but they are pretty good people
after seeing the natives that live here near the sunset,” he wrote. Writing home from “the Field”
two weeks after the beginning of the war, he wrote that “it was a hot time going over some of

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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the ground. . . . [It] swarmed with the indians but we didn’t do a thing to them.” Within another
two weeks, his racism was more matter-of-fact. “[H]ave forgotten whether I have written any
of you folks since we commenced to chase niggers,” he wrote off handedly, “have no doubt
read in the papers what we are doing.”126 Despite rising tensions, Earl Pearsall of the same
unit had recorded in his diary on January 5, with some regret, that “the insurgents have not been
as friendly lately as they have been for they have not visited our camp for three or four days.”
The day war broke out, he imagined that “the dusky fellows don’t care for any more of this
warfare with the Americano.” Less than three weeks later, however, he thrilled that U.S.
artillery had “put the black rascals over the hills.” Early in March, he reported being “attacked
by the ‘Gugos’” on the Mariquina road.127

For the first two weeks of the war, Oregon volunteer William Henry Barrett referred to the
enemy exclusively as “natives” or “Philippinos,” as when “[n]atives [were] driven from their
trenches and forced back all along the line.” Just over two weeks later, he recorded that other
companies had “chased out the niggers [and] run them across the swamps into Malabon.”128

South Dakota volunteer Louis Hubbard, a leader in his unit’s regimental band, had accepted the
gift of a sword from “one of Aguinaldo’s sergeants” in December 1898 and recruited a
Filipino musician, “the finest clarinetist I ever heard in my life.” Two weeks into the combat,
angered by reports of Filipino atrocities against U.S. troops, he wrote that “[t]hey are just like
any savage.” In mid-March he recorded the hope for a speedy charge on Malolos, “for the
quicker we get there and get these ‘gugos’ of[f] the face of the earth the quicker we will be
ready to start for home.”129

This racialization process drew the attention of U.S. journalists and soldiers on the scene.
Even prior to the war, some observers understood rising hostility as the inevitable surfacing of
latent “race differences” on both sides. “After the first glamour which surrounded our troops,”
soldier-correspondent John F. Bass reported to Harper’s as early as late August 1898, “a
glamour due to an exaggerated and almost childish idea of the liberty and freedom we were
bringing to the Philippines, the race differences have made themselves felt, which antagonize
the natives and exasperate our men.”130 H. L. Wells noted that U.S. troops saw the enemy in
racial terms. “Undoubtedly, they do not regard the shooting of Filipinos just as they would the
shooting of white troops,” he wrote in mid-1900, following the advent of guerrilla war. “The
soldiers feel that they are fighting with savages, not with soldiers.”131

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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The original caption for this photograph of a trench filled with bodies, which appeared in Neely, Fighting in the Philippines,
reads: “The American Artillery did wonderful execution in the battles with the insurgents. In a trench at Santa Ana the Tagal
dead lay in piles. The group shown in the picture consisted of thirty-eight bodies” (112). Photographs of dead Filipinos were
common trophies among U.S. journalists and soldiers. Albert Sonnichsen wrote in his memoir of “the heaps of dead and dying
natives . . . photographed by our people, and exhibited with such mottoes as: ‘Can the ——d Regiment boys shoot? You bet
they can. Count the dead niggers’” (quoted in Roth, Muddy Glory, 53).

This “lively hatred” was not, however, a projection or an export, but a new racial formation
developing on the ground. Its novelty was evidenced by the consistency with which reporters
—imperialist and anti-imperialist—felt compelled to explain it to their domestic readers, as
above. The new formation was strikingly illustrated by the appearance of a new term, “gu-gu,”
or “goo-goo,” in U.S. soldiers’ discourse, almost certainly the linguistic ancestor of “gook.”132

Veteran Charles A. Freeman, writing in the 1930s, noted that “[o]f recent years the world [sic]
has been shortened to gook, but gu-gu persists in Philippine fiction and fact written by
Americans, and applies to the lower class Filipino.”133 If the term had a sinister future, its

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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origins remain speculative. One of two plausible explanations—far from incompatible with
each other—roots the term in local dynamics: the term came from the Tagalog term for a
slippery coconut-oil shampoo, pronounced gu-gu, which may have been used to convey a
sense of the enemy’s elusiveness.134 A second account suggests the term was born at the
intersection of immediate sexual tensions and racialized U.S. popular culture. According to
Freeman, among the songs sung by U.S. troops on the long voyage from San Francisco had been
a minstrel tune with the chorus “ ‘Just because she made dem goo-goo eyes.’” When American
soldiers first “gazed into the dark orbs of a Filipino dalaga [young woman]” on arrival, they
had commented to each other, “‘Gee, but that girl can make goo-goo eyes.’” Filipino men had
taken the term as an insult; when American soldiers learned this, “it stuck, and became a
veritable taunt.”135

Whatever its specific origins, “gu-gu” formed part of a distinctive Philippine-American
colonial vocabulary that focused hatreds around a novel enemy and lent American troops a
sense of manly, insider camaraderie. The newness, immediacy, and localism of U.S. soldiers’
racial formation were suggested by the quotation marks and parenthetical explanations soldiers
commonly included near terms like “gu-gu” in their letters and diaries, especially early in the
conflict. On occasion, soldiers explained these terms to what they imagined to be befuddled
family members at home. Peter Lewis, for example, promised in November 1900 to write
home again about his “fights with the ‘Guggoes’ as the Filipiones [sic] are called.”136

The other common term assigned to the enemy by U.S. troops was “nigger.” “Our troops in
the Philippines . . . look upon all Filipinos as of one race and condition,” wrote Henry Loomis
Nelson, “and being dark men, they are therefore ‘niggers,’ and entitled to all the contempt and
harsh treatment administered by white overlords to the most inferior races.”137 Frederick
Palmer, sympathetic to the war effort, was amused by the soldiers’ “good-natured contempt”
toward “the little brown man” but regretted the use of the term “nigger,” which “too often”
included groups that were above it, however marginally: “If a man is white; if he speaks
English; if he knows his lines as we know them, he is as good as anybody on earth. If he is
white and yet does not understand our customs, we insist that he shall have equal rights with
us. If he is any other color too often we include him in one general class called ‘nigger,’ a class
beneath our notice, to which, as far as our soldier is concerned, all Filipinos belonged.”138

On the surface, the application of the term “nigger” to Filipinos suggests the export of
domestic U.S. racial formations. But in other ways it appears that the term itself was being
transformed in the colonial setting. As with “gu-gu,” soldiers felt compelled to explain its
colonial meaning to family members, as when Corporal William Eggenberger observed in
March 1899, of Filipino clothing, that “it is nothing to see a niger (we call them nigers) woman
pretty near naked.”139 In some cases, U.S. soldiers ridiculed their comrades who used it, as
when John Jordan poked fun at white Southern soldiers. “It must have been very embarrassing

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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to men almost entirely from Georgia, Ala., Miss. and Florida to be whipped and captured by
‘niggers,’” he wrote of one recently defeated unit. “The Capt. is from Miss. and I have no
doubt it will be an unpleasant recollection to him especially when he returns to Natchez.”140

Just as colonial warfare was promoting the invention of new terms like “gu-gu,” it was
proving capable of dislodging, reframing, and transforming older terms like “nigger.” When
Peter Lewis of New York was sent in January 1902 to supervise a thousand Filipino women
allowed out of a reconcentration camp to collect palay, he described the scene as being like
“the American niggers picking cotton.”141 It was striking that he felt compelled to modify
“nigger” with “American”; it suggests that, without it, he was afraid his family might
mistakenly think he was referring to Filipinos and not African Americans. One black soldier
complained that white soldiers “talked with impunity of ‘niggers’ to our soldiers, never once
thinking that they were talking to home ‘niggers.’” When reminded that “at home this is the
same vile epithet they hurl at us,” these soldiers “beg pardon and make some effiminate [sic]
excuse about what the Filipino is called.”142 While these white soldiers may have been
deliberately taunting black soldiers, it may have been that, in the colonial context, “nigger”
was becoming strangely detached from its older moorings.

Black troops fighting in the islands had much to say about the race war emerging around
them.143 “You have no idea the way these people are treated by the Americans here,” wrote Sgt.
Patrick Mason, excluding himself from this category. “The first thing in the morning is the
‘Nigger’ and the last thing at night is the ‘Nigger.’” Some like Sgt. Maj. John W. Galloway
accused whites of “establish[ing] their diabolical race hatred in all its home rancor in Manila .
. . to be sure of the foundation of their supremacy” under civil rule. Unlike white soldiers,
Galloway noted, black soldiers did not “push [Filipinos] off the streets, spit at them, call them
damned ‘niggers,’ abuse them in all manner of ways, and connect race hatred with duty.”
Filipinos ably exploited the U.S. Army’s race war by making direct racial appeals to black
soldiers on the basis of what one black soldier, quoting a Filipino, called the “affinity of
complexion.” William Simms had been struck by a question posed to him by a little Filipino
boy, to the effect of “‘Why does the American Negro come . . . to fight us when we are much a
friend to him. . . . He is all the same as me and me all the same as you. Why don’t you fight
those people in America who burn Negroes, that make a beast of you?’”144

More coordinated appeals to black troops appear to have been suggested by exiles in Hong
Kong, better connected to British and U.S. news sources. In August 1899, Paula Pardo reported
having received instructions from there “advising us to make big placards with large letters, in
English, to be placed in the frontier trenches” that would “remind the Black Americans of the
offenses committed and that continue to be committed against their race by the white
Americans and, above all, the recent executions carried out on their black brothers.”145

Filipino troops did place hundreds of pamphlets near black units; one was addressed “To the

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Colored American Soldier” and stated that “[y]our masters have thrown you into the most
iniquitous fight with double purpose—to make you the instrument of their ambition and also
your hard work will soon make the extinction of your race. Your friends, the Filipinos, give
you this good warning. You must consider your situation and your history, and take charge that
the blood of . . . Sam Hose . . . proclaims vengeance.”146

The Politics of Guerrilla Warfare
If one way to rationalize a war of aggression was to declare the enemy state a “tribe,” one way
to end it was simply to declare it over by fiat. November 1899 saw the war’s first end by U.S.
proclamation. General MacArthur reported the U.S. mission accomplished, saying that there
was “no organized insurgent force left to strike at,” and declared that all future resistance be
characterized as “banditry,” and the killing of U.S. soldiers, murder.147 General Otis cabled
Washington stating that the revolutionaries had been dispersed and that the “claim to
government by insurgents can be made no longer under any fiction.”148 In fact, Filipinos had
undertaken a strategy of guerrilla war. Disbanding the regular army in the wake of defeats,
Aguinaldo divided the country into military zones, each under a guerrilla commander,
preparing for a regionally dispersed set of smaller campaigns through locally raised
sandatahan (guerrilla) units. It was hoped that in these scattered settings, tropical disease,
impassable roads, and unfamiliar conditions would weaken the American advance, while
geographic knowledge and village-level support would sustain guerrilla ambushes and
surprise attacks against isolated American patrols.149

A key advantage of this kind of war for Filipinos would be the potential disappearance of
Filipino combatants into the rural population. As the Filipino army reorganized, the Luzon
villagers that Wilcox and Sargent had met singing patriotic songs and marching in formation
would sustain the guerrilla effort with food, money, and information. A network composed of
the friends and relatives of guerrilla officers within the principalía collected taxes and crops
from villagers (not always willingly), established secret Katipunan societies, and formed their
own intelligence systems, often supplying the guides, interpreters, and municipal officials upon
whom the U.S. Army relied. Eluding the surveillance of U.S. post commanders and soldiers,
revolutionaries funneled supplies to the guerrillas, hid them in civilian clothes, and informed
them about American strategies and troop movements.

This guerrilla campaign, in turn, altered the command structure, tactics, and knowledge
requirements of the U.S. Army. General Otis decentralized his forces to match the Filipino
army, splitting the army into four departments, his plan being to advance outward into the
hinterlands, fighting back Filipino rebels and garrisoning the towns that supported them. In
these regional settings (eventually more than 600 scattered posts), often cut off from Manila
contacts, local commanders would by necessity take on greater autonomy and be forced to

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adapt their tactics to local crises. Reliable intelligence was a scarce commodity. “The troops
were more than able to annihilate, to completely smash anything that could be brought against
them,” reported Colonel Arthur Wagner, “. . . but it was almost impossible to get any
information in regard to those people.”150

Guerrilla war involved not merely a set of tactics but a set of understandings: about the
nature of combat, about the means to victory, about oneself as a combatant, and about the nature
of the enemy. For Filipino officers, schooled exclusively in European conventional warfare, it
was largely unfamiliar, although at least some Filipino soldiers had encountered it while
collaborating with the Spanish Army against Muslims and animists. By 1900, it was still
unfamiliar enough to require explanation.151

Filipino strategists drew on anticolonial guerrilla struggles elsewhere in the world. Isabelo
de los Reyes, for example, published an article on guerrilla war in the March 1900 Filipinas
ante Europa, by “a valiant and enlightened Filipino lieutenant” who had fought in Cuba.152

Filipino commanders also took inspiration (most likely unreciprocated) from the Boers’
struggle against the British Empire. Juan Villamor, advising Gen. Antonio Luna in Ilocos,
claimed to have taken his guerrilla model from the Boers in their struggle against the English,
most likely learned of through Hong Kong newspapers. In a speech to raise troops in February
1900, Villamor noted that this warring style, “such as we are starting today,” was
“characteristic of a small nation when fighting a big one” and had produced “the most
surprising successes” in South Africa.153

One possible explanation for Aguinaldo’s delay in adopting guerrilla tactics may be the
symbolic politics of war and preoccupations with “culture and character.” The most obvious
reason for this delay was political. As the republic’s officials well knew, guerrilla war was at
once a decentralized war that empowered local commanders at the expense of the center and a
people’s war that involved mobilizing the energy of, and handing power to, a rural base. This
base was, in turn, largely mistrusted by Aguinaldo’s cadre and was itself often ambivalent
about the question of whether republican “independence” and kalayaan (freedom) were the
same thing.154 But it was also, perhaps, not so easy to let go of the quest for recognition. In its
bid for international recognition, the republic’s self-representations to the world had nervously
held it to a standard of civilization in which war played a significant part. Officials of the
republic agreed with the Americans that, among many other things, civilized societies adhered
to the laws of civilized warfare. The military drills witnessed by Wilcox and Sargent had
drawn on a vocabulary of republican martial order imbued with notions of a civilized fighting
force; the republic’s newspapers of 1898 had foregrounded the organized, hierarchical
character of the Filipino army and the favorable treatment of its Spanish prisoners as
advertisements for its broader civilization.

Guerrilla warfare, by contrast, meant scattered organization, loosely disciplined troops

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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little distinguishable from savages, a reliance on rural supplies little distinguishable from
looting, and forms of concealment and deception that violated Euro-American standards of
masculine honor in combat.155 Emilio Concepción, a captain fighting in Namatay, later recalled
that, for reasons of honor, he “was vacillating for some time” before he reorganized his troops
into guerrilla units. “In reality, when I took that step, I had thought about it well for some days
before, because in principle I believed that if I made myself a guerrilla fighter, I would stop
being a revolutionary, and at that time for me the title of revolutionary was much more
glorious.”156 By winning a conventional war, the Philippine Army would win the world’s
support for independent Philippine statehood; victory in guerrilla battle, however, might mean
losing the war for international recognition.

While Filipino commanders believed guerrilla war was undesirable, they also believed it
could serve as an effective intervention in U.S. politics; localized struggle could have
transnational effects. One of the most striking aspects of the Filipino guerrilla campaign was
the way that it was imagined by its leaders as an intercession into the 1900 presidential
campaign, specifically on behalf on William Jennings Bryan’s candidacy, which had made anti-
imperialism its centerpiece. “It would surprise you what a close watch these [Filipino] people
keep on American politics,” Lt. Samuel Lyon wrote home in March 1900, about congressional
debates on the Philippine bill. “[E]very disloyal sentiment uttered by a man of any prominence
in the United States is repeatedly broadcast through the islands and greatly magnified.”157 U.S.
military censors expressed frustration at Filipino newspapers’ “old tactics of translating the
most virulent articles in the American press . . . to foster the belief among the people that the
majority of Americans were in favor of their demands.”158

The U.S. election cycle was, in fact, a crucial factor in shaping Aguinaldo’s strategy, even
as he retreated into the mountains of Luzon. From mid-1900, Filipino commanders emphasized
the need to maintain enough resistance to make the price of empire high and to aid Bryan in his
quest to make the Philippine-American War “the paramount issue.”159 “The presidential
election which is being held at present in North America seems like a ray of hope for the
cessation of this war,” stated Aguinaldo in an October 1900 proclamation, “inasmuch as Mr.
Bryan promises to recognize the independence of the Philippines, provided he is elected
president of the North American Republic.”160 Filipino hopes for the election were known
even to common U.S. soldiers. “[T]he niggers are getting more active all over,” wrote William
Eggenberger in September, “it is just before election and they want to make a showing[.]
[T]hey think if bryan gets elected they will get their independence but they will get left.”161

William Carey Brown claimed to have found among one revolutionary leader’s papers a
“carefully folded . . . picture of—Mr. William J. Bryan!”162

Such claims ought, of course, to be met with skepticism. Real or imagined Filipino support
for Bryan’s candidacy was especially appetizing for the war’s partisan defenders in the United

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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States, who used it to confirm the “treason” of their opponents. Apparently, one was either
with the administration or with the savages. The New York Tribune blamed Bryan’s candidacy
itself for the persistence of the revolt and named the Nebraskan as “more the leader of these
people than Aguinaldo.”163 The 1900 Republican campaign book promised “Evidence That the
Insurrection Was Encouraged and Kept Alive by the Utterances of Mr. Bryan and His Political
Associates” in the shape of fragments of proclamations and manifestos.164 In sometimes odd
and striking ways, the war’s proponents made Aguinaldo and Bryan equivalents as
representatives of anarchy and misrule. S. B. M. Young, for example, told Adj.-Gen. Henry
Corbin in November 1900 that “Bryan and his friends—the enemies of good government . . .
gave us considerable trouble through their brother anarchists in the mountains of Northern
Luzon.”165 That same month, writing Theodore Roosevelt from the Philippines to congratulate
him on McKinley’s reelection, Young observed that “[t]he attack on you by the Tagalogs of
Colorado is on par with actions of the brown Bryanites of Luzon.”166

If on the Filipino side, guerrilla war was U.S. electoral politics by other means, on the
American side, it was both novel and disturbing. It meant dispensing with hopes for gallant
rushes at the enemy and hunkering down for a protracted campaign that was both boring and
anxious, with soldiers isolated from other units, in a largely unknown terrain, unable to
recognize the line between “amigos” and hostile peoples. It was little surprise that the most
lasting term the war introduced into American English was “boondocks,” drawn from a
Tagalog term for “mountain” or remote area, which came to be associated with distant,
bewildering unknowns.167

“Uncle Sam’s cohorts set down in the Philippines at the beginning of the century saw in
everything, something new, strange and utterly incomprehensible,” recalled one veteran years
later. “The enemy existed unseen in the dripping jungle, in the moldering towns and in the
smoky clearings on the hillsides, and since a natural prudence bade him not risk any open
encounter, the enemy was not to be found. But they existed nonetheless.”168 Even as U.S.
soldiers relied on Filipinos as guides, translators, carriers, and providers of food and
intelligence, they found the task of distinguishing Filipino soldiers from “amigos” in garrisoned
towns a frustrating and dangerous one. Erwin Garrett put the problem succinctly in verse:

“Amigo” to your face, forsooth,
Or when you spend the dough,
But a red-handed “katipunan” when
You turn around to go.169

Many U.S. soldiers racialized Filipino tactical deception. As Jacob Isselhard recalled in his
memoir, local villagers, “with that particular faculty of all Orientals to say one thing and
meaning [sic] another, professed to be ‘mucho amigo’ (good friends) to our faces, while

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secretly aiding the insurrection with all the means at their command.” Those who stepped
forward as guides, for example, “would invariably and purposely get lost on a trail which led
either to nowhere or into well prepared death traps.”170

The collision between Filipino revolutionary and U.S. Army perspectives on guerrilla war
can best be witnessed in a brief written exchange in late August 1900 between Gen. James
Franklin Bell and Apolinario Mabini.171 Bell was writing Mabini to pressure him to reconcile
himself to United States rule and to declare himself against continued guerrilla resistance, as
had an increasing number of revolutionaries. His argument hinged on the difference between
“civilized” war and its opposites. War, he began, could only be justified by a combatant where
success was possible; as soon as defeat was certain, “civilization demands that the defeated
side, in the name of humanity, should surrender and accept the result, although it may be painful
to its feelings.” Combatants who strayed from this principle “place themselves in a separate
classification” as “incompetent in the management of civil affairs to the extent of their
ignorance of the demands of humanity.” In this specific case, the end of conventional war and
the dispersal of the Philippine Army meant that continued Filipino resistance was not only
“criminal” but was “also daily shoving the natives of the Archipelago headlong towards a
deeper attitude of semicivilization in which they will become completely incapable of
appreciating and understanding the responsibilities of civil government.” Civilization meant
pacification and the acceptance of U.S. sovereignty: “The Filipino people can only show their
fitness in this matter by laying down their arms.”172

Mabini countered with a brilliant riposte. Bell’s starting point, he noted, was simply the
claim that might made right, that the United States’ war was “just and humanitarian” because its
army was powerful, “which trend of reasoning not even the most ignorant Filipino will believe
to be true.” If in real life, he noted, “the strong nations so easily make use of force to impose
their claims on the weak ones,” it was because “even now civilization and humanitarian
sentiments that are so often invoked, are, for some, more apparent than real.” No one deplored
more deeply the “guerrilla and ambush system” the Filipinos had been “forced to adopt”;
Mabini had always considered “the fight that offers equal risks to both combatants more noble
and more worthy of men.” But the Filipinos had been left no choice. The very laws of war that
authorized strong nations’ use of “powerful weapons of combat” against weak ones were those
that “persuade[d]” the weak to engage in guerrilla war, “especially when it comes to defending
their homes and their freedoms against an invasion.”173

Guerrilla war was, in other words, tactical rather than ethnological: in this “extreme case,”
the laws of war “implacably order the weak people to defend their threatened honor and
natural rights under pain of being called uncivilized and uncapable of understanding the
responsibilities of a proper government.” Civilization meant neither capitulation nor
conciliation but resistance to submission. Indeed, for Mabini, resistance itself— even through

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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guerrilla war—was the only mark of a civilized people. The Filipinos, he wrote, “fight to
show to the United States that they possess sufficient culture to know their rights even where
there is a pretense to hide them by means of clever sophisms.”174 Earlier, Mabini had written,
along the same lines, that “[a] humiliating peace is tolerated only in uncivilized countries.”175

Asserting the logic of recognition, Mabini hoped the revolution would in this way “remind the
Americans of the struggle borne by their ancestors against the Englishmen for the emancipation
of the colonies which are now the free States of North America.” At that moment, the
Americans had been “in the same place which the Filipinos are in today.” Contrary to what
some believed, Filipino resistance was “not motivated by hatred of race, but by the same
principles sealed with the blood of [the Americans’] own ancestors.”176

Almost immediately following McKinley’s presidential victory in November 1900, U.S.
commanders felt at greater liberty to widen the boundaries of violence, which General
MacArthur achieved through a mass-circulated proclamation dated December 20. In content, it
was a highly expedient interpretation of General Orders No. 100, the Civil War-era regulations
on the conduct of combat; MacArthur selected those provisions he felt “most essential for
consideration under present conditions.” The proclamation was meant to “instruct all classes”
and was circulated widely: the army distributed 10,000 copies to the Department of Southern
Luzon alone, and copies of it were printed in Tagalog, Spanish, and English in the Manila
Times, the first English-language daily in the islands.177 MacArthur had assumed, wrongly, that
Filipino military leaders “probably had never before been informed of the existence of such a
law” and boasted that its “educational” effect had been “immediate and far-reaching.”178

Here, MacArthur ran into the problem of the resistance’s status: to share the “laws of war”
with Filipinos might appear to recognize them as the army of an actual state. Accordingly, he
“reject[ed] every consideration of belligerency of those opposing the Government” and
directed the document both at combatants and “noncombatants, native or alien, residing within
occupied places.” In those locations, the U.S. Army owed protection only to those Filipinos
who demonstrated “strict obedience” to U.S. commanders. Noncombatants who in any way
aided Filipino combatants, through “secret communities,” collecting supplies, recruiting men,
or sharing military information, would from then on be seen by the U.S. military as
indistinguishable from combatants.179

In broadening the enemy in this way, MacArthur invoked a category from the General
Orders: “war rebels, or war traitors.” Any such person residing in an occupied area and
engaging in acts that were “inimical to the interests of the occupying army” would be punished
“at the discretion of the tribunals of the occupying army.” The terms themselves embodied the
contradictions of the United States’ claims to sovereignty, which the New York Times had
foreseen: “war” recognized the enemy as a state, while “rebel” and “traitor” incorporated the
enemy as a force against “its own” government. MacArthur’s proclamation defined these terms

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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in ways that embraced the entire population in areas of combat as potential targets of
punishment. It did not recognize intimidation by insurgents as a legitimate cause for
cooperation: compliance with the rebels without reportage to the U.S. military “creates the
presumption that the act is voluntary and malicious.” Neither did he accept defenses based on
ignorance of insurgent activity, which due to “a common language,” must “be of knowledge to a
large part of the resident community.”180 Assuming that all Filipino villagers in garrisoned
areas had information regarding the guerrillas, those who failed to share it “offer themselves as
easy victims to be plundered and murdered” and “expose themselves to the danger of being
classified and tried as war traitors against the United States.” “War rebels” who slipped back
and forth, to and from combat, “divest themselves of the character of soldiers” and if captured
were “not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war.”181

These changes of status would authorize alterations in the practical apparatus of repression.
MacArthur warned journalists in Manila that any article published in a “martial environment”
that could be “classed as seditious” by its intention to “injure the army of occupation” would
subject its authors to “such punitive action as may be determined by the undersigned.” In
additional orders, MacArthur commanded that all “prisoners of war” captured “in the field, or
arrested in the towns,” would be held in custody “until the cessation of hostilities.” He also
ordered the deportation to Guam of “prominent and popular agitators,” including Mabini. The
indefinite incarceration or deportation of prisoners was a self-consciously terror-generating
strategy. There was “no doubt” that what MacArthur called the “legitimate employment of
strong human emotions” had been “very instrumental in bringing about final results.”182

Racializing Guerrilla Combat
Race was at the core of the U.S. Army’s effort to rethink and redefine the enemy in a context of
guerrilla war. Mabini was right that, in waging guerrilla war, Filipinos risked “the pain of
being called uncivilized.” Throughout the colonial world—including the republic’s leadership
—races were characterized in part by the way they made war. The General Orders No. 100
that MacArthur had drawn upon had themselves relied on racial-historical dichotomies
between civilized and savage war.183 While “barbarous armies” and “uncivilized people,” for
example, offered no protection to civilians, the “inoffensive citizen” was protected in “modern
regular wars of the Europeans, and their descendents in other portions of the globe.” While the
General Orders authorized retaliation by “civilized nations,” when taken too far, this principle
quickly devolved into “the internecine wars of savages.”184

By these lights, those who waged guerrilla war were, by definition, savage: Filipino
warfare, therefore, did not take this form out of ignorance or strategy but because of race.
Conventional wisdom to this effect issued from the top of the U.S. military hierarchy in the
Philippines. “War in its earlier form was an act of violence which, from the very nature of

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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primitive humanity and of the forces employed, knew no bounds,” General MacArthur had
declared in the December 1900 proclamation. “Mankind, from the beginning of civilization,
however, has tried to mitigate, and to escape, as far as possible, from the consequences of this
barbarous conception of warlike action.”185 The Filipinos, in refusing these boundaries, had
shown themselves to be less than civilized. “The war on the part of the Filipinos,” wrote
Secretary of War Elihu Root, “has been conducted with the barbarous cruelty common among
uncivilized races.”186

Racial terms were also useful in making sense of the guerrillas’ mass support as the U.S.
effort ground to a mid-1900 halt. Late in December 1900, General Robert Hughes reported to
the War Department that “[t]he situation is still very dark. . . . The whole population has been
rank insurrectos from hide to heart, and all have been contributing to the support of the cause in
one way or another according to their ability.”187 In his October 1, 1900, report, MacArthur
sought to account for what he called, with begrudging respect, the “almost complete unity of
action of the entire native population.” His conclusion was that Filipino participation was
neither rational nor political. “[T]he adhesive principle comes from ethnological
homogeneity,” he stated, “which induces men to respond for a time to the appeals of
consanguineous leadership, even when such action is opposed to their own interests.”188

General Young concurred. “The keynote of the insurrection among the Filipinos past, present
and future is not tyranny,” he stated in an April 1901 address, “for we are not tyrants. It is
race.”189

Where all hearts were those of insurgents, legible from their “hides,” race became the
sanction for exterminist war, the means by which earlier distinctions between combatants and
noncombatants—already fragile— eroded or collapsed. As long as support for the rebellion
was imagined as political—as a matter of decisions, interests, and incentives—within a
pluralistic Filipino polity, the task of the U.S. Army was to “persuade” Filipinos of various
sectors to accept U.S. sovereignty. That this persuasion might take terrible forms was
something that U.S. officials readily acknowledged. But no such persuasion was possible
where “ethnological homogeneity” governed over reason, where hides determined hearts. The
Filipinos were one united “race”; its “savagery” placed it outside the bounds of “civilized”
warfare: the two explanatory halves converged, pincerlike, into racial exterminist war as the
only means to “peace.”

On the ground, racial terms like “gugu” and “nigger” both reflected and enabled a
broadening of the enemy. In their letters and diaries, U.S. soldiers sometimes attached them to
descriptions of combat status—such as “nigger army”—which, in effect, made them racialized
terms for “insurgent.” In some cases, they continued to distinguish combatants and non-
combatants, referring to the latter as “natives” or “Filipinos.” But in other cases, soldiers used
both “gugu” and “nigger” to refer explicitly to noncombatants. “At meals [sic] times there are

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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always a lot of little ‘gugus’ around, each with his tin can, begging scraps to eat,” wrote Perry
Thompson.190 Peter Lewis described how “the Niggers keep going to Church” on Easter.191

When Eggenberger received curfew orders “to make all niggers to put out lights after 9 oclock
and arrest all niggers caught out after 7 oclock,” he enforced it by thrusting his rifle’s bayonet
through the outside walls of noncompliant civilians’ homes.192 If a “nigger man” was
unfortunate enough to stroll through camp while U.S. soldiers were feeling lonely, “he
generally feels the weight of our heavy government shoes for we hate the sight of them.”193

Racial terms and exterminist sentiment were at the center of the most popular of the U.S.
Army’s marching songs, which marked the Filipino population as a whole as the enemy and
made killing Filipinos the only means to their civilization.

Damn, damn, damn the Filipino
Pock-marked khakiac ladrone;
Underneath the starry flag
Civilize him with a Krag,
And return us to our own beloved home.194

One Nebraskan soldier boasted to his parents of his comrades’ bold, aggressive fighting spirit,
restrained only by officers’ reticence. “If they would turn the boys loose,” he wrote, “there
wouldn’t be a nigger left in Manila twelve hours after.”195 Henry Hackthorn explained to his
family that the war, which he regretted, had been avoidable, but “the niggers got in a hurry.”
“We would kill all in sight if we could only receive the necessary orders,” he wrote.196 Frank
Jackson was angered by an American public convinced that “we are nothing but murderers that
march out occasionally and kill all the niggers we see!” he complained. “I wish that might be
so for the world would be much better off without these lazy black devils.”197 Eggenberger
reported happily in March 1900 that collaborating Macabebe troops had killed 130 “ladrones”
without one escape. “[L]et the good work go on[.] [W]e will have the damn bug eaters
sivilized [sic] if we have to bury them to do it,” he wrote.198

Racial exterminist impulses were also in evidence in U.S. soldiers’ descriptions of
violence against prisoners and civilians. The American torture of prisoners—some fraction of
which appeared in soldiers’ letters, newspaper accounts, and court-martial proceedings—was
often, if not always, justified as a means of intelligence-gathering. The most notorious form of
torture by the American side, if far from the only one, was the “water cure,” in which a
captured Filipino was interrogated while drowned with buckets of filthy water poured into his
mouth. The scale of its practice and the frequency of death remain difficult if not impossible to
establish. Later blamed almost exclusively on the United States’ Macabebe Scouts, it was in
fact the tactical expression of the military policy of attraction, undertaken in many cases by
U.S. and Filipino forces working together both secretly and with the tacit approval of U.S.

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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officers. In the context of guerrilla war, the water cure would simultaneously cure Filipinos of
their unknowability and Americans of their ignorance.199

Despite later claims that distanced U.S. soldiers from torture, U.S. soldiers not only carried
out the water cure but apparently did so in a jocular manner. In 1902, Albert Gardner, in Troop
B of the First U.S. Cavalry, composed comic works that made light of torture in a way that
suggested familiarity and ease. The first, playing with the torture’s name, was a mock-
testimonial patent-medicine advertisement addressed to “My Dear Doctor Uncle Sam,” by a
certain “Mariano Gugu.”200 The author complained of a recent bout of “loss of memory, loss of
speach [sic] and other symptoms” of a disease called “insurectos”; among other things, he “had
forgotten where I placed my Bolo and my rifle.”201 He had been miraculously cured with “only
one treatment of your wonderful water cure.” “No hombre’s shack is complete without a barrel
of it,” he concluded in a postscript.202 More striking still was Gardner’s original marching
song, “The Water Cure in the P.I.,” which made no mention of interrogation but simply urged
U.S. soldiers to commit torture as an expression of U.S. imperial patriotism. Torture and
liberation would be expressions of each other. The song form itself suggests singers and
possible public performance:

Get the good old syringe boys and fill it to the brim
We’ve caught another nigger and we’ll operate on him
Let someone take the handle who can work it with a vim
Shouting the battle cry of freedom

[Chorus]
Hurrah Hurrah We bring the Jubilee
Hurrah Hurrah The flag that makes him free
Shove in the nozzel [sic] deep and let him taste of liberty
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.203

A subsequent verse promised to teach a captured “nigger” that liberty was “a precious boon”
and pump him until he “wells like a toy baloon [sic].”204 Another hailed “[t]he banner that
floats proudly o’er the noble and the brave” and urged the men to continue “till the squirt gun
breaks or he explodes the slave.”205

Along with torturing them, U.S. soldiers also killed Filipino prisoners. Rumors of “no-
prisoners” orders were common. Arthur C. Johnson of the Colorado Volunteers, for example,
reported as early as February 1899 that Manila’s prisons were already overflowing, and “the
fiat is said to have gone forth that no more prisoners are to be taken”; he anticipated that “the
Filipino death list promises to correspondingly increase.” “They say our boys raised the cry of
no quarter,” Willis Platts wrote on the second day of the war, “([I] am glad of it) and

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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disregarded the numerous white flags because of many treacherous deeds.” Nearly two months
into the war, George Telfer recorded his one line of thought while “jumping trenches—seeing
mangled bodies, writhing figures, and hearing groans everywhere”: “‘Guide right.’ ‘preserve
touch.’ ‘Advance’ ‘Lay Down’ ‘Forward’—‘Kill’ ‘Kill’—‘Take no prisoners.’ ”206

Specific instances of the killing of prisoners were recorded by U.S. soldiers. Thomas
Osborne was sent out in search of five men, and when they were captured, “nor [sic] did we
take them prisoners for our guns were anxious to be fired so we left them to be buried next
morning.”207 Pvt. George Osborn wrote that while holding a prisoner on a captain’s
instructions, “a fellow by the name of Lynch said to him to (vamos) (meaning to get away) and
when he had run about 20 yds they shot him.” When the captain later asked where the prisoner
was, “Lynch said he tried to run away and we shot him[.] [T]he Capt. said all right.”208

William Eggenberger reported hearing at one point that the “niggers” would kill “all the
[American] prisoners they capture from now on, and of corse [sic] we will ring [sic] all the
damn necks of the ones we capture too.”209 He recorded several occasions of shooting
prisoners attempting to “escape” but later confessed that “[w]hen we capture a suspicious
nigger, we generally loose him in the swamps, that is he is lost and he isn’t lost but he never
shows up any more. Turn about is fair play. They do it to us and we do it to them, they killed
three of our fellows with out mercy but we have taken a very sweet revenge and a very clear
revenge to them to[o].”210 The most notorious wartime executions by U.S. forces were not of
prisoners but of collaborators. Filipino and Chinese guides, interpreters, and carriers were
essential to U.S. operations, in constant proximity to U.S. soldiers, and the most immediate
objects of scrutiny and suspicion; they were highly vulnerable scapegoats when U.S.
operations went sour. When Marine Maj. Littleton Waller’s forces became lost, sick, and
starved following a scorched-earth campaign across the island of Samar in 1901, he ordered
the summary execution of eleven Filipino porters.211

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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This is a photograph of the “water cure,” one mode of torture and interrogation used by U.S. soldiers and their Macabebe allies
during the Philippine-American War. Water would be forcibly pumped into the open mouth of a Filipino prisoner, in an effort to
compel him to provide information regarding the guerrilla army. The very fact that a portrait of it was created—one that itself
includes casual spectators—suggests both the status of atrocity as spectacle and the complacency with which this torture was
conducted, despite vigorous denials of its practice. Reproduced with permission, Jonathan Best Collection.

The ultimate form of exterminist war was the killing of acknowledged noncombatants. As
early as April 12, 1899, an entry in Chriss Bell’s diary took derecognition to its furthest
extension: Filipinos had already “caused so much trouble & murdered so many of our boys”
that U.S. soldiers “recognize them no longer but shoot on sight all natives. Natives will not or
cannot understand kind & civilized treatment. If you treat them as equals they will think you are
afraid of them & murder you.”212 On the second day of the war, Bell recorded that insurgents
“did so much shooting from the bamboo huts that an order came to fire the huts as the men
advanced. This was done & men, women and children suffered.” A few weeks later, Albert
Southwick described shooting indiscriminately into forests and residences. “[T]he ‘nigs’ were
so well hidden and using smokeless powder,” he wrote home, “it was almost impossible to
find any of them, but we filled the trees with lead. . . . [W]e sent a shot into every clump of
bush and houses, thick leaved trees, or anything that looked like a place for a ‘nigger’ to hide.”
Willis Platts related how he and others would “fire into a house and when the natives would
run fire at them and generally they tumbled.” Having shot into one hut, though, he recorded his
relief at finding a number of people unhurt who had “lain flat” but later “witness[ed] the
painful sight of many women shot.” Two months later, his sympathies had apparently eroded,
the term “amigo” emptied of all but bitter irony. After one fight, his troop had been so
“encouraged” they had “scattered out and burned every house anywhere near and whenever ‘an

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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amigo’ showed up generally put him to sleep. . . . I know of quite a number they killed, even
shot at many myself.”213

One of the most banal and brutal manifestations of racialization was U.S. soldiers’
imagination of war as hunting. The Manila occupation and “friendly policy” had frustrated
martial masculinity; the metaphor of the hunt made war, at last, into masculine self-
fulfillment.214 All at once, a language of hunting bestialized Filipinos, made sense of guerrilla
war to American troops, and joined the latter in manly fraternity. “I don’t know when the thing
will let out,” wrote Louis Hubbard one week into the war, “and don’t care as we are having
lots of excitement. It makes me think of killing jack rabbits.”215 John F. Bright described one
advance near San Juan Bridge: “As we advanced they would jump up like rabbits only a few
feet from us, dead game ready to sell their lives as dearly as possible, but we shot them down
before they could do any damage.”216 Gen. S. B. M. Young wrote in November 1900 that he
had “sufficient troops now to make a fox hunt for these Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hide [sic] amigos
and assassins.”217

On occasion, racist terms explicitly linked hunting to exterminism. “There is no question
that our men do ‘shoot niggers’ somewhat in the sporting spirit,” admitted H. L. Wells. “It is
lots of sport to hunt these black devils,” wrote Louis Hubbard just three weeks into the war,
inspired by revenge.218 Private George Osborn of the Sixth Infantry wrote home from Negros
on January 15, 1900: “Just back from the fight. Killed 22 niggers captured 29 rifels [sic] and 1
shotgun and I tell you it was a fight. . . . [W]e just shot the niggers like a hunter would
rabbits.”219 In April 1899, Lieutenant Telfer wrote from Marilao that nighttime scouting raids
were his men’s only relief from the boredom of guarding a railroad, and that it was “great fun
for the men to go on ‘nigger hunts.’ ”220

The most notorious orders of indiscriminate killing were Gen. Jacob H. Smith’s late
October 1901 instructions to Marine Maj. Littleton W. T. Waller, following Filipino
revolutionaries’ successful surprise attack against U.S. soldiers at Balangiga on the island of
Samar, to make reprisals against the entire population of the island. “I want no prisoners,” he
had directed. “I wish you to kill and burn.” Smith ordered “all persons killed who are capable
of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States.” When Waller had asked the
general for clarification, Smith stated that he considered any person over the age of ten
“capable of bearing arms.” The interior of Samar must be made “a howling wilderness!” The
direct result of these instructions was systematic destruction and killing on a vast scale. One
marine wrote home that he and his comrades were “hiking all the time killing all we come
across.”221 Another later recalled that “we were to shoot on sight anyone over 12 years old,
armed or not, to burn everything and to make the Island of Samar a howling wilderness.”222

While Capt. David D. Porter later explained that he believed Smith to have meant
“insurrectos” only, he recalled that marines at the time had understood that, with the exception

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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of those who had taken an oath of allegiance, “everybody in Samar was an insurrecto.”223

Justifying Torture and Exterminism
If racialization encouraged U.S. soldiers to broaden the war toward exterminism, race also
legitimated this process from above, undermining moral and legal claims against U.S. soldiers
accused of wartime atrocities in the halls of American governance, in press debates, and in
courts-martial. Race would not only justify the ends of the war—especially as the necessary
response to Filipino savagery and tribal fragmentation—but would be used to justify many of
the “marked severities” employed by U.S. soldiers to bring it to its desired conclusion.

Little if anything of the cruelties of the war became known to the U.S. public prior to early
1902, in part due to rigorous censorship of foreign correspondents by the U.S. Army.224 By
mid-1902, however, the American press—particularly Democratic and independent papers—
became more emboldened, particularly as editors learned of General Bell’s “reconcentration”
program in Batangas. Some critical press attention was due to the energetic efforts of anti-
imperialists like Herbert Welsh, who resourcefully culled for republication references to the
water cure and other atrocities in hometown newspapers and sent agents to interview returning
soldiers firsthand. These efforts would culminate in the publication of the pamphlet “Marked
Severities” in Philippine Warfare, a compilation by Moorfield Storey and Julian Codman of
descriptions of U.S. atrocities attributed to U.S. soldier-witnesses, with attempts to connect
atrocity to administration policy.225

These propaganda efforts coincided with a Senate investigation between January and June
1902, initiated by Senator George Hoar, Republican of Massachusetts, to “examine and report
into the conduct of the war in the Philippine Islands, the administration of the government there,
and the condition and character of the inhabitants.”226 The Senate hearings would force open
small windows onto U.S. Army conduct, although their potential challenge was blunted by
Senator Lodge’s able maneuvering of the hearings into his own, prowar Committee on Insular
Affairs, which was closed to press and public, and where sympathetic witnesses and lengthy
War Department reports would predominate. The anti-imperialist publicity campaign that
would reach its height in April–May 1902 would be met by a determined administration
counteroffensive, as Lodge, army officers, and ultimately President Roosevelt would answer
charges of military misconduct.

In both the press and the Senate hearings, the army’s defenders repeatedly held that
atrocities were rare; that where they occurred they were swiftly and thoroughly punished; and
that testimony to the contrary was exaggerated, partisan, cowardly, and traitorous. But racial
arguments, of at least four varieties, were crucial to defending the war’s means, just as they
had been to the justification of the war’s ends. The first variant claimed that the Filipinos’
guerrilla war, as “savage” war, was entirely outside the moral and legal standards and

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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strictures of “civilized” war. Those who adopted guerrilla war, it was argued, surrendered all
claims to bounded violence and mercy from their opponent. Capt. John H. Parker employed
this line of argument in a November 1900 letter to Theodore Roosevelt complaining that the
U.S. Army should not “attempt to meet a half civilized foe . . . with the same methods devised
for civilized warfare against people of our own race, country and blood.”227 The point was
made plainly during the Senate hearings, when General Hughes described to Senator Rawlins
the burning of entire towns by advancing U.S. troops as a means of “punishment,” and Senator
Joseph Rawlins inquired, “But is that within the ordinary rules of civilized warfare?” General
Hughes replied succinctly, “These people are not civilized.”228

In their effort to depict Filipino combat as savage, the war’s defenders made much of what
they considered evidence of a Filipino “race war” against whites. Racial exterminism by
whites, it seemed, was merely the inevitable, progressive working out of history; race war
took place only when nonwhites resisted white domination, in violation of the natural order.229

Evidence of a Filipino race war was found in what was represented as an early 1899 military
order by Gen. Teodoro Sandiko, a document reputedly captured by U.S. soldiers.230 In it,
Sandiko allegedly commanded Filipinos inside the U.S.-occupied city of Manila to revolt in
preparation for an invasion of the city from the outside by the army of the republic: not only
U.S. soldiers but all “whites” inside the city were to be killed. While evidence of U.S. racial
exterminist atrocities was cut off by censorship, the “Sandiko order” was widely promoted in
the American press as early as April 1899 as a sign of Filipino savagery. “The war has
developed into a race war,” wrote John F. Bass of the order in Harper’s Weekly. “After this let
no one raise his voice to favor Aguinaldo’s government or army.” There was “no choice of
methods” ahead, only the need for a “strong military government, untempered by mercy.” Use
of the “Sandiko order” as a justification for the ongoing war intensified with the presidential
race of 1900, finding its way into vice presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt’s speeches
and even into the Republican platform.231 The Filipinos’ race war, it appeared, contrasted
sharply with the war of civilization waged by the United States.

If the first argument defined U.S. actions as outside the moral and legal frameworks of
civilized war, a second one distanced American atrocities from U.S. initiative: Civilized men
might reluctantly adopt savage methods to defeat savages, but they could do so without
surrendering their civilization; guerrilla war was tactical for whites, ethnological for non-
whites. This argument required emphasis on racial solidarity between domestic U.S. audiences
and American soldiers. Maj. Gen. S. B. M. Young accused those who had claimed “that our
soldiers are barbarous savages . . . and not fit to be considered as civilized,” as “abusing their
own flesh and blood” for political advantage.232 He found the anti-imperialists more traitorous
even than the Civil War’s Copperheads had been; the latter, at least, had been defending
“kindred,” where the current war had been “against a cruel and vindictive lot of savages, who

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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were in no way related to us.”233 Henry Cabot Lodge expressed a similar sentiment in an
address before the Senate. “One would suppose from what has been said here in debate,” he
stated, “that it was an army of aliens and mercenaries; that we had out there in the Philippine
Islands some strange foreign force which we had let loose upon that helpless people.” But this
was not the case: Americans at home should respect a blood compact with their imperial
soldiers abroad. “Why, Mr. President,” Lodge declared, “those soldiers are our own. They are
our flesh and blood, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh.”234

If U.S. atrocities were not a matter of race, they must be a matter of emulation: Americans
appropriated what little savagery they had undertaken from their immediate surroundings.
“What is it which has led them to commit these atrocities which we all so much regret and over
which we sorrow?” Lodge spoke climactically. “I think I know why these things have
happened. I think they have grown out of the conditions of warfare, of the war that was waged
by the Filipinos themselves, a semicivilized people, with all the tendencies and characteristics
of Asiatics, with the Asiatic indifference to life, with the Asiatic treachery and the Asiatic
cruelty, all tinctured and increased by three hundred years of subjection to Spain.”235 In most
cases, the role of “Asiatic treachery” and “cruelty” was played by Filipino insurgents, but in
some cases, it was admitted that Americans had learned their lessons in savagery from the
Macabebes with whom the U.S. Army was collaborating closely. Where forced to concede that
Americans soldiers had participated in torture, apologists claimed they were merely
mimicking or assisting Macabebes. Torture by whites, then, was not morally or racially
essential but temporary, contingent, and contextual.

The “Asiatic” roots of U.S. atrocities were given powerful emphasis in Senate Document
205, Charges of Cruelty, etc., to the Natives of the Philippines. Submitted in February 1902
by Secretary of War Elihu Root to satisfy senatorial demands for investigation and prosecution
of “cruelty and oppression exercised by our soldiers toward natives,” the document’s first part
contained 57 pages of investigation against U.S. soldiers, for cases that Root assured his
audience had been “either unfounded or greatly exaggerated.”236 Its second part, a massive 370
pages, contained two years’ trial records for military tribunals convened to try cases against
Filipinos “for cruelty against Filipinos.”237 These were not, importantly, Macabebes abusing
peasant supporters of the revolution but “insurgents” torturing and assassinating “amigos” of
the United States. Taken together, the reports left little doubt as to the race of “cruelty.”

A third argument attributed U.S. atrocities entirely to Macabebe collaborators organized
into Scout units. While the emulation argument suggested that Americans were merely subject
to the tutelage of savages, this third argument was that atrocities had been committed almost
entirely by cooperating Filipino troops over whom American officers had little or no control.
Call it a policy of outsourcing savagery: where the Macabebes had been hailed as “Filipinos
in Uncle Sam’s Uniforms” during their recruitment, they were represented during atrocity

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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investigations as a kind of mad unconscious that could neither be dispensed with nor fully
harnessed.238 In response to reports that Macabebe units had looted the town of Magallanes and
raped women there, for example, General Lloyd Wheaton noted that they were “in these
outrages, conducting themselves in their usual and customary manner.”239 Brig. Gen. Frederick
Funston strongly denied his own troops had committed the “water cure,” but it was “common
knowledge” that Macabebes had done so “when not under the direct control of some officer,”
and it was “utterly impossible to prevent a few offenses of this kind.” Responsibility went only
as far as race. Funston had “never heard of its having been administered to a native by a white
man.”240

A fourth argument, that of “degeneration,” made U.S. atrocities the byproduct of
civilizational meltdown. Inextricably a medical, racial, gendered, moral, and sexual discourse,
“degeneration” had attained its greatest explanatory power at this moment on a vast, Euro-
American and interimperial scale.241 Discourses of “degeneration” had been common
throughout the war, emerging from anxious discussions of tropical heat, disease, and
exhaustion, as well as contact between “races.”242 It was unsurprising, then, that it came to play
a key role in rationalizing U.S. atrocities: rather than “emulating” their human and physical
environments, American soldiers had collapsed into them. The most vivid use of
“degeneration” along these lines was made by Dr. Henry C. Rowland, who had served in the
Philippines as acting assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army in two separate terms of service.
Rowland’s account of “Fighting Life in the Philippines,” published in McClure’s Magazine in
1902, sought to explain the “obedient fulfillment of cruel and savage orders by exactly such
men as we see about us every day.” He invented three hypothetical U.S. soldiers named Tom,
Dick, and Harry and set them on a path reminiscent of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,
published three years earlier. Once in the islands, the three witness the progressive
degeneration of their company. One sergeant “suddenly seized with acute dementia” opens fire
on his comrades; a corporal beats a Filipino “without the slightest discoverable cause”;
another is caught “deliberately attempting the murder of a native.”243

For Rowland, the cause of these disorders was a fatal tension between the soldiers’ racial
essence and their immediate environment, a tension whose danger was (perhaps like a
guerrilla combatant) that it was “unsuspected” and would “smolder along until it finally bursts
into a flame of suicidal, or homicidal, mania.” To a disturbing extent, this essence was subject
to deep alteration and deterioration when transplanted into new, unfamiliar settings. “[U]nder
certain unaccustomed conditions,” he wrote, “it is possible for men to behave in a manner
entirely foreign to all prehabitual impulse as the result of unusual influences upon which they
have no gauge.”244

Over the course of Rowland’s tale, Tom, Dick, and Harry are remade in the image of their
surroundings as the harsh physical conditions of the tropics mesh poisonously with the realities

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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of guerrilla warfare. Cut off from home, with letters arriving less and less frequently, the
soldiers’ civilized restraint, mercy, and gentility erode. Having found their trusting comrades
“hacked and dismembered,” they no longer look upon “friendly natives” with “kindly
toleration” or “play with the brown babies.” They devalue Filipino life, giving it “equal value
to that of a sheep-killing collie”; a trench of dead Filipinos “awakens no more feeling than the
wreck of a cattle train.” Eventually, they decide that “the only chance of pacification lies in
wholesale cataclysm; an inundation of human blood that will purge the islands of treachery.”
By the time the three find two company members—“parts of them”—in the jungle, they have
already concluded that Filipinos are “vermin only to be ridded by extermination.” The story
concludes with the killing of Dick and Harry and with Tom’s summary execution of captured
“niggers.”245

The unit’s moral “degeneration” is, Rowland explains, a mirror of its surroundings. Cut off
from civilized associations, they are imprinted with—indeed penetrated by—their savage
surroundings. Here, perhaps, was an eerie reversal of the water cure, in which Americans
were being forced to consume the Philippines against their will. “They have seen savage
sights,” wrote Rowland, “they have eaten the food of savages; they have thought savage
thoughts; the cries of savages are ringing in their brains.” In such circumstances, “we hark back
along the trail until we reach a point that coincides with our environment—a point where the
treatment of a primitive condition will not be warped by misapplied modernism.” While
carried out by Americans, then, the killing of prisoners was not American—nor civilized—at
all but, in fact, Filipino. “Their lust of slaughter,” Rowland wrote suggestively of his American
protagonists, “is reflected from the faces of those around them.”246

But the narrative of exculpatory degeneration did not go unchallenged. It was parodied, for
example, in Poultney Bigelow’s sharp, ironic, mid-1902 essay, “How to Convert a White Man
into a Savage.” The piece was a brief paraphrase of an after-dinner conversation Bigelow
claimed to have had in the West Point mess hall with a “blue-eyed, fair-haired youngster”
recently returned from the Philippines. Bigelow had inquired whether American soldiers were
torturing Filipinos, and the man casually described forcing prisoners to walk ahead of U.S.
troops to trigger jungle booby traps. “Yes, it’s brutal,” he concedes. “[I]t’s revolting to a white
man; yet we’re ordered to do it; if we don’t we are guilty of military insubordination; if we do
we are branded as cruel!” But such tactics were also the only viable path to victory;
specifically, he maintained, the U.S. military must

make war upon the whole population and to conduct it with so much determination that
the whole Philippine population will recognize the fact that they are dealing with a
force that must be obeyed.

War then resolves itself into a wholesale devastation. Every house that can harbor a
native must be burned, every store of food must be carried away or destroyed; every

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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animal that can assist the enemy must be shot (notably the water buffalo), and, harder
still, every man, woman and child must be regarded as an enemy.

Bigelow’s point was clear: it was not Filipino collaborators or a Philippine environment that
“converted” white men into savages but U.S. military tactics in a brutal, unjust war. Bigelow
closed his essay by urging a revision of school histories so they might teach not merely “the
gaudy and glorious side of warfare” but “the dark and monotonous murder which is sometimes
an ally in imperial progress.”247

Fictions of Victory
The war’s second end was declared in a public ceremony in front of the Ayuntamiento in
Manila on July 4, 1901, with the formal transfer of all executive governmental functions from
the military to the civil government under the Philippine Commission and William Howard
Taft, who was inaugurated as the United States’ first “civil governor” in the islands. The shift
of authority had begun the previous September 1, when the military had handed over legislative
and some executive powers to the commission. The capture of Aguinaldo the previous March
had been a serious blow to the revolution and led to the surrender of a number of key
revolutionary generals. The July 4 transfer marked one of what Taft called the “successive
stages in a clearly formulated plan” for making the islands “ripe for permanent civil
government on a more or less popular basis.”248 According to the Manila Times, the city had
“never been decorated so much, and the profusion of flags, bunting, palms, lanterns and
pictures in the house decorations was a marked difference from past Fourths.”249 An editorial
in the Manila Times cheered that “all races” could celebrate the event, which marked a
“dividing line” between “the past of war and the future of peace.” The choice of Independence
Day had been felicitous, as the United States’ own anti-imperial revolution had “made it
possible to extend the liberties of her stable republicanism to these Eastern peoples in their
day.” Filipinos would one day recognize that “America’s Fourth is their Fourth,” once they
came to “regard their conquest in a gratiful [sic] spirit, as an act necessary for their own
good.”250

The ceremony itself revealed the relative absence of this spirit and the blurriness of the
dividing line between war and peace. With seating for only six hundred, the day’s celebration
was guarded by four hundred U.S. and Filipino policemen “distributed around the square to
keep order and regulate the crowd,” which even the Manila Times felt had “appeared too great
a show of force.” Taft noted that the transfer of legislative power the previous September had
only pertained to “pacified provinces” and warned against exaggeration of the commission’s
success in organizing provincial and municipal governments. The current, celebrated handover
of authority to civilians was itself “provisional.” “Armed insurrection” continued in “four or
possibly five” of twenty-seven “organized” provinces and in portions of others, where the

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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military governor would continue to have executive power; “unorganized” provinces were
“not ready for civil government” at all.251

The war continued unbidden by the Americans. Ultimately, the strategy that would crush the
remaining resistance involved implementing MacArthur’s December 1900 instructions most
harshly by waging war against the entire rural population in hostile areas, a strategy
represented best by the policy of reconcentration undertaken from 1901 to 1902 in numerous
locations. The policy aimed at the isolation and starvation of guerrillas through the deliberate
annihilation of the rural economy: peasants in resistant areas were ordered to relocate to
garrisoned towns by a given date, leaving behind all but the most basic provisions. Outside of
the policed, fenced-in perimeters of these “reconcentration camps,” troops would then
undertake a scorched-earth policy, burning residences and rice stores, destroying or capturing
livestock, and killing every person they encountered.252 Americans had first become aware of
this tactic during the final Cuban war of independence, when its use by the Spanish general
Weyler had inflamed righteous American outrage and tilted the United States toward
intervention against Spain. “This cruel policy of concentration,” President McKinley himself
had observed in his first message to Congress, while rationalized “as a necessary measure of
war and as a means of cutting off supplies from the insurgents,” was immoral, requiring the
U.S. government to issue a “firm and earnest protest.” “It was not civilized warfare,” he stated.
“It was extermination.”253

By late 1900, however, Americans were getting reacquainted with the concentration camp,
not for the last time. While at least some Filipinos had turned to the Boers for inspiration,
Americans were accommodated to the new concept by articulate British spokesmen hailing the
policy’s necessity and effectiveness in South Africa. Speaking in New York in December
1900, for example, one year before General Bell’s first reconcentration orders in Batangas, the
twenty-six-year-old parliamentarian, writer, and lecturer Winston Churchill, speaking on the
ongoing war against the Boers in South Africa, defended the British “policy of removing
country people into the towns.” In a comparison many might have found less than flattering only
a few years earlier, he noted that “the present situation in South Africa seemed to him to
resemble that in Cuba” prior to 1898. In the South African case, the policy had been brought on
by the Boers themselves, who, fighting without uniforms, had made it “hard for the British to
distinguish between combatants and non-combatants,” and thus radical, geographic separation
was required. While “less comfortable” than they would have been otherwise, Churchill
assured his audience that reconcentrated populations had “not been subjected to unnecessary
hardship.”254 The American press followed the lead of Churchill and other British imperialists
along these lines. In October 1901, the middle-class reform journal Public Opinion reprinted a
piece from the London press presenting the camps—“which have lately aroused so much
controversy”—as orderly, hygienic, and as “cozy and comfortable as circumstances will

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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permit.”255

Two months later, the U.S. military was constructing camps of its own, accepting at least
part of the “dear-bought wisdom” of its imperial peers. It became the preferred strategy of
Gen. James Franklin Bell, who had debated with Mabini the previous year on definitions of
“civilized” war. Bell had been sent to Batangas in November 1901 to put down stubborn
guerrilla resistance under General Malvar, having successfully “pacified” Ilocos earlier that
year by concentrating civilians in selected towns. His rationale at the time had been that the
only way to split guerrillas off from their civilian infrastructure was to make war directly upon
the latter. Once the people “realize what war is”—through starvation, burning, and terror—
they would end their support and bring the war to a close. Writing from Batangas at the outset
of his reconcentration program there, Bell dismissed the “[n]atural and commendable sympathy
for suffering and loss” but, quoting General Orders No. 100, maintained that a “short and
severe war” was preferable to a “benevolent war indefinitely prolonged.”256 Facing an
insurrection, it was “impossible to wage war efficiently and at the same time do abstract
justice in operations unquestionably essential.”257 Distinctions between combatants and
noncombatants were inconvenient. “It is an inevitable consequence of war that the innocent
must generally suffer with the guilty,” he noted in an early order. “Military necessity frequently
precludes the possibility of making discriminations.”258

The last act of the administration’s mid-1902 political counteroffensive against anti-imperialist
critics was the third and (almost) final declaration of the end of the war. On July 4, 1902,
President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation declaring the Philippine-American War
officially over, as if cued by John Philip Sousa himself. It stated that the “insurrection against
the authority and sovereignty of the United States” was “now at an end,” and that peace had
been established throughout the archipelago, “except in the country inhabited by the Moro
tribes,” to which the proclamation “did not apply.” It accused Filipino combatants of “many
acts in violation of the laws of civilized warfare” but granted “pardon and amnesty” to
unpunished “insurrectionists” and their supporters. Anyone seeking this pardon would be
compelled to take an oath to “recognize and accept the supreme authority of the United States
of America in the Philippine Islands” and “maintain true faith and allegiance thereto,” doing so
“voluntarily, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”259

As had previous declarations, Roosevelt’s 1902 statement failed to persuade some
remaining insurrectionists. War’s end remained a beleaguered fiction that broke down in
unflattering reversals: by 1905, parts of the provinces of Batangas, Cebu, Bohol, Samar,
Cavite, and Albay would be returned to military authority due to continued Filipino resistance.
The commission’s June 1903 Reconcentration Act extended the war in tactical terms by
authorizing use of the wartime measure by civilian authorities in areas “infested” with
“ladrones.” Liberal use would be made of this in subsequent years, in Albay and Bicol in 1903

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
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and Batangas and Cavite in 1905.260 The Philippine Commission would pass specific, separate
acts shifting authority from the military to civilians, officially “ending” the war in these regions
in silent, piecemeal fashion until 1913. Warfare was only beginning in the Moro regions of the
southern archipelago, and resistance to U.S. control would continue there for more than a
decade. A Washington Post editorialist attempted to turn into a virtue the regime’s repetitious
failure to end the war by fiat. The war had been “brought to an end on six different occasions”
since the first declaration of U.S. victory, it noted, but “[a] bad thing cannot be killed too
often,” it suggested.261

Ending a war that refused to end on its own meant making it invisible to American publics.
In November 1902, the Philippine Commission passed the Brigandage Act, which, even more
than Roosevelt’s address, ended the war by command, defining any remaining Filipino
resistance to American authority as “banditry” or “ladronism” rather than “insurrection.”
Parallel to the passage of this act was the inauguration of a Philippine Constabulary, an insular
police force under commission control, which would in many ways function as a colonial army
in police uniform, waging war in areas otherwise designated as “pacified.” If, as the New York
Times noted in 1899, the ratification of the Treaty of Paris had efficiently turned imperial war
into insurrection, the Brigandage Act conveniently turned insurrection into crime. Returning
U.S. soldiers, freed up by the transfer of military power to the Philippine Scouts and
Constabulary, were perhaps the most potent, if illusory, signs to American audiences of an
insurrection well ended.262

Two public addresses meant to end the war in the Philippines rhetorically stamped it with
official U.S. meanings. The first of these, directed at Amerian audiences, affirmed race war as
a historical necessity. Theodore Roosevelt’s 1902 Memorial Day speech at Arlington National
Cemetery was both one of the final interventions in the administration’s mid-1902 propaganda
campaign and, as the first such address in the cemetery’s history, a sign of the way that empire
would become a foundation for national institutions. According to the Boston Morning
Journal, an estimated 30,000 people attended, hearing a set of “harmonious” speeches in
which the war in the Philippines was “most prominent.” Roosevelt had “never delivered a
speech that more impressed his hearers.” Turning to the Philippines after Civil War
invocations, “[t]here was indignation in every word and every gesture.” U.S. soldiers in the
Philippines—“your younger brothers, your sons”—were bringing to completion “a small but
peculiarly trying and difficult war” on which turned “not only the honor of the flag but the
triumph of civilization over forces which stand for the black chaos of savagery and
barbarism.” Roosevelt formally acknowledged and regretted U.S. atrocities but claimed that “a
very cruel and very treacherous enemy” had committed, for every American atrocity, “a
hundred acts of far greater atrocity.” Furthermore, while such means had been the Filipinos’
“only method of carrying on the war,” they had been “wholly exceptional on our part.”263

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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Roosevelt condemned the army’s critics—those who “walk delicately and live in the soft
places of the earth”—for dishonoring the “strong men who with blood and sweat” had suffered
and laid down their lives “in remote tropic jungles to bring the light of civilization into the
world’s dark places.” These were men, unlike their armchair counterparts, engaged in the
heavy work of race and history. “The warfare that has extended the boundaries of civilization
at the expense of barbarism and savagery has been for centuries one of the most potent factors
in the progress of humanity,” Roosevelt said. While “from its very nature it has always and
everywhere been liable to dark abuses,” to avoid such wars would show Americans to be
“cravens and weaklings, unworthy of the sires from whose loins we sprang.” Victory over the
“Aguinaldan oligarchy” had been the only “effective means of putting a stop to cruelty in the
Philippines.” Now a regime of benevolence and uplift could begin.264

Much less survives of a second public statement, circulated in the Philippines at war’s end.
This statement erased and denied race war before Filipino audiences, and as such, can be read
as an early charter of the “postwar” regime. Upon his departure after three months in command
of forces in Linao, David J. Gilmer, a black captain in the 49th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, felt
compelled to confront the question of race directly in a widely circulated letter. The existence
of the letter suggests that the Filipino experience of race war, compounding earlier rumors and
suspicions, had left Filipinos highly suspicious of American intentions as an occupying power.
Gilmer felt uniquely qualified to allay these fears, as the self-conscious ambassador of an
empire without race. With “the visible Negro blood that flows in the veins of my body,”
Gilmer claimed to be the last who would “sanction the cause of your oppressors.” Praising
204 Filipinos who had recently taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, he called his
country a “true democracy,” with “the majority” of its legislators “opposed to the oppression
of human and religious rights.” There was, it was true, a “rabble” in the United States that
“runs riot at times,” but “[y]ou need not have any fear of that class of Americans, for they
cannot reach you.” To Filipinos who may have suspected that this “rabble” had, in fact,
arrived, Gilmer urged his Filipino readers to be as nonracist as their American occupiers.
Against the notion that “all white men are unfair to the Negro races,” he urged the people of
Linao to teach their children “to judge men according to the deeds of the individual and not by
the color of his skin.”265

Over 4,000 u.s. troops and an estimated 50,000 Filipino troops were dead. Approximately 75
percent of U.S. deaths had been from noncombat causes; the wound rate among U.S. troops was
2.3 percent, the mortality rate 3.3 percent.266 But U.S. sovereignty was purchased mostly in the
lives of Filipinos, especially through losses to epidemics. While Americans had feared
tropical “degeneration,” American troops had brought with them numerous diseases uncommon
in the islands; “hikes” and interisland naval transport spread these as well as illnesses
contracted in the islands between formerly isolated Filipino populations.267 The destruction of

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
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villages led to their abandonment by Filipinos and dislocation into harsh, remote mountain
environments; the burning of rice stores and the killing of livestock produced malnutrition on a
vast scale that, in turn, provided almost ideal conditions of vulnerability to disease. The policy
of “attraction” and close interactions between American troops and Filipinos in garrisoned
towns, used as evidence of benevolence, also provided efficient vectors of disease transfer.
Even more perfect, however, was “reconcentration,” which brought together malnutrition,
overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and social dislocation in a formula for mass disease and
mortality. The specific loss of human life, while staggering in scale, is still unknown: Glenn
May finds a disturbing “150,000 missing Filipinos” in the Batangas region alone.268 According
to Ken De Bevoise, “reconcentrated” Batangas may have had the highest mortality rate not only
in the Philippines but in the world at that moment.269 The estimate of 250,000 Filipino war
deaths appears conservative.

The war had brought the Philippine Revolution to a cataclysmic, temporary end. Along with
the Spanish-Cuban-American War, it had ushered the United States into the ranks of the world’s
colonial powers. On the Filipino side, it had been a war for national liberation and kalayaan,
a continuation of the anticolonial 1896–98 struggle against the Spanish Empire. By seeking to
project an image of civilization, the Filipino struggle had also continued, in military form, the
campaign for recognition undertaken by the Propaganda writers of the late nineteenth century.
On the American side, it had become a race war. Over its course, many Americans came to
understand their enemy, the nature of the fighting, and their political, historical, and moral
rationales for fighting it in racial terms, a war against the “half-devil” that Rudyard Kipling
had warned would perpetually test imperial greatness. Race war in the Philippines had turned
not on racial projections but on a novel, colonial-racial formation suited specifically to the
tasks of colonial conquest, guerrilla warfare, and ultimately for many soldiers, exterminism.
But the day belonged to those who regarded Filipinos as Kipling’s “half-child.” The war’s
end, or near end, left Americans with a problem still more complex than bringing a race war to
virtual conclusion: that of waging racial peace.

Kramer, Paul A.. Blood of Government : Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ucsc/detail.action?docID=413334.
Created from ucsc on 2019-05-24 22:52:58.
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