A War of Frontier and Empire

A War of Frontier and Empire

The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902

Book - 2007
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It has been termed an insurgency, a revolution, a guerrilla war, and a conventional war. As David J. Silbey demonstrates in this taut, compelling history, the 1899 Philippine-American War was in fact all of these. Played out over three distinct conflicts - one fought between the Spanish and the allied United States and Filipino forces; one fought between the United States and the Philippine Army of Liberation; and one fought between occupying American troops and an insurgent alliance of often divided Filipinos - the war marked America's first steps as a global power and produced a wealth of lessons learned and forgotten. In A War of Frontier and Empire , Silbey traces the rise and fall of President Emilio Aguinaldo, as Aguinaldo tries to liberate the Philippines from colonial rule only to fail, devastatingly, before a relentless American army. He tracks President McKinley's decision to commit troops and fulfill a divinely inspired injunction to "uplift and civilize" despite the protests of many Americans. Most important, Silbey provides a clear lens to view the Philippines as, in the crucible of war, it transforms itself from a territory divided by race, ethnicity, and warring clans into a cohesive nation on the path to independence.
Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, 2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780809071876
Characteristics: xvi, 254 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 22 cm


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Sep 25, 2018

Professor and historian David Silbey illuminates an oft overlooked part of American history, our involvement in the Philippines during the late 1800s/early 1900s. We originally were involved because of the Spanish-American War, which also netted us Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam. As with many other wars, our intentions were good (We'll liberate these oppressed people!), but turned sour (Oh, we're the oppressors now). As Silbey carefully points, it was a complex war because we helped them oust the Spanish, but then occupied the country and dealt with an insurgency, which included an early form of waterboarding, as the Filipinos, understandably, wanted their independence. Many see this as our emergence as an imperial power and as setting the stage for the world power we would become in the 20th century. Silbey's important history is well-researched, thoughtful, and easy to read. He also wrote a good book on the Boxer Rebellion.


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