Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development

By Mary Proudfoot | Go to book overview

Chapter XIV
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.


1. THE DESIRE FOR CHANGE IN PUERTO RICO

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

____________________
1
Under the 1897 reforms, the Governor-General was, as before, appointed by Spain, but he was obliged to govern through a cabinet the members of which belonged to and were responsible to the Puerto Rican Parliament. All members of the lower house were elected. In the upper house eighteen were elected, and seventeen were nominated by the Governor-General. Puerto Rico was represented in the Spanish Parliament, but the Puerto Rican Parliament had the right to draw up its Budget for the island.

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Britain and the United States in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study in Methods of Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Editor's Introduction vii
  • Author's Preface x
  • Contents xiv
  • List of Tables xx
  • Chapter I - Introductory 1
  • Chapter II - The Constitutional Relationship 10
  • Chapter III - The Economic Relationship 38
  • Chapter IV - The Structure of Society 65
  • Chapter V - The Central Government 97
  • Chapter VI - The Local Government 134
  • 3. Conclusions 151
  • Chapter VII - Political Life 153
  • Chapter VIII - Economic Life 178
  • Chapter IX - Labour 222
  • Chapter X - Social Life 243
  • Chapter XI - Education 281
  • 7. Conclusions 305
  • Chapter XII - Population Problems 307
  • Chapter XIII - The Possibilities of Federation For The British West Indies 330
  • Chapter XIV - The Alternatives for the American Dependencies 350
  • Chapter XV - General Conclusions 359
  • Abbreviations 362
  • Abbreviated References 363
  • Index 419
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