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Puerto Rico's Relationship with the United States

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: International Relations
Wordcount: 1885 words Published: 27th Jun 2023

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In the year 1898, there was a war between Spain and the United States that started the way Puerto Rico would look like for many years to come. The United States went into the war of 1898 when the Cuban people decided to revolt and have a rebellion against the Spanish in 1895 and the actions of the Spanish led The United States decided to join in the war to give Cuba their independence and for the United States to be able to see how they are doing in the world ranks as this war established them as a world power. The Spanish American War lasted ten weeks and the Spanish was overwhelmed and surrendered and to be able to finally stop the war between Spain and the United States, the Spanish had to give up control of Cuba and gave the United States Island of Guam and the Philippine Islands and the Island of Puerto Rico for twenty million dollars. The Treaty of Paris was signed in late 1898 signed by Spain and the United States which gave America everything they wanted to be a part of this major treaty. Puerto Rico became a United States Commonwealth and they welcomed the citizens of the United States and Puerto Rico was very happy to not be under control of the Spanish anymore. In 1900, President William McKinley signed the Foraker Act which gave the Puerto Rican people their own government even if they were a territory under the United States control.

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Since the year 1898, Puerto Rico has been a major place for the Americans and this meant forming a new political system in Puerto Rico. The politics in Puerto Rico have been changed dramatically now that they were a territory of the United States. The relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico is strong overall and many different people and countries have their own opinions on how the relationship is between the two. Modern-Day Puerto Rico is now still a United States Commonwealth that is a democracy and a style of government that is under the control of the United States and the United States lets Puerto Rico run their own government as Puerto Rico does actually run the government almost the same as the United States does because it made sense to them. Puerto Rico made the call to divide their government into three branches which are the executive, legislative and judicial. Puerto Rico also has a Constitution that was ratified on July 25, 1952 that includes their laws written and details of how the government works that also includes a Bill of Rights. Puerto Rico includes many different political parties but the two most popular political parties that are pretty evenly popular in Puerto Rico are the Partido Nuevo Progesista and the Partido Popular Democratico and both of these parties have about 47% of the popular vote in Puerto Rico. The executive power is led by the Puerto Rican Governor and the Legislative power and decisions are decided by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico and the judicial power of the island consists of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s officials of the government are elected and decided every four years by a popular vote and the members of the government in Puerto Rico are elected with the approval of the Senate which is very close to the way the United States runs things in their own country.

The citizens of Puerto Rico do not pay a federal income tax even if they are a United States Citizen and Puerto Rico has many styles of welfare programs like disability and aid to the elderly that Puerto Rican citizens have to pay local taxes to Puerto Rico that funds the Social Security and Medicare policies of Puerto Rico. The United States is very important to Puerto Rico and plays a huge role in Puerto Rico’s success in their economy. In Puerto Rico’s economy, sugar production and manufacturing and tourism and many different American investors from the United States creating and starting businesses in Puerto Rico have really dominated the economy of Puerto Rico. The United States influences many of the economic decisions and the decisions on foreign affairs and trading with other countries while Puerto Rico does get their control of their own internal affairs on the island. Puerto Rico has no military of its own so their military is run by the United States but Puerto Rico does have their own National Guard and their own state defense. All of the people born on Puerto Rican soil the year 1941 and beyond are considered American citizens born in the United States.

During the year 1917, the Jones Act was finally signed into law which was very important to the people of Puerto Rico and this ended up grating citizenship to all of the Puerto Rican people and they finally were able to say they were citizens of the United States after many years of trying very hard and protesting for this to happen. Puerto Rico had to deal with many issues at the time which included poverty and overpopulation throughout the whole island of Puerto Rico so America had to help in a major way. In 1946, the first governor of Puerto Rico Jesus Pinero was selected by the United States to serve his people the right and safe way and the current governor of Puerto Rico now is Ricardo Rossello. The policies introduced to Puerto Rico included advanced and modern programs and America now brought their money to the island which ended up bringing employment and opportunities to the Puerto Rican people for hundreds of years in the future. In 2011, former President Barack Obama made a visit to Puerto Rico and The United Nations made a new law that was to tell the United States to give Puerto Rico a new way and a new easy process to let the people of Puerto Rico use their rights and to make sure Puerto Rico has their own freedom and laws on their island. The United States ended up making a major decision and that said the United States Constitution does not give the United States any right to change anything about the territories the United States had control of during the time period and this goes for all of their territories they control so their territories will remain untouched. The status of the Puerto Rican relationship with the United States will be very different and new for the oncoming years due to decisions made and some of the Puerto Rican people wanting to become the 51st state of the United States and others wanting to leave the United States Commonwealth. Puerto Rico will be a big part of America now and for many more years to come because Puerto Rico was an island that the United States wanted to help back then and Puerto Rico is still a place that the United States is helping out now. The United States of America will make sure that Puerto Rico is a strong and safe and very happy and successful place where many citizens can visit and be happy and be proud of their homes and place they live because Puerto Rico is a great place to live and visit.   

On September 20th 2017, the most costly and damaging tropical storm took place named Hurricane Maria took place in Puerto Rico which ended the lives of at least five hundred different  people and the entire three million people who live in Puerto Rico have been affected by the storm. The power was out for millions of people and it took from September 2017 to April of 2018 to restore 96% of the citizen’s power back with 62,000 people left without power to this day. This storm destroyed many buildings and roads and bridges and walkways and schools and heavy flooding in which Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm with 155 mile per hour winds. The economy and morale of Puerto Rico has been very say and Puerto Rico has had a hard time recovering and many people have been struggling in Puerto Rico since the storm hit. Hurricane Maria is the strongest Hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in eighty years and everything bad imaginable has happened to Puerto Rico including closed schools and hospitals and lack of access to people’s financial information and disease outbreaks have happened on the island for the past year and counting. Puerto Rico has requested ninety four billion dollars and their congress has ended up approving five billion dollars while Puerto Rico needs at least one hundred billion to have a full and healthy recovery from the storm. World Vision has had a huge impact in Puerto Rico including reaching 116,003 Puerto Ricans with food and cash and protection to help their children and World Vision has also helped of 36,688 homes in Puerto Rico so far including training 16,476 students and bringing water for 25,000 Puerto Ricans per day. Puerto Rico’s economy has not just struggled with the storm recovery but Puerto Rico has also struggled making money because their economy is based on tourism and not many United States citizens have been able to go to Puerto Rico and San Juan because the recovery efforts to get Puerto Rico back to the great place it is taking place for at least another couple of years.

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Regardless of what happens in Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico ends up being a very special place with very wonderful people because the people have been able to have their culture with their own food and clothing and economy and create their own enjoyment that is much different than the United States as the people wanted to create their own identity for themselves. Puerto Rico is very strong throughout this hurricane and they will be able to recover and go back to normal someday and it takes a team effort but Puerto Rico is a place that can pull it off. Puerto Rico is a great place to visit and Modern-Day Puerto Rico has been a success. The United States will always have a say in some issues in Puerto Rico in many ways including trade and affairs overseas but that does not change the heart and soul and the political system there Puerto Rico has been able to establish and Puerto Rico is a great place and much different than the Puerto Rico that was controlled by Spanish in 1898 and Modern-Day Puerto Rico is much better and the people of Puerto Rico will always be strong and a place that will rebound and become a much stronger place that will rebound successfully from Hurricane Maria and no matter how long it takes, Puerto Rico will be the best it can be and everyone will be happy again very soon when the latest issues are finally resolved and Puerto Rico is fully rebuilt.

Works Cited

  • Vision, World. “2017 Hurricane Maria: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help.” World Vision, World Vision, 9 Dec. 2018, www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/hurricane-maria-facts.
  • OpenStax. (2018) [online] Available at: https://openstax.org/details/us-history [Accessed 8 Dec. 2018
  • Lauterborn, David. “War of 1898.” HistoryNet, History Net, 31 Oct. 2015, www.historynet.com/war-of-1898.htm.].
  • Rivera, Magaly. “Government.” Welcome to Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico Government, welcome.topuertorico.org/government.shtml.


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