Arguments of the Annexation of the Philippines

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Arguments of the Annexation of the Philippines
Neil Irvin Painter and Kristin Hoganson are historians who both produced the general arguments
for the annexation of the Philippines. According to Painter’s argument, there was need for the
American economy to expand beyond the American borders and into Asia. Painter argued that
America was falling into a depression because it was achieving significantly high levels of
production in both the agricultural and industrial sectors. There was a need for a market to reach
China and the Philippines provided a strategic advantageous point for ships to refuel.
On the other hand, Hoganson mainly focused on the ability of the Philippines to govern
themselves. In her argument, Hoganson explained that the Americans viewed the Filipino people
as nothing but savages, children or feminine figures. These qualities made the people incapable
of self-governance. Furthermore, the imperialists believed that the Americans were only using
the Philippines to develop their ability to govern a much inferior people.
Painter and Hoganson’s views typically surmarise the general perspectives of different
contributors. In an annual message to the congress, President William McKinley highlighted the
main reason for annexing the Philippines should be to develop the island. The President
elaborated that they were, in fact, helping the Filipinos by governing and developing the
institutions by introducing similar reforms. To him, a lack of American rule would only leave the
island in discord and barbarism.
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Henry Cabot Lodge, attributed the annexation of the Philippines purely on the benefits that such
a measure would bring to the USA. Lodge saw the opportunity to exploit Philippines’ rich and
fertile land for their own economic interests. Lodge only wished for America to maximize its
shares in trade within Asia.
According to Albert, America would rather abandon its claim on the Philippines than enable the
Filipinos to govern themselves. Beveridge used the more crude argument that those of oriental
blood were not capable of forming their own functioning institutions which would be effective
for the Filipinos. He further argued that the previous Spanish rule also did not provide the best
example for leadership which the Filipinos could adapt. Hoganson
Finally, Theodore Roosevelt proposed that that the best alternative was that America could
benefit from annexing the Philippines while still helping the country develop. President
Roosevelt included that they could introduce American products and industries in the
Philippines, which would benefit both the Americans and the Philippines.
Hoganson mainly drew her argument from commentators like Beveridge and McKinley. These
contributors mainly believed that the Filipino people were an inferior race who were incapable of
ruling themselves, which was mainly attributed to their race, previous leadership under the
Spanish, and a general lack functional governing institutions within the country. On the other
hand, Irvin based his argument on the ideals of those such as Lodge and Roosevelt who believed
that the Philippines was a potential market source for raw materials and products, which the
Americans could exploit.
In a way, Beveridge’s argument challenges that of President Roosevelt. President Roosevelt
argued that a mutually beneficial relationship between the Filipino and America would be the
best approach. On the contrary, Beveridge saw any attempt to help the Filipino people gain their
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own independence as futile efforts which would not succeed due to the oriental background of
the Filipino people.
Perhaps Irvin’s argument provides the most compelling reason as to why the Americans annexed
the Philippines. Although the Americans, used their sense of superiority to assert their reasons,
their end goal was one: to maximize the economic benefits that the rich Philippines has before
other colonizers.

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