The Philippine Revolution

by Apolinario Mabini


Copyright 1969
By Leon Ma.Guerrero


Permission to post this text on the Austrian-Philippine Website is provisionally granted by the estate of Leon Ma. Guerrero. It is intended for academic use. Commercial exploitation of this is explicitly prohibited. Copyright Estate of Leon Ma. Guerrero. All rights reserved.


Scanning and proofreeding of the text by Robert L. Yoder


Political Revolution and Evolution

By political revolution I understand a people's movement aimed at producing a violent change in the organization. and operation of the three public powers: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. If the movement is slow, gradual or progressive, it is called evolution. I say people's movement because I consider it essential that the proposed change answer a need felt by the citizens in general. Any agitation promoted by a particular class for the benefit of its special interests does not' deserve the name (of political revolution or evolution).

The inclination toward betterment or progress is a common need or law for all beings, whether individually or collectively considered. So it is that political revolution is generally attempted by a people for whom the desire to improve their condition has become an irresistible need. But against this law there is another, known as the instinct of self-preservation, which restrains the impetuosities, of the people by showing, them the desolation and misery caused by the use of violence, and by reminding them of the possibility that an influential and unscrupulous class, exploiting the ignorance or corruption of its fellow citizens, may deceive them for the benefit of their special designs, in which case the revolution would worsen rather than. improve conditions.

This conflict is resolved by prudence, Which counsels evolution., Along this channel improvement is slow, but, gentle and without painful convulsions, somewhat like the spontaneous and almost imperceptible growth of a human being. As a general rule citizens prefer to wait because it serves their own convenience and because those turbulent souls who seek in rebellions their personal advancement do not dare raise their heads until the people are frustrated in their aspirations.

But evolution is not possible where the social organization is not adjusted to it, just as a plant grows and flourishes only in suitable soil. When the government takes measures for the stagnation of the people, whether for its own profit or that of a particular class, or for any other purpose, revolution is inevitable. A people that have not yet reached the fullness of life must grow and develop because otherwise their existence would be paralyzed, and paralyzation is equivalent to death. Since it is unnatural for a being to submit to its own destruction, the people must exert all their efforts to destroy the government which prevents their development. If the government is composed of the very sons of the people, it must necessarily fall.

A powerful foreign government determined to impose its authority by force, without regard for the aspirations of. the conquered people, can, of course, subjugate them, but such a government will be able to escape uprisings only after utterly extinguishing all the energies of the people in the course of long and sanguinary struggles. However, if the conqueror does not seek room for its excess population but rather a market for its products, strife and slaughter would cause it great injury for it would have to spend much blood and treasure only in order to exterminate the consumers of its, products. Consider further the habits of tyranny and despotism and the political corruption that frequent wars and the ambition to dominate foreign lands and peoples necessarily engender in the conquering classes, developments which increase the discontent of their opposition and produce disintegrating forces in a nation eminently liberal in its customs and heterogeneous in its population; and, starting from the most unfavorable assumptions for the conquered people, it may well be that, due to circumstances that cannot be humanly foreseen, such a people may emerge triumphant from the struggle.

The very same prudence that counsels the citizens to patience, counsels reflection to the conqueror. It is useless, true enough, to ask that it look after the interests of. the conquered country in preference to its own, for its vaunted humanitarian sentiments are as a rule only a mask to hide its real intentions, but since it is fatuous to go against the laws of nature, it would be a measure of the highest political wisdom for the conqueror to conciliate instead of antagonizing the conquered. Pride, which is always engendered by the consciousness of power, often considers the concessions suggested by prudence as signs of weakness, but it is necessary to keep in mind that, while pride sometimes instills courage and perseverance in the pursuit of hazardous enterprises, it is always, an evil counsellor in determining whether a proposed objective is expedient or not.

The study of the Philippine political revolution should determine whether or not the considerations I have set forth are worthwhile.

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created: September 8, 1998
updated: December 22, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger