This Day in the Law
March 24

Tydings–McDuffie Act Passed (1934)

On March 24, 1934, the Tydings-McDuffie Act was passed by the United States Congress and gave the Philippines the right to self-govern. It also provided for independence from the United States within ten years.

Prior to the Tydings-McDuffie Act, the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish–American War, transferred control of the Philippines to the United States (previously, Spain had maintained control of the Philippines). The Philippine government, however, did not recognize the United States’ rule and proclaimed a Declaration of War against the United States in 1899. This led to the Philippine-American War, which the United States eventually won. U.S. rule of the Philippines began officially in 1905.

In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson adopted a new policy that would eventually lead to Philippine independence. He urged Congress to pass The Jones Act in 1916, which promised eventual independence and instituted an elected Philippine senate. Unfortunately, it took several more years for that promise to come to fruition.

The United States granted the Philippines the right to self-govern on March 24, 1934 with the passing of the Tydings-McDuffie Act. Specifically, the act provided for the drafting of a Constitution and created the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The act also granted full independence after a transitional period of ten years, in which the Commonwealth of the Philippines would simply become the Philippines. The act also reclassified all Filipinos that were living in the United States as aliens.

Today, the Philippines is an independent nation.