United States Colonial Rule of Puerto Rico Essay

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United States Colonial Rule of Puerto Rico

When the United States invaded the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico (Guanica and Ponce), a majority of Puerto Ricans welcomed the Americans and enabled their invasion. They cooperated and aided the American expulsion of Spaniards. However, it is obvious by the consequences that the end result of U.S. invasion and rule was not what Puerto Ricans had welcomed in July of 1898. Puerto Ricans wished an end to autocratic rule and concentration of wealth, things they did not know would continue under American rule. The Americans were regarded as change and chance for progress, even though they retained the fear of not knowing U.S. intentions.

In the political arena at the beginning of United
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I think this attitude gave a forewarning to a similar autocratic government much like that during Spanish rule. Even the system of legislation reminded me of the Spanish system, with the viceroy of Spain electing governors and other officials in Puerto Rico, when he was completely removed from Puerto Rico and unaware of the situation there. Trías-Monge includes how “in testifying before Congress on the report, Judge H.G. Curtis, a member of the Commission, stated that the President himself should legislate for Puerto Rico, at the recommendation of the Governor to be appointed by him.”(p. 37) This is an immediate instance where actions are not proceeding as Puerto Ricans thought they would. But it was only a first sign.

On April 12, 1900 McKinley signed the Foraker Act. Foraker first presented the bill in January of 1900 which would create a civil government for Puerto Rico. After debates and compromise, the bill was signed in April of that same year. There were four major provisions of the bill. First was a Governor appointed by the President of the U.S., to a four year term, who was removable by the President. Second was the Executive Council composed of 6 departments headed by people appointed by the President, yet again. Next was the Legislative Assembly of 35 members elected for two years who had to write and read either English or Spanish and were subject to taxes. Finally, there