The American Colonial State in the Philippines

Global Perspectives

The American Colonial State in the Philippines

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: 6 illus. Published: July 2003

Asian Studies > Southeast Asia, History > U.S. History, Politics > Political Science

In 1898 the United States declared sovereignty over the Philippines, an archipelago of seven thousand islands inhabited by seven million people of various ethnicities. While it became a colonial power at the zenith of global imperialism, the United States nevertheless conceived of its rule as exceptional—an exercise in benevolence rather than in tyranny and exploitation. In this volume, Julian Go and Anne L. Foster untangle this peculiar self-fashioning and insist on the importance of studying U.S. colonial rule in the context of other imperialist ventures. A necessary expansion of critical focus, The American Colonial State in the Philippines is the first systematic attempt to examine the creation and administration of the American colonial state from comparative, global perspectives.

Written by social scientists and historians, these essays investigate various aspects of American colonial government through comparison with and contextualization within colonial regimes elsewhere in the world—from British Malaysia and Dutch Indonesia to Japanese Taiwan and America's other major overseas colony, Puerto Rico. Contributors explore the program of political education in the Philippines; constructions of nationalism, race, and religion; the regulation of opium; connections to politics on the U.S. mainland; and anticolonial resistance. Tracking the complex connections, circuits, and contests across, within, and between empires that shaped America's colonial regime, The American Colonial State in the Philippines sheds new light on the complexities of American imperialism and turn-of-the-century colonialism.

Patricio N. Abinales, Donna J. Amoroso, Paul Barclay, Vince Boudreau, Anne L. Foster, Julian Go, Paul A. Kramer


"The American Colonial State in the Philippines is a path-breaking contribution to this new research trend and critically engages America's past as a colonial power. The volume's seven essays interrogate the analytical value of exceptionalism, situate American colonialism in a global context, and demonstrate the benefits of an international perspective with methodological sophistication." — Frank Schumacher , H-Soz-U-Kult, H-Net Reviews

"[A] valuable resource for anyone interested in the debate about American imperialism. . . . Enthusiastically written, the essays provide excellent and extensive endnotes that give readers an abundance of sources to pursue for more information. Definitions provided in the book make reading easy and devoid of jargon. The seven authors have successfully fulfilled their goal of placing the American colonial state in a comparative, global context." — Diana L. Ahmad , History: Reviews of New Books

"[A]n indispensable contribution in the scarce literature that comparatively analyzes American colonialism in the global circuits of empire building and the ways the colonized resist or become co-opted into the imperial regime." — Ligaya Lindio-Mcgovern , Contemporary Sociology

"[T]his volume offers informative and persuasive essays that consistently address the larger problem of the character of American colonialism in the Philippines. . . . [A]n essential read for Philippines specialists and a provocative, but very open-ended, exercise for area scholars and historians who would also benefit from the insights found in this collection." — Richard Baxstrom , American Studies International

"[V]ery interesting and well-written. . . . [T]he authors are talented junior faculty with superbly documented multiarchival resources. . . . The comparative approach is the most important contribution of this book. . . . For the Southeast Asia scholar or Philippine specialist this will likely prove a fascinating book." — Linda K. Richter, Pacific Affairs

"All of the essays draw on the insights of social history and cultural studies, though never are they so filled with jargon as to be inaccessible. All are sophisticated, well-argued, well-written pieces of scholarship." — Kenton Clymer , Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Anyone interested in state building and the American period in the Philippines should carefully read each chapter. He/she may find each one deeply engrossing and thought provoking." — Lydia N. Yu Jose, Diplomatic History

"Julian Go and Anne Foster have assembled an innovative collection of comparative essays on U.S. turn-of-the-century imperialism, with emphasis on the "colonial state" in the Philippines. Go's introductory essay is a nice piece of critical historiography that lays out the overall perspective of the collection." — Lanny Thompson , Pacific Historical Review

"This volume is an excellent first step in looking at both the United States as a colonial power and the Philippines as a colony. . . . [A] pathbreaking effort. . . . [T]he various essays explore tantalizing glimpses of historical movements, events, and ongoing issues that both provide food for thought in our own time and inspiration for further historical research." — Barbara Gaerlan , Journal of Asian Studies

“This superb collection of essays provides a necessary background for the stories that jump off today’s front pages—a supposedly wondrous American ‘empire,’ the hidden dilemmas of nation-building, drug-trafficking, colliding cultures, and a touching faith in American exceptionalism. As analyzed by some of our best younger scholars, we can now see clearly—and learn from—what happened to that earlier generation who set out to make the United States an imperial power.” — Walter LaFeber, Cornell University

"This is an important and distinctive work. As an earlier discourse for understanding the diffusion of modernizing influences, technology, and global exchange, imperialism is the most important precursor to today's globalized economy and culture. Yet there are few studies of imperialism (and particularly American imperialism) that are broadly comparative or contextual. Filling this blank spot on the map, The American Colonial State in the Philippines will be of interest to a wide audience." — Nick Cullather, author of Illusions of Influence: The Political Economy of United States–Philippines Relations, 1942–1960


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Julian Go is Academy Scholar at the Academy for International and Area Studies of Harvard University and Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Anne L. Foster is Assistant Professor of History at Indiana State University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Global Perspectives on the U.S. Colonial State in the Philippines / Julian Go 1

Empires, Exceptions, and Anglo-Saxons: Race and Rule between the British and U.S. Empires, 1880–1910 / Paul A. Kramer 43

Models for Governing: Opium and Colonial Policies in Southeast Asia, 1898–1910 / Anne L. Foster 92

Inheriting the “Moro Problem”: Muslim Authority and Colonial Rule in British Malaya and the Philippines / Donna J. Amoroso 118

Progressive-Machine Conflict in Early-Twentieth-Century U.S. Politics and Colonial-State Building in the Philippines / Patricio N. Abinales 148

The Chains of Empire: State Building and “Political Education” in Puerto Rico and the Philippines / Julian Go 182

“They Have for the Coast Dwellers a Traditional Hatred”: Governing Igorots in Northern Luzon and Central Taiwan, 1985-1915 / Paul Barclay 217

Methods of Domination and Modes of Resistance: The U.S. Colonial State and Philippine Mobilization in Comparative Perspective / Vince Boudreau 256

Contributors 291

Index 293
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3099-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3101-8
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