Unit 5 Class Notes- imperialism and wwi american Expansionism



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Ruling Puerto Rico- During the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces occupied the island, promising to protect its people and property, and to promote the prosperity of the island and “bestow upon you the immunities and blessings of the liberal institutions of our government.” Views of Puerto Ricans varied, from some wanting statehood in the Union, others wanting a measure of local self-rule, and still others, like Luis Munoz Rivera, worked for Puerto Rican independence. The United States gave the island people no promises regarding independence.

  • Puerto Rico was strategically important to the US

    • For maintaining a military presence in the Caribbean

    • For protecting a future canal that U.S. leaders had been dreaming of building across the isthmus of Panama for decades.

  • The U.S. maintained military government in the island until 1900, when Congress passed the Foraker Act

    • Ended military rule

    • Set up a civil government

      • The U.S. president had the power to appoint Puerto Rico’s governor and members of the upper house of its legislature

      • The lower house (House of Representatives) was elected by Puerto Ricans

  • 1901: The Insular Cases- The acquisition of newly annexed American territories brought with them peculiar questions: Did the Constitution follow the flag? Did American laws, including tariff laws and the Bill of Rights, apply in full in the new American possessions? Puerto Ricans petitioned Congress in 1900 with the question “Who are we? Are we citizens or are we subjects?” That question would be answered by a divided Supreme Court in the Insular Cases

    • The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did not automatically apply to people in acquired territories.

    • Puerto Ricans (and Filipinos) might be subject to American rule, but they did not enjoy all American rights

  • 1917: Congress granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans, and gave them the right to elect both houses of their legislature.





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