Washington Law Review


The essays in this symposium bring out two themes—the relation of the American model to the substance and practice of law in the Philippines and the influence of the spirit of nationalism. Neither can be fully understood without reference to the past, for both have been fundamentally affected by the half century of American occupation. The substance of the law clearly owes most to the American model although Spanish civil law was not, in certain important areas, discarded. The Constitution of 1936, drawn up by an elected convention under the chairmanship of the late Senator Claro Recto, strongly reflects the tone and form of the American Constitution. It had to be a document acceptable to the United States Congress but this was not as difficult for Filipinos to produce as might have been expected. The Constitution, in fact, bears many resemblances to the Malolos constitution of 1899 which the leaders of the Philippine revolution wrote when they were setting up an independent republic. When the Filipinos were fighting against Spain, as when they were opposing American conquest, they were fighting and dying for political ideas that they had drawn from the same sources that provided the philosophical basis of the French and American revolutions.

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