The Sham Battle Of Manila


Once-picturesque provinces were converted into a wasteland of disease and starvation, of homeless women, children, and old men whose fields and villages had been devastated. Resistance continued unabated until November, 1900, when McKinley was re-elected over Bryan; it was the end of hope, and the native government began to fall apart. Judge William H. Taft arrived to assume civil control of the Islands and to do right, in his words, by “our little brown brother.” And in 1901 Brigadier General Frederick Funston captured Aguinaldo by a ruse which deserves a place in one of Hollywood’s more improbable scenarios ( see “Funston Captures Aguinaldo,” AMERICAN HERITAGE , February, 1958). On July 4, 1902, the insurrection was declared officially over by President Roosevelt, who had taken office upon the assassination of Mr. McKinley.

What followed was a curiosity in the annals of colonialism, for by and large we proceeded to treat our new wards with astonishing decency. The United States contributed much to the well-being of the Filipino people—almost complete self-rule, education, sanitation, roads, law and order, medical care, relative prosperity—even baseball, jazz, and Ford automobiles. How many of these sudden, alien forms of progress the natives truly welcomed is a question that may be argued interminably; but in any event much good came of this, the most enlightened colonial occupation in world history.

Today one of the original insurrectos is still alive in Kawit, Cavite province, the town where he was born ninety years ago. His name is Emilio Aguinaldo.