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Under American Supervision

Another Colonial Power?

American military rule was officiated on April 14, 1898. American military governance was initiated under General Wesley Merrit, followed by General Elwell E. Otis, and finally by General Arthur MacArthur.

The Spooner Amendment (March 3, 1901) passed in the U.S. Congress ended military rule in the Philippines with the inauguration of a civil government on July 4, 1901.  This civil government named the Philippine Commission was the sole lawmaking body of the Philippines from 1901 to 1907. From 1907 to 1916, the Philippine Commission acted as the upper house of the legislative branch and the newly formed Philippine Assembly served as the lower house. In 1916 with the passing of the

Arthur MacArthur

Spooner Law the two houses where dissolved and the Philippine Legislature was formed. The Philippine Legislature elected two commissioners who where the Philippine representatives in the United States House of Representatives.


The Tydings-McDuffie Law, passed by the U.S. Congress on March 24, 1934, provided for the establishment of a ten year interim government by Filipinos preparatory to the granting of Philippine independence on July 4, 1946. The transition government, called the Philippine Commonwealth, was democratically-elected and run by President Manuel Quezon and Vice President Sergio Osmena, Sr. It operated on the basis of the 1935 Philippine Constitution that was created by the constitutional convention called for by the Tydings-McDuffie Law. The Law also restricted Filipino immigration to the U.S. by imposing a quota of fifty a year. The economic provisions of the law stipulated the continuation of free trade relations between the U.S. and the Philippines.

The Philippines flourished under American supervision with infrastructure being built and often financially backed by the Americans.

Manuel Quezon

Libraries, Courts and other state buildings grew up around the city centers enhancing the culture of the Philippines. One of the most notable contributions of the Americans is their influence on law, education and other public works. To this day the Philippines is the world's 3rd largest nation of English speakers.

America at War, Japan Comes to Manila

Japanese Occupation

On January 3, 1942, the Empire of Japan (after invading Manila) declared the American sovereignty over the Philippines as terminated.

Under this new Japanese authority a civil government was formed consisting of Filipinos with Jorge B. Vargas as chairman. This new government was titled the Philippine Executive Commission and was granted both full executive and legislative powers with the stipulation of required approval by the Japanese Commander-in-Chief. The Judiciary of the Commonwealth remained in tact under the Japanese authority with some loss of autonomy.

On October 14, 1944, the Japanese Sponsored Republic of the Philippines was inaugurated with Jose P. Laurel as President. This government however was subject to Japanese military and political will and did not enjoy independence. On August 17, 1945 President Laurel proclaimed the dissolution of the Republic.

During the war and Japanese Occupation, the American sanctioned Commonwealth government continued to operate in exile in the United States.

The Commonwealth government was re-established in Manila on February 27, 1945 in a ceremony at Malacañang Palace by General Douglas MacArthur.

Douglas MacArthur


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