The US and the Philippines

Start Free Trial

Why did the Filipinos rebel against American intervention?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the 1890s, Filipino rebels fought for independence from Spain. The US, wanting to gain control of the Philippines from the Spanish, engaged in what might have been double-dealing with the Filipino insurgents fighting for freedom. If it was not double-dealing, then a great deal of misunderstanding arose between Filipino leader Aguinaldo and the US. Whatever handshake promises US officials may or may not have made, the US never officially recognized the Filipino declaration of independence or the Philippines as an independent state.

Aguinaldo, all the same, understood that the Americans, who said they would support the rebels in fighting Spanish rule, to have verbally promised to acknowledge and respect the Philippines as an independent state. The US, however, made a deal with the Spanish in which they marched into Manila after a staged battle with Spanish troops, then did not allow the Filipino rebel troops to accompany them on a victorious march to take Manila, and finally, accepted a Spanish surrender only to the US. In December 1898, the US announced the "benevolent" assimilation of the Philippines under US rule. 

Clearly, this not want the Filipinos wanted. From their point of view, they had simply traded one set of masters for another. They had fought to be an independent state, not a US colony. This state of affairs caused them to fight American rule on their soil. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Filipinos did not exactly rebel against American intervention.  They did not rebel when the United States fought against Spain during the Spanish-American War.  Instead, they rebelled when the US decided not to allow the Philippines to become independent but, instead, to keep it as a US colony.  They rebelled because they wanted to be independent.

Up until the Spanish-American War, the Philippines had been a colony of Spain.  Some Filipinos started a rebellion in 1896, hoping to throw off Spanish rule.   The rebellion fizzled, but then reignited when US forces came to the Philippines to fight Spain.  At that point, the Filipinos welcomed the US as allies in their struggle against Spain.  After the Spanish had been almost completely defeated, Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the rebellion, declared the Philippines to be an independent country.  However, the US did not recognize Filipino independence and fighting broke out between the Filipinos and the Americans.

The Filipinos who fought did so because they wanted to be independent.  They did not want to trade one colonial ruler (Spain) for another (the US).  This is the cause of the Filipino war with the US. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial