History of the Philippines

Commonwealth of the Philippines
President Manuel Luis Quezon of the Philippines ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1935 Jan 1 - 1942

Commonwealth of the Philippines


The Commonwealth of the Philippines was the administrative body that governed the Philippines from 1935 to 1946, aside from a period of exile in the Second World War from 1942 to 1945 when Japan occupied the country. It was established following the Tydings–McDuffie Act to replace the Insular Government, a United States territorial government. The Commonwealth was designed as a transitional administration in preparation for the country's full achievement of independence. Its foreign affairs remained managed by the United States.

During its more than a decade of existence, the Commonwealth had a strong executive and a Supreme Court. Its legislature, dominated by the Nacionalista Party, was at first unicameral, but later bicameral. In 1937, the government selected Tagalog – the language of Manila and its surrounding provinces – as the basis of the national language, although it would be many years before its usage became general. Women's suffrage was adopted and the economy recovered to its pre-Depression level before the Japanese occupation in 1942. In 1946, the Commonwealth ended and the Philippines claimed full sovereignty as provided for in Article XVIII of the 1935 Constitution.

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Last Updated: : Mon Oct 31 2022