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American Imperial PastoralThe Architecture of US Colonialism in the Philippines$
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Rebecca Tinio McKenna

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226417769

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226417936.001.0001

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Liberating Labor: The Road to Baguio

Liberating Labor: The Road to Baguio

Chapter:
(p.49) Two Liberating Labor: The Road to Baguio
Source:
American Imperial Pastoral
Author(s):

Rebecca Tinio McKenna

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226417936.003.0003

This chapter concerns Benguet Road, the American colonial road built to reach the Baguio hill station. It was one of the first major public works projects that the colonial government undertook, and it became the most celebrated road in the Philippines. For Americans, this twenty-six mile highway was an opportunity to celebrate the marvels of U.S. engineering and managerial power, but for many Filipinos, the road was an extravagant waste. This chapter explores how Americans recruited Philippine labor for the project in the face of disinterest if not outright resistance by Filipinos. Despite promises to "liberate labor" and teach colonial subjects "free agency," in gathering workers Americans largely relied on the effects of counter-revolutionary war and later, laws which circumscribed Philippine peoples’ subsistence practices and movement. These forms of primitive accumulation freed labor in ways far removed from many Filipino workers’ own vision of free agency and were a response to the contest Filipinos posed to U.S. rule.

Keywords:   colonial roads, insurgency, vagrancy, colonial forestry, primitive accumulation, labor discipline

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