Publication Details

Martinez, J. T. & Lowrie, C. (2012). Transcolonial influences on everyday American imperialism: the politics of Chinese domestic servants in the Philippines. Pacific Historical Review, 81 (4), 511-536.


From the first years of the American occupation of the Philippines, the American colonial elite ran their households with the help of Chinese servants. The preference of government officials, including Governor William Howard Taft himself, for Chinese domestic labor was in flagrant disregard for the policy of Chinese exclusion as well as the principle of “benevolent assimilation,” according to which the Americans claimed to be “uplifting” the Filipino people by providing them with the opportunity to experience the dignity of labor. In opting for Chinese rather than Filipino domestic labor, elite Americans were replicating the traditions of the “Old World” colonizers, particularly the British in Asia.



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