An Argument for and Against The Philippines Getting Separated from Spain in 1898

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In 1898, the United States defeated Spain and ceded Guam, Puerto Rico, and, most importantly, the Philippines. While there was much debate going on about if the Philippines should be annexed or not, many political groups began forming to express their opinions on the matter. Eventually it became known to the Filipino people that the United States was intent on colonizing and controlling them. The Filipino people had been oppressed by Spain since 1896 and did not want to be taken over again, and the United States was intent on becoming an imperialist nation. This clash in desires between two nations led to the Philippine-American War for Philippine’s independence in 1899.

There were many implications of the Philippine-American War, most notable being the social implications. The United States as a whole was divided over the annexation of the Philippines, and when it was reveal that the United States planned to take over the Philippines and war broke out, the people were divided. Many of the people were very opposed to the United States control over the Philippines due to the feeling of betrayal that came with oppressing a country’s freedom, and those who felt this way became the Anti-Imperialist League. A global implication of the Philippine-American War was the United States acquiring the Philippines are an oversees colony. This meant the Philippines could be used as a base for United States business and military interests. This could be seen as threatening to other powerful nations that compete with the United States.

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Primary and secondary sources are used for historical analysis. Primary sources are considered original sources, documents that are considered “fact”. Secondary sources are often interpretations or analysis of the primary, original document. For the topic being discussed, the Platform of the Anti-Imperialist League is the primary source and is the textbook the secondary source. Secondary sources are often most helpful for students at the introductory level due to the analysis and explanations they provide. For students not well versed in history analysis, interpreting a primary document may not come easy, so secondary documents are very useful.

The United States government made a choice to not grant independence to the Philippines after the Spanish-American War of 1898. This led to war in the Philippines for their own independence against the United States and a large divide in the nation’s support of the decision to not give independence to the Philippines. This 3 year long, brutal war had grave consequences (over four thousand American solider deaths, over twenty thousand Filipino solider deaths, and as many as two hundred thousand Filipino citizen deaths) only to lead to the United States government allowing the Philippines to self-govern themselves and eventually gain their independence many years later. The United States greed for control led to war that could have most likely been prevented if the Philippines were given their independence in the first place. The United States, whom was famous for having fought and declared their independence against a nation of greater power, was now the bully trying to prevent independence of a nation. The Anti-Imperialist League was founded because they believed we were not holding true to our founding beliefs. They saw the United States government being hypocritical and hoped to change the way the government was handling the Philippines.

The Philippine-American War is still very relevant today due to the reminder it gives us about what can happen when we betray ourselves and oppress those who seek freedom and independence. The clash of imperialism and nationalism that took place just proved that those who are determined to be free will not stand to be oppressed by anyone, even those stronger than themselves. The United States is one of the most powerful countries in the world, and though we are capable of conquering other countries, we should not. We should not conquer people and take their land because it goes against everything we were founded upon. We are the symbol of independence around the world, and we should encourage others to seek independence themselves.

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An Argument for and Against The Philippines Getting Separated from Spain in 1898. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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