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The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
In-depth critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific...and the world.

The Military-Sexual Complex: Prostitution, Disease and the Boundaries of Empire during the Philippine-American War

Paul A. Kramer

Major Owen Sweet’s campaign against prostitutes began shortly after his arrival in Jolo, in the southern Philippines, in May 1899. The situation was urgent. Four months into a war against the Philippine Republic, the 23rd Infantry had taken control of the area from Spanish forces, but, as Sweet lamented, his troops had fallen “heir to the lax moral conditions incident to the Philippines and Oriental countries generally.” Lacking barracks space, his soldiers had been forced to live “in close contact” with “mixed races,” and Sweet had been “confronted with the same status of immoralities and the lawless community” as commanders had in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and elsewhere. A “personal” investigation in November involving a “house to house examination and inspection” had revealed gambling houses, grog-shops, saloons, “joints where the vilest drugs were dispensed,” and “several resorts of prostitution” inhabited primarily by Chinese and Japanese, but also Filipinos, Moros, and “other immoral women scattered throughout the villages.” Sweet feared that these conditions might spark local tensions, opening a second, Muslim-American front that the Americans could not afford.1

In a report to his superiors, who later demanded a full account of his conduct at Jolo, Sweet recounted his energetic uprooting of vice.2 In the interests of “morality, discipline and good administration,” he had raided “gambling resorts” and “regulated” liquor traffic, destroyed bino stocks, and closed down all liquor dealers and saloons in early 1900. Facing “an almost wholly immoral woman community,” Sweet had given “these women and their keepers” a “course of regulation, restriction and control heretofore unknown in their lifetime.” What he called “noted women” were “watched, restrained and examined.” Regarding brothels, he at once “instituted a system of strict surveillance, exacting restriction, inspections and control and punishments and medical examinations by the [army] Surgeons.” While a “Detention Camp” was established for diseased soldiers, Sweet had incarcerated “all women in Jolo known to be diseased” in a special hospital wing and “deported” those found infected with “so-called Asiatic diseases.” Together these policies constituted a “system of attrition” that “tended to reduce the number in various ways.” Sweet had first “rid the towns of the Chinese then the miscellaneous nationalities,” then Moro women “in the most quiet way conceivable,” and “from time to time the more objectionable Japanese women.” He then “gradually drove out the Visaya [sic] and Filipino women.” Proceeding gradually towards what he called “eventual elimination,” Sweet’s program of fees, inspections, incarcerations and deportations, directed against the “commoner women” had by his own measure succeeded by June 1900, as “only some twenty odd women remained.” Had he remained in command a few months longer, 1901 would have seen the “social evil” there “eradicated.”3

Sweet’s battle was only one episode in a much larger story of the politicization of prostitution during and after the Philippine-American War.4 There was some irony in the fact that the investigation into his conduct had been prompted by the collective anger of reformers who felt that, in allowing about thirty Japanese prostitutes to remain in Jolo, his repression of vice had not gone far enough. It was not Sweet’s war against prostitutes but the regulations he had declared mandating their medical inspection that became the subject of intense debate in the United States. His mission was part of a more extensive one. During the Philippine-American War, the U.S. Army undertook the broadest program for the venereal inspection of sex workers conducted by the U.S. military to that time.5 It was set in motion just months into the U.S. occupation of Manila and, over the course of the war, would be elaborated there and differently in local army commands. In these many settings, regulation institutionalized gendered and racialized notions of morality and disease, casting “native women” as the “source” of venereal disease and the exclusive objects of inspection, treatment and isolation.

The inspection system itself went unnoticed within the metropolitan United States for nearly two years, but its discovery by a prohibition journalist in June 1900 triggered a mobilization by a variety of reform groups and crusades for “abolition” that intensified over the next two years. Activists made venereal inspection into a problem in diverse ways, each attempting to employ it to advance its agenda. For “social purity” reformers, regulation “licensed” vice in several senses, threatening soldiers’ moral and physical health and that of the society to which they would return. Suffragists cast the policy as the natural by-product of a state without women’s moralizing influence. Anti-colonialists connected it to broader fears of bodily and political “corruption.” For all of them, adoption of regulation signaled a tragic collapse of national exceptionalism, as the United States adopted what they considered immoral, “European” methods for containing venereal disease. After initial denials, the War Department and U.S. Army acknowledged the existence of regulation and eventually condemned it rhetorically, while allowing its continuance in modified, and less domestically visible, form. Among these modifications, the Army formalized and universalized the inspection of its soldiers in the Philippines after May 1901; in subsequent years, this colonial innovation became national army policy.

Thanks to the work of feminist scholars and activists, the sexual politics of military empire has emerged as one of the principal subjects of a critical scholarship on the U.S. military presence abroad. This research has explored the social landscapes of sexual labor near military installations, the state-to-state agreements made to facilitate commercialized sex, the experiences of sex workers, and the central role that controversies over sex have played in the politics of military basing.6 This essay contributes to these investigations in a number of ways. First, it gives them a pre-history: while most of this literature has focused on the Cold War, I demonstrate that the U.S. military’s efforts to formally secure its male soldiers sexual access to women while protecting its forces from venereal disease—what I’ll call, with apologies to Eisenhower, the military-sexual complex—date back to the dawn of the 20th century; so, too, do controversies about these efforts. While pushing back this timeline, I also speak to the historiography of post-1898 U.S. colonialism, showing that the regulation of vice is a significant and under-recognized theme among anti-colonialists and other reformers in the early 20th century struggle over “imperialism.”7

Along the way, my research uncovers one instance of what turn-of-the-century observers called “reflex action”: a case in which projects, policies or institutions inaugurated in colonial settings were brought back and integrated into metropolitan ones. Such connections—in which colonial experiences were expected to transform metropolitan formations, for better or worse—were anticipated (and often misunderstood) by historical actors, as we’ll see.8

These linkages have also been a kind of Holy Grail for historians of transnational connection, and for this reason have proven easy to exaggerate. Scholars, for example, often set out from the mistaken assumption that similarities they perceive between discourses, practices or institutions across discrete settings constitute evidence of “connections.”9 But historians have also begun to chart the transits of specific colonial technologies, tracing their trajectories through the lives of individuals and institutions, with an attention to refractions, deflections and alterations en route; Alfred McCoy’s recent history of the intertwined histories of colonial surveillance and the U.S. national security state is a persuasive example.10 If the risk of amplifying the impact of colonial transmissions remains, such scholarship nonetheless opens the possibility of discovering domains of U.S. state and society built, one might say, from the outside in. In my work here, the technique in motion is the regular venereal inspection of U.S. soldiers: carried out for the first time in the Philippines in response to criticism of the sexual double standard and the difficulties of inspecting local women, it soon became U.S. military policy generally, with military-medical authorities citing Philippine precedents. Here was an example of “reflex action” at work, but against the expectations of early 20th century commentators, who forecasted automatic and accurate transfers from colony to metropole, it turned out that practices mutated as they migrated: such transpositions revealed connectivities that were as dense as they were unpredictable.

Finally, I explore the politics of sex, hygiene, the military and empire from a cultural-historical perspective, looking at how “regulated vice” in the Philippines was imagined and argued about by a wide range of U.S. publics at the turn of the century. As I show, controversies over prostitution and disease became entwined in complicated ways with broader arguments Americans were having about the meanings and consequences of colonial empire. While critics agreed that something stank at the intersection of military occupation, commercialized sex and its medical regulation, they tracked the smell to diverging roots of “corruption.” Was the trouble with the U.S. military’s medical inspection of prostitutes that it legitimated the principle of regulation and sanctioned prostitution (as social purity campaigners maintained) or that it was attached to and symbolic of an illegitimate invasion (as anti-colonialists argued)? Was the problem racial in that it conceded to and sanitized “miscegenation”? Was it that it sundered national exceptionalist pretensions by rendering the United States more “European” (where Europe connoted, to varying degrees, empire, statism and sexual license)? Or was it merely that regulated prostitution was visible, something that Americans had to think about when they thought about their role in the world?

Approached in this way, the history of the military, prostitution and venereal disease during the Philippine-American War provides one window onto the cultural history of U.S. imperial boundaries: of how Americans marked the place where the United States ended and the rest of the world began, and made sense of their inability to completely control the processes that flowed across that elusive line.11 To talk about the bodies of U.S. soldiers and the hazards that sapped their force and purity, in other words, was also to talk about the “body” of U.S. empire at a moment when that body’s limits, constitution and vulnerabilities were being hotly disputed. The rhetorical presence of Filipinos’ bodies, as sources of threat rather than objects of violence, also said much about that imperial body’s contours and edges. This, then, is both a history of U.S. military-imperial disease control in a colonial setting, and of the way that gendered and racialized fears of sexual contagion both expressed and gave shape to deeper anxieties about the permeability of a globalizing United States.

By 1898, the state regulation of prostitution through the coerced medical inspection of women had become a crucial element of municipal policy, sanitary strategy and moral reform throughout the globe, although its particular institutional practices varied greatly both between and within states.12 These systems were first developed in continental Europe in the mid-19th century, but as documented by Philippa Levine, their most varied projections were in the British Empire. Initially passed by Parliament in 1864, and revised subsequently, the Contagious Diseases Acts (CD Acts) empowered police officers in select districts to arrest prostitutes, subject them to venereal examination and incarcerate the infected in “lock hospitals”; by 1870, similar ordinances were in place in over a dozen of Britain’s colonies, treaty ports and the United Kingdom itself.13 While their institutional forms and procedures differed, these ordinances provided for the mandatory medical inspection of prostitutes and the incarceration of those found with venereal disease in lock hospitals; they institutionalized the double standard by not providing for the inspection or incarceration of men.14 By the last decades of the 19th century, the regulation of prostitution was part of what defined a modern empire, and was instituted in far smaller and weaker colonial empires, such as Spain’s.15 In the 1880s and 1890s, Spain’s colonial government in the Philippines, for example, had established programs for the inspection of Manila’s prostitutes under a Bureau of Public Hygiene.16

As regulation spread, so too did movements aimed at its abolition, especially in the Anglo-American world. As Ian Tyrrell has shown, these efforts brought together the proponents and discourses of evangelical Christianity, feminism and suffragism in assaulting the logic of regulation as the state “toleration” of “vice.” Critics of colonialism also added regulated vice to their list of military empire’s ills. As state regulation moved on imperial channels, these campaigns played out on a global terrain. Organizations such as the World Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU) and the International Federation for the Abolition of the State Regulation of Vice enlisted the support of an Anglo-American, and often self-consciously “Anglo-Saxon,” constituency.17 Connected by long-standing transatlantic reform networks—hence their adoption of the name “abolitionist”—British and American social purity reformers traded personnel, literature and resources in the last two decades of the 19th century. The high point of Anglo-American cooperation along these lines was reached in the struggle to abolish regulation in India. Two Americans, Katherine Bushnell and Elizabeth Andrew, were enlisted to investigate regulation practices in India in 1897 over the course of a year and a half. Their report, The Queen’s Daughters in India, was a scathing indictment which, following their testimony before Parliament, was instrumental in achieving the abolition of the CD Acts in India, eleven years after their abolition in the British metropole.18 While these Anglo-American purity activists labored together extensively and shared ideas of state, desire and sexual commerce, the Americans occupied a distinct position within reform organizations, one of institutional marginality and exceptionalist moral superiority. The United States, they did not tire of pointing out, was “pure” of regulation apart from a few notable municipal experiments such as that of St. Louis, which had been crushed.19 

The U.S. army occupation of Manila in August 1898, which blocked the entry of Philippine Revolutionary forces, did permit another, secondary occupation: that of hundreds of prostitutes who entered the city from innumerable ports of call. Imperial war had brought together the sex workers of the world in one dense capital city. Numerous commentators were startled at the rapid influx of what one called a “cosmopolitan harlotry.”20 “With the advent of the American troops, there came abandoned women from every corner of the earth,” wrote H. S. Neuens of the Purity Society of India.21 They were part and parcel of what evangelist Rev. Arthur Judson called “the scum which is ever cast up by the advancing waves of civilization.”22 The largest numbers of foreign prostitutes were Japanese: prostitution networks from Japan had extended to the Philippines as early as the 1880s, but massively expanded with the U.S. occupation. Motoe Terami-Wada estimates that there were 167 Japanese prostitutes in the Philippines in 1900 and 2,435 in 1905. Even accounting for an increasing power of data collection during this period, this marks an increase of almost 15 times.23 But more shocking to U.S. military authorities were whites among the newcomers, especially “Russian, Austrian and Italian,” according to one medical authority.24 While numbers were likely to shift rapidly and subsequent hospital records represented only a highly imperfect statistical measure, a November 1901 report included among the “inmates” of a hospital ward for prostitutes one Spaniard, one Hungarian, one Australian, two Italians, two “Europeans,” twelve Russians and fourteen Americans.25 This last group, most alarming to U.S. authorities, should not have been surprising: as Eileen Scully has shown, American prostitutes were also present in the outposts of the U.S.’s informal empire such as the treaty ports of China.26 The vast majority of Manila’s sex workers were, however, Filipinas. Rural families in the Philippines in the late 19th century, displaced by rising rents, export agriculture or Spanish repression, had sent daughters to Manila to work; many were coerced and trapped into prostitution.27 The U.S. occupation of Manila, then, not only ushered the United States into the ranks of military powers in Asia; it assembled a genuinely international, imperial working class of sexual laborers.

The inspection regime was instituted in the context of a perceived moral and medical crisis.28 According to Robert Hughes, Provost Marshall General in the post-occupation period, the city had “but few white families of bad character,” and together the military Board of Health and police had made “strenuous efforts” to “prevent any increase of this class of people from foreign ports.” But it was nearly impossible “to locate the native females of bad character” and “to prevent communication between them and our soldiers by the police force.” For a peseta, a “native” brought “the female” to “any designated locality” to meet a client; experience showed “the evil” could only be prevented “by making prisoners of the females.” This “evil” manifested itself in another: by October, there were 300 men in the hospital for venereal disease, specifically syphilis and gonorrhea, and 50 operations had been conducted. Without reserves, and fearing that the disease might leave military efforts “seriously crippled,” Hughes felt compelled to act to “jealously guard the man behind the gun.”29 

The First Reserve Hospital, Manila, 1900. William Johnson, a correspondent for a prohibitionist newspaper, reported being told by a doctor that one sixth of the soldiers on the sick list--over 3,000 cases--were infected with venereal disease. Source: Library of Congress.

Some medical officers lamented these sexual encounters in their own right, apart from an explicit disease context. One surgeon complained that “consorting with native women can not be controlled when the troops are stationed in scattered town quarters.”30 The fact that this was itself imagined as a medical crisis suggests the ways in which fears of disease and miscegenation intersected.31 Given that Filipinos were in many cases believed to be inherently diseased, miscegenation meant contagion; whether or not specific Filipino women were believed to be infected, miscegenation was often imagined as both a sign and trigger of physical and moral “degeneration” among white American soldiers. For some, contracting venereal disease and sex with “native women” constituted distinct but related forms of “treason.” When commanders suggested that venereal disease was primarily a problem of troop strength, and that soldiers’ immorality and recklessness was its cause, they made the act of contraction a sort of bodily treason, a partial denial of one’s physical constitution to the state.

In assembling their regulation system, U.S. officials traveled a path of least resistance: rather than importing policies either from the metropolitan United States or neighboring colonies, they continued local practices carried out first by the Spanish and, briefly, by the revolutionary government under Emilio Aguinaldo that had succeeded it.32 A Spanish regulatory system had been put into effect in Manila in the late-1880s under a liberal governor, apparently based on Madrid regulations; in 1897, a Public Hygiene section of the Department of Health enforced the mandatory registration of brothels and the prostitutes that lived and worked in them and the reportage of changes in residence, along with compulsory medical inspection and incarceration in hospitals and treatment in the case of illness. Health authorities were given substantial power to close brothels and to fine brothel-keepers or prostitutes in case of violations.33 Given the tumultuous shifts in Manila’s governance in mid-1898, however, what is striking is the apparent continuity in inspection practices between Spanish, Philippine and U.S. governments. On the day U.S. troops occupied Manila, for example, Aguinaldo and Leandro Ibarra, the Revolutionary Government’s Secretary of the Interior, had signed a decree authorizing the continuation of Spain’s regulatory program “to prevent the contraction of syphilitic and venereal diseases.”34

The U.S. inspection regime drew on the basic outlines of the existing Spanish program, including its most innovative feature, its funding by compulsory fees and penalties paid by women themselves. The U.S. employment of a “native physician (Spanish)” to carry out medical inspections suggests further continuities.35 There were, of course, also discontinuities: U.S. inspections took place weekly rather than bi-weekly; U.S. inspectors were not ordered (although some attempted) to counsel prostitutes against their trade. But by and large, U.S. regulation policies appear to have been based on these and other local institutions. When civilians took over the Board of Health, and the regulation project, from the army in 1901, for example, they rehearsed the idea of borrowing policies—from U.S. sources—only to reject the strategy in favor of prevailing practices. While “the regulations of Honolulu and St. Louis on prostitution,” were “now on the file in this office,” army surgeon and Board member Charles Lynch noted, “no changes were deemed necessary in the methods pursued.”36 

By late-1898, the military’s regulation program was well under construction. By November 2, just under three months into the occupation, the Board had established a “womans [sic] hospital” for the isolation and “treatment” of all prostitutes found diseased, in a wing of San Lazaro leper hospital. Emphasizing the institution’s local origins, Hughes claimed that the decision was “entirely my own,” but taken in consultation with Board of Health director Frank Bourns and the Board’s other “medical gentlemen.”37 It employed a physician who made daily visits, a male orderly, two female nurses, two servants and a cook. The Board had also, according to Bourns, “taken possession” of a former vaccination center, 24 Calle de Iris, and turned it into an “office of inspection” where certificates were issued to those women found free of disease. Those found to be infected were “compelled to go to the hospital for treatment.” Bourns requested that Manila police officers be detailed “to guard detained (sick) persons and conduct them to the hospital” and to visit “every known house of prostitution” at least once a week to check that the certificates of “inmates” were current. If not, the house in question was to be “closed until every inmate has been properly examined.”38

The system’s first principle was the prostitute as the perpetual and exclusive source of contagion. Since their beginning, efforts to control venereal disease through state medical inspections had instituted a rigid sexual double standard that both explicitly and implicitly attributed venereal epidemics to women and rationalized the non-examination of men. In colonial contexts, it was often intertwined with racialized medical theories that cast colonized peoples as reservoirs of dangerous tropical disease.39 The U.S. Army’s venereal inspections in the Philippines were, at first, no different, with heightened concern for the health of U.S. troops unaccompanied by mandatory systems to inspect them. As in British regulation, subjecting men to venereal inspection was believed to be intrusive, humiliating, dishonorable and “demoralizing”; prostitutes at home or abroad apparently had none of this burdensome honor to lose. When Simon Flexner and L. F. Barker, professors at the Johns Hopkins University, were sent to the Philippines in March 1899 as a “medical commission” to study “all cases of illness occurring within the territory embraced by the American military lines,” they passed over the question of venereal disease among U.S. troops.40 Their first report, delivered in December, contained accounts of ongoing U.S. efforts against beriberi, dysentery, typhoid fever, and malaria, “the principal diseases from which the Americans suffered”; but even their secondary list, “[t]uberculosis, diphtheria, and scarlet fever,” did not include venereal disease.41

Over the next two and a half years, the inspection program became more systematized and intensive. As it evolved, it apparently incorporated many of the functions originally assigned the police: a “native physician (Spanish)” was employed as “medical inspector” to make “house-to-house” inspections of “all known brothels” in the city on a weekly basis and to examine each of their “inmates.” Instead of issuing weekly certificates, the Bureau distributed “inspection books” to be retained by each woman; if the inspector found a woman free from disease, he registered this in her book; if not, “she was placed in the hospital.” In support of the medical inspector, a “lay inspector” was given great latitude, “tracing whereabouts of women not found by the doctor, locating new houses, taking or sending women to hospital whose books were in arrears…” This lay inspector was “an enlisted man detailed,” and after fall 1900, the same man was hired as a civilian.42 Until early 1901, the program brought into the hospital between 20 and 90 women, most of them Filipinas. To reduce inefficiencies and expenses of transportation and surveillance, the cost of examinations were $1.00 Mexican for on-site exams in the hospital; $2.00 Mexican for exams done in brothels. (The estimated cost of an inspection was 47 cents per woman; fees were set on a racial sliding scale, doubled for white women.) These funds remained apart from other army budgets in a “special fund”; between mid-1899 and early 1901, the Bureau turned an impressive 23% profit.43

In early March 1901, the inspection regime was reorganized and placed under the authority of the Board of Health. The reason for this change may have been revelations about the program. In addition, a separate “Bureau of Municipal Inspection” might have been seen as more politically exposed than an embedded function of what, by 1901, was a complex bureau charged with numerous sanitary and health-related tasks. It was also likely related to broader public health concerns. When bubonic plague had struck Manila in January 1900, the Board had inspected all brothels, “as it was believed that plague might spread from such foci”; this surveillance had been kept up subsequently. The new system was self-consciously whiter in its personnel: in search of what Major Charles Lynch, surgeon and Board of Health member in charge of the hospital, called “competent executive force,” the Board hired an American physician “who does the work of the two former native physicians”; he joined an American orderly and lay inspector, both “excellent men.”

The system was also more forceful: just two months into its takeover, it was incarcerating 86% more women than previously; it had registered 115% more. It aspired, half-heartedly, to broaden its coverage to include soldiers—whose inspection was not formalized--and teamsters employed by the quartermaster, “among whom there is much venereal disease.”44 Finally, regulation under Board of Health auspices projected moralizing impulses, as officials enlisted the help of missionaries in a broader work of “uplift.” Lynch identified what he called a “wide field for missionary work” in the hospital for church women who spoke Spanish or Tagalog, and who were “not afraid of moral contamination from these prostitutes.” (He believed Filipinas especially reformable, “being not drunken” and entering “through necessity” or because of “the cupidity of parents” rather than, as Americans, Europeans and Japanese, out of hard-core professionalism.)

But despite their increasing energy and self-confidence, inspectors ran into myriad problems of enforcement, almost exclusively regarding Filipino women.45 As both the program’s aggressive surveillance and fee incentives suggested, sex workers resisted medical inspection. Officials felt a need to “disassociate their minds from the idea that the hospital is a prison.”46 By mid-1901, the hospital was offering to treat women’s “other complaints”; while few had taken advantage, it was hoped that “from time to time many will avail themselves of this privilege, as there is no other place where they can obtain good treatment.” The biggest challenges revolved around identification. There was the difficulty of recognizing brothels in the first place. The program’s fee-driven character guaranteed that new, uninspected brothels would proliferate on the outskirts of the districts surveyed; enormous possibilities for bribery assured that they would spring up inside the system itself.47 In May 1900, Dr. Ira Brown, then Board of Health President, suggested the formation of a strictly bounded red-light district; only brothel residents would be allowed to reside in it. The quarter would be policed in part through existing incarceration mechanisms; any woman doing business apart from this section would be “deprive[d]… of their liberty” to reinforce the point that she “cannot mingle with outside society.”48 Importantly, it would allow respectable Manila residents to avoid encounters with vice. The city’s people, he stated, “should be protected from houses springing up here and there in their midst; especially should the child be protected.”49 It would also help prospective clients identify brothels; “[f]requently men suffering from acute alcoholism” had apparently “entered respectable houses located near those occupied by prostitutes.”50

The thorniest predicaments of identification were, however, at the level of individuals. At the crux of Sweet’s category of a “known woman” was a fundamental paradox, that a “prostitute” was in many ways indistinguishable from someone who was not. This fact frequently confounded inspectors. When “[s]everal men go into a place where there are but two or three women…” noted Brown with dismay, “the enterprising women send out to a neighbor and ask her to come in and help out.” This neighbor was “not regularly in the business, and escapes examination, and it is in such instances that disease is spread.”51 But along with the dilemma of policing the line around “prostitution,” it was challenging to identify even those individual women who were registered. For over a year, the program had functioned using either certificates or inspection books bearing only names and identification numbers. But just as they avoided surveillance and its costs, Manila’s sex workers had quickly developed a vigorous trade in up-to-date, disease-free inspection books. This trade was the foreseeable consequence of the risks of incarceration, the difficulty of avoiding disease, and the elasticity of demand. It is unclear how this exchange functioned: the inspection of entire brothels at one sitting would have made such deception difficult, but the deceit was perhaps more easily carried out in the more individualized hospital setting. Knowledge of changing inspection patterns in the city may have allowed coordination of the trade on a much broader scale than the individual brothel. Perhaps, accompanied with bribes beneath the existing fee structure, it gave inspectors adequate reason to pretend to be deceived. At some point in 1900, however, inspectors received orders to begin photographing individual women.52 One copy of the photograph was placed on an index card with a name and number, so that “any woman’s exact status may be determined at a glance.” A number linked this card to “numbers on leaves of a book.”53 Another was placed in the prostitute’s inspection book, “so that one woman cannot substitute examination or book for another.” Despite inspectors’ confidence in the power of photo identification, one is left to speculate what games women might have played with commercially available photographs.

While its biggest and most complex institutional manifestation was in Manila, smaller-scale efforts at “regulation” were also undertaken in provincial cities, a process enabled by the decentralized nature of the U.S. command structure. The nature and extent of these practices remains hard to assess, but the case of Jolo—where Sweet had been in charge—suggests the variable and contextual nature of inspection systems. Regulation plans diverged not only between the Philippines and other colonies but within the Philippines itself, operating with a range of resources and subject to diverse political forces. According to Captain R. R. Stevens, when U.S. troops had taken Jolo from the Spanish in mid-May 1899, there was a “large influx of both Asiatics of both sexes and of many nationalities and of the usual oriental standard of morality, including Cingalese, East Indians, Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos.”54 U.S. soldiers had quickly begun “mixing” with the women, and thereafter developed venereal disease; worst of all had been Chinese and Moro prostitutes living outside the walls of Jolo. Sweet had undertaken a largely successful process of “elimination” aimed at these “native women” who were, as one second lieutenant put it, “according to common report almost universally affected with venereal disease.”55 At least some streams of this “influx,” however, had occurred with official military approval. Maj. E. B. Pratt recalled that shortly after the U.S. occupation, he was informed that “some Japanese women (prostitutes)” then in North Borneo wished to come to Jolo. After “considering the subject carefully,” Pratt had “decided to grant the permission.” Upon learning of their arrival and settlement on “one of the principal streets,” he had directed that they relocate “near the outskirts in the vicinity of the walls.” They did so, taking up four houses—one of them designated as a hospital--on a “back street” of the city.56

While both Pratt and Sweet later denied charges of “licensing” or “encouragement,” the Jolo brothels were in many ways projects of the state. Patrols and sentinels stationed near the brothels were given orders to segregate them racially, “to allow no persons but soldiers to enter the premises.”57 According to one soldier, “[n]atives, Chinese and casual visitors were excluded as a necessary sanitary precaution.”58 Against the grain of practices elsewhere, U.S. soldiers were inspected once a month themselves. They were also prohibited from entering the brothel during inspections, if they were found diseased, or after the playing of “taps,” “except by written pass signed by the Company commander.”59 While soldiers’ access was heavily controlled, the women were also strictly forbidden “to advertise themselves by parading the streets.”60 They were made to submit to weekly medical inspection by a U.S. army surgeon, paid for by the brothel keeper; in case of disease, a woman was confined to the hospital for treatment. More than one officer testified that the army surgeon conducted these exams for private gain, “in the nature of outside practice.”61 Many saw the system as a success because of its virtual invisibility. One lieutenant marveled that “any lady could have lived there the whole time” of the U.S. occupation and “never have known that such places existed.”62 It was in part attributed to the compliance of the Japanese prostitutes, who were “perfectly amenable” to regulations, which “could hardly be said of the various other women.”63 What “disorder” there was erupted from U.S. soldiers, including “fighting and breaking furniture,” stealing from the women and assaults against them.64

The Jolo inspection regime was a response to local politico-military contingencies: the 23rd Infantry was charged with preventing an outbreak of hostilities with the predominant Muslim population, which would have opened a disastrous Southern front in the Philippine-American War. According to Capt. C.E. Hampton, “the report was by Sulu women that some of the soldiers had made improper advances to them.”65 This was an extremely flammable situation for U.S. commanders. Hampton, having made an “intimate investigation of the character and habits of the Sulu people,” concluded that prostitution was “practically unknown among them.” Any “interference, however slight,” with Moro women would be “resented in the hottest and most savage manner.”66 Maj. W. A. Nichols stated that “[t]he reason understood for permitting these houses to exist” was that “the Moro men exhibited great solicitation for their women”; some had “stated that trouble would arise between the Moros and Americans should the soldiers consort with the Moro women.”67 As a result, as one captain recalled, “[s]oldiers were forbidden to cohabit with Moro women or others outside the walls of the town.”68 In this light, these controls not only prevented the spread of disease but the start of war. One captain recalled that when the Japanese women arrived, “our relations with the moros [sic] were very uncertain…”69 The “toleration” of the brothels had “not only promoted the health and contentment of the enlisted men,” but “also avoided unfortunate complications with the moros [sic] outside the walled town,” where “our men would undoubtedly have gone in violation of orders.”70 

While regulation was meant to protect U.S. soldiers, the Philippine-American War accelerated the spread of venereal disease into the rural Filipino population throughout the archipelago. Despite the assumption that disease inhered in Filipinos’ bodies, U.S. troops left North America heavily infected with venereal disease, as many U.S. army doctors conceded. According to Ken De Bevoise, 17 of every 1000 candidates for enlistment had been rejected on these grounds; venereal disease rates rose during training as brothels sprang up around U.S. bases. Troops gathered at the Presidio in San Francisco were examined for venereal diseases, given medicine and returned to duty; one army official who sailed with one of the first regiments to depart, in mid-1898, reported that 480 of the unit’s approximately 1,300 men had been “registered for venereal disease” before departing. This rate leapt again following the landing of U.S. troops in Manila. But as De Bevoise observes, the rapid dispersal of U.S. troops into the Philippine countryside after 1900 provided ideal conditions for the explosive spread of venereal disease. The deliberate destruction of rural resources, especially the burning of crops and killing of carabao by U.S. troops, and the massive dislocation and starvation of Filipinos that ensued, greatly reduced disease immunity in general among Filipinos.71

At the same time, guerrilla war meant close social contact between U.S. troops and Filipinos in formally garrisoned towns that included sexual liaisons. Survival strategies among uprooted rural families included sending daughters to towns and cities in search of work. In this sense, the U.S. invasion not only provided demand for sexual laborers but, by shattering material livelihoods, spurred their supply. In larger towns, brothels were set up to serve U.S. garrisons, becoming dense in disease vectors. In smaller ones, with more temporary U.S. occupations, prostitution developed in the form of what one medical officer called “a transient class of native women who are infected [and who] travel from one post to another spending a few days at each garrison.”72 Few Americans noted the possibility that Filipinos might contract disease, although Maj. F. A. Meacham of the Manila Board of Health observed in mid-1901 that syphilis was “spreading among the native population of these islands,” with results that he believed would tragically repeat “the history of this disease among primitive peoples.”73

The Manila inspection system apparently went entirely undetected outside the Philippines for its first two years of operation, a sign of the army’s care in masking it, the logistical difficulties of trans-Pacific communication or, possibly, the success of U.S. Army censorship. What made this most surprising was the growing presence of missionaries in the Islands during precisely this period. The U.S. Army’s occupation of Manila had been accompanied not only by hordes of camp-followers but of optimistic Protestants.74 According to missionary Charles Briggs, board representatives in Singapore and Canton “had long looked wistfully toward Manila, and prayed the more earnestly that the everlasting doors might be lifted up there and let the King of Glory come in.”75 Admiral Dewey’s victory at Manila Bay in May 1898 had been “taken by the Evangelical Mission Boards in America as a summons to enter the field, now for the first time open…”76 The first Protestant missionary, a Presbyterian, had arrived in April 1899; by mid-1901, six other denominations had branched out from Manila, which remained common ground as they divided the archipelago into “comity” zones. Given their zeal, it is surprising that these missionaries allowed “regulated vice” to gain much headway. Perhaps it was the limited information networks of new arrivals, or perhaps “regulated vice” failed to stand out on such an immense canvas of sin; on the other hand, it may well have been a missionary who tipped off domestic journalists.

On June 27, 1900, William B. Johnson, a correspondent for the Chicago New Voice, a prohibition newspaper, filed a sensationalist report whose outraged details echoed, with further distortion, through the social purity, suffrage and anti-colonialist presses over the next two years.77 The piece began ominously, with a visit to Manila’s First Reserve Hospital, which served 40% of the army’s sick, and where a head surgeon had anonymously informed Johnson of over 3,000 cases of venereal disease among soldiers, about one sixth of those on the sick list. Johnson also reported being shown the “national cemetery” at Malate where, according to his guide, an American editor, more of “our boys” had been sent “through bad women and drink than through the bullets of the Filipinos.” Behind these stark realities stood a governmental machinery of vice. Through “newspapermen, police reports and officials,” Johnson had learned that there were “about 200 regularly licensed houses of prostitution in the city,” containing about 600 prostitutes “under direct control of the military authorities, who represent American ‘Christian’ civilization here.” (This number did not include “the swarms of loose women who have rooms and prowl around the streets.”) Prostitution in the city, he charged, was “conducted under the supervision of a regular department of the military government,” which he called the “’department of prostitution.’” The Bureau of Municipal Inspection, run on “alleged scientific principles,” possessed a “big staff of assistants, inspectors, doctors and flunkies of various sorts.” According to Johnson, women could only open a brothel with “the express permission of the military authorities” after paying for a 100-peso wine and beer license. Johnson accurately described the inspection and incarceration system; when he had asked why hospitalized women were “compelled to pay their way,” he had been told that it was “’official business’” and of “’no concern to the public.’”

Like other reformers, Johnson tended to see regulation, and the sexual markets he saw flourishing under its protection, as both Europeanizing and Orientalizing, both cartographies evoking despotism and license For this reason, he found disturbing how “thoroughly American” the “whole situation” was. In the red-light district of Sampaloc, “this settlement of lust,” there was “scarcely a house of prostitution which is not decorated with American flags,” an adornment he had observed both “inside and out.” Some of them had American flags “painted clear across the front of their establishments.” Sampaloc was, indeed, a “concrete revel of ‘American civilization.’” To emphasize his point about the “official” character of Manila prostitution, Johnson adorned his own report with two photographs he had taken at two separate sites, each captioned “Licensed House of Prostitution in Sampalog [sic] District, Manila.” The bold-faced message that accompanied these descriptions—“Who Will Haul this Flag Down?”—was a deliberate provocation. Republican colonialists were at that same moment accusing their critics of desiring to “haul down the flag”: the withdrawal of imperial prestige, honor and masculinity, as well as sovereignty. Johnson’s ironic commentary threw this flag patriotism back on itself: the Republicans’ “flag” of imperial sovereignty came with another, more sordid one.

This photograph, featured in Johnson's exposé of the U.S. military regulation of prostitution in the Philippines, used the image of the Stars and Stripes hanging in or on brothels to scandalize the practice. Source: William Johnson, “The Administration’s Brothels in the Philippines,” The New Voice Leaflets, Vol. 1, No. 26.

Following quickly on these revelations, the problem of “regulated vice” was taken up by an eclectic array of reformers. Details from the Johnson report—cited, plagiarized, paraphrased and reproduced with varying degrees of accuracy—immediately appeared beneath indignant headlines in the social purity, suffrage and anti-colonialist presses. (In the latter category, Mark Twain included in his unpublished satiric update of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, tailored to the Philippine-American War, the verse: “We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat…” with an accompanying explanatory note that “In Manila the Government has placed a certain industry under the protection of our flag.”78) Each of these groups had its own agendas to advance and coalition to build, and embraced the issue with varying degrees of emphasis and by focusing on different elements. In doing so, they prioritized, in moral and causal terms, war, militarism, empire, prostitution, immorality, disease and racial purity in highly divergent ways. Ultimately, the combined force of these criticisms compelled the War Department and the U.S. Army to reform the inspection regime.

First and foremost among those who politicized “regulated vice” were the social purity reformers, who had long been active in fighting the Contagious Diseases Acts in a self-consciously Anglo-American arena.79 In the present crisis, organizations like the APA (American Purity Alliance) and WCTU (Woman’s Christian Temperance Union) circulated the Johnson report and mobilized petitions and letter-writing campaigns.80 Their critiques were consistent with earlier drives against “regulated vice” in Europe and its colonies. Central to them was an erotic theory of the state: “the social evil” was itself enabled by state approval through regulation, encouraging it by making it “safe.” This theory could be said to rely on the causal relationship between “license”—as state sanction—and “license”—understood as unregulated sexual expression. When the state approved vice externally, they maintained, the internal self was denied the privilege of repressing itself.

Even prior to Johnson’s revelations, American purity reformers had viewed the Spanish-Cuban-American War and the acquisition of Caribbean and Pacific colonies through the lens of European empire, prophesying the speedy arrival of “regulated vice” to the U.S.’s new colonies. Their discourse was one of tragic analogy, in which the United States, once exceptional without overseas colonies, would through colonialism inevitably—but perhaps not irrevocably--immerse itself in the fouling waters of both vice and regulation. “…[W]e may be reasonably sure that the same problems as to the morality of the soldiers and the degradation of womanhood will stare us in the face as disturb the English people in reference to their army in India,” wrote Dr. O. Edward Janney, future APA president, of the Philippines.81 Mariana W. Chapman wrote that “[i]t will be a shameful record for our army to make, if we repeat East Indian conditions in relation to the native women… The Filipinos may combine for us all the unfortunate situations in which Great Britain has found herself in India and Hong Kong.”82 Speaking from within a self-consciously global opposition movement, APA President Aaron Powell emphasized the “[k]indred grave problems, with essentially the same characteristics and results,” that confronted “France in Africa, Holland in her Dutch colonies, Germany and Russia in their vast military areas.” But rather than urging opposition to colonialism, Powell merely sounded a cautionary note. He urged Americans, “many of whom appear latterly dazzled with the prospect of enlarged colonial possessions,” to “be made more thoughtful as to the grave responsibility involved,” a responsibility both for the “moral and physical health” of soldiers, and for the “ignorant, undisciplined natives of these tropical islands.”83

As U.S. military forces gathered in mid-1898 for deployment in Cuba, missionaries and social purity reformers who visited army encampments and naval vessels had found their darkest fears confirmed: hordes of camp followers were being protected by the tolerant eyes of officers. Josiah W. Leeds had years earlier read of an English naval officer who had allowed prostitutes onto his ship, and had told himself “in the spirit of thankfulness, that such things at least were not tolerated in the navy of this nation.” But “since our navy and army witnessed expansion under the new empire, that the same debaucheries of the Old World powers prevail in the American services.”84 William Lloyd Garrison, Jr. reported a conversation he had had with a YMCA worker returning from Camp Chickamauga, his response suggesting the intensity of Anglo-American reform networks and ideologies. Suddenly his mind shifted from Tennessee to the lock hospitals of India. “Saddened by this revelation,” he wrote, “my mind reverted to the horrors of the British camps in India, whereof I had been reading in Mrs. Josephine Butler’s pathetic appeal for aid to prevent the re-enactment of the Contagious Diseases Acts…”85

If one thing distinguished American purity reformers from their British counterparts, it was that they confronted “empire” as a novelty; this encouraged them to see “regulated vice” as the odious spawn of a fledgling colonialism. The formula was borrowed from earlier social purity logic, crossed with republican anti-militarism: colonies meant standing armies, standing armies meant prostitution, and prostitution meant officers’ attempts to regulate it in the interests of disease control. As an American clergymen reported of Barbados, “[s]ocial and sexual demoralization is one of the conditions incident to militarism…”86 The formula also relied on a geography of moral restraint: the further armies were sent outward from the metropole, the further from “restraining home influences” that were the proper, non-state means for “regulating vice.” The social purity press quoted Sergeant Oscar Fowler, recently returned from Manila, along these lines: “The social evil and other iniquities find congenial environment,” he wrote, “in the atmosphere of a militarism existing far from the seat of the home government.”87

While social purity advocates on occasion expressed concern for the morality—and, still less frequently, the health—of colonized peoples, they were most preoccupied with imperial soldiers and the domestic society to which they would return. In mid-1899, Powell conveyed his fears that “[s]ome of these soldiers and sailors, without moral restraint, and contaminated in their new environment,” would arrive home and “in turn also contaminate our home population.”88 On another occasion, he instructed readers in “Lessons from India” along these lines.89 “American advocates of colonial expansion frequently cite, by means of precedent and justification, English experience in India and other colonial dependencies,” he observed. It was a sign of how tight these connections remained that Powell himself felt compelled to cite British authorities against regulation. He quoted Lord George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, for example, who opposed regulation for its domestic impact, medical and non-medical, on British society. Under regulation, British soldiers returned “’bringing with them the debasing sentiments and habits acquired during their Indian training, and infecting our industrial communities with a moral pestilence more destructive of the national stamina” than venereal disease itself. Powell also quoted a London review on the problem of “imbecility” among returning imperial soldiers, as reported by “[p]olice magistrates, poor-law guardians and matrons of workhouses, educational authorities, and all the philanthropies.” The malady was “surely due to vice in the sufferer or his parents”; when a soldier reentered civilian life he brought with him “for good or evil, the habits and ideas he has learned in the army.” The “morality of civil life” would be threatened until “this ‘return of the native’ can be reckoned a positive gain.…”90

From this view, “regulated vice” in the colonies not only promoted actual disease in the metropole but was itself a kind of contagion that spread from the colonies inward. During the Philippine-American War, it was thought to move in two different directions. The first ran from Europe to the United States: if regulation was a natural off-shoot of militarism in whatever form, it was also (as militarism itself) closely associated with Europe, known especially as the “continental system”; adopting it meant surrendering U.S. national-exceptional virtue. The contagion of regulation also oozed from colony to metropole. Social purity advocates feared that the colonies would be the opening wedge permitting the entry of regulation into the United States. Whereas Fowler had located “militarism” “far from the seat of home government,” others were not so sure. Speaking before the London Congress of the International Federation for the Abolition of State Regulation of Vice, Powell observed “indications of the danger of a revival here of regulation propagandism,” due in part to “the prevalence of vice in connection with army life, away from home restraints.”91 A September 1900 APA memorial sent to President McKinley emphasized the risk of “enactment of a similar regulation system by State Legislatures, incited by the example of the [national] government.”92

While American social purity campaigners saw Europe as a source of corruption, they also turned to British precedents for inspiration. Along with the British repeal of the CD Acts in both the metropole and India, they enlisted the April 28, 1898 order by Lord Wolseley, commander-in-chief of the British Army, a stern warning to officers to keep their men away from vice. Wolseley lamented that many men spent “a great deal of their short term of service” in military hospitals, a large number of them “permanently disfigured and incapacitated” by sinful living. To avoid such losses, officers were to convey to their men, “and particularly to young soldiers,” the “disastrous effects of giving way to habits of intemperance and immorality.” A soldier who led a “vicious life” of drink and debauchery “enfeeble[d] his constitution,” and exposed himself to diseases “of the kind which ha[d] of late made terrible ravages in the British Army.” Men “tainted with this disease” were “useless to the State” and a “source of weakness…” Officers were urged to “exercise a salutary influence in these matters,” providing “example and guidance” to men far “from the restraints and influences of home.” Moral influence of this kind, combined with punishment, would allow the army to “compare favorably with other classes of the civil population” in terms of morality.93 Unsurprisingly, social purity activists forwarded Wolseley’s order to the War Department: here were social purity understandings of sex, morality and the state voiced by the commander of the world’s most powerful army.

Although social purity advocates most ardently claimed “regulated vice” as their concern, it was also taken up in a secondary way by the suffragists with whom they were closely allied.94 It was a commonplace of social purity thinking that granting women the vote was critical to strengthening the movement against “regulated vice,” a policy no self-respecting woman was believed capable of supporting. The National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (NWCTU) was one of the chief organizations promoting women’s suffrage, and membership in it and suffrage organizations like the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in many cases overlapped.95 According to Kristin Hoganson, woman suffragists were divided around the question of colonial empire. Like British imperial feminists, some saw in empire an opportunity to assert white women’s political power over and above that of racialized colonial subjects. Others, far fewer in number, made common cause with the Philippine Revolution and condemned patriarchy as “domestic imperialism.”96 Suffrage alliances with anti-colonialists were fraught, however, not only with suffragist colonialism but with anti-colonialist patriarchy: while some among the anti-colonialist leadership supported woman suffrage, the vast majority were preoccupied with critiques of colonial empire that often began from masculinist presuppositions about honor and national duty.97 To an important extent, suffrage perspectives on colonial empire were opportunistic; with anti-colonialist ranks swelling to three times suffrage numbers at the turn of the century, suffragists sought a means to stay relevant to the “Philippine question,” which William Jennings Bryan declared the “paramount issue” in 1900. While “regulated vice” in the Philippines enlisted only a small fraction of suffrage energy, it allowed suffragists to argue that such moral lapses were the predictable creations of an exclusively male electorate. It also allowed suffragists to engage in global politics without committing themselves to anti-colonialism: as with social purity advocates, their hope was that the elimination of “regulated vice” under women’s guidance would enhance the United States’ moral imperium.

Concerns such as these prompted NAWSA reformers to pass their own resolution, “adopted by a unanimous vote” and subsequently submitted to McKinley, when the Johnson exposé surfaced just prior to the 1900 convention in Rochester, New York, The resolution “earnestly protested” the introduction of the “European system of State regulation of vice” into Manila on three grounds. First, such a policy was “contrary to good morals” and appeared to give “official sanction to vice” before “both our soldiers and the natives.” Second, there was the double standard, the “violation of justice” that mandated for “vicious women” compulsory exams “not applied to vicious men.” Third, regulation was ineffective and currently being abandoned everywhere it had been attempted. “The United States should not adopt a method that Europe is discarding,” nor “introduce in our foreign dependencies a system that would not be tolerated at home.” The protest was advanced “in the name of American womanhood,” its sentiments representing “the opinion of the best American manhood.” The Woman’s Column asked that “every woman who reads this article write a letter of protest to Mr. McKinley,” or get their husband to do so since, it noted sardonically, “the protests of voters have more weight than those of women.”98 The following February, the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association followed this advice, submitting its own five-point resolution to the president. While sharing NAWSA’s preoccupations with moral messages and double standards, it also called regulation “an insult to womanhood,” and expressed concern that it “breeds a moral and physical degeneration that will avenge itself upon our American society when these soldiers shall have been recalled to their native country.”99

The broader anti-colonialist movement also turned “regulated vice” to its own purposes, although less consistently than either social purity reformers or suffragists. Anti-colonialist argumentation was as diverse as the strange political bedfellows—liberal Republicans, white supremacist Democrats, organized labor--it brought into alliance.100 Among their other concerns, anti-colonialists condemned the impact of “militarism” on domestic republican institutions and the risk of “mongrelization” that colonialism posed to the U.S. body politic.101 Many of these fears hinged on notions of “corruption”: the decay of republican virtue before imperial tyranny and arrogance; the sinister hands of “trusts” in promoting overseas annexation; the scams of distant “carpet-bagging” officials in the new colonies; the degradation of individual white bodies through miscegenation, and of a collective, national white body through potential colonial immigration and labor competition. As reports of high troop sickness rates cycled back to the United States, disease proved an irresistible metaphor that condensed and concretized these various forms of “corruption.” One before-and-after cartoon showed Uncle Sam prior to “his wish for expansion” in a condition of robust “Prosperity,” overlooking smoke-belching factories. In a subsequent panel representing its aftermath, he is an invalid, confined to looking out a window at closed industrial plants, ill and emasculated.102

This turn-of-the-century cartoon shows Uncle Sam stricken ill and enfeebled by the pursuit of colonialism; this sequence reflects the connections that anti-colonialists made between empire and disease, which drew some to the issue of venereal disease and its impact on the U.S. military. Source: “Uncle Sam Before and After His Wish for Expansion,” "Expensive Expansion" (Boston, 1900), in Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood, 182.

It was through these broader discourses of disease as “corruption” that concerns with “regulated vice” entered anti-colonialist discourse. The most direct example was Edward Atkinson’s 1899 pamphlet “The Hell of War and Its Penalties.” Among anti-colonialists, Atkinson was as fervent as he was confrontational, challenging U.S. military censorship by sending his inflammatory homegrown publications directly to U.S. soldiers in the Philippines.103 In “The Hell of War,” he turned to the subject of venereal disease as “corruption,” taking it on with a specificity and indelicacy not present in the social purity press.104 He approached his theme, as did other reformers, through the British imperial experience. The “records of the British army in India and China,” and “the condition of the English troops in Hong Kong,” were “horrible in the extreme.” According to one “English gentleman” Atkinson had met, 50% of British troops in Hong Kong were infected. Atkinson emphasized that the disease would, like imperialism, make its way from the new colonies to the metropole as soldiers conveyed it back to their homes. "It is well known that while there may be an apparent cure,” he wrote, “this disease works corruption of the blood to the third and fourth generation, ending in degeneracy."105 Importantly, Atkinson made no mention of either prostitution or its regulation as modes of transfer: he connected venereal disease and colonial empire as inseparable processes of bodily and political decay.

The state’s first response to spiraling accusation was denial. With apparently sincere bewilderment, War Department officials barraged with correspondence and petitions, especially from local WCTU chapters, responded that they had no knowledge of the inspection program. In October 1900, for example, the acting Secretary of War informed the President of the WCTU that “so far as this Department is advised no such conditions obtain as set forth in your letter.” But he also promised that General MacArthur had been instructed “to investigate the subject fully, and to make full report on the subject matter of your resolutions.”106 The War Department was, at that moment, particularly vulnerable to sensationalist criticism of this kind, as officials sought the passage of the Army Reorganization Bill’s command and staff reforms towards the end of 1900. Secretary of War Elihu Root complained to William Howard Taft, head of the second Philippine Commission in the Islands, that “yellow journal hypocrites, posing as fanatics” had “created an impression among millions of good people that we have turned Manila into a veritable hell”; letters had inundated the War Department “by the thousands.”107 The city of Manila, whose proliferating saloons filled with American soldiers always accompanied reports of “licensed” brothels, became a compelling symbol for temperance reformers who opposed provisions in the Bill for an army canteen.108 Indeed, the canteen provision went down on January 10 in a hail of speeches regarding what Senator Teller called the “curse” of “Government encouragement of drinking among the soldiers of the American army and the Filipinos.”109 Root expressed frustration that the Senate had “delayed the progress of the army bill” to discuss the matter, as well as amendments prohibiting the importation and sale of liquor to the Philippines.110 

Eager to sideline moral objections to the Army Reorganization Bill, Root requested a full accounting from Taft on January 15, while the army forwarded a similar request to General MacArthur.111 It was a sign of ongoing civilian/military clashes that their answers diverged greatly in degree of disclosure. MacArthur’s was a terse and telegraphic denial: “Houses of prostitution are not licensed, protected or encouraged.”112 Taft admitted that the inspection system existed and described its effectiveness in “maintain[ing] effectiveness of army” by “subject[ing] known loose women to certified examination…”; it had, he claimed, “greatly reduced percentage of disability from this cause.” Nonetheless, Taft felt it necessary to distance himself: regulation was an “army police measure outside our jurisdiction; military necessity.” He also argued for situational context: the policy was “better than futile attempts at total suppression in oriental city of 300,000, producing greater evil.”113 According to purity reformer Wilbur Crafts, Taft’s admission had been deliberately withheld from the War Department for six days, thereby allowing MacArthur’s denial to command headlines.114 

By the early months of 1901, the War Department decided to engage social purity activists by openly admitting and defending inspection. MacArthur’s carefully worded report came only on February 4th and, “in view of the very considerable number of… protests,” was “put in type” for mass circulation. He accused the critics of regulation of being “misled as to the facts upon which they comment,” with “a very imperfect information of general conditions in the Orient,” and of failing to take into consideration “the disturbed conditions incident to military occupation and the state of war here prevailing.” Prostitutes were not “licensed” in the Philippines, he stated, nor charged for a landing permit upon entry; indeed women “discovered to be prostitutes” were prohibited from landing unless they could demonstrate “a prior legal residence” and prove that they would “not be a cause of disorder in the community.” Against the accusation that the army had actively facilitated their entry, MacArthur boasted that “[m]any prostitutes have been deported from the islands.”

MacArthur dedicated only four extremely delicate sentences to a description of what he admitted was the military’s medical inspection of prostitutes. But he cast these inspections in the light of other “sanitary regulations particularly necessary in the tropics,” such as those directed against smallpox and bubonic plague. It was a sign of his embattled position that MacArthur did not defend inspections in principle but resourcefully accumulated protective layers of exception around them. Regulation had been adopted at an exceptional moment: the wartime military government had been “necessarily one of emergency.” It was been the outgrowth of an exceptional situation: Manila, as the army’s chief entry and departure point, had housed 65,000 soldiers “in the prime of life” and “remotely removed from the restraining influences that might be exercised over them by their home surroundings.” And in its exercise of regulation, the United States was proving itself to be an exceptional colonial power: Manila’s condition was “remarkable in view of the general lack of moral tone pervading the seaports of the East.”

While employing these exceptions, MacArthur also insisted on the ubiquity and banality of the army’s dilemma. Where critics had attempted to see in regulation a tragic and novel Europeanization and Orientalization of the United States, MacArthur recast it as the virtually universal solution to a virtually universal quandary. “We have been confronted with a problem which has vexed modern civilization in both Europe and America,” he wrote. The ongoing fact of conquest and “the method of life in Asiatic cities” had “furnished difficulties” in solving it which were “not so easy to overcome as those encountered in the United States or elsewhere where conditions are more settled…” On the other hand, he claimed that comparable conditions in the Philippines and the United States justified the army’s policies. Where reformers complained that the Manila police knew the locations of brothels, for example, this was “as true of Manila as of any city in the United States.” MacArthur was “convinced that the city of Manila may to-day challenge a comparison as to its moral and orderly condition with any city of the United States.” Indeed, Manila’s policies were superior to those in domestic U.S. cities. “[N]o city in America and Europe, certainly none in Asia, can today vie with Manila in the good order and morality which have resulted from the practical measures adopted.” MacArthur invited the army’s critics to investigate “social conditions” in the Islands themselves, but insisted that if they did so, they must “also visit other ports on the Asiatic coast for purpose of comparison.” They should also, before leaving home, “acquaint themselves with the statistics and conditions in regard to the social evil which obtain in cities of the United States of the same population as Manila.” Having done so, he was sure they would reassess the U.S. Army as a “civilizing agent” and come to accept “temporary expedients to… meet the emergent conditions presented.”115

The “abolition” movement reached a standstill by mid-1901. Social purity, suffrage and anti-colonialist petitioning against “regulated vice” together had achieved only a public admission from the Army, if one that wore its rhetorical weakness on its sleeve. Early 1902, however, saw changes underway in the metropole, largely brought about by the Washington-based efforts of suffragist and social purity reformer Margaret Dye Ellis. Ellis had made appeals before the Woman’s National Council and Suffrage Association to secure strong anti-regulation resolutions, and combined these appeals with a dramatic new tactic. At both meetings, she circulated what she claimed was the “official registration book issued by the U.S. authorities” to a “child prostitute” with the name “Maria de La Cruz” (which reformers were careful to translate.) According to the suffrage press, the book contained regular inspection records and a photograph, “the portrait of a girl seemingly about twelve years old, with a childlike face and big, pathetic dark eyes.” In February 1902, Ellis apparently left copies of “this dreadful little book” with every member of the Committee on the Philippines. Emphasizing women’s political participation, suffrage editors claimed that “circulars left at the homes of the Congressmen fell into the hands of their wives and stirred them to womanly indignation.”116 More probably, they had been widely distributed among social purity networks, and provoked an avalanche of letters to the War Department. 

Over the next two months, Root and President Roosevelt appeared to dramatically reverse course, from the defensive admission of regulation to its forthright condemnation. In March 1902, the opponents of “regulated vice” at last got an American version of the Wolseley order (the British commander-in-chief’s call for sexual self-restraint), delivered by Roosevelt himself. On the 18th, Roosevelt handed down an order directed to the attention of “the officers and enlisted men in the army, especially those serving in the tropics.” Roosevelt’s conclusion was identical to Wolseley’s, and some of his statements directly cribbed; he was, however, far less elliptical and euphemistic than Wolseley on the centrality of venereal disease to the politics of vice. Roosevelt declared forthrightly that “[t]he only really efficient way in which to control the diseases due to immorality is to diminish the vice which is the cause of these diseases.” Venereal disease could be prevented through a sexually restrained and self-disciplined masculinity. It was the duty of regimental and company officers “to try by precept and example” to point out to soldiers “the inevitable misery and disaster which follow upon intemperance and upon moral uncleanliness and vicious living.” Officers must themselves, of course, be models of “temperate and cleanly living.” They must suggest, “using the utmost tact, discretion and good sense,” that venereal disease was “almost sure to follow licentious living,” and that it was “criminal folly” to believe that “sexual indulgence is necessary to health.” The masculine honor, virtue and purity of both the soldiers themselves, and the nation that they embodied, were at stake. “As a nation we feel keen pride in the valor, discipline, and steadfast endurance of our soldiers,” he concluded. Along with these virtues must go those of “self-restraint, self-respect, and self-control.”117

Roosevelt’s order was hailed as a victory by the opponents of “regulated vice.” “The Administration has issued through the Secretary of War a stinging rebuke to the army officials who have introduced in the Philippines the European method of making social vice safe,” crowed The Outlook. This “wholesome order,” it anticipated, would “put an end to a scandal that existed of which we could scarcely credit when it was first charged two years ago.”118 Writing in July, the president of the APA declared that while the order was largely intended for soldiers abroad, “it will apply equally well to the soldiers at home, and equally, also, to people at home who are not soldiers.” It would “apply to Washington as well as Manila.”119 Maurice Gregory, a London-based anti-regulationist, called the Roosevelt order a “powerful memorandum.” It was “a matter of congratulation” to anti-regulationists “throughout the world” that there was “so much activity of thought on our question in the North American Continent at the present moment.” Asserting Euro-American reform connections, Gregory felt it “cannot fail to re-act with highly beneficial effects on opinion in the Old World.”120

It was the combination of domestic U.S. pressures and local resistance by women that gave rise to the most sweeping transformation of venereal inspection: the formalization of regular exams for U.S. soldiers. While this had been undertaken earlier in places like Jolo, it was made general policy on May 21, 1901, with General MacArthur’s General Orders No. 101, which mandated the venereal inspection of U.S. soldiers in the Philippines for the first time.121 Commanding officers were to direct medical officers to make a “thorough physical inspection” of enlisted men twice a month, with “constitutional and local evidence of venereal infection… especially sought for.” The men “must be stripped” for these exams, and those found infected with syphilis or “incapacitated” due to other venereal disease must be sent to a hospital. Those still capable of service were to be kept on a list and ordered to receive treatment “until cured.” At the same time, the inspection of women was to continue. In towns and barrios where “an infectious disease prevails in the command,” army surgeons would be sent “to ascertain, if possible, its source,” and “all women found infected… placed under surveillance as will prevent the spread of the disease.” The orders specifically called on the “aid of local municipal authorities” in carrying out the instructions; it should be “made plain” to these largely Filipino authorities that “by their hearty co-operation they will improve the hygienic conditions of their people.”

But collaborating elites’ “hearty co-operation” often proved hard to elicit: the shift toward the inspection of U.S. soldiers had been undertaken at least in part because Filipino officials refused to comply with U.S. medical mandates. When asked to answer for a large number of venereal disease cases among U.S. troops in Dagupan in February 1903, for example, Dr. M. A. De Laney conceded that he had found it nearly impossible to enforce existing ordinances on the “segregation” and “treatment” of prostitutes. He had informed the municipal presidente of the names and locations of prostitutes and been “assured” that the presidente “would order the police to drive all infected women from the town.” But no action had been taken; De Laney “received no reply” in response to subsequent inquiries. U.S. soldiers emerged, then, as the only remaining diseased population that medical officers could fully supervise.122

By mid-1902, it appeared that “regulated vice” as the reformers understood it had ceased to exist. In reality, however, Root had merely discovered through Ellis the key to ending the dispute: making regulation invisible. When challenged, military officials had attempted to paper the system over with technical distinctions: MacArthur had claimed, for example, that prostitution was not “licensed, protected or encouraged”, a statement which, Crafts noted bitterly, “may have been true “in a Pickwickian sense,” since prostitutes in Manila were “only certified and superintended.”123 Johnson’s images of flag-draped brothels were seized upon by critics precisely because they seemed to resolve ambiguities over the state’s actual role in sexual commerce: they had captured colonial regulation in an arresting form.

For some observers, Johnson’s condensation of regulation into a star-spangled bordello was problematic. As one Lutheran minister who had worked in the Islands, an army ally, had apparently noted, even if U.S. flags often did drape Manila’s brothels (which he believed they did not), such a use was “not forbidden by law in the home land.” Besides, “wherever our flag may be thus used it does not in any way signify that such houses were licensed by the Government.”124 But it was a sign of the symbol’s perceived success that President Roosevelt himself set to work erasing it. In mid-March 1902, he requested information from Manila authorities regarding the use of flags in brothels with the aim of curtailing it.125 He received word that Manila’s chief of police George Curry had already acted. Recently seeing an American flag painted on the front of a brothel under renovation, he had ordered all precinct commanders “to see that the same was removed or obliterated at once and also to strictly prohibit the flying of flags or the painting of flags on any of the houses of ill-repute.” Curry proudly reported that “[t]here are no flags or paintings of flags at the present time in or on any houses of ill-fame in this city.”126 Where reformers made the regulation of prostitution a symbol for what was wrong with colonial empire, hauling down U.S. flags from brothels was a small price to pay for not having to pull them down from the Philippines as a whole.

If removing flags from brothels was one way to remove obtrusive (if false) signs of “regulated vice,” another was to do away with other material signs of the system such as the inspection booklets. On February 19th, Root cabled Luke Wright, Governor-General of the Philippines, stating that he “considered [it] advisable” that “no fees be charged” to inspected prostitutes and “no certificates of examination given.” There would be no more Marias de La Cruz. Medical officers could “keep their own records of names, descriptions, residences, and dates of examination,” and the program continue “without the liability of a misunderstanding and the charge of maintaining a system of licensed prostitution.”127 This reform appears to have been commonly adopted in the Philippines: as the General Orders No. 101 made explicit, the inspection of women was continued even if the double standard had been surmounted. Social purity advocates noted this fact: an October 1902 report of “More Trouble in Manila,” contrasted Roosevelt’s “admirable preachment” with the continuing “tacit toleration” of prostitution in Manila.128

Although it never died out entirely, protest regarding regulation in the Philippines precipitously declined from this point forward. Given the admission that widespread regulation persisted, this fact requires explanation. Some of it can be found in the character of the lobbying that led up to Roosevelt’s order. Ellis had, for example, apparently agreed to trade an end of agitation for Roosevelt’s “preachment.” Following a meeting with Secretary of War Root, J. T. Ellis jotted a memo to the effect that his wife “will be glad to make public the favorable showing you have so kindly given me regarding this whole Philippines business…”129 By public “I mean through the W. C. T. U. organ & by circulating to her state superintends…” The following April, Bureau of Insular Affairs director Clarence Edwards confirmed the agreement with Ellis herself. Edwards understood that WCTU activists “now realized and appreciated that much misinformation from prejudiced… sources had gone abroad on this subject,” and that Ellis was “today only anxious to gain the facts,” facts that he openly admitted involved the continuation of inspection without fees or certificates.130 The price social purity reformers had paid for a public victory, it appeared, had been failure in terms of actual “abolition.”

But there were other factors contributing to the disappearance of the question from public debate. First among these was an additional proclamation made by Roosevelt, on July 4, 1902: the pre-emptive “end” to the Philippine-American War. Social purity, suffragist and anti-colonialist criticisms had defined “empire” in terms of “militarism,” and “militarism” in terms of war and the mobilization of troops for war. Even though the most intrusive U.S. presence in the Philippines was still to come, the declaration of war’s end and the return of a majority of U.S. troops curtailed many of these criticisms. Regulation and venereal disease had always been marginal to anti-colonialist criticism, and in the postwar period, anti-colonialists would continue to criticize U.S. colonization on other grounds. For social purity advocates and suffragists, it was perhaps seen as better strategy to prophesy darkly what soldiers would carry home with them only until they actually returned. War Department defenders of regulation also took advantage of the shift from war to “peace.” Edwards wrote Ellis, for example, that while the policy had been a military necessity during wartime, “[w]hen peace conditions bettered, the question resolved itself into one of sanitation and the application of sanitary law.”131 It was also no longer a “national” policy, exercised through the army—a main source of criticism—but a “municipal” one undertaken by specific city governments. Regulation in the Philippines was no longer the equivalent of the Contagious Diseases Acts, a national-imperial target, but a kind of St. Louis in Southeast Asia, whose government was far less subject to pressures from inside the United States.

In some ways, the decline of social purity activism on the question of colonial regulation was not so surprising. Reformers had won an important rhetorical concession from the President and the War Department and had ended the double standard in medical inspections in the Philippines. To the extent that social purity reform had been opportunistic, chances to press the matter shrunk as the still ongoing war dropped out of U.S. newspapers and public discussion. At the same time, the civilian state, particularly in its sanitation and education work, mobilized the very terms reformers themselves had held up against the army’s inspection regime: the emerging colonial government—even while it carried out inspections—would represent itself as the guarantor of uplift, morality and national exceptionalism.

Regulation would come to occupy an increasingly important place in U.S. military institutions in the years leading up to World War I. The Jolo example appears to have circulated extensively among U.S. military officials in the Philippines. One lieutenant who had served in numerous stations, for example, was “particularly impressed with the system adopted by the Commanding Officer at Jolo…”132 So, too, were U.S. military medical educators, who marked the Philippine experiment as a welcome and exemplary departure from past traditions. As Capt. Edward Munson of the Army Medical Department put it in his 1901 textbook Theory and Practice of Military Hygiene, widely used in army medical training programs, the “altered conditions” and “changed moral environment” that had resulted from “the recent acquisition of foreign territory and contact with alien races,” had given regulation “a vast importance.” The absence of regulation from the metropolitan United States necessitated turning to the “abundant experience” of other nations, especially England. But by that date, Munson was also able to note proudly that regulation had been established in “certain cities” of the Philippines, such as Jolo; as a result, venereal diseases were “mild in character” and “notably free from the complications so frequently observed in other parts of the Philippines.”133 

The venereal inspection of U.S. troops did not, however, confine itself to outposts of empire but was folded into U.S. army practice more generally. Writing in 1917, Col. L. M. Maus of the Medical Corps recalled that MacArthur’s 1901 memorandum had been “the first general order ever published on the subject, as far as known in our military service.” But it had not remained a practice exclusive to the Philippines. Maus observed that “[w]hile it was not generally known to the authorities in Washington,” bi-weekly inspections had been practiced at “a large number of Army posts in the United States among troops which had returned from the Philippines since 1901.” Both officers and men, he claimed, “had become accustomed” to the exam and regarded it as “a safe and sound sanitary measure.”134 Not for the last time, institutional reforms undertaken first in the colonies had migrated quietly to the metropolitan United States.

But even as the scrutiny of both soldiers and prostitutes deepened, concerns about the visibility of venereal controls lingered. In 1909, the Surgeon-General had sent around a circular calling for the moral instruction of troops as well as their physical examination, although according to Maus it had remained unenforced by the War Department for fear of “the criticism of the moral societies and press of the country, which were liable to have been aroused at that time.”135 General Orders No. 17, issued in May 1912, however, applied MacArthur’s 1901 regulations regarding troops in the Philippines to the U.S. Army as a whole; specifics of enforcement were nonetheless printed in a separate “confidential circular,” to avoid “adverse criticism.”136 In both the military’s formal ending of the double standard and its skittishness about the topic of venereal inspection—if not in its abolition of regulation itself—one can measure the reformers’ ambiguous triumph.

The intertwined histories of military occupation, sexual labor, disease control and moral politics were central to the advent of U.S. overseas empire. They would continue to unfold together across the “American century.” From Puerto Rico to Hawai’i and from South Korea to Vietnam, military empire would be seen to outrun and undermine America’s moral imperium, particularly when U.S. military policies or “status of forces” agreements insulated soldiers engaged in violence or crime against local women from meaningful justice. Where possible, military-sexual complexes that secured male soldiers access to women would continue to be concealed in an effort to protect moral justifications of U.S. power overseas, although a critical awareness of their character and costs would develop under the impetus of anti-colonial and feminist movements.

The entanglements of sexual and imperial politics had been foretold at the turn of the century by a grim soldiers’ joke. U.S. soldiers found with venereal disease in the Philippines had been given a nickname by their comrades: “Rough Riders.”137 The name turned potential emasculation by disease into a marker of masculinity and, possibly, legitimated aggressive or coerced sex. But it also suggested that these soldiers connected the politics of sexuality to the politics of empire. In styling their comrades in this way, they also cast the invasion of Cuba during the Spanish-Cuban-American War and, presumably, the invasion of the Philippines in which they were engaged, as acts of “rough” sex. While not without their pleasures for imperial soldiers and nations, such invasions also brought with them innumerable dangers. The character of those dangers, and the question of who would suffer them, would continue to haunt the rough ride of empire.

 

Paul A. Kramer is an associate professor of history at Vanderbilt University, and the author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (University of North Carolina Press; Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2006), which was awarded the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the James Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians. The co-editor of the Cornell University Press book series “The United States in the World,” and is currently writing a book on migration and empire in 20th century U. S. global histories. His web-site can be found here .

Recommended citation: Paul A. Kramer, "The Military-Sexual Complex: Prostitution, Disease and the Boundaries of Empire during the Philippine-American War," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 30 No 2, July 25, 2011.

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Notes

My thanks to Judith Walkowitz, Richard Meixsel, Martha Hodes, Dirk Bönker, Gabrielle Spiegel, Ann Stoler, Nancy Cott, Daniel Rodgers, Toby Ditz, Philippa Levine, Caleb McDaniel, Katherine Hijar, Mark Selden and Katherine Fusco for their comments and criticism. Any errors are my own. An earlier version of this essay was published in Ann Stoler, ed., Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006).

1 The Southern Philippines, never fully conquered by the Spanish, remained under the control of powerful Muslim datus; U.S. military strategy against the Philippine Republic depended in part on the prevention of war between U.S. and Muslim forces until after the Republic had been defeated.

2 On March 5, 1902, the Adjutant of the 23rd infantry sent excerpts from reports by Rev. C. Guy Robbins, Private Adrian B. Trench, William B. Johnson and Rev. A. B. Leonard with regard to regulation in Jolo, with requests for a response; approximately 30 officers responded, including Sweet. The facts surrounding Sweet’s removal remain unclear. Sweet’s self-defense was accompanied by the claim this “most annoying and aggravating trial” had led to “mental, physical nervous strain and overwork,” health breakdown and a return to the United States “to save my life.” Letter from Owen J. Sweet to Commanding Officer (23rd Infantry), March 12, 1902, RG94/417937/B, NARA DC.

3 Owen Sweet to Adjutant General, February 6, 1902, in RG94/417937/B, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC (NARA DC).

4 The existing literature on the Philippine-American War, while it details both combat history and the politics of the war, contains little or nothing regarding on-the-ground questions of gender, sex and prostitution. See Stuart Creighton Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982); Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H. Francia, eds., Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999 (New York: New York University Press, 2002); Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War, 1899-1902 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000); Brian M. Linn, The United States Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1989). For an account of venereal disease among U.S. troops at Camp Stotsenburg in the early 20th century, see Richard B. Meixsel, Clark Field and the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Philippines, 1919-1942 (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 2001), 78-85.

5 According to one account, regulations mandating the venereal inspection of prostitutes had been imposed during the Civil War among Union army troops stationed in Memphis and Nashville. See Col. Joseph F. Siler, The Prevention and Control of Venereal Diseases in the Army of the United States of America (Army Medical Bulletin No. 67) (Carlisle Barracks, PA: Medical Field Service School, May 1943), 72. My thanks to Richard Meixsel for identifying this source.

6 See, especially, Katharine H. S. Moon, Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S.-Korea Relations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); Maria Höhn, GIs and Frauleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Beth Bailey and David Farber, The First Strange Place: The Alchemy of Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii (New York: Free Press; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada, c1992); Saundra Pollock Sturdevant and Brenda Stoltzfus, Let the Good Times Roll: Prostitution and the U.S. Military in Asia (New York: New Press, 1993); Cynthia H. Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California, 1989). For an excellent recent edited collection featuring research on the politics of gender, race, sex and U.S. military basing, see Maria Höhn and Seungsook Moon, eds. Over There: Living with the U.S. Military Empire from World War Two to the Present (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010).

7 On the “imperialism” debate, see Richard E. Welch Jr., Response to Imperialism. The United States and the Philippine -American War, 1899—1902 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979); Daniel Schirmer, Republic or Empire: American Resistance to the Philippine War (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman Pub. Co. 1972); Robert L. Beisner, Twelve against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898—1900 (New York: McGraw-Hill 1968); E. Berkeley Thompkins, Anti-Imperialism in the United States: The Great Debate, 1890—1920 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1970).

8 For a fuller exploration of “reflex actions” discourse in the early 20th century debate over U.S. colonialism, see Paul A. Kramer, “Reflex Actions: Colonialism, Corruption and the Politics of Technocracy in the Early 20th Century United States," in Bevan Sewell and Scott Lucas, eds., Projecting American Foreign Policy: Power and Intervention (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming).

9 For an example of work that systematically mistakes similarity for connection, see Ann Laura Stoler,“Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and (Post) Colonial Studies,” Journal of American History, Vol. 88 (Dec. 2001), 829—65.

10 Alfred McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).

11 On the cultural politics of U.S. imperial boundary-making between the United States and the Philippines and its intersections with the politics of race, see Paul A. Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). 

12 For a useful survey of the historiography of prostitution, see Timothy J. Gilfoyle, “Prostitutes in History: From Parables of Pornography to Metaphors of Modernity,” American Historical Review, Vol. 104, No. 1 (1999), 117-141.

13 For the definitive work on the politics of prostitution and regulation in the British Empire, see Philippa Levine, Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (New York: Routledge, 2003). See also Kenneth Ballhatchet, Race, Sex and Class Under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and Their Critics, 1793-1905 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980).

14 Judith R. Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class and the State (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980); Mary Spongberg, Feminizing Venereal Disease: The Body of the Prostitute in 19th Century Medical Discourse (Washington Square, New York: New York University Press, 1997). On the treatment of venereal disease, see Allan M. Brandt, No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States since 1880 New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

15 For prostitution policy in Puerto Rico during this period, for example, see Eileen J. Suárez Findlay, Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870-1920 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), ch. 3.

16 For the best accounts of venereal disease and prostitution in the Philippines, see Ken De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse: Epidemic Disease in the Colonial Philippines (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 69-93; Ken De Bevoise, “A History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in the Philippines,” in Milton Lewis, et. al., eds., Sex, Disease and Society: A Comparative History of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997), 113-38.

17 Ian R. Tyrrell, Woman’s World/Woman’s Empire: The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in International Perspective (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), esp. ch. 9.

18 Elizabeth Wheeler Andrew and Katharine Caroline Bushnell, The Queen’s Daughters in India (London: Morgan and Scott, 1899). On the investigation and its impact, see Antoinette Burton, Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women, and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, c1994), 157-64.

19 On attempts at municipal regulation in the 19th century United States, see John C. Burnham, “Medical Inspection of Prostitutes in America in the 19th Century: The St. Louis Experiment and Its Sequel,” in Burnham, Paths into American Culture: Psychology, Medicine, and Morals (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988), 138-149.

20 Frederic H. Sawyer, The Inhabitants of the Philippines (New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1900), 114.

21 H. S. Neuens, quoted in George Shibley, Momentous Issues: Competition in Business, Stable Price Level, Prosperity and Republic vs. Trusts, Falling Price Level, Depression, Empire, Militarism and Concentration of Wealth (Chicago: Schulte Publishing Company, 1900), 180.

22 Arthur Judson, The New Era in the Philippines (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1903), 107.

23 Motoe Terami-Wada, “Karayuki-San of Manila: 1890-1920,” Philippine Studies, Vol. 34 (1986), 289.

24 Ira C. Brown to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1900, in George W. Davis, ed., Report on the Military Government of the City of Manila, P.I., from 1898 to 1901 (Manila, P.I.: Headquarters Division of the Philippines, 1901), 276.

25 Quoted in Rev. A. Lester Hazlett, “A View of the Moral Conditions Existing in the Philippines,” in RG94/343790 (Box 2307), NARA DC.

26 Eileen P. Scully, “Prostitution as Privilege: The ‘American Girl’ of Treaty-Port Shanghai, 1860-1937,” International History Review, Vol. 20, No. 4 (1998), 855-883; Eileen P. Scully, “Taking the Low Road to Sino-American Relations: ‘Open Door’ Expansionists and the Two China Markets,” Journal of American History, Vol. 82, No. 1 (1995), 62-83.

27 On prostitution in the 19th century Philippines, see Maria Luisa Camagay, Working Women of Manila in the 19th Century (Manila: University of the Philippines Press, Center for Women’s Studies, 1995); Luis C. Dery, “Prostitution in Colonial Manila,” Philippine Studies, Vol. 39 (1991), 475-89; Greg Bankoff, Crime, Society and the State in the 19th Century Philippines (Quezon Hall: Ateneo de Manila Press, 1996), 26-27, 41-4.

28 The regulation of prostitution took place within a broader context of ad hoc medical and public health institution building. By September 1898, the U.S. army had established two reserve hospitals in Manila and an interim Board of Health under military authorities would begin establishing sanitation and health-care policies, overseeing special hospitals for smallpox and leprosy, as well as venereal disease. See Warwick Anderson, “Colonial Pathologies: American Medicine in the Philippines, 1898-1921,” (dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1992), esp. chs. 1-2.

29 Robert Hughes to Adjutant General, U.S. Army, February 7, 1902, RG 350/2039/8 1/2), Box 246, NARA CP.

30 Quoted in De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse, 89.

31 U.S. missionaries in the Philippines, for example, often complained of the “querida problem,” the widespread co-habitation of U.S. soldiers with Filipino women during and after the war. It involved inseparable race, gender and class elements: ordinary U.S. soldiers were forbidden from bringing over U.S. wives, while Filipina-American unions raised fears of moral and racial degeneration through “miscegenation.” This topic, related to but also distinct from the present one, deserves treatment elsewhere. For a path-breaking exploration of these themes in the context of colonial Southeast Asia, see Ann Stoler, “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia” in Ann Stoler and Frederick Cooper, Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 198-237.

32 Philippa Levine similarly argues for the local adaptations of venereal inspection regimes in the British Empire, and important variations between them. Levine, Prostitution, Race and Politics, 51. While regulation’s critics would argue that U.S. officials had “imported” these policies from Britain, General MacArthur’s favorable February 1901 citation of regulation in British India in defense of U.S. policies would be strikingly vague. While “books containing reference to this matter” could “not be obtained in Manila,” MacArthur was certain there existed works that demonstrated “that in Asia unusually strong measures have been taken to protect the English speaking soldier from the result of temptations which confront him. Maj.-Gen. Arthur MacArthur to Adjutant General of the Army, February 4, 1901, RG94/343790 (Box 2307) NARA DC.

33 De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse, 80-1.

34 John R. M. Taylor, The Philippine Insurrection against the United States, 1899-1903: A Compilation of Documents with Notes and Introduction (Pasay City, 1971-3), vol. 3, 194-5.

35 Albert Todd to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1901, in Davis, ed., 264.

36 Charles Lynch to President, Board of Health, May 18, 1901, in Davis, ed., 267.

37 Robert Hughes to Adjutant General, U.S. Army, February 7, 1902, RG 350/2039/8 1/2), Box 246, NARA CP.

38 Frank S. Bourns to R. P. Hughes, November 2, 1898, Enclosure 41, in Davis, ed., 261-2.

39 Warwick Anderson emphasizes the notion of Filipinos as “reservoirs” of disease in Warwick Anderson, “Immunities of Empire: Race, Disease, and the New Tropical Medicine,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. 70, No. 1 (1996), 94-118.

40 Simon Flexner, M. D., “Medical Conditions Existing in the Philippines,” Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 3rd series, Vol. 21 (1899), 165-77. This was also true of their longer report, published in the following year: Simon Flexner and L. F. Barker, “Report of a Special Commission Sent to the Philippines by the Johns Hopkins University to Investigate the Prevalent Diseases of the Islands,” Journal of the Military Service Institution, Vol. 26 (1900), 421-33.

41 They did make passing reference to the San Lazaro hospital with its “one ward devoted to the treatment of venereal diseases among the native prostitutes.” Flexner, “Medical Conditions Existing in the Philippines,” 166

42 Albert Todd to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1901, in Davis, ed., 264-6.

43 Between March 1 and May 15, 1901, the Board of Health reported a 52% profit. Charles Lynch to President, Board of Health, May 18, 1901, in Davis, ed., 269.

44 Lynch to President, Board of Health, May 18, 1901, in Davis, ed., 267-8.

45 According to U.S. army doctors, European and American prostitutes largely avoided what they perceived as stigmatizing inspection by U.S. army doctors, preferring instead to be inspected by private physicians. 

46 Lynch to President, Board of Health, May 18, 1901, in Davis, ed., 268.

47 Philippa Levine emphasizes the ambiguities of brothels as spaces in “Erotic Geographies: Sex and the Managing of Colonial Space,” in Helena Michie and Roland R. Thomas, eds., Nineteenth-Century Geographies: The Transformation of Space from the Victorian Age to the American Century (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2003), 149-160.

48 Maj. Ira C. Brown to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1900, in Davis, ed., 276.

49 Brown to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1900, 275.

50 Brown to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1900, 275. This effort was undertaken shortly afterwards and a vice district was inaugurated. “Must Move Out to Adjust Social Evil,” The Manila Freedom, August 31, 1900, RG350/2039 (Box 246), National Archives and Record Administration College Park (NARA CP). On the district and its eventual suppression, see Dery, 481-2.

51 Brown to Acting Adjutant General, May 16, 1900, 276.

52 The origins of this policy in the U.S. colonial context remain obscure. Prostitutes in Singapore were also photographed by officials there for purposes of identification, although more research is needed before any conclusions about inter-colonial borrowing can be made. See James Frances Warren, Ah Ku and Karayuki-San: Prostitution in Singapore, 1870-1940 (Singapore University Press, 2003 [1993]), 100-1, 108-9.

53 Maj. Charles Lynch to President, Board of Health, May 18, 1901, in Davis, ed., 266-7.

54 R. R. Stevens to Adjutant, March 25, 1902 (RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 3), NARA DC.

55 J. A. Moore to Adjutant, March 7, 1902 (RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 13), NARA DC.

56 E. B. Pratt to Adjutant, March 11, 1902 (RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 17), NARA DC. See also C. E. Hampton to Adjutant, March 14, 1902 (RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 19). When one civilian physician in Zamboanga complained that this lucrative source of revenue was a corrupt monopoly, he was rebuffed by army officials. Letter from Dr. A. T. Short, October [no date] 1908; RG94/1481399, NARA DC. 

57 R. R. Stevens to Adjutant, March 25, 1902.

58 C. E. Hampton to Adjutant, March 24, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 19, NARA DC.

59 R. C. Croxton to Adjutant, March 10, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 21, NARA DC.

60 W.H. Sage to Adjutant, March 13, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 5, NARA DC.

61 W. A. Kent to Adjutant, March 6, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 27, NARA DC.

62 H. C. Bonnycastle to Adjutant, March 8, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 28, NARA DC.

63 R. R. Stevens to Adjutant, March 25, 1902.

64 D. B. Devore to Adjutant, March 13, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 24, NARA DC; J. H. Sutherland to Adjutant, March 6, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure ?, NARA DC. For reference to an assault charge, see R. C. Croxton to Adjutant, March 10, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 21, NARA DC.

65 C. E. Hampton to Adjutant, March 14, 1902, RG417937/B, Enclosure 19, NARA DC.

66 C. E. Hampton to Adjutant, March 14, 1902.

67 W. A. Nichols to Commanding Officer, March 10, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 7, NARA DC.

68 R. C. Croxton to Adjutant, March 10, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 21, NARA DC.

69 H. G. Cole to Adjutant, March 12, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 22, NARA DC.

70 H. G. Cole to Adjutant, March 12, 1902.

71 On the cholera epidemic that immediately followed the war, see De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse, 175-184; Reynaldo Ileto, “Cholera and the Origins of the American Sanitary Order in the Philippines,” in David Arnold, ed., Imperial Medicine and Indigenous Societies (Manchester University Press, 1988), 125-148.

72 Quoted in De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse, 89.

73 De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse, 90

74 On Protestant missions to the Philippines, see Kenton J. Clymer, Protestant Missionaries in the Philippines, 1898–1916: An Inquiry into the American Colonial Mentality (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986).

75 Charles W. Briggs, The Progressing Philippines (Philadelphia: Griffith and Rowland Press, 1913), 122.

76 Charles W. Briggs, 112.

77 William B. Johnson, “The Administration’s Brothels in the Philippines,” The New Voice Leaflets, Vol. 1, No. 26 (August 18, 1900); RG350/2045/10 (Box 246), NARA CP. Johnson was a “Special Commissioner” for the New Voice. Information from this article was used by The American League in its pamphlet “The Crowning Infamy of Imperialism,” RG 94/417937 (Box 2307), NARA DC.

78 Mark Twain, “Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date),” [February 1901], in Jim Zwick, ed., Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War (Syracuse University Press, 1992), 41.

79 On social purity in this earlier period, see David J. Pivar, Purity Crusade: Sexual Morality and Social Control, 1868-1900 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973). For the early 20th century, see David J. Pivar, Purity and Hygiene: Women, Prostitution and the "American plan," 1900-1930 (CT: Greenwood Press, c2002).

80 For moral reformers as pioneers of new lobbying tactics, see Gaines M. Foster, Moral Reconstruction: Christian Lobbyists and the Federal Legislation of Morality, 1865-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

81 “Letter from Dr. O. Edward Janney.” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 2 (April 1899), 6.

82 Mrs. Mariana W. Chapman, “The New Militarism and Purity,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 2 (April 1899), 2, 3.

83 Aaron M. Powell, “Lessons from India,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 3 (July 1899), 11.

84 “Letter from Josiah W. Leeds,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 2 (April 1899), 7.

85 “The Schooling of a Camp,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1899), 24. The article quoted a letter by Garrison to October 18, 1898 issue of The Woman’s Journal.

86 “Notes and Comments,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 17, No. 2 (July 1902).

87 “Notes and Comments,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 15, No. 4 (January 1901), 1.

88 Aaron M. Powell, “Appeal for Purity,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 3 (July 1899), 13.

89 Powell, “Lessons from India,” 10.

90 London Contemporary Review, quoted in Powell, “Lessons from India,” 11.

91 “London Congress of the International Federation for the Abolition of State Regulationof Vice,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1899), 18.

92 September 27, 1900 American Purity Alliance memorial to McKinley, RG350/2045 (Box 246), NARA CP.

93 “Memorandum Issued by the Commander-In-Chief,” April 28, 1898 (London: Harrison and Sons, St. Martin’s Lane, 1898), RG 94/343790 (Box 2307), NARA DC.

94 On the suffrage movement and feminism, see Nancy F. Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); Aileen S. Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965).

95 See Tyrrell.

96 Kristin Hoganson, “As Bad Off as the Filipinos’: U.S. Women Suffragists and the Imperial Issue at the Turn of the Twentieth Century," Journal of Women's History, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer 2001). See also Alison L. Sneider, “The Impact of Empire on the North American Woman Suffrage Movement: Suffrage Racism in an Imperial Context,” UCLA Historical Journal, Vol. 14 (1994), 14-32; Louis Michele Newman, White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).

97 On imperialist attacks on anti-colonialist masculinity, see Kristin Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), esp. ch. 7.

98 “A National Disgrace,” The Woman’s Column (November 17, 1900).

99 Resolution by the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association, to William McKinley (circa February 11, 1901), in RG94/343790 (Box 2307), NARA DC.

100 On anti-colonialism see esp., Schirmer, Republic or Empire; Welch, Jr., Response to Imperialism.

101 On anti-colonialist racism, see Christopher Lasch, “The Anti-Imperialists, The Philippines, and the Inequality of Man.” Journal of Southern History, Vol. 24 (August 1958), 319-331.

102 “Uncle Sam Before and After His Wish for Expansion,” "Expensive Expansion" (Boston, 1900), in Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood, 182.

103 On Atkinson, see Robert L. Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900 (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1968), ch. 5. 

104 Atkinson was charged with indelicacy and inaccuracy and his pamphlet condemned as “The Venereal Disease Libel,” in Frederick C. Chamberlin, The Blow From Behind (Boston, Lee and Shepard, 1903), 83-91.

105 Atkinson, 18.

106 Acting Secretary of War to Lillian Stevens, October 8, 1900, RG94/343790, NARA DC.

107 Elihu Root to William Howard Taft, January 21, 1901, William H. Taft Papers, Microfilm ed. M1584, Series 21, Special Correspondence, Vol. 2 (1900-1901), Reel 640. My thanks to Richard Meixsel for identifying this source.

108 There were profound connections between the politics of anti-regulation and temperance that cannot be fully explored here. Brothels and saloons were strategically conflated in ways that brought temperance and social purity reformers together: brothels would attract soldiers to drink, and saloons attract soldiers to prostitution. “Regulated” brothels in the Philippines were imagined as parallel to the army canteens that permitted the sale of alcohol to soldiers. On the army canteen, see Edward Coffman, The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898 (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 359-361. On subsequent debates on opium traffic in the Philippines and its prohibition, see Anne L. Foster, “Models for Governing: Opium and Colonial Policies in Southeast Asia, 1898-1910,” in Julian Go and Anne Foster, eds., The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003), 92-117.

109 Teller, quoted in “No Beer for the Nation’s Defenders,” New York Times (January 10, 1901), 5.

110 Root to Taft, January 21, 1901. 

111 Telegram from Root to Taft, January 15, 1901; Telegram from H. C. Corbin to A. MacArthur, January 16, 1901, Taft Papers, Reel 640.

112 MacArthur, quoted in “Moral Conditions in the Philippines,” report included with Wilbur Crafts to Theodore Roosevelt, January 22, 1902, 8, RG94/416181A, NARA DC.

113 Taft, quoted in “Moral Conditions in the Philippines,” 9.

114 “Moral Conditions in the Philippines,” 8.

115 Maj.-Gen. Arthur MacArthur to Adjutant General of the Army, February 4, 1901.

116 “Against ‘Regulated’ Vice,” The Woman’s Column (May 3, 1902), 1.

117 Roosevelt, quoted in “For Social Purity in the Army,” The Outlook (April 19, 1902), 944-5.

118 “For Social Purity in the Army,” The Outlook (April 19, 1902), 944-5.

119 Editorial, The Philanthropist, Vol. 17, No. 2 (July 1902), 4.

120 “Conditions in America,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 17, No. 2 (July 1902), 6-7.

121 General Orders No. 101, May 21, 1901, RG350/2039/26 (Box 246), NARA CP.

122 M. A. De Laney to Chief Surgeon, February 18, 1903, RG 112/26/88939/B (Box 614), NARA DC.

123 “Moral Conditions in the Philippines,” 9.

124 Quoted in Geo. Davis to F. H. Maddocks, November 24, 1900, RG350/2045 (Box 246), NARA CP.

125 George Cortelyou to Elihu Root, March 21, 1902, RG 350/2045/26 (Box 246), NARA CP.

126 Report by George Curry, May 6, 1902, quoted in W. Cary Langer to George Cortelyou, June 11, 1902, RG 350/2045/28 (Box 246), NARA CP.

127 Elihu Root to Luke Wright, February 18, 1902, RG 350/2039 (Box 246), NARA CP.

128 “More Trouble in Manila,” The Philanthropist, Vol. 17, No. 3 (October 1902), 4.

129 Note enclosed, Secretary to the President to Elihu Root, February 6, 1902, RG350/2039/17 (Box 246), NARA CP.

130 Clarence Edwards to Mary Dye Ellis, April 3, 1902, RG350/2039/after-20 (Box 246), NARA CP.

131 Edwards to Ellis, April 3, 1902.

132 Letter from H. C. Bonnycastle to Adjutant, March 8, 1902.

133 Edward Lyman Munson, The Theory and Practice of Military Hygiene (New York: William Wood and Co., 1901), 835-7. My thanks to Warwick Anderson for identifying this source. Munson appears to have based his assessment on a favorable report by First Lieutenant S. L. Steer. Munson’s pro-regulation report was in turn used by U.S. officers in their defenses of the Jolo inspection program. See Letter from H. L. Laubach to Adjutant, March 11, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 4, NARA; Letter from W. H. Sage to Adjutant, March 13, 1902, RG94/417937/B, Enclosure 5, NARA DC.

134 L. M. Maus, “A Brief History of Venereal Diseases in the United States Army and Measures Employed for their Suppression,” American Social Hygiene Association, June 14, 1917, 2, 5, Box 131, File 3, ASHA Collection, University of Minnesota. As a major in the Philippines, Maus had been moved from the Army medical department to become the first head of Bureau of Health under civilian auspices in July 1901. Venereal inspection also went into effect in occupied Cuba and Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the Spanish-Cuban-American War, but appears to have emphasized the inspection of U.S. soldiers rather than prostitutes. See Siler, 75-78. The control of prostitutes was attempted in the province of Pinar del Rio; see Munson, 836. The fact that these inspection regimes were not subsequently politicized suggests that social purity reformers relied on anti-colonialists’ criticism of the war in the Philippines.

135 Maus, 6.

136 Siler identified the origins of these regulations in the Cuban context. Venereal control measures there, he wrote, had been “extended in one form or another to other geographic areas at later dates.” See Siler, 75.

137 De Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse, 86.

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Authors: For all articles by the author, click on author's name.   Paul A. Kramer