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Unit 3: II- From the Foraker Act to the Jones Act

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Yvonne Fortuño

on 9 January 2017

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Transcript of Unit 3: II- From the Foraker Act to the Jones Act

The Fight against the Foraker Act
Union Party will dominate the Chamber of Delegates during this period but will be frustrated by their real lack of power and by the American Governor and Cabinet lack of support to most of their proposals.
Republican Party - the minority party - will win the support of the Americans
American Governors and officials - will mostly answer to the whims of a clique of foreign chiefs - the Americans of the Executive Council - - These looked out for the interests of the American businesses in the island.
On many occasions the Union Leaders expressed their dissatisfaction with the structure of the government to the President and Congress but were ignored.. . they did nothing to modify it.
President Theodore Roosevelt was in favor of giving the American citizenship to Puerto Ricans but believed that American enlightened tutelage must be maintained
Union Party rejected the idea that of citizenship without self -government
More members of the Union Party will abandon the dream of statehood and support either autonomy or independence. Why?
Inferiority of the 'invented' Puerto Rican citizenship
Lack of powers of the Chamber of Delegates - only elected representatives.
Favoritism of the Governor and Executive Council towards foreign firms (Sugarcane and tobacco) in detriment of the native companies (Coffee)
Some American governors were more open to the Unionists and they became hopeful but then ... others would not tolerate any criticism or claims...
Confrontation of 1909 - - ended with the Olmstead Amendment
Road towards the Jones Act
Olmstead Bill - - a more restrictive proposal - - would extend the amount of land that corporations could own in the island to 5000 acres instead of 500 acres that the Foraker Act had imposed: did not pass
Muñoz Rivera and his sector of the Union Party will concentrate on getting reforms of the Foraker Act and will work especially with Senator Jones to achieve them.
Independence sentiments were growing inside the Union Party (De Diego) and outside:
Partido de la Independencia 1912 (Independence Party): Although it was dissolved, it set an important precedent
Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, Manuel Zeno Gandía, Luis Lloréns Torres
Labor class became an important and feared political force within the island
There were various attempts at altering the Act but they all ended in frustrations for the 'Practical politicians' like Muñoz Rivera....
Jones Act
Factors that influenced Congress to consider revising the Foraker act:
Democratic Party in U.S. controls the Presidency with Woodrow Wilson and the Congress
Rumblings of war - - Europe seemed to be heading into a big war - - U.S. fears their enemies interest in the zone
Bureau of Insular Affairs of War Department: in charge of PR affairs- believed in the importance of the island in the safety of the Panama Canal and the Caribbean - they had proposed a Canadian style autonomy for the island
What finally pushed the approval of the Jones Act:
Stirrings of independence in the island: De Diego etc.
Death of Muñoz Rivera brought unity among PR leaders that will go to Washington to finish the job.
Eminence of U.S. involvement in World War I
Acquisition of the Danish West Indies and the demand of their queen that U.S. citizenship be given to their inhabitants
Labor Movement & Politics
From the Foraker Act to the Jones Act
T. Roosevelt's visit to P.R.
Admires the beauty of the island
People he claims were “pathetic and childlike” that they were- loyal and happy to be with US
Believed the American government administrators were great.
that there was Prosperity.
System works - - no change is needed.
Puerto Ricans could gradually be appointed as assistant commissioners in each department.
Believes the U.S. had to develop a Colonial Service like the British to take care of the Administration of the colonies.
Confrontation of 1909
Governor Post refuses to accept recommendations for judicial vacancies.
House makes judicial vacancies elective & establishes an agricultural bank . . .
Post sets deadline for House to pass an appropriation bill. (authorizes government how to spend money)
House of Delegates refuses- - strike
Post complains to Washington - -
Proposes an amendment : if an appropriations bill was not passed, the previous one would be used.

Reactions & Consequences of the Conflict
New President William H. Taft:
“righteous indignation” - Puerto Ricans were “ungrateful “ - gave us a public spanking...
Signed the Olmstead amendment to Foraker Act: permits governor to use the appropriation bill of the previous year.
Public controversy - discussion: Imperialists vs. anti – imperialists
Republicans tried to calm down the President.
Union Party lost the favor of the American government but ...drew attention to the need for revision of the Foraker Act.
New governor will be more accommodating to the Puerto Ricans -
1910 - - Luis Muñoz Rivera - is elected Resident Commissioner of PR and will start in Washington to fight for self - government

Governor George Colton:
Considered himself a civil servant & not a politician - “restrained” & used flattery
Showed concern for coffee industry & wanted to develop an American market.
House cleaning: tries to rid his administration of corrupted and immoral Americans – the carpetbagging government.
Wanted to weaken Unionist party
Proposals for Olmstead Bill of 1910
limiting suffrage to literate males that paid at least $5 in annual taxes.
Eliminating the 500 acre limitation for sugar corporations or increase it to 5000
Strengthen colonial tutelage & big sugar interests.
It was not approved
Secretary of War Henry Stimson now favors giving the island the american citizenship and the Canadian style of Self - government.
President Taft after loosing elections - in his last message to Congress rejects statehood for PR as an alternative and supports Stimson proposal

Henry Stimson
T. Roosevelt and William Taft
Woodrow Wilson and William Taft
Government according to the Jones Act

American Citizenship
Separation of Power
Free Trade & Common Market – U.S. Control over Navigation laws & Foreign trade
Resident Commissioner in Washington – no vote
Executive Branch
Governor:(named by President)

Judicial Branch
Supreme Court
District Courts
Municipal Courts

Legislative Branch
19 members elected

Department Heads (cabinet)
(4 named by governor – 2 named by the President)

House of Representatives 39 elected

Federal District Court
President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act on March 2, 1917

Lusi Muñoz Rivera
July 17, 1859 – November 15, 1916
Fought all his life for self - government
the 'Practical Politician"
Believed that independence would never be obtained and it was only an abstract ideal - supported only as the 'last protest'
His last battle in the U.S. Congress will be trying to get the Jones Act:
Some congressmen wanted to add a "Prohibition Amendment"
Faced the racism of some Americans
Division among Puerto Rican leaders
Muñoz Rivera's proposal of amendments:
Conditional veto of the Governor
Senate right of approval for school curriculum
The Citizenship Questions
Collective Citizenship / individual citizenship
Muñoz believes the If no more self – government was given, citizenship bill should not be passed.
Republicans in PR want island to be made incorporated territory with citizenship
Union Party defends Puerto Rican citizenship – American citizenship only with statehood
Many want A plebiscite to decide

First administrative cabinet under the Jones Act. From left: A. Ruíz Soler (Health), José E. Benedicto (Treasurer), Ramón Siaca Pacheco (Secretary), Hon. Arthur Yager (Governor, 1914-1921), Paul G. Miller (Education), Manuel Camuñas (Labor and Agriculture), Salvador Mestre (Attorney General), Guillermo Esteves (Interior), Jesse W. Bonner (Auditor), Pedro L. Rodríguez (Governor's Secretary).

Origin of the Movement in the island
During Spanish Regime:
best paid artisans: typographers, cigar makers and carpenters
self - help groups, newspapers, first strikes
Ensayo Obrero - 1897 - important newspaper
Santiago Iglesias Pantin arrived in the island and joins other leaders: Ramón Romero Rosa, José Ferrer y Ferrer, Fernando Gómez Acosta
Santiago Iglesias in Cuba
Who was Iglesias Pantin?
Spanish Carpenter
Anarchist and Socialist -
Had been a labor agitator in Spain and Cuba where he had emigrated
Already in trouble in PR with authorities when Americans arrive
Labor organization already existed when the U.S. invaded the island
American government in the island tolerated the labor movement because in the U.S. labor organizations had already fought for and obtained the recognition of their rights to organize and defend their interests and even to go on strikes.
General Guy Henry approved a law that established the limitation of an eight- hour day for workers - - wining the support of many leaders of the movement even though in reality it was not applied for decades.
Regional Federation of Labor (FRT - Federación Regional de Trabajadores) - - Using typical European Socialist rhetoric - they demanded also practical measures for immediate relief (better salaries, education, lex taxes) . Divided over political disagreements
Free Federation of Labor (FLT - Federación Libre de los Trabajadores de Puerto Rico) - -
1899 - They also created a political party - Partido Obrero Socialista - will not last
1902 - Partido Obrero Socialista dissolved and joined Partido Federal and later Union
1901 - FLT joined the American Federation of Labor (AFL) under the leadership of Samuel Gompers
Santiago Iglesias became the labor organizer for Cuba and Puerto Rico of the Organization and Gompers ' man in Puerto Rico
American Federation of Labor
The most conservative of the labor confederations in the U.S. -
Influenced Labor movement in the island:
Organized in craft unions and not industrial unions - by specialty
Central leadership controlled strikes
Collective bargaining was always preferred than strikes
Influenced Iglesias into abandoning ardent socialism - - but not political participation (Which the AFL did not like)
Visited island in 1904:
criticizes Sugar Trust
promotes americanization
received VIP treatment
Difficulties in organizing Labor in PR
PR workers preferred to use strikes and not negotiations
Conditions of workers in the PR were very different than those in the US (agricultural /industrial)
Not many were skilled workers
Agricultural workers had little job security, could barely subsist, so could really not pay fees demanded by unions.
Work was limited to some months of the year, and many workers lived in the farms of their employers (agregados) - - so they would risk loosing not only jobs but homes
First unions were of artisans
Later - skilled workers of semi industrial businesses like Sugar mills and cigar factories (mostly women)
1903 - - Cruzada del Ideal - - crusade to get more workers to join - - had some success but the movement continued to be weak.
After 1905: cane workers participated often in strikes that were not successful
Why were the workers not successful in their strikes?
Government authorities sympathized more with the big corporations than with the FLT. This included the Americans in the executive power and the Partido Union in the Legislative power in many occasions
By 1906 - the FLT had left the Partido Union and decided to fight for their rights
Assimilation and Statehood
Animosity between the FLT and what they called the native "bourgeois politicians" -
Iglesias Pantin claimed that if these native politicians had the absolute power over the island - the conditions of the workers would be worst:
'The economic and social superiority of the Puerto Rican ruling classes was a more humiliating oppression than the American colonalism .'
The Labor movement became defenders of americanization, assimilation and statehood
Luisa Capetillo
Born in Arecibo in 1879 of very politically liberal parents - home schooled
reader in a cigar making factory in Arecibo
wrote essays 'Mi Opinion'
Since 1905 became a leader of the FLT
Organized women into unions and was also a leader of the women suffragist movement
First woman in PR to wear pants in public in 1919- jail
Scarano, Francisco; Puerto Rico, Una Historia Contemporanea,
Segunda Edicion' McGraw Hill, Mexico 2007
Pico, Fernando; History of Puerto Rico, A Panorama of its
People; Marcus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, 2006
Morales Carrión; Puerto Rico, A Political and Cultural History,
New York, 1983
Dietz, James; Economic History of Puerto Rico, Princeton, New
Jersey 1986
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