In 1898, the United States defeated Spain in Cuba and Manila Bay, and the Philippine Islands were suddenly free of colonial tyranny. But instead of independence, the Filipino people found themselves in the position of exchanging one colonial power for another. How did the United States, a democratic country with a liberal constitution centered on the recognition of individual freedom, a country that itself had broken free of an imperial power,justify annexation? The war that followed was long, controversial, and bloody. The issues involved racism, guerrilla warfare, torture, religious concerns, just war tradition, human rights, and the separation of humanitarian motives from
economic and military objectives.are as relevant today as they were in the nineteenth century. Although done under the guise of humanitarian intervention, this paper analyzes whether the United States’ annexation of the Philippines delayed rather than promoted independence, and whether its motives were driven by political, military, and commercial interests rather than compassion.