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America's History in the Making

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Emilio Aguinaldo's Letter to the American People

June 1900.

God Almighty knows how unjust is the war which the Imperial arms have provoked and are maintaining against our unfortunate country! If the honest American patriots could understand the sad truth of this declaration, we are sure they would, without the least delay, stop this unspeakable horror.

When we protested against this iniquitous ingratitude, then the guns of the United States were turned upon us; we were denounced as traitors and rebels; you destroyed the homes to which you had been welcomed as honored guests, killing thousands of those who had been your allies, mutilating our old men, our women and our children, and watering with blood and strewing with ruins the beautiful soil of our Fatherland.

… the Spanish government, whose despotic cruelty American Imperialism now imitates, and in some respects surpasses, denied to us many of the liberties which you were already enjoying when, under pretext of oppression, you revolted against British domination.

Why do the Imperialists wish to subjugate us? What do they intend to do with us? Do they expect us to surrender -- to yield our inalienable rights, our homes, our properties, our lives, our future destinies, to the absolute control of the United States? What would you do with our nine millions of people? Would you permit us to take part in your elections? Would you concede to us the privilege of sending Senators and Representatives to your Congress? Would you allow us to erect one or more federal states? Or, would you tax us without representation? Would you change your tariff laws so as to admit our products free of duty and in competition with the products of our own soil?

Emilio Aguinaldo, Central Filipino Committee, LETTER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, (1899).

Creator Emilio Aguinaldo and the Central Filipino Committee
Context Philippine-American War
Audience The American people and readers of pamphlets published by the Cincinnati Anti-Imperialist League and the New England Anti-Imperialist League
Purpose To show the outrage by Filipinos against American occupation

Historical Significance

In 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino general and politician, declared Philippine independence and proclaimed the Philippines as the First Philippine Republic. The United States did not recognize Aguinaldo's government, and Aguinaldo declared war on the United States. Anti-imperialists opposed United States occupation of the Philippines and attempted to muster support to stop the war by publishing pamphlets such as this one. By 1901, the United States had captured Aguinaldo, but sporadic resistance by Filipino rebels continued for another decade. By the end of the war, more than 4,000 American and 16,000 Filipino soldiers had lost their lives.


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