Persuasive Research Paper on Filipino Freedom
Emilio Aguinaldo is a famous figure in the history of the Philippines, and is the subject of this sample research paper. The professional writers at Ultius have success with essay writing services, as well as writing on many topics of US history and world politics, and this example takes the form of a persuasive letter from Aguinaldo to the then-President of the United States, William McKinley. The letter argues against the American annexation of Aguinaldo’s homeland.
Dear President William McKinley,
I, Emilio Aguinaldo, urge you to treat the Philippines as an ally, bringing advancement through encouragement and the ideals of self-determination. Like the citizens of Cuba, my people are fighting to overcome the unwanted imposition of imperial powers. The anti-colonialist movements in these lands still look to the United States as the only world power that resists the imperialist sentiments that have plagued our world for generations. No matter the state of affairs in the controlling country, continuous annexation of new territories is not a solution. Instead, trade is inherently a communal activity, and one that offers the most benefit for all parties when there is agreement and friendly relations.
The people of the Philippines are thankful for assistance from the United States in our struggle against the unjust Spanish occupation. I want to bring the desires of my people to your attention, to give you the best information with which to determine the United States’ place in the future of the Philippines.
Filipino Freedom and the use of force
History has shown that forceful actions breed nothing but forceful responses. It is not my intention to directly challenge a world power like the United States. Yet, as mentioned in a previous blog post from Ultius, the history of the United States is filled with examples of how forceful actions have led to anger and hatred.
One must not forget that the U.S. was once shackled under the weight of British rule. Britain’s imperialist actions were justly offensive, Your rebellion was both righteous and empowering, and led to further success in dear throughout this century. The sentiments that fill the hearts of my people are the same as those that once motivated your ancestors to rebel against such imperial leadership.
They are the same as those that gave cause to the people of Cuba, who fought valiantly against Spanish oppression. Soldiers from your country fought the same fight as the Cubans’, both facing the same opponent. When two groups of people fight together and achieve a goal, there is no reason to drastically change such a winning dynamic.
Although the military might of the United States is undoubtedly superior, the Spanish defeat in the war was significantly aided by the actions of Cuban rebels. My soldiers provided necessary assistance for Commodore George Dewey’s troops in their battle against Spanish troops in Manila. With our combined forces, we easily outmatched our Spanish opposition and won the day with minimal tragedies. A combination of forces strengthens both sides. Commodore Dewey knew this statement to be true, stating
“These people [the Filipinos] were our friends and we have come here and they will help us just exactly as the negroes helped us in the Civil War.” (Trask, 1996, p. 404).
Examples of freedom from the United States
On the other hand, when one side pushes too excessively on the other, strengthening is lost, and the partnership is doomed to ultimately fail. United States’ history provides appropriate examples here as well. During the U.S. Civil War, freed slaves were a crucial component in the Union’s victory over the Confederate forces. People fight with unflappable determination when they are fighting for freedom and respect, despite political and military moves of their oppressors, such as interventionism and colonialism.
Although African Americans are not on equal footing (with whites) within your society, they willingly volunteered to fight in the Spanish-American War because they wanted recognition. Recognition is the true goal of any society that has endured the injustices of an imperialist structure, and people will eventually fight to improve their lives when the proper amount of recognition is not given to them.
Do not let the shouting of the imperialist parties change your opinions about the diplomatic duty of your country. On March 4th, 1897, you, President McKinley, stated at your Inaugural Address that
“Our diplomacy should seek nothing more and accept nothing less than is due us. We want no wars of conquest; we must avoid the temptation to territorial aggression…Arbitration is the true method of settlement of international as well as local or individual differences.”
Spanish rule existed on strictly imperial terms, and we Filipinos had been waiting painstakingly for the opportunity to escape from their clutches. There are options outside of total control, and a complete lack of contact between your country and country like the Philippines. My people fully acknowledge the U.S.’s participation in our fight, and would be happy to award you fair due for your actions.
Avoiding aggression and conquest is best for Filipino Freedom
At the same time, any form of conquest or territorial aggression is not in the best interests of my people or yours. The United States has always prided itself on resisting the tendencies of a truly imperialist nation. Annexations are one of the first steps toward undoing that notion, and fundamentally changing the core values of the American people.
Despite the insistence of imperialist supporters in the U.S., the annexation of the Philippines remains an undecided topic for the American people. My focus will always be on the best interests of my people, and likewise I expect your primary focus will be on your own citizens.
Imperialism is not best for Americans or Filipinos
Ignoring for a moment the social discontent that imperial actions would cause here in the Philippines, annexing my country comes with serious economic and social consequences for the American people. ]Although recent depressions in the U.S. economy have put pressure on expanded foreign endeavors, taking control of the Philippines does not guarantee any sort of positive economic growth.
Without economic justification for annexation, the societal problems the takeover would create gain significant weight. The U.S. has always placed high cultural value on the ideal of freedom, and annexing the Philippines would shake this belief to its core. Imperialistic motivations are a dangerous group to enact, and countries often find themselves stuck with imperialistic profiles.
Filipino Freedom, integration and unification
Once a country enters into colonial actions, it becomes hard to internally identify these actions for what they really are. Examples of this effect come as recently as the Spanish dilemma with Cuba. Despite your best advice, Spain refused to make any positive changes in the interactions with Cuba, and relations between the two countries proceeded downward into outright war. Spain could not see the problems their imperialist actions were causing, or refused to acknowledge them. Either way, they could not easily escape their imperialistic tendencies after so many years of practice.
Integration is not supported by history.
The high volume of Filipino citizens would tax the U.S. ability to accommodate them.
To accommodate the Filipino people, while introducing significant separation would only weaken the unified nature the U.S. has been striving for.
The continued racial tensions in the United States provides ample support for these claims. Despite improvements to African American privileges, there is little unification between them and white society. Adding more people to a similarly alienated class will only hurt the unification of the American nation.
Concluding remarks about Filipino Freedom
Although annexing the Philippines, a region of proud people and rich history, holds significant support in your country, providing us with support in our quest for independence offers the greatest potential for a positive future. The U.S. has always been willing to fight alongside a just and rebellious cause. Partnerships have already proven successful in the field of battle, and it is time they got their shot in the post war period. Do not fall for the false positives imperial actions bring.
History has shown time and time again that imperial control creates dissent, and not growth in any local populations. The imperial model has been tried repeatedly and has failed, even in your home nation. Mutual recognition and respect deserve their chance in the spotlight. Together, we can bring about a new era of prosperity and growth for our nations.
Brinkley, Alan. “The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People.” New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Graseck, Susan. CHOICES Program, Beyond Manifest Destiny: America Enters the Age of Imperialism, 4th ed. Providence, RI: Watson Institute for International Studies, 2006.
McKinley, William. Foreign Relations of the United States, “Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 6, 1897.” Last modified 1897. Web. February 19, 2013.
McKinley, Williams. Foreign Relations of the United States, “Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 5, 1898.” Last modified 1898. Accessed February 19, 2013.
Trask, D. F. (1996). The war with Spain in 1898.