Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines

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Oxford University Press, Sep 17, 1992 - History - 400 pages
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From the day Commodore Dewey's battleships destroyed the Spanish fleet at Manila to the closing of the Subic Bay naval base in 1992, America and the Philippines have shared a long and tangled history. It has been a century of war and colonialism, earnest reforms and blatant corruption, diplomatic maneuvering and political intrigue, an era colored by dramatic events and striking personalities. In Bound to Empire, acclaimed historian H.W. Brands gives us a brilliant account of the American involvement in the Philippines in a sweeping narrative filled with analytical insight. Ranging from the Spanish-American War to the fall of Ferdinand Marcos and beyond, Brands deftly weaves together the histories of both nations as he assesses America's great experiment with empire. He leaps from the turbulent American scene in the 1890s--the labor unrest, the panic of 1893, the emergence of Progressivism, the growing tension with Spain--to the shores of the newly acquired colony: Dewey's conquest of Manila, the vicious war against the Philippine insurgents, and the founding of American civilian rule. As Brands takes us through the following century, describing the efforts to "civilize" the Filipinos, the shaping of Philippine political practices, the impact of General MacArthur, and World War II and the Cold War, he provides fascinating insight into the forces and institutions that made American rule what it was, and the Republic of the Philippines what it is today. He uncovers the origins of the corruption and nepotism of post-independence Philippine politics, as well as the ambivalence of American rule, in which liberal principles of self-determination clashed with the desire for empire and a preoccupation first with Japan and later with communism. The book comes right up to the present day, with an incisive account of the rise and fall of Ferdinand Marcos, the accession (and subsequent troubles) of Corazon Aquino, the Communist guerrilla insurgency, and the debate over the American military bases. "Damn the Americans!" Manuel Quezon once said. "Why don't they tyrannize us more?" Indeed, as Brands writes, American rule in the Philippines was more benign than that of any other colonial power in the Pacific region. Yet it failed to foster a genuine democracy. This fascinating book explains why, in a perceptive account of a century of empire and its aftermath.

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Bound to empire: the United States and the Philippines

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From the U.S. annexation of the Philippines in 1899 to independence in 1946, through a century of American domination, the relationship between the two has been a study of power--military, economic ... Read full review


1Manic Depression 1890s
II The revolt of the masses
III The compulsion of depression
IV The ideology of jingoism
V The diplomacy of distraction
2Dewey or Dont We? 18981899
II Islands or canned goods?
III The battle of Capitol Hill
II Head man
III An American unique
IV Caveat emptor
V Orange squeezed
V The roots of collaboration
10Retreat 19411944
II America goes

IV To fight another day
3The Water Cure and Other Remedies for Philippine Nationalism 18991901
II The commodore and the general
III Rekindling the revolution
IV The dirty war
4Progressivism from Above 19011907
II A big man for a big job
III Education for life
IV God and country
V The sweet taste of power
VI Rising sun seen through halfopen door
5Politics from Below 19071912
II Faceoff
IV Pride and prejudice
IV Payne and suffering
IV The politics of indirection
6Filipinization 19131920
II Home rules
III Jones again victorious
IV Safe for ?
7Republicanization 19211926
II From Moroland to Manila
III Osmeña versus Quezon
IV versus Wood
V Petitioning the crown
8The Bottom Line 19271934
II Crash
III The Manchurian antidote
III Casey at the bat
IV The triumph of American nationalism
9The Datu and the Proconsul 19351941
III To resist or collaborate
11Return 19441946
Rehabilitating the collaborators
III Bases trade and the ghost of Forbes
12Cold War in Asia 19461952
II ReFilipinization
III Huks to the rescue
IV America blinks
13A Special Relationship 19531957
II Manila contra Munich
III Parity repairs
14The Ground Softens 19571964
II Touching bases
III At sea
15What Allies Are For 19651972
II The man who would be despot
III Revolutionary mood or revolutionary situation?
IV The untimely end of the American century
16Democracy Undone 19721983
II Washington as fiddle
III Debased or debased?
IV The new old regime
17Vox Populi 19831991
II Mugged by reality
III The final days
IV The morning after
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About the author (1992)

About the Author: H.W. Brands is Professor of History at Texas A & M University. He is the author of Inside the Cold War as well as Cold Warriors, The Specter of Neutralism, and other books.

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