Classic History Books


The Path of Empire. A Chronicle of the United States as a World Power
by Carl Russell Fish

States is concerned."

There was subsequent fighting with other tribes and in other islands, particularly with the Moros of the
Sulu group, but by the time Aguinaldo had accepted American rule, the uncertainty of the American

people had been resolved, and the execution of the treaty with Spain had been actually accomplished. As

seventy thousand troops were no longer needed in the islands, the volunteers and many of the regulars

were sent home, and there began an era of peace such as the Philippines had never before known.

During the suppression of the insurrection the American Army had resorted to severe measures, though
they by no means went to the extremes that were reported in the press. It was realized, however, that the

establishment of a permanent peace must rest upon an appeal to the good will and self-interest of the

natives. The treatment of the conquered territories, therefore, was a matter of the highest concern not

only with reference to the public opinion at home but to the lasting success of the military operations

which had just been concluded.

There was as yet no law in the United States relating to the government of dependencies. The entire
control of the islands therefore rested, in the first instance, with the President and was vested by him,

subject to instructions, in the Military Governor. The army fortunately reflected fully the democratic

tendencies of the United States as a whole. In June, 1899, General Lawton encouraged and assisted the

natives in setting up in their villages governing bodies of their own selection. In August, he issued a

general order, based upon a law of the islands, providing for a general system of local government into

which there was introduced for the first time the element of really popular election. In 1900, a new code

of criminal procedure, largely the work of Enoch Herbert Crowder, at that time Military Secretary, was

promulgated, which surrounded the accused with practically all the safeguards to which the Anglo-Saxon

is accustomed except jury trial, for which the people were unprepared.

To advise with regard to a permanent system of government for the Philippines President McKinley
appointed in January, 1899, a commission consisting of Jacob G. Schurman, President of Cornell

University, Dean C. Worcester, who had long been engaged in scientific research in the Philippines,

Colonel Charles Denby, for many years previously minister to China, Admiral Dewey, and General E. S.

Otis. Largely upon their recommendation, the President appointed a second commission, headed by

Judge William Howard Taft to carry on the work of organizing civil government which had already

begun under military direction and gradually to take over the legislative power. The Military Governor

was to continue to exercise executive power. In 1901, Congress at length took action, vesting all military,

civil, and judicial powers in such persons as the President might appoint to govern the islands. McKinley

immediately appointed Judge Taft to the new governorship thus authorized. In 1901 in the "Insular

Cases" the Supreme Court also gave its sanction to what had been done. In legislation for the territories,

it held that Congress was not bound by all the restrictions of the Constitution, as, for instance, that

requiring jury trial; that Porto Rico and the Philippines were neither foreign countries nor completely

parts of the United States, though Congress was at liberty to incorporate them into the Union.

There was, however, no disposition to incorporate the Philippines into the United States, but there has
always been a widespread sentiment that the islands should ultimately be given their independence, and

this sentiment has largely governed the American attitude toward them. A native Legislature was

established in 1907 under Governor Taft,* and under the Wilson Administration the process toward

independence has been accelerated, and dates begin to be considered. The process of preparation for

independence has been threefold: the development of the physical well-being of the islands, the

 

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