Insurgency, Insurgent(s)

Working Definition:

Similar to “insurrection,” or “insurrecto,” the use of this phrase is often considered pejorative among Filipino communities and reflects U.S. colonial attitudes towards the conflict. For instance, after Spain surrendered Manila to the United States, President William McKinley ordered in August 1898: “…there must be no joint occupation with the insurgents. The insurgents and all others must recognize the military occupation and authority of the United States and the cessation of hostilities proclaimed by the President.” David Sibley writes, “Filipino historians starting in the 1950s saw the conflict as one of a nascent nation coming into its own, cruelly subjugated by the Spanish and then by the United States…. This Filipino nation had become unified under the lash of war, and had fought—if unsuccessfully—against its conquerors. The war was a war. To reduce it to an ‘insurgency,’ these historians believed, was to betray that nation, and was to take part in a larger effort to subjugate Filipinos and their past.” Insurgency suggests that Philippine revolutionaries rebelled against or subverted the geopolitical power of the United States, whereas their actions can be seen as defense of their country from an invading force.

Related Terms:

Suggestions for Further Reading:

 Sonia M. Zadie, “Philippine American War,” in History Lessons: How Textbooks from Around the World Portray U.S. History, eds. Dana Lindaman and Kyle Ward (New York: The New Press, 2004), 124-125; David J. Sibley, A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2007); William McKinley, “Executive Order 116, August 17, 1898,” Executive Order Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project; Salvador Araneta, America’s Double-Cross of the Philippines: A Democratic Ally in 1899 and 1946 (Sahara Heritage Foundation, 1999 [1978])