Why Did The Us Want The Philippines

How and why did the United States take control of the Philippines in 1898?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The United States wanted to become a world power by the end of the 1800s. We went to war with Spain to help accomplish this goal. The United States became concerned about how the Spanish were treating the people of Cuba. After a series of events, including the sinking of a U.S. warship (for which we blamed Spain), the United States went to war against Spain in 1898. The Spanish had colonies in several parts of the world. Not only did we fight the Spanish in Cuba, we attacked their possessions in the Pacific, including the Philippines. The United States was able to win the war fairly quickly.

As a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, the United States gained land from Spain. Cuba became independent, and we paid Spain $20 million for Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. While the people of the Philippines were hoping to be granted their independence, this did not happen. The people of the Philippines, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, resisted control by the United States and fought against the United States military for several years. This conflict was very costly for the people of the Philippines, with over 220,000 Filipinos being killed in battle or from other effects related to the conflict. The U.S. ruled the Philippines until 1946 when the Philippines became independent.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Philippines was under Spanish control till they ceded the country to USA in return for a sum of 20 million dollars in 1898 as a part of treaty signed on December 10, 1898 following Spanish American war . However people of Philippines had been struggling for independence from the Spanish rule and had declared their independence and their leader Emilio Aguinaldo had declared independence on June 12, 1898. At this time the Filipino people controlled all of the Philippine territory except Manila.

After the treaty with Spain on December 1898, USA did not initiate any immediate action to take over control of Philippines. However USA had been looking at ways of expanding. They were looking for new markets, bases for refuelling their ships and military bases to protect their trade. Leaders in USA believed that Philippines wanted to belong to USA and wanted to take over its control. In this process tension built up between USA army stationed as territories controlled territories and Filipino army. Finally a war broke out between them in February 1899. Following this USA declared take over of Philippines.

This proved to be a long and disastrous war. in which one sixth of the entire population including women and children perished. Finally the Filipino leader Emilio Aguinaldo surrendered in 1901, and president Theodore Roosevelt declared an end of the war in 1902.

USA continued to control Philippines till the country was Invaded by Japan in 1941.Japan granted independence to Philippines on October 14, 1943.The USA reestablished its control over Philippines in 1945, and granted it Independence on July 4, 1946.

epollock | Student

On April 20, 1898, a joint resolution of Congress recognized Cuban independence and authorized the president to use force to expel Spain from the island. The Teller Amendment disclaimed any intent to annex Cuban territory. The purpose of the war was to free Cuba, but the first battles were fought in the Far East, where, on April 30, Commodore Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. By August, Americans occupied the Philippines. American forces won a swift victory in Cuba as well. Spain agreed to evacuate Cuba and to cede Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States. The fate of the Philippines was determined at the peace conference held in Paris that October.

Almost overnight, the United States had obtained a substantial overseas empire. Some Americans expressed doubts over the acquisition of the Philippines, but expansionists wanted to annex the entire archipelago. Advocates of annexation portrayed the Philippines as markets in their own right and as the gateway to the markets of the Far East. Many Americans, including the president, were swayed by "the general principle of holding on to what we can get."

A diverse group of politicians, business and labor leaders, intellectuals, and reformers spoke out against annexing the Philippines. Some based their opposition on legal and ethical concerns; for others, racial and ethnic prejudice formed the basis of their objections. In the end, swayed by a sense of duty and by practical concerns, McKinley authorized the purchase of the Philippines for $20 million. After a hard-fought battle in the Senate, the expansionists won ratification of the treaty in February 1899.