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13 January, 2012
Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare|
Another of Mr. Root's Statements
|Again, in the same speech, Mr. Root said that, within three months from the arrival of our army
in the fall of 1899,
the insurgent army and the insurgent government ceased to exist, and we hold all the islands
which were subject to Spanish rule without opposition, save from fugitive bands, half guerilla
and half bandit, who are shooting our men from ambush, and blackmailing and pillaging and
murdering their own countrymen.
Of the Philippine government he spoke thus:
The people of the Philippine Islands never consented to that government. It was a pure and
simple military domination of Tagalogs. The Visayans distrusted and feared them. The people of
the great island of Negros raised the American flag, repelled the Tagalog invasion, and are living
today in contentment under our government. The tribes of Northern Luzon received us with open
arms. The ablest and best of the Tagalogs, under the leadership of Arellano and Torres
repudiated the government of Aguinaldo.... A noble tribute to the Declaration of Independence it
would have been, indeed, to deliver the people of Negros and the commerce of Manila and the
patient and unconsenting millions of all other tribes but the Tagalogs into the hands of the
Mr. Root thus assured his countrymen that early in 1900 there was no opposition to the rule of
the United States "save from fugitive bands, half guerilla and half bandit," and that our troops
must remain there to protect "patient and unconsenting millions" of Filipinos, including the
Visayans, from the outrages of these Tagalog bandits.
He also describes "blackmailing," "pillaging," and "murdering" as crimes, when committed by
Believing these statements, as we must of course assume that he did, it was his duty as Secretary,
while pursuing the bandits, to protect the "patient and unconsenting millions," not only against
their own countrymen, but against our soldiers. It will hardly be contended that we had a right to
pillage and murder them in order to anticipate like action by "the bandits."
Nay, more, in the same speech he insisted that the Filipinos were protected against such abuses
by constitutional safeguards. He said:
Let me show you what kind of government exists today in the Philippine Islands. I read from the
instructions of the President to the present commission, which entered upon legislative power in
these islands on the 1st of September last .
"The commission shall bear in mind that the government which they are establishing is designed
not for our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness,
peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands; and the measures adopted should
be made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their prejudices to the fullest extent
consistent with the accomplishment of the indispensable requisites of just and effective
"Upon every division and branch of the government of the Philippines must be imposed these
"That no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, that
private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation,... that excessive bail
shall not be required,... nor cruel nor unusual punishment inflicted,... that the right to be secure
against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated."
And he continued:
Is that imperialism? Will giving that kind of government to these poor people who have suffered
so long under Spanish tyranny degrade the character of this republic?
There can be no question that Secretary Root has understood fully how his great powers should
be used. It is proposed to show how he has, in fact, used them.