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The predominant advancement in the story the Hispanic-American Membersof Congress throughout this era was the ambiguous absorb of Puerto Rico intothe nationwide fold. The island region was neither completely part of the joined Statesnor an live independence country. “Since
U.S. Expansionism and the Caribbean
Although the joined States began acquiring Caribbean regions in the late1800s, the motivation for together acquisitions was based on Manifest Destiny—theconcept that the united States had a moral insurance claim on territory stretching to thePacific Ocean and beyond—and on the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, i beg your pardon assertedthat europe nations should not meddle in the west Hemisphere. Thedesire for security and control of financial resources such as sugar and also tobaccoalso fueled some U.S. Policymakers’ ambitions because that Caribbean territory duringthe antebellum era.16
Though the Civil war temporarily halted America’s focus on the Caribbean,by the 1880s, large American companies sought brand-new markets, and the U.S.government preferred influence past the phibìc American continent. WithinU.S. Society, the development of a society elite and also the travel of entrepreneurs,tourists, missionaries, and settlers also encouraged the public to look in ~ expandingthe united States’ duty in civilization affairs. Also anti-expansionists such together PresidentGrover Cleveland had a combined record as far as pursuing an aggressive foreign policy and checking U.S. Expansionist efforts in the at an early stage 1890s.17Territorial expansion was a crucial platform for President wilhelm McKinleyduring the 1896 and 1900 elections, specifically the development southward intothe Caribbean whereby an American-owned isthmian canal was being developed toconnect the Atlantic and also Pacific oceans.18
When Cuban revolutionaries began calling for freedom from Spainin 1895, the joined States discovered itself in an awkward case given Cuba’sproximity and its strategy Caribbean location. The American push begansensationalizing the occasions in Cuba, and popular opinion rallied behind therevolutionaries. McKinley and also his deputies pressured Spanish officials to stopthe uprising before it became uncontrollable, warning that failure to complymight precipitate American intervention.19
By February 1898 the diplomatic instance had deteriorated and therelationship in between the U.S. And Spain was tottering. The to explode onFebruary 15 of the U.S.S. Maine, an American battleship freshly arrived inHavana Harbor, killed 266 sailors and also became the tipping suggest for Americanintervention. Despite the circumstances of the explosion were unclear, many,including some in Congress, blamed Spain.20 chairman McKinley withstood theimmediate calls because that war, but with problems in Cuba expected to worsen, heacknowledged the dispute in a message to conference on April 11.21 that blamedSpain and also demanded an end to the battle to safeguard U.S. Interests and promotepeace in the Caribbean. The ubraintv-jp.com voted 325 come 19 in favor of war, passinga share resolution that stopped short of recognizing an independent Cubangovernment. Yet the Senate added language to the ubraintv-jp.com measure recognizingthe Cuban Republic 3 days after that April 16, by a 67 to 21 vote.22 when conference committee convened, negotiation lasted until after one o’clockin the morning. The final resolution recognized Cuban freedom but did notacknowledge Cuba together a republic. Congress formally asserted war on April 25.23
On July 25, 1898, the united States got into Puerto Rico as part of anAmerican strategy to record Spanish holdings in the Caribbean. The SpanishArmy placed up tiny resistance come the invasion, and some countryside peasants evenformed cell phone bands to withstand their former colonizers.24 2 future ResidentCommissioners watched the assault from different perspectives. As a leader inthe Autonomist Party and also having newly won home dominance for Puerto Rico native Spanish government, luis Muñoz Rivera watched the intrusion with dismay.His politics rival, Santiago Iglesias, whom Muñoz Rivera had actually imprisoned forhis labor agitation in ~ the outbreak the the war, virtually died once an Americanshell to win the prison. Top top his release, he aided the American invaders byserving together an interpreter. Hostilities ended August 12, 1898, and also the UnitedStates installed a military government in Puerto Rico ~ above October 18. TheTreaty the Paris, which was signed December 10, 1898, finished the war, withSpain ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the joined States.Among those existing at the treaty’s signing in France was future ResidentCommissioner Federico Degetau.
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Overview of Puerto Rican Politics, 1898–1900
Puerto Rican politics differed from those that the various other islands in the SpanishCaribbean and from those of other U.S. Territories. Uneven Cuba and theDominican Republic—which were defined by revolutionary militarismand authoritarianism, respectively—Puerto Rico adhered to a heritage of workingwithin the existing colonial system come liberalize civil federal government on the island.25By the moment the joined States obtained Puerto Rico at the finish of the Spanish-American battle the island’s politics elite, who would shape the very first generationof connections with the united States, already had a long ubraintv-jp.com of working withina early american framework. By 1869 the Spanish Cortes in Madrid had actually seated the firstPuerto Rican delegates. In time Puerto Rican businessmen and politiciansbecame inclined to donate “electoral and parliamentary solutions to that colonialdilemma,” therefore reinforcing “a specifying characteristic of the island’s politicalculture,” relative economic stability v rigid class lines.26
Autonomists, who sought self-rule within the Spanish imperial orbit,dominated island national politics by the 1880s. They developed Liberal and also Conservativefactions that frequently reflected the platforms of significant parties in Madrid. Moreover,they constantly advanced their instance for ever-greater steps of home dominance bycontrasting the island’s document as a faithful outpost of the empire with Cuba’sinsurrectionist movement. For instance, the Autonomist faction, led through LuisMuñoz Rivera, contributed “loyalty and support for the liberal Party in theSpanish Cortes in exchange because that concessions of magnified self-rule.” MuñozRivera claimed to Spanish officials, “We space Spaniards and also wrapped in theSpanish flag us shall die.”27 He and also future residents Commissioner FedericoDegetau were among those who traveled come Madrid in 1895 to secure residence rulefor Puerto Rico native the Spanish government.
The united States’ success in the Spanish-American War moved PuertoRico’s trajectory away from self-rule, frustrating and traumatizing Puerto Rico’spolitical elite “to the degree that more than a century later, those woundscontinued to ooze with no end in sight.”28 rather of political autonomy,which Spain had promised, the united States implemented two year ofmilitary ascendancy under three various governors: significant John Brooke, GeneralGuy Henry, and also General George W. Davis—all the whom had actually backgroundsas Indian fighters, leaving Puerto Ricans dismayed at the unlikelihood of theirpolitical recognition.29 ~ the unified States occupied the island in 1898,Muñoz Rivera wrote a poem likening his initiatives to attain political autonomyfor Puerto Rico to Sisyphus’s eternal task of pushing a substantial rock up a hill, onlyto have actually it roll earlier down.30