What was the Propaganda Movement in Philippine History?
The Propaganda Movement in Philippine history was a movement, begun in the 1870s, that was aimed at the Spanish who were then the rulers of the Philippines. It was meant to encourage the Spanish to be more aware of the problems and needs of the Philippines and to propagate (which is where the name comes from) a better relationship between the colony and the "mother country."
The Propaganda Movement can be seen as a forerunner to Filipino demands for independence from Spain. One of its major leaders was Jose Rizal who, of course, became the Filipino most closely connected with the goal of Filipino equality and independence.
The Propaganda Movement took place in the Philippines from approximately 1870 through 1900. During this period in the history of the Philippines, the island was still a Spanish colony. It was a period of reform that was sparked by Filipino students who had traveled overseas to study. This travel was the result of the lack of public education in the colony until late into the 19th century which resulted in the wealthy sending their male children to Europe to further their education. Both overseas and returning Filipinos used poetry, magazines, pamphlets, and other forms of writing to advocate for reform. One of the primary platforms of the movement was to get Spain to recognize the Philippines as a province and recognize the rights of Filipinos. Jose Rizal, the leader of the Propaganda Movement, authored two politically charged novels, Noli me tangere (Touch Me Not) and El filibusterismo (The Reign of Greed). Although Rizal did not advocate that the Philippines seek independence from Spain, he was exiled and later executed by Spanish who controlled the colony.
The Propaganda movement was the vehicle used by Filipinos in their quest for independence from Spain. The movement started off with subtle recommendations and activities. It was started by members of the Filipino community who left the country for Europe to pursue their studies. The reason they sought education abroad was because higher education in the Philippines was limited and delivered in Spanish which was unpopular among the Filipinos.
Their sense of nationalism coupled with freedom in Europe saw the beginning of the Propaganda movement, to instigate change in their home country. They mostly used literature to agitate for change. They saw the need to create awareness of their issues and equip their people with knowledge. Jose Rizal a notable member of the Propaganda movement wrote two novels the "Noli Me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo" which exposed the oppression by the Spaniards. He was later arrested and this led to armed resistance against Spanish rule and eventual independence of the Philippines.