Puerto Rican Politics in America: A Complex Racial Identity and Marginalization - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-09-11
Puerto Rican Politics in America: A Complex Racial Identity and Marginalization - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Policy United States Political science
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 953 words
8 min read


Politics has been a vocal point covering everyday activities in New York. The policies structured cover the high earning group. However, a small group of people is not always considered in the policy-making procedures hence leaving them marginalized. Puerto Rican politics in America is an underdeveloped area of study. The increasing variety of US inhabitants has inspired interest in racial identification, which is complex for Puerto Ricans groups. However, there has been trouble with what criteria to use in the measurement of their level of participation in American politics. It is noticeable that the politics of Puerto Ricans in the US have developed unevenly and slowly in the previous decades. It is therefore important to discuss Puerto Ricans Politics in New York Beyond Second Hand Theory and review why Puerto Ricans claim to be viewed as second class citizens.

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The transfer of authority from Spanish rulers to the USA was met with absolute ululation from the citizens due to the promised economic development and expansion of the American democratic values. However, this dream that the citizens had of economic and political development faded over time. The transfer of power led to quite a dramatic socioeconomic transformation (Thomas 23). The dreams of better conditions and self-government for their country had to wait for almost fifty years. After taking over from the Spanish government, all forms of government and administrative bodies allied to the Spanish rulers were dismantled, and the economic powers of most citizens lost to North American companies. These companies to Puerto Rico and owned the prime centers of sugarcane production.

For two years, the Puerto Ricans' political journey began in 1900 by the Foraker Law after the occupation of the American army in Puerto Rico. This was not entirely good news since the civilian government denied Puerto Ricans American citizenship and imposed trade tariffs. It also created a local government that was headed by a governor, a judiciary, and an executive that was directed by the president of the united states (Thomas 47). However, the Puerto Ricans were allowed to elect the lower chamber of the legislature. The elite in the lower chamber of the legislature pushed for a definition of its status.

The first significant political changes under the US government colonial rule was brought about in 1917 when Congress passed the Jones Act. The act enabled Congress to come up with a popularly elected legislative branch. This legislative branch included both the house of representatives of the senate (Haslip-Viera and Baver 12). The passed act also extended American citizenship to Puerto Rican citizens. They were also given a non-voting representative in the American Congress. The island experienced quite a radical change in its economy, and there was a notable increase in tobacco and sugar industries (Thomas 39). The improved economy led to great economic growth but did not quite bring change in the social lives of the people. Disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, and poverty blanketed the masses. These types of pressure made low-income workers immigrate into the states looking for greener pastures.

According to the Jones Act, the citizens in Puerto Rico islanders were extended US citizenship to the but with some limitations. However, the Puerto Ricans living in the mainland were given full citizenship. They were even allowed to participate and seek political posts in the regions that they were residing. The act allowed Puerto Ricans to move in and out of the USA without a passport (Dávila 3). Congress later passed the selective act soon after the jones act. This act dictates that Puerto Rican men who were of the age of 18years and above to offer service in the military. The service to the military action was enacted during world war 1.


Racism was rampant in America when the Puerto Ricans massively migrated into America. There were open discriminatory cases and even some establishment denying them entry. The exclusion of Puerto Ricans from New York political seats was visible in the 50s and had several underlying reasons, one being the role assumed by the migration division, which ironically contacted island superiors on matters that directly affected Puerto Rican and New York communities avoiding the local authority figures. The migrant communities that have immigrated to New York thought it was a logical step to have a quasi-political representative who will be their highly visible agent in representing them. However, many of them viewed their stay in New York as temporary, and they would go back to Puerto Rico as soon as they have secured financial stability.

The politics of New York remains a very vocal point in the history of the United States. However, following the complaints about the marginalization of the Puerto Ricans, the history of the city is on a retrogressive progression. The only way the states can tackle this problem is by giving the Puerto Ricans living in New York equal rights like the rest of the citizens. The citizens should be accorded equal voting rights, and Puerto Rico accorded voting rights. When the time comes, the Puerto Ricans living in New York will live and work freely in the city and other states.

Works Cited

Dávila, Arlene M. Sponsored identities: cultural politics in Puerto Rico. Vol. 13. Temple University Press, 1997.

FalcĂłn, Angelo. "Puerto Rican Political Participation: New York City and Puerto Rico." Time for Decision: The United States and Puerto Rico (1983): 27-53.

Ramos, Carlos Vargas. "The Political Participation of Puerto Ricans in New York City." Centro Journal 15.1 (2003): 40-71.

Thomas, Lorrin. Puerto Rican citizen: history and political identity in twentieth-century New York City. University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Haslip-Viera, Gabriel, and Sherrie L. Baver. Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition. University of Notre Dame Press, PO Box L, Notre Dame, IN 46556, 1996.

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