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"America Alla": Educating the Colonial Subject in the Philippines, 1899-1910

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Abstract:

“America Allá”: Educating the Colonial Subject in the Philippines, 1899-1900

This paper operates on intersections of imperialism, national identity, and pedagogy as it explores the U.S. attempt to transform Filipino schoolchildren from Spanish to U.S. colonial subjects the first decade of the 20th century.

Part One prepares for Part Two by surveying U.S. schoolbooks that, over the course of the 19th century, constructed a master U.S. identity narrative that fused Protestant history with Enlightenment political values. For example Emma Willard’s 1829 History of the United States called on the Pilgrims’ inherent political values to prove that they

"possessed a much higher cast of moral elevation, than any who had before sought the new world . . . . The hope of gain was the motive of former settlers—the love of God, was theirs. In their character, and in their institutions, we behold the germ of the love of liberty, and those correct views of the natural equality of man, which are now fully developed in the American constitution. "

Although overt references to religion faded over the century, nevertheless they were replaced by code words emphasizing (Protestant) religious values. In fact by the 1890s words such as “freedom,” “order,” and “honesty” signaled, to U.S. citizens interpellated by those textbooks, uniquely U.S. values that were, paradoxically, prerequisites for democracy across the globe.

Part Two will look at schoolbooks created for the Philippines shortly after annexation in 1899. The U.S. mandated universal education, in English, because “in teaching a people democracy it was wise to use the language to which most great democratic principles were native” (Frederick S. Marquardt, “Life with the Early Am. Teachers,” 23-27). Textbooks promulgated U.S. social/cultural values coded as “character” training and civics. As one teaching manual formulated the process,

"[U.S.] history and biography . . . provide[s]. . . material [for] teaching . . . morals. . . . The question may be asked, ‘Are we hard workers and honest like Lincoln?’ Or, ‘Can we not be as truthful as Washington was?’ Such lessons as ‘How Benjamin Franklin became Famous’ will contain many truths for every boy and girl to think about and act upon” (Harry Theobold, The Filipino Teacher’s Manual, 1907, 106-07).

Linking core values such as honesty, industry, and ambition to iconic U.S. figures served two contradictory functions: on the one hand it suggested that the locus of these values remained in the U.S. mainland, the property of Anglo-Saxons who, the narrative insists, invented them. On the other hand, teaching Filipino schoolchildren republican values through these examples created an internally colonized subjectivity that measured capacity for citizenship and self-governance by the subject’s ability to demonstrate those values. Most commentators agree that the U.S. attempt to educate the Philippines in its own image failed. In attempting to establish “America” “allᔗover there—U.S. educators exposed the inherent contradictions in a national ideology that first, fused religious values with political values; second, argued that the composite was secular rather than religiously based, and third, assumed that the national identity encouraged by the fusion could be transferred.


Keywords: U.S. schoolbooks; U.S. history; pedagogy; imperialism; Philippines; national identity; religion; citizenship; subjectivity.
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MLA Citation:

Harris, Susan. ""America Alla": Educating the Colonial Subject in the Philippines, 1899-1910" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The American Studies Association, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA, Oct 11, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p186193_index.html>

APA Citation:

Harris, S. K. , 2007-10-11 ""America Alla": Educating the Colonial Subject in the Philippines, 1899-1910" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The American Studies Association, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Philadelphia, PA <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p186193_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: “America Allá”: Educating the Colonial Subject in the Philippines, 1899-1900

This paper operates on intersections of imperialism, national identity, and pedagogy as it explores the U.S. attempt to transform Filipino schoolchildren from Spanish to U.S. colonial subjects the first decade of the 20th century.

Part One prepares for Part Two by surveying U.S. schoolbooks that, over the course of the 19th century, constructed a master U.S. identity narrative that fused Protestant history with Enlightenment political values. For example Emma Willard’s 1829 History of the United States called on the Pilgrims’ inherent political values to prove that they

"possessed a much higher cast of moral elevation, than any who had before sought the new world . . . . The hope of gain was the motive of former settlers—the love of God, was theirs. In their character, and in their institutions, we behold the germ of the love of liberty, and those correct views of the natural equality of man, which are now fully developed in the American constitution. "

Although overt references to religion faded over the century, nevertheless they were replaced by code words emphasizing (Protestant) religious values. In fact by the 1890s words such as “freedom,” “order,” and “honesty” signaled, to U.S. citizens interpellated by those textbooks, uniquely U.S. values that were, paradoxically, prerequisites for democracy across the globe.

Part Two will look at schoolbooks created for the Philippines shortly after annexation in 1899. The U.S. mandated universal education, in English, because “in teaching a people democracy it was wise to use the language to which most great democratic principles were native” (Frederick S. Marquardt, “Life with the Early Am. Teachers,” 23-27). Textbooks promulgated U.S. social/cultural values coded as “character” training and civics. As one teaching manual formulated the process,

"[U.S.] history and biography . . . provide[s]. . . material [for] teaching . . . morals. . . . The question may be asked, ‘Are we hard workers and honest like Lincoln?’ Or, ‘Can we not be as truthful as Washington was?’ Such lessons as ‘How Benjamin Franklin became Famous’ will contain many truths for every boy and girl to think about and act upon” (Harry Theobold, The Filipino Teacher’s Manual, 1907, 106-07).

Linking core values such as honesty, industry, and ambition to iconic U.S. figures served two contradictory functions: on the one hand it suggested that the locus of these values remained in the U.S. mainland, the property of Anglo-Saxons who, the narrative insists, invented them. On the other hand, teaching Filipino schoolchildren republican values through these examples created an internally colonized subjectivity that measured capacity for citizenship and self-governance by the subject’s ability to demonstrate those values. Most commentators agree that the U.S. attempt to educate the Philippines in its own image failed. In attempting to establish “America” “allᔗover there—U.S. educators exposed the inherent contradictions in a national ideology that first, fused religious values with political values; second, argued that the composite was secular rather than religiously based, and third, assumed that the national identity encouraged by the fusion could be transferred.


Keywords: U.S. schoolbooks; U.S. history; pedagogy; imperialism; Philippines; national identity; religion; citizenship; subjectivity.

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