The Exploitation of Puerto Rico by the United States Puerto Rico has had a long history of dependency. Puerto Rico was first colonized by Spain until the Spanish American war, which resulted in the colonization by the United States in 1898. While Spain was in the process of devising an agreement with Puerto Rico that would grant the island autonomy, the invasion of the United States ended any plans that would grant this reprise (Figueroa, 11/19/98). The U.S. decided to partake in this colonial expansion because Puerto Rico had tremendous potential for investment and commerce as well as being geo-politically strategic. The U.S. had intentions to take Spain and its influence out of the western-hemisphere.
(Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1996),1-83. Guerra, Lillian. Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico: The Struggle for self, Community, and Nation, chs. 2-3 (Gainesville: U Press of Florida, 1998) 45-121. Library of Congress, American Memory Collection, America from the Great Depression to World War II: http://memory.loc.gov/ Library of Congress, American Memory Collection, America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945, Trías-Monge, José.
Capitalism Was Behind American Colonization of Puerto Rico The platform upon which the United States was built, freedom, was erected in response to the oppressive nature of colonialism. On July Fourth, 1776, the original thirteen colonies declared their independence, because the weight of Great Britain’s colonial restrictions proved to be too burdensome. The Constitution was signed shortly thereafter to protect American citizen’s rights from being abridged in the future. America was created as a direct response to the harmful nature of colonialism, however it soon forgot its idealistic birth. Freedom for all became a free for all, under America’s capitalistic system.
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.
Puerto Rican Identity and Spanish Colonial Rule The debate on Puerto Rican Identity is a hot bed of controversy, especially in today’s society where American colonialism dominates most of the island’s governmental and economic policies. The country wrestles with the strong influence of its present day colonizers, while it adamantly tries to retain aspects of the legacy of Spanish colonialism. Despite America’s presence, Puerto Ricans maintain what is arguably their own cultural identity which seems largely based on the influence of Spain mixed with customs that might have developed locally. The features of the formation of the Puerto Rican people under Spanish rule are therefore critical in addressing questions on Puerto Rican identity. The migration of thousands of Spaniards both from the mainland and its islands to Puerto Rico, the development of subsequent Creole populations, the formation of the agricultural sectors and their labor needs are some of the contributing features that will hopefully lead toward a better understanding of the complexities that surround the concept of Puertoricaness.
The Effect of American Colonialism on Puerto Rico's Identity The Pandora’s box of information that I have discovered about Puerto Rico under early U.S rule provide some fascinating details on the background of contradictions that characterize debates on the political, economic and social issues concerning the island. Since its invasion in 1898, the United States has shaped the policies of the island according to its own discretion in spite of the people of Puerto Rico. The country did not have time to shed the skin of Spanish colonial rule before the United States set foot on the island to add its own layer of imperial legacy. The island was taken as a compromise to end the Spanish American War. How the newly acquired territory would take shape, and some of the local and international influences that might have contributed to the evolution of the Puerto Rican political, social and economical structure are some of the issues that I hope to address.
Beyond this, many U.S. historians have characterized the results of U.S. intervention and subsequent occupation of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines as a bequest, an opportunity to enjoy previously unknown individual liberties, political self-determination and potential economic prosperity. Other historians have characterized the actions of the United States as nothing short of exploitative imperialism, designed to subjugate those who it considered inferior to a state of political and economic servitude. What is clear is that, in Cuba and Puerto Rico, many viewed the American involvement initially as a positive development. What is equally apparent is that after the war and over time, these pro-American attitudes soured considerably. There were many reasons for this development.
Moreover, this annexation of Puerto Rico with the US creates a democratic form of colonization; known popularly as a Commonwealth, but to the world Puerto Rico is still known as the oldest colony in the world. It is believed by many that 1898 was a year of liberation and domination because of the Spanish-American War (García 39). After the war had concluded Puerto Rico had finally, after centuries of Spanish rule, been free of the tyrannical policies of the Spanish government in the island; moreover, this led to the clear pavement of the path for domination of the island of Puerto Rico by the United States. For the years to come once the US takes control of Puerto Rico, US military leaders in order to create a stable political, economical, and social environment governed the people of Puerto Rico. After years of legislation and negotiations from Puerto Rico’s leadership, in 1952... ... middle of paper ... ...14, 2012).
Early American Rule of Puerto Rico Ideally Puerto Rico was to mold itself into the perfect American product. Politically Puerto Rico was to remain inferior by following American rules and regulations that restricted the liberties of the people. Economically it was expected to provide capitol growth for the United States while neglecting the popular masses. Through the process of Americanization, the hope was to create a second America on the island. Here the people would look to the mainland for inspiration and more importantly guidance.
The Goals of the Declaration of Independence The American Revolution was not only a battle between the British and the colonists; it was a historical movement that brought about new ways of thinking. The ideas of liberty and equality began to be seen as essential to the growth of the new nation. The separation of the American colonies from the British Empire occurred for a number of reasons. These reasons are illustrated in the Declaration of Independence. Although Thomas Jefferson wrote the document, it expressed the desire of the heart of each colonist to be free of British rule.