First Abandonment of the U.S. territory, the Philippines – 1934


Excerpt: “I’d like to begin with an excerpt from Chapter 35, “Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Shadow of War, 1933-1941,” from the AP US History textbook used in High Schools:

The American people were not so much giving freedom to the Philippines as they were freeing themselves from the Philippines–they proposed to leave the Philippines to their fate.

This is a realistic and honest assessment of what Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 was all about–the official abandonment of the Philippine territory.

The Philippine Independence Act of 1934, the official name of Tydings-McDuffie Act, was another step toward isolationism sweeping America as the threat of war in Europe was growing.

From the paranoid and unrealistic protectionist foreign policy of 1920s, the US started to clamp down on immigration when over 530,000 immigrants came to the US from Southern and Eastern Europe.

These European and other immigrants probably knew the Treaty of Versailles would give Europe 20 years of peace before another war would break out. In the usual knee-jerk reaction still seen today, Congress enacted the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. This quota-based restriction was further reduced from 3% to 2% when the Immigration Act of 1924 was passed to replace the Quota Act of 1921.

Exempt were the Canadians and even Latin Americans. The Filipinos were not affected by immigration laws, since the Philippines was not yet abandoned.

The crash of 1929 and the succeeding bank run of 1930 pushed the American economy to the Great Depression, which in turn further strengthen and justified isolationism.

As 60,000 Filipinos relocated to the mainland in 1931, the idea of giving independence and freedom to the Filipinos was revived. Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana, a Democrat and staunch FDR supporter, made absurd and exaggerated claims that some Americans were starving and were resorting to cannibalism while “Wall St. Imperialists as gods of greed continue to cling onto the (Philippine) islands.”

When American adventurism at the turn of the century vaulted the country into a world power, they did not have any idea of the responsibilities and implied duties a world power or lone superpower entails.

It seems US foreign policy reflects the immaturity and impulsive natue of American leadership when it comes to foreign relations, as shown by the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War and now post-Saddam Iraq.

With American foreign policy, one thing remained constant. Adventurism in the White House would take the country to exotic places and situations around the world, and when the going got tough, the ball along with our allies got dropped. Such was the case of Vietnam, when Nixon signed the 1973 Paris Peace Treaty ending America’s direct involvement in Vietnam and called it “Peace with honor.”

From: Philippines – Philippines as “Abandoned Territory” in the 1930s (Bienvenido Macario, USA) Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 5:12 am

BRIEF BACKGROUND & COMMENTS ON THE 1934 ABANDONMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES  1st Abandonment of the  U.S. territory, the Philippines - 1934 p1 1st Abandonment of the  U.S. territory, the Philippines - 1934 p2 1st Abandonment of the  U.S. territory, the Philippines - 1934 p3


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