The Colonization of the Philippines

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Generally, textbooks, articles, and essays talk about America’s “occupation,” “supervision” or “intervention” in the Philippines. They seem to be afraid to use the word “colonization.” According to Webster’s Dictionary the definition of colonization is, “The colonial system of political government or extension of territory, by which one nation exerts political control over another nation, territory, or people, maintaining the colony in a state of dependence, its inhabitants not having the same full rights as those of the colonial power. The controlling power is typically extended thus by military force or the threat of force” (6). In his book analyzing Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, Mark Caprio makes a distinction between two different “levels” of colonialism: external and internal. He states that external colonization is what Hannah Arendt calls “overseas imperialism…where their indirect policy exerted minimal effort to forge political, social, or cultural bonds with the peoples under their jurisdiction” (2). Although this is the way the French colonized, the United States seem to adopt the British way of colonizing, which is Caprio’s second level of colonization or internal colonization. This is what Benedict Anderson describes as “inventing nations” (Caprio 2). It requires that the colonial power send ambassadors to impress its culture upon the colony through controlling things such as dialect, media, education, and military (Caprio 2). Caprio also mentions, “The decision to colonize, as well as the administration to administer the colonized, was based primarily on the needs and interests of the colonizer’s subject; those of the colonized object received minimal consideration” (2). Therefore, a colony serves...

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...ates failed to see the Philippines as a free nation and did not provide equal rights to Filipinos, treating it as a colony.

Therefore, the United States colonized the Philippines. It took the Philippines, by military force, through a three-year war. It did this, not for altruistic reasons, but for self-interest in trade and nationalism. It “exerted political control” over the Philippines by ignoring the Philippine republic and its representative at the Treaty of Paris, sending its own people to govern the Philippines, and monitoring the creation of the Philippines’ future government. Finally, the United States failed to provide equal rights to Filipinos by ignoring the Filipino government and representative at the signing of the Treaty of Paris, holding racial prejudices in dealing with Filipinos, and excluding the Filipinos from the right to the Monroe Doctrine.
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