WI/AHC: Independent (or at least semi-independent) Philippines, c. 1890-1910

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Col. Angus, May 15, 2019.

  1. Col. Angus Mem8er

    May 15, 2012
    Inspired by this thread, wherein the subject of American intervention in the Philippines and potential alternatives was brought up...

    Are there any semi-plausible scenarios for the Philippines to attain independence in the late 1890s or early 1900s? In OTL, Philippine rebellions before the Spanish-American War, along with the Spanish-American War, allowed for Philippine rebels to largely take control of the country-but it wouldn't last, and the US would take the country as spoils of war, beating down the Philippine rebels in a war that killed as many as a million civilians, and proceeding to rule it as a colony until the 1940s. To complicate matters, the Germans and Japanese had ambitions in the region, so a scenario where the US doesn't enter the region still risks other powers getting involved

    Just throwing some ideas out there-maybe William Jennings Bryan, a Democratic populist and anti-imperialist, manages to get elected in 1896 (a 5% swing in the results, for whatever reason, would give him a win). In OTL, he had supported the war against Spain citing Spanish imperialism, but opposed the war's resolution due to the US control over former Spanish colonies. Perhaps WBJ still intervenes in Cuba, but seeks a peace that simply establishes Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines as independent countries, allied to a US with guarantees of independence

    Alternatively, perhaps the 1900 and/or 1896 elections go differently, perhaps with some Republican split between establishment and progressives/reformists/mugwump remnants that allows a liberal populist anti-imperialist Democrat like WBJ or someone else to get elected kind of along the lines of the 1912 election. McKinley replaced his first VP (who died) for the 1900 election with Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive leaning reformist, to appeal to that wing of politics, so maybe he or some alternative interventionist Republican doesn't do that and instead picks a more conservative and corrupt VP candidate that helps this. Roosevelt, of course, was himself pretty supportive of imperialism and the progressives were split on the issue, but such a split could help an anti-imperialist populist Democrat get some crossover votes, perhaps

    Even if the US still enters the war under McKinley as in OTL, perhaps differences in American politics could at least lead to some sort of Teller Amendment for the Philippines where the country is guaranteed independence. It could still get watered down by a Platt Amendment analogue that allows for significant American imperialism regardless, but maybe it could at least allow for semi-independence with a quicker full independence (though alternatively, it could also allow the US to retain neo-colonial influence for even longer?). Of course there were political differences between the Philippine and Cuban situation so the same politicians who supported the Teller Amendment may not support the 'Philippine Teller Amendment'

    Alternatively, perhaps the US just doesn't get involved. The Philippine rebels still manage to throw off Spanish rule. There's the issue of other powers like Japan and Germany, but perhaps the new Philippine Republic can play the various powers against each other and somehow secure independence without sucking up too much to one side to the point where it is subsumed under their imperial system? Perhaps some country does end up trying to start some conflict, but the Philippines is able to fight them off, possibly with supplies and weapons bought or donated by the US? The Russo-Japanese War was a disaster for the Russians but was a close-run affair, so perhaps the Philippine Republic cultivates relations with Russia to the point where the Japanese fear committing their forces to the Philippines in fear of giving Russia free reign to push Japan out of south Manchuria and Korea? Germany remains an issue, but perhaps some issues in Europe deter it (maybe some great power politics with France and Britain supporting Philippine independence just to keep the Germans from gaining it?). Or maybe the German politics just don't take the turn towards imperialism (Bismarck thought it was a waste, if I remember correctly), though this could open up the chance of the UK or France seeking the Philippines. Maybe some weaker upstart power like Belgium or Italy tries to conquer the Philippines, and it ends in a Battle of Adwa-style victory for the Philippines?
  2. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    There is no united filipino nationalism at that time, that is the problem, the Visayans and Mindanaoans wanted their own country.

    What you are looking up is having the Tagalog Republic by Bonifacio as American Protectorate.
  3. Col. Angus Mem8er

    May 15, 2012
    Was the Tagalog Republic of Bonifacio more successful at uniting or establishing control compared to the Aguinaldo government? I don't know the specifics of this era, just that there was a government under Aguinaldo that claimed the entire Philippines, but idk how much territory it controlled at maximum, or compared to Bonifacio

    Looking at Wikipedia, it looks like Bonifacio and Aguinaldo had a split of some sort, perhaps avoiding the division between them could do something here?

    As for the Visayan and Mindanaoan separatism, perhaps some sort of federalism could help alleviate separatist sentiment, along with the desire for at least a loose union for practical purposes for mutual defense against attempts at other colonizers to conquer the Philippines?
    kasumigenx likes this.
  4. kasumigenx Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2009
    They were not separatism they had separate revolts.

    The union with Visayas and Mindanao was Aguinaldo's idea but he is a sell out basically.