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The Philippine-American War (1899-1914) in Political Cartoons

The Philippine-American War (1899-1914) in Political Cartoons

A colloquium and book-launching with Professor Enrique de la Cruz, Department of Asian American Studies, California State University, Northridge

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

THE FORBIDDEN BOOK: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons
by Abe Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel, and Helen Toribio

T'boli Publishing and Distributor, P.O. Box 347147, San Francisco, CA 94134
Ph. 415-337-5550; tiboli@comcast.net

A Chicago Chronicle cartoon in January 1900 showed President McKinley preventing Uncle Sam from reading the "Forbidden Book" about the "true history of the war in the Philippines."  This book reproduces many of the cartoons that appeared in the American press about a war (1899-1914) with the Philippines that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and 5,000 Americans.

On February 4, 1899, the United States went to war based on a false claim that Filipinos began attacking American soldiers in Manila.  The first shots were actually fired by an American soldier as Filipinos crossed a bridge, and historians would later discover a "prearranged plan" by the U.S. military to precipitate a war as soon as an incident was provoked.  Misled by false reports, the Senate passed (by one vote) a treaty to annex the Philippines.  President McKinley would later justify the war by claiming that God had counseled him to take the Philippines in order to civilize and Christianize the Filipinos.  What was really behind the annexation was the need for overseas markets and raw materials for American industry.

Opposition to the war was led by the Anti-Imperialist League whose members included many prominent Americans including presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, suffragist Jane Addams, labor leader Samuel Gompers, African American activist Ida Wells Barnett, and writer Mark Twain.  The "anti-imperialists" were branded as traitors by "pro-expansionists" and Filipinos were depicted as savages in order to de-legitimize their resistance to American occupation.  American opposition to the war grew as more and more American soldiers died and as revelations of military atrocities, torture of prisoners, killing of Filipino children, and concentration camps surfaced in media reports, military trials, and a senate hearing.  President Theodore Roosevelt prematurely declared the war over on July 4, 1902 but the last major battle was fought in 1913 and hostilities did not ceased until 1914.  Some readers may find interesting parallels between the Philippine-American War and events of today.

The book features eighty-eight colored cartoons taken from the pages of popular magazines, along with 133 black-and-white political cartoons reprinted from newspapers including the San Francisco Evening Post, New York World, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, New Orleans Times-Democrat, Minnesota Journal, St. Louis Republic, Detroit News, Denver Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. as well as Life, Harper's and Collier's Weekly. Twenty-seven historical photographs are added to compare with the cartoons' stereotypical depictions.

The Introduction discusses America's economic transformation after the Civil War, the conditions facing the "other" America (immigrant labor, native Americans, Blacks, and Chinese), the Philippine Revolution for independence from Spain, Cuba and the Spanish American War, the decision to annex the Philippines, the start of the war, and the opposition to the war led by the Anti-Imperialist League. The Epilogue describes how the Philippine American War came to be forgotten and the aftermath of the U.S. conquest of the Philippines. The cartoons are divided into major themes and introduced by essays at the beginning of each chapter.

>From the back cover reviews:

"The brutal war waged by the United States against the Filipino people at the turn of the century has been shrouded in darkness for a long time, the truth concealed from generations of Americans. THE FORBIDDEN BOOK brings that shameful episode in our history out in the open, with a wonderful combination of crystal-clear text and extraordinary cartoons. The book deserves wide circulation."
- Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University, Author of A People's History of the United States

"In this extraordinary collection of political cartoons from the period of the Philippine-American War and subsequent colonization, frank visual satire and caricature vibrate with 'forgotten' histories from the turn of the 19th century: they link U.S. imperial conquests in the Pacific to those in the Caribbean, refract American perceptions of Filipinos through its devastating treatments of blacks and native peoples, explicitly admit U.S. ambitions to employ not only war, but education and culture, to surpass the reach and power of the European empires by the end of the 20th century. These 'forbidden' images are windows onto an earlier moment in the history of American empire, a history in which we still live and struggle today."
-Lisa Lowe, University of California, San Diego

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Asian American Studies

Parking in UCLA's Lot 3 costs $7.

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Asian American Studies Center