Military Review

Integration of the island of Puerto Rico into the political system of the United States


The Free Associated State of Puerto Rico is a territory under the control of the US government, the status of which is not definitively determined: residents are US citizens, but the US Constitution is not fully valid here, since the Constitution of Puerto Rico is also in force here. And this situation has been maintained since 1952. How did it come about?

The 1900 US "Organic Law" established a civilian government on the island of Puerto Rico, which became US possession in 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American War, as I wrote about in my article "Patriarch of American Imperialism" (https: / / This law also established Puerto Rican citizenship. On April 12, 1900, President Bill McKinley signed the Organic Act, which became known as the Foreaker Act, after its sponsor, Ohio Senator Joseph Foreker. The main author of the Foreaker Act was Secretary of War Elihu Ruth, who was appointed Secretary of State by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905.

The new government of Puerto Rico provided for a governor and an 11-member executive council (5 were selected from among the residents of Puerto Rico, and the rest were from among those who held the highest positions in the cabinet of ministers, including the attorney general and chief of police, appointed President of the United States), the House of Representatives of 35 elected members, the judiciary, and the Permanent Commissioner to the United States Congress. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico was also appointed. In addition, all US federal laws were to be applied on the island. Charles Allen became the first civilian governor of the island under the Foreaker Act, who was inaugurated on May 1, 1900 in the administrative center of the island, San Juan.

In 1917, the Foreaker Act was replaced by the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act, also known as the Jones-Shafroot Act or the Jones Puerto Rico Act. This Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917. The Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act granted US citizenship to anyone born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899. The law also established the Puerto Rican Senate, approved the Bill of Rights, and authorized the election for a 4-year term of a permanent commissioner previously appointed by the President of the United States. In addition, the law had an economic component: it exempted Puerto Rican bonds from federal, state and local taxes, regardless of the place of residence of the bondholder.

The provisions of the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act were partially repealed in 1948, after which the island's governor was elected. In 1948, the US Congress instructed the Puerto Rican authorities to draft their own constitution, which, after ratification by voters in 1952, provided the island with a greater degree of autonomy.

It is highly likely that the status of the island of Puerto Rico will change in the future.
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  1. knn54
    knn54 April 24 2021 18: 17
    Last September, Joe Biden said about the possible "assignment" of 51st state status to the island "... would be the most effective means of ensuring equal treatment of the residents of Puerto Rico, equal representation at the federal level."
    Let's see what happens to the territory that Trump wanted to change to Greenland. Denmark refused.
    1. Blacksmith 55
      Blacksmith 55 April 24 2021 18: 29
      According to my information, Trump wanted to buy Greenland.
      But Denmark refused to sell.
      1. Cowbra
        Cowbra April 24 2021 19: 13
        Oh, this Denmark. Democracy is not enough, there are virtually no blacks ... They also killed their prince ...
    2. Terenin
      Terenin April 24 2021 20: 18
      the US Constitution is not fully valid here, since the Constitution of Puerto Rico is also in force here. And this situation has been maintained since 1952. How did it come about?
      Cuba, also in the underbelly of the United States, has been kept autonomously for many years.
  2. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov April 24 2021 19: 15
    Given that all Puerto Ricans have American citizenship, and half of them already live in the United States, the question of whether or not Puerto Rico is accepted by 51 states is becoming more and more rhetorical.
    Here, I wonder how things are changing. I remember very well how in the 60s of the last century socialists and communists of various stripes and shades, using the ideological, moral and completely material assistance of the CPSU, waged an armed struggle there against colonialism and for independence. However, Puerto Ricans are very similar to our Middle Eastern neighbor. They love to buzz, but not to work very well. After seeing how crime is growing and what the already miserable "independent" economy is turning into, they preferred to live in the United States in any way and receive social services there. Although it is not so great, it is still more earnings at home, and it is unnecessary to work to get it. Tens of thousands of people aged 20-40 years all year round live in primitive bungalows on the shores of the warm sea, sip beer, fish for lunch and feel great.
    1. Blackmokona
      Blackmokona April 24 2021 19: 18
      Yes, the whole region is so strong and independent, some are poorer than others.
    2. Terenin
      Terenin April 24 2021 20: 32
      Quote: A. Privalov
      ... using the ideological, moral and completely material assistance of the CPSU, they waged an armed struggle there against colonialism and for independence ...

      It looks like the United States is doing the same thing with a smart look winked
    3. michael.jacksno
      michael.jacksno April 24 2021 21: 20
      There is no social network in the USA. Do not work do not eat.

      And what kind of independence? If half of the people live on the money earned through the second half in the United States.
      1. Blackmokona
        Blackmokona April 25 2021 12: 54
        More than a trillion a year is allocated in the United States for social services from the federal budget, plus there are local budgets. Another trillion was thrown into the coronavirus.
        Food stamps, tax credits, unemployment benefits, etc., etc.
    4. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I April 25 2021 00: 41
      One "tovarisch" told me: if the Americans make Puerto Rico their state, then they will be forced by their legislation to make Spanish the second official language of the United States, along with English! And now there is a reason to imagine what kind of "fun" in the United States will be ...
  3. Krasnodar
    Krasnodar April 25 2021 08: 42
    Interesting topic, but this is not an article - reference type note