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“Emilio Aguinaldo,” photograph by P. Fremont Rockett, Our Boys in the Philippines . . . , 1899

Emilio Aguinaldo dedicated himself to Philippine independence, leading a rebellion against Spain in 1896. In 1899 Aguinaldo became president of the first Philippine Republic, but the United States refused to recognize the new government. Aguinaldo then led an insurgency against U.S. occupation of the islands. Captured in 1901, he swore allegiance to the United States and left public life.

General Collections, Library of Congress

“Emilio Aguinaldo,” photograph by P. Fremont Rockett, Our Boys in the Philippines . . . , 1899

Annexing the Philippines

In 1898 Congress declared war against Spain to support Cuba’s independence from Spanish rule. Hostilities quickly extended to other Spanish colonies, including the Philippines. At the end of the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. Congress passed an Organic Act establishing a civilian government for the Philippine Islands in 1902, after U.S. troops suppressed a Filipino nationalist movement. Except when occupied by Japan during World War II, the Philippines remained under U.S. control until Congress recognized its independence in 1946.