The Effect Of American Colonialism On Puerto Rico's Identity

2677 words - 11 pages

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. As is customary an attempted commentary of this sort cannot be complete without the subject of identity, after all, this issue seems to be at the core of the status of the island.

While Puerto Rico was being held under the care of the department of War, the political leaders in the United States capital pondered how to legislate the policies of the new possessions. The Treaty of Paris that was drafted as a means to end the Spanish American War had declared the new possessions, (The Philippines, Hawaii and Puerto Rico among others) colonies of the United States of America. Decisions made by the U.S. regarding one of these countries would evidently influence the policies towards the other. Although they were acquired during the same period of time, the legislation would vary according to the different social, political and economic characters of each island. And, according to Guerra these "overseas territories acquired [by the U.S. in 1898] represented the new frontier to be pacified, conquered and stylized to fit U.S political, business and ideological interests in new ways." (Guerra, 49)

There were many considerations and debates about the U.S. policies towards Puerto Rico. They however did not include Puerto Ricans, as the local governmental structure left in place by the former colonial power was simply brushed aside by the new owners. The United States Congress now had the ultimate power to determine the political and economic fate of the island. Fernandez succinctly sums up the situation at that time, "Puerto Rico was stranded in a sea of ambiguity, racism, good intentions, whimsy, audacity, contradiction, indifference and political compromise." (Fernandez, 2) Why didn’t the Puerto Rican people take action against such blatant disregard for their island and its culture?

Despite having political representation in the Spanish parliament Puerto Ricans were not necessarily satisfied with Spain’s governmental policies, and furthermore they did not have any semblance of uniformed social or...

Find Another Essay On The Effect of American Colonialism on Puerto Rico's Identity

The Identity of a Black Puerto Rican

1294 words - 5 pages and class, and yet abuse this distinction." This is proof that the identity produced by the Puerto Rican elite was a way of maintaining their status after being thrust into a very disconcerting situation. While this issue is not fully addressed in Ferré’s novel, the effect of US influence on Puerto Rican racial identity and division became even more evident when Puerto Ricans began migrating from the island to the mainland United States. They

Spanish Language's Influence on the Puerto Rican Identity

2345 words - 9 pages Spanish Language's Influence on the Puerto Rican Identity The initial occupation of Puerto Rico by the Spaniards carries an important implication for language as part of the Puerto Rican identity. The Spanish language was imposed upon the inhabitants of the island, the Tainos, in the sixteenth century, when the Spanish inhabited the island in 1502, after the Spanish conquerors claimed the island in the name of Spain in 1493. Eventually, the

The United States Effect on Puerto Rican Music

1642 words - 7 pages The United States Effect on Puerto Rican Music The United States played an important role in the evolution of Puerto Rican culture, more specifically music. While Puerto Rican culture remains distinct from that of American culture, its historical progression is forever tied with that of the United States. This is evident in the evolution of Puerto Rican music. It is also evident in

The Effect of Slavery on the Identity of Cuba

2116 words - 8 pages The Effect of Slavery on the Identity of Cuba The Caribbean is a diverse region with a unique history. The progress and advancement of each island complied with the European country in control of it at the time. The Caribbean was conquered and colonized soon after Columbus’ discovery in 1492. A similar aspect of the heterogeneous region has been its plantations. The plantations were an important aspect of the cultural history of the Caribbean

Spanish Colonialism and Its Influence on Puerto Rico

1375 words - 6 pages Spanish Colonialism and Its Influence on Puerto Rico There is an on going debate on the identity of Puerto Ricans. One controversial argument is that the first Puerto Ricans were in fact black. Although this idea is not well taken by many Puerto Ricans, history reveals that this statement is accurate. However this is only one contributing factor to the formation of the formation of the Puerto Rican people. Puerto Rican identity can only be

Evaluating The Effect of Personal Identity Development on Leadership Quality

1092 words - 5 pages possible that leader’s and followers’ personal identity can act as both mediator and moderator of the interconnection between leaders and followers, and how they behave to construct the leadership system (Knippenberg, Cremer & Hogg, 2004). The focus of this essay is to discuss the effect of youth personality development on leadership quality in the adulthood phase. Furthermore, this essay is going to cover models, theories and opinions provided on

The Impact of United States Rule on Puerto Rico

2249 words - 9 pages Puerto Ricans to find a new way to sort out their identity. In short, early colonization by the United States had a great effect on the development of Puerto Rico after the year 1898. It was the hypocritical method of dealing with the island that influenced the many aspects of Puerto Rico, such as economics, politics, and social relations. The United States, while claiming to want to protect Puerto Rico, expressed on many occasions that their

The Effect of New Weaponry on the American Civil War

1936 words - 8 pages . The new technology, allowing weapons’ accuracies, ranges, and powers to be increased, had a clear effect on the number of casualties in the American Civil War when comparing it to previous wars (see Appendix I), reinforcing the idea that the invention and innovation of new weaponry during the 19th century had serious effects on the American Civil War. Works Cited Bailey, Roger A. "Steel & Steam." Civil War Trust. Civil War Trust, n.d. Web. 27

The American Revolution’s Effect on the Institution of Slavery

912 words - 4 pages Slavery allowed the American economy to flourish for over 300 years. It allowed many Southern states to grow at a furious pace without significantly diversifying their economy. The South relied on the harvesting of cash crops such as tobacco and cotton, which were very labor intensive. Without much cheap labor, slaves were relied on to harvest the crops; this provided enormous value to farmers and plantation owners in the region. However

The Effect of War on American Civil Rights

2437 words - 10 pages conditions and a wage approximately half of that, on average, received by whites in the same occupation . Prejudice was evident even in the work available to blacks, evident as Waugh et al cites Davis - the president of the North American Aviation Company who said:...it is against company policy to employ Negroes as aircraft workers or mechanics, regardless of their training, but there will be some jobs as janitors for Negroes.Though superficially

The Effect of Cultural and Historical Situations on American Literature

1125 words - 5 pages south was devastated. Nevertheless, the country prospered. America became industrialized and saw innovations such as the railroads, telegraph, telephone, and electricity. Population increased due to immigration. Between the years of 1865 and 1914, American literature was mainly comprised of three writing styles; realism, regionalism, and naturalism. Realism aims to portray life realistically. Though realism’s subject matter concentrated on

Similar Essays

The Identity Of An American Puerto Rican

1868 words - 7 pages The Identity of an American Puerto Rican Am I "American" or "Puerto Rican", a question that wanders along the halls of my mind all the time? Many Puerto Ricans might not agree, but I feel that I am, "American", Puerto Rican American that is. As a child my own parents deprived me of my culture and true identity. They spoke to me in a language that many Puerto Ricans refused or detested to learn, English. The only thing I can actually say

Spanish Colonialism On The History Of Puerto Rican People

1890 words - 8 pages Spanish Colonialism on the History of Puerto Rican People "Puerto Rico". The name immediately brings to mind images of a beautiful lush tropical island of enchantment. The name "Puerto Rico" usually does not conjure the image of Taino Indians or African slaves, yet these populations have great importance in laying the foundation for the notion of identity of Puerto Ricans. In contemporary debates of Puerto Rican identity, it is essential to

The Effect Of Colonialism On The World

1378 words - 6 pages Sometime I think about the problems and effects that colonialism have caused in the whole world. Is it good or bad? “Colonialism has always had a bad reputation” (1). I suppose in essence, for the people being colonized, it cannot be a good thing. The world wide scramble for colonies, particularly in the late 19 early 20th centaury, had a tremendous negative effects on the economic, social, and political structures of indigenous, non

The Identity Of A Puerto Rican

3158 words - 13 pages ). The question for Puerto Rico is what is the identity of the people if the island has experienced 400 years of Spanish colonialism and 100 years of US sovereignty? How has and still is American colonial intervention affected or affects Puerto Rican culture? The Puerto Rican national identity has been challenged every since Columbus arrived on the island. To better understand the issues and the changes in identity, we need to divide the history