HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 3 no. 2 (2002)

Sociability and Personal Bonds in the Philippines under American Colonization

William Guéraiche

Discipline: Society



The archives of Manuel L. Quezon, regarded as the first President of the Philippines, shed a new light on the social relations in the Philippine high bourgeoisie. During the American colonization, a wide network of associations in the archipelago as well as various pressure groups gave impetus to a young democracy. Manuel L. Quezon pragmatically used clubs and societies to reinforce his position as political leader, the only one capable of governing the country after independence. This is especially visible in his Masonic connections. Beyond this, the letters of introduction (far introducing an individual) and recommendation (for procuring a position) also created a social band. These letters are open to various interpretations. They may correspond to social codes, linked to good manners, for example. In the public sphere they show how a political leader wins the fidelity of his clientele, by being a "go between.” Through these exchanges, we may appreciate the degree of Americanization of Philippine Society.