According to Renato Constantino, when the American government conquered the island of the Philippines from the Spanish government in 1896, the American government established a commonwealth government after the Spanish revolutionary government ceased to govern the country. At this time of the Philippine history, Filipinos under the commonwealth government started to frame up Filipino national identities. When the question on who would be the national hero arose, whether Rizal or Bonifacio, the American government "guided" the Filipino people to choose Rizal. The American rationale was based on Rizal's peaceful propaganda and diplomatic approaches in attaining Philippine freedom and independence, unlike Bonifacio who chose a bloody revolution.
Whether this assessment is accurate or not, Dr. Rizal has been considered a hero of the Philippines from the outset: a public holiday was declared honouring Dr. Rizal in 1898, whereas that for Bonifacio was not declared until 1921. Dr. Rizal was considered to be his inspiration by Bonifacio himself. Even without the assistance of US propaganda, Rizal would have been honoured as a hero in the Philippines. Perhaps the effect of the propaganda was less to boost Rizal and more to denigrate Bonifacio.