This article is about a U.S. Presidential proclamation concerning the Philippines. For 1982 book, see Benevolent Assimilation (book).
The term Benevolent Assimilation refers to a policy of the United States towards the Philippines as described in a proclamation by U.S. President William McKinley issued on December 21, 1898. The proclamation was issued after Spain was defeated in the Spanish–American War but before fighting began in the Philippine–American War. Prior to the proclamation, the United States had defeated Spain during the naval Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Subsequently on June 12, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent and established a revolutionary ...view middle of the document...
The unaltered version eventually made its way to Aguinaldo.
Otis later explained,
After fully considering the President's proclamation, and the temper of the Taglos, with whom I was daily discussing political problems and the friendly intentions of the U.S.A. Government toward them, I concluded that there were certain words and expressions therein such as "sovereignty," "right of cessation" and those which directed immediate occupation and so forth, which though most admirably employed and tersely expressive of actual conditions, might be advantageously used by the Tagalog. The ignorant classes had been taught to believe that certain words such as "sovereignty," "protection," and so forth had peculiar meanings disastrous to their welfare and significant of future political domination, like that from which they had been recently freed.
Dec. 21, 1898: Mckinley issues "Benevolent Assimilation" Proclamation
On Dec. 21, 1898, President McKinley issued the BENEVOLENT ASSIMILATION PROCLAMATION, announced in the Philippines on Jan. 4, 1899, which stated the U.S.' "altruistic" mission in acquiring the Philippines.
The U.S. have "come, not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends, to protect the natives in their homes, in their employment, and in their personal and religious rights."
Moreover, the U.S. wanted to "win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule."
"Benevolent Assimilation" Proclamation of
President William McKinley
December 21, 1898
In performing this duty [the extension of American sovereignty throughout the Philippines by means of force] the military commander of the United States is enjoined to make known to the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands that in succeeding to the sovereignty of Spain, in severing the former political relations, and in establishing a new political power, the authority of the United States is to be exerted for the securing of the persons and property of the people of the Islands and for the confirmation of all private rights and relations. It will be the duty of the commander of the forces of occupation to announce and proclaim in the most public manner that we come not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends, to protect the natives in their homes, in their employment, and in their personal and religious rights. All persons who, either by active aid or by honest submission, cooperate with the Government of the United States to give effect to these beneficent purposes will receive the reward of its support and protection. All others will be brought within the lawful rule we have assumed, with firmness if need be, but without severity, so far as may be possible�.