25 March 1899
To the People
of the United States:
The full ratification of the treaty with Spain will cause
a technical change in the relations of the United States to the Philippine
Islands, but will afford no reason for any change of the views of
the anti-imperialists in regard to the future of the islands, nor
will it in the least affect the clear duty of this Republic.
We are now engaged
in warfare with the inhabitants of those islands. It is unprofitable
to discuss the question as to which party began hostilities. No other
result could have been expected, when the lines of two opposing military
forces were held so close and in such tense condition that little
was needed to cause an explosion.
The evidence is
very clear that Aguinaldo was brought to the islands by our own war-ship,
that his aid was accepted and desired in our military operations against
the Spaniards, and that hopes of independence were encouraged by our
consuls and other officers; that a parliament of the islands, organized
by representatives elected by 186 towns and provinces, chose Aguinaldo
President, and framed a constitution, which was promulgated, defining
the powers and duties of the separate departments of the government
with remarkable clearness and ability, and that the government so
formed fairly represented the intelligence of the people of the islands.
It is also undeniable
that on January 5 President McKinley issued a proclamation through
General Otis, declaring that on the 10th of the previous month the
Philippine Islands had been ceded to this country by Spain by the
signature of the Treaty of Paris, and further ordered him to extend
the military government of the United States "to the whole of the
ceded territory," and to demand the surrender of Iloilo, which was
then held by the Filipinos in an orderly manner by capture from the
It cannot be claimed
in law that this assumption of power was warranted in advance of the
ratification of the treaty by both parties, and there can be no doubt
that the arbitrary claim greatly aggravated the people of the islands,
whose hope of independence seemed thus rudely destroyed.
resolution as to the future of the islands was assented to by the
Administration before the ratification of the treaty by the Senate,
and none has been made since.
Any right that
we assert to ownership of the Philippines must rest, therefore, either
upon conquest or upon purchase from their Spanish oppressors, or upon
both; and in any case it is, as we believe, inconsistent with the
principles of this Republic, and fraught with danger to its peace
and to the peace of the world.
The first result
we already witness--a war of subjugation, which must embitter the
people we seek to rule, and which, however successful, must bring
disaster and death to our soldiers and unmeasured cost to our people.
with the seriousness of the situation, it is the purpose of the anti-imperialists
to continue the circulation of literature, to assist in the formation
of leagues, and, by public meetings, and every proper means known
to a free people, to agitate for the revival in the land of the spirit
of Washington and Lincoln, to protest against a spirit of militarism
and force, to oppose the colonial idea and a permanently large standing
army, and to assert the vital truths of the Declaration of Independence
embodied in the Constitution and indissolubly connected with the welfare
of this Republic.
They urge, therefore,
all lovers of freedom, without regard to party associations, to cooperate
with them to the following ends:
Government shall take immediate steps toward a suspension of hostilities
 in the Philippines and a conference with the Philippine leaders,
with a view to preventing further bloodshed upon the basis of a recognition
of their freedom and independence as soon as proper guarantees can
be had of order and protection to property.
Government of the United States shall tender an official assurance
to the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands that they will encourage
and assist in the organization of such a government in the islands
as the people thereof shall prefer, and that upon its organization
in stable manner the United States, in accordance with its traditional
and prescriptive policy in such cases, will recognize the independence
of the Philippines and its equality among nations, and gradually withdraw
all military and naval forces.
[The list of 29
signators includes Samuel Gompers and Andrew Carnegie. Click
here to see the full list.]
61 (25 March 1899), pp. 698-699. The editors reprinted it from
"the daily papers." Paragraph numbers have been added, and the original
pagination appears in brackets.