Carnegie and former President Cleveland petitioned the Senate to reject the Treaty, still two votes shy of ratification. The final vote was scheduled for February 6th, 1899. In Manila, U.S. and Filipino soldiers eyed each other suspiciously across a neutral divide. Just two days before the final Senate vote, a U.S. Army private on patrol spotted two Filipino soldiers crossing the San Juan Bridge to American lines. He shouted for the soldiers to halt.
A Filipino soldier was not understand the word “halt.” So ignoring that warning, continued, no? Ah, he continued, ah, to move towards American lines. The Americans fired from their end and, ah, there was now a reply on the Filipino end.
There’s a strong sentiment that flashes through the Senate that we have to support our boys in the Philippines.” And it’s like there was a patriotism aroused instead of doubts. I mean the fighting in the Philippines causes a lot of people to have doubts, but in the Senate it has the impact of turning a number of people who were thinking of opposing the treaty into supporting it.
Two Democrats switched sides, and the Senate narrowly ratified the Treaty. The United States officially acquired its first colonies, and its first colonial rebellion. Sixty U.S. soldiers and 700 Filipinos had been killed.
One of the great sardonic writers of the time, Ambrose Bierce, wrote that “taking an empire is not like smoking a cigarette.” And the people who came to be known as anti-imperialists were of that view, and one of them said, “Dewey took Manila with the loss of one man and all our institutions.”
TITLE CARD: “Come Home Dewey (We Won’t Do a Thing To You)”
“COME HOME DEWEY (WE WON’T DO A THING TO YOU)”
The insane attack of these people upon their liberators! It is not likely that Aguinaldo himself will exhibit much staying power. After one or two collisions, the insurgent army will break up. The New York Times, February 1899.