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Unit 5: From the Jones Act to the Plight of the 1930s

The 1920s and 1930s in Puerto Rico

Yvonne Fortuño

on 16 February 2018

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Transcript of Unit 5: From the Jones Act to the Plight of the 1930s

From the Jones Act to The Plight of the 1930s
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
Pedro Albizu Campos & Luis Muñoz Marin
Plan Chardon
After the Jones Act:

After the political reforms of the Jones Act - - not much attention will be giving to the island
A period of Bonanza for the sugar trusts - - Sugar Industry ( reflected ups & downs of prices) Absentee companies:
South Porto Rico Sugar Company
Fajardo Sugar Company
Central Aguirre Sugar Companies
Growth of Labor trade unionism - - fights King Sugar
stirrings of independence
Expansion of:
Population and Trade,
Improvements of roads, harbor, irrigation ( helping King Sugar)
Education: Intensive Americanization - - Great Debate: cultural struggle
World War I: Contributions of Puerto Ricans
May 3, 1917, the Puerto Rican Regiment recruited 1,969 men. The 295th and 296 Infantry Regiments
November 1917, the first military draft lottery was held in San Juan.
May 17, 1917, the Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry was sent to guard the Panama Canal
236,000 registered - - 18,000 selected. 4,000 sent to Panamá
Contributions to American Red Cross –
$10 million in Liberty Bonds
1918 photo of Felix Rigau Carrera, Puerto Rico's first pilot.

Officer Staff of the Puerto Rico Regiment (c.1906)Lt. Teofilo Marxuach pictured on top row, fifth L-R
On March 21, 1915 – an armed German supply ship tried to force its way out of the San Juan Bay to deliver supplies to the German submarines in the Atlantic. Lieutenant Teofilo Marxuach – the officer at El Morro Castle ordered opening fire against them. These were the first shots fired by the U.S. in World War I
Rear Admiral Frederick Lois Riefkohl (February 27, 1889–September 1969), a native of , Maunabo, was an officer in the U.S. Navy and the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and to be awarded the Navy Cross.

Puerto Ricans in New York, because of prejudice joined the 369th Infantry Regiment of Afro-Americans. They were not allowed to fight alongside their white soldiers. They were permitted to fight as members of a French unit in French uniforms. They fought along the Western Front in France, and their reputation earned them the nickname of "the Harlem Hell Fighters" by the Germans. Among them was Rafael Hernandez Marin, considered by many as Puerto Rico's greatest composer. The 369th was awarded French Croix de Guerre for battlefield gallantry by the French President.

1917 Referendum on whether to accept Prohibition of alcohol or not
coconut or bottle
People identified prohibition with American citizenship & accepted it
Effects in Economy:
Hurt government - less revenue
Rich bought it - smuggling
Poor made it illegally - ron cañita
" social farce"
Politics and Government after the Jones Act
Union Party: new goal: an elective governor
Old Guard - - Muñoz Rivera and José De Diego dead (July 16, 1918)
New Generation divided between independence and autonomy
Antonio R. Barceló - new leader - represents moderation
Republican Party:
Old Guard - - José Celso Barbosa died (September 21, 1921)
Continued defending Incorporation and Statehood
Other leaders Roberto H. Todd - Rafael Martínez Nadal
Socialist Party:
Formed in 1915 - - Santiago Iglesias Pantín was the leader
Had opposed the Jones Act - He preferred American tutelage than control by Union Party
Had been elected to the senate
Organized campaigns to improve conditions of workers
Elections of 1917 - Union Party wins but by smaller margin
Elections of 1920 - Union Party wins but by a smaller margin. Socialist Party is growing
Arthur Yager’s Governorship
Governor from 1913 – 1921 – longest term for American governor
Friendly with Union Party
Increased # of Puerto Ricans in government
Saw present conditions as progressive & believed future to be even better for island.
Advice to new Administration:
Don’t believe Republicans to be the only loyal party,
don’t take seriously pro – independence rhetoric of Unionist,
don’t send a Super-patriot governor
The Reily Nightmare
Emmet Montgomery Reily

Governor of the island from 1921 – 1923
Originally from Missouri – he was an early supporter of Warren S. Harding for President
Republican President Harding sees PR job as political plum job for a loyal friend
No knowledge on government – knew nothing about island
“a Damn fool”
Tactless and Super – patriot
Refuses to accept even recommendations of Barceló - President of Senate unless 'he abandons independence party'
"independence supporters had no room in PR'
Pro - statehood, Anti - labor
Establishes a "carpetbagging government"
Spent little time on island
Grand Jury in San Juan charged him with misuse of public funds.
LOst most support in the island and in Washington but Harding will not fire him
He resigns
Effects on the island
Lesson learned:
President of Senate – highest political voice in island
American appointed governors had to be willing to negotiate – share power
Legislature could make life difficult to a tactless governor
American super – patriotism inflamed independence:
Americanism is seen as : imposition of extreme American nationalism & no room for dissent
September 1922 – Nationalist Party was formed with members of the Union Party.
Campbell Bill: Union Party controlled by Autonomists proposes concept of Estado Libre Asociado (Free Associated State)
1922 – introduced by Representative Philip Campbell – HR9995 - not approved
Elective legislature would elect Governor who would choose cabinet and appoint Supreme Court judges.
Two Resident Commissioners in Washington and a U.S. Commissioner to Puerto Rico

Horace Mann Towner
Governor 1923 to 1929
Supported Statehood but was willing to work with Union Party
Republican representative from Iowa – Chairman of Committee on Insular Affairs
Replaced American – born officials with Puerto Ricans – Esteves, Chardón
Supported elective governor – stopped in Congress by a single representative
“Quiet American” - respectful and respected tutor.
Worried about increasing contrasts in the island - uneven wealth
income tax reform -

New political alliances
Partido Alianza Puertorriqueña
Disillusioned Barceló (Union Party) and Tous Soto (Republican Party) decide to make new party with neither independence nor statehood which Congress would never accept.
Propose vague formula of self – government – an elective governor – a Free Associated State
Would deal with social and economic problems

Republicans with leader Rafael Martínez Nadal make a “partnership” with the Socialist Party.
Common goal of statehood

Elections of 1924 – & 1928 Alianza won but Socialists again showed strength

Encouraged coffee cooperatives & Federal land bank loans
1929 - Signed the law that gave women the right to vote in the island (those that knew how to read & write)
(not until 1935 will all vote)

Wage increases in sugar industry were not enough for rising living costs although record crops were producing large profits for large corporations
Towner was Opposed by U.S. corporate interests, Republicans, federal appointees
Lindbergh’s visit
In ceremony, legislature sends with him a letter to the President Coolidge
“grant us the freedom that you enjoy…”

President Coolidge’s Response:
P.R. must give thanks to American generosity.
They had made no promise in the Treaty of Paris.
Leaders must limit their petitions
Glorified status quo & refused any other reforms.
Another “public spanking” “self righteous” paternalism
Pure Republicans under Todd, American business and corporate groups were happy.
Tous Soto & Barceló defend their right to petition for reforms

Robert Hayes Gore

Dr. Cornelius P. Rhoads

New Deal in Puerto Rico: 1933 - 1938
Objective: Relief for people - rehabilitation of the economy
Part of new role of government during Depression
Why it did not work?
Structural changes were needed:: status and naming a governor who knew how to deal with programs - not mediocre men ...
effort met with misunderstandings, violence, recriminations...
What positive came out of the programs?
methods, ideas and techniques will be uses after by Muñoz Marin
Reactions to the New Deal Programs in Puerto Rico:
Socialist Party - Santiago Iglesias Pantin was Resident Commissioner in Washington - more conservative (because of Coalition)
Republican Union Party - Rafael Martinez Nadal - Leader of Senate - wants americanization but opposes New Deal (Conservative)
Liberal Party - Antonio R. Barceló - party facing problems: divisions - popularity of independence and Muñoz Marín & Albizu and Nationalists
Muñoz Marin is the "Golden Boy of the New Deal in Puerto Rico" - 1933 - 36
First phase: Relief:
Wage Dilemma: Should PR workers be paid minimum federal wage that was established?
fear of factories closing....
PRERA= Puerto Rico Emergency Relief Administration (FERA in US)
Public works, training in social welfare, health clinics, investigations of poverty, home truck gardens, canning centers, rural cooperatives
Relief or Reform:
Costigan - Jones Act: 1934:
Quota for sugar production: land owners paid bonus for -
not growing cane
Workers who lost jobs received no bonus
colonos also received no bonus
Muñoz Marín - wants reforms: radicals
Break King sugar
Land Reform - diversify crops
industrial development
Allies of Muñoz:
New Generation of Technocrats
Eleanor Roosevelt
Latin American leaders - dream of Mexican Revolution - Land Reform

Puerto Rican Commission: Headed by UPR Chancellor Carlos Eugenio Chardón (Muñoz Marín & Rexford Tugwell
Liberal Capitalism: Break monopolies - permit local capitalism
No structural or political change would be needed
would be presented to the President
diversify agriculture - small independent farmers
dissolve great sugar corporations
promote new industries - try to balance trade
Buy Sugar "çentral'" - semi public
Reduce unemployment & flight of wealth
Increase emigration
Promote tourism
Protective tariffs and tax credits
Subsistence farming
Reactions to Plan:
1934: PR affairs transferred from War Department to Interior Department - new division of territories
Dr. Ernest Gruening - likes Muñoz and the Plan
Attorney General Benigno Fernández García - planning to apply law of 500 acres against absentee companies
Bureaucratic delays in Washington
Coalicion in PR opposes program because it will be run from Washington and favors liberals
Governor Winship - opposes program
Sugar Interests are doing everything possible to stop it.
PRRA: Puerto Rican Reconstruction Administration
May 1935
Rehabilitation of economy
Headed by Chardón
lacks enough funds
Political and administrative conflicts
Associations of small farmers - fruits & coffee
Rural Health clinics
Housing programs
Reforestation - plans to combat erosion
Violence in Puerto Rico
Albizu: more critical, anti-american and revolutionary
"Camisas Negras" - supporters
Massacre de Rio Piedras
October 24, 1935
Police were on campus fearing confrontation between Nationalists and Students that opposed Albizu
Police stop car at entrance UPR
Gun - battle - 4 Nationalists dead, one dies after, one bystander dies and one policeman wounded.
Albizu blames the police chief
Assassination of Colonel Francis Elisha Riggs
Feb. 23, 1936
Hiram Rosado & Elias Beauchamp
Two were captured and while in custody killed at the police station
Reactions to the killing of Riggs
American Authorities are furious - Governor wants Albizu to pay .
Dr. Gruening wants Muñoz to condemn it - but he condemns both.
Tydings Bill: - Congressman from Maryland - Proposes
Referendum on independence & Constitutional convention
People & President would approve constitution
4 years transition - - 25% increase of tariff, grants terminated
Objective: Quiet PR - punishment - "call their bluff"
Part of Good Neighbor Policy - same time of bills for Philippines independence & elimination of Platt Amendment
Trials of the Nationalists
Pedro Albizu Campos & other Nationalist leaders were accused of conspiracy to overthrow the Federal Gov. in PR
No evidence (Attorney General is being forced by Governor)
FBI found no evidence to link them to the assassination
First Trial - hung jury (7 Puerto Ricans)
Second Trial - speedy trial verdict (only 2 Puerto Ricans) -found guilty and sentenced to 2-10 years
First time PR participated in international games was in La Habana in 1930 - Central American and Caribbean Games
Reactions to the Tydings Bill in Puerto Rico
Opposite reaction to expected by Americans
Many Republicans claim they would vote for independence if statehood was not offered
Liberals like Barceló are ready for independence even with starvation
Many want something more equitable
Muñoz Marín - fears defeat of independence & social democracy - wants abstention from election- splits Liberal Party - Coalition wins again
End of the Plan Chardón & PRRA
Puerto Rico during the Critical Period - 1936 - 1940
Progress Achieved: Modernization:
schools, dams, bridges
Banking and Businesses developed
US overlooks drive for self-government & to keep personality
Rise of Absentee Owners, collapse of coffee , migration to slums, shoking poverty of rural areas, - - fatalism
Americans see PR as ungrateful - needs a lesson
Period of Conflicts:
Albizu is in jail in Atlanta
Chardón resigned; José Padín substituted because he did not teach enough English - new commissioner's instructions - bilingualism
Governor favors Continentals for jobs
Policy of Mailed Fist
"superior force, especially military force, when presented as a threat"
Governor Winship and Gruening of Division of Territories
Objective: Destroy Nationalist Party
Assassination attempts against Judge Cooper and Santiago Iglesias Pantín
Anti - American Campaign
Fanatics - want vengeance
Albizu is seen as a martyr
No room for dissent in the island - not even American 'renegates'
Ponce Massacre is the product of this environment
Ponce Massacre
Palm Sunday - March 21, 1937
Parade of the Nationalist Party in Ponce
Mayor had given permission but Winship orders police chief Coronel De Orbeta to go to Ponce and eliminate permission
Nationalists decide to continue the peaceful march.
Heavily armed police are everywhere - Nationalists have no visible guns.
Just as the Parade was starting - a shot was fired....
Police surrounding the crowd opened fire into it.
20 people killed (2police) around 200 injured
Who was responsible for the Ponce Massacre?
Governor Winship blames the Nationalists.
American Civil Liberties Union - Investigates & concludes:
Although the Nationalists were fanatics - there had been a "gross violation of civil rights and incredible police brutality"
Special Adviser to the Secretary of Interior says Winship lacked judgement and was probably "crimminaly negligent"
President Roosevelt backed Winship
Assassination attempt of Winship:
July 25, 1938 - Winship goes to Ponce for a grand military parade to celebrate US invasion - policy of Mailed fist.
Nationalist students kills Colonel Luis Irizarry and gets killed by the police
Winship as Governor:
Rules PR as a southern plantation
Emphasis on law and order
Supported Tourism - helps bring funds to the island but does not like the New Deal programs
Remembered for the Ponce Massacre & Mailed Fist Policy
Resigns on June 1939
Political Parties 1936 - 1940
Coalition splits
Socialist Party - conflicts after Santiago Iglesias dies of malaria in 1939 in DC
Son in law - Bolivar Pagán
Prudencio Rivera Martinez
Union Republicana: old leader Martínez Nadal challenged
Miguel Angel García Méndez leaves party
Liberal Party: Splits
Conservatives with Barceló
Muñoz Marín - pro independence campaign - expulsion
A Peaceful Revolution - - 1940s - Luis Muñoz Marín
Supported by the poor Puerto Ricans
Supported by a new generation of highly educated PRs
Offers a message of hope while others were fighting for controlling patronage and power
New Governor Admiral William D. Leahy and the coming of World War II make PR important again as a military base
Muñoz supports US in the war but will continue to challenge tutelage at home.

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