In January 1900, five years before Felipe Calderon began writing his Memorias de la revolucion filipina,AmericanSenator Alfred J. Beveridge addressed the US Congress and raved about the Philippines: “No land in America surpasses in fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and coconuts, hemp and tobacco, and many products grow in various sections of the archipelago.” Beveridge marveled at our virgin forests,”…the Philippines have enough wood to supply the furniture of the world for a century to come.”
The Senator continued to gush, “I have a nugget of pure gold picked up on the banks of a Philippine creek.” Then he warned his colleagues that Europe would soon manufacture all its needs, so the USA has to find new markets for its surplus goods. Ergo, “The Philippines gives us a base at the door of all the East.”
A warrior of “Manifest Destiny”, Senator Beveridge was quick to perceive the Philippines’ strategic value: “The archipelago is a base for military and naval operations…a fortress thrown up in the Pacific, defending our Western coast.” He egged the US government to go to war against the First Philippine Republic. Could Dr. Leandro Fernandez have included that inconvenient truth in a textbook published by Ginn & Company? Certainly not; even the “mature students” he mentioned would have given Pres. W. McKinley’s “Benevolent Assimilation” a second hard look,
Without an iota of shame, that American president prevaricated: “We are not waging war against the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands.” He put the blame on Filipino revolutionaries whom he accused of “making war against the United States…” In 1900, McKinley prematurely declared that, “the greater part of the inhabitants recognize American sovereignty and welcome it as a guaranty of order and security for life, property, liberty, freedom of conscience and the pursuit of happiness…We will not leave the destiny of the loyal millions of the islands to the disloyal thousands who are in rebellion against the United States.”
So, our anti-imperialist war in defense of the First Philippine Republic, which Mark Twain earnestly supported, was dismissed as a mere “insurrection” against the USA and obliterated from official accounts of the “development of the Philippine Island and the Filipino people”, a euphemistic phrase in the preface of Fernandez’s textbook . No wonder we Filipinos are so afraid of our own history.