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Philippine–American War

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The Philippine–American War (1899–1902) was an armed conflict between the United States and Filipino revolutionaries.

(Image: Private William W. Grayson (1876-1941) of the First Nebraska Volunteers fired the shot that started the Filipino-American War.)

The conflict arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to secure independence from the United States following the latter's acquisition of the Philippines from Spain after the Spanish–American War.

The war was ignited on 4 February 1899, when American sentries shot three Filipino soldiers on Sociego Street in Santa Mesa, Manila, between Blockhouse 7 (Manila City boundary) and Barrio Santol (Sampaloc district).

Private William W. Grayson of Company D, 1st Nebraska Volunteerstook the first shots of the three-year way, with Filipino Corporal Anastacio Felix of the 4th Company, Morong Battalion being the first casualty.

Fighting erupted between United States and Filipino revolutionary forces and quickly escalated into the 1899 Second Battle of Manila. On 2 June 1899, the First Philippine Republic officially declared war against the United States. The war officially ended on 4 July 1902. However, some groups led by veterans of the Katipunan continued to battle the American forces. Among those leaders was General Macario Sacay, a veteran Katipunan member who assumed the presidency of the proclaimed "Tagalog Republic", formed in 1902 after the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Other groups, including the Moro people and Pulahanes people, continued hostilities in remote areas and islands until their final defeat a decade later at the Battle of Bud Bagsak on 15 June 1913.

The war and occupation by the U.S. would change the cultural landscape of the islands, as people dealt with an estimated 34,000 to 220,000 Filipino casualties (with more civilians dying from disease and hunger brought about by war), disestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines (as a "state Church" – as previously in Spain), and the introduction of the English language in the islands as the primary language of government, education, business, industrial and increasingly in future decades among families and educated individuals.

Under the 1902 "Philippine Organic Act", passed by the United States Congress, Filipinos were initially given very limited self-government, including the right to vote for some elected officials such as an elected Philippine Assembly, but it was not until 14 years later with the 1916 Philippine Autonomy Act, (or "Jones Act") passed by the United States Congress, during the administration of Democratic 28th President, Woodrow Wilson, that the U.S. officially promised eventual independence, along with more Filipino control in the meantime over the Philippines. The 1934 Philippine Independence Act created in the following year the Commonwealth of the Philippines, a limited form of independence, and established a process ending in Philippine independence (originally scheduled for 1944, but interrupted and delayed by World War II). Finally in 1946, following World War II and the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, the United States granted independence through the Treaty of Manila concluded between the two governments and nations.

The Struggle for Self-determination

The Philippine-American War was a continuation of the struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution. Many Filipino personalities who figured prominently in the fight against Spain also fought against the Americans. These patriots were referred to by the American forces as "bandits" and by Filipino right wing politicians as "bandoleros".

"For those searching for the connection between the Spanish-American War and the Philippine War, the following might be of interest:"'

My relatives told me my Great Grandfather was one of the last survivors of the Spanish American War. He was in Company E 38th U. S. V. Infantry. However, I could not find any information about his unit in Internet records. There is even a military marker by his grave stating he is a Spanish American War Veteran. I finally contacted Patrick McSherry, editor of the Spanish American War Centennial Website, and he told me:

"The reason you cannot find information on his regiment is that based on his military unit, he was not a Spanish American War Veteran. He was a Philippine American War Veteran.

At the time that the Spanish American War ended, only the 1st through the 10th U.S. Volunteer Infantry regiments existed. His regiment, the 38th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, was formed later for service in the Philippines.

The Spanish American War lasted from April to December 10, 1898, when the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the war. On February 4, 1899, war broke out betwen the U.S. and its former defacto ally, the Filipinos. This conflict lasted into 1902, but fighting actually continued until 1913 in some areas.

A pension fund was created for the Spanish American War, but not for the Philippine American War or the Chinese Relief Expedition ("Boxer Rebellion"). As a result, to allow men to receive pensions, the government lumped veterans of all three conflicts together, calling them Spanish American War Veterans....though they may have joined the military 15 years after the war ended or fought in China! This designation will appear on all government documents, including government-issued gravestones. From the unit designation, however, we can tell where and when he fought (Philippines, probably 1899 to 1902). He is not, unless he served in a different regiment earlier, an actual Spanish American War Veteran."