Lesson 3: The Matter of the Philippines

The treaty of peace ending the Spanish-American War resulted in the United States obtaining the Philippine Islands from Spain. Despite intense political opposition to the acquisition of the islands, the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty. The political impact of anti-imperialist arguments, the difficult experience of suppressing native Filipino resistance, and the lack of attractive opportunities for further territorial expansion, all effectively stalled the American imperialist/expansionist movement. The United States would experiment thereafter with less intrusive means of exercising international influence, such as Open Doors and protectorates, which contained their own practical and moral challenges.

In this lesson, students examines the controversy surrounding the Philippines as they read documents and participate in a role playing exercise that places them as advisors to the President.

Guiding Questions

How should America have responded to the idea of annexing the Philippines?

Learning Objectives

Debate the key positions of people in the controversy over the Philippines.

List the reasons for and against annexation of the Philippines.