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QUEZON, Manuel L.

QUEZON, Manuel L.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress


During a career that spanned the length of America’s colonial rule in the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon held an unrivaled grasp upon territorial politics that culminated with his service as the commonwealth’s first president. Although he once fought against the United States during its invasion of the islands in the early 1900s, Quezon quickly catapulted himself into a Resident Commissioner seat by the sheer force of his personality and natural political savvy. Young and brilliant, Quezon, according to a political rival, possessed “an ability and persistence rare and creditable to any representative in any parliament in the world.”Quezon was wary of immediate independence, but in the U.S. House of Representatives, he worked tirelessly to secure his nation a greater level of autonomy. He met privately with the President and powerful committee chairmen alike, gauging the issues and crafting legislative solutions, which culminated in perhaps his savviest political victory, the Jones Act of 1916. “Considering the time I have been here, the character of the subject, and the influences I had to fight, I feel inclined to say that I am almost surprised that I have secured so much,” he said.2 Long after he left Washington as a Resident Commissioner, he continued to shape the office by choosing and sometimes discarding his successors.

Manuel Luis Quezon was born on August 19, 1878, in Baler, a town on the island of Luzon in Tayabas Province, Philippines, to Lucio, a veteran of the Spanish Army and a small-business owner, and Maria Molina Quezon.3 The family lived in the remote “mountainous, typhoon-plagued” swath of the province that hugged much of the eastern coastline of Luzon. Quezon’s parents eventually became schoolteachers, which allowed the family to live comfortably in Baler. Manuel, the eldest of three sons, and his brothers, Pedro and Teodorico, were taught at home by a local parish priest. In 1888 Quezon left Baler to attend Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila, graduating in 1894. Shortly after, he matriculated to the University of Santo Tomas, also in Manila, to study law.4

About a year later, however, Quezon left school and returned home during the Philippines’ revolution against Spain. He resumed his studies in 1897, but when hostilities began between the United States and the Philippines in February 1899, Quezon joined General Emilio Aguinaldo’s forces. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, he saw little action, but rose to captain and served on Aguinaldo’s staff. After surrendering to U.S. forces in 1901, Quezon spent six hard months in prison, where he contracted malaria and tuberculosis. He suffered from complications of the diseases for the rest of his life.5

On his release, Quezon resumed his legal studies at Santo Tomas and earned a bachelor of laws degree in 1903 before returning to his home province. Only in his mid-20s, intelligent, and a natural “master of political intrigue,” Quezon caught the attention of American administrators, particularly Harry H. Bandholtz, the director of the local constabulary, and district judge Paul Linebarger. The two Americans soon adopted Quezon as a protégé.6

As a result, Quezon routinely walked a fine line, balancing the colonial agenda of his powerful American associates, the interests of Philippine nationalists, and his own career ambitions. According to a recent study by Alfred W. McCoy, a leading historian of the Philippines, Quezon—in an arrangement that seemed equal parts quid pro quo and extortion—worked as an informant for American security officials who kept a detailed list of accusations against Quezon—ranging from corruption to murder—that they could use to destroy Quezon if he ever ceased being “a loyal constabulary asset,” McCoy wrote. Quezon reportedly had damaging information on his American connections as well, but he continued to spy for them, passing along information about Philippine radicals in exchange for political support and for help ascending the ranks of the insular government.7

Quezon’s political career began in 1903, when Linebarger named him the provincial attorney, or fiscal, of Mindoro, an island province near Tayabas.8 Quezon was quickly promoted to serve as fiscal of his home province, where he famously prosecuted Francis J. Berry, who owned the Cablenews-American, one of the largest daily newspapers in the Philippines, on charges of illegal land transactions. He won the case, but had to defend himself against charges of corruption by Berry’s allies. Once the dust settled, Quezon resigned and returned to private practice.9

In 1906 Quezon ran for governor of Tayabas Province, campaigning not only on his reputation as a lawyer, but on his connections with Bandholtz and other American officials. Belying his inexperience—he had been in politics less than two years—Quezon deftly maneuvered past two other candidates and overcame shifting alliances to win his seat.10

As a local politician, Quezon had not yet aligned with any national political party. In fact, at the time, American administrators regulated much of the Philippines’ civil activity and very little formal political organization existed outside Manila.11 Following a trip to the capital for a convention of provincial governors in late 1906, Quezon, in the hopes of laying the groundwork for a shot at national office, joined the Partido Independista Immediatista, which pushed for immediate Philippine independence.12 In 1907 the opportunity came. He resigned from the governorship and ran for the Tayabas seat in the Philippines’ first national assembly, which would function much like the U.S. House and was created by a delayed provision in the Organic Act of 1902. On July 30, 1907, he won election decisively.13

With the opening of the Philippine legislature, political parties and new coalitions “sprang up like mushrooms,” according to one historian of the era, catapulting Quezon into the national spotlight.14 His party, the Partido Independista Immediatista, was absorbed by the Partido Nacionalista (Nationalist Party), creating a majority in the territorial legislature. After throwing his support for speaker behind Sergio Osmeña, a powerful young assemblyman with a broad base of power, Quezon was rewarded with prestigious appointments as majority floor leader and chairman of the appropriations committee. From their first term in the assembly until Quezon’s death, Osmeña and Quezon went back and forth in one of the Philippines’ foremost political rivalries, vying for control over both the party and their country.15

After serving just one term in the Philippine assembly, Quezon looked nearly 9,000 miles away for his next political challenge. In 1907 the Philippines began sending two Resident Commissioners to the U.S. Congress to lobby on behalf of the territory’s interests. The assembly and the commission selected one candidate each, which the opposite chamber then had to ratify. It is not entirely clear why Quezon wanted the position in Washington—one biographer has conjectured that Quezon wanted to be the hero who brought independence to the Philippines— but in 1909 he sought the Resident Commissioner seat occupied by Nacionalista Pablo Ocampo. Regardless of his motivations, Congress and the President controlled the fate of the islands, and the Resident Commissioners, despite not being able to vote in the House, were best positioned to influence the territory’s political future on Capitol Hill.16

“I have every reason to believe that I shall succeed in my ambition, or I certainly should not permit my name to go before the Assembly,” Quezon told the Manila Times when asked about his candidacy.17 Though initial reports indicated that Ocampo was surprised by the challenge, the incumbent later published telegrams to and from Osmeña indicating his desire to retire.18 Quezon won handily with 61 of the 71 available votes, Ocampo received four votes—ostensibly “complimentary” gestures out of respect for his service—and a third candidate received none.19

Quezon arrived in Washington, DC, in December 1909 wearing a thick fur overcoat to protect him from the early winter chill and took up residence at the Champlain Apartment House, a new building at the corner of 14th and K Streets in Northwest.20 Quezon received House Floor and debate privileges but was not permitted to serve on any committees.

Already fluent in Spanish, Tagalog, and the local dialects in Tayabas, Quezon recalled the “most serious obstacle to the performance of my duties in Washington was my very limited knowledge of the English language.” He hired a tutor, but soon began teaching himself using a Spanish–English dictionary to read books, magazines, and newspapers.21 His American friends gave him the nickname Casey, an anglicization of Quezon.22

Quezon’s first term in Congress was relatively quiet legislatively. Publicly, he toed the party line on immediate independence, but, privately, he believed his territory should wait for independence for at least a generation.23 Quezon’s primary goal as Resident Commissioner was to win the hearts and minds of the American people—and, consequently, Congress—to support greater political autonomy in the Philippines.24 Accordingly, he acted more like a publicist than a lawmaker. “My opinion is that we don’t so much need to have delegates here as to have a press,” he confessed to a friend back home, “and money which has to be spent for delegates ought to be spent on publication.”25

Calling the Capitol “at once the best university and the nicest playhouse in the world,” Quezon wandered the corridors of the new House Office Building (now the Cannon building) strategically bantering with Members and journalists.26 He was a bachelor and naturally gregarious, and he frequently mingled with Congressmen and administration officials at dinner parties and long lunches. Compared to the Philippines’ older, more staid Resident Commissioner, Progresista Benito Legarda, Quezon displayed a flashier style. The two disagreed on certain policies, but they got along “tolerably well,” according to Quezon’s biographer.27

Quezon’s maiden speech in the House on May 14, 1910, reflected his goal to win over popular opinion.28 He thanked the United States for its investment in the Philippines and appealed to America’s revolutionary past, observing that most people would rather “emancipate” the islands than “subjugate” them.29 He carefully emphasized that his constituents would not be satisfied with anything short of independence. “Fillipinos [sic] are not, as yet, a happy people,” Quezon said, hinting at his gradual strategy to win greater autonomy while playing up his nationalist bona fides.30

In the fall of 1910, the policy differences between Legarda and Quezon and, consequently, between the Philippine commission and the assembly threw their re-election into chaos. Because Legarda opposed immediate independence, the assembly refused to certify his nomination. In retaliation, the commission rejected Quezon’s candidacy.31 For months, the Philippine legislature tried and failed to settle the dispute.32 Finally, in February 1911, the House stepped in and passed a bill extending Quezon and Legarda’s terms until October 1912, giving the insular legislature time to resolve its differences while maintaining representation on the Hill. The bill also lengthened the general term of service for Filipino Resident Commissioners to four years and raised their office budgets to match those of the rest of Congress.33

It was not until the fall of 1912 that the assembly and the commission reached a deal. In November Quezon recommended Manuel Earnshaw, a conservative industrialist with little political experience, as a replacement for Legarda, who wanted to retire from politics anyway. With the commission on board, Quezon was re-elected to another term. As a result of his carefully crafted compromise, Quezon enjoyed a smooth re-election to the 63rd and 64th Congresses (1913–1917).34

Throughout the first decade of the 20th century, American corporations looking to open outposts in the Philippines had been stifled by a law preventing them from buying land in large enough quantities to open commercial farms. But when the insular government bought a huge tract that had once belonged to the Catholic Church and was then unable to sell it directly to Filipino farmers, the American Sugar Refining Corporation, which had a stranglehold on sugar refining in the States, quickly snapped up the vacant property. Democrats cried foul, criticizing the William H. Taft administration for approving the sale, and began considering ways to clamp down on deals with U.S. monopolies.35

In Washington Quezon called out Democrats for timing their criticism to coincide with the upcoming presidential election, but he joined the chorus opposing the sale of additional friar lands.36 In mid-May 1912, Quezon delivered two long, impassioned speeches on the House Floor, filling the Congressional Record. He argued in favor of a bill that would place the friar lands under the same size restrictions put on the sale of other public lands. Speaking on behalf of the Philippine assembly, Quezon told the House that Filipinos would rather pay to keep the land than to sell it off to “individuals for exploitation.” Quezon did not oppose American investment outright, but he wanted to protect the islands from corporations that could hurt native businesses.37 It was also a troubling sign, leading Quezon to suspect that American officials would not fulfill the promise of independence.38 The House never acted on the Philippines’ land bill and the land itself remained under Manila’s control, but the fact that U.S. monopolies got wrapped up in the debate tarnished Taft’s re-election bid that fall.39

Quezon’s ambition for greater autonomy in the Philippines won him no friends in the Taft administration, which had long sought to tighten the relationship between the territory and the mainland. At one point, Clarence Edwards, the chief of the Insular Bureau, warned Quezon that he was “stirring up too much trouble” and threatened “to get rid of him,” according to one account of their meeting. Despite his own reservations about independence, Quezon replied that he was simply doing the people’s work and would continue to fight. President Taft reportedly “lost his temper completely” when he heard what the Resident Commissioner had said.40

Quezon, however, was not as worried about the Taft administration as he was about the party faithful in Manila. Hoping to shore up his standing back home before the upcoming election, he anxiously looked for a way to put an independence bill on the floor of the House. Early in his push, Quezon reportedly formed a close partnership with Democrat Cyrus Cline of Indiana. Cline had studied the situation in the Philippines and believed he could make independence a reality. Their relationship was so strong, the Indianapolis Star reported in March 1912, “that he and Quezon became almost like long-lost brothers. Quezon was so frequently in Mr. Cline’s committee room that he began to take on the mannerisms of a native-born Indianan, although his language was a little out of joint with the Hoosier dialect.”41

Along with Cline, Quezon cultivated other more powerful allies in the House, including Democrat William A. Jones of Virginia, who chaired the Insular Affairs Committee. Jones was a consistent supporter of Philippine independence, but he was ill and worked slowly and methodically to build consensus on the issue within his committee.42

Looking for a way to hasten the independence process in order to give his party a campaign issue, Quezon put together his own proposal (H.R. 22143) that he knew Jones could get behind. The bill, which Jones put his name on after party leaders gave it the go-ahead, set an independence date eight years later and provided for the creation of a Philippine senate. The islands would remain under America’s military umbrella for the next two decades while a separate resolution would force other foreign powers to stay clear of Manila while the new government settled in.43

“As a representative of the Filipino people in this country, I have given my hearty approval and co-operation to both the bill and the resolution,” Quezon said in a letter to the New York Tribune. By creating an eight-year buffer in which the United States would still exercise a measure of control, he believed the bill would “[give] the people of the Philippines an opportunity to practice self-government before finally assuming all the responsibilities of a wholly independent nation.”44

Despite support in Jones’s committee, Quezon’s independence measure hit a snag when the Democratic nominee for president, Woodrow Wilson, advised the chairman to sit on the bill. Wilson, who bluntly told Quezon he did not think leaders in Manila would ever be able to unite the Philippines’ diverse population, worried that independence would distract U.S. voters from other issues.45

Over the summer of 1912, however, Wilson walked back his opposition, giving Quezon the opening he needed. Quezon told the Insular Bureau’s new chief, Frank McIntyre, that full independence could wait if Congress would agree to subtler changes. The Philippine commission had become so unpopular, Quezon said, that simply creating a territorial senate would buy the federal government time to deal with the question of independence.46

As tariff issues ate up much of the legislative calendar in 1913, Quezon counseled patience back home. He worked the angles in Washington to influence territorial appointments and lobbied for changes to the Philippine commission.47 In August Quezon won a substantial victory when he convinced President Wilson to appoint Democrat Francis Burton Harrison of New York, a supporter of independence and a powerful member of the House Ways and Means Committee, as the Philippines’ new governor general.48

Quezon thought highly of Harrison, and Harrison returned the sentiment, later calling the Resident Commissioner “one of the greatest safety-valves” Manila had in Washington. “These delegates have no vote,” Harrison later wrote about his friend, “but they are given a voice in the House, and the voice of Mr. Quezon was worth many votes.… His brilliant speeches made an impression upon Congress, and every American Representative who heard him felt sympathy for this young man so ably pleading for the independence of his race.”49

Quezon and Harrison disagreed on one key issue, however: the urgency of independence. Harrison wanted to hand over the archipelago’s government to the Filipinos as quickly as possible, according to one historian of the era, but Quezon, like other party leaders in Manila, knew the islands would stumble if America pulled its resources too quickly. With Sergio Osmeña’s help, Quezon sidestepped Harrison, drafting a new independence bill with the cooperation of the Wilson administration in Washington.50

Quezon’s new proposal postponed independence for almost a generation and gave the President a say in the Philippines’ affairs, but it also transferred much of the daily management of the islands to the Filipino people. In other words, it was a huge risk, less about independence than it was about “increasing home rule,” the historian Peter W. Stanley observed. In one conversation after another, Quezon leaned on McIntyre at the Insular Bureau for support, knowing full well that Harrison would fight back.51

Quezon sought similar assurances from the President, and after meeting with Wilson in early 1914, the Resident Commissioner believed he had at least the conditional support of the White House. Wilson was not comfortable setting a date for independence and was more or less content to step back and wait to see how things played out, according to the Washington Post. That was fine with Quezon, who, along with Osmeña and other leaders, proceeded to amend the draft bill to include two longstanding Democratic requests: first, that independence would be possible only after the Philippines established a “stable” government in Manila, and, second, that the bill set no timetable for independence.52

When Quezon gave the new bill to Chairman Jones, he ran into some familiar problems. Jones continued to drag his feet, and House Democrats pivoted to other issues as the 1914 elections neared.53 Quezon stepped up his lobbying, speaking with the Insular Bureau, business leaders, and the White House before winning enough support that summer.54 Although the Insular Affairs Committee opted not to hold public hearings on the bill, Jones said he was in regular contact with Quezon during the markup. Earnshaw, meanwhile, went home to the Philippines to rally support for the bill.55

Under Quezon’s guidance, the House cleared the rule governing debate after two hours of discussion. Republicans moved to table the legislation, but Quezon fought them point by point, arguing that the looming threat of a world war made Philippine autonomy more important than ever. Moreover, he said, by creating a Philippine senate, the United States would simply be “rearranging” the existing government, not creating something new.56

When the bill came up for general debate two days later, Republicans ripped into the Insular Affairs Committee for marking it up behind closed doors. Chairman Jones had earlier called it “an emergency measure,” but Republicans cautioned Quezon about trusting the motives of the committee.57

Quezon responded forcefully. “I am not a Democrat nor a Republican, nor even a Progressive,” he said. “The Filipinos take no sides in your partisan differences.” He reminded the House that the measure had wide support in the Philippines, and he implored his colleagues to keep election-year politicking out of the debate.58

Quezon gave a full-throated defense of the bill on the floor a few days later, telling the House that the self-government provisions would allow the Philippines to prepare for independence.59 He also used America’s own revolutionary history to highlight the sentiment in the Philippines, asking his colleagues to imagine what it felt like to fight for political freedom.60 Democrats rallied to his words, and one Texan even went so far as to say that any other debate on the Jones bill would be an “anticlimax.”61

Quezon dutifully monitored the bill during amendments: countering mischaracterizations, opposing certain suggestions, and defending others.62 After the bill passed the House and went to the Senate, he faced a whole new task. The core of the bill bolstering home rule in the Philippines made it through unchanged, but a handful of legislators threatened to kill the measure unless the Senate reworked the independence clause in the preamble. Quezon hustled to iron out a deal, but the 63rd Congress closed without a solution.63

The 64th Congress picked up Quezon’s bill right away, naming it H.R. 1, the first piece of legislation introduced in the House on the first day of the new session. Senate leaders placed it on the legislative calendar a day later (S. 381).64

For Quezon, however, the bill remained a huge political gamble. He told the Senate Committee on the Philippines that it was not ideal, but the measure was about as good as he thought he could win.65 After approving the markup, the Senate committee pressed Congress to quickly pass this second version of the Jones bill.66

Things came to a screeching halt in January 1916, however, when Democratic Senator James Clarke of Arkansas offered an amendment replacing the preamble’s “stable” government requirement with a provision requiring the United States to pull out of the Philippines completely within four years. Looking to distance themselves from earlier GOP policies toward the Philippines, Senate Democrats, with the support of President Wilson, approved the change in a close vote in early February.67

Clarke’s amendment completely changed the course of debate for Quezon, who now had a monumental decision to make. If he backed the amendment, Stanley observed, the Philippines would likely become independent quicker than originally planned. But that threatened to bring a host of troublesome issues with it, including widespread financial problems that could derail the future of the Philippines.68 If Quezon opposed the amendment, however, the bill could fail altogether, erasing years of work.69

Quezon ended up supporting the Clarke amendment, and when the bill went back to the House, Chairman Jones begrudgingly brought the Senate version to the floor on May 1, 1916. Debate that day lasted nearly 13 hours.70

When Quezon addressed the chamber, he did his best to convey the gravity of the situation: Congress, he said bluntly, had the power to determine the Philippines’ future. Quezon admitted that much of the bill had become “defective,” but that he was willing to compromise on the Clarke amendment rather than risk the best chance the Philippines had to become independent. If the alternative was the status quo, “I am for the Clarke amendment body and soul,” he said.71

Despite Quezon’s impassioned remarks, enough Democrats teamed up with Republicans to vote down Clarke’s “poison pill.” Jones offered a few changes in keeping with the Clarke amendment, but when those failed as well, the chairman submitted his own Philippine bill, which more or less mirrored the one the House passed at the end of the 63rd Congress and which contained the “stable” government provision. Jones’s version quickly passed the House.72

Assuming that this version of the bill would again die in the Senate, Quezon was crushed. “This ends my work in Congress,” he told the Associated Press after the vote. “I am not coming back. What is the use? The action of the House tonight makes the fight for independence harder. I notice not a single Republican voted for the Clarke amendment. They had it all figured out in advance.”

Surprisingly enough, the bill did not die in conference with the Senate.73 Not long after the Jones bill cleared the House there were whispers that the Senate would acquiesce and abandon the Clarke amendment as well. On May 8, Quezon visited the White House and implored President Wilson to back the revived legislation rather than risk having to start all over.74 Nearly four months later, the Senate finally cleared the House bill, a version of which Quezon had helped write years earlier.75 With Quezon in attendance, the President signed it into law on August 29, 1916.76

Following the success of the second Jones bill, Quezon resigned as Resident Commissioner on October 15, 1916.77 Friends in Washington threw him a farewell banquet at the Willard Hotel, and his arrival in Manila—during a typhoon, no less—was akin to a national holiday. Bunting-wrapped boats and flotillas greeted his ship in the choppy downpour, beginning two days of public speeches and celebratory banquets.78

Back in the Philippines, Quezon was elected to the new territorial senate, where he was named president of the chamber.79 In 1918 Quezon married his cousin, Aurora Aragon. The couple had four children, Maria Aurora, Maria Zeneida, Manuel Luis Jr., and Luisa Corazon Paz. Luisa died in infancy.80

Quezon also kept one foot in Washington. He continued to lobby for Filipino independence, traveling to the capital on several “independence missions” between 1919 and 1934.81 Following the passage of the Tydings–McDuffie Act in 1934, which created the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Quezon won election as the first president of the Philippines in 1935. Throughout his post-congressional tenure, Quezon held near-dictatorial sway over the Partido Nacionalista, either personally selecting or approving each of the next nine Philippine Resident Commissioners. He leveraged the Resident Commissioner position as a means to solidify his support in Manila, enabling him to virtually exile political opponents. On the other hand, if an ally broke ranks with him on the Hill, Quezon was quick to name a replacement.82

As president in the 1930s, Quezon worked to strengthen his authority at home and tried to brace the nation for war as Japan began encroaching on the islands.83 Despite an attempt to bolster his archipelago’s defenses and under pressure from U.S. officials, Quezon and his family fled his home country and set up a government in exile after Japanese forces invaded in early 1942. He lived in Saranac Lake in Upstate New York as his health started to fail. Quezon died on August 1, 1944, succumbing to the long-term effects of his battle with tuberculosis.

After a funeral mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington attended by high-ranking American military officials, Quezon’s body was placed in a mausoleum at Arlington National Cemetery until it could be repatriated to the Philippines.84 American forces began an invasion of the Philippines in October 1944 and captured Manila in February 1945. Quezon’s family, living in Los Angeles since his death, departed for the Philippines with his body on June 28, 1946.85 He was reinterred on August 1, 1946, in Cementerio del Norte in Manila. In his honor, an outlying suburb of Manila was named Quezon City and became the site of the national capital of the Philippines.86


1Congressional Record, House, 64th Cong., 1st sess. (1 May 1916): 7158; Congressional Record, House, 65th Cong., 2nd sess. (18 August 1916): 12839.

2Congressional Record, House, 65th Cong., 2nd sess. (18 August 1916): 12839.

3There is some conflicting information surrounding Quezon’s family history. The noted historian Alfred W. McCoy cites a U.S. military intelligence report claiming that Quezon’s biological father was a “Padre” who had an affair with Quezon’s mother which resulted in her getting pregnant with Manuel. Before he was born, Quezon’s mother was forced to get married “thus assuring that [Quezon] would be born in wedlock.” See Alfred W. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2009): 110.

4Roger Soiset, “Quezon, Manuel Luis,” American National Biography 18 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999): 28–29; Michael Cullinane, “The Politics of Collaboration in Tayabas Province: The Early Political Career of Manuel Luis Quezon, 1903–1906,” in Reappraising an Empire: New Perspectives on Philippine-American History, ed. Peter W. Stanley (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984): 64–69; Peter W. Stanley, “Quezon, Manuel Luis, (Aug. 19, 1878–Aug. 1, 1944),” Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement Three, 1941–1945 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974): 613–615; Carlos Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom (Manila, PI: The Community Publishers, Inc., 1971): 18–23, 41, 48–52, 58.

5Manuel Luis Quezon, The Good Fight (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1946): 88.

6The relationship between Quezon and American officials in the early 1910s is discussed in detail in Cullinane, “The Politics of Collaboration in Tayabas.” The quotation is from Cullinane, “The Politics of Collaboration in Tayabas”: 77.

7According to McCoy, even after Quezon became Resident Commissioner, he continued to spy on Philippine radicals for America’s colonial administrators. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: 96–97, 109–111, 187–188, quotation on p. 111.

8Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 66; Quezon, The Good Fight, 92.

9Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 63–71; Cullinane “The Politics of Collaboration in Tayabas Province”: 73–74; Frank L. Jenista, “Problems of the Colonial Civil Service: An Illustration from the Career of Manuel L. Quezon,” Southeast Asia: An International Quarterly 3, no. 3 (1974): 809–829.

10At the time, the provincial governors were not directly elected. Instead, they were elected by town councilors, who themselves had been popularly elected under restrictive suffrage laws. Quezon’s complicated campaign for governor is discussed in detail in Cullinane, “The Politics of Collaboration in Tayabas Province”: 79–81.

11An exception was the Partido Federal—formed in December 1900, primarily among Manila elites uniting on a platform of peaceful American sovereignty and eventual Philippine statehood. As a formal political party, however, its reach never extended far outside the capital. See Michael Cullinane, Ilustrado Politics: Filipino Elite Responses to American Rule, 1898–1908 (Manila, PI: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1989): 63–64, 97–98.

12Cullinane, Ilustrado Politics: 251, 256, 274.

13Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 78.


15Though specific timelines vary, several scholars discuss the development of the Partido Nacionalista and Partido Nacional Progresista in 1906 and 1907. See Peter W. Stanley, A Nation in the Making: The Philippines and the United States, 1899–1921 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974): 127–129; Cullinane, Illustrado Politics: 286–315; Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 77–81.

16Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 85.

17“Quezon for Ocampo’s Seat,” 11 May 1909, Manila Times: 1.

18“Ocampo Much Disappointed,” 22 May 1909, Manila Times: 1; “Ocampo Not Puzzled,” 20 May 1909, Washington Post: 12.

19“Legarda and Quezon Chosen,” 15 May 1909, Manila Times: 1; “Quezon for Ocampo’s Seat”; Congressional Directory, 64th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1913): 125.

20Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 89; Frank H. Golay, Face of Empire: United States–Philippine Relations, 1898–1946 (Manila, PI: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1998): 165–166.

21Quezon, The Good Fight: 114–115; Felix F. Gabriel, “Manuel L. Quezon As Resident Commissioner, 1909–1916,” Philippine Historical Bulletin (September 1962): 254.

22Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Random House, 1990): 241.

23Michael Paul Onorato argues that Quezon opposed complete independence, preferring a permanent political link to the United States. See Michael Paul Onorato, “Quezon and Independence: A Reexamination,” Philippine Studies 37, no. 2 (1989): 221–239. See also Lindley Miller Garrison to Woodrow Wilson, 19 January 1914, in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 29, ed. Arthur Link (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979): 147–152.

24Gabriel, “Manuel L. Quezon As Resident Commissioner, 1909–1916”: 254.

25Quoted in Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 170.

26Quezon, Good Fight: 114.

27Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 93–94.

28Gabriel, “Manuel L. Quezon As Resident Commissioner, 1909–1916”: 254.

29Congressional Record, House, 61st Cong., 2nd sess. (10 May 1910): 6312.

30Ibid., 6310.

31Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 168–169.

32Philippine Assembly, Election of Resident Commissioners to the United States, 2nd Legislature, 1st sess., 1911, Document No. 250—A. 38 (Manila, PI: Bureau of Printing, 1911), (accessed 10 February 2016).

33Congressional Record, House, 61st Cong., 3rd sess. (6 February 1911): 2022–2024; Public Law 61-376, 36 Stat. 910 (1911).

34Manuel L. Quezon Certificate of Election (endorsed 22 November 1912), Committee on Elections (HR63-AJ1), 63rd Congress, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, Record Group 233, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC; Philippines National Assembly, Diario de Sesiones de la Asamblea Filipina, Tomo VIII (Manila, PI: Bureau of Printing, 1913): 160–161; Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 181–182.

35Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 157–163. For a more contemporary history of the friar lands, see Charles H. Cunningham, “Origin of the Friar Lands Question in the Philippines,” American Political Science Review 10, no. 3 (August 1916): 465–480. For newspaper coverage of the friar land sales in newspapers, see, for example, “Protest Sale of Friar Lands in Philippines,” 1 January 1912, Christian Science Monitor: 9; “Committee Asks Friars’ Lands Be Sold Off in Lots,” 11 January 1912, Christian Science Monitor: 1; “May ‘Gobble’ Friar Lands,” 9 May 2012, Washington Post: 4; “Would Protect Friar Lands,” 9 May 2012, Baltimore Sun: 11.

36McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: 255–256.

37Congressional Record, House, 62nd Cong., 2nd sess. (1 May 1912): 5698–5703.

38Congressional Record, House, 62nd Cong., 2nd sess. (15 May 1912): 6503–6510.

39McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: 256; Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 96–97.

40Francis Burton Harrison, The Corner-Stone of Philippine Independence: A Narrative of Seven Years (New York: The Century Co., 1922): 47.

41Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 172; “Committee Head Steals Cline’s Glory as Future Emancipator of Filipinos,” 31 March 1912, Indianapolis Star: B11.

42Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 172–173; “Committee Head Steals Cline’s Glory as Future Emancipator of Filipinos.” On Jones’s illness, see Congressional Record, Appendix, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (28 September 1914): 1291.

43Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 173; “To Free Filipinos Eight Years Hence,” 21 March 1912, New York Times: 1; “Filipino Bill In,” 22 March 1912, New York Times: 3; “Nations May Pledge Filipinos Freedom,” 26 March 1912, New York Times: 8.

44Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 174; “Quezon for Independence,” 1 April 1912, New York Tribune: 7.

45Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 179.

46Ibid., 180.

47Ibid., 190.

48Ibid., 198–201; Harrison, The Corner-Stone of Philippine Independence: 3–4; “Not A Good Philippine Counsellor,” 29 August 1913, New York Tribune: 6.

49Harrison, The Corner-Stone of Philippine Independence: 46–47. See also “Choice of Harrison Forced on Garrison,” 22 August 1913, New York Tribune: 4; “Burton Harrison Confirmed,” 22 August 1913, Baltimore Sun: 2; Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 198–200.

50Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 212–213.

51Garrison to Wilson, 19 January 1914, in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 29: 147–152. See also Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 213–214, quotation on p. 213. The President also met with Chairman Jones to discuss the situation in February that year. See “Wilson Takes Up Philippines,” 12 February 1914, Baltimore Sun: 2.

52Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 213–215; Garrison to Wilson, 19 January 1914, in The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, vol. 29: 149; “ ‘Watchful Waiting,’ His Policy,” 12 February 1914, Washington Post: 3; “Philippine Bill Offers Independence,” 4 June 1914, Christian Science Monitor: 7; “Early Independence of Philippines Urged,” 21 August 1914, Indianapolis Star: 16; “Step to Free Islands,” 21 August 1914, Washington Post: 3.

53“To Give Filipinos Self-Government,” 4 June 1914, New York Times: 5; “Philippines Must Wait For Freedom,” 5 June 1914, New York Tribune: 4; “A New Philippines Plan,” 5 June 1914, New York Times: 10.

54Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 215, 220; “To Free Filipinos,” 4 June 1914, Los Angeles Times: I1; “New Wilson Bill To Free Filipinos,” 4 June 1914, New York Tribune: 1.

55Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (28 September 1914): 15843; Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (2 October 1914): 16079.

56Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (26 September 1914): 15800–15812, quotation on p. 15806.

57Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (28 September 1914): 15838, 15845.

58Congressional Record, Appendix, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (28 September 1914): 1290–1291; Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (1 October 1914): 16022.

59Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (1 October 1914): 16015–16016.

60Ibid., 16019.

61Ibid., 16031.

62Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (3 October 1914): 16137–16138; Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (6 October 1914): 16217, 16234; Congressional Record, House, 63rd Cong., 2nd sess. (9 October 1914): 16383.

63Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 219.

64Senate Committee on the Philippines, Future Political Status of the People of the Philippine Islands, 64th Cong., 1st sess., S. Rept. 18 (17 December 1915): 1.

65Hearings before the Senate Committee on the Philippines, S. 381: Government of the Philippines, 64th Cong., 1st sess. (17 December 1915): 71.

66Future Political Status of the People of the Philippine Islands: 3.

67Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 221; House Committee on Insular Affairs, Political Status of the Philippine Islands, 64th Cong., 1st sess., H. Rept. 499 (6 April 1916): 1.

68Stanley, A Nation in the Making: 223.

69Ibid., 224.

70“Will Keep Philippines,” 2 May 1916, Washington Post: 1; Congressional Record, House, 64th Cong., 1st sess. (1 May 1916): 7144–7214; “No Independence for Philippines,” 2 May 1916, Atlanta Constitution: 2.

71Congressional Record, Appendix, 64th Cong., 1st sess. (1 May 1916): 2225.

72“Will Keep Philippines”; “No Independence for Philippines.”

73“Clarke Amendment Defeated in House,” 2 May 1916, Los Angeles Times: I1; “No Independence for Philippines.”

74“Senators Yield on Philippines,” 9 May 1916, New York Tribune: 6.

75Senate Hedges on Philippines,” 17 August 1916, New York Tribune: 2.

76“See Filipinos Free by 1921,” 26 August 1916, New York Tribune: 4.

77Congressional Record, House, 64th Cong., 2nd sess. (2 January 1917): 748.

78Quirino, Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom: 114–118.

79Ibid., 114.

80Ibid., 127, 152, 192.

81See Bernadita Reyes Churchill, The Philippine Independence Missions to the United States, 1919–1934 (Manila, PI: National Historical Institute, 1983).

82Eugenio S. De Garcia, “The Man Quintin Paredes,” 5 September 1934, Philippines Herald Mid-Week Magazine: 3; “Osias Will Return to D.C. Tomorrow,” 22 December 1933, Washington Post: 12; “Filipinos Reappoint Guevara, Drop Osias,” 21 August 1934, Christian Science Monitor: 5.

83For more on Quezon’s time and his power as president, see Alfred W. McCoy, “Quezon’s Commonwealth: The Emergence of Philippine Authoritarianism,” in Philippine Colonial Democracy, ed. Ruby R. Paredes (Quezon City, PI: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1988): 114–160; Theodore Friend, Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929–1946 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1965): 151–195.

84“Quezon Rites Tomorrow,” 3 August 1944, New York Times: 19; “High Dignitaries of State to Attend Quezon Rites Today,” 4 August 1944, Washington Post: 9; “Arlington Burial, Tribute to Quezon,” 5 August 1944, New York Times: 11; “Quezon to Rest at Arlington Until Philippines Are Freed,” 5 August 1944, Washington Post: 2.

85“Family of Late Filipino Chief in Southland,” 4 November 1944, Los Angeles Times: 3; “Quezon’s Body Starts for Manila Tuesday,” 29 June 1946, New York Times: 19.

86“New Capitol in Manila,” 30 December 1946, New York Times: 3.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

University of Michigan
Bentley Historical Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Microfilm: 1909-1944, 54 microfilm reels. The papers of Manuel Luis Quezon contain correspondence, speeches, articles, and other papers relating to all phases of his career in the Philippines.
Papers: 1913, 1 page. A letter from Manuel Luis Quezon to The Librarian, University of Michigan Library [i.e. T. W. Koch]. In the letter, Manuel Quezon writes concerning a provision of a subscription to his publication, The Filipino People, and the gift of two books, for the library.
Papers: In the Anti-Imperialist League Papers, 1903-1922, 597 items and 5 volumes. Other authors include Manuel Luis Quezon. An unpublished finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Eleanor M. Bumgardner Papers, 1919-1967, 8.2 linear feet and 9 volumes. Other authors include Manuel Luis Quezon. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Joseph Ralston Hayden Papers, 1854-1948, 56 linear feet and 1 oversize folder. Correspondents include Manuel L. Quezon. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the Harry Burns Hutchins Papers, 1879-1930, 22 linear feet. Other authors include Manuel Luis Quezon. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.
Papers: In the Frederic S. Marquardt Papers, 1920-1981, 1 linear foot. Correspondents include Manuel Quezon.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Frank W. Carpenter Papers, ca. 1884-1938, 0.3 linear foot. Correspondents include Manuel Luis Quezon.
Papers: In the Oscar Terry Crosby Papers, ca. 1878-1947, 3.6 linear feet. Correspondents include Manuel Luis Quezon. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Burton Norvell Harrison Family Papers, 1812-1926, 22 linear feet. Correspondents include Manuel Quezon. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1942, 2 letters. Letters of Manuel Luis Quezon, 1942.
Papers: In the Theodore Roosevelt Papers, ca. 1780-1962, 33 linear feet. Correspondents include Manuel Quezon. A finding aid is available in the library.
Papers: In the Francis Bowes Sayre Papers, ca. 1861-1961, 8,100 items. Correspondents include Manuel Quezon. A register is available in the library.
Papers: In the William Howard Taft papers, ca. 1784-1973, 676,000 items ; 1,562 containers plus 8 oversize ; 902.5 linear feet ; 658 microfilm reels. Correspondents include Manuel Quezon.
Papers: In the Woodrow Wilson papers, ca. 1786-1957, 278,700 items ; 1,160 containers plus 35 oversize ; 459 linear feet ; 542 microfilm reels. Correspondents include Manuel Quezon.

The New York Public Library
Manuscripts & Archives Section

New York, NY
Papers: In the George F. Parker Papers, 1919-1926, 0.6 linear foot. Other authors include Manuel Luis Quezon. A finding aid is available in the repository.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Caballero, Beljun. Rebirth of a Nation and Its Most Phenomenal Statesman Quezon. Manila: Bacani's Press, 2006.

Enosawa, Hisashi. Manuel L. Quezon, from Nipa house to Malacanan. Tokyo: Japan Publicity Agency, 1940.

Goettel, Elinor. Eagle of the Philippines: President Manuel Quezon. New York: J. Messner, 1970.

Gwekoh, Sol H. Manuel L. Quezon: His Life and Career; A Philippine President Biography. Manila: University Publishing Company, 1948.

___. Quezon the President. Manila: Apo Book Company, 1938.

"Manuel L. Quezon" in Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress, 1900-2017. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of the Historian and the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Publishing Office, 2018.

National Library [Philippines]. Filipiniana Division. Manuel L. Quezon: A Register of His Papers in the National Library. Manila: N.p., 1968.

Philippines. Bureau of Public Libraries. Manuel L. Quezon: A Register of his papers in the National Library. Manila: N.p., 1968.

Quezon, Manuel L. Addresses of Manuel L. Quezon, Resident Commissioner; Henderson S. Martin, Chairman of the Board of Regents; Ignacio Villamor, President of the University of the Philippines: Delivered at the Inaugural Ceremonies Held in the Auditorium of the Philippine Normal School, Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila, P.I., Thursday, August 12, 1915. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1915.

___. Address of the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon. Washington: Press of B. S. Adams, 1942 [?].

___. The Good Fight. Introduction by Douglas MacArthur. 1946. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1974.

Quezon, Manuel L., and Camilo Osias. Governor-General Wood and the Filipino Cause. Manila: Manila Book Company, 1924.

Quirino, Carlos. Quezon, Man of Destiny. Manila: McCullough Printing Company, 1935.

___. Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom. With an introduction by Alejandro R. Roces. Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1971.

___. Quezon: Paladin of Philippine Freedom. With an introduction by Alejandro R. Roces. Manila: Printed by Community Publishers, 1971.

Rivera, Juan F., ed. Quezon: Thoughts and Anecdotes About Him and His Fights. Quezon City [?]: J. Rivera, 1979.

Rodriguez, Eulogio Balan, ed. President Quezon: His Biographical Sketch, Messages and Speeches. Manila: Publishers Incorporated, 1940.

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