What resources did the United States gain while they had control over the Philippines?

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nyoung11 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The United States became involved in the Philippines in connection with the Spanish American War in 1898 until the Philippines were granted independence in 1946. The economic interests in the Philippines were two-fold; the country would be a market for American goods and the US would import raw materials. The Americans were mostly interested in sugar, rubber, coconut, abaca and pineapple.

American corporations acquired large tracts of land and benefited from cheap agricultural labor. Philippine exports to the United States increased from 18% in 1899 to 83% in 1933 (Hartendorp, 1958). Additionally, American companies neglected resources that were already plentiful back at home, including tobacco. Even though tobacco was grown in the Philippines, they began to import the crop from the United States during this same period. Workers were transferred from tobacco and rice plantations and instead labored on sugar, rubber and coconut plantations for very low wages.

In addition to agriculture, the United States increased mining operations of gold, chromate and copper to feed growing American industries.  In addition to extracting raw materials, the US imported labor from the Philippines. Many Filipino men began working on plantations in California and Hawaii.