Historical Highlights

Resident Commissioner Manuel Quezon of the Philippines

August 19, 1878
Resident Commissioner Manuel Quezon of the Philippines Image courtesy of Library of Congress Resident Commissioner Manuel Quezon of the Philippine Islands later became president of the islands in 1935, a position he held until his death in exile in 1944.
On this date, Resident Commissioner Manuel Quezon was born in Baler, Tayabas Province, Philippines. Educated in public schools, Quezon studied law at the University of Santo Tomas and served in the Philippine Army. After military service, he turned to politics. Elected as a Resident Commissioner to the 61st Congress (1909–1911), Quezon lobbied Congress for immediate independence for the Philippines and held this position throughout his service. He also advocated greater participation of Filipinos in the colonial government. During his maiden speech to Congress, Quezon submitted a petition requesting Philippine sovereignty. He also asked Members to support legislation that endorsed Philippine independence. One of those acts was the Philippine Autonomy Act. Sponsored by William Jones of Virginia, the act officially committed the United States toward granting independence to the Philippines. The act also ensured broader autonomy for Filipinos within the colonial government. Toward the end of his service in the House, Quezon remarked, “I came with a mandate to work for the immediate independence of the Philippine Islands…to the best of my ability, I have done everything I could to carry out that mandate.” After resigning from Congress, Quezon served in the Philippine senate from 1916 to 1935. He was elected president of the commonwealth in 1935. Forced to flee to the United States because of the Japanese takeover of the Philippines in 1942, Quezon died in exile on August 1, 1944.

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