How can we prevent the Philippines from becoming an American colony, and what is the impact?

here is my thoughts on what could set this up:

Perhaps no annexation of Hawaii would set a precedent?

- No Spanish-American War.
Perhaps a different President could ensure this? In this case Cuba would successfully declare independence on its own a bit later as Spain still had turmoil in the early 20th century, not sure about Puerto Rico
- Spanish-American War still happens, but focus is on the Caribbean and not on the Pacific
- Spanish-American War happens, but America sets up a puppet state in the Philippines like it did in Cuba instead of colonizing
- American defeat in Filipino-American War
IMO the least likely outcome of these.

Outcomes:

- America isoaltes, focuses on domestic policies.
- American military remains smaller
 
Since this is in post-1900 - where the Philippines is under a US military government - there's always turning up the heat on the Philippine-American War to the point where the US has no choice but to keep it independent or at least as a puppet state which co-opts the insurgency. Anything pertaining to the Spanish-American War wouldn't change much here; even if Spain somehow retained the Philippines the independence movement was such that Spain, too, would also have no choice.
 
Oh I do have a habit of being in the post-1900 forum, which means only one of the PODs I mentioned is here. a mod could move it if inclined.

@Dan1988 I do agree with your statement, "Spain somehow retained the Philippines the independence movement was such that Spain, too, would also have no choice. " What timetable do you give for Spain to eventually relent? And for Cuba and PR? I don't think Spain, further away and with a less tenuous domestic situation compared to USA, would retain PR to current day so PR gains independence after Cuba.

Filipino independence probably sets a precedent for other nearby colonies to seek independence. I think the other colonial powers would prevent Japan from expanding south, just like 1895, which could spark another war while America doesn't have enough public nor government (again, a different President could be the POD) support to intervene.
 
japan-Spanish war, German-Spanish war (Caroline question becomes war?), quicker Philippine revolution, any other nation and Spanish war, any other president

Pretty easy thing to do I think.

If you want to get the Americans out of the Pacific completely go back 10 years and butterfly Hawaiian Republic and Samoan war. Boom, the USA only has a bunch of meaningless claims that were ignored anyway OTL as they have no citizens on any of the Guano islands in 1880s/1890s and Midway failed around the same time so it was abandoned. They just have Pearl harbour which they've done nothing with and Pago Pago which they don't even bother to keep stocked with coal.

Without the Hawaiian republic the USA will be less involved in the Pacific, without the Samoan civil wars the USA will be less involved. Both of those will probably stop conquering of the Philippines too.

Japan is en route to alliance with Britain, AFAIK no one attempted to stop them in Taiwan, or in Ryukyu, or in Izu, Volcano or Ogasawara Islands even though there were European colonists and business interests in all those places sans Ryukyu already.

The lack of anyone bothering about Taiwan during the triple intervention probably means there are limits to how concerned the West is about the yellow peril. They were more concerned with immigrants than Japan annexing polynesian territory after all that's why the USA refused to conquer the Nuku Hiva (whites and natives live together on the same island? Heavens no). No one stopped the mass amounts of Japanese and Chinese immigration across Oceania and the Pacific for the purposes of replacing blackbirded slaves/natives on the copra plantations.

The obvious consequences for this play out in the post 1900 realm. I wish there was no division between the forums, needless separation of a small community isn't that great. Could just make people write [1859] or something in their title to show the POD/period
 
Last edited:

Driftless

Donor
Alfred Thayer Mahan remains an obscure and nettlesome middle-tier US Navy officer, with a career of at-sea assignments on second-tier ships till he retires. He doesn't develop his interest in naval history and its significant strategic impact on the fate of empires. (OTL, his "The Influence of Seapower upon History", especially the preface, became a bible of sorts for budding late-to-the -party Imperialists like the Americans and Germans). Among several tenets, Mahan preached the need for far-flung naval bases to be used to protect a countries trade routes from marauders. Influential Americans such as: TR, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Hay, and Elihu Root (among others), used Mahan's theses as touchstones supporting the occupation of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and some of the mid-Pacific Island's.

No Mahan as author removes a very useful tool from the Imperialist's work bench
 
No Mahan as author removes a very useful tool from the Imperialist's work bench
the big Empires were already in place before he put pen to paper, and the Japanese would still be moving in on China.

No Mahan doesn't stop the papers from drumming up War over Cuba, as the US would still have Texas and Maine, 2nd class Battleships after the Spanish Crisis of 1873-4
where the mothballed USN ACW era Ironclads and commissioned Wooden Steam Frigates were an embarrassment.
'The New Navy' was going to happen, with or without Mahan.

WWI would have still fired off, even had Wilhelmine Germany had built nothing larger than a patrol boats. No Russo-Japanese War still means that Russia will be expanding, as they had done since Napoleon's day
 
Since this is in post-1900 - where the Philippines is under a US military government - there's always turning up the heat on the Philippine-American War to the point where the US has no choice but to keep it independent or at least as a puppet state which co-opts the insurgency. Anything pertaining to the Spanish-American War wouldn't change much here; even if Spain somehow retained the Philippines the independence movement was such that Spain, too, would also have no choice.

Ehh I'd say it's fair to say that the Filipino independence movement at the time is ultimately doomed no matter what. Even if the US doesn't conquer the Philippines it's pretty much inevitable that one of the other powers will try to snatch up the Philippines either from the crumbling Spanish empire or less likely from a very weak newly independent Philippine Republic. Odds are on it being the Japanese or Germans. Less likely the Brits or the French. Odds are also that pretty much any of those powers would win their own version of the American-Philippine War. The US was at least in terms of ground troops the weakest of any of those powers at the time.

It's sad but at the time there's virtually no possibility of a successful actually independent Phillipino Republic. Probably the best that can be hoped for is a situation where the Phillipines becomes a puppet/protectorate where another power controls the nations defense and foreign relations while the protectorate government maintains control over the rest. None of that justifies what the US did during the Phillipino/American war and it's definitely sad but their just isn't any chance of a Independent Philippines at the time.
 

Driftless

Donor
the big Empires were already in place before he put pen to paper, and the Japanese would still be moving in on China.

No Mahan doesn't stop the papers from drumming up War over Cuba, as the US would still have Texas and Maine, 2nd class Battleships after the Spanish Crisis of 1873-4
where the mothballed USN ACW era Ironclads and commissioned Wooden Steam Frigates were an embarrassment.
'The New Navy' was going to happen, with or without Mahan.

WWI would have still fired off, even had Wilhelmine Germany had built nothing larger than a patrol boats. No Russo-Japanese War still means that Russia will be expanding, as they had done since Napoleon's day

Mahan was the guy the US Imperialists used as their logical justification for leaping into the Empire game. Lodge especially quoted Mahan chapter-and-verse when he beat the Empire drum. In any case, Mahan's work was just another log on the fire.

Not really part of this OP, but the Kaiser also was a big fan of Mahan and made the "Influence of Seapower upon History" as a centerpiece of German Naval reading in the late 19th Century
 
Last edited:
@Dan1988 I do agree with your statement, "Spain somehow retained the Philippines the independence movement was such that Spain, too, would also have no choice. " What timetable do you give for Spain to eventually relent? And for Cuba and PR? I don't think Spain, further away and with a less tenuous domestic situation compared to USA, would retain PR to current day so PR gains independence after Cuba.

I honestly don't know. I do know that by that time, Spain is still primarily tied down with Cuba that it could either way. If the US makes a greater commitment to Cuba (e.g. a no Teller Amendment scenario), that would imply a lesser commitment to the Philippines, so Spain would have some leverage here.

Filipino independence probably sets a precedent for other nearby colonies to seek independence. I think the other colonial powers would prevent Japan from expanding south, just like 1895, which could spark another war while America doesn't have enough public nor government (again, a different President could be the POD) support to intervene.

On one hand, definitely. On the other, I'm not sure about block Japanese expansion, considering even at this time the Japanese government was still not sure about holding onto Taiwan. If Taiwan and the Philippines are governed together, or even if the Philippines gained independence as a de facto Japanese or Anglo-Japanese protectorate, that would definitely make a huge impact on Philippine history, society, economics, and culture.
 
Maybe Bryan would have had a chance in 1900 if he had indeed made the election a referendum on anti-imperialism. To quote an old soc.history.what-if post of mine:

***

We have had much more here on the possibility of Bryan winning in 1896 than in 1900. This is understandable, because McKinley won even more decisively in 1900 than in 1896:
http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/u/usa/pres/1896.txt
http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/u/usa/pres/1900.txt

However, was this inevitable? It seems to me that Bryan's biggest mistake in 1900 was sticking with free silver, even though he insisted that imperialism was the "paramount issue" of the campaign:

"Bryan's determination [in 1900] to 'stand just where I stood' on the silver issue in 1896 cost dearly. Most Americans agreed with the editor of the Republican *New York Press* who replied to this statement, 'Sit down, Mr. Bryan. You must be awfully tired, too.' In 1896 Bryan had argued that only increased amounts of money could restore prosperity, but when prosperity arrived with an influx of gold in 1897-1900, he never could bring himself to drop that issue and discuss relevant subjects. By 1898 world gold production was double that of 1890; silver, on the other hand, had suffered a relative decline in production. The statistics and the prosperity were there for all to see, but the Nebraskan refused to recognize the message of the production tables. As Thomas B. Reed remarked in 1900, 'Bryan had rather be wrong than president.' Not until 1907 would he admit that free silver was no longer a political issue..." Walter LaFeber, "The Election of 1900," p. 1911, in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Fred L. Israel, and William P. Hansen (eds.), *History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-1968, Vol. III.*

Bryan would not have to acknowledge that he had been wrong to support free silver in the past--merely that new conditions had rendered it obsolete as a panacea. Suppose he had so acknowledged, and run his campaign entirely on other issues, above all anti-imperialism (but also some domestic issues, such as the trusts)? Even in OTL he got the support of some Cleveland Democrats on the anti-imperialism issue, but Cleveland himself and many others refused to back him, saying that free silver was still the paramount issue. Also, free silver was at least one of the reasons why Bryan failed to get the support of many anti-imperialist Republicans. Benjamin Harrison, though opposed to the annexation of the Philippines, finally yielded to pressure and in October came out against Bryan (though not saying anything good about McKinley), which hurt the Democrats in Indiana. George Frisbie Hoar of Massachusetts who had led the fight in the Senate against the Paris Treaty, sided with McKinley, arguing "that the free coinage of silver at 16 to 1 means national dishonor, great injury to business, the reduction by half of all savings, the destruction of the standard of value making all business transactions gambling transactions, and a great reduction, not only of the savings of the wage-earner, but of the wages he is to earn hereafter. Now, can Mr. Bryan put us on a silver basis, and will he? He says he will, and he says he can." Hoar also questioned the sincerity of Bryan's anti-imperialism in view of the Democratic Party's widespread racism:

"[The Republican Party] has made, in my judgment, one great mistake. But with these two parties standing side by side, promising justice and good government to this Oriental people, I trust the party that has made but one mistake, rather than the party whose sole existence has been a mistake. I prefer the Government which the Republican party has established at home, to the Governments which the Democratic party has established and has sought to establish at home. I prefer freedom and justice and equality and local self-government after the pattern of New England and Massachusetts, rather than after the pattern of Mississippi and South Carolina. I like the gospel according to McKinley better than the gospel according to Bryan. I do not believe that Mr. Bryan or his associates will do better for ten million people of another race in the Philippine Islands than they have done and mean to do for ten million American citizens in the United States." http://www.humanitiesweb.org/human.php?s=s&p=l&a=c&ID=1095&o=

Such prominent anti-imperialists as Andrew Carnegie announced that they could not vote for Bryan in view of his positions on issues like free silver, the Supreme Court, and the income tax. Carl Schurz did vote for Bryan but complained afterwards that it was the most distasteful thing he had ever done.

Free silver also hurt Bryan among German-Americans, who knew that Germany had demonetized silver back in 1871 (two years before the US) and associated free silver with a "dishonest dollar." "The influential New York *Staats Zeitung* announced in mid-October that it was endorsing McKinley because, although it disliked imperialism, it found Bryan's passion for silver more objectionable." LaFeber, p. 1910.

Even with the albatross of free silver, Bryan did make gains in some eastern states on the anti-imperialism issue; New York went from 57.6-38.7 percent for McKinley in 1896 to 53.1-43.8 for McKinley in 1900. No doubt, without free silver Bryan could have narrowed the margin still more, though whether he could have actually won the state is doubtful given the unpopularity of Tammany's Boss Croker; Bryan in his Cooper Union speech of October 13 impulsively and unwisely held his hand over Croker's head and intoned, "Great is Tammany and Croker is its prophet!" (Croker had famously declared of the free-silver issue, "I'm in favor of all kinds of money--the more the better.")

Moreover, free silver does not even seem to have helped Bryan in the West (where indeed he lost a number of states he carried in 1896). I suppose it it possible that if Bryan had abandoned free silver, diehard Populists and Silverites would have run a third party ticket against him in 1900, but I doubt that it would get many votes, and the very fact of such a ticket's existence might have helped to reassure conservative Democrats and Independents ("Mugwumps") that Bryan wasn't so radical.

I would not go so far as to say that Bryan would actually have won in 1900 had he dropped free silver--the country, after all, was prosperous, and perhaps those observers who said that the voters just weren't that concerned about imperialism were correct--but presumably Mark Hanna knew what he was doing when he chose it as his major issue against Bryan: On opening Republican headquarters in Chicago in September, he pointedly said, "I contend that the main issue in this campaign is free silver, and every collateral issue that has been injected in this campaign has been for the purpose of throwing dust in the eyes of our working people." LaFeber, p. 1896.
 
japan-Spanish war, German-Spanish war (Caroline question becomes war?), quicker Philippine revolution, any other nation and Spanish war, any other president

Pretty easy thing to do I think.

If you want to get the Americans out of the Pacific completely go back 10 years and butterfly Hawaiian Republic and Samoan war. Boom, the USA only has a bunch of meaningless claims that were ignored anyway OTL as they have no citizens on any of the Guano islands in 1880s/1890s and Midway failed around the same time so it was abandoned. They just have Pearl harbour which they've done nothing with and Pago Pago which they don't even bother to keep stocked with coal.

Without the Hawaiian republic the USA will be less involved in the Pacific, without the Samoan civil wars the USA will be less involved. Both of those will probably stop conquering of the Philippines too.

Japan is en route to alliance with Britain, AFAIK no one attempted to stop them in Taiwan, or in Ryukyu, or in Izu, Volcano or Ogasawara Islands even though there were European colonists and business interests in all those places sans Ryukyu already.

The lack of anyone bothering about Taiwan during the triple intervention probably means there are limits to how concerned the West is about the yellow peril. They were more concerned with immigrants than Japan annexing polynesian territory after all that's why the USA refused to conquer the Nuku Hiva (whites and natives live together on the same island? Heavens no). No one stopped the mass amounts of Japanese and Chinese immigration across Oceania and the Pacific for the purposes of replacing blackbirded slaves/natives on the copra plantations.

The obvious consequences for this play out in the post 1900 realm. I wish there was no division between the forums, needless separation of a small community isn't that great. Could just make people write [1859] or something in their title to show the POD/period

Yes I think removing or even just delaying Hawaiian coup could prevent the Americans from reaching the Philippines.

I am not sure what you're saying with noone stopping Japan from those other islands. Taiwan had only been colonized by Europeans tenuously and hundreds of years ago, essentially irrelevant by the time of Japanese colonization of Taiwan. The difference with the Philippines is that it is much more populous than the minor islands you mention and was held by Spain for a long period of time where other powers would not want the precedent of a long-established colony escaping. I could see a partition of the Philippines between the UK and Japan, as others have pointed out.
 
Yes I think removing or even just delaying Hawaiian coup could prevent the Americans from reaching the Philippines.

I am not sure what you're saying with noone stopping Japan from those other islands. Taiwan had only been colonized by Europeans tenuously and hundreds of years ago, essentially irrelevant by the time of Japanese colonization of Taiwan. The difference with the Philippines is that it is much more populous than the minor islands you mention and was held by Spain for a long period of time where other powers would not want the precedent of a long-established colony escaping. I could see a partition of the Philippines between the UK and Japan, as others have pointed out.

If they had a problem with the Philippines then they'd have a problem with the German Christian territories Japan took in the South Sea Mandate but no one did anything about those Pacific islands. As long as Japan doesn't go around persecuting Christians I think you're over estimating how much the West care about Christian asians. After all, who made any effort in OTL with the Philippines like when the USA was suppressing them?

A partition is certainly possible in any case. Sulu, Palawan and Mindanao could be added to Borneo easily enough
 
Stronger Anti Imperialist League and USA accepting Andrew Carnegie's Bribe to let the Philippines go and recognize them. Then the Philippines would unite the islands and have Luzon Visayas and Mindanao under the government of Aguinaldo. Have a teritorial dispute in Palau Between germany. And the PHilippines becoming a European and American sphere of Influence where the GPs would try to assert more dominance through aid and investments in the Philippines due to it's strategic location and possibly more developed due to the investments that they recieved. A Rival to Japan
 
here is my thoughts on what could set this up:

Perhaps no annexation of Hawaii would set a precedent?

- No Spanish-American War.
Perhaps a different President could ensure this? In this case Cuba would successfully declare independence on its own a bit later as Spain still had turmoil in the early 20th century, not sure about Puerto Rico
- Spanish-American War still happens, but focus is on the Caribbean and not on the Pacific
- Spanish-American War happens, but America sets up a puppet state in the Philippines like it did in Cuba instead of colonizing
- American defeat in Filipino-American War
IMO the least likely outcome of these.

Outcomes:

- America isoaltes, focuses on domestic policies.
- American military remains smaller
1. The issue depends on William McKinley. He was of two minds on it. It could go either way with him. Much of America's polity did not want to colonize or become imperialists. McKinley vacillated and then the Germans screwed up by being obnoxious in the post battle Manila Bay environment. That action by Billy the Second sending in his fleet and his inept admiral, von Diederichs, was the tipper. The likely outcome was that either an Aguinaldo headed government would be arranged with a Guantanamo type basing option and an "allied with America" kind of arrangement. Aguinaldo's agents may or may not have conspired with German agents. This is still in historical dispute. What is not in dispute, is the McKinley government reaction. In addition to the German machinations with the Spanish government during the Paris peace talks, where they went ahead and bought up Spanish Pacific possessions that lay athwart the projected SLOCS to the new conjectured American base in the Philippine Islands, this was going to produce blow-back.

2. Add to 1, certain attempts by inept German diplomats to either bargain for chunks of the Philippine Islands with the McKinley government, or to try to establish an agency whereby an international coalition of European powers could do to the United States what had happened to the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War of recent memory, which was to wit, to dictate by external pressure the peace terms the United States would be allowed to settle upon Spain, with presumably Germany doing to America, what Russia did to Japan. Move in and take the spoils for herself under the pretext of being a "protecting power."

3. Is it any wonder that hitherto "correct relations" which had only been with difficulty been established since the Samoa diplomatic clash, between the United States and Germany, went south or that the Americans decided to seize the entire archipelago to keep it out of German hands?

4. With the Japanese firmly fixated on the Russians (See 2 and Port Arthur.), there was very little chance that the Japanese have any resources to spare. The only threats besides the Germans were the French and the British. The French had their hands full with Indo China and the British? They established a cheering section and said; "Pass the popcorn, Let's see how it plays out between the Germans and Americans. Guy by the name of Chichester set that tone when he sidled up to Dewey and dared von Diederichs to be "stupid" in one of those many hull scraping incidents between the German and American ships that August 1898. That was one of those international things the RN used to be good at defusing. If Billy and his admiral wanted a world war, they probably were one ramming incident or gun shot away from it.

Dewey was not wrapped too tight.

Mahan was the guy the US Imperialists used as their logical justification for leaping into the Empire game. Lodge especially quoted Mahan chapter-and-verse when he beat the Empire drum. In any case, Mahan's work was just another log on the fire.

Not really part of this OP, but the Kaiser also was a big fan of Mahan and made the "Influence of Seapower upon History" as a centerpiece of German Naval reading in the late 19th Century

Actually... Mahan WAS part of it. His opinion was asked. He is reputed to have advised; "Take it, or someone else will, and we will regret it."
 
The easiest way is to have the US just decide... not to annex the Philippines. Imperialism was highly controversial within the US, and while the imperialists ultimately won out OTL it was close enough that it could have gone the other way. Perhaps a stronger independence movement in the Philippines could be the POD, or a Bryan 1900 win.
 
Top