Name: Date: Period: Should the U.S. admit Puerto Rico as the 51 st state?

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1 Name: Date: Period: Should the U.S. admit Puerto Rico as the 51 st state? 1. After the War of 1812, much of America's attention turned to the exploration and settlement of its territory to the West, which had been greatly enlarged by the Louisiana Purchase. Throughout the 1840 s, America achieved its Manifest Destiny and gained control of Oregon, Texas, and the Mexican Cession. As time passed, more and more states were carved from these new territories and added to our country. As recently as 1959, Alaska and Hawaii became states. Since that year, our country has contained a total of fifty states. Is it time for America to expand again and add another state to our country? Ever since the United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 and then was handed the island by Spain as part of the settlement for the Spanish- American War, the island s people have been considering statehood, independence, and making the very best of living in limbo. (NY Times) Puerto Rico is not a state, or an independent nation, but rather a Commonwealth of the United States. Puerto Ricans have voted several times on whether to become a state or not, but the idea has never become popular enough to sway a majority of voters until November (Huffington Post) Even this election provided confusing results. As a team you will develop and present arguments to support or oppose statehood for Puerto Rico. Through research and connections to the historical concept of expansion, you will participate in a 2- day debate on Puerto Rican statehood. 1

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4 Feb. 17, 2014 Jr. Scholastic 5. World Book Encyclopedia Puerto Rico, «PWAIR tuh REE koh or PAWR tuh REE koh», is a beautiful, fertile island about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) southeast of Florida. It forms part of the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The pleasant climate, sandy beaches, and resort hotels attract a large number of tourists from the United States mainland. Puerto Rico is a possession of the United States, with commonwealth status. Its official name is Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, and can move to the mainland without immigration restrictions. But when living on the island, they cannot vote in presidential elections and do not pay federal income taxes. The commonwealth receives funds from the United States as part of an arrangement between the local and federal governments. The United States is responsible for Puerto Rico's defense, and Puerto Ricans serve in the U.S. armed forces. Puerto Rico is the only part of what is now the United States where Christopher Columbus landed. Columbus reached the island in 1493 and claimed it for Spain. He named the island San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist). Spain surrendered the island to the United States in 1898 at the end of the Spanish- American War. The name Puerto Rico means rich port in Spanish. In early colonial days, it was the name for San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital and largest city. The name gradually came to be used for the entire island. Puerto Rico's Spanish heritage is reflected in the language and customs of its people. Spanish is the main language and one of the two official languages of Puerto Rico. Many Puerto Ricans also speak English, the other official language. The people celebrate religious holidays with colorful festivals. Churches and forts from Spanish colonial days still stand on the island. Puerto Rico also reflects its ties with the United States. The island's large cities have freeways, housing projects, and shopping centers like those in many cities on the U.S. mainland. Government Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. The U.S. Congress is responsible for governing Puerto Rico, but the island exercises self- government in all local affairs. Most federal laws apply to Puerto Rico as though it were a state. A resident commissioner, elected to a four- year term, represents Puerto Rico in Congress. The resident commissioner may vote in committees of the House of Representatives, but may not vote on final legislation in the House. Commonwealth government operates under its own Constitution, adopted in The governor is the chief executive officer of Puerto Rico and appoints other top executive officials. The governor is elected to a four- year term. The legislature of Puerto Rico consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Members of both houses serve four- year terms. Puerto Rico has 8 senatorial districts and 40 representative districts. Voters in each senatorial district elect 2 senators, and voters in each representative district elect 1 representative. Voters also elect 11 senators and 11 representatives at- large that is, from the entire commonwealth, rather than from districts. If one political party controls more than two- thirds of the seats of either house, the minority parties may get extra senators at large or representatives at large. The legislature meets in regular session from January through June and during September and October. The governor may call special sessions at any time. 4

5 Politics. Political parties that get at least 5 percent of the vote cast in elections receive financial aid from a government fund. Puerto Rico's two leading parties are the New Progressive Party, which wants Puerto Rico to become a U.S. state; and the Popular Democratic Party, which favors continuing the island's commonwealth status. A third party is the Independence Party, which favors independence for the island. People Puerto Rico is a crowded island. It has a population density of about 1,100 persons per square mile (425 per square kilometer), which is greater than the density of any U.S. state. The 2010 United States census reported that Puerto Rico had 3,725,789 people. The island's population had decreased 2 percent from the 2000 figure, 3,808,610. About 95 percent of all Puerto Ricans live within the metropolitan areas of Aguadilla- Isabela, Arecibo, Guayama, Mayagüez, Ponce, San Germán, and San Juan- Carolina- Caguas (seemetropolitan area). Education The majority of Puerto Rico's students attend public schools. Soon after Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States in 1898, the U.S. government set up the territory's public school system. Public schools in Puerto Rico are now organized under the Department of Education (Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico). A secretary of education, appointed by the governor, heads the department. Spanish is the main language used in schools, but students are also taught English. School attendance is compulsory for children from ages 5 to 18 in Puerto Rico. The schools are divided into three levels: primary (grades 1 through 6), secondary (grades 7 through 12), and postsecondary. Trade between Puerto Rico and the United States is governed by the same laws and regulations as trade between the states of the United States. Puerto Ricans do not pay customs duties on goods imported from the United States, as they do on imports from other countries. The United States is Puerto Rico s leading trade partner. The commonwealth exports more goods than it imports. In the past, Puerto Rico's most important exports were molasses, rum, and sugar. Of these, only rum is still exported in large quantities. Today, Puerto Rico also exports computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, food products, machinery, medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceuticals, and primary metals. Puerto Rico s chief imports are chemicals, computers and electrical products, food products, machinery, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, and transportation equipment. Spanish rule. Christopher Columbus sailed to Puerto Rico in 1493 on his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere. Spaniards, led by Juan Ponce de León, began the first European settlement on the island in Ponce de León became the first governor in The Taíno, the Arawakan- speaking American Indians who lived there, rose against the settlers, but all the revolts failed. By the mid- 1500's, most of the Indians had been killed or enslaved, or had died of disease. The island colony suffered for hundreds of years from hurricanes and plagues. It was attacked by the Carib Indians, who lived on nearby islands, and by the Dutch, English, and French. Still, the Spanish population slowly grew, fortifications and towns were built, and agriculture increased. After about 1850, the desire for greater freedom from Spain increased among the people of Puerto Rico. In 1897, Spain provided for a large amount of local rule, and a new Puerto Rican government was set up in 1898 shortly before the beginning of the Spanish- American War. United States rule. On July 25, 1898, U.S. forces began to land in Puerto Rico after bombarding San Juan. Spain surrendered Puerto Rico to the United States in the Treaty of Paris, which was signed on Dec. 10, Under the temporary U.S. military government, the use of U.S. money and postage stamps on the island was made official. The first U.S. civil governor was appointed by President William McKinley under the terms of the Organic Act of 1900, known as the Foraker Act. 5

6 The United States built dams, hospitals, roads, and schools. But the economy depended on agriculture, and U.S. firms owned and received much of the profits from the best plantations and largest sugar mills. In 1917, the second Organic Act, or Jones Act, gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. The island contributed troops to the U.S. armed forces during World War I ( ) and World War II ( ). During the Korean War ( ), the U.S. Army's 65th Infantry Regiment, made up of Puerto Ricans, won fame for its courage and daring. Puerto Rican soldiers also participated in the Vietnam War ( ), the Persian Gulf War of 1991, and the Iraq War ( ). Building a democracy. In the early 1940's, Puerto Rican leaders, with aid from the United States, began a program to improve living conditions on the island. The program became known as Operation Bootstrap. Large farms were broken up, and land was redistributed among farmworkers. An improved educational program rapidly reduced the number of Puerto Ricans who could not read and write. Thousands of old slum dwellings were torn down and replaced by modern housing. On July 25, 1946, President Harry S. Truman appointed Jesús Toribio Piñero as the first island- born governor of Puerto Rico. In 1947, Congress expanded Puerto Rican self- government by permitting the islanders to elect their own governor. Luis Muñoz Marín was elected governor in His Popular Democratic Party favored a commonwealth linked to the United States. In 1950, Congress passed Public Law 600, which gave Puerto Rico the power to write its own constitution. Puerto Ricans approved the law in a referendum vote in A Puerto Rican convention then wrote a constitution modeled on that of the United States, and the Puerto Rican people approved it. The U.S. Congress approved the constitution on July 1, 1952, and on July 25 Puerto Rico became a self- governing commonwealth. During the 1950's, a sharp rise occurred in Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. mainland. Thousands of islanders moved to New York City and other large mainland cities in search of jobs. Many could not speak English, and had difficulty adjusting to their new life. The late 1900's. Industry grew rapidly in Puerto Rico during the 1960's and 1970's. The Economic Development Administration, known in Spanish as Fomento, helped businesses establish thousands of factories. Industrial growth reduced unemployment. However, the unemployment rate remained significantly higher than the U.S. rate. In 1964, Governor Muñoz Marín announced he would not run for a fifth term. Another Popular Democrat, Roberto Sánchez Vilella, became governor in In 1967, Puerto Ricans voted to retain their commonwealth status rather than to become a U.S. state or an independent country. In 1968, Luis A. Ferré of the New Progressive Party was elected governor. Ferré and his party favored statehood for Puerto Rico. He ran for reelection in 1972 and was defeated by Rafael Hernández Colón, the Popular Democratic Party candidate. In 1976, Carlos Romero Barceló of the New Progressive Party was elected governor. He was reelected in He ran for a third term in 1984, but he was defeated by Hernández Colon. Hernández Colón was reelected in In 1992, Pedro J. Rosselló of the New Progressive Party was elected governor. He was reelected in In 1993 and 1998, Puerto Rico held referendums on whether it should remain a commonwealth. Both votes resulted in the island keeping its commonwealth status. See Back in Time: Puerto Rico (1993);Puerto Rico (1998). In September 1998, Hurricane Georges swept across Puerto Rico. This powerful storm killed three people and caused about $2 billion in damage. 6

7 In November 2012, a majority of Puerto Ricans voted in a nonbinding referendum to make the island a U.S. state. Any change to Puerto Rico's status will require approval by the U.S. Congress. Puerto Ricans also elected Alejandro García Padilla as their new governor. García Padilla's party, the PPD, supports commonwealth status over statehood. 6. Figure Plebiscite Sample Ballot Source: Sample November 2012 plebiscite ballot provided to CRS by the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission, September

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