Theresa Marie Ventura
- Columbia University
Empire for Reform: Progressivism, Nature, and the American Colonial State in the Philippines, 1898-1934
This study argues that the intersection of US domestic agricultural reform and imperialism in the Philippines produced a novel form of development in the early twentieth century. Assuming that the Philippine environment was inherently rich, agrarian reformers expected modern methods of cultivation and peasant education to increase agricultural productivity. Archival research in the United States and the Philippines shows that the failure of this project, coupled with environmental degradation and local resistance, led reformers to reevaluate their beliefs about the tropics. Capital-intensive and highly technical programs directed towards the improvement of seeds and soil gradually replaced programs aimed at reforming farmers. This process culminated in the Green Revolution.