Woodrow Wilson and the Philippines


This commemorative plaque was given to President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) in 1916 by the newly formed Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines in gratitude for Wilson’s help in establishing an autonomous Filipino government. On August 29 of that year, Wilson signed the “Jones Law” or the “Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916” into law. This bill replaced the Philippine Commission with a sovereign Philippine senate, the first step towards granting independence to the Philippine Islands.

It was not until April 1946 that free elections were finally held and Manuel Roxas became the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines. The following July, the United States ceded its sovereignty over the Philippines.


Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 commemorative plaque, 1916. Copper plate, metal with gilding. Museum objects collection.