Grey Room

Nation Building in the Philippines and the Racial Ordering of International Architecture

Diana Martinez

Juan Arellano, Legislative Building, Manila, Philippines, 1926

p. 43Shortly before its planned inauguration on July 16, 1926, the Legislative Building of the not yet sovereign Second Philippine Republic underwent a last-minute change. An inscription carved into the panel above the portico was plastered over. It had read,





The order came down from Governor General Leonard Wood. Though best known to history for leading, along with Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders on their military campaign through Cuba during the Spanish-American War, in the Philippines (under U.S. colonial occupation since the end of the Spanish-American War), Wood was better known for commanding the brutal execution of more than one thousand unarmed women, children, and men in an event now known as the Moro Massacre.1 Two decades later, Wood ordered the inscription’s removal for two stated reasons. The first was supposedly grammatical. Wood argued that the article a was necessary before the word monument. The second reason was that the inscription had not been authorized. The grammatical correction was trifling—the elimination of punctuation or indefinite articles was not atypical of monumental inscriptions. The lack of “authorization” pointed to a more complicated context, one that shaped the inscription’s carefully calculated rhetoric. The inscription, for example, made no specific reference to independence—only to “rights won.” Likewise, it made no claim to freedom, only a stated dedication to the “cause of freedom.” The inscription was thus not an appeal to an imperial sovereign but to a set of universal values that the United States claimed to represent. Finally, the petition did not come from a disembodied voice. This was the central point of the inscription, which argued that the monument was erected not for the Philippines but by the Filipino people. Wood ordered the inscription’s removal because he understood p. 44 the building for what it was—not only a convincing argument for self-determination but the direct appeal of a nation to an international community— an authority that superseded the increasingly limited reach of Wood’s power.

On the day of its inauguration in 1926, the Legislative Building, an imposing Beaux-Arts structure, appeared without a dedicatory inscription. Instead, a large blank panel served as a striking symbol of the indeterminate future of a not quite independent republic. It hardly mattered. The building’s heavily loaded ornamental program restated the inscription’s case through a relentless iteration of “the Filipino” as its decorative theme, providing an exemplary image of how postcolonial nations were compelled to self-racialize in order to claim their place within a changing world order. Perfectly suited to represent the imperatives of liberal internationalism, Beaux-Arts architecture provided a platform for national identity, though only within a framework formally disciplined by the classical orders. Here “expression” was presented to native elites as a strictly delimited arena of political agency. The native voice would be included—but only if enclosed within the bounds of a legitimizing “civilizational” structure.

After setting the Legislative Building in its international-political context, I examine the building’s site and location within Daniel Burnham’s 1905 Manila Plan before turning toward the complicated personhood of its architect, Juan Arellano. His status as a “Filipino architect” emerges within the turn-of-the-century cultures of racialized exhibition in which Arellano not only showed his work but in which his own body was placed on display. That legacy of bodily exhibition is essential to understanding Arellano’s Legislative Building and his compulsion to cover the Beaux-Arts structure in figural representations of the ethnos (the idealized sovereign of the nation). Though the building is still interpreted today as a symbol of native empowerment as envisioned by nationalists (including Arellano himself), the Legislative Building is best understood as a stark visualization of the racial ordering subtending liberal internationalism.

The Vicissitudes of Democratic Colonialism

Why, one might ask, would a colonizer sponsor a monument dedicated to the rejection of colonial rule? And why would the Nacionalistas maintain a commitment to the Beaux Arts—by then the standard architectural idiom of U.S. empire?2 The answer to these questions, at least partially, lies in the vicissitudes of democratic colonialism.3 Since 1898, the beginning of its colonial period in the Philippines, the United States had been split on the issue of Philippine independence. Republicans generally favored colonial retention, while their Democratic opponents supported Philippine national sovereignty. Woodrow p. 45 Wilson’s thoughts on the matter shifted several times over the course of both his academic and political careers.4 However, when he accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912, he adopted the party line.5 As the first Democratic president elected since 1893 (i.e., since before the Spanish-American War), Wilson moved to fulfill a campaign promise to recognize Philippine national sovereignty by signing the Jones Act into law in August 1916. Containing the first formal commitment to grant the Philippines its independence, the Jones Act required the establishment of a “stable government” as the single condition to meet before the United States granted national sovereignty. Though it was a benchmark hazy enough to ensure colonial sovereignty in perpetuity, the Jones Act did specify a transitional process, including a provision for the first fully elected Philippine legislature.6 Just as important, the act cemented a close collaboration between Wilson and Filipino Nacionalistas— a political bond that both parties leveraged as the Nacionalistas continued to advocate for Philippine national sovereignty and as Wilson’s work moved onto the international stage.

Elections for an all-Filipino upper house were held just two months after the passage of the Jones Act, sealing a Democratic-Nacionalista alliance and marking the beginning of a process of “Filipinization,” the goal of which was to replace all American civil servants with Filipino trainees (while causing as little disturbance as possible to the U.S.-built political bureaucracy). Carried out by Francis Burton Harrison, Wilson’s appointee to the Philippine governor generalship, Filipinization was executed with surprising speed. This was due, on the one hand, to the fact that most American civil servants viewed themselves as contract workers and not permanent settlers and, on the other hand, to the large number of Filipinos willing to fill civil service positions. This transfer of power was, however, ultimately performative, as the executive function—and, most important, the right to veto any piece of legislation—remained in the office of the governor general.

Positioning his Philippine policy within a set of global concerns, Wilson acted under the assumption that his opposition to Germany’s imperial aggression in Europe held little moral force as long as the United States itself ruled over an archipelago containing close to nine million colonial subjects (the vast majority of whom were actively opposed to colonial rule). Thus, despite his own expressed doubts about Filipino “preparedness” for independence, the decolonization of the Philippines presented an opportunity for Wilson to demonstrate his commitment to a new set of internationalist ideals centered on the principle of “self-determination.”7

Even as the colonial government under Harrison and Wilson worked steadily p. 46 toward Filipinization, uncertainty loomed in the form of the 1920 presidential election. As Nacionalistas had feared, Republicans retook the executive office. The president-elect, furthermore, was Warren G. Harding, the former chair of the Senate Committee on the Philippines and a hard-line retentionist. Among many actions that shocked and angered the Philippine populace was Harding’s appointment of Wood as his governor general. However, regardless of Harding’s intentions toward the Philippines, his hands were tied. By the time Harding was inaugurated, the Jones Act had not only been written into law, but Filipinization had been substantially achieved, with most civil service positions, including positions of leadership, occupied by Filipinos.8 Within the intertwined context of international policy and domestic politics, the architecture of governance—and Wood’s interventions into it—came to occupy acute significance.

Filipinization: Techniques of the Self

From 1907 until 1924, the Philippine legislature met in the Ayuntamiento de Manila, the old seat of Spanish colonial governance. Situated in the center of Intramuros’s (the old walled city) gridiron plan, the Ayuntamiento was, Nacionalistas believed, an insufficiently powerful symbol—too burdened by a colonial past to serve as a monument to the birth of a nation. The new Legislative Building broke out of the walled city’s confines to occupy a place of prominence within the 1905 Manila plan prepared by Chicago-based architect Burnham, under commission from then Governor General William Howard Taft. The centerpiece of Burnham’s plan—an uncannily familiar monumental core was (just as at Washington, DC) organized around an obelisk, in this case dedicated to the unofficial hero of the nation, José Rizal (the obelisk would be placed atop the approximate site of his execution). Placed in the middle of a semicircular court, Rizal’s cenotaph was surrounded by a half-ring of executive bureaus and bookended by a massive capitol building. Planted boulevards spring from this same point in space, radiating outward into the city, unifying Manila’s existing suburbs, or arrabales, while providing a structure for the city’s future growth. On the other side of the planned capitol was a U-shape government center gathered around an open mall (modeled after Burnham’s renovation of the Washington Mall and the Columbian Exposition’s “Court of Honor”). Facing west, toward the center of imperial power, the mall looked out on Manila Bay, prefaced by an expansive lawn, eventually named “Burnham Green” after its planner. Figure 2Daniel Burnham and Pierce Anderson, Plan of Proposed Improvement, Manila, Philippines, 1905.

The new Legislative Building broke with Burnham’s plan, rising on a site originally intended for the national museum and library, situated at the hinge between the Rizal court and an arm of municipal and cultural programs that p. 47 wrapped around the eastern (city-facing) side of Intramuros. Two possible reasons explain this change. The first is rhetorical: the site was not intended as a permanent home for the capitol building. By reserving the site originally intended for the capitol, the design acknowledged that national sovereignty had not yet been achieved.9 Another purely pragmatic consideration was that Ralph Harrington Doane, the last American consulting architect to serve in the Philippines had, before his departure in 1918, already developed, along with his Filipino assistant, Antonio Toledo, a design for the site—albeit for a library. With only two years between the passage of the Jones Act and the 1920 presidential elections, there was not enough time to develop plans for the original site, let alone to begin construction. A quicker and more convenient solution was to reconfigure Doane’s library.10

Working together, Harrison and the newly elected legislature led by Senate President Manuel Quezon (1878–1944) resolved to redesign the library as a legislative building. The Democrat-Nacionalista strategy was obvious: the massive building would be too conspicuous a project to halt without stirring controversy, and its completion would present Philippine self-determination as not only possible but already extant. Conversely, it would make the American insular regime appear redundant, outdated, and unwelcome. By the time of Harding’s inauguration, the Legislative Building’s foundation piles had already been driven into the ground. Built as a sort of concrete corollary to the Jones Act, the Legislative Building was a commensurate attempt to resolve the contradiction of a “democratic colony” by reframing the colonization of the Philippines as having always been a finite project—one in which the Philippines benefited from U.S. develop- ment and intervention. The architectural charge, then, was not to simply represent a will to Philippine nationhood but also to toe the line between nationalist sentiment and acknowledgment of an imperial power styled as the colony’s “tutor.”11

Doane’s library differs significantly from the Legislative Building as constructed. The most obvious deviations center on the latter’s Filipinization, a “revision” of the building that began with its Filipino architect. As Carmi Thompson observed on the day of the building’s inauguration: p. 48

You have this day consecrated a new home for your deliberations, and your friends across the sea will point with pride to this structure as an index of your material progress. Indeed, the pro-Independence lobby in Washington D.C. would refer to the Legislative Building as having been “designed by Filipino brains and built by Filipino hands.”12

That is, the building legitimized a claim to national sovereignty not because it was an architectural accomplishment in itself, but because, as the product of Filipino “brains and … hands,” it was understood as an extension of the native body itself.

Figure 3Juan Arellano, ca. 1926. Figure 4Juan Arellano, Woman Descending a Staircase, 1904.

The Native Architect

The “brain” responsible for the building was Arellano (1888–1960), then working as the first Filipino cosupervisor of the Architectural Division of the Bureau of Public Works.13 Born into a cosmopolitan family, Arellano was introduced to the architectural profession by his father, Luis C. Arellano, an accomplished master builder and assistant to the Catalan architect Joan Josep Hervás i Arizmendi (Manila’s municipal architect from 1887–1893). Following his father’s sudden death, the younger Arellano quit school at the age of thirteen, taking a job as a draftsman at the Bureau of Lands to help support his family. After hours he studied painting under Lorenzo Guerrero, one of the Philippines most acclaimed artists. In 1903, at the age of sixteen, Arellano sent three paintings, including Woman Descending a Stairway, to St. Louis, where they were displayed among the work of other Filipino artists at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.14 The Philippines Exhibit was the fair’s most popular, drawing the greatest number of visitors and earning the most revenue. However, artistic accomplishments such as Arellano’s were not the main attraction. That distinction belonged, as with many international expositions of the period, to the exhibit’s wildly popular “human zoo.” In St. Louis, more than 1,200 of the archipelago’s inhabitants populated simulations of their “natural habitats” in a massive “Philippine Reservation,” an exhibit intended to introduce the American public to their new colonial possession.15

Figure 5Photographer unknown, “Igorots” building a native home at the St. Louis Exposition, 1904. Organized according to a highly configured evolutionary narrative, the “Reservation” displayed members of the archipelago’s various native groups in p. 49 shelters built out of materials imported from the Philippines. These structures were grouped in replica villages and arranged along a path that led the viewer past “several stages of Filipino development.”16 At the entrance (closer to the “civilizational” center of the exposition) were the Christianized Visayans, whose village contained a small chapel that doubled as a one-room schoolhouse in which English classes were conducted. As one moved deeper into the exhibit (closer to the untouched areas of Forest Park), one encountered the more “primitive” tribes, including the bamboo and nipa lean-tos of the “Negritos” and what were presented as the more sophisticated mock villages of those referred to as “Igorots.”17 They were in turn followed by representatives of the islands’ “semi-civilized” Muslim populations—the seafaring Samal and highland Lanao Moros.18 Ambulating around the exhibit were seven hundred tribally unaffiliated members of the Philippine Constabulary, an American-trained paramilitary organization, who policed the people on display. The mock villages surrounded a plaza containing structures dedicated to commerce, education, and government, all built in Spanish mission style. Within this locally “civilized” center, meant to represent Manila, fairgoers had the opportunity to converse—in English—with fully “civilized” Filipinos represented by a cohort of “Pensionados” who took up residence in the simulated town center. As beneficiaries of American “tutelage,” these “civilized” Filipinos not only occupied the top of the exhibit’s simulated evolutionary hierarchy but also confirmed the benefits of American colonization.

In 1907, four years after his work was exhibited in St. Louis, Arellano arrived at the Jamestown Tercentennial, where he appeared not as an artist represented by his work but as a colonial subject placed on display.19 Though little is known about Arellano’s time in Jamestown, it is known that he came not as an example of a “savage” but as an example of a “civilized” native. That Filipino elites like Arellano viewed the St. Louis Exposition as a humiliating fiasco is also well-documented.20 Their main objection was to the display of “unassimilated natives,” which fostered a misconception that the archipelago was populated by p. 50 “savages.” Concerned that such displays would harm their campaign for independence, native elites demanded the complete exclusion of “Igorots, Negritos, and Moros” from the exhibit. In an attempt to appease the Nacionalistas, William Alexander Sutherland, the organizer of the Philippine exhibit at Jamestown (under pressure from exhibition organizers reluctant to sacrifice what was, in 1904, their single largest generator of revenue), suggested a simple change in arrangement, proposing to replace St. Louis’s evolutionary narrative with a single large enclosure.21 In this way, “each race or tribe … [could be] kept in its own small … group of buildings.” As exhibition-organizer Sutherland argued, “every visitor to the Philippine Reservation will necessarily see all the natives [in one place] and be able to see the great contrast between the [‘uncivilized’ and ‘civilized’] races.”22 Figure 6Map of St. Louis highlighting location of “Philippine Reservation,” 1904. Figure 7Map of Philippine Reservation, 1904. Detail. Figure 8Author, Diagram of Philippine Reservation showing the exhibition’s evolutionary arrangement.

That the Philippine Reservation conformed to Sutherland’s open plan made little difference, as fair organizers ultimately bowed to Nacionalista pressure, agreeing to exclude the “Igorots” and “Negritos” from the Philippines Reservation (though they insisted on the inclusion of the Muslim Moros).23 Submitting his p. 51 own “developed” body to counter misconceptions planted in St. Louis, Arellano drew a hard line between himself and the absent “savages” by representing, in his body, Western dress and cosmopolitanism, both the benefits of American progress, as well as Filipinos’ fitness not only for self-rule but also for rule over his “less civilized” fellow citizens.

Figure 9Map of Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, 1907. Both the Jamestown Exhibition and the Philippine Reservation within it were far smaller than what was built in St. Louis, and the revised reservation did little to dislodge the sensationalized view of an archipelago inhabited by “savages.”24 As such, a desire to sharpen the distinction between “wild” and “civilized” natives continued to preoccupy the native elite—a fixation stoked by the invocation of Filipino “savagery” as a key argument against granting the Philippines its independence. Attempting to shore up their claim to national sovereignty, elite Filipinos presented their willingness and ability to manage racialized minorities as central to their claims for “self-governance.” Demonstrating elite Filipinos’ full adoption of their colonizer’s racialized hierarchies, Vincente Nepomuceno, a member of the Philippine honorary commission in St. Louis, qualified his opposition to the exposition by arguing that “the Moros, the Negritos, and Igorrotes no more represent the people of the Philippines as the dying Indian represents the people of the United States.”25

Philippine racism toward the archipelago’s own internal others was nothing new.26 In their pursuit of political rights during the late Spanish colonial era, the educated Filipino elite, historically referred to as Illustrados (literally, “enlightened ones”) put themselves up as examples of Philippine society at large, demonstrating their “civilization” through their “education,” sartorial sophistication, artistic achievement, athleticism, eloquence in Spanish, and loyalty to Spain. As Paul Kramer argues, the problem with this “glancing attack on Spanish imperial racism” was that it predicated political rights on sociocultural features deemed to be “civilized,” ultimately delimiting the boundaries of who could be recognized as representative of the nation.27

Reflecting what was, in fact, a global issue, the stakes of racial representation at Jamestown were not limited to the Philippine Reservation.28 W.E.B. Du Bois, p. 52 for example, criticized the Jamestown Exposition’s segregated “Negro Building” (a project financed by a black entrepreneur, designed by a black architect, built with black labor, and filled with examples of black achievement) by describing it as another instance of “Jim-Crowism.”29 As Du Bois pointed out, the racialization of “black achievement” in the United States rendered black merit subordinate to white accomplishment. This reinscribed what Du Bois depicted as the “twoness” of being both black and American. A desire to reconcile national and racial identity lay at the historical roots of nineteenth-century black nationalism.30 Similarly, when elite Tagalogs advocated for Philippine nationhood on the basis of a racialized “self-governance,” they aimed to collapse this racial-national “twoness” into an indivisible racialized national identity. Thus, despite the diversity of the Philippine population, the term Filipino functioned in the world at large as both a racial and national designation, a flattening that impelled Filipino elites to exclude the Philippines’ own racialized subalterns. It was to their exclusion that Arellano placed himself on display as a living example of a racialized Filipino “ideal.”

Whatever his feeling on the matter, the objectification of his own body was, for Arellano, the price he paid for a ticket to the United States, where he intended to study architecture. Eventually landing in Pennsylvania, he took a job at the Philadelphia Commercial Museum as a photo colorist to support himself while he took courses at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts before enrolling full-time at the Drexel Institute.31 When he returned to the Philippines in 1916 (a mere decade after he had placed his body on display at Jamestown), he joined the Bureau of Public Works, eventually taking control of the Architectural Division of the bureau.

A few months after the inauguration of the legislative building, pro-independence lobbyists invited Arellano back to the United States.32 Accompanied by his wife, the singer Natividad Ocampo de Arellano, the conjugal team championed the Nacionalista cause by demonstrating their poise and acculturation. To this end, Natividad sang in concerts, while Juan’s paintings, sketches, and architectural renderings were exhibited at the House Office Building. Catching wind of these events, the New York Times ran a short article about Arellano titled “Noted Architect Once Posed as ‘Wild Man’ at Jamestown.” The piece details the seemingly miraculous transformation of Arellano, who, “twenty years after he first landed in the United States from steerage as a ‘brown skinned … wild man,’” had returned to the United States as a sort of valedictory homecoming. The description was propped up by a long list of qualifying accomplishments—his graduation from an American University, the prizes he had won, his general command of “ancient classic lines”—all of which dramatized p. 53 his fictionalized metamorphosis from a “wild man” into a cultured individual. Far from presenting Arellano’s accomplishments as his own, the article confirmed the success and progressive nature of the American colonial project at the precise moment the United States wished to frame its withdrawal from the Philippines not as the admission of a historical error but as evidence of a civilizing mission accomplished. Figure 10Juan Arellano, Portico of Legislative Building, Philippines, 1926.

Though his reaction to the Times article is unknown, Arellano surely would not have been pleased with either posing as a wild man or being called a “wild man”—even if in the past tense. What is certain is that Arellano understood the peculiar constraints of his position. Though narratives of the U.S. development of the Filipino served Americans best, it also advanced the cause of an elite- driven independence movement, for which Arellano served as a highly symbolic advocate. That is, Arellano understood the strategic value of presenting his own success—even his own body—as the accomplishment of his colonizers. This, in fact, was Arellano’s central objective at the Legislative Building, a structure not only designed, built by, and for Filipinos but covered in representations of Filipino bodies. This decorative program presented the building not as the achievement of an individual but as representative of the Filipino race (as developed by U.S. colonizers).33 This was a designed unity in which Arellano’s “brain” was just one part. As such, Arellano’s role as an architect was not limited to redesigning the Legislative Building but also included his performance as an “object among other objects.”34

From Body to Building

Though both elaborate Beaux-Arts structures, a major difference separates Doane’s library and Arellano’s Legislative Building. While Doane’s version is completely absent of figural sculpture, Arellano’s is covered in human figures of all kinds.35 This is most clearly seen in Arellano’s portico, which drew from the conventions of the triumphal arch, and more specifically from the Trevi Fountain, which he would have seen on his postgraduation tour of Europe. As p. 54 a classical type dedicated to communication, the triumphal arch incorporates redundant structural components (i.e., arches and columns) that “support” a superimposed semantic structure (usually messages and symbols of conquest or victory).36 Though Arellano’s portico is itself not an arch, its communicative function is emphasized by similar structural redundancies. The portico’s columns, for example, bear both the actual and symbolic weight of the lintel and of the four figures positioned above the capitals. These figures represent what Philippinologists then considered the “four sources” of Philippine culture: Chinese, Hindu, Spanish, and Anglo-Saxon. Above the attic, two figures representing the Arts and Sciences flank a globe on which a Philippine eagle perches. Two arch- like exedrae (nods to the triumphal arch) occupy either side of the entrance and house a sculpture titled Home in one niche and a group titled Progress in the other.37 Figure 11Juan Arellano, Portico of Legislative Building, Philippines, 1926.

Dozens of bodies adorn the building—a decorative strategy that posed a problem. What should these bodies look like? On what model should they be built? The answer was far from straightforward. Starting around the late nineteenth century, the classical canon was increasingly challenged by the emerging fields of anthropology and ethnology, as seen, for example, in the racialized structural rationalism of Eugéne Viollet-le-Duc, for whom the source of style and structure was not universal but climatically particular, an ideal encapsulated by his concluding exhortation in The Habitations of Man of All Ages to “know thyself.”38 To know oneself as a national subject was not an act of introspection but a project in which citizens were compelled to identify with a generalized ethnological object. However, as anyone with a basic knowledge of the Philippines knew, the national self was an unstable invention incommensurable with its varied population. While still a history professor at Princeton, Wilson used the archipelago’s heterogeneity to disqualify a Filipino claim to national sovereignty. In his words,

No people can form a community or be wisely subjected to common forms of government who are as diverse and as heterogeneous as the people of the Philippine Islands… . They are of many races, of many stages of development, economically, socially, politically disintegrate, without community of feeling … having nothing in common except that they have lived for hundreds of years together under a government which held them always where they were when it first arrested their development.39 p. 55

Compelled to resolve this early diagnosis of an “arrested” Philippine “development” with a campaign promise to recognize Philippine national sovereignty, Wilson adopted development as a colonial project. Though today we mostly associate development with the postwar era and understand it in mostly economic terms, race was the first object of development practice. The tools of this particular kind of development were education and environmental modification in the form of landscape, architecture, and public works projects.40 Promoters of what was then referred to as “race development” argued that both education and environmental design could be marshaled directly toward racial improvement. As imagined by Wilson and others, a second nature enriched by U.S. industrial progress would act as an accelerator of evolutionary time.

The bodies that occupy Arellano’s pediment play a special role vis-à-vis “race development,” not as an environmental agent but as a symbolic projection of its ideal end. Responding to what Wilson identified as a problematic heterogeneity, Arellano offered an image of a future racial unity. Presenting the nation in the process of its unification, Arellano allegorized the nation as three figures—each representing the archipelago’s three principal island groups—Luzon, Mindanao, and the Visayas.41 The female figure at the center represents Luzon, named after the largest and most populous island in the group. The male figure to her right, represents Mindanao, the southernmost island group and the only one with a majority Muslim population. To Luzon’s left sits a female figure who represents the centrally located Visayas archipelago.42 Luzon’s elevated position and the scepter she holds in her right hand identify her as the sovereign. Her regal stoicism is juxtaposed with both Mindanao’s defiant expression and that of Visayas, who casts her gaze downward in a fully deferential posture. Mindanao and Visayas face away from each other—illustrating a mythologized conflict between them. Historically, both the Spanish and American colonial regimes regarded the Visayans as the victims of centuries of Moro violence, a perception shaped by the successful Christianization of the Visayans and the largely unsuccessful attempts to colonize and Christianize the Moros. Here Luzon is charged with both protecting the effete and feminized Visayans and with exerting control over the masculinized, martial culture of Mindanao. By presenting Luzon as the only power fit to manage this internecine conflict, this hierarchical arrangement served the purposes of a native elite (dominated by Tagalogs from Luzon)—a group that was both protective of its own claims to power and reliably amenable to American political and economic goals. Figure 12Photographer unknown, “Educational Value of the Constabulary,” 1913. Published in Frederick Chamberlin, The Philippine Problem (Boston: Little, Brown, 1913). Figure 13Paulo Alcazaren, drone photograph of Juan Arellano, Otto Fischer-Credo, and atelier, Legislative Building Pediment, 1926.

Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas are flanked by personifications of Learning, Law, Commerce, and Agriculture, who recline in casual repose, somewhat indifferent to the national trio. Instead, the national trio must attend to these figures. The obstinate Mindanao, whose body is angled toward Law and Learning, must take heed of their lessons, while Visayas, draped in a fine cloth of piña fiber (for which the region was known), must follow the lead of commerce and agriculture. The nation, the pediment thus suggests, must orient itself toward these universal values, depicted here as classical (i.e., white) figures, racially distinct from the national trio. An increasingly common convention of national personifications was that their “attributes” included not only signifying objects but, more important, costumes and ethnographic features. Luzon wears a baro’t saya, a nineteenth-century hispanicization of precolonial dress. Luzon’s dress is not as fine as that worn by Visayas—a nod to Visayan weaving skills. Mindanao wears a form- fitting shirt and holds a kris, the traditional weapon of the Moros. His sarong and headdress indicate both his geographical origins and his Muslim faith. The native dress of Arellano’s national trio differs from both the politicized sartorial choices of the late-nineteenth-century Illustrados and from the dress and tattooed skin of the so-called wild tribes.43 Splitting the difference between these two imagined poles, the national trio presents distinctive, though “civilized” character-giving forms of national expression.

Working out which groups were fit for leading a nation was a task undertaken self-consciously in the context of Wilsonian internationalism. This was an order sorted out on a global map of nested hierarchies, one in which the Anglo-Saxon assumed a position at the top, while other dominant ethnic groups ordained as relatively more civilized assumed sovereignty over their own national subalterns—the unassimilated tribes whose bodies are left unrepresented in or by the building.44 That is, the building monumentalized a global systematization of techniques of racial management. Thus, though Wilson is celebrated—even today—as a hero of Philippine independence, his advocacy should not be viewed as a cause he championed on account of a belief in racial equality. It was, to the contrary, a means of instantiating race as the basis of a new world order. Within this system, claiming authorship over the idealized p. 57 native body or the “self” was a prerequisite for national self-determination. This can be seen in the representation of the trio’s ethnographic features, which, unlike the native costume that presents the three figures as culturally distinct, serves instead to articulate a racial unity. Arellano did not take direct responsibility for modeling this racial unity. Beyond sketches and a few directives, he left the execution of his sculptural groups to a set of collaborators. Doubtful that native talent could complete a project of the pediment’s unprecedented scale, Arellano hired a German sculptor named Otto Fischer-Credo to lead the execution and train native Filipino assistants. A recent graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, Fischer-Credo had previously attended Berlin’s Akademie der Künste. Though classically trained, when the sculptor came to the Philippines he was immediately charged with assimilating the anthropological challenge to the classical tradition.

Turning to ethnological and anthropological descriptions of the “typical Filipino,” Fischer-Credo likely mined the work of Henry Otley Beyer, the American anthropologist still referred to as the “dean” of Philippine anthropology. Beyer described the typical Filipino as a “uniform Malay type,” possessing a medium stature, “excellent muscular development,” broad shoulders, slender waists, small hands and feet, brown complexion, straight black hair with virtually no beard or mustache, and black or brown eyes “set rather slanting under an intelligent brow.”45 Like many others, Beyer viewed the Moros as culturally distinct but of the “same racial stock” as the Christianized Filipino, an inclusion that demonstrates that race, not culture, determined one’s eventual eligibility for Philippine citizenship.46

The wealth of anthropological information available to Fischer-Credo did not seem to help him much. The national trio appears at times and in parts as stiff and ungainly. Luzon is more chair than body—a scaffold for native costume, an awkwardness echoed by Mindanao’s strange proportions and flattened, block-like head. Visayas cuts the most elegant figure, but even her posture seems uneasy when compared to the classical counterparts. Fisher-Credo, and his native atelier, who would have had previous experience carving (mostly in wood) the European likenesses of Jesus, Mary, and the saints, had little practice modeling the “Filipino,” and it shows. The clumsiness of the figures reveals an attempted “naturalism” as a fiction at the heart of a new national culture.

An Iconological Study of Segregation

What I have presented so far should not be understood as a study of the building’s iconography, defined by the art historian Erwin Panofsky as related to the subject matter or meaning of works of art. Rather it is what Panofsky described p. 58as an iconological study: an attempt to analyze the significance of the subject matter as it relates to a “world of custom.”47 According to Panofsky, writing during the period of his wartime exile in Wilson’s Princeton, an iconological study is concerned not only (as the iconographic is) with the “primary and natural” but also with the “secondary and conventional” or, more simply, the cultural.48 Proper identification of iconographic elements (in this case, of the body as nation) often obfuscates an iconological understanding (in this case, of liberal internationalism). That is, the context in which Arellano operates is not the nation as such but rather the nation as situated and naturalized within the global setting of liberal internationalism—a political, social, and cultural system that both consciously and unconsciously produced its own sets of customs and conventions.49

Elements of Arellano and Fischer-Credo’s pediment point to this broader context. Take, for example, the awkward gaps that separate the native trio from the white allegorical figures. These spaces, occupied by seemingly useless furniture, serve no allegorical function except to create distance between the figures—that is, to segregate them. What might otherwise appear as a compositional weakness instead transmits one of liberal internationalism’s clandestine imperatives. Among other things, this separation suggests that the reconciliation of the postcolonial nation’s inner racial principle with a classical ideal would not materialize in the form of a mixed-race figure—even if merely symbolic. For Governor General Harrison (just as for Wilson) miscegenation was considered both a problem in itself and problematic on account of the threat it posed to the stability of the racial state.50 In direct reference to “interracial unions,” Harrison warned of the dangers of ignoring this “delicate matter,” as “the race question … is apt at any moment, and in the most unexpected manner, to crop up and baffle the plans and policies of all those who are in good faith wrestling with public issues.”51 That is, to politically attend to “the race question,” one must begin with clearly defined races. Wilson’s well-known support of anti- miscegenation laws can be recast in this light not only as evidence of his racism but also as central to his larger vision of segregationist “decolonization”— a “stabilizing” vision for liberal internationalism that had at its center the idea of racial purification within nations and racial diversity without.

Wilson’s vision of a racially segregated globe was presented to the world and to history as a universal right to “self-determination.” As such, his reputation as the author of the League of Nations (established in 1920) is, at least in the standard historical narrative of liberal internationalism, considered inconsistent with his racism. The world order as imagined by the architects of the league—Wilson, Robert Cecil, and fellow committed segregationist Jan Smuts—p. 59 was, however, a peace structured by clearly defined racial hierarchies and on a process of unequal integration, especially of the world’s black and brown peoples.52 As Du Bois and others point out, the League of Nations included no provisions for black representation, even though “the great majority of the peoples of the mandated areas are Negroes.”53 This structural inequality animated the proceedings of the Second Pan African Congress, which Du Bois helped plan as a series of countermeetings to the Paris Peace Conference. Black exclusion from the League of Nations allows us to think, along with Du Bois, of the league’s ordering of the world, and the ethnonational units it helped to shape, as the same force that motivated Wilson’s earlier and more overtly segregationist practices, including his exclusion of African American students from Princeton dorms and his resegregation of federal civil service workplaces.

That this racist homology is severed was intentional. The success of the League of Nations depended on the assent of the colonized to the new structure of empire. For this reason the league does not reveal its own contentious history. One must recover from the archives the various objections of the Pan-African League or the exclusion of the “racial equality clause” proposed by the Japanese delegates.55 The Philippines’ Legislative Building offers rare visual evidence of the racial ordering that undergirded liberal internationalism.

Like the segregating gap, the importance of Fischer-Credo’s role is often overlooked, as much of his work in the Philippines is attributed to his apprentice Ramón Martínez (part of a compulsion to attribute Filipino art and architecture to “Filipino brains and hands”). His work in the Philippines should be understood, however, not only for the imprint it left on the Philippines but also for the influence it exerted on the direction of his career (as situated within this world history). Constructing racialized personifications of the nation became for Fischer-Credo both a specialty and life-long pursuit. Following eight years in the Philippines, he caught wind of new opportunities for artists in his homeland. Back in Germany he joined legions of German artists whose practice was defined by the consolidation of race with nation.55 As an official sculptor for the Third Reich, both Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler sat for him, a development p. 60 of his career that sheds light on the international origins and historical consequences of the ethno-state and on the global influence and currency of its identity- based aesthetic regimes. Figure 14Photographer unknown, Otto Fischer Credo and his native atelier, ca. 1925.

Liberal Internationalism and Publicity

In December 1920, Woodrow Wilson accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for the role he had played as the lead architect of the League of Nations. This was small consolation following the U.S. Senate’s rejection of the Treaty of Versailles, mostly because it contained the covenant of the League of Nations, which Republicans and a sizable number of Democrats opposed on account of what they viewed as a threat to national sovereignty. Objectors were particularly concerned about the potential loss of jurisdiction over issues of “immigration, naturalization, elective franchise, land ownership, and intermarriage”—all issues directly related to racial management.56 Situated within that set of concerns was control over what the United States would do with its own Far Eastern colony.

The rejection of the treaty was especially ironic, since the Philippines had served, for Wilson, as an important proving ground for the covenant itself, particularly for Article 22 (concerning the mandate system), the details of which closely mirrored Wilson’s Philippine policy. Wilson concluded his eighth and final Message to Congress with a lame-duck request to grant the Philippines its independence.57 The request was likely made on account of his desire to conclude an exemplary and carefully planned process of “decolonization,” which he assumed would eventually fall under the jurisdiction of the league. Wilson’s plea to Congress fell on deaf ears—the Philippines remained a U.S. colony for close to another three decades. True to expectations, Governor General Wood vetoed sixteen of the fifty bills that the legislature sent to his office in his first year alone. By comparison, Harrison, his Democrat predecessor, vetoed only five pieces of legislation during his entire tenure as governor general. With increasingly limited legal recourse, Nacionalistas turned toward publicity. In this capacity the Legislative Building attended to multiple authorities and audiences, symbolically fulfilling the Jones Act’s condition of “a stable government,” serving as an emblem for the League of Nations’ foundational principle of “self-determination,” and, perhaps most important, directly addressing what Wilson called the “world court of public opinion,” an “institution” that superseded the formal legal powers of the league.58

Arellano and the Nacionalistas stated their “case” before this court in a Beaux-Arts neoclassicism that positioned their cause within a lineage of Western liberal democracies. Beaux-Arts architecture was, however, not Arellano’s choice per se. Starting in 1910, the Architectural Division of the Bureau of Public Works Martinez p. 61 began to build almost exclusively in a neoclassical style. This shift is notable because, despite Burnham’s close association with neoclassicism, in the Philippines the planner deferred to historical context, suggesting that the United States should use the “old Spanish churches and … government buildings … as examples of future structures.”59 Accordingly, William Parsons (Burnham’s hand-picked executor for the Manila Plan) designed all of his early work in the Philippines in what historian Thomas Hines describes as a simplified, “proto-modernist,” Spanish mission style.60 Parsons’s turn toward neoclassicism in 1908 was in response to several motivations, ideological and otherwise, including the fact that nearly all architecture schools in the United States had adopted a standardized architectural curriculum laid out by the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects.61 Beaux-Arts neoclassicism, therefore, was the dominant idiom in which U.S.-educated Filipino architects (including Arellano) were trained. Beaux-Arts curricula were, moreover, popular not only in the United States but increasingly throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Antipodes.62 That is, as the Philippines made its case for independence, it relied on the legibility and currency of what was already an international style. By placing Filipino bodies within this “universal” scaffold, Arellano conveyed a Nacionalista desire for independence that he presented as both derived from and the gift of Western “civilization.”63

Just how effective the Legislative Building was at publicizing U.S. Philippine policy is unclear, but the American “approach” in the Philippines (at least according to Harrison) had in one way or another already taken hold of the imaginations of the world’s colonized populations. By 1922, the year Harrison published his Cornerstone of Philippine Independence, the global “Effect of American Policy” (the title of the book’s concluding chapter) could be heard in “Madras, where the Indian movement for home rule (was) … inspired by Philippine policy,” as well as in the testimonies of “visiting delegations of Chinese … (whose) belief in the honor and unselfishness of America was firmly based upon our attitude toward the Filipinos.” Echoes were also heard in “the harbors of Malaysia,” in Java, Ceylon, Indo-China, and “even in the far-away mountain passes of Armenia.”64 Despite this, neither Harrison nor the Nacionalistas would leave the good news of native deliverance to the vagaries of hearsay. The Legislative Building was intended to monumentalize the success of the Wilsonian approach as already made manifest in the Philippines.

The Standards of Inclusion: “Representative Men” and Invented Heritage65

As a strategy to publicize the cause of Philippine national sovereignty, the Legislative Building functioned as a theater in which Filipinos both practiced and performed “self-determination” before an international(ist) audience. Both U.S. politicians and elite Nacionalistas, however, viewed the political activation of the ethnos (as invoked by the pediment’s national trio) as a calculated risk. Granting national sovereignty to colonies was a concession that Wilson and Harrison viewed as a way to preempt revolution, which Wilson and other Western imperial powers imagined to be a potentially overwhelming force.66 The world’s colonized population, globally represented by over “seven hundred and fifty million people,” was, Harrison warned, “seething with discontent … (already) kindling into fury against the white race on account of the European theory of colonization.”67

Figure 15Juan Arellano and Ralph Harrington Doane, Legislative Building, 1918–1926.

A fear of the unruly power of the native masses was at the center of a U.S. Democratic Party-Nacionalista collaborationist agenda, an imperative reflected in the hierarchical organization of the Legislative Building’s plan. Though fairly typical for Beaux-Arts plans, the building’s perfect bilateral symmetry was somewhat at odds with the legislature’s bicameral structure—one usually characterized not by symmetry but by a dynamic balance between two representational forms. In virtually every building that houses a bicameral legislature (e.g., Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada), the lower house is placed on the same level as the upper house, with each branch of the legislature occupying opposite ends.68 In most cases the architecture maintains an outward semblance of symmetry, and thus an impression of stability, while the interior’s asymmetry accommodates the deliberately opposed organization of the two houses. By placing the upper house on top of the lower house, Arellano substituted this dynamic balance for a carefully poised hierarchy—an ordering dramatized by the Senate Hall’s cathedral-like proportions (and by the Lower House’s comparatively modest chambers).

Figure 15Juan Arellano and Ralph Harrington Doane, Legislative Building, 1918–1926. Arellano reinforced the importance of the Senate Hall’s position and proportion with an elaborate decorative program that serves as a rhetorical counterpoint to Fischer-Credo’s pediment, answering its nationalist siren song with a group of representative men cast as the guiding lights for the ethnos. Conceived as the sanctum sanctorum of a native elite, the Session Hall was the result of a close collaboration between Arellano and Isabelo Tampinco, a master wood carver best known for his intricately carved church ceilings (a version of which was installed in the chamber). Tampinco’s sculptural program consists of two main groups, both of which are distinguished by the individual character of their figures, a verism that ran contra to the pediment’s racialized ideal, suggesting that these men had transcended at least some racial determinations. Regardless of the distinction, what the combination of these representational strategies demonstrates is the unique utility of the ethno-state, demonstrated here as a p. 63 force that operates across classes.

The first group of figures, installed above the chamber’s four entrances, features busts of José Rizal, Andrés Bonifacio, Juan Luna, and Gregorio del Pilar, prominent Illustrados known for leading the native uprising against Spain. Wilson and Harrison encouraged the veneration of these figures as a cultural complement to Filipinization policy.69 More remarkable than this familiar native canon is a continuous frieze depicting an unprecedented roster of sixteen global lawmakers. Illuminated under a crown of naked incandescent bulbs, their heads tilt down toward the assembled senators below. Plucked from both modern and ancient history, they stand as the international guardians of the very heart of the nation.

Presiding over the most symbolically important positions are the figures on the western and eastern walls. On the former are Woodrow Wilson, holding a copy of his Fourteen Points and Pope Leo XIII, who created a new archdiocese in the Philippines in 1903. On the eastern wall facing the senators are two Filipinos—the recently deceased lawyer Apolinario Mabini, popularly known as the “brain of the revolution”; and Datu Kalantiaw, whose legal code dating to 1433 had been recently discovered transcribed in a sixteenth-century Spanish manuscript.70 Found just a few years before construction began on the Legislative Building, this “discovery” could not have come at a better time for the Nacionalistas, who often found themselves with no recourse when faced with arguments that legitimized colonial rule by pointing to the indigene’s lack of a verifiable civilizational inheritance. With his frieze, Arellano joined historians in a scramble to incorporate Kalantiaw into Philippine history. This gift from the heavens eventually proved too good to be true. In the late 1960s, William Henry Scott, an American doctoral student studying at the University of Santo Tomas, successfully defended a dissertation arguing that Kalantiaw and his legal code were total fabrications, invented in 1912 by a Filipino trickster priest and philological hobbyist named Jose E. Marco, who sold dozens of forged documents to the Philippine National Library and to deep-pocketed American collectors, including Chicago business magnate Edward E. Ayer, whose donations p. 64 to the Newberry Library form the backbone of its manuscript collection. Figure 16Juan Arellano with Atelier Isabelo Tampinco & Sons, Senate Session Hall, Legislative Building, Manila, Philippines, 1926.

The debunked manuscript dealt a disheartening blow to Filipino elites desperate to endorse a great civilizational past. But is this fake any different from the manufacture of myth and meaning found throughout the Legislative Building—or, for that matter, the invention, reworking, or adaptation of “tradition” characteristic of all national histories?71 Though most (not all) historians acquiesced to the discovery of Marco’s forgery by quietly removing his presence from Philippine textbooks, a great deal can be learned from the Kalantiaw affair.72 As Michael Salman and Ackbar Abbas argue, the fake is a symptom that enables us to address rather than dismiss some of the discrepancies of a rapidly developing and seemingly ineluctable global order. Abbas asks us to think of the fake as a social, cultural, and historical response to the processes of globalization and to the uneven and unequal relations that globalization has engendered.73 In this light, the belief in Kalantiaw is symptomatic of a pathology that is the outcome of impossible demands placed on postcolonial nationals who must provide not only proof of their “development” but also of a significant contribution to world history, with ancient history markedly preferred.74

Kalantiaw and Mabini excepted, many of the figures Arellano selected for the frieze also appear almost a decade later in the frieze of the main chamber of Cass Gilbert’s U.S. Supreme Court Building, completed in 1935. The shared content was not coincidental. Taft, the building’s sponsor, would have been familiar with the Legislative Building, as he was not only the first and only U.S. president to serve as the chief justice of the Supreme Court but had also (it is often forgotten) served as the first civil governor general of the Philippines. After leaving, Taft kept close watch over the colony, taking special interest in its architecture and in the fulfillment of Burnham’s plan. Despite the single origin of this global theme, its use signified two different though related desires in the colony and the metropole. In the United States it demonstrated an ambition to be recognized as a leader in international affairs, and in the Philippines it expressed a desire for political recognition—ideally from its colonizer but, if not, then in “the world court of public opinion.” p. 65

A master performance of expert mimicry, specious heritage, and genius forgeries, the Legislative Building is difficult to place comfortably within architectural history’s dominant narratives. Presented to the world as a monument both to and built by an exemplary postcolonial nation, a close reading reveals a history of the racial state that reaches well beyond its own imagined limits by describing the very means through which nations were conceived and unequally integrated into a liberal international order. The construction and exhibition of the native body, by native bodies, was at the center of a multiculturalist imagination on which the success of liberal internationalism hinged. My aim then, is not to argue for the inclusion of this story within a global history of architecture. Rather, it is to present “global history” as an echo of the same conditional inclusions described in this history of liberal internationalism. This “inclusivity” does not exist as an alternative to a history of colonial violence but rather offers yet another instance of its ever-evolving returns.

Nation Building in the Philippines and the Racial Ordering of International Architecture

Diana Martinez


  1. In the sneak attack of over one thousand Tausug villagers, only six survived. More people and a higher percentage of them were killed during the Moro Massacre than in other incidents in U.S. history that are considered massacres, including the Battle of Wounded Knee and the My Lai massacre. Notably, the Moro Massacre took place in 1906—four years after the supposed end of the Philippine-American War. For a contemporaneous rebuke of the Moro Massacre, see Mark Twain, “Comments on the Moro Massacre,” in Autobiography of Mark Twain, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1924). The Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry, were the only U.S. regiment to see combat in Cuba during the Spanish-American War—a war that culminated with the United States’ colonial acquisition of the Philippines in 1898.

  2. The Partido Nacionalista was first organized as a vehicle for Philippine independence. In this article, I refer to members of the party simply as Nacionalistas. The other major party, who were generally favored by U.S. Republicans, was the Partido Federalista, who advocated for the Philippines to become a U.S. state. The Partido Federalista changed its name to “Partido Progresista” after rescinding its increasingly unpopular statehood platform in 1905. Michael Cullinane, Ilustrado Politics: Filipino Elite Responses to American Rule, 1898–1908 (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1989).

  3. I borrow this term from Michael Cullinane and Ruby Paredes, eds., Philippine Colonial Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asian Studies, 1988).

  4. Though Wilson first opposed Philippine annexation, he later advocated a policy of American tutelage. In 1906 he endorsed colonial imperialism; a year later he spoke on behalf of a constitutional government as a step toward self-government. Roy Watson Curry, “Woodrow Wilson and Philippine Policy,” *Mississippi Valley Historical Review *41, no. 3 (December 1954): 435–452.

  5. As officially stated in the Democratic Party Platform of 1912: “We reaffirm the position thrice announced by the Democracy in national convention assembled against a policy of imperialism and colonial exploitation in the Philippines or elsewhere.” Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, “1912 Democratic Party Platform” (25 June 1912), American Presidency Project,

  6. As Maximo Kalaw points out, different standards were applied to the term stable government. Those used by Presidents McKinley and Wilson, he argued, were roughly comparable to the criteria required of countries admitted to the League of Nations in 1921. The three main elements were, first, an ability to maintain order and ensure peace, tranquility, and the security of citizens; second, the ability to meet international obligations; and third, an obligation to constitutionally guarantee peaceful suffrage of the people. The standards invoked by Wood and William C. Forbes were based on a set of concrete benchmarks more directly related to economic conditions. See Maximo M. Kalaw, “Why the Filipinos Expect Independence,” Foreign Affairs 10, no. 2 (January 1932): 304–315. The Philippine legislature was a bicameral legislature that, since 1907, had consisted of a Philippine Lower House (previously called the Assembly) made up of an elected body of colonial subjects and an Upper House (previously called the Commission), at first made up mostly of American appointees. After the passage of the Jones Law, the Upper House was renamed the Philippine Senate, while the Lower House was renamed the House of Representatives.

  7. On Wilsonian internationalism, see, for example, Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007). See also Adom Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019), in which the author offers an alternative to a “standard account of decolonization” which includes Manela’s among many others.

  8. In 1913, the number of American and Filipino officials was 2,623 and 6,363 respectively; in 1921 the government comprised 13,240 Filipino and 614 American administrators. Ronald E. Dolan, ed., Philippines: A Country Study (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office for the Library of Congress, 1991), 32.

  9. The executive office was and is still located at Malacañang, the Spanish governor general’s palace first built in 1750.

  10. The full extent to which Arellano reconfigured the plan is unclear beyond the details reflected in the visible changes to the exterior discussed here. Doane’s original plan for the library appears to have not survived. Today the building is the home to the National Museum. The arrangement of interior spaces is relatively undisturbed. After the complete destruction of Manila in World War II, the entire capital was relocated to Quezon City, for which Arellano and Harry Talford Frost drew up an entirely new master plan. Frost was William Parsons’s partner in the Chicago firm Bennett, Parsons, & Frost. Parsons was handpicked by Burnham to execute the Manila Plan and acted as a consulting architect in the Philippines from 1905 to 1914. On the Quezon City plans, see Yves Boquet, “From Paris and Beijing to Washington and Brasilia: The Grand Design of Capital Cities and the Early Plans for Quezon City,” Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints 64 (March 2016): 43–71.

  11. The terms tutor and tutelage were often used in relation to colonial rule in the Philippines; for example, in a speech that Wilson delivered in Trenton, New Jersey (when he was still a history professor at Princeton): “Liberty is not itself government … in hands unpracticed, undisciplined—it is incompatible with government. Discipline must precede it—if necessary, the discipline of being under masters. Then will self-control make it a thing of life and not a thing of tumult… . They can have liberty no cheaper than we got it… . We are old in this learning and must be their tutors.” Woodrow Wilson, “The Ideals of America,” The Atlantic, December 1902, 730.

  12. Carmi Thompson quoted in “The Legislative Building,” Philippine Magazine, July 1926, 461.

  13. Arellano’s cosupervisor was Tomás Bautista Mapúa. Both had already worked for the insular government under their American predecessors. Initiated under Taft in 1903, the Pensionados program arranged for participating U.S. universities to waive tuition, while the U.S. government paid for travel and living expenses. Upon completion of their studies, Filipinos were required to serve at least eighteen months of government service. Upon Mapúa’s return, he became the first registered architect in the Philippines.

  14. Arellano’s paintings were exhibited alongside more than three hundred other works by more than one hundred Filipino artists. William P. Wilson, Catalog of the Philippine Exposition of the Universal Exposition in St. Louis (St. Louis: Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904).

  15. Scholarship on the display of Philippine natives is extensive. My description is mostly drawn from Paul Kramer, The Blood of Government, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006, especially the chapter “Tensions of Exposition.” Filipinos were not the only anthropological subjects placed on display. For a critical essay on the violent origins of “multiculturalism” at the St. Louis Exposition, see Cedric Robison, “Ota Benga through Geronimo’s Eyes,” in Cedric J. Robinson, On Racial Capitalism, Black Internationalism, and Cultures of Resistance, ed. H.L.T. Quan (London: Pluto Books, 2019).

  16. Alfred C. Newell, “The Philippine Peoples,” in special issue on the St. Louis Exposition, The World’s Work, August 1904, 5128–5144, here 5129.

  17. The term Negrito was used to refer to more than thirty officially recognized ethnic groups who inhabit the Philippines, including the Aeta of Luzon, the Ati and Tumandok of Panay, the Agta of the Sierra Madre, and the Mamanwa of Mindanao. The exonym Igorot is Tagalog for “mountain people.” It is not an ethnic or tribal designation and is viewed by some as pejorative. The terms Ifugao and Ipugao (also meaning “mountain people”) are used more frequently by members of this aggregate group, which is now officially referred to as the Cordilleran peoples. The recognized Cordilleran ethnolinguistic groups are the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Kalanguya/ Ikalahan, Isneg, Tinguian, Kalinga, and Kankanaey.

  18. Report of the Philippine Exposition Board in the United States for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (Manila: Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, 1905), 5.

  19. The Jamestown Tercentennial commemorating the three-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, which was located in present- day Norfolk, Virginia.

  20. Scholarship on the Philippine Reservation in St. Louis and on the display of Filipinos at nineteenth- and early twentieth-century expositions is extensive. See, for example, Cherubim A. Quizon and Patricia O. Afable, eds., “Rethinking Displays of Filipinos at St. Louis: Embracing Heartbreak and Irony,” in “World’s Fair 1904,” special issue, Philippine Studies 52, no. 4 (2004): 439–444. See also Kramer, The Blood of Government.

  21. Sutherland’s work in the Philippines began as Governor General Taft’s Spanish interpreter. He also served as in loco parentis for the Pensionados at St. Louis.

  22. William Alexander Sutherland, “The Philippine Exhibition at Jamestown,” in The Filipino (Washington, DC: The Filipino Company, July–September 1906), 15

  23. “Filipinos at Jamestown: Not to Be a Circus Affair,” Springfield Republican, 13 May 1907.

  24. This misconception grew on account of the popularity of the “Igorots,” who became a paid traveling act following the 1904 exposition. Another group of Igorots were brought from the Philippines and put on display as a side show in Coney Island in 1905. Fewer than three million visitors attended the Jamestown Exposition. In comparison, more than nineteen million visitors attended the St. Louis Exposition.

  25. “Filipinos Are Preposterously Misrepresented,” St. Louis Dispatch, 19 June 1904, 1.

  26. For a history of racism toward non-Christian groups see, Teodoro Agoncillo, “Tracing Origins: ‘Illustrado’ Nationalism and the Racial Science of Migration,” Journal of Asian Studies 64, no. 3 (August 2005): 605–637.

  27. Kramer, The Blood of Government, 37.

  28. This is true of any world exposition. On the role that race played at turn-of-the-century world’s fairs see, for example, Robert Rydell, All the World’s a Fair (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); and Mabel Wilson, Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012).

  29. W.E.B. Du Bois quoted in Sarah Watkins, “The Negro Building: African-American Representation at the 1907 Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition” (MA thesis, The College of William and Mary, 1994), 111. Du Bois’s comment may at first seem surprising considering his role in staging the “American Negro Exhibit” at the 1900 exposition in Paris. That exhibit, however, was not separated from other exhibits.

    More importantly, Du Bois’ objections to the Jamestown Exposition were deeply affected by the fact that it was staged close to the exact geographical origin of black American double consciousness. As was well known, the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown in 1619 at Point Comfort (today, Fort Monroe), which would have been visible from the fairgrounds at Sewell Point. Additionally, the president of the exposition was the Governor of Virginia, Fitzhugh Lee, leading proponent of the “lost cause” interpretation of the Civil War, and the nephew of General Robert E. Lee. It is unclear whether the centerpiece of the fair, “Lee’s Parade Grounds” were named after Robert E. Lee, his nephew, or both. For Du Bois’ devastating criticism of the often-renewed efforts to canonize Robert E. Lee see W.E.B. Du Bois, “Robert E. Lee,” The Crisis 35, no. 3 (March 1928): 97.

    As in many matters, Booker T. Washington was opposed to Du Bois’s objections. In a speech delivered in front of the Negro Building, Washington argued that he was “pleased and surprised at the neat and attractive appearance of the Negro Building” and that “from an architectural point of view it does high credit to [the architect] Mr. [W. Sidney] Pittman and all connected with its construction.” Booker T. Washington “Excerpts from an Address at the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition” (3 August 1907), in The Booker T. Washington Papers, Nan E. Woodruff, Raymond Smock, and Louis R. Harland eds., vol. 9, 1906–08 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 321. For Du Bois’s work at the 1900 exposition, see Wilson, Negro Building.

  30. On nineteenth-century black nationalism, see, for example, Nell Irvin Painter, “Martin R. Delany: Elitism and Black Nationalism,” in Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century, Leon F. Litwack and August Meier, eds. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991).

  31. Arellano’s arrival in Philadelphia was no coincidence. The director of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, William P. Wilson had served as the president of the Philippine Exposition Board at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. The artifacts from the exposition became the basis of the Commercial Museum’s extensive Philippine collection, and most of the artifacts on display at Jamestown were on loan from Philadelphia. On a general history of the Commercial Museum, including commentary on Wilson’s special interest in the Philippines as a U.S. imperial-commercial venture, see Steven Conn, “An Epistemology for Empire: The Philadelphia Commercial Museum, 1893–1926,” Diplomatic History 22, no. 4 (Fall 1998): 533–563.

  32. Those who lobbied for Philippine independence varied over the course of U.S. colonial rule. The Anti-imperialist League, which included members Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, and William Jennings Bryan, was as motivated by their fear of foreign immigration as by idealistic concerns. By the interwar period, the pro-independence lobby was dominated by beet sugar interests and anti-immigration activists.

  33. In Thompson’s words: “America may take pride in this building, as well as Filipinos… . We have encouraged the display of Filipino capabilities in every line of human endeavor … it was not until the Stars and Stripes flew in the Philippines that the Filipino people ever had anything like a fair chance to show that they possess the same virtues and abilities and genius as other races possessing independence and occupying a more prominent position in world affairs.” Carmi Thompson, “Designed by Filipino Brains, Built by Filipino Hands,” Philippine Republic (Washington, DC) 4 (January–February 1927): 5.

  34. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 1967), 89.

  35. This was not unique to the Legislative Building. None of Doane’s Philippine buildings include human figures (though the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol building does include a Philippine eagle).

  36. The only weight that the arch carries, for example, is the weight of the attic (an exaggerated lintel, on which inscriptions are carved). In this way it acts like a billboard, the main “load” of which is semantic.

  37. A.V.H. Hartendorp, “The Legislative Building,” Philippine Education Magazine, October 1926, 6.

  38. For more on Viollet-le-Duc and the connections between race and architectural organicism, see Charles Davis II, Building Character (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019). See also Martin Brassani, Architecture and the Historical Imagination: Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, 1814–1879 (London: Ashgate, 2014).

  39. Wilson, “The Ideals of America,” 732.

  40. In the context of what came to be known as international relations (IR), the earliest applications of the word development were part of a reformulation of evolution as an active project (as opposed to passive process). This is clearly demonstrated in and by the publication Journal of Race Development, an academic journal published by Clark University from 1910 to 1922, after which it merged with Foreign Affairs. For a detailed history of the Journal of Race Development, especially relative to a history of IR, see Robert Vitalis, White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017).

  41. This tripartite division was a convention established with the design in 1897 of the flag of the First Philippine Republic, which depicts three stars surrounding a radiant sun.

  42. U.S. efforts to encourage Christian immigration to Muslim Mindanao are recorded as early as 1913 with the U.S. sponsorship of Christian agricultural colonies. For more on the peripheralization of rural Muslims by Christian immigrants, see Thomas M. McKenna, Muslim Rulers and Rebels (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

  43. On the symbolism of Philippine sartorial cultures, see Stephanie Coo, Clothing the Colony (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2019); and Genevieve Clutario, Beauty Regimes: A History of Power and Modern Empire in the Philippines 1898–1941 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2023).

  44. This is illustrated not only by explicitly racist comments such as those by Nepomuceno but also in more measured appeals. See, for example, Maximo M. Kalaw, “Recent Policy towards the Non-Christian People of the Philippines,” Journal of International Relations 10, no. 1 (July 1919): 1–12.

  45. Beyer quoted in Francis Burton Harrison, The Cornerstone of Philippine Independence (New York: The Century Co., 1922), 16.

  46. Harrison, 16.

  47. Erwin Panofsky, Studies in Iconology (New York: Harper and Row, 1939), 3–4.

  48. Panofsky, 3–4.

  49. I use liberal here to distinguish it from other forms of internationalism, including communist internationalism, the context in which the term was first used. Fred Halliday identifies three types of internationalism: liberal, hegemonic, and revolutionary (attempting to separate these types somewhat from their ideological histories by providing a functional definition). Fred Halliday, “Three Concepts of Internationalism,” International Affairs 64, no. 2 (Spring 1988): 187–198.

  50. This was also the case in the United States, where, forty years after reconstruction, the “one-drop” rule (positing that any person with even “one drop” of black blood is considered black) was adopted into law, first in Tennessee in 1910 and then in Virginia under the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The one-drop rule shifted race in general and blackness in particular from a set of phenotypical characteristics to a set of genotypical criteria.

  51. Harrison justifies his anti-miscegenation stance by arguing that “Both races, Americans and Filipinos, disapprove of intermarriage, and interracial unions are not likely to be happy ones, with the pressure of both communities in opposition.” Harrison, 59.

  52. On “unequal integration” and the standard narrative of decolonization, see Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire. On the racial ordering of liberal internationalism, see Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009).

  53. W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Negro and the League of Nations,” n.d. (ca. November 1921), in Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries,

  54. On the racial equality clause, see, for example, Noriko Kawamura, “Wilsonian Idealism and Japanese Claims at the Paris Peace Conference,” Pacific Historical Review 66, no. 4 (November 1997), 503–526.

  55. After living in a French prisoner-of-war camp in Algeria, Fischer-Credo did restoration work in Bonn before emigrating to Vancouver, Canada. Though he never again worked in an official capacity for any nation, the representation of race remained an artistic preoccupation. For about sixty years his giant sculpture of an “Asiatic head” was prominently displayed on the campus of the University of British Columbia before it was deaccessioned in February 2021.

  56. Democratic Senator James D. Phelan (California) continued to “believe Western Senators and others will oppose any loophole by which oriental people will possess such equality with (the) white race in the United States.” Congressional Record—Senate, 20 March 1919, 3182.

  57. In Wilson’s words, “the people of the Philippine Islands have succeeded in maintaining a stable government,” and it was now “our liberty and our duty to keep our promise to the people of those islands by granting them the independence which they so honorably covet.” Woodrow Wilson, “Eighth Annual Message to Congress,” December 7, 1920, in Compilation of Messages and Papers of the Presidents, J.D. Richardson, ed. (New York: Bureau of National Literature, 1921), Volume 18: 8881.

  58. On architecture and its relation to “the world court of public opinion,” see Lucia Allais, Designs of Destruction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), esp. introduction.

  59. Daniel Burnham, Final Report on Improvements at Manila (Washington, DC: Bureau of Printing, 1905), 136.

  60. Thomas Hines, “American Modernism in the Philippines: The Forgotten Architecture of William Parsons,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 32, no. 4 (December 1973), 316–326.

  61. Arthur Drexler, The Architecture of the École des Beaux-Arts (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1977), 9. As I argue in Concrete Colonialism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, forthcoming), Parsons’s neoclassical turn coincided with the end of what Philippine nationalist historians refer to as the “period of suppressed nationalism,” which lasted from late 1901 (the “end” of the Philippine American War) to 1907 (the first election for the Philippine Assembly—the legislature’s Lower House). This time was associated with laws prohibiting a wide range of actions considered seditious, including pro-independence speeches, writing, and the flying of the Philippine flag. Parsons’s first neoclassical designs were for the Paco train station and the Laguna Provincial Capitol Building, both completed in 1908. On the “Period of Suppressed Nationalism,” see, for example, Milagros and Teodoro Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People (Quezon City: R. Garcia, 1973).

  62. To name just a few, the municipal market in Maputo (1900), the Finders Street Railway Station in Perth (1903), the Palacio del Congreso de la Nación in Bueno Aires (1906), the Hanoi Opera House (1911), and the Palacio Tiradentes in Rio de Janeiro (1926).

  63. On Beaux-Arts internationalism, see David Sadighian, “The World Is a Composition: Beaux-Arts Design and Internationalism in the Age of Empire, 1867–1914” (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 2022).

  64. Harrison, 326.

  65. Here I am referring to Emerson’s collection of essays which argues that “great men” played a central role in the development of Western civilizational culture and society, Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits, Representative Men, and Other Essays (New York E.P. Dutton, 1913).

  66. That national sovereignty was offered as a “solution” to the specter of colonial violence is why Getachew refers to the “Wilsonian moment” as a counterrevolutionary moment. Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire.

  67. Harrison, 342–343. This fear of the masses aligns with Wilson’s frequent invocation of Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution. Wilson fully subscribed to Burke’s trustee model of representation, which (in opposition to the delegate model) depended on the unimpeachable morality of government representatives. Wilson and Burke believed trusteeism was especially applicable to populations they considered to be unprepared for the freedoms of a liberal democracy (e.g., in colonies and the postbellum South). On Burke, trusteeship, and colonialism, see, for example, James Conniff, “Burke and India: The Failure of the Theory of Trusteeship,” Political Research Quarterly 46, no. 2 (June 1993): 291–309.

  68. Two notable exceptions are Oscar Niemeyer’s National Congress Building, where the dynamism of the bicameral structure is expressed by the formally opposed volumes of the House and the Senate; and Edward Lovett Pearce’s Irish House of Parliament (the first to include two separate chambers for a bicameral legislature), whose Lower House is placed in the position of honor, while the Upper House (occupied mostly by Anglo-Norman lords loyal to the English crown) distorts the Vitruvian symmetry.

  69. This was a practice initiated during Taft’s time. The then governor general found a convenient native hero in José Rizal (who was executed by the Spanish before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War). Resil B. Mojares, “The Formation of Filipino Nationality under U.S. Colonial Rule,” Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 34, no. 1 (March 2006), 11–32.

  70. The code of Kalantiaw was contained in the 1572 parchment known as the “Pavon Manuscript,” purported to have been transcribed by Re. Jose Maria Pavon but later found to be forged by Jose E. Marco. See William Henry Scott, Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History (Manila: New Day Publishers, 1984).

  71. See, for example, Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992). On the Philippine context, see Glenn Anthony May, Inventing a Hero: The Posthumous Re-creation of Andres Bonifacio (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1997).

  72. Many historians continued to believe in Kalantiaw’s authenticity despite the strength of Scott’s evidence. Whatever the case, Ferdinand Marcos realized the usefulness of the myth and in 1971 instituted the “Order of Kalantiaw,” an award “for services to the country in areas of law and justice.” President of the Philippines, Executive Order no. 294, signed 1 March 1971,

  73. Ackbar Abbas writes on fakes in various essays, including “(H)edge City: A Response to ‘Becoming (Postcolonial) Hong Kong,’” Cultural Studies 15, no. 3–4 (2001): 621–626.

  74. For a detailed history and remarkable analysis of the Kalantiaw affair (on which the present article heavily relies), see Michael Salman, “Confabulating American Colonial Knowledge in the Philippines,” in Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State, ed. Alfred W. McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), 260–270.