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The Filipino Rebellion and the Days of the Empire
Nature of the War-Filipinos Misjudged-Aguinaldo at Zenith of PowerThe Malolos Congress His Creature-Character of Leaders–Encouraged and Misled by Americans-Democrats Vote Supplies for War-Bitter Opposition by Anti-Imperialists Military Situation at Manila-State Volunteers Remain -New United States Volunteers-Campaign to the North-Capture of Malolos, Calumpit and San Fernando Minor Movements Near Manila-Lawton's Campaign Toward San Maguil de Mayuma-Fight at Zapote River Situation in the Vasayas and to the South-The Occupation of Jolo-Spanish Relations with Moros_The Bates Agreement-The Republic of NegrosSpecial Military Government-Arrival of Schurman Commission-Negotiations with Insurgents-Statement of American IntentionsEfforts at Conciliation–The Insurgents Confident of Foreign Intervention-Aguinaldo Inclined to Peace - Influence of Mabini and Agoncillo-The Congress Votes for Peace-Pacification in Sight-Reversal of Policy by Luna-The End of Filipino Government-Negotiations for Peace End in Failure-Military Despotism-Final Campaign in the North-Searching for the Enemy-Escape of Aguinaldo-Death of General Lawton-End of Organized Warfare-General MacArthur Succeeds General Otis-Character and Work of General Otis --New Phase of the Insurrection-Guerrilla Warfare --Attitude of Municipalities People of Luzon Support Guerrillas-Beginning of Educational Work
The attempt by the Filipinos to overthrow the American power in the Philippines is commonly referred to as an insurrection. It was, in fact a rebellion. Its legal status was correctly stated by Apolinario Mabini, the "brains of Aguinaldo's government”-in an article published in La Independencia after he had retired from Aguinaldo's cabinet. “Our present war with the Americans," he wrote, “is in fact and in law a revolution, and not an international war, because at no time did we ever succeed in expelling either the Spaniards or the Americans who took the place of the former. It can not be denied that the Treaty of Paris legitimates the grant to the United States of the right of Spain to the Philippines, . . . it is also unquestionable that were it not for the cession, Spain could, if she felt sufficiently strong again, lawfully make war upon us to recover her old empire, unless she be obliged to recognize our independence.”
After thus recognizing the title of the United States and the legality of her use of force to suppress the revolt Mabini adds: “We here use as the criterion of legality not absolute but relative justice, established by tacit concurrence of the Great Powers, baptized by the pompous name of International Law for their own glory and aggrandizement and to the prejudice and ruin of weak nations.” Rebelling thus against the lawful authority of their sovereign, they were like all other rebels, obliged to appeal to principles asserted to be over and beyond the law and to justify their actions by the successful use of force.
When the Schurman Commission was appointed the war with Spain was over, and it was expected that most of the army would soon be returned to the United States. The commission was instructed to study conditions and recommend a suitable government for the people. This work had now to be subordinated to purely military considerations.
The general situation was decidedly unpleasant. The efforts of the Americans in Manila to avoid an armed conflict had failed. The war was a sort of by-product of the war with Spain. And yet it came as a surprise to most Americans. That these people, insignificant in numbers and resources, would seriously attempt to oppose the military power of the United States did not seem within the range
1 The idea prevailed very generally that the uprising might have been prevented if the situation had been handled with greater firmness. Mr. Whitelaw Reid, in an address at Princeton University in the autumn of 1899, on Our Duty in the Philippines, said that the difficulties then existing in the islands were largely of our own making. “We have not the knowledge to say just who, or whether any man or body, is wholly at fault. What we do know is that the course of hesitation and inaction which the nation pursued in face of an openly maturing attack was precisely the policy sure to give us the greatest trouble, and that we are now paying the penalty. If the opposite course had been taken at the outset,-unless all the testimony from foreign observers, and from our own officers is at fault, there would have been either no outbreak at all, or only one easily controlled and settled to the gen
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