THE ALTERNATIVES FOR THE AMERICAN DEPENDENCIES
The position in the American dependencies is wholly different. In the opinion of the author the solution in this case is not independence but, on the contrary, an ever-increasing integration with the United States.
Discontent has persisted in Puerto Rico since the conquest of the island in 1898. In the previous year Spain had granted the island a constitution permitting a very large measure of local autonomy,1 and, among other things, had agreed that the existing constitutional relationship should not be modified without the consent of the islanders. This latter commitment has been subsequently used by the Nationalist party, first organized in Puerto Rico in 1922, in substantiation of its claim that the Treaty of Paris, under the terms of which Spain ceded the island to the United States, was an invalid document in that Puerto Rican consent was not obtained to the cession.
It was not, however, merely a yearning for the Spanish concessions of 1897 that fanned the discontent on the island after its acquisition by the United States. A more potent cause was the long continuing uncertainty as to what the island's status vis à vis the United States actually was, and what it was intended to become. Before the Spanish-American war Congress apparently assumed that all new United States territories would eventually be admitted to the Union as states. However, it seems that the later acquisition of non-contiguous territories with alien cultures resulted in a distinction being drawn in the early twenties, by the Supreme Court, between incorporated and unincorporated territories; the destiny____________________