Chapter 30 ~ America on the World Stage ~ 1899 – 1909
I. “Little Brown Brothers” in the Philippines
The Filipinos had assumed that they would receive freedom after the Spanish-American War, but when
they didn’t they revolted against the U.S.
The insurrection began on February 4, 1899, and was led by Emilio Aguinaldo, who took his
troops into guerrilla warfare after open combat proved to be useless.
Stories of atrocities abounded, but finally, the rebellion was broken in 1901 when U.S. soldiers
invaded Aguinaldo’s headquarters and captured him.
President McKinley formed a Philippine Commission in 1899 to deal with the Filipinos, and in its
second year, the organization was headed by amiable William Howard Taft, who developed a strong
attachment for the Filipinos, calling them his “little brown brothers.”
The Americans tried to assimilate the Filipinos, but the islanders resisted; they finally got their
independence on July 4, 1946.
II. John Hay Defends China (and U.S. Interests)
Following its defeat by Japan in 1894-1895, China had been carved into “spheres of influence” by the
Americans were alarmed, as churches worried about their missionary strongholds while businesses
feared that they would not be able to export their products to China.
Finally, Secretary of State John Hay dispatched his famous Open Door note, which urged the European
nations to keep fair competition open to all nations willing and wanting to participate. This became the
“Open Door Policy.”
All the powers already holding spots of China were squeamish, and only Italy, which had no
sphere of influence of its own, accepted unconditionally.
Russia didn’t accept it at all, but the others did, on certain conditions, and thus, China was
“saved” from being carved up.
III. Hinging the Open Door in China
In 1900, a super-patriotic group known as the “Boxers” started the Boxers’ Rebellion where they
revolted and took over the capital of China, Beijing, taking all foreigners hostage, including diplomats.
After a multi-national force broke the rebellion, the powers made China pay $333 million for damages,
of which the U.S. eventually received $18 million.