Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Philippine-American War

The Philippine-American War was an armed military conflict between the United States of America and the First Philippine Republic, fought between 1899 to at least 1902, which arose from a Filipino political struggle against U.S. occupation of the Philippines.

While the conflict was officially declared over on July 4, 1902, American troops continued hostilities against remnants of the Philippine Army and other resistance groups until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions part of the war.

The Philippine Declaration of Independence occurred on June 12, 1898, when Filipino revolutionary forces under Aguinaldo (later to become the Philippines' first Republican President) proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

The declaration, however, was not recognized by the United States or Spain, as the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, in consideration for an indemnity for Spanish expenses and assets lost.

Tensions between the Philippine and the American governments existed because of the conflicting movements for independence and colonization, aggravated by the feelings of betrayal on the part of Aguinaldo. The Malolos Congress declared war on the United States on June 2, 1899, with Pedro Paterno, President of Congress, issuing a Proclamation of War. The Philippine-American war ensued between 1899 and 1902.

One common view of how the conflict began was that on February 4, 1899, a misunderstanding occurred between the two nations. A Filipino soldier was shot by an American soldier, William W. Grayson, at now Silencio Street, Manila. Grayson's own account states:

In a moment, something rose up slowly in front of us. It was a Filipino. I yelled “Halt!” and made it pretty loud, for I was accustomed to challenging the officer of the guard in approved military style. I challenged him with another loud “halt!” Then he shouted “halto!” to me. Well, I thought the best thing to do was to shoot him.

It is believed[attribution needed] that American aggression led to the first shot that sparked the war. McKinley himself encouraged his commanders to shoot first, ask later.[citation needed] Another view posits he was probably drunk. Fighting soon erupted in Manila. It caused 2,000 casualties for Filipinos and 250 for the Americans. One Lt. Alfred C. Alford of the Kansas 20th may well be among the first Americans to perish in the conflict; he was killed in action in an advance on February 6.