Object: Sword

I-0163a
Sword
Filipino
Materials: Cloth/Metal

This sword is a dress sword for the Philippine Constabulary, but was found here in Texas. This sword, though it is from the Philippines, represents an interesting time in American history, the Spanish American war and the subsequent occupation of the Philippines by the United States. During this occupation, there were conflicts between American and Filipino forces.

In the aftermath of the Spanish American war, the United States would find itself in control of the Philippines, which had up to that point been a colony of Spain. The Filipinos however, had already been fighting for independence, and on January 23, 1899 the First Philippine Republic was created, with Aguinaldo as its leader. The Americans had different plans for the Philippines however. President McKinley would release the “Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation,” which called for the United States to take over. This would lead to war between the two young republics.

The initial conflict between the First Philippine Republic and the United States lasted until 1902. After 1902 however, guerilla warfare would continue until 1913. To govern the Philippines as the revolt continued, Congress passed the Spooner Amendment, which authorized the president to create a civil government there. The first civil governor appointed was the future president Howard Taft.

 

The troops of the First Regiment, the Philippine Constabulary, swear allegiance to the U.S. Flag and to the cause of the United Nations. Office of War Information Collection, Feb-Mar 1942. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

From this new civil government was created the Philippine Commission, which was formed to look over the creation of local governments and maintain law and order. To accomplish this task, the commission saw the need to create a police force made up from the local populace. The Philippine Constabulary was created with the passing of Act No. 175 on July 18, 1901. The job of the Constabulary was to establish law and order, whether it was fighting revolutionaries and guerillas, or patrolling already pacified areas. They would accomplish this task over the next 16 years.

United States involvement in the archipelago would become substantial as the fighting continued. At its peak, the United States Army had 70,000 men trying to pacify the area, not including local forces like the police or the constabulary. [Ryan Farrell, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources

Blount, James H. The American Occupation of the Philippines, 1898-1912., 1973.

Linn, Brian M. A. The U.s. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

Silbey, David. A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902. New York: Hill and Wang, 2008.

Stanley, Peter W. Reappraising an Empire: New Perspectives on Philippine-American History. Cambridge, Mass: Published by the Committee on American-East Asian Relations of the Dept. of History in collaboration with the Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1984.

Zaide, Gregorio F. The Philippine Revolution. Manila: Modern Book Co, 1968.

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