Longworth on Filipinos – Has Anything Changed Since 1906?

Nicholas Longworth IV (November 5, 1869 – April 9, 1931) was an American politician in the Republican Party during the first few decades of the 20th century. He served as House Majority Leader from 1923 to 1925 and subsequently as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1925 to 1931. Longworth visited the Philippines in 1905, and after his trip reported to the House of Representatives on the “Philippine Tariff Debate”. Some of his observations on the Filipino people during that report are worthy of note.

“I liked the Filipino better when I had read of him than I do now that I have seen him.” He remarked. “I like him better in the abstract than I do in the concrete”.

“I differ with my colleague Gen. Grosvenor, as to the brilliant future before the Philippines and the noble character of the Filipino people. I cannot believe there is any brilliant future for them, and with the exception of their love for family and home I cannot find anything noble in their character. I for one am not in favour of holding the islands a moment longer than we absolutely have to. [Applause on both sides of the chamber] I am in favour of turning them over to the Philippine nation at the first moment they prove to us that they are capable of governing themselves, and the sooner the better.”

The applause was a little premature, for Mr Longworth next proceeded to show the Filipinos up as hopeless cases.

“There are two prime characteristics of the Filipinos” he said, “which today render them absolutely unfit for self-government. The average Filipino mind can form no conception of the duty of officials to the people, and it can form no conception of the dignity of labor. The very fact that the Filipino is so shiftless, so worthless, so untrustworthy, and so helpless is all the more reason this Nation should reach out the helping hand to him.”

The original source of this information is the New York Times, dated January 13, 1906. Has anything at all changed since 1906?

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  1. Profile gravatar of NeoGeo

    Longworth’s observations are also tangible in the relationship between the Filipinos and the heroes that hold up their Pinoy Pride. Why should they try to be world class like Lea Salonga or Manny Pacquiao when they can let those people be world class for them?

    On side note, how long do you think it’ll be before we get someone with the MacArthur quote for a rebuttal?

  2. Profile gravatar of

    and here I was thinking it was the post-marcos era that collectively changed the mentality of the filipino. turns out theyve been fucked up from the beginning eh. wouldnt be suprised.

  3. Profile gravatar of CantFixStupid

    Quote from Senator Tito Sotto regarding BONUS pay (for doing fuck all.. also giving math and the calendar a huge middle finger):

    Sotto said his bill if passed into law would be the “real” bonus that the workers would get saying that the existing 13-month pay should not be considered as one.
    “Mr. chairman, there’s no such thing as 13th- month pay na bonus kung tutuusin. Bakit? There are 52 weeks in a year divide it by four weeks in a month. Thirteen months. wala namang bonus na ibinigay e. Ito pa lang ang tunay na bonus, itong 14-month pay,” he said.

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/508243/dole-14th-month-pay-to-worsen-unemployment#ixzz2qVKMbxAp

  4. Profile gravatar of Phil Doh
    Phil Doh

    There was a time when I liked to think there must have been a period when pinoys were not the way they are today, some golden age when it literally was the pearl of the orient, Manila the Paris of Asia, this proves they’ve been this way for at least 100 years.

    I had a long chat with an expat the other night who has been here more than twenty years. His conclusion – there is no blaming the Spanish, Japanese, Americans, Marcos or whoever – it’s all completely genetic.

    1. Profile gravatar of Phil Doh
      Phil Doh

      Edit: I know I’ve resurrected an old post here, but find it fascinating that somebody was bemoaning the same things all the way back then that we do today.

  5. Profile gravatar of Johnny

    There was another US rep who wen to the Ph sometime just after WW2,, or maybe before the war. The debate was whether or not the Ph should be given independence. The guy wrote, the Philippine should NOT be given independence just yet as they were not capable of governing themselves. He said the centuries of Spanish rule has led them to become a very corrupt country. Meanwhile he said, the wealthy families of the Philippines and their people are detemined to gain independence and trying to rile up the masses to get it. He said is was people like Quezon who desperately wants independence so his family and cronies can become wealthier. He said they needed a couple more decades before they were capable.
    Man, was he right.

    1. Profile gravatar of Mike


      There is a book written by a former US ambassador who was sent to the philippines in the 1950’s. He started with the diplomatic services in 1929 and served until 1969 mostly in Russia. In this book titled “Witness To History” by Charles Bohlen he wrote a chapter regarding his experience in the philippines. He said that unfortunately our form of government is too complicated for the filipinos to understand. Another statement said that filipinos consider it immoral not to feather their nest every chance they get. In the chapter about his time as ambassador to the philippines he really has nothing good to say about the philippines or filipinos. Name of the chapter about the philippines? “Exile in Manila.”

      1. Profile gravatar of Mike

        There is one asshole on Yahoo talking about China and the Canadian trash. Said the philippines should return to being a US territory and then state. Little does he know, The US DOES NOT WANT THE PHILIPPINES! I figure it this way and have told filipinos the same when they talk about that. “If the philippines was a US territory or state today I would be the first person to start a war with Spain and Japan to make them take the philippines back.” Blank stare.

        1. Profile gravatar of BLX2

          LOL, too funny, and all too true. I’ve read a bit of the history. Spain knew things McKinley did not. A general kept the facts of the uprising from McKinley during the Treaty of Paris, or it would of never of happened. Spain knew the U.S. was paying to take trouble off of its hands, you may of won the war, but ah ha ha ha……. GOTTCHA.

        2. Profile gravatar of Johnny

          Taking control of the Philippines after WW2 or never giving them independance at the time would have been better. At the time, there were probably less than 20 Million Filipinos, probably about 10 or 15 million. However, now there are more than 100 million and growing each day. Plus, these are all future morons being born. These are not going to be rational thinking, highly intelligent kids. Just more typical pinoys with no skills, education, or care. 70 years ago would have been fine for the USA to take over and make them a state or commonwealth, but for the last 40 years, its just too fucked up.
          Further, I think the Catholic church would have been such a thorn in the side of the USA. The separation of church and state is not something they like when they can wield so much power and influence here,,, along with collecting lots of money.