American Conservation and Natural Resource Development in the Philippines
SOME POLITICAL BACKGROUND
  • Publicola. The Duty of the American People as to the Philippines. 1898.
    PDF
    • This pamphlet provides a glimpse into the thinking of those Americans who believed the United States had a "civilizing mission" in the Philippines. Many of the Americans who advocated for U.S. involvement in the Philippines saw an opportunity for the United States to uplift and improve the Philippines and put the Filipino peoples on track for eventual self governance. Although this document does not explicitly deal with issues of conservation and natural resource development, it should be read as background to the documents below that do address the colonial conservation and natural resource development activities of the United States in the Philippines. These activities were certainly considered a part of the "duty" of the American people to the Philippines.
      For a more extensive historical treatment of United States and the "civilizing mission," see Michael Adas, Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).
  • Melencio, Jose P. Arguments Against Philippine Independence and Their Answers. Washington, D.C.: The Philippine Press Bureau, 1919.
    PDF
    • Melencio's extended essay articulated Filipino frustrations with not being able to determine the development and destiny of their own nation. Melencio, a well educated lawyer, dissected and refuted what he considered to be the misrepresentations and imperialistic thinking that prevented the Philippines from being granted its independence. Although this document does not explicitly deal with issues of conservation and natural resource development, it provides further background for interpreting the colonial conservation and natural resource development documents.

GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Worcester, Dean C. The Philippines Past and Present.New York: MacMillan Company, 1921.
    Excerpts from Part 1 in PDF
    Excerpts from Part 2 in PDF
    • Dean Worcester served as the Secretary of Interior for the Philippines from 1901 to 1913. Worcester was a zoology professor at the University of Michigan. Prior to his appointment as the colonial Secretary of Interior, he had conducted zoological studies in the Philippines. His education and familiarity with portions of the Philippines were major reasons for his appointment. His position put him at the center of natural resource development in the colonial Philippines. He provided substantial reflections on his administrative experiences in this work. Some have argued that the book encapsulated the "civilizing mission" mentality of American officials in the Philippines.
      For additional background, see chapter six in Michael Adas, Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).
  • Worcester, Dean C. A History of Asiatic Cholera in the Philippine Islands. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1908.
    Excerpts in PDF
    • In the larger work, Worcester provided several insights into a specific public health challenge facing American officials in the colonial Philippines and their attempts to eliminate it. This selection of excerpts includes portions of Worcester's assessment of conditions contributing to the propagation of Cholera in the Philippines and the summation of his findings and recommendations regarding Cholera epidemics. The PDF also includes the English translation of an editorial from the Filipino newspaper Los Obreros criticizing some of the measures taken to combat Cholera in Manila.
  • Panama Pacific International Exposition Pamphlets: Public Health in the Philippine Islands.
    Excerpts in PDF
    • Although the document is undated, the Panama Pacific International Exposition to which it refers was hosted by San Francisco in 1915. These pamphlets were intended to demonstrate the progress made in the Philippines under U.S. colonial administration.

FORESTRY AND AGRICULTURE
  • U.S. War Department. Division of Insular Affairs. Special Report of Captain George P. Ahern, Ninth U.S. Infantry, in Charge of Forestry Bureau, Philippine Islands, Covering the Period from April, 1900 to July, 30, 1901. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1901.
    Excerpts in PDF
    • Captain George P. Ahern, the author of this special report, laid the foundations of twentieth-century forestry in the Philippines. He headed the Philippines Forestry Bureau from 1900 to 1914. He also had a long and wide-ranging record of military service with the U.S. Army. Prior to his arrival in the Philippines, he served in northern Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, and Cuba. Along the way, Ahern developed his knowledge of forestry. These excerpts from the initial report of the Forestry Bureau addressed the challenges of recruiting qualified individuals for forestry work, previous forest policies under Spanish colonial rule, forestry regulations, and preliminary evaluations of the commercial value of the forests and their conservation. Ahern concluded the report with focused recommendations that are highly suggestive of the American vision for the conservation and development of the natural resources of the Philippines.
      For an overview of U.S. forestry in the colonial Philippines, see Richard P. Tucker, Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 363-383.
  • U.S. War Department. Bureau of Insular Affairs. Report of the Forestry Bureau of the Philippine Islands for the Year Ended September 1, 1903.
    Excerpts in PDF
    • The report was part of the larger annual report of the Philippine Commission. The Philippine Commission was also called the Taft Commission since it was headed by William Howard Taft, the colonial governor of the Philippines and future U.S. president and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. This particular report was in part the product of an extensive survey of the forests of the Philippines by George P. Ahern, the American head of the Philippines Forestry Bureau, and the visiting Gifford Pinchot, the chief forester of the U.S. Forest Service. The excerpts from the report provide general appraisals of the forests of the Philippines and proposals for advancing professional forestry and forest policy in the Philippines in greater accordance with an American model as opposed to the Spanish colonial practices that preceded the arrival of the Americans.
      See Richard P. Tucker, Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 363-383.
  • U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Insular Affairs. Forestry Matters in the Philippines. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1908.
    Excerpts in PDF
    • The Committee on Insular Affairs interviewed George P. Ahern. The Committee on Insular Affairs was created in 1900 with the purpose of providing congressional oversight of American administration in the Philippines. Henry Allen Cooper, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, had chaired the Committee on Insular Affairs since its creation. According to historian Frank Hindman Golay, "When [President William McKinley] met with Cooper to discuss Philippine policy and the work of the new committee, the president charged him with ensuring 'that there will be no exploitation of any of the islands' wrested from Spain. McKinley knew his man, and Cooper remained faithful to the president's injunction" (See Frank Hindman Golay, Face of Empire: United States-Philippine Relations, 1898-1946 (Madison: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998), p. 35). Ahern had directed the work of the Philippines Forestry Bureau for approximately eight years by the time of his appearance before the Committee on Insular Affairs. The questions from the various committee members and Ahern's responses largely focused on the economic and commercial aspects of forestry in the Philippines.
  • Panama Pacific International Exposition Pamphlets: Forest Resources in the Philippine Islands.
    Excerpts in PDF.
    • Although the document is undated, the Panama Pacific International Exposition to which it refers was hosted by San Francisco in 1915. These pamphlets were intended to demonstrate the progress made in the Philippines under U.S. colonial administration.
  • Official Catalogue Philippine Exhibits, Universal Exposition, St. Louis, USA, 1904. St. Louis, MO: Official Catalogue Company Inc., 1904.
    Excerpts in PDF
    • The exhibits and the accompanying narratives that appear in this publication were intended to display the progress of the Philippines under the administration of the United States.
  • Waters, Henry Jackson. The Development of the Philippines. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1915.
    PDF
    • Henry Jackson Waters was the President of the Agricultural College at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Although he reported on the current state of agriculture in the Philippines, he was largely concerned with evaluating the existing conditions and institutions with an eye towards improving them.
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