A Brief History of US Colonialism in Puerto Rico (Pages 19-36)- Ed Morales

What are the central ideas of this writer, thinker, or artist?

The first half of Nuyorican scholar, journalist, and poet Ed Morales’ essay goes over major events in the history of the colonial relationship between the United States and  Puerto Rico. Morales explains US imperial expansion at the end of nineteen-century by offering details of the Spanish-American War and its consequences in the Caribbean and Asia.

.Spanish-American War

Morales says that “although the idea of Manifest Destiny was at the forefront  of the political discourse of this period, it’s less often observed that the United States’ expansionist gaze was saturated with racial language and attitudes, at once desirous of and repelled by Latin America’s [Black] mestizo/mulatto social dynamic.” (20) These oppressive racial constructions were responsible in many ways for the early rejection of annexation and the creation of the Foraker Act which established the legal notion of the unincorporated territory (22-25).

.Foraker Act


Analyze one specific section by your chosen author that best communicates what you identified in the question above.

“The Jones Act conferred citizenship on all Puerto Ricans. It established a resident commissioner and a nonvoting representative of Congress, and it subjected the island to its shipping laws, which permanently raised the prices of goods shipped to the island… [it] forbid Puerto Rico from allowing any commercial ships to dock at its ports that were not constructed in the United States and flying the US flag… The Jones Act also provided for the triple-tax exemption from the sale of government bonds that helped create the current debt crisis.”  (30)

.The Jones Act

.Political Status

What analogies can you establish between the primary source, your own experiences, and/or other sources you have read, listened to, or seen?

The Jones Act was responsible for the restricted relief after Hurricane Maria. Puerto Ricans couldn’t receive help from neighboring countries in the Caribbean and Latin America and except for one week, the Jones Act was never removed during the emergency which, because of taxation bureaucracy, had the effect of stagnant donations and help at the ports.

Pose a critical question to the group.

Ed Morales and Rosie Pérez argue that although controversial and in many ways, conservative, Pedro Albizu Campos “retains a venerated status in Puerto Rico and even more so among the mainland diaspora, regardless of political orientation in US or Puerto Rican politics.” Why do you think he is still respected and celebrated in Puerto Rican circles? (Pages 32-36)