Francis Burton Harrison

Last updated
Francis Burton Harrison
Francis Burton Harrison.jpg
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
October 6, 1913 March 5, 1921
President Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by Newton W. Gilbert
Succeeded by Charles Yeater
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
March 4, 1907 September 3, 1913
Preceded by Jacob Ruppert
Succeeded by Jacob A. Cantor
Constituency 16th district (1907–13)
20th district (1913)
In office
March 4, 1903 March 3, 1905
Preceded by Oliver Belmont
Succeeded by Herbert Parsons
Constituency 13th district
Personal details
Francis Burton Harrison

(1873-12-18)December 18, 1873
New York City, United States
DiedNovember 21, 1957(1957-11-21) (aged 83)
Hunterdon Medical Center, Raritan Township near Flemington, New Jersey, U.S
Resting place Manila North Cemetery, Manila, Philippines
Citizenship Filipino
Political party Democratic
Parents Burton Harrison
Constance Cary Harrison
Alma mater Yale University
New York Law School
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Years of service1898 - 1899
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Battles/wars Spanish–American War

Francis Burton Harrison (December 18, 1873 – November 21, 1957) was an American-born Filipino statesman who served in the United States House of Representatives and was appointed Governor-General of the Philippines by President of the United States Woodrow Wilson. Harrison was a prominent adviser to the president of the Philippine Commonwealth, as well as the next four Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines. He is the only former Governor-General of the Philippines to be awarded Philippine citizenship.

Politics of the United States Political system of the United States of America

The United States is a federal republic in which the president, Congress and federal courts share powers reserved to the national government, according to its Constitution. The federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

The Governor-General of the Philippines was the title of the government executive during the colonial period of the Philippines, governed mainly by Spain (1565–1898) and the United States (1898–1946), and briefly by Great Britain (1762–1764) and Japan (1942–1945). They were also the representative of the executive of the ruling power.


Early life

Harrison was born in New York City, to Burton Harrison, a lawyer and private secretary to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Constance Cary Harrison, novelist and social arbiter. Through his mother, Harrison was great-grandson of Virginia-planter, Thomas Fairfax, 9th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. Through Fairfax in birth and marriage, Harrison was also relative to United States founding fathers: Gouverneur Morris (his great-great-uncle), Thomas Jefferson, the Randolphs, the Ishams, the Carters, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Burton Harrison American lawyer and politician

Burton Norvell Harrison, was a lawyer, American Democratic politician, and private secretary to Confederate States of America president Jefferson Davis.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves. Convinced that white supremacy and the institution of slavery were threatened by the November 1860 election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. presidency on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories, the Confederacy declared its secession from the United States, with the remaining states becoming known as the Union during the ensuing American Civil War. According to Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens in his famous Cornerstone Speech, Confederate ideology was centrally based "upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition".

Harrison graduated from Yale University in 1895, where he was a member of the secret society Skull and Bones, [1] :166 and from the New York Law School in 1897. From 1897 to 1899, Harrison was an instructor in the Evening Division at New York Law School. He later left to serve in United States Army during the Spanish–American War, as an assistant adjutant general with the rank of captain.

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.

Skull and Bones Undergraduate senior secret society at Yale University

Skull and Bones, The Order, Order 322 or The Brotherhood of Death is an undergraduate senior secret student society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The oldest senior class society at the university, Skull and Bones has become a cultural institution known for its powerful alumni and various conspiracy theories. The society's alumni organization, the Russell Trust Association, owns the organization's real estate and oversees the membership. The society is known informally as "Bones", and members are known as "Bonesmen", "Members of The Order" or "Initiated to The Order".

New York Law School private law school in New York City

New York Law School (NYLS) is a private law school in New York City. NYLS has a full-time day program, a part-time evening program, and a two-year accelerated J.D. honors program.

U.S. Congress

A member of the Democratic Party, Harrison was elected to the 58th United States Congress, and served from March 4, 1903, to March 3, 1905. In 1904, Harrison ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of New York. Afterwards he resumed the practice of law. He was again elected to the 60th, 61st, 62nd and 63rd United States Congresses, and served from March 4, 1907 to September 3, 1913, when he resigned to become Governor-General of the Philippines. His Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was eventually passed on December 17, 1914.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

58th United States Congress

The Fifty-eighth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC, from March 4, 1903, to March 4, 1905, during the third and fourth years of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Twelfth Census of the United States in 1900. Both chambers had a Republican majority.

1904 New York state election

The 1904 New York state election was held on November 8, 1904, to elect the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Engineer, the Chief Judge and an associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.

During his service in the Far East, Harrison was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1920 presidential election. He lost the nomination to Governor of Ohio James M. Cox at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, who eventually lost to the Republican candidate Warren G. Harding.

Asia Earths largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

Ohio State of the United States of America

Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus. Ohio is bordered by Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Lake Erie to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.

James M. Cox governor of Ohio

James Middleton Cox was the 46th and 48th Governor of Ohio, a U.S. Representative from Ohio, and the Democratic nominee for President of the United States at the 1920 presidential election. He founded the chain of newspapers that continues today as Cox Enterprises, a media conglomerate.


Harrison in 1913 Francis Burton Harrison, seated.jpg
Harrison in 1913

Harrison was Governor-General of the Philippines from 1913 to 1921 and advocated for and oversaw the process of Filipinization, or the transfer of authority to Filipinos in the United States territory's Insular Government to better prepare for independence.[ citation needed ] He was governor-general during the passages of the Philippine Autonomy Act, otherwise known as the Jones Act, which converted the partially elected Philippine Legislature with the appointed Philippine Commission as the upper house and the elected Philippine Assembly as the lower house, to a fully elected Philippine Legislature with the Philippine Senate replacing the now-dissolved Philippine Commission and the Philippine Assembly renamed the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

United States territory legal designation

United States territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters and all U.S. naval vessels. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.

Philippine Legislature legislature of the Philippines from 1907 to 1935, during colonial rule by the U.S.

The Philippine Legislature was the legislature of the Philippines from 1907 to 1935, during the American colonial period, and predecessor of the current Congress of the Philippines. It was bicameral and the legislative branch of the Insular Government.

Despite the length of his tenure as governor-general he vetoed only five bills, the least number by any American governor-general in the Philippines.[ citation needed ] His pro-Filipino stance made him a popular figure in the Philippines but also the object of criticism of conservative Americans who viewed his liberal governance as not supportive enough of U.S. interests. [2]

Under his administration, the Governor-General's Spanish-era mansion called Malacañan Palace was expanded with the construction of an executive building. When he left the Philippines, Harrison lived in Scotland until being recalled to the Philippines in 1934 during a period of transition from an unincorporated territory of the United States to the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

Political adviser

Manuel L. Quezon became the first President of the Commonwealth and Harrison was asked to be Quezon's principal advisor in November 1935. He served in that capacity for ten months. In 1936, Harrison expressed interest in acquiring Filipino citizenship but did not fulfill the required years of residency under the Naturalization Law. [3] Upon Manuel Quezon's initiative, the National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 79, making him a naturalized Filipino citizen. [4] Harrison returned to the position of advisor upon Quezon's request in May 1942, after Filipino and American troops had surrendered the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island during World War II and Quezon went into exile in the United States. Harrison would serve the government-in-exile.

From November 1946 to February 1947, Harrison served as Commissioner of Claims in the civil service of the United States Army in Manila. He later served as an advisor to the first four presidents of the new Philippine Republic after the country's independence in 1946, serving as special adviser of foreign affairs to Manuel Roxas.

After this latest service to the Philippines, Harrison retired to Spain for six years, then chose to move to Califon, New Jersey in August 1957.

Gravesite of F.B. Harrison at the Manila North Cemetery. FB Harrison Tomb.jpg
Gravesite of F.B. Harrison at the Manila North Cemetery.

Personal life

Harrison's first wife was Mary Crocker, daughter of California railroad and mining magnate Charles Frederick Crocker. They married on June 7, 1900. She died in 1905 in an automobile accident leaving Harrison to raise two small daughters, the elder Virginia Randolph Harrison and the younger Barbara Harrison Wescott. [5] Harrison would marry and divorce four more times to: Mabel Judson Cox, Elizabeth Wrentmore, Margaret Wrentmore and Doria Lee. [6] His last wife, Maria Teresa Larrucea, a young Basque woman, was born in Amorebieta (Bizkaia, Spain) and outlived Harrison.


Harrison died on November 21, 1957 at Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township near Flemington, New Jersey. He willed that he be buried in the Philippines and he was interred in the Manila North Cemetery in La Loma, Manila. [7]


F.B. Harrison Avenue in the Metro Manila city of Pasay, starting in Baclaran, Parañaque and ends in Pablo Ocampo Street (formerly Vito Cruz) in the City of Manila, was named after him. Harrison Road in Baguio City, a major thoroughfare beginning in the city center past Burnham Park and ending near the Baguio Convention Center, is also named for Harrison.

Published works

Related Research Articles

Commonwealth of the Philippines 1935-1946 republic in Southeast Asia

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 replaced the Insular Government, a United States territorial government, and was established by the Tydings–McDuffie Act. The Commonwealth was designed as a transitional administration in preparation for the country's full achievement of independence.

Manuel L. Quezon president of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944

Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina was a Filipino statesman, soldier and politician who served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the entire Philippines, and is considered to have been the second president of the Philippines, after Emilio Aguinaldo (1899–1901).

President of the Philippines Head of state and of government of the Republic of the Philippines

The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The President leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The President is directly elected by the people, and is one of only two nationally elected executive officials, the other being the Vice President of the Philippines. However, four vice presidents have assumed the presidency without having been elected to the office, by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation.

Elpidio Quirino 6th President of the Philippines

Elpídio Rivera Quiríno was a Filipino politician of ethnic Ilocano descent who served as the sixth President of the Philippines from 1948 to 1953.

Sergio Osmeña 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946

Sergio Osmeña, PLH, was a Filipino politician who served as the fourth President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon. Upon Quezon's sudden death in 1944, Osmeña succeeded him, at age 65, becoming the oldest holder of the office. A founder of the Nacionalista Party, Osmeña was also the first Visayan to become president.

Manuel Roxas

Manuel Acuña Roxas was the fifth President of the Philippines who served from 1946 until his death in 1948. He briefly served as the third and last President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from May 28, 1946 to July 4, 1946, subsequently becoming the first President of the independent Third Philippine Republic after the United States ceded its sovereignty over the Philippines.

José Abad Santos fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines and served as Acting President of the Philippines during World War II

José Abad Santos was the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He briefly served as the Acting President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and Acting Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during World War II, on behalf of President Quezon after the government went in exile to the United States. After about two months, he was executed by the Japanese forces for refusing to cooperate during their occupation of the country.

Aurora Quezon 20th-century wife of Philippine President Manuel Luis Quezón

Aurora Antonia Aragón, viuda de Quezon, usually known simply as Aurora Quezon and sometimes as Aurora Aragón-Quezon, was the wife of Philippine President Manuel Luis Quezon and the First Lady of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. Although she is recognized as the second First Lady of the Philippines, she was actually the first spouse of a Philippine president to be addressed as such, the honorific being unknown in the Philippines prior to Manuel Quezon's presidency. Much beloved by Filipinos, Quezon was known for involvement with humanitarian activities and served as the first Chairperson of the Philippine National Red Cross.

1935 Philippine presidential election

Presidential, legislative and local elections were held on September 16, 1935. This was the fourth election since the enactment of the Tydings–McDuffie Act, a law that paved the way for a transitory government, as well as the first nationwide at-large election ever held in the Philippines.

Joaquín Miguel Elizalde Filipino statesman

Joaquín Miguel "Mike" Díaz Elizalde was a Filipino statesman.

Jones Law (Philippines) 1916 law

The Jones Law was an Organic Act passed by the United States Congress. The law replaced the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 and acted as a constitution of the Philippines from its enactment until 1934, when the Tydings–McDuffie Act was passed. The Jones Law created the first fully elected Philippine legislature.

The Philippine National Guard was a militia that was created by the Philippine Assembly in 1917. It would serve under General John Pershing in Europe during World War I. The Philippine Legislature, led by Senate President Manuel Quezon, offered the United States some assistance during the World War I. It had 25,000 soldiers when it was absorbed by the National Army. The total cost of raising the unit was under three million dollars. This unit, however, was not able to see action, for it was only mustered into federal service on Armistice Day and would never leave the islands.

Leon Gawaran Guinto Sr. was a public servant in the Philippines from the Commonwealth period up to the post-war era, best remembered as the war-time Mayor of the City of Greater Manila in the Philippines.

The Philippine Council of State is an advisory body first established during the American Colonial Period by the Governor-General of the Philippines Francis Burton Harrison upon the recommendation of Philippine politicians and future Presidents of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña. Governor-General Harrison issued an executive order on 16 October 1918, creating the first Council of State in the Philippines "to harmonise the executive and legislative departments".

This is a list of current and former national capital cities in the Philippines, which includes during the time of the Spanish colonization, the First Philippine Republic, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, the Second Republic of the Philippines, the Third Republic of the Philippines, the Fourth Republic of the Philippines and the current Fifth Republic of the Philippines.

The National Assembly of the Philippines refers to the legislatures of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1941, and of the Second Philippine Republic during Japanese occupation. The National Assembly of the Commonwealth was created under the 1935 Constitution, which served as the Philippines' fundamental law to prepare it for its independence from the United States of America.

Manila North Cemetery cemetery

The Manila North Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Manila, the Philippines. The cemetery is owned by the City of Manila, the national capital, and is one of the largest in the metropolis at 54 hectares. It is located alongside Andrés Bonifacio Avenue, bordering it are two other important cemeteries: the La Loma Cemetery and the Manila Chinese Cemetery. Numerous impoverished families notably inhabit some of the mausoleums.

John A. Hull Judge Advocate General of the United States Army

John Adley Hull was a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army and an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Insular Government of the Philippine Islands

The Insular Government of the Philippine Islands was a territorial government of the United States that was established in 1901 and was dissolved in 1935. The Insular Government was preceded by the United States Military Government of the Philippine Islands and was followed by the Commonwealth of the Philippines.


  1. The twelfth general catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. 1917. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  2. Jose, Ricardo Trota. (2004). "Harrison, Francis Burton (1873–1957) – Champion of Filipinization". In Ooi Keat Gin (Ed.), Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 563–564. ISBN   1-57607-770-5.
  3. Quezon, Manuel. "Letter of President Quezon on conferring of Filipino Citizenship upon Ex-Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison, October 6, 1936". Official Gazette. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  4. "Commonwealth Act No. 79, October 26, 1936". Supreme Court E-Library. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  5. "Mrs. F. B. Harrison Dead In Auto Wreck; Car Becomes Unmanageable On A Long Island City Grade. Strikes A Telegraph Pole Ex-congressman's Wife Lifeless When Picked Up. Two Others Hurt. L. I. Scott Is One". The New York Times . November 26, 1905. Retrieved 2010-02-09. Mrs. Francis Burton Harrison of 876 Fifth Avenue, wife of the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 1904, and a leader of society here and in San Francisco, was instantly killed in an automobile accident at Thompson Avenue and Van Pelt Street, Long Island City, just before noon yesterday.
  6. "Mrs. E. W. Harrison Engaged To Banker. Former Wife Of Francis Burton Harrison To Wed Alexander F. G. Watson Of London. Bridal In Paris April 14 Chicago Girl, Who At 18 Married The Ex-governor Of The Philippines, Became Divorcee Year Ago". Associated Press in The New York Times . March 22, 1928. Retrieved 2010-02-09. Announcement was made today of the engagement of Mrs. Elizabeth Wrentmore Harrison, former wife of Francis Burton Harrison, one-time Governor of the Philippines, to Alexander Fitzjames Graham Watson, investment banker, of Edinburgh and London.
  7. "F. B. Harrison, 83, U.S. Ex-aide, Dies; Philippine Governor General 1913-21 Represented City For Four Terms In House". The New York Times . November 22, 1957. Retrieved 2010-02-09. Francis Burton Harrison, Governor General of the Philippines from 1913 to 1921, died today of a heart ailment in Hunterdon Medical Center. His age was 83. He lived in near-by Califon.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Oliver Belmont
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Herbert Parsons
Preceded by
Jacob Ruppert
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 16th congressional district

Succeeded by
Peter J. Dooling
Preceded by
Thomas W. Bradley
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jacob A. Cantor
Government offices
Preceded by
William Cameron Forbes
Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Charles Yeater