Hablando Claro Defendiendo la Ciudadanía Americana



This a working copy of selected parts of the book Citizenship and the American Empire by José E. Cabranes, as an educational tool for the historical value of its content. The author and publisher owns the Copyrights. It was copied on a scanner, and is being revised.


About the Author

José A. Cabranes, General Counsel of Yale University, was formerly Administrator of the Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in Washington and Special Counsel to the Governor of Puerto Rico. He is a member of the New York Bar and the District of Columbia Bar. In 1965 he received the J.D, degree from Yale Law School and in 1967 the M. Litt. (International Law) degree from the University of Cambridge. He was appointed Federal Circuit Court Judge.

NR – See for the US ationality Law

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José A Cabranes
José A. Cabranes, uno de los Puertorriqueños más ilustres – Juez de Cirduito Federal

The acquisition of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines following the Spanish American War signaled the rise of the United States to the position of a world power. The American experience with empire was an important aspect of the global role assumed by this country following the “splendid little war” of 1898. This imperial experience — intervention in Cuba and occupation of the three former Spanish territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. …

José A Cabranes

Porto Rico

Between 1900 and 1932, Puerto Rico was officially misspelled as “Porto Rico” — a result of the incorrect spelling of the island’s name in the English version of the Treaty of Paris. Treaty Of Paris, Dec. 10, 1898, United States Spain, 30 Stat. 1754, T.S. No. 343. This incorrect spelling was later introduced into formal usage by the Foraker Act. Foraker Act (Puerto Rico), ch. 191, 31 Stat. 77 (1900).

Jones aptly noted that Puerto Ricans had objected “that there does not even exist the pretext of changing the name to Americanize it, since porto is not an English but a Portuguese word.” Id.

It took the Puerto Ricans 32 years to persuade Congress that the island should have its rightful name restored. Congress changed the island’s name to “Puerto Rico” by joint resolution on May 17, 1932. Act of May 17, 1932, ch. 190, 47 Stat.

…”splendid little war”

The Spanish American’ War was called a “splendid little war” by Jiffin Jay, a leading expansionist of the time and United States Ambassador to England in 1898. In a letter to then Colonel Theodore Roosevelt of the Rough Ryders.

President McKinley and proponents of American imperialism (such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan), however, transformed the war into a quest for empire.

The targets of this new American imperialism were the islands of the Spanish Empire in the Caribbean and the Pacific, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. A policy of forcible annexation such as was affected Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines was not possible in the case of Cuba because of the self denying proclamations that accompanied the American call to arms.


US President 1917
President McKinley

President McKinley

On April 11, 1898, President McKinley sent an emotional and stirring message to the Congress announcing that American efforts to end the war between Spain and the insurgents in Cuba had failed. 55 CONC. REC. 3699 (1898) (President’s message). After describing recent developments, the President appealed to Congress to intervene, stating that [t]he only hope of relief and repose from a condition which can no longer be endured is the enforced pacification of Cuba. In the name of humanity, in the name of civilization, in behalf of endangered American interests, the war in Cuba must stop. “I ask the Congress to authorize and empower the President to take measures to secure a full and final termination of hostilities …, and to secure in the island the establishment of a stable government . . ., and to use the military and naval forces of the United States as may be necessary for these purposes.”



Congress acceded to the President’s request, but not before his Democratic critics in the Senate managed to convince a majority to adopt a resolution providing “[t]hat the people of the Island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent.” H.R.J. Res. 233, 55th Cong., 2d Sess., 30 Stat. 738 (1898). Another “antiimperialist” resolution was introduced and adopted at the request of an expansionist, Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado. It provided ”[t]hat the United States hereby disclaims any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over . . . [Cuba] except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that was accomplished, to leave the government and control of the Island to its people.”

Senator Teller said that he had had the resolution introduced to make it impossible for any European government to say, “when we go out to make battle for the liberty and freedom of Cuban patriots, that we are doing it for the purpose of aggrandizement for ourselves or the increasing of our territorial holdings.” He wished this point made clear inference. S. Doc. No. 62, 55th Cong., 3d Sess.


The Teller resolution made it clear that the United States would not annex Cuba. Expansionists, supra note 2, at 230. It did not, however, bar the United States from seeking to annex the other former Spanish possessions (Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines), and cession of these three territories to the United States was demanded by the American peace commissioners at the Paris peace in regard to Cuba Colonial Experiment.


Spain acquiesced in these demands in the Treaty of Paris. Treaty of Paris, supra, note 1, arts. II




The reaction to American occupation in each of the three formerly Spanish insular territories foreshadowed each people’s receptiveness to American rule and donotlessly shaped the history and character of colonial administration in each of the territories. Although not as well known at first, the Filipinos’ aspirations for independence were no less firm than those of the Cubans. On the day before the Senate voted on the Treaty of Paris, the drama of the decision was complicated and intensified by the arrival of newer than the Filipinos had taken up arms in open revolt against the United States. There could he no more doubt of their desire for freedom American new role in world affairs: an additional sense of mission and or the United States was now in the same position formerly occupied by discredited Spain.

The military occupation of the entire Filipino archipelago, ordered by President McKinley on December 21, 1898, had served to touch off a Filipino insurrection …. The insurrection, … lasted three sordid years.

Thus a movement that had started as an effort to liberate the Cubans [the Spanish American War] ended in a drive to subjugate the Filipinos.



In marked contrast, Guam and Puerto Rico generally welcomed the occupying forces and, for a considerable time, did not resist American rule.


Puerto Rico

In 1898, Puerto Rico, the smaller Spanish colony in the Caribbean, had a less developed sense of nationhood than Cuba. Throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century, however, many Puerto Rican nationalists collaborated with Cubans in the struggle to liberate their respective islands from Spanish colonial rule. Among these nationalists were some of the most illustrious figures in Cuban and Puerto Rican history — met such as Jose Martí, Ramón Emeterio Betances and Eugenio Maria de Hostos. An anecdote illustrates their committment to one another’s cause: “When the Puerto Rican poet Pachin Marín joined the Cuban Revolutionary Party, Jose Martí asked him whether he was Cuban. ‘Yes, sir,’ said Marín. ‘From which province?’ asked Martí. ‘From the province of Puerto Rico,’ replied Marín.



While Cuban nationalists waged war for years against Spanish colonialism, the Puerto Rican political leadership had negotiated a form of local self government or “autonomy” under an autonomic charter granted in 1897 by the Spanish Cortes.

(… a certain nobility of purpose; a belief in the superiority of American institutions and values; an insensitivity or indifference to peoples and values imperfectly understood; and an ambivalence about the exercise of power combined with a deeply rooted innocence.)


imperial expansion,

The expansion of American power and influence precipitated a great national debate on imperialism, a debate that moved the nation for several years before and after the Spanish American War and dominated the presidential election campaign of 1900. The electoral victory of President William McKinley settled the controversy in favor of imperial expansion, but the issue that remained was whether racially and culturally distinct peoples brought under American sovereignty without the promise of citizenship or statehood could be held indefinitely without doing violence to American values — that is, whether certain peoples could be permanently excluded from the American political community and deprived of equal rights. Congress succeeded in resolving the citizenship question only after several years of debate. Ultimately, the two main territories were treated differently: This constitution or autonomic charter was granted to the people of Puerto Rico to counter the “separatist feelings [that] were stirred in Puerto Rico” as a result of the Cuban war of independence.

It was negotiated by Luis Muñoz Rivera on the Puerto Rican side and Praxedes Sagasta on the Spanish side. Gordon Lewis has characterized Muñoz Rivera’s middle road policy as `Opportunism dressed Up as a wise empiricism.’ G. LEWIS, supra, at 64. Although this experiment with political autonomy was aborted by the American invasion of July 25, 1898; Puerto Rico’s leaders generally held high hopes for achieving substantial self government under the American flag.

Although American colonial administration soon disappointed many Puerto Ricans, see, e.g., Muñoz Rivera, El “Bill” Foraker, “there was no resistance to American rule in Puerto Rico that is even remotely comparable to the open warfare and persistent nationalist agitation that arose in the Philippines.”

Although [t]he election of 1900 was not so much a ratification of colonialism as a repudiation of William Jennings Bryan,” it nevertheless diminished the importance of the issue of imperialism for the American people. As a result of McKinley’s victory, the expansionists were now relatively free to pursue their goals in Puerto Rico and the Philippines. For useful discussions of the significance of the issue of imperialism in the election of 1900, eventual independence to the Filipinos, but the Jones Act of 1917 conferred American citizenship on the Puerto Ricans.


collective naturalization

The collective naturalization of the Puerto Ricans one year after the Filipinos were promised their independence was a water shed in American colonial history and quite probably the turning point in Puerto Rico’s political development. Having agreed in 1916 to grant independence to the larger and more intractable of the new insular territories, it is significant that Congress then chose to assert the permanence of the existing relationship with the smaller and more “loyal” territory.


American colony

Conferring United States citizenship’ on the Puerto Ricans, however, did not alter the island’s status as an American colony.


… The Civil Rights Act of 1866

By bestowing citizenship upon the inhabitants of the island, Congress proclaimed the future of Puerto Rico to be something other than national independence and thereby sought to resolve the question how the United States would deal with this part of its empire. Accordingly, the citizenship granted was not complete; it was never intended to confer on the Puerto Ricans “any rights that the American people [did] not want them to have.” The very word “citizenship” suggested equality of rights and privileges and full membership in the American political community, thereby obscuring the colonial relationship between a great metropolitan state and a poor position of aliens, subjects or even nationals. Dred Scott had been held not to fall within the term “people of the United States,” though he was clearly a subject of the United State — that is, a person owing allegiance to the United States and not to any other nation. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the fourteenth amendment had abolished the distinction between citizen and subject as far as black persons were concerned. However, the forcible annexation of formerly Spanish insular territories once again created a class of persons who clearly owed allegiance to the United State (as a result of the transfer of sovereignty) but who arguably were not citizens of the United States. The term national, often used interchangeably with the word citizen when referring to (or defining) the status of an individual in relation to the state, evolved into a term broader in scope than citizen. “The term citizen, in its general acceptation, is applicable only to a person who is endowed with full political and civil rights in the body politic of the state.”



National, on the other hand, include “a person who, though not a citizen, owes permanent allegiance to the state and is entitled to its protection.”

Based on this distinction, although all citizens are nationals, all nationals are not citizens. The legal construct of national served the nation’s imperial purposes; the most notable examples of persons who were nationals of the United States though not citizens (in the absence of positive action by Congress) were the native peoples of the new colonial possesions of the United States.


Foraker Act

The Foraker Act granted the inhabitants of Puerto Rico the status of United States nationals. It provided, inter alia, that all inhabitants continuing to reside [in Puerto Rico] . . . who were Spanish subjects on the eleventh day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety nine and then resided in Porto Rico, and their children born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of Porto Rico, and as such entitled to the protection of the United State, except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain.

Foraker Act (Puerto Rico. Although the “citizens of Porto Rico” were not citizens of the United States, they were nevertheless not aliens, and they were expected to transfer their allegiance from Spain to the United State and receive in return the protection of the United States. The status of national, as distinguished from citizen, became a convenient construct for those who favored territorial expansion but did not wish to make the people of the new territory citizens of the United States or otherwise suggest that they might aspire to equality under the American constitutional system.

United States passports could be issued to “persons . . . owing allegiance, whether citizens or not, to the United States, including, of course, Puerto Ricans”.

overseas dependency. But the creation of a second class citizenship for a community of persons that was given no expectation of equality under the American system had the effect of perpetuating the colonial status of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s anomalous status later made it possible to devise an unusual series of relationships with the United States

The story of how and why Puerto Ricans became American citizens is not, therefore, without contemporary significance, nor is it of interest only to Puerto Ricans. Quite apart from the persistent debate on Puerto Rico’s political relationship to the United States, American citizenship has vitally afected the place of Puerto Ricans in the American political system and economy. American citizenship made possible the mass migration on Puerto Ricans to the North American continent in the years allowing the Second World War and today affects the character of the political and constitutional claims asserted in the continental United States by Puerto Ricans.”

American legislators did not anticipate that extending citizenship to the inhabitants of Puerto Rico would lead to the substantial northward migration of the forties and fifties.


as a token of the permanence

… the United States government extended American citizenship to the Puerto Ricans as a token of the permanence of the island’s political relationship to the United States. Puerto Rico and the United States will undoubtedly continue to be deeply affected by that legislation.


two versions of popular history

… In Puerto Rico, two versions of popular history have coexisted for more than half a century.



… statehood logical and inevitable

David Vidal, writing in The New York Times, notes that “[tlhe granting of citizenship in 1917 on United States initiative did not change the status debate, but to some it made statehood logical and inevitable. To this day, that is a prime argument offered in favor of statehood.”

1917 “[i]t became a yearning of the Porto Ricans to be American Citizens . . . and [the Jones Act of 1917] gave them the boom.”


“reasons of war”

The other version of popular history, which seems to enjoy greater prominence in the literature and lure on the subject, claims that United States citizenship was imposed upon the Puerto Ricans. It is frequently suggested that the grant of citizenship was dictated by strategic necessities of World War I or by the desire to enlist Puerto Rican youths into the United States armed forces. Leaders of the island’s independence movement and others have alleged that “reasons of war” dictated the congressional decision to confer United States citizenship on the Puerto Ricans. In Puerto Rico there is Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. at 308. Felix Frankfurter, 3erving in 1914 as Law Officer of the Bureau of Insular Affairs of the Department of War, saw the grant of American citizenship “as a means of removing the great source of political unrest in the Island.” F. Frunkfurter, The Political Status of Porto Rico 7 (March 11, 1914) (memorandum of law to Secretary of War in archives of the United States.

The literature claiming that American citizenship was extended to the people of Puerto Rico as a result of Puerto Rican demands or yearnings is, understandably associated with proponents of one or another form of permanent union of the island with the United States through statehood or continued commonwealth status. In this literature, there is a tendency to describe citizenship as having been “granted” or “conferred” (concedido) in 1917 by Congress, terms which suggest a response by Congress to expressions of Puerto Rican aspirations or longings.

The late Pedro Albizu Campos, the long time leader of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, claimed that “reasons of war” (razones de guerra) accounted for the extension of United States Citizenship to the Puerto Ricans…


Vicente Geigel Polanco

… to this day a widely held belief, expressed in 1928 by a leading Puerto Rican writer, who later became attorney general, Vicente Geigel Polanco, that “[t]he ‘conferral’ of [United States] citizenship was not an act of justice, but rather, an imposition of the American government.”


assumptions are unwarranted

These conflicting versions of the central event of Puerto Rico’s twentieth century political history confirm the observation of the British historian Richard Pares that in colonial societies “[g]ood history cannot do so much service as money or science; but bad history can do almost as much harm as the most disastrous scientific discovery in the world.” Both versions assume that Puerto Rican opinion on the subject, as expressed by the island’s leaders, was clearly articulated and readily understood in the executive and legislative branches of the American government. Both versions assume that the leading protagonists—the United States Congress and the island’s leadership—acted with a full appreciation of the implications of the citizenship legislation. These assumptions are unwarranted. The Puerto Ricans neither yearned for United States citizenship nor did Congress intend to impose it upon them. As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere between contradictory historical theses.


war against Germany

The 1917 legislation extending United States citizenship to the people of Puerto Rico was adopted a month before the Congress resolved to recognize the existence of a state of war against Germany.There is no evidence, however, that the timing of the two explicitly state that military conscription was a factor that motivated Congress to extend United States citizenship to the Puerto Ricans, he clearly suggests that there is a direct link between citizenship and compulsory military service, and that the former was the predicate for the latter actions by Congress was anything but coincidental. The author is unaware of any evidence of a design by anyone in the American government during this period to make extensive use of Puerto Ricans in the armed services or to make Puerto Ricans citizens on the theory that they might then be conscripted. Indeed, the number of Puerto Ricans who served in the First World War appears to have been quite small, and much of that service was in the relative backwater of the Panama Canal Zone. Moreover, the incorporation of a force of Puerto Rican soldiers into the United States Army long antedated the war; a Puerto Rican regiment was first organized in 1899.

By extending United States citizenship to the Puerto Ricans after promising independence to the Filipinos, Congress intended to do little more than proclaim the permanence of Puerto Rico’s political links with the United States. The apparent readiness of the Puerto Ricans to accept a continuing association with the United States — confirmed by the absence of sustained and systematic opposition to the proposal or significant resistance to colonial rule like adopted in early 1917 rather than during the previous summer, however, was the result of a crowded agenda.


… during World War I

The only Puerto Rican unit of any significance during World War I was the Puerto Rico Regiment of Infantry, which served in the Canal Zone from May 1917 through March 1919. This unit was originally organized in 1899 as a provisional regiment. Id. In 1908, its two batalions were made part of the United States Army. An Act Fixing the Status of the Porto Rico Provisional Regiment of Infantry, ch. 201, 35 Stat 392 (1908). Although a Puerto Rican division was contemplated during the war, it was never organized. Instead, the War Department ordered the organization of a provisional division. The men for this division were to come from the first Puerto Rican draft. On October 1, 1918, over 10,000 Puerto Rican officers and men were organized into the Provisional Tactical Brigade. Less than two months later, however, this unit was ordered disbanded.

In part, at least, the lack of resistance displayed by the Puerto Ricans upon the transfer of sovereignty is accounted for by their expectation that the Americans would treat them benevolently


… the draft during the Civil War

In any event, American citizenship is not a prerequisite to conscription: aliens were made subject to the draft during the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War 1. The United States did not have to confer American citizenship on the people of Puerto Rico in order to be able to draft Puerto Rican men during World War 1. These men would have been subject to conscription into military service even if they had remained “citizens of Puerto Rico.” The natives of Puerto Rico had for years been considered nationals of the United States—that is, they were noncitizens, although clearly not aliens, who owed allegiance to the United States.

Noncitizens under the jurisdiction of the United States first became subject to the draft during the Civil War. The Civil War Conscription Act of 1863 made “all able bodied male citizens . . ., and persons of foreign birth who shall have declared on oath their intention to become citizens . . . able to perform military duty in the service of the United States….” Civil War Conscription Act.

Thus, by the time that the United States acquired Puerto Rico, precedents had been set for the induction of noncitizens into the American armed forces.

Noncitizens were once again made subject to the draft in 1917. The selective service statute of that year authorized the President to raise an army of several hundred thousand men. If necessary, the President was authorized to draft the required men, “[s]uch draft . . . [to] be based upon liability to military service of all male citizens, or male persons not alien enemies who have declared their intention to become citizens.”


“citizens of Porto Rico.”

… It is clear that these statutes would have applied to the men of Puerto Rico even if they had not become American citizens but had remained “citizens of Porto Rico.” Puerto Ricans could not have claimed the nondeclarant alien exemption granted by the statute because they were not aliens but nationals, see Gonzales v. Williams, 192 U.S. 1,

Spain had relinquished her claim to sovereignty over Puerto Rico by the Treaty of Paris, which left “[t]he civil rights and political status of the native inhabitant . . . to . . . be determined by the Congress.” Treaty of Paris, supra note I, arts. 11, IX. Undoubtedly, the United States, as the sovereign authority in Puerto Rico, had the power to subject these “native inhabitants” to the military draft.


… the 288 persons who chose not to become citizens

As a matter of fact, the men among the 288 persons who chose not to become citizens of the United States in accordance with the March 2, 1917 statute collectively naturalizing the natives of Puerto Rico were not exempted from military duty under the Selective Service Act. Finally, noting in the annals of Congress would suggest that the collective naturalization of the Puerto Ricans was a matter connected in any way with military concerns.


the idea had been under active and serious consideration in Congress since 1900

The idea of American citizenship for Puerto Ricans did not arise suddenly in the Congress that enacted the Jones Act of 1917. Legislation embodying the idea had been under active and serious consideration in Congress since 1900. Inclusion of the citizenship proposal in a bill to reorganize the territorial government of Puerto Rico—a long overdue liberalization of the colonial regimesupported by both major national political parties in the United States— largely explains its timing and success. One other factor doubtlessly played a role in the timing of the legislation: the adoption in late 1916, after prolonged debate, of a bill to organize the territorial government of the Philippines, which for the first time promised eventual independence to the Filipinos. Only after Congress had settled the destiny of the largest of the American colonial territories was it ready to turn to the question o Puerto Rico’s political fate and decide that matter free of the fear that its actions in Puerto Rico would limit its options in the Philippines.

The Adjutant General of Puerto Rico concluded “that the people of Puerto Rico, as a whole, responded most nobly and loyaly [sicl to the support of the United States [during World War I].”


… congressional history

No effort is here made to treat the subject in terms of public pronouncements on the subject in Puerto Rico. Although such local public statements are relevant to a comprehensive history of the island’s political history, they do not, standing alone, contribute to an understanding of what happened in the one forum that truly mattered in the colonial setting—the Congress of the United States. An understanding of the congressional history of the subject may affect not only perceptions of congressional purpose and intent, but also perceptions of the historic role of the island’s contemporary leadership. Perhaps most importantly, an understanding of the situation in the United States Congress in the early part of this century will provide insight into the origins of some of the contemporary political status problems of Puerto Rico. The legislative history below will begin with an examination of the events leading to the enactment of the Foraker Act, the first organic law for Puerto Rico. Part lll will discuss the Supreme Court decisions upholding the Foraker Act and trace the subsequent development of legislative proposals that culminated in the Jones Act of 1917, which, among other things, extended American citizenship to the people of Puerto Rico. The final section presents brief concluding remarks.

The status of the inhabitants of Puerto Rico—and, of course, the political status of the island itself—was a matter of concern in Congress from the time the island became an object of American interest during the hostilities with Spain in the late 1890’s. The controversy over American aims in interceding in the conflict in Cuba led Congress to adopt the Teller Resolution, disclaiming “any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty” was over Cuba and asserting the determination of the United States eventually to “leave the government and control of the Island to its people.” The sponsor of the resolution, Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado, indicated that this pledge was designed to avoid any suggestion by European powers that “when we go out to make battle for the liberty and freedom of Cuban patriots . . . we are doing it for the purpose of aggrandizement for ourselves or the increasing of our territorial holdings.” This selfdenying resolution, which embodied a political compromise found satisfactory by Theodore Roosevelt and other proponents of a “large policy,” quite clearly did not apply to other Spanish possessions, including Puerto Rico.’


… trouble free occupation

During the invasion and trouble free occupation of Puerto Rico on July 25, 1898, General Nelson A. Miles, commanding officer of the United States forces, issued a proclamation to the people of Puerto Rico that suggested that the island would have a direct and lasting link to the American political system. This proclamation asserted that American forces, “bearing the banner of freedom.”…brought to the Puerto Ricans “the fostering arm of a nation of free people, whose greatest power is in justice and humanity to all those living within its fold” … and promised to “bestow upon [them] the immunities and blessings of the liberal institutions of our Government . . . [and] the advantages and blessings of enlightened civilization,”


General Miles’ proclamation

The implication of General Miles’ proclamation, that Puerto Rico would become part of a new United States empire, was confirmed by the terms of the treaty of peace signed in Paris in 1898. Under the provisions of the treaty, Spain merely abandoned “all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba,” ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands to the United States. With respect to the question of citizenship, the treaty distinguished.

Between “Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula” resident in the ceded territories, who were permitted to remain Spanish subjects upon the making of an appropriate declaration within a year’s time, and “native inhabitants of the territories” who were not given this option. In the “overseas province” of Puerto Rico, the people of which had all been Spanish citizens, a clear legal distinction was thus drawn between those born in the metropolitan state and the much larger group of criollos or creoles who were “native inhabitants of the territories.” In addition, the treaty provided that their “civil rights and political status . . . [would] be determined by the Congress.” For the first time in American history, “in a treaty acquiring territory for the United States, there was no promise of citizenship . . . [nor any] promise, actual or implied, of statehood. The United States thereby acquired not ‘territories’ but possessions or ‘dependencies’ and became, in that sense, an ‘imperial’ power.” 02 Prior to the Treaty of Paris of 1898, “[e]very treaty by which territory was ceded to the United States . . . [had] contained some provision whereby either all or some of the inhabitants of the ceded territory could, either immediately or ultimately, be admitted to United States citizenship.” In each of these earlier instances of territorial expansion, the grant or promise of citizenship to the people of a territory had clearly been regarded as a mark of the permanence of the annexation and as an effective promise of eventual incorporation of the territory as a state of the American Union. In the aftermath of the Spanish American War, neither Congress nor the courts were persuaded by the argurment that the inhabitants of these newly acquired possessions had either automatically become United States citizens upon annexation or that Congress was constitutionally compelled to confer citizenship upon them as a condition of the exercise ot sovereignty. The United States had become a colonial power.


colonial power

The original plans of the McKinley administration and the Republican congressional leadership for Puerto Rico seemed to call for the island’s “interpretations” of the United States — that is, annexation of Puerto Rico, as integral part of the United States and the bestowal of a constitutional and political status comparable to other American territories destined for statehood. Incorporation was implicit in the proposals of President McKinley’s commission to study conditions in Puerto Rico: this report, completed in 1899, recommended free trade between Puerto Rico and the United States and the grant of United States citizenship to the island’s inhabitants. The military government in Puerto Rico, which presumably reflected the position of the national administration, called for the adoption of the free trade principle, and, in a message to Congress in December 1899, President McKinley asked for tree trade legislation. Although the President did not explicitly advert to the question of United States citizenship for Puerto Ricans in his message, this omission does not necessarily suggest that citizenship was not part of the administration’s program. At the time it was widely believed that the inhabitants of the territories ceded by Spain had automatically become citizens of the United States, as President McKinley originally stated that it was Congress’ “plain duty to abolish all customs tariffs between the United States and Porto Rico.”


… annexation or incorporation

Citizenship was far from anathema to the McKinley administration’s spokesmen in Congress who promoted and pursued the expansionist policy leading to the acquisition of the Philippines and Puerto Rico. This much is well illustrated by the original views expressed by congressional leaders on colonial questions. Representative Sereno E. Payne and Senator Joseph B. Foraker, who undoubtedly expressed the prevailing Republican opinion on the disposition of the new territories, both originally favored free trade between Puerto Rico and the United States—a position that implied the annexation or incorporation of the island as an integral part of the United States. Indeed, Senator Foraker almost immediately proposed legislation explicitly providing for the grant of American citizenship to Puerto Ricans.70

Within a short period of time, however, both Payne and Foraker reversed their positions on free trade, and Foraker rather suddenly abandoned his citizenship proposal. These moves were generally assumed to reflect a change in the administration’s policy. The reversal prompted repeated requests on the floor of the House and the Senate for a clarification of President McKinley’s position. Even some expansionist Republicans were outraged by what they considered a surrender to the antiimperialist opposition. It was reported to the Senate, for example, that the Republican Governor of Rhode Island, Elisha Dyer, had termed the raising of a tariff barrier on trade with Puerto Rico one of the most “outrageous transactions” and a thread of loyalty to the principles enunciated by the Republican Party. The opposition repeatedly chided the Republican leadership in Congress about the difference between their original proposals, and those of the President, and the revisions treating Puerto Rico as something other than an integral part of the United States and denying citizenship to its inhabitants.


Senator Foraker

Senator Foraker and Representative Payne were the majority leaders of the Senate and House, respectively.


American citizenship Bill for Puerto Rico, 1900

In response to President McKinley’s annual message to Congress in December 1898, Senator Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio, Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico, introduced S. 2264, a bill providing for American citizenship for the Puerto Ricans and for the establishment of a civil government. S. 2264, 56th Cong., 1st Sess., 33 CONC. REC. 702 (1900). (Puerto Rico was under military government from 1898 until May 1, 1900.


free trade Bill, 1900

In the House, Representative Sereno E. Payne, Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, submitted H.R. 6883, a bill providing for free trade between the United States and Puerto Rico. H.R. 6883, 56th Cong., Ist Sess. 33 CONC. REC. 1010 (1900).

The principal cause for this dramatic policy change was apparently the concern that legislation for Puerto Rico would be Senator George L. Wellington of Maryland termed the changes in the proposed legislation “political some assault the like of which had not been witnessed in a generation. He added that despite the President’s recommendation for free trade between the United States and Puerto Rico, “in a mysterious manner it began to be whispered that [a IS! duty on this trader … was satisfactory to the Administration.” Id.


… menacing problem of the Philippines

a precedent for the larger and more menacing problem of the Philippines. It was also feared that the Puerto Rico legislation would be the subject of portentous constitutional litigation challenging congressional power to regulate trade with and migration from the insular territories, as well as the capacity of the legislative branch to determine whether Puerto Ricans and Filipinos would become United States citizens.

Concern about the possible effects of making the Philippines an integral part of the United States was not at all new in 1900. This concern had been the basis of much of the vocal opposition to McKinley’s policy toward Spain and to the original decision to require the cession of the Philippines to the United States as part of the peace settlement. Indeed, only a week after approving the Treaty of Paris by the slimmest possible margin 67— one vote above the necessary two thirds majority—the Senate had adopted a resolution declaring that it was “not intended to incorporate the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands into citizenship of the United States” nor “to permanently annex said islands as an integral part of the territory of the United States,” but rather, to prepare the Philippines for “local self-government, and in due time to make such disposition of said islands as will best promote the interests of the citizens of the United States and the inhabitants of said islands.” Although the House failed to act upon this Senate initiative, it is an important and revealing expression of congressional sentiment at the zenith of the expansionist movement.


plenary power to legislate for the government of the new territories,

In enacting legislation for Puerto Rico, Congress sought to establish its plenary power to legislate for the government of the new territories, and to ensure its ability to deny American citizen ship to the Filipinos and to regulate the entry of Filipinos and their products into the United States. Thus, the members of Congress were eager to legislate for Puerto Rico in a manner that would leave.


sugar trust, the tobacco trust, and the whisky trust

Why, then, was the change made? Well, it is said, and not denied, that the majority of the Ways and Means Committee made this change at the request of the sugar trust, the tobacco trust, and the whisky trust. I believe this to be the truth about the matter.

The agents of the trusts dictated this unjust discrimination against the citizens of Puerto Rico. “You dare not disobey the trusts”. They own and control the Republican Party.


Congress’ powers

no doubt about Congress’ powers under the Constitution to do with the newly acquired territories as it wished. Congressional authority to govern and administer the nation’s territories during the century of expansion across a great continent had rested on constitutional guidance no more clear or instructive than the terms ot the “territorial clause” of the Constitution: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States. But in exercising its broad and virtually unlimited power over territories, Congress before 1898 had invariably legislated for people who were clearly a part of a definable American political community—people who were American citizens or who had been promised citizenship, and who had every expectation that their territory would, in time, be admitted as one of the states of the Union. Clearly, the Puerto Rican situation was altogether novel; in fact, many respected leaders had serious doubts about the United States’ course of action. The legislation for the establishment of a civil government in Puerto Rico was the first opportunity to legislatefor one of the newly acquired insular territories; it was simply an opportunity not to be missed.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, however “the chief reliance for the power to govern the territories had been the grant of authority contained in Article IV, Section III.” Id. 433. The absolute congressional authority “to determine the form of political and administrative control to be erected over the Territories, and to fix the extent to which their inhabitants shall be admitted to a participation in their own government” did not necessarily “carry with the absolute control of the Federal legislature over the civil rights—the private rights of person and property—of the inhabitants of the Territories.” Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 298 (1922) (United States citizens in Puerto Rico could not assert the right to trial by jury under the sixth amendment).


important conclusions

After an extensive review of precedents concerning the definition of “United States” and the meaning of the provisions of the Constitution granting Congress the power “to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations in The Territory or other Properly belonging to the United States,” the Committee offered some important conclusions, the basis for its favorable report on the substitute bill:

First: That upon reason and authority the term “United States,” as used in the Constitution, has reference only to the States that constitute the Federal Union and does not include Territories.

Second: That the power of Congress with respect to legislation for the Territories is plenary.

Third: That under that power Congress may prescribe different rates of duty for Puerto Rico from those prescribed for the United States.


Wholly inconsistent with the theory… The blessings

The Committee’s minority report expressed a different view— one that was to be echoed throughout the United States in the months to come. The substitute Payne bill, according to this perspective, was wholly inconsistent with the theory and form of our Government. The exercise of such power is pure and simple imperialism, and against it we enter our most solemn protest…. The blessings of free government rest alike upon all of our people, whether in the thirteen original States or in the youngest member of the Union or in the newest acquired territory. It does not matter in which form territory is acquired; it is to be held under our Constitution with the object of finally being admitted into the Union as a State.

The minority report stated for the first time the bewilderment of some members of Congress concerning the apparent change in the administration’s position. The dispute within the Committee on Ways and Means on this issue was renewed on the floor of the House of Representatives on February 19, 1900, when the House considered the substitute bill.

No sooner had Representative Payne, in his opening remarks on the trade bill on the floor of the House, adverted to the good works to be done in Puerto Rico with the monies raised by the projected tariff than the momentous question of citizenship was put to him by Representative Pierce of Tennessee: “Does the gentleman believe that as soon as the ratification of the treaty of peace was made that the Puerto Ricans were citizens of the United States or does he think that they fell outside of the Constitution”. This troublesome question would appear and reappear throughout the debate on the first major legislation for Puerto Rico and would not finally be answered until the Insular Cases were decided more than a year later. It was a question that Representative Payne wanted to avoid; he succeeded in doing so temporarily by invoking the narrow purposes of his bill: “[T]he gentleman from Tennessee ought to know that that is a question that has nothing to do with sugar.”


Puerto Rico … differently from the Philippines

Clearly the majority leader of the House shared the view of various colleagues who wanted, from the outset, to treat Puerto Rico somewhat differently from the Philippines by offering the prospect of political integration with the United States without establishing a precedent for dealing with the Philippines. American citizenship for Puerto Ricans was a possibility, in Representative Payne’s view, but he was prepared to acquiesce in the administration’s decision that citizenship was not appropriate in 1900.

Payne’s words: “Keep them all in leading strings until you have educated them up to the full stature of American manhood, and then crown them with the glory of American citizenship.”‘


All in favor of American Citizenship to Puerto Rico

A disposition to confer American citizenship on the inhabitants of Puerto Rico and to treat the cession of the island as a permanent annexation was evident among both proponents and opponents of the Payne bill; indeed, more congressmen spoke out in favor of citizenship than against it. Nevertheless, as Representative New lands of Nevada, who had dissented in Committee, noted, the Republican majority feared the establishment of a precedent which [would] be invoked to control our action regarding the Philippines later on; such action embracing not simply one island near our coast, easily governed, its people friendly and peaceful [i.e., Puerto Rico], but embracing an archipelago of seventeen hundred islands 7,000 miles distant, of diverse races, speak ing different languages, having different customs, and ranging all the way from absolute barbarism to semi-civilization.


annexationist designs

Although annexationist designs on Puerto Rico were shared by “imperialists” and “anti-imperialist’s” alike, the record of the congressional debates in 1900 reveals a widespread and rather special disquietude concerning the dangers of placing the inhabitants of the islands in the Orient on an equal constitutional footing with Americans. Representative Newlands, who noted that the earlier exclusion of Chinese immigrants from the United States had been based upon the realization by “thinking men . . . that American civilization was in danger,” felt that a similar threat was posed by the Filipinos. He perceived no such danger, however, in the case of the inhabitants of other insular possessions, including Puerto Rico:

With reference to Puerto Rico we all agree that no great danger to the industrial system of this country can come from the acquisition of Puerto Rico. It lies there on a line to the Gulf, on the route to the future Nicaragua Canal, and comes legitimately within our scheme of expansion involving continental territory on the northern hemisphere and adjacent islands. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, we all—both imperialists and anti imperialists— agree, constitute a part of legitimate expansion of both our territory and our Government.

As to these islands in the Philippine group, 7,000 miles away, we all agree, whatever may have been the mistakes of commission or omission in the past . . . we only differ as to the ultimate disposition of those islands, as to whether they shall remain permanently a part of the United States or whether we shall hold them in trust for their own people and ultimately grant them independence. This is the only contention.

It can be easily imagined what will be the effect of putting inside of our governmental and industrial system 9,000,000 people possessing a high degree of industrial aptitude and accustomed to a scale of wages and mode of living appropriate to Asiatics. Such are the evils of incorporating the Philippines into our governmental and industrial system ….’

Race, civilization, distance, and economic considerations formed the basis for the distinction made in Congress between Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Expressions of concern about the annexation of Oriental peoples were commonplace. The statement by Representative Dalzell that he was unwilling “to see the wage earner of the United States, the farmer of the United States, put upon a level and brought into competition with the cheap half slave labor, savage labor, of the Philippine Archipelago” was greeted by loud applause in the House. Other congressmen echoed his sentiments. These statements were in marked contrast to the usual descriptions of the Puerto Ricans.

Representative Newlands specifically stated that “[the Puerto Rico question [was] linked with the Philippine question. Id. 1994. He went on to say that “[t]he latter presents the only difficulty in the way of the solution of the relations of our newly acquired islands.” Id.


plan to annex the Dominican Republic

It is not surprising that racism was a significant factor in the debates on the disposition of the insular territories acquired from Spain. A generation earlier the Grant administration’s plan to annex the Dominican Republic had failed largely because of apprehensions about the race and “civilization” of its people

The relatively tender treatment accorded to the Puerto Ricans may be partially explained by the representations made in Congress concerning the racial composition of the island. For example, Representative Payne readily accepted questionable census reports showing that whites—”generally full blooded white people, descendants of the Spaniards, possibly mixed with some Indian blood, but none of them [of] negro extraction”‘ outnumbered by nearly two to one the combined total of Negroes and mulattoes’, Hawaii did not constitute a precedent for the annexation of a territory populated by people of a different race. Indeed, opponents of the annexation of the Philippines had actively supported the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1898 and would support annexation of Puerto Rico. Representative Newlands, who sponsored the resolution that annexed the Hawaiian Islands, made this clear during the 1900 debate on Puerto Rico:

There were no complex problems in regard to the people occupaying those islands. Only 100,000 people occupied them. They had been practically assimilated and were in sympathy with our institutions and our whole system of government. Their acquisition involved no industrial derangement in this country….”‘


Puerto Rico [would] become a part of the Union

Whatever might be the final disposition of the matter of the Philippines, it was “evident that both of the political parties of the “country [were] now in substantial agreement that Puerto Rico [would] become a part of the Union.” Nevertheless, it was suggested that in legislating for the government of Puerto Rico it seemed advisable to avoid any action which would impair the United States’ flexibility in its future policy toward the Philippines, and in particular, action from which it might be inferred that Congress accepted the proposition that all the insular territories acquired from Spain were automatically “a part of” the United States and their peoples citizens ot the United States fully entitled to all the guarantees of the Constitution.


of a higher grade of civilization than the Filipinos

The Puerto Ricans’ lack of resistance in the face of invasion and occupation and the relative proximity of the island to the United States formed additional grounds for distinguishing between the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Representative Jacob H. Bromwell, an Ohio Republican, who had little doubt that the Puerto Ricans were “as a whole, of a higher grade of civilization than the Filipinos,” I’a noted that “[t]he circumstances surrounding the Philippines and Puerto Rico are very different” and compelled different treatment.

Puerto Rico came to us voluntarily and without bloodshed. She welcomed us with open arms. Her adherence to the United States during the Spanish war saved the loss, possibly, of many lives and the expenditure of millions of money. Her people welcomed the armies under Miles as deliverers and benefactors. They professed themselves ready to become peaceable and loyal citizens of this country…. They are orderly, law abiding, and anxious for development…. If any people on earth deserve fair and considerate treatment at our hands it is the people of Puerto Rico.

… We propose, in this way, to establish a precedent for the Filipinos, the unruly and disobedient, by disciplining and punishing Puerto Rico, the well behaved and well disposed.

Another opponent of the substitute Payne bill, Representative George B. McClellan of New York, an avowed anti-imperialist, argued for free trade between Puerto Rico and the United States. McClellan favored making a distinction between the Philippines and Puerto Rico—a distinction under which Puerto Rico would be regarded as a part of the United States, and not merely its possession, and its people would be citizens of the United States.


Puerto Rico belongs to us

Puerto Rico belongs to us, and it is a problem that must be solved now. It is a part of the United States; the Constitution extends over it; its territory is our territory; its people are our citizens…. The case of Puerto Rico is very different from that of the Philippines, its inhabitants are few and capable of education; they are peaceful and are anxious to obtain the blessings of American civilization, and what is more, they are at our very doors.


in trust for the sovereign State

I believe that we can only hold territory, as a nation, in trust for the States that are ultimately to be erected out of that territory. I believe that we can only hold the territory of Puerto Rico in trust for the sovereign State that will be some day admitted into the Union. We are only dealing with Puerto Rico now, and yet the majority see in the proposition an endless skein of complications, for they know that, however they may disguise it, they propose to hold the Philippines in perpetual servitude.

Representative Thomas Spight of Mississippi distinguished between the Philippines and Puerto Rico in an almost stereotypical fashion and combined the usual arguments about geographical proximity and the alleged racial similarity of Puerto Ricans to white Americans with the injunctions of the Monroe Doctrine. Puerto Rico could be a part of the United States, and its people citizens of the United States, because Puerto Rico was localed within a traditional American sphere of influence—”in a measure, contiguous territory. It is a part of the American continent.”

Its people are, in the main, of Caucasian blood, knowing and appreciating the benefits of civilization, and are desirous of casting their lot with us….

How different the case of the Philippine Islands, 10,000 miles away…. The inhabitants are of wholly different races of people from ours—Asiatics, Malays, negroes and mixed blood. They have nothing in common with us and centuries can not assimilate them…. They can never be clothed with the rights of American citizen held. 2067 (remarks of Rep. McClellan

ship nor their territory admitted as a State of the American Union ….

But the case is essentially different with Puerto Rico. Its proximity to our mainland, the character of its inhabitants, and the willingness with which they accept our sovereignty, together with the advantages—commercial, sanitary and strategic—all unite to enable us to make her an integral part of our domain, without any violence to principle or any danger of foreign entanglements.

Imperialists and anti imperialists alike could (and did) appreciate differences between Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Sentiment favoring the view that Puerto Ricans were already American citizens—and therefore, that Puerto Rico was already “a part of” the United States, to which the Constitution was fully applicable— was especially strong among the anti imperialists. Among the imperialists who might be disposed toward the incorporation of Puerto Rico, however, there remained a concern that legislation for Puerto Rico necessarily established a precedent for the Philippines; that the treatment of Puerto Rico as an incorporated territory (“a part of” the United States) would mean a similar status for the Philippines: and that free trade between Puerto Rico and the United States might mean free trade between the Philippines and the United States. “I understand full well,” asserted Representative William E. Williams of Illinois, “that the Administration does not care a fig for Puerto Rico; that this precedent is about to be established not for the mere sake of deriving a revenue from that island, but as a precedent for our future guidance in the control of the Philippines.” The debate in the House on the Payne bill was concluded on February 28, 1900, nine days after it had begun. The first order of business was the disposition of a substitute bill offered by Representative Samuel W. McCall of Massachusetts, an outspoken advocate of granting United States citizenship to the inhabitants of Puerto Rico.221 The McCall bill called for a revival of the original Payne proposal whereby Congress would merely have “extended to and over the island of Puerto Rico” the “laws of the United States relating to customs and internal revenue.” It is not at all certain what effect such a bill would have had on the question of the citizenship of Puerto Ricans. This much is clear: it was the constitutional premise of the substitute Payne bill that Puerto Rico was not an integral part of the United States and that Congress therefore was not bound by the requirement of article 1, section 8 of the Constitution that “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” Although neither the substitute Payne bill nor the McCall bill directly referred to the citizenship of Puerto Ricans, only the McCall bill left open the question whether Puerto Rico was a part of the United States and, if so, whether its people were citizens of the United States. Merely by extending the customs and revenue laws of the United States to Puerto Rico, the McCall biIl would have strengthen the view that such uniformity was constitutionally required; it would have permitted an inference that uniformity was required because Puerto Rico was an integral part of the United States and its inhabitants arguably were citizens of the United States.


Defeated by a vote of 174 to 160

On February 28, 1′.1900, the McCall bill was defeated by a vote of 174 to 160. By a nearly identical margin the House promptly defeated a motion to recommit the substitute Payne bill to the Committee on Ways and Means. Following the failure of these preliminary attempts to defeat it, the substitute Payne bill was passed by a vote of 172 to 160.

The original bill considered by the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico, and reported favorably on February 5, 1900, would have treated Puerto Rico as part of the United States solely for market and customs purposes, by extending internal revenue and related tax laws and by providing for duty-free trade between Puerto Rico and the continental United States. As the Committee reported, the bill “[did] not . . . extend the (constitution of the United States.” Only three days after the Senate Committee’s report, the House Committee on Ways and Means reported favorably on H.R. 8245, Payne’s substitute bill, which made no suggestion that Puerto Rico was an “incorporated” territory. In view of the change in administration policy then apparently under way, it is not surprising that by the time the Senate was ready to act on the Puerto Rico bill in the first days of March, 1900, the original Foraker bill, S. 2264, like the original Payne bill, had been scrapped. The Senate thus considered the bill adopted by the House, as now amended by the Chairman of the Committee on Pacific Islands and Puerto Rico, Senator Foraker of Ohio. While incorporating the substance of the revenue bill approved by the House, the Senate bill also sought to establish a civil government on the island. Moreover, the Senate bill provided for the collective grant of American citizenship to those inhabitants of the island who were Spanish subjects on April 11, 1899 and their after born progeny, if such persons continued to reside in Puerto Rico and had not elected to preserve their Spanish nationality in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Despite the projected grant of American citizenship to the Puerto Ricans, the bill clearly did not make Puerto Rico an integral part of the United States or extend to its inhabitants the full panoply of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Citizenship was offered neither as a means of having the Constitution “follow the flag,” nor as a confirmation that the Constitution did follow the flag. There was nothing remarkable about the bill or its citizenship provision, in the view of Senator Foraker, “except only that its provisions are of such a character as to recognize that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States of America.” The author of the first legislative proposal to make Puerto Ricans citizens of the United States thus acknowledged, as others would in the years to come, that the principal objective of granting American citizenship to Puerto Ricans was neither to incorporate Puerto Rico into the United States (and thereby to have the Constitution apply in all respects to the island and its people) nor to grant Puerto Ricans political and civil rights equal to those of citizens in the Ig] H.R. 8245,

American Union proper. The objective, rather, was “to recognize that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States of America.”

Although the question ot citizenship was linked to the island’s political status, it had little or nothing to do with individual rights or, in particular, with entitlement to participation in the political or electoral processes of the United States. Senator Foraker noted:

We considered very carefully what status in a political sense we would give to the people of [Puerto Rico], and we reported that provision not thoughtlessly…. We concluded . . . that the inhabitants of that island must be either citizens or subjects or aliens. We did not want to treat our own as aliens, and we do not propose to have any subjects. Therefore, we adopted the term “citizens.” In adopting the term “citizens” we did not understand, however, that we were giving to those people any rights that the American people do not want them to have. “Citizens” is a word that indicates, according to Story’s work on the Constitution of the United States, allegiance on the one hand and protection on the other.

After a reference to the limited privileges and immunities ascribed by Justice Story to the citizens of the states, Senator Foraker reiterated his earlier remarks in a colloquy with a colleague on the floor of the Senate. Senator Foraker underscored the difference between a grant of citizenship and the conferral of individual rights under the Constitution of the United States by noting that the term “citizen,” when “used in the political sense,” was an “unimportant” one that described a “person owing allegiance to the government and entitled to protection from it.” Accordingly, he stated that the citizenship clause in the bill “confer[red] the right to vote or to participate in the government upon no one.” Whether the Constitution applied to newly acquired territories was therefore a different issue from that of the grant of citizenship. Senator Foraker fully shared the views held by Representative Payne and the proponents of the House bill that the legislative branch was endowed by the Constitution and by the terms of the Treaty of Paris with “plenary power to do in this matter as Congress may


the Foraker bill revealed widespread agreement

The Senate debate on the Foraker bill revealed widespread agreement among opponents as well as proponents of the bill that Congress had the plenary power to legislate for “unincorporated” territories. The record, therefore, reveals substantially less apprehension among the members of the Senate than among the members of the House about the precedential significance of the Puerto Rico legislation for the Philippines. Senator Lindsay of Kentucky for example, was “not afraid to be just to and liberal and generous with the people of this American island on the ground that we may establish a precedent to be used against us when we come to determine the civil rights and the political status of the Filipinos.” He also felt that making Puerto Ricans American citizens would “place us under no obligation, constitutional or otherwise, to follow that course when we come to legislate concerning the Tagals, Malays, etc., who inhabit the islands of the Philippine Archipelago.” I4S Senator Teller of Colorado, a leading Senate figure on colonial questions, intimated that he favored colonial status for both Puerto Rico and the Philippines, but he stated that he saw no binding precedent for the Philippines in anything Congress might do with respect to Puerto Rico.

The fear that legislation for Puerto Rico would set a precedent for the disposition of the Philippines question was clearly articulated during the Senate debate on the Foraker bill, albeit with greater subtlety than in the House. One of the few explicit remarks on the subject was made by Senator Turner of Washington. He felt that in the preparation of the Foraker bill “it has been found necessary to make a vicious and tyrannical precedent toward [Puerto

Although Teller saw “no reason . . . why the United States may not have a colony,” he felt that the nation was bound to extend to any colony the “great principles that underlie free government and to maintain there a free government and to maintain liberty

As in the House, the Senate debate also focused on larger questions of general imperial policy. Thus the debate was frequently filled with racist rhetoric. It is ironic, but not surprising, that racist overtones were most clearly discernible in the remarks of those who opposed American imperialism and argued most strenuously that “[s]ubjects do not exist in a free republic.” It was often left to the proponents of colonialism and annexation to extol the virtue and dignity of the colonial peoples whom they sought to bring, and keep, under the American flag. The anti colonial views expressed by Senator Bate of Tennessee were widely shared. He asserted that the question of Puerto Rico’s future, “[I]eft alone, without being associated with other interests, . . .

[T]here is evidently behind [the debate on Puerto Rico] a political dagger in [the] shape of the Philippines. That is the objective of this battle no one who has witnessed the scenes that have taken place in this Chamber; no one who has read the current criticisms of the newspapers of the day; no one who has read the messages of the President and the communications of the Secretary of War and other officials connected herewith, but knows and feels in his heart that there is something behind this more mighty than is this proposition touching the government of Porto Rico. The Philippines are behind it with all their troubles. That is like Pandora’s box, full of ills, some of which are upon us, and others are to come. That is the real question. Porto Rico is but its front shadow.

Yes, Porto Rico could be readily settled, easily disposed of, but for that which is to come after it. The embarrassing question is as to the character of government that we are to have in the Philippines and how it will affect certain interests. We are upon that line of battle to day [sic], under cover. Able and astute politicians of this Senate, especially those who represent and lead the other side of this Chamber, see that it is necessary to fight this battle upon the Porto Rican line, and not on that of the Orient. They have so decided, and hence the battle has been made here, although there is a bill . . . upon the table which involves the other question in regard to the character of the government that we are to have in the Philippines.

Then the Porto Rican question and the Philippine question is the same thing, and this has been brought about very shrewdly and adroitly by the leading spirits—those who think and mold and lead the movements oE the Republican party of the country.

Senator Bate, an anti imperialist, believed that “[t]he Constitution of our country extends wherever the flag goes,” and that “[s]ubjects do not exist in a free republic.” Bate saw in the pro posed legislation a “singular likeness” to the policy of England toward the American colonies and feared that “the omnipotence of Congress [asserted by the Puerto Rico bill] produces the same fruit as the absolutism of the English Parliament.”

The political roots of this anti-imperialism, particularly among populist and Southern legislators, lay partly in a preoccupation with the race of the colonial peoples and not solely in concern for libertarian ideals and constitutional principles. Thus, Senator Bate adverted to reports that some Filipinos were “physically weaklings of low stature, with black skin, closely curling hair, flat noses, thick lips, and large, clumsy feet.” He doubted that the precedent of “expanding our authority once to the Europeans living in Louisiana can be deemed as sustaining the incorporation of millions of savages, cannibals, Malays, Mohammedans, head hunters, and polygamists into even the subjects of an American Congress.”

Let us not take the Philippines in our embrace to keep them simply because we are able to do so. I fear it would prove a serpent in our bosom. Let us beware of those mongrels of the East, with breath of pestilence and touch of leprosy. Do not let them become a part of us with their idolatry, polygamous creeds, and harem habits. Charity begins at home, Mr. President, and let us beware! I fear we are eating sour grapes and our children’s teeth will be on edgeds3

Unlike Senator Bate, proponents of the Foraker bill such as Senator Depew of New York saw Puerto Rico as an island with which the United States might have an honorable and fruitful association: “With capital, enterprise, and modern machinery the possibilities of increase in its productiveness can not be calculated.” However, even they were fully prepared to accept the proposition that the United States could not and would not “incorporate the alien races, and civilized, semi-civilized, barbarous, and savage peoples of these islands into our body politic as States of our Union.” The answer they offered to the anti imperialists like Senator Bate was neither the promise of incorporation nor the avoidance of political and moral duty; the answer was to retain the new insular territories as possessions or colonies of the United States.

Despite Senator Foraker’s assertion that there was no inconsistency between the grant of American citizenship and the clear understanding that Puerto Rico would not become an integral part of the United States, a single, moderately worded attack upon the citizenship provision by Senator Teller at the end ot the second week of debate on the bill was most influential. Teller argued that “[i]f [the Puerto Ricans] are a part of the United States, if their people are citizens of the United States, you have no right to put a duty upon their goods. If they are not citizens of the United States, then it is a question of policy and not a question of justice.” On March 19, 1900 Senator Foraker responded by proposing an amendment to the Senate bill that deleted the reference to citizenship of the United States and substituted a provision that Puerto Ricans would be “citizens of Puerto Rico, and as such entitled to the protection of the United States.” Its Nearly a fortnight later, he explained the proposal to eliminate United States citizenship as one prompted by the suggestion that the grant of American citizenship would have the effect of making Puerto Rico an incorporated territory rather than a dependency or possession.’66 The citizenship provision was therefore eliminated in order to avoid conveying the idea “that we were incorporating [Puerto Rico] into the Union . . . thus putting it in a state of pupilage for statehood.”

Senator Foraker claimed that the change in the position of the Republican administration and the Republican leadership in Congress was based simply on increased awareness of economic and social conditions in Puerto Rico and a realization of the need to raise revenue for the new civil government. The revised bills envisaged the establishment of a special fund from monies collected by the proposed tariff on trade to and from Puerto Rico, all of which would be used for the support of this new government. In Senator Foraker’s view, the need to raise funds for the new insular government “without our practicing paternalism to the extent of feeding them from day to day out of our public Treasury” compelled the abandonment of the original citizenship provision. Despite the need to raise revenue for the government of Puerto Rico, it did not at all necessarily follow that they should not be[come] citizens of the United States, as I originally proposed in my bill, but every Democratic Senator almost, without exception, was saying that if we made them citizens of the United States we thereby made them a part of the United States, and if we made them a part of the United States that provision of the Constitution with respect to uniform taxation would apply, and we could not raise revenue in the way proposed in this bill. It was Democratic opposition, Mr. President, that brought us to realize that there ought to be a change from our original proposition, as it was clearly within the power of Congress to make it in the civil and political status of the people of Porto Rico. That is the complete explanation of the change which has been made. It was for that reason and no other.’70

Foraker’s amendments to the citizenship provisions of his Committee’s bill were adopted by voice vote on April 3, 1900.”‘ That same day the Senate adopted an amendment, also proposed by Foraker, to delete a provision for the election of a nonvoting Delegate to the House of Representatives of the United States,172 a position comparable to that held by elected representatives of “incorporated” territories such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii.” In its place, the Senate adopted an amendment offered by Foraker that provided for the election of a “resident commissioner to the United States, who shall be entitled to official recognition as such by all Departments, upon presentation to the Department of State of a certificate of election of the governor of Porto Rico.” 174 The resident commissioner would not be given a seat in the House of Representatives. Although in 1904 the position of resident commissioner became functionally equivalent to that of Delegate,” the form of its creation and the manner of accreditation were more akin to that of an ambassadorship from a foreign land.

On April 3, 1900, after the defeat of a motion to substitute the original bill that Foraker had brought to the Senate floor on March 2, the amended bill was passed on a rollcall vote of 40 to

In fact, an Organic Act” establishing a civil government for the island of Puerto Rico, passed not by Puerto Ricans, but by the United States Congress. The bill provided for the appointment of a governor of Puerto Rico by the President of the United States; the appointment of an eleven man executive council, five members of which were to he Puerto Rican, to serve as an upper house of the legislative branch as well as the governor’s cabinet; and the establishment of a thirty five member popularly elected House of Delegates. The island was entitled to elect a resident commissioner to Washington.

The civil government changes, however, resulted in little real local autonomy The bill put stringent restrictions on suffrage and set property and educational qualifications for office holding. Puerto Rico was made a part of the second judicial district of the United States with a district judge and a district attorney appointed by the President of the United States; the President was also given the authority to appoint the justices of the Puerto Rican Supreme Court. All laws passed by the April 11, 1900, the House voted 161 to 153 to adopt in full the bill as amended by the Senate.l77

This first skirmish in the battle over the authority of the United States to hold colonies was thus concluded by a legislative victory for the exponents of imperialism. Legislative action on Puerto Rico supported the view that Congress might exercise virtually unlimited power over the “alien” peoples of the new insular territories. By avoiding the incorporation of Puerto Rico and the naturalization of its people, the legislation which emerged from Congress made possible clear-cut political and judicial tests of McKinley’s expansionist policies.

The constitutional crisis precipitated by the cession of the Philippines and Puerto Rico and the congressional decision to treat both territories as colonies of the United States rather than as integral parts of the Union was resolved in the months following the enactment of the Foraker Act. That landmark legislation set the stage for the presidential election of 1900; “imperialism” became the great issue of the contest between Bryan and McKinley.

Historians have doubted that “these great quadrennial convulsions can ever be a mandate on anything,” t8D and it has been suggested that McKinley’s impressive victory was not truly a mandate on the question that the Democratic Party platform called the “paramount” issue of the campaign ‘B’ Nevertheless, the fact remains that the President and the party that advocated expansion and took credit for the Foraker Act won an overwhelming victory in 1900.

House of Delegates were subject to be governor’s veto; if the Puerto Rican legislature chose to override this veto, the United States Congress had an ultimate power of government. Thus, narrow limits were placed on the amount of self-government Puerto Rico was allowed to exercise. Foraker Act (Puerto Rico), ch. I9l, 31 Stat. 77 (1900).

President McKinley signed the bill into law on Aphl 12, 1900. See 31 Stat. 77 (1900).

Congressional power to legislate for the newly acquired territories was not totally without limits however. ‘The guaranties of certain fundamental personal rights declared in the Constitution . . . had from the beginning full application in the Philippines and Porto Rico.” Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 29H, 312

Regardless of the “true” source of McKinley’s victory the outcome of the political controversy over whether “the Constitution follows the flag” was resolved by the results of the presidential election of 1900. It was not long before the Supreme Court gave its approval to the new role of the United States as a colonial power.


… Insular Cases

In the Insular Cases, the Supreme Court grappled with “basic propositions of constitutional law and . . . a definition of the term ‘United States’ as used in the uniformity clause of the Constitution.” The significance of the Court’s decisions for Puerto Rico was direct and lasting. The Court held that after the ratification of the Treaty of Paris and the cession of the island to the United States Puerto Rico had ceased to be a “foreign” country within the meaning of the tariff laws.’93 Accordingly, Puerto Rico was “territory of the United States;”

… therefore, those duties collected after the ratification of the treaty but before the enactment of the Foraker Act in 1900 were unlawfully exacted.l96 Although Puerto Rico was not a “foreign” country, neither was it a part of the United States within the terms of article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, which declares that “all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” ID7 It was, in the Court’s view, “a territory appurtenant and belonging to the United States, but not a part of the United States within the revenue clauses of the Constitution.” IDR The Foraker Act’s imposition of duties upon imports from the island was therefore constitutional.

In its opinion, the Court explained that “the power to acquire territory by treaty implies, not only the power to govern such territory, but to prescribe upon what terms the United States will receive its inhabitants, and what their status shall be.” IDD Responding to the popular notion that the Constitution followed the flag, the Court stated that this belief was due to “[t]he liberality of Congress in legislating the Constitution into all our contiguous territories [which] has undoubtedly fostered the impression that it went there by its own force.”

sion of the Constitution was itself constitutionally mandated, and stated that it was supported by “nothing in the Constitution itself, and little in the interpretation put upon it.”

Finally, the Court effectively approved the retention of the newly acquired territories indefinitely. Although the opinion implied that there would be an end to colonialism at some future date, it set no limits. The essence of the philosophy of the opinion may be found in one of its final paragraphs:

Patriotic and intelligent men may differ widely as to the desireableness of this or that acquisition, but this is solely a political question. We can only consider this aspect of the case so far as to say that no construction of the Constitution should be adopted which would prevent Congress from considering each case upon its merits, unless the language of the instrument imperatively demands it. A false step at this time might be fatal to the development of what Chief Justice Marshall called the American Empire. Choice in some cases, the natural gravitation of small bodies towards large ones in others, the result of a successful war in still others, may bring about conditions which would render the annexation of distant possessions desirable. If those possessions are inhabited by alien races, differing from us in religion, customs, laws, methods of taxation and modes of thought, the administration of government and justice, according to Anglo Saxon principles, may for a time be impossible; and the question at once arises whether large concessions ought not to be made for a time, that, ultimately, our own theories may be carried out, and the blessings of a free government under the Constitution extended to them. We decline to hold that there is anything in the Constitution to forbid such action.

The significance of upholding the constitutionality of the Foraker Act was indeed great. If the Court had decided that Puerto Rico was a territory of the United States equal in status to the incorporated territories of the American West, the imposition of duties on goods carried between the island and the continental United States would have been prohibited. Although this would


raw goods could be imported from Puerto Rico at lower rates

… have deprived Puerto Rico of a source of revenue, if Puerto Rico had been deemed an incorporated territory, its people arguably would have been entitled to all of the rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The actual decision of the Supreme Court, however, fit much more neatly into the “large policy” of the expansionists: the power of Congress to legislate as it wished for newly acquired territories was firmly established; raw goods could be imported from Puerto Rico at lower rates of import duties than those imposed on foreign goods; and the choice of either granting Puerto Rico its independence or treating its inhabitants as equal to Americans was avoided.

In the view of the three members of the Court concurring in Downes, whose doctrinal approach clearly prevailed in the following years, the appropriate question was hot whether Congress in legislating for the territories was subject to constitutional limitations. As Justice (later Chief Justice) White asserted, it was “selfdent” that the Constitution applied to Puerto Rico. the issue was whether the specific constitutional provision relied upon was applicable. Either as an incident of the right to acquire territory or the clause of article IV, section 3 of the Constitution that grants Congress the power “to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States,” the courts had long recognized a congressional “power to locally govern at discretion.” Because this congressional authority was founded on the Constitution, it could not properly be asserted “that the authority of Congress to govern the territories is outside of the Constitution.” The determination of the particular provisions of the Constitution applicable in a particular territory necessarily must be largely determined by the status of a territory. Although certain fundamental or inherent. Funds from tariffs and duties collected on goods shipped from Puerto Rico to the United States go into the island’s treasury.


law of political gravitation

The Courts reference to “the natural gravitation of small bodies toward larger ones bears a striking, and probably not coincidental, resemblance to John Quincy Adams, so

called law of political gravitation; Adams had long before likened Cuba to a ripening apple destined by a kind of natural law to “gravitate orderly towards the North American Union”.


requirement of uniformity

principles “which are the basis of all free government” apply to all actions of Congress in any of the territories, other principles embodied in the Constitution, such as the requirement of uniformity in taxation and customs matters, would not be applicable in territories not yet incorporated into the United .States.


Puerto Rico had been unaltered by the collective naturalization

A generation later, the Supreme Court would unanimously confirm the doctrinal basis of the Insular Cases in Balzac v. Porto Rico. In Balzac, the Court held that the constitutional status of Puerto Rico had been unaltered by the collective naturalization of its inhabitants; as a result, American citizens in Puerto Rico could not successfully assert the right to trial by jury under the sixth amendment. “It is locality that is determinative of the application of the Constitution, in such matters as judicial procedure,” wrote Chief Justice Taft for a unanimous Court, “and not the status of the people who live in it.” Puerto Rico was not an incorporated territory, and therefore its inhabitants could claim only those constitutional rights deemed by the Court to be “fundamental.” United States citizenship thus would not alter the doctrine of Downes v. Bidwell.


Doctrine of territorial incorporation

The doctrine of territorial incorporation developed by the Court in the Insular Cases and the cases following was based on precisely the same considerations that determined the nature of the 1900 legislation for Puerto Rico: an apprehension that the peoples of the new insular territories were aliens and a belief that the United States ought not to try to deal with them as though they were Americans. Like his counterparts in the executive and legislative branches of government, the principal author of the judicial doctrine of territorial incorporation, Justice White, “feared that a decision in this case in favor of the plaintiffs might be held to confer upon the citizens of the new possessions rights which could


subject to the sovereignty

[W]hile in an international sense Porto Rico was not a foreign country, since it was subject to the sovereignty of and was owned by the United States, it was foreign to the United States in a domestic sense, because the Island had not been incorporated into the United States, but was merely appurmenant thereto as a possession.

not be taken away from them by Congress.” Moreover, there was a great concern among members of the Court, as there had been among the nation’s legislators, that the decision in the Puerto Rico cases would set a precedent for the Philippines. According to Frederic R. Coudert:

[I]n a conversation subsequent to the decision . . . [Justice White] told me of his dread lest by a ruling of the court it might have become impossible to dispose of the Philippine Islands and of his regret that one of the great parties had not adopted his doctrine of incorporation in its platform as providing the solution for the then, (as now) much mooted matter of the ultimate disposition of the Philippine Islands. It is evident that he was much preoccupied by the danger of racial and social questions of a very perplexing character and that he was quite as desirous as Mr. Justice Brown [the author of the “Opinion of the Court”] that Congress should have a very free hand in dealing with the new subject populations.


the United States might “dispose” of its insular territories

The recognition by all branches of government that the people of Puerto Rico, like the Filipinos, were different from Americans (and, therefore, that Congress ought to have a “very free hand” in developing political institutions there) was a source of considerable discomfort to many Americans and Puerto Ricans. It was particularly distressing to those who sought to make Puerto Rico an integral part of the United States. Although the doctrine of territorial incorporation rendered colonialism constitutionally permissible, at least theoretically it left open the possibility of a change in political status. In particular, the doctrine seemed to leave open the possibility that, for one reason or another, the United States might “dispose” of its insular territories. By refusing to accept the suggestion that the acquisition of new territories necessitated the immediate assimilation of alien peoples into the American system, the Court made it possible, in time, for the nation to accept the principle of self-determination free of the suggestion that statehood was the inevitable destiny of the new colonial territories.

As a result of the doctrine of territorial incorporation, the Foraker Act conferred few rights upon the people of Puerto Rico “which could not be taken away from them by Congress.” In the absence of a change in political status, it appeared that even American citizenship would not give Puerto Ricans any additional rights, a conclusion confirmed by the Court in Balzac v. Porto Rico in 1922. There was, however, one important exception: as the Court would hold in Balzac, Puerto Ricans gained the right “to move into the continental United States and becoming residents of any State there to enjoy every right of any other citizen of the United States, civil, social and political.”

“The Congress shall have the Power to dispose an make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States…. ” (emphasis supplied).


Court’s decisions

Following the Court’s decisions in the Insular (Cases, there were few serious doubts about the significance of American citizenship, per se, for the inhabitants of Puerto Rico. The legislative record concerning proposals for conferring American citizenship upon the Puerto Ricans in the years alter the Foraker Act and the Insular Cases suggests that those concerned with the subject understood that American citizenship would yield little or nothing in the way of personal rights and liberties for the inhabitants of Puerto Rico.

Congressional Developments: The “Law-abiding and Industrious People” Two-thirds . . . White, of Spanish Origin”—of an Island “Permanently to Remain a Part of Our Territory”

After the Supreme Court’s decision in the Insular Cases, attention began to focus on United States citizenship for Puerto Ricans not as a vehicle to secure constitutional rights for the island’s people, but as a means of achieving other objectives perceived as important at the time. American citizenship was envisioned as a way to reinforce the sense of “belonging” of a people who, unlike the Filipinos, had demonstrated no sustained resistance to American rule. It could, and would, suggest that in the course of time and after a proper tutelage the cultural gulf between the United States and Puerto Rico might actually be narrowed or eliminated. It could, and would, form the basis of complaints about this “second class citizenship” and of further appeals to Congress aimed at the integration of the island into the American Union. It could, and would, constitute a formidable, if not insurmountable, obstacle to any effort, by Puerto Ricans or mainland Americans, to force the United States to “dispose” of the island. All of this appears to have been perceived, at least dimly, by those who were concerned with the future of Puerto Rico, including the island’s pre-eminent political leaders and, indeed, the spokesmen for its substantial, but fractious independence movement. Interestingly enough, virtually all prominent Puerto Rican leaders whose views were recorded in the annals of Congress supported the grant of citizenship at one time or another during the period between the Foraker Act of 1900 and the Jones Act of 1917. The record suggests that congressmen interested in granting American citizenship to the Puerto Ricans could have felt that they were responding to the needs and desires of the people of Puerto Rico. There is little to indicate a purposeful design or conspiracy to impose citizenship upon a helpless or resistant people

It is difficult, if not impossible, to ascribe to the Congress of the United States a definite viewpoint or position on a subject as complicated as that of the nation’s policy toward its new colonial empire. It is possible, however, to note from the record of congressional consideration of Puerto Rican affairs in the two decades following the enactment of the Foraker Act some basic and widely shared assumptions concerning the future development of the island and its people. Most important of all was the belief that the island was permanently to remain under the American flag.


Congressional perception

Congressional perception of the Puerto Ricans as essentially different from the Filipinos persisted into the first two decades of the American experiment with colonialism. The race of the Puerto Ricans was the subject of some concern, especially to those members of Congress with anti-imperialist sympathies, but it was not as overtly significant a factor as in the case of the Filipinos. The apparent acceptance of colonial rule by the Puerto Ricans was also in marked contrast to the Filipino situation and undoubtedly reinforced the notion that Puerto Rico should remain permanently tied to the United States. Puerto Rican expressions of unhappiness with American colonial rule, sporadic and modest as they were, merely reinforced this notion. They generally were limited to protests concerning the limited scope of local self-government under the colonial regime—in particular, the provisions of the Foraker Act that permitted the American-appointed governor to control directly the upper house of the Puerto Rican legislature. The basic colonial relationship was rarely directly challenged. United States citizenship thus inevitably was considered a means of acknowledging the special place of Puerto Rico among the new colonial territories and of expressing the virtually universal expectation of a permanent relationship. And the record of Congressional inter-action with Puerto Rico’s spokesmen suggests that the legislators of the new imperial state could assume that United States citizenship would be well received by the people of Puerto Rico.



One Puerto Rican commentator notes:

[El poder legislativo de la cámara puertorriqueña] resultaba muy débil primero por lo limitado de sus funciones en comparación con las del ejecutivo, y, en segundo luger, porque el mismo grupo que fungía como gabinete y jefes de Departamento intervenía mayoritariamente en la composición de la Cimarra Alta. Es decir, que el ejecutivo, aparte de sus amplias atribuciones, era también la parte más sustancial del legislativo. Por este medio se aseguraba, de un lado, una concentración de poder y al mismo tiempo que este estuviera en manos del sector extranjero.



The Fifty-seventh Congress (1901-1903)

Bills granting United States citizenship to the Puerto Ricans or permitting them individually to elect citizenship were submitted to each Congress following the enactment of the Foraker Act; these proposals met with varying degrees of success. As early as the first session of Congress after passage of the Foraker Act, Delegate Flynn of Oklahoma submitted a bill “to expressly conlcr American citizenship upon the people of Porto Rico.” The Flynn bill (H.R. 15340), which would have conferred United States citizenship upon all those defined as citizens of Puerto Rico by the Foraker Act, was referred to the Committee on Insular Affairs, where it died. There is no evidence regarding Delegate Flynn’s purpose in introducing the bill, but it is significant that he introduced it “by request.” It is not known at whose request the bill was introduced, although it is possible that the request was made by Puerto Rico’s first resident commissioner to the United States, Federico Degetau. In connection with H.R. 14083, the only other significant legislative proposal or1 Puerto Ricco coming before this Congress, Commissioner Degetau made it clear that he believed the Puerto Ricans were “legally Americans.”


Delegates from the Territories

H.R. 14083 provided for the election of a Puerto Rican “Delegate to the House of Representatives of the United States, with the right to debate, but not to vote, [and who was to be] . . . elected in lieu of the resident commissioner. This delegate would enjoy “the same rights and privileges as the Delegates from the Territories of the United States.”

Debate on the bill repeated much of the earlier congressional discussion of the Puerto Ricans and their legal status. But Representative L. Lewellyn Powers of Maine, who had introduced the bill, frankly admitted, in hearings before the House Committee on Insular Affairs, that he was not the author of the bill and did not know who had written it. Commissioner Degetau, the only other witness to appear at the hearings on the bill, later revealed that he had drafted it. In his testimony In favor of the bill, the Commissioner carefully distinguished between Puerto Rico and the Philippines. While noting “the moral influence that the passage of this bill can have on the Filipinos,” he observed that “Congress has the advantageous position of not being bound by it as a precedent, because of the different circumstances and conditions in which the Puerto Ricans and the Filipinos are situated toward the United States, and also by the express declarations of Congress.” He drew a familiar comparison: “When the generals of the American armies reached Porto Rico they found not an army that would interfere with them, but a people unanimously disposed to receive them as the heralds of institutions that had been studied and loved in Porto Rico for many years,”


Commissioner Degetau

Commissioner Degetau, along with many American legislators evidently believed that the different response of Puerto Ricans and Filipinos to American colonial rule merited a different civil status for the inhabitants of the two territories. He noted that the Foraker Act required public officials in Puerto Rico to take an oath to support the American Constitution, whereas Filipinos were merely required to make “an oath of allegiance to the United States as a nation, exercising there military power.” From this fact Degetau drew the conclusion that Puerto Ricans were already virtually American citizens.

The Foraker law declared in full force and effect the orders and decrees of the military government. Moreover, the Foraker law directly provides that all officials appointed or elected under that law should take an oath to support the American Constitution. We therefore feel true and legally Americans, and that as Americans we can bring to our adopted country the contribution to the common welfare that during the last century our people brought it to the Spanish legislature.


law-abiding and industrious

The bill written by Commissioner Degetau and introduced by Representative Powers was reported favorably to the House by the Committee on Insular Affairs. The report echoed some of the sentiments expressed by the Commissioner and recommended the creation of the office of Delegate from Puerto Rico on grounds that later would be used to support the extension of American citizenship to the Puerto Ricans:

Porto Rico has nearly one million of inhabitants. These people are law-abiding and industrious, and in the opinion of your committee in as much entitled or have a Delegate to speak for them and represent their interests on the door of the House of Representatives as are the less than 200,000 inhabitants of Hawaii, who now enjoy that privilege. Aside from these considerations, your committee believe that Porto Rico, because of her large business interests and important and rapidly increasing trade with the United States, and because of the admitted fact that she is permanently to remain a part of our territory. is entitled, as a matter of right, to have her representative granted the privilege of the floor of the House of Representatives where he can have suitable opportunity to voice the needs of his constituents of Representatives. Degetau’s efforts in 1902, however, evoked some significant expressions of congressional perspectives on the future of Puerto Rico and its people. These views were reflected in contemporaneous reports to the Congress by the President and the Governor of Puerto Rico.


Commissioner Degetau appeared as amicus curiae

The House did not act on the Powers-Degetau bill, but the Commissioner’s objective of obtaining direct access to the House was achieved in 1904 as a result of a change in the rules of the House

See Id. 4 (emphasis added). In 1903, Resident Commissioner Degetau appeared as amicus curiae before the United States Supreme Court to press the argument that Puerto Ricans were already United States citizens. See Gonzales v. Williams, 192 U.S. 1 (1904).


President Theodore Roosevelt

In his first annual report to the Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt had virtually taken for granted that Puerto Rico was a permanent fixture of the American system.


Porto Rico than as to any State or Territory

It is a pleasure to say that it is hardly more necessary to report as to Porto Rico than as to any State or Territory within our continental limits…. Its people are now enjoying liberty and order under the protection of the United States, and upon this fact we congratulate them and ourselves. Their material welfare must be as carefully and jealously considered as the welfare of any other portion of our country.240

The appointed governor of the island, Charles H. Allen, painted for Congress a picture of a colonial people who desired to remain permanently within the American system. Speaking of the two political parties which had come into existence in Puerto Rico following the American occupation of the island, the Republican and Federal parties, Allen noted some significant points of similarity: “Both announce their unqualified loyalty to the United States of America; and both desire a Territorial government, in the near future, and eventually full Statehood in the American Union I,


the election of a delegate

In 1903, a House bill to give the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico the status of a territorial delegate was amended by the Senate on the motion of Senator Foraker. The provisions concerning the election of a delegate were struck in favor of a section relaxing the naturalization laws “to authorize the admission to citizenship of all persons . . . [residing in Puerto Rico] who owe permanent allegiance to the United States, and who may become residents of any State or organized Territory of the United States.”


a state or “organized Territory”

As Senator Foraker explained, the bill would have eliminated the anomalous situation whereby Puerto Ricans, unlike aliens, were precluded from naturalization even when residing in a state or “organized Territory” of the United States, although this citizenship provision would not have affected the people of Puerto Rico generally or those individual Puerto Ricans who did not emigrate to the United States. The bill, as amended by Senator Foraker, was adopted by the Senate. Because it was passed on the final day of the session, however, there was insufficient time for the House to act on the bill.



The Fifty-eighth Congress (1903-1905)

The Foraker naturalization bill was presented again in the succeeding Congress, and was adopted by the Senate, but the citizenship provision was struck by the House Committee on Insular Affairs “in view of the fact that the legal questions involved [were] about to come before the courts of the United States for authoritative decision.” In the meantime, Commissioner Degetau, who now had floor privileges in the House of Representatives, promptly introduced his own bill “expressly to declare the citizens of Porto Rico citizens of the United States.” Although no action was taken of Commissioner Degetau’s proposal, his bill effectively endorsed the various legislative efforts to obtain United States citizenship for Puerto Ricans. These efforts were further stimulated by the position taken on the citizenship proposal by President Roosevelt in his fifth annual message to Congress on December 5, 1905: “I earnestly advocate the adoption of legislation which will explicitly confer American citizenship on all citizens of Porto Rico. There is, in my judgment, no excuse for failure to do this.”

Senator Foraker explained, “[The see born on citizenship] simply provides that the citizens of Porto Rico may became naturalized if they wish to some here. Now they are in a worse situation than aliens, for aliens may become naturalized citizens of the United States and Porto Ricans can not.” 36 CONC. REC. 2894 (1913) (remarks of Sen. Foraker).


Tulio Larrinaga

Undoubtedly encouraged by President Roosevelt’s support, Senator Foraker on January 4, 1906 introduced a bill “to provide that the inhabitants of Porto Rico shall be citizens of the United States.” The new resident commissioner from Puerto Rico, Tulio Larrinaga, followed suit on January 16, 1906. He introduced a bill that adopted in its entirety the language of Senator Foraker’s citizenship bill and provided for extensive reorganization of the insular government. On April 2, 1906, the chairman of the House Committee on Insular Affairs, Representative Cooper of Wisconsin, introduced a bill identical to Senator Foraker’s. Although none of the bills were enacted into law, hearings were held on these proposals and the Foraker and Cooper bills were favorably reported by the relevant committees of both the Senate and the Plouse. These bills set the stage for the first extended congressional discussion of American citizenship for the Puerto Ricans since the great debate on the Foraker Act in 1900.

The bill sponsored by Resident Commissioner Larrinaga, who represented the dominant Union Party of Puerto Rico, would have established an elective upper house for the insular legislature and provided for a variety of other reforms of the island’s local government in addition to its provision extending United States citizenship to the Puerto Rican people. The bill was endorsed by the League of Municipalities of Puerto Rico, representing sixty-five of the island’s sixty-six municipal governments. Its

The bill, as originally introduced by Representative Cooper on April 2, 1906 was indeed identical to senator Foraker’s. Subsequently, however, the text was slightly amended in committee to include mainlanders living in Puerto Rico within the definition of “the People of Porto Rico.” H.R. 17661, 59th Cong.


Citizenship in an “Unincorporated” Territory

spokesman, Roberto H. Todd, Mayor of San Juan, was a member of the Republican Party of Puerto Rico, which favored statehood for the island. Todd offered testimony, uncontradicted by Resident Commissioner Larrinaga who accompanied him, that there were no fundamental differences between the two Puerto Rican political parties.

The Republican Party has in its platform the aspiration that Porto Rico be ultimately admitted as a State in the Union. That is the basis of our political ambition, and no other. We do not put in anything else. The Unionists have in their platform that ambition also, as well as other ambitions. They say that as the Treaty of Paris left in the hands of Congress the ultimate status of Porto Rico, they would accept anything which Congress would see fit to enact for Porto Rico. Congress should see fit to make Porto Rico a colony, the same as the English colonies, they would accept it. If Congress saw fit to make Porto Rico a State, they would accept that also, and if Congress saw fit to make it an independent nation, they would accept that also. That is the real difference, but it is only on paper. When it comes to practice, we find that there is no difference.


Roberto H. Todd, Mayor of San Juan

That there was no substantial difference at that time between the various spokesmen for Puerto Rico on such a fundamental question as citizenship was clear also from the joint resolution of the Legislature of Puerto Rico 260 that explicitly asked Congress for United States citizenship for the Puerto Ricans. Additionally,

At this time the House of Delegates consisted entirely of members of Commissioner Larrinaga’s Union Party.


Joint Resolution of the Legislature of Porto Rico

Joint Resolution of the Legislature of Porto Rico, reprinted in S. REP. No. 2746, 59th Cong., 1st Sess. 5-6 (1906). In a joint resolution of both houses, the Legislative Assembly on February fl, 1906 noted that President Roosevelt had recommended conferring American citizenship on the Puerto Ricans in his annual message to Congress and solemnly petitioned the Congress “to embody in an act the high and just recommendation made by the President in favor of granting American citizenship to the Puerto Ricans.”


Jose de Diego

Delegates voted to send a memorial, prepared by Jose de Diego, to Secretary of State Elihu Root, who was then visiting San Juan. The memorial referred to the petition for United States citizenship and an elective Senate as “the supreme aspiration of all Puerto Ricans.” It was to be delivered to Secretary Root by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Rosendo Matienzo Cintron, and a delegation which included the author of the memorial, de Diego, a Puerto Rican leader now generally identified in Puerto Rican congressional records indicate an apparently common Puerto Rican view that United States citizenship and reform of the local government were inevitably intertwined, Mayor Todd asserted that “there is not a single Porto Rican who would not appreciate the high honor which Congress would confer upon them by … [extending United States citizenship],” and added that “it would not take long for Congress to say that a people who could be made citizens ought to be made self-governing, because we think that one thing goes with the other.”


Rosendo Matienzo Cintron

There also appears to have been no disagreement about the other factor militating in favor of extending United States citizenship to the islanders—the seemingly universal assumption, articulated by Chairman Cooper and acknowledged by Governor Beekman Winthrop, “that the United States is never going to relinquish the island.”

Ever anxious to distinguish between Puerto Rico and the Philippines, Senator Foraker in 1906 would explicitly state what he had merely implied during the 1900 debates on the island’s first organic law—that the people of Puerto Rico had not been made citizens in 1900 solely because of the fear in Congress that it might be construed as a precedent for the treatment to be accorded to the Philippines. Foraker stated:

It is a singular situation. We adopted section 7 of the organic act [declaring Puerto Ricans to be “citizens of Porto Rico” rather than United States citizens] because, legislating for Porto Rico before we legislated for the Philippines, we were anxious not to establish any precedent that might embarrass us in legislating for the Philippines.


The Sixtieth Congress (1907-1909)

The citizenship proposal was revived in the following Congress by Representative Cooper, Chairman of the House Committee on history texts and popular lore with leadership of the pro-independence forces within the Unionist Party. Minutes of the House of Delegates Session of July 10, 1906 (copy of typescript from archives of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico in author’s files). Compare his views in 1914 in text accompanying note 354 infra.

Insular Affairs, who reintroduced the bill he had sponsored during the preceding session. Three other citizenship bills were introduced during this Congress, including one by Resident Commissioner Larrinaga. In 1907 and 1908, in his annual messages to Congress, President Roosevelt reiterated his recommendation “that the rights of citizenship be conferred upon the people of Porto Rico.” Although none of these proposals prospered during this Congress, Representative Cooper’s bill was favorably reported by his Committee on Insular Affairs, whose members continued to view the people of Puerto Rico as “law-abiding and industrious— many of them of higil intelligence and culture—and . . . entitled to be recognized as citizens of the United States.” The Committee’s report noted that “our people have already decided that Porto Rico is forever to remain a part of the United States,” and concluded that “a people so worthy as are the inhabitants of Porto Rico, living, as they do, in territory destined forever to be under the dominion of the Government of the United States, are clearly entitled as a matter of right to be accorded the privilege and the honor of American citizenship.”

An expression of interest in the question of citizenship by an important American constituency found its way into the Congressional Record in early 1909, when Senator Du Pont of Delaware presented to the Senate a resolution, adopted at the annual meeting of the National Board of Trade, that favored United States citizenship for the Puerto Ricans because of the “earnest desire [of the people of Puerto Rico] to become more closely identified with our Government,” and because “business relations between the people oE the island and the people of the United States have been established upon a firm and enduring basis.” The American organized labor movement soon joined the organized business community in support of the proposition that Puerto Ricans should be American citizens, and thereby reinforced the notion of the nonpartisan and noncontroversial character of the proposal.


The Sixty-first Congress (1909-1911)

The citizenship question came before Congress again during the first session of the Sixty-first Congress, but the two bills introduced on the subject in the House of Representatives died in committee. The question of citizenship was overshadowed during this session by debate on the 1909 Olmsted amendment to the Foraker Act. This amendment provided that whenever the Puerto Rican legislature adjourned without having provided appropriations for the support of government, “an amount equal to the sums appropriated in the last appropriation bills . . . shall be deemed to be appropriated.”


Olmsted amendment

The Olmsted amendment was passed by both houses of Congress after acrimonious debate on the government of the island; it became law on July 16, 1909. The legislation was enacted in response to a governmental crisis that arose in Puerto Rico in early 1909. The island’s House of Delegates (the only popularly elected chamber of Puerto Rico’s legislature) expressed dissatisfaction with the action of Governor Regis H. Post and the Executive Council concerning certain judicial appointments by adjourning without passing an appropriations bill for the coming year. In response to the House of Delegates action, President Taft asked for an amendment to the Foraker Act that would enable the colonial administration in Puerto Rico to circumvent the refusal of the lower house to act on appropriations and thereby avoid similar crises in the future. The President’s accusations of irresponsibility and political immaturity on the part of Puerto Rico’s elected leaders—and the suggestion that too much power had been given to the Puerto Ricans “for their own good” provoked the first extended congressional debate on the island’s form of government since 1900.


The Porto Rico Free Federation of Labor, which was the insular branch of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), strongly supported American citizenship in a letter to Congress. … Samuel Gompers president of the AFL and often a spokesman in Washington for the Porto Rico Free Federation of Labor, later emphasized the support of the AFL for the citizenship provisions of the Jones Bill of 1916-1917 (H.R. 9533), although he expressed opposition to some features of the bill in a telegram to Senator Martíne of New Jersey in 1917. 54 CONC. REC. 1521 (1917). For a discussion of the relationship between the Puerto Rico Free Federation of Labor and the AFL, and the support of the trade union movement for “American citizenship as a token of the permanent union of Puerto Rico and the United States and guarantee of the protection of individual rights and of the establishment of North American democratic institutions in Puerto Rico.

Proponents of the Olmsted amendment regarded the assertive~ ness of the House of Delegates as “[amounting] to anarchy, and . . . revolution, and nothing else”; opponents of the measure noted that “‘[t]he power over the purse’ has been the mainstay of English liberty for a thousand years,” and expressed bewilderment as to “why we are called on to condemn Porto Ricans for doing the very identical thing we do ourselves in our state legislatures or Congress whenever it suits our convenience to do it.” Although the debate on the bill inevitably divided along traditional imperialist and anti-imperialist lines, it did not reveal any significant deviation from the basic tenets that had governed the United States’ relationship with Puerto Rico since 1900: the island would permanently remain within the American system and, despite the local political dispute; the relationship was essentially trouble free. Indeed, the anti-imperialists, who might have pointed to the difficulties of colonial administration as an indication of the need to disavow colonial rule, limited their rhetoric to support of the action of the House of Delegates. Typical of the opponents of the Olmsted amendment was Representative Borland of Missouri, who reminded the House that the Puerto Ricans had “welcomed the American arms [in 1898] and acted in cooperation with them, and . . . given the American Government no trouble.” Resident Commissioner Larrinaga, a firm opponent of the Olmsted amendment, was also at pains to underscore the good relationship that existed between Americans and Puerto Ricans. “[O]ur people take to English readily,” he told the House, adding: “[F]orty years ago I was a protectionist of the American manufacturers there. I . . . built the first railroad in the island introducing American rolling stock, which cost 45 per cent higher than the European material. And I established a free school for teaching English—broken English, of course.” In spite of these and other arguments against it, however, the Olmsted amendment was passed.


Representative Cooper of Wisconsin

The question of citizenship arose only fleetingly in the course of the debate of 1909 and then only to underscore the permanent character of Puerto Rico’s relationship to the United States. Thus, Representative Cooper of Wisconsin, a leading proponent of citizenship, asked whether “it is right for us permanently to retain Porto Rico because of its strategic importance and forever deny any sort of nationality to those people?”

The 1909 fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, and the ensuing congressional action to amend the Foraker Act, precipitated consideration by Congress of the state of colonial government under the island’s basic law. It also effectively assured that Congress would consider more extensive legislation concerning the island’s form of government, and the status of its people, shortly after enactment of the Olmsted amendment of 1909.


1910 President Taft

In 1910 President Taft recommended that extensive amendments be made to the Foraker Act.287 The President’s statement prompted the introduction by Representative Olmsted of legislation designed to serve as a new fundamental law for the island. Although largely concerned with the organization of the insular government, the bill adopted the recommendation of President


Congressman Sorland explained:

I only desire further to state that the Porto Ricans have apparently given this Government as little trouble as could be expected under any circumstances of colonial acquisition. It must be said, to the credit of Porto Rico not only that they welcomed the advent of the Americans, but that they honestly attempted to work in harmony with the Americans.

Taft and his Secretary of War that individual Puerto Ricans be permitted to acquire citizenship voluntarily. The behavior of the House of Delegates during the fiscal crisis of 1909 apparently had a profound effect upon President Taft and the administration’s allies with Congress, who clearly believed that in Puerto Rico there was “a general and almost universal desire and demand of all classes, interests, and political parties for American citizenship for all the people ot Porto Rico as a whole. Nevertheless, that idea, combined with proposals for broadening the participation of Puerto Ricans in their local government, was regarded as nothing less than “disastrous to the health and economic and political welfare of the island.” Although in late December 1909 and early January 1910 the Republican and Union Parties in Puerto Rico had jointly and formally appealed to the visiting Secretary of War for “the [grant] of American citizenship to all the Porto Ricans collectively, which have consider to be an act of justice to which we deem ourselves entitled,” the Secretary of War preferred “to substitute for the present status an entirely new one providing for the voluntary acquirement of citizenship, with conditional suffrage rights.” The purpose of the Secretary of War’s proposal that an individual citizen of Puerto Rico be admitted to citizenship upon application to the courts and the taking of an oath of allegiance to the United States, combined with the additional requirement that “after a reasonable period . . . no one shall hold an elective. or appointive office, or vote, who shall not be a citizen of the United States,” was clear enough: it would limit sharply the franchise, in a land where eighty percent of the population was illiterate and few were accustomed to judicial processes, to a relatively small number of persons.

The administration’s proposal for individual elective citizenship was incorporated in the bill introduced in the House on

Similar appeals were addressed to the Secretary of War by a wide array of organizations and individuals with whom he met during his visit to the island, including island-wide and municipal officials, the Speaker Of the House Of Delegates, and representatives of organized labor. The Secretary reported that “[a]ll were of the same general tenor as the one from the mayor and council of the city of Arecibo,” which appealed for collective United States citizenship. Id.


Roberto H. Todd

March 8, 1910 by Representative Ohmsted and was part of the bill reported favorably by his Committee on Insular Affairs one week later. This bill was severely criticized by a minority of seven members of the Committee, including Resident Commissioner Larrinaga, as providing for a “scheme of government . . . even less autonomic and liberal in several of its more important features” than the Foraker Act. Opposition to the bill was expressed in communications to the Congress from the House of Delegates of Puerto Rico and the leadership of both parties in Puerto Rico, who nevertheless effectively expressed support for collective citizenship for Puerto Ricans. When Roberto H. Todd, Mayor of San Juan, told the Committee on Insular Affairs that “the Porto Ricans are . . . willing, in order to prove their sincerity, to accept all . . . things if they can get American citizenship,” not one of the Puerto Rican opponents of the bill present objected.

The report of the minority of the Committee on Insular Affairs, presented by Representative William Atkinson Jones of Virginia, reminded the House of Representatives that both national political parties had promised collective citizenship to the Puerto Ricans in the 1908 general election. He noted that “aside from party pledges and other purely ethical considerations, it will impose a great hardship upon the native Porto Ricans to require them individually and separately to go through the process of naturalization.” In the course of the Root debate on the bill, Representative Olmsted and his Committee yielded on the question of citizenship. On June 15, 1910 the House adopted Olmsted’s own amendment to provide for collective citizenship. It provided “[t]hat all citizens of Porto Rico . . . are hereby declared and shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the United States.” The bill, with this and other amendments, passed the House that day.


Eduardo Giorgetti

See Letter from Jose de Diego, Speaker of the House of Delegates, Eduardo Giorgetti, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Union Party, and Luis Muñoz Rivera and Cayetano Coll Cuchi ( the latter identified in the Congressional Record as ‘Cay Colieudey”), Special Commissioners to Washington from the House of Delegates

The Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico followed the lead of the House sponsors of the legislation for Puerto Rico, by initially reporting to the Senate the original Olmsted bill, including the provision for individual elective citizenship.

after recommitment of the hill, the Committee. reported the bill to the Senate, as amended on the floor of the House, to provide for collective citizenship. The bill died on the floor of the Senate, following a series of procedural objections by various members and a brief substantive statement in opposition to the citizenship provision by a senator who had had much experience with colonial questions as a member of the Cabinet in the previous national administration, Senator Elihu Root of New York. The effective defeat of the Olmsted bill in the Senate has been attributed to the opposition of Senator Root and to the half-hearted support given to it by the Taft administration, which was unhappy with the various House and Senate amendments broadening Puerto Rican participation in the affairs of the local government. Perhaps because of his continuing displeasure with the signs of political independence shown by the elected House of Delegates, President Taft did not recommend citizenship for the Puerto Ricans in his 1909 annual message to the Congress.

In his annual message to Congress, President Taft stated: “The removal from politics of the judiciary by providing for the appointment of the municipal judges is excellent, and I recommend that a step further be taken by providing therein for the appointment of secretaries and marshals of these courts.”

(1910) (President’s message). President Taft’s intention was to, place the appointment power entirely out of the reach of Puerto Rican elected officials and completely in the hands of American colonial administrators. He characterized the provision in the bill for a partially elected seriate—a measure that did not begin to the the expectations of the Puerto Ricans, regardless of political party—as “of doubtful wisdom.” He nonetheless described the bill as “an important measure,” and recommended “its early consideration and passage.” Id.

Democrats, and Representative Jones assumed the chairmanship of the Committee on Insular Affairs. Jones, as the ranking minority member of the Committee, had led the opposition to the restrictive provisions of the Olmsted bill of 1910, which included opposition to the provision on individual elective citizenship for the Puerto Ricans. On January 13, 1912, he introduced the first of a series of bills that envisaged collective citizenship for the Puerto Ricans.8l° One month later, Jones introduced a bill granting American citizenship to Puerto Ricans that would have permitted any person to decline American citizenship by making a declaration, under oath of his decision to do so within six months of the effective date of the legislation before a court in his district.8″ This bill, which was reported favorably to the House of Representatives within a week of its introduction 312 and passed by the House by voice vote less than a fortnight later, also did not indicate whether United States citizenship would be a condition for exercising basic political rights, such as voting and holding public office. However, in another bill introduced by Jones during this Congress to reorganize the island’s local government, a similar citizenship provision was included, along with a provision that after the effective date of the legislation only United States citizens would be “eligible for election or appointment to any office in Porto Rico under the Government of the United States or the Government of Porto Rico.” Another section would have limited the franchise after 1912 to United States citizen.

Jones and his Committee were interested in providing an opportunity for dissenters in Puerto Rico to refuse United States citizenship “to avoid the possibility of its being said now, or hereafter, that American citizenship was forced upon the people of Porto Rico.” 9]R The intended exclusion of non-citizens of the United States from the public life of the island, however, clearly gave Puerto Ricans little real choice in the matter.

In this and other respects, the first bills introduced by Jones on the question of the citizenship of Puerto Ricans nresarred the legislation on the subject finally adopted in 1917. In contrast to earlier statements UY proponents of citizenship On the practical effects of the naturalization of the Puerto Ric.lrls, Jones and his Committee envisaged a political status that would accord to Puerto Ricans constitutional rights comparable to those oC United States citizens residing in the Union or one of its “incorporated” territories. Thus, the Committee reported to the House that

[t]here are many able and learned lawyers who hold that the people of Porto Rico are now citizens of the United States; that when Congress established the civil government which now exists in that island, it thereby became an [incorporated] Territory of the United States m which the Constitution of the United States is applicable as elsewhere in continental United States. But this coritcrlriorl, however well gr`,urlclcd it may be, has never received judicial or other governmental sanction either in Porto Rico or the United States, and therefore, if the people oC Porto Rico are to enjoy the rights and privileges of American citizenship, it is necessary that it shall be explicitly conferred upon them by Congress. al 7

Jones and his Committee thus apparently proposed a grant of citizenship that would do substantially more than merely affirm the permanence of Puerto Rico’s place under the American flag. The permanence of the association was taken for granted. Thus, the Committee could state: “It has long been a conceded fact that Porto Rico has become permanent territory of the United States.” The report continued:

Its people have accepted this fact in good faith, and have never sought, nor do they desire, a separate arid independent political existence. Their loyalty to the United States under all circumstances has never been questioned. What they most desire, and what they have long and earnestly endeavored to secure, is American citizenship accompanied with the right to legislate for themselves in respect to all purely local affairs. That the American people concede their right to American citizenship, and are ready and willing to accord it to them, has been frequently made abundantly manifest


In 1912, the Taft administration endorsed the Jones bill

Nothing in the record suggests that Jones and his colleagues on the Committee inaccurately represented the views of the elected leadership of Puerto Rico of which they might reasonably have been aware.

In 1912, the Taft administration endorsed the Jones bill and United States citizenship for Puerto Ricans. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, with the advice and guidance of the legal officer of his department’s Bureau of Insular Affairs, Felix Frankfurter, had urged Congress to grant American citizenship to the Puerto Ricans and to disassociate citizenship from eventual statehood for the island. In his 1911 annual report to Congress, Secretary Stimson set forth the basic outlines of the proposal in words that would take on increased significance in later years:

The demand for American citizenship on the part of Porto Ricans is genuine and well-right universal. It has become a deep popular sentiment, and my experience in the island convinced me that a continued refusal to grant it will gravely would the sensibilities of this loyal people. It is a practical as well as a sentimental matter. A Porto Rican traveling abroad is literally a man without a country.

I believe that the demand is just, that it is amply earned by sustained loyalty, and that it should be granted.

But it is to be carefully remembered that this demand for citizenship must be, and in the minds of Porto Ricans is, entirely disassociated from any thought of statehood. It is safe to say that no substantial, approved public opinion in the United States or even in Porto Rico contemplates statehood for the island as the ultimate form of relation between us and Porto Rico. I think that the time is arriving, if it has not already arrived, when it is the part of honest and farsighted statesmanship frankly to declare our position as to the ultimate interrelation between the United States and Porto Rico so far as it is possible to do so without unduly hampering the future in wisely dealing with this problem. The connection between Porto Rico and the United States is permanent and has been from the beginning regarded as permanent. There is every reason, therefore, why the thoughts and habits of the people of both countries should as soon as possible begin to shape themselves toward the assumption of their final civil relationship.

I am of the opinion that the aim to be striven for is the fullest possible allowance of local and fiscal self-government, with American citizenship as the bond between us—in other words, a relationship analogous to the present relation between England and her over-seas self-governing territory. To my mind, this will conduce to the fullest and most self-sustaining development of Porto Rico, while at the same time it will grant to her the political and economic benefits of being under the American flag.

The sentiments embodied in the report by Jones and his Committee in the House, and in the official statement by Secretary of War Stimson, were reiterated and reinforced in the favorable Senate report on the bill, issued in early 1913. In endorsing the Jones bill, the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico noted that “[a]t the present time these people are in the ano~lutlous condition of being, in their international relations, a people without a country, . . . [having] ceased to be subjects of Spain and having not become citizens of the United States.” Citizenship would correct this “un-American” situation for a people described in the Senate report as “two-thirds . . . white, of Spanish origin”- and “as a whole . . . friendly to the United States and ardently desirous of the rights of citizenship.”

What purposes would be served by the grant of citizenship? The Senate Committee reported, somewhat ambiguously, that it would “give them certain personal legal rights and privileges both in their relations to the local government and in their status abroad; [it would] tend to increase their self-respect and to cultivate and develop a larger capacity for self-government.” Noting that its opponents “seem to consider that [the hill] involves the right of the inhabitants of Porto Rico to participate in the government . .: jor] that it would lead to the agitation of the question of statehood for Porto Rico,” the Senate Committee specifically re

But of course Puerto Ricans had indeed become subjects or nationals of the United States and in that sense were not “a people without a country”; since at least 1900 they had owed allegiance to the United States and were entitled to its projected the notion that citizenship would involve “the right to participate in the government [or] affect in any particular the question of statehood.”

The citizenship bill was placed on the Senate calendar. where it died in early 1913.328 Despite the failure of the Senate to act in the closing days of the lame duck third session of the Sixty Second Congress, it is clear that the citizenship idea, with the special gloss placed upon it by several Congresses and two successive national administrations, was now a fairly noncontroversial matter for which there WAS widespread, bipartisan support.


7. The Sixty-third Congress (1913-1915)

The Democratic victory in the general election of 1912 brought to power the party that in 1900 had waged a national political campaign against imperialism and thereafter had generally continued to favor liberalization of American colonial rule in the insular territories. Nevertheless, the first Congress that met during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson devoted little attention to Puerto Rican affairs. The only bill regarding United States citizenship for the Puerto Ricans offered during the first session of the new Congress was introduced on July 10, 1913 by Senator Poindexter of Washington. This proposed legislation, a replica of the Jones bill of the preceding Congress, was referred to the Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico chaired by Poindexter. The bill, however, never emerged from the Committee.

In his first annual message to the Congress, President Wilson held out the prospect that “[n]o doubt we shall successfully enough bind Porto Rico . . . to ourselves by ties of justice and interest and affection.” 39n Wilson envisaged “giving [the Puerto Ricans] the ample and familiar rights and privileges accorded our own citizens in our own territories”; whereas for the people of the Philippines—”a more difficult and debatable matter” the United States “must hold steadily in view their ultimate independence, and we must move toward the time of that independence as steadily as the way can be cleared and the foundations thoughtfully and permanently laid.” 3aa The historical distinction between Puerto Rico and the Philippines was thus carried over into the Wilson administration: Puerto Rico, but not the Philippines, could and would be drawn closer to the United States; Puerto Rico, hut not the Philippines, was assumed to be a permanent fixnue of the American system.

In February and March of 1914, early in the second session of the Sixty-third Congress, hills were introduced in the House and in the Senate to supersede the Foraker At-t with a new organic statute providing a substantially more liberal l`,nTI self government for Puerto Rico. The Senate Committee Pacific Islands and Porto Rico held hearings on the bill introduced by its new chairman, Senator Shafroth ol Colorado, it took no further action. In the House, the bill submitted by Representative Jones of Virginia, t:h`,mgh favorably reported by Its (Committee on Insular Affairs, was not debated on the floor.83″

The Jones bill of 1914 included the now familiar provision on collective citizenship for Puerto Ricans, with an opportunity to decline citizenship, and the additional explicit requirement that the right to vote would thereafter be limited to United States citizens. Although the citizenship provision was described by the House Committee on Insular Affairs as “[p]robably the most important change made hy this hill in the present law,” ~ the committee did not feel obliged to ret:`n~tit the now l’amiliin ttas~,tis tu~derlyitig the proposal. It was during this period, however, that Congress for the first time was fonnally informed of the reservations of some Puc~-m l(it.tus t`’n~t~luin,L!, the proposal l’,r ~`lLttivt ni~tu~-i~lizathm ol the ishttiders.

Some of those reservations were expressed, in sotilewilat muted tertns, hy Resident Commissioner Luis Muñoz Rivera. Munoz

Rivera had been the preeminent political figure of Puerto Rico since shortly before the American occupation of i the island in 1898.333 He had served briefly as the prime minister of the Puerto Rican government organized under the Charter of Autonomy granted by Spain in 1897 940 and had led the dominant Union Party throughout the early American colonial period. He had served in the House of Representatives as resident commissioner— the elected representative of the: people of Puerto Rico—since 1911.941 There is no record in congressional proceedings on Puerto Rico between 1911 and 1914 that Muñoz Rivera played anything but a passive role in legislative matters. There is no evidence that he had opposed the bills offered during the Sixty-second Congress (1911-1913) that provided for citizenship for the Puerto Ricans. If Muñoz Rivera’s views on this subject differed from those of his two predecessors, Federico Degetau and Tulio Larrinaga, or from Representative Jones and his other colleagues on the House Committee on Insular Affairs, there is no evidence of it in congressional records prior to February 25, 1914, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico to urge substantially more liberal terms than those proposed by Senator Shafroth for the organization of the insular government. A provision in the Senate bill for elective citizenship, upon application by individuals, was now described by Muñoz Rivera as “liberal and generous; but there exists in Porto Rico a well defined aspiration to the ultimate independence of the country.” 343 While not identifying himself with this aspiration to ultimate independence, Muñoz Rivera for the first time raised the question whether United States citizenship might effectively foreclose that political status option:

The majority of Porto Ricans think that conferring of American citizenship in any form, whatever would interfere with the future declaration of the status of the inhabitants of the island, and I pray Congress to postpone any legislation on this point for a period of a few years so that Citizenship in an “Unincorporated” Territory

we may demonstrate our capacity for self-government and Congress may fix a definite solution for the future.

If Muñoz Rivera had any doubts that citizenship would preclude national independence for the island, those doubts should have vanished the day after his testimony before the Senate committee in the course ot hearings on the Jones bill before the House Committee on Insular Affairs. Jones argued that if the terms of the Foraker Act were left intact, and Puerto Ricans remained “citizens of Porto Rico,” there might arise some confusion about the future political status of the island: it might lead Puerto Ricans to believe “that the United States has not determined the future political status of the Port`:’ Ricans, and they were therefore at liberty to-go ahead and clamor for independence.” 340 Jones asked Governor Arthur Yager:

Do you not think that, in as much as the sentiment in the

United States settle to be practically unanimous that Porto Rico is to remain permanently a part of the United States, in order to put an end to all agitation of this question there we ought to declare at once that the people of the island are citizens of the United States—that is, all who do not within a reasonable period declare that they-do not wish to become such citizens? Is it not best in this way to remove this question from Porto Rican politics?

As though in response to this statement by Representative Jones regarding the purpose of his bill, on the following day, February 27, 1914, Muñoz Rivera introduced a bill “lo provide a civil government for Porto Rico;” which explicitly provided that citizens of Puerto Rico were “declared, and . . . deemed and held to be, citizens of Porto Rico and as such entitled to the protection of the United States.” Inasmuch as the Committee on Insular Affairs had already begun hearings on its chairman’s bill on the same subject, it seems likely that Muñoz Rivera’s bill was designed merely to state his position for the record.

Munoz Rivera had another occasion to state his views on the question of citizenship when he appeared before the House Committee on Insular Affairs on March 2, 1914.

The sentiments of the Porto Rican people could be condensed into declaring to this committee: “If you wish to make us citizens of an inferior class, our country not being allowed to become a State of the Union, or to becotne an independent State, because the American citizenship would be incompatible with any other national citizenship; tf we can not be one of your States; if we can not constitute a country of our own, then we will have to be perpetually a colony, a dependency of the United States. Is that the kind of citizenship you offer us? Then, that is the citizenship we refuse.”

Muñoz Rivera thus introduced the possibility of independence for Puerto Rico—the first time that that political option appears to have been presented to Congress by the elected representative of the people `of Puerto Rico. But that possibility was raised only tentatively, in the expressed desire of the dominant political force on the island, the Union Party, to preserve independence as a possible option. But it was an option that Muñoz Rivera himself did not necessarily claim; rather, independence was merely an option that Congress might, in the course of time, wish to “fix [as] a definite solution.” Moreover, Muñoz Rivera was quick to indicate that, whatever might be the views of the party he led and represented in Washington, he personally entertained no doubt that Congress could make Puerto Ricans citizens of the United States and nevertheless he free to grant the island its independence.

My loyalty and my party demands that I proceed in accordance with the platform of the Unionist Party, whatever may be my personal convictions in this matter ….

It seems to me that by granting to the Porto Ricans American citizenship the Congress of the United States will not deprive itself of the right to later grant to Porto Rico full independence. It seems to me that Congress of the United States is supreme under all circumstances they could grant the Porto Ricans statehood or some kind of national independence.

But a great number of my constituents do not coincide with my own opinions. I am here to represent

In a memorable document addressed to the President and to, the Congress, Puerto Rico’s House of Delegates reinforsed the official position stated of Muñoz Rivera. The memorial of the House of Delegates, which was read into the Congressional Record by Representative McKenzie of Illinois on April 15, 1914 3s2 and later also published in the record of the Senate “tearings on the Shafroth bill, was a notable reversal of the Puerto Rican legislature’s previous statements on the subject of United States citizenship. The long and emotive statement, signed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Jose de Diego, expressed a preference for citizenship of Puerto Rico and stated, “firmly and loyally,” its “opposition to being declared, itl lfefianc e `,f our express wish or witllcutt our express c`,ttscttt, citizcHs ()f ally COUtitty Wh.HS(IC’VCI OLllCr thAt1 (~Ir own beloved soil.” ao~ It rejected the frequently stated notion that Puerto Ricans were a people without a country and that United States citizenship w<~’lcl ;~ftord thetn a m`,rc precise `,r cleat international standing.

We are citizens of Porto Rico and as such entitled to the protection of the United States ….

American citizenship in foreign countries accords no other privilege that1 that of the etljOyntetit ot ttlC protection afforded by the Government ofthe United States in the extraterritoriality of consular and diplomatic law. As citizens of Porto Rico we enjoy that protettiol1 and with it the only privilege derived from American citizenship in international relationship.

The memorial flatly rejected the often repeated view “that although the granting of American citizenship to Porto Ricans solves no practical problem, it yet satisfies a spiritual h~t1ging that responds to a general sentiment.” interpreted “our displeasure and our protest as due to the fact that you have not granted us American citizenship.” It ended with a remarkable peroration. :’

And so great is our love for our own citizenship, our own fatherland, that, in conclusion, we must make use of a hyperbole to express the earnestness of our sentiment We, like all Porto Ricans, are believers in the existence of God and of a perpetual superhuman life, but were there a citizenship of heaven with a right to eternal; happiness, and that were offered us in exchange for our own, we would vacillate to accept it and should under no circumstances accept it until after death.

Remarkable and nationalistic as this memorial was, it nevertheless did not appeal for independence. The failure of the document to state what its authors might want for Puerto Rico’s future, combined with the ambiguities of Muñoz Rivera’s testimony, could not have left Congress with a clear impression of the situation in Puerto Rico. Morenv.Pr, Munoz Rivera’s oppposition to the citizenship provision of the Jones bill of 1914 was based upon the formalism of the Union Party platform, from which (to some extent) he personally disassociated himself; consequently, his opposition to. the citizenship idea must be regarded as quite nominal. While noting that his constituents believed that “the granting of citizenship will interfere with their aspirations for independence,” he was quick to add a personal reservation and then leave the matter entirely in the hands of Jones and the Committee.

I can not be in opposition here with the views of my people, and I leave it to the committee, which has great capacity to study it and pass upon it, and to recommend to the House of Representatives, the best thing the committee thinks ought to be done in this case.S8° ~

To be sure, when confronted with a request that he express a preference between statehood and. national independence as the ultimate political status of the islands, Muñoz Rivera expressed a preference for independence. But he then characterized independence “as a question of sentiment” and declared that “[t]he people of Porto Rico would accept statehood now, although the Unionist Party . . . has eliminated the matter of statehood from its platform; yet, if you tender statehood now, in the name of my people, accept statehood.” He acknowledged that he had once favored the Olmsted citizenship bill of several years earlier and, while reiterating his opposition to the Jones proposal, trade it clear that he found its provisions for collective citizenship preferable to the suggestion of the Secretary of War th;it citizenship be granted on an individual and elective basis with public offices and voting restricted, in little, In United States citizens.

If Muñoz Rivera conveyed any message of significance to the Congress itl his various public statements and actions on this subject, that message W.15 Iess titan clear. Muñoz Rivera left Representative Jones, who historically had been associated with efforts to reform the colonial regime in Puerto Rico, to his own devices, and Jones could thus say, without contradiction by Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner; that “this talk of in~endet~e is an idle dream on the part of the Unionist Party, and . . . it would be much better to have the matter settled now, better for the Porto Rican nP~r~lP themselves a66

Given the ambiguous nature of Muñoz Rivera’s public statements and of the memorial itself, it is not surprising that Jones’ citizenship provision—~fratned upon the idea that Porto Rico is to remain a permanent possession of the United States . . . ~and designect] to settle this questhm and thus remove it frotn Porto Rican politics”—was unanimously adopted by the Committee on Insular Affairs. Jones’ proposal for collective naturalization of the Puerto Ricans survived the first Puerto Rican statements of opposition to the idea. The legislators failed to underst.ntd the message of tf’le memorial—that any citizenship that did not promise eventual equality in the American Union was precisely what the members of the Puerto Rican House of Delegates did not want for their people.


8 The Sixty-fourth Congress (1915-1917)

Legislation to replace the Foraker Act with a new framework for the government of Puerto Rico was considered and debated still again, and finally passed, in the Sixty-fourth Congress. A hill introduced by Representative Jones on January 20, 1916 was, in its author’s view, not materially different in either form or substance from the Jones bill of 1914. The new Jones bill was reported without dissent to the House five days after its introduction, even before the completion of hearings by the Committee on Insular Affairs. As a matter of convenience, the Committee simply adopted and reprinted its report on the 1914 Jones hill “as applicable in the main to this hill.” The section providing for collective citizenship for the Puerto Ricans—described in 1914, and by reference in 1916, as “[p]robably the most important change made by the] bill” was unaltered from the 1914. Surprisingly, it proved to be one of the least controversial provisions of the bill introduced by Jones in 191fi. After fourteen months of deliberation on the bill by both houses of the Congress, the citizenship provision enacted in 1917 was, save for a minor technical change, identical to the original Jones proposal of 1914.

By 1916, the general outline of the projected reform of the Puerto Rican government was well known. The citizenship proposal, in particular, had been pending in Congress since 1900, and there was little disposition to change the direction which Jones himself had charted for the Puerto Ricans in the preceding years. Thus, when the bill was briefly raised for the first time on the floor of the House on March 13, 191fi, Representative Horace Towner of lowa, the ranking minority member of the Committee on Insular Affairs, pressed for its early consideration on the ground that “we have had this proposition under consideration for many years . . .

The only change in the citizenship provision adopted during the 14 months of deliberation on the bill was one that permitted Puerto Ricans one year, rather than the six months provided by the original Jones Bill, to record their preference not to become citizens of the United States. The Committee evidently believed the change too minor to merit mention. Thus, although the report detailed other changes m the text of the bill, it was silent on the one-year amendment. The Committee stated simply that the changes not discussed were deemed “of such minor importance that it is not . . . necessary to specifically call attention to them.” H.R. REP. No. 77, [and] it has been made up by the committee without any regard to partisan considerations.”

Discussion of the citizenship proposal during this climactic Congress lollowecJ tilC’ getleral lines esl.d~lisilecl itl earlier years Citizenship was the inevitable by product to the virtually universal view Puerto Rico, unlike the Philippines, was destined to remail1 permanently under the American flag. Citizenship would confitttt the general policy and convictions of the key policy makers on colonial questions, including the President and his administration. It would “settle” the discussion on the island concerning the island’s political stands. Ancl, presumably, it would meet the expectations of the people of Puerto Rico. Finally Congress was ready to act on the issue.

As in the case of the 1914 Jones hill, opposition to the citizenship prcJvisic~l1 was explessed by Puerto, Rican’s resident Commissioner, Luis Muñoz Rivera~, alla by leaders of rhc ishulcl’s d~m~in.

Union Party. But the statetnents in opposition, as in 1914, were qualified by expressions ot regret that admission to the Union as a state did not appear likely in the foreseeable future and by a clear reluctance to articulate a definite political goal for the island that woulrl he incompatible with United States citizenship. References by Puerto Rico’s represematives to the possibility of national independence were tentative and equivocal. Finally, despite the initial opposition to the citizenship provisions of the hill, the citizenship proposal was endorsed by Muñoz Rivera ancl hy the Union Party leaciership in order to obtain the berlefits ol a more liberal basic la~v f~n li’C gr~vcrnment ol I’~’cl-tr, Rico,—a s~cp Lhat musl h;’ve sugges~ecl t`, mcmllers of the (‘r~ngress that the carlicr c~ppc~shirm to citizensllip ~v,as no more than a pretext clesigned tc, obtain `,ther more hul>orl.A’nt legislative ohjec rives.

The citizensllip question, when consiclered hy Congress in 191f,, was s`, ~mc~mtrovelsi.ll that neitller the Senate nc~r FIOUSC rel~ort Otl the lones hill devoted any particular attention to it. The hearings on the bill and the subsecluent debates 011 the Roor of troth houses of Congress provide some evidence of congressioIlal views on the tnattcr atlcl congressioIlal perceptions of Puerto Rical1 opillion.

At hearirigs helcl iL1 miC\-|atlUary 191(i hy tht~ U`’use (.ommittee OI1 lnsular Affairs, the governor of Puerto Rico, Arthur Yager, adverted to the Philippines bill then being considered by Corngress, drew the now traditional distinction between the two territories, and arrived at some obvious conclusions concerning the citizenship provision of the Puerto Rico bill:

We have no preamble to this bill [as in the Philippines bill, promising their eventual independence] and do not want it, but instead of that ‘we ask that the Porto Ricans be collectively made citizens of the United States. That takes the place of the preamble of the Philippipe bill and for the reason that the Philippirne Islands seem to be foreordained and elected some time for separation from the United States. Porto Rico, on the other hatrld, will always be a part of the United States, and the fact’ that we now, aTfter these years, make them citizens of the United States simply means, to my mind, that we have determined prac~ tically that the American Rag ~iill never be lowered in Porto Rico, and it is for their good, ancd for ours, that the American Rag remains permanently~ in Porto Rico. In my judgment citizenship in the country should be given because it goes with the Rag.376

C.overnor Yager’s sentimeT.tts expressed the almost universal conviction of members of Congress. Representative Jones, during. the course of these hearings, also seized upon the difference between the Philippines and Puerto Rico and noted that “[t]he purpose of the United States seems clearly to be to retain Porto Rico permanently.” He added: “There is no division of sentiment in the United States, so far as I am aware; on that subject. As to whether you will have Statehood or remain a Territory is a matter that remains to be decided in the future.”

The reasons underlying the distinction between the Philippines and Puerto Rico were identical to those articulated in Congress during the debates on the Foraker. b,II of 1900: race, culture, geographic proximity, economics, and the Puerto Ricans’ apparent acceptance of colonial rule. Representative Towner, who as the ranking minority member of the Committee on Insular Affairs was virtually, co-manager of the Jones bill in the House, introduced the Puerto Rico bill to the House by declaring, among other things, that “[n]early three-fourths of the population are white, mostly of Spanish descent.” Representative Huddleston of Alabama noted that “entirely different conditions obtain in Porto Rico than those which obtain in the Philippines.” 370 He colltinued, “The people of Porto Rico are of our race, they are people who inherit an old civilization—a civilization w-llich may be fairly compared to our OWT1.” a30 And in the Senate, Senat`,r Sb;i’Totl1 `,f Colorado, the c 1l.’irltulTT of tllc St.TlatC (AoTTltnittee {~11 Y;~( ITII Isl.’rT~ls (IIT(I l’orto Rico, and manager of tile Jones bill in the Sen.lte, noted that “‘the case of Porto Rico is entirely different from that of the Philippine Islands.” He gave the following reasons:

The Porto Ricans came voluntarily uTlder our governmental system, whereas the Philippine people did not do so; and there has been a grave question in the minds o f many as to whether this Nation has a right to force a people to come under its jurisdiction and become its citizerts against their will.

The Puerto Ricans, as Representative Towrler observed, were “a peaceable, tractable, intelligent people . . . [who since] their incorporation into olTr rcrritory . . . have never given this country the least trouble, m~r . . . given the goverm~rs wlmn~ we.llave sent to then1 the slightest apprehension or even eTnharrassment.~, 338

Nothing in the hearings on the Jones hill, it would seem, nad alterctl the traditioTTal perccl>tion of Puerto Rico ,tntl its people. Oppositio’1 to the CitiZCtlsTlip proposal by l’ncrt:o Rico’s variotls spokesmen had not effectively conveyed a sense of deeply-rooted resistance to the idea of United States citizenship. The testimony of NIanltel Rodriguez Serra, who appeared on behalf of the Puerto Rico I\ar Association and other major civic and intellecual groups, was typical. He urged the retention of Puerto Rican citizenship “because under it we may devel`,p, we ntay obtain an enl.irgement of our governnTental powers, until the ties binding us to your Nation may, by your will, disappear, and we might become al>solutely independerlt.” 3S~ His deferential marlrler c1early suggested, however, that the independence optiorl, SUC’T1 as it migllt be, was an option to be exercised by Congress. Indeed, when he was later explicitly asked if he desired independence, he was quick reply that the Bar Association had not authorized him to make such a request. Although he was authorized by the local civic organizations he represented to plead for independence, the Bar Association, the organization most readily understood and respected by his listeners, had limited his authority. “The bar association asked me to come here to ask only for the suppression or discontinuance of the United States District Court for Porto Rico.” B~P In response to questioning by Jones and Towner, Rodriguez Serra acknowledged that six years earlier he had favored a citizenship bill and permanent annexation to the United States because he had believed it would lead to statehood; his change of heart was the result of statements by President Taft and others that citizenship and statehood were entirely diflerent propositions.

Resident Commissioner Muñoz Rivera’s testimony was rro less tentative and ambiguous. While initially claiming that the adherents of the Unionist Party—sixty-one percent of the electorate— might be regarded as favoring independence, he was forced to admit that “at the present time there are very few people asking for immediate independence. Only the associations represented hy [Mr. Rodriguez Serra] want it, and they are not very great in number.” It is not surprising that, after some additional moments of speculation by Muñoz Rivera, Representative Austin of Tennessee should suggest to the Committee that it “go on with [its] business” because “I think it is a waste of time to talk about this independence of Porto Rico…. They are not going to have independence, but are going to stay under the flag, not only this year, but for all years to come.

The statement of opposition to the citizenship provision from the representative of the Union Party of Puerto Rico, Cayetano Coll Cuchi, was no more precise or firm than those of Rodriguez Serra or Muñoz Rivera. Coll Cuchi, who identified himself as “a firm believer in independence from all points of view and considerations,” suggested the importance of not precluding the possibility of independence by the collective grant of United States citizenship. But he nevertheless found it possible to defer to the judgment of his audience even on this fundamental question.

I can say that if the United States has decided definitely and firmly that Porto Rico is going to be a part of the Atnerican national, the time has come to declare the Puerto Ricans citizens of the United Statcs; but if such clecision has not been reached, such a declaration is absolutely premature.30′

Coll Cuchi could not have conveyed with much fi,rte the impression that United States citizenship was incompatible with the possibility of national independence, for he explained to the House Committee Otl lrlslth~r Affairs that “[w]hen wc that wc want an independent natiotl, wc clo not mean that we want to break away from the United States.” Coll Cuchi continued: “I consider that the United States is formed of a number of independent nations. I believe if we could obtain that kind of independence, within the Union, that would be the fairest and best solution of the prohlem, a~cl I w`,t~lcl be very glad ancl ITaPPY.~, lt’3

(toll Cuclli’s colleagues in the Union Party, wllo had authorized him t`~ speak in their behalf “because of . . . [his] knowledge of the language,” may bave c~ueltained str`,ng ViCWs cin tbe Ipic~stiOn of independellle and Unitecl States citizenship, but their ellc~setl representative hlforTllecl the H`mse Committee that he desirecl “an independent government, . . Mike any State of ~he U7lion,” 3~}6 and, when askecl by Representative Miller whether he prelcrred “cotnplete incorp~mati~m allcl statchoocl, or complete Independence irotl1 the United States,” 3~iD he chose statehood, a prefcretlee he then imputed to his principals:

I\IR. [COI.1.] Cuc tm I have no hesitation in answering that questiorl. I clo not clare to answer it in the name of my party, but I can ansiver it for myself persorlally. I do prefer statehood to all other kinds of governtnent, because I think at the preserlt time it is the highest political forrm of governtllent knowt1 tc, the public la~vs ol the world.

MR. MTLLER. What do those wllorn you represent tllink abm~t that?

MR. [COLL] Cueur. I think they woL’ld approael1 my lbles pretty nearly.

MR. MILLER. That is not what I have betn ]ed to believe by Mr. [Munoz] Rivera.

MR. [COLL] CUCHI. I believe he has previously so stated it. If you do not understand it that way, I think that is a misunderstanding on your part.~97

Conclusive evidence of Muñoz Rivera’s halfhearted opposition to the citizenship proposal may be found in the minutes of the House Committee on Insular Affairs. Muñoz Rivera was a member of the Committee during this period, and the minutes of the Committee’s sessions reveal that he was permitted to offer amendments to the bill and that he actually did offer several amendments. At no time, however, did Muñoz Rivera, “for the record” or otherwise, offer an amendment to the Jones bill to strike the provisions on United States citizenship.

The hearings before the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico were not greatly different in tone or substance from the hearings held by the House Committee. Manuel Rodriguez Serra, once again appearing in behalf of the Puerto Rico Bar Association and leading civic and intellectual entities~ opposed collective citizenship because “[we] consider that the declaration of United States citizenship means the incorporation forever of Porto Rico into the United States, and therefore the destruction of our hopes of becoming at some future day an independent nation.” But

It is clear from the committee minutes that although Muñoz Rivera could not vote in committee, he was empowered to propose amendments to matters under consideration and in fact did so on several occasions. Certain of his proposals involved such technical matters as the coffee tax, id. 7 (January 14, 1916), whereas others conceracd more fundamental matters, including voting rights, id. 13 (January 18, 1916), and even a proposal to reform Puerto Hico’s political system along parliamentary hnes, id. 7 (January 14, 1916). For examples of other motions offered by Muñoz Rivera during this period, see id. 11 (January 17, 1916). None of his proposals, however, suggested withdrawal of the Jones Act provision on cinzenship. Id. passlm.

~ol Couernment tor Porto Afoo: Hearlngs on S. 1217 Betore the Senote Comm. On PaciJic Island, and Porto Rko, 64th Cong., Ist Sess. 35 (-1916) [hereinafter cited as Heorings on 8. lal7] (statement of Mr. M. Rodriguez Serra). he thereupon qualified his statement by arguing that “the highest aspirations of the Porto Ricans are either statehood or independence” and added: “I certainly believe that statehood is the best and most honorable formula of all political regime [stc]. It would unquestionably be a high honor for Porto Rico to be one of the States of this Union.” ‘t” He had concluded. however, that statehood was not possible because “[economical reasons”—that he did not explain—”prevent it.” Similarly, a statement read in behalf of the chairman of the executive committee of the Union Party, Antonio R. Barcelo, who apparently had difficulty speaking English, expressed concern that United States citizenship might effectively foreclose the possibility of eventual independence for the island, but only after noting that the Union Party had altered its earlier support ff,r citizenship in the aftermath of President Taft’s assertion that the granting of citizenship did not involve a promise of statehood.

Another representative of the Union Party at the .Senate hearings, Cayetano Coll Cuchi, while reaffirming the Union Party position of 1916 and noting that Congress in the future might be faced “with the very serious problem of unmaking 1,500,000 citizens of the United States, which is a more serious problem than making them citizens,” nevertheless asserted that “[w]e do not take any systematic stand either against or for American citizenship.” Opposition to the citizenship proposal, Coll Cuchi asserted, was based upon the apprehension that it would signify “perpetual incorporation into the United States of America without hope of statehood. That is, it means Porto Rico will be a colony, a perpetual colony, and of course to that we are strongly opposed.” But the need to reform the colonial regime established under the Foraker Act was so important, in Coll Cuchi’s view, that he favored a Jones bill that included the citizenship provision rather than no bill at all. “We have been suffering so much under our form of government that we want the bill passed with American citizenship rather than not passed at all.”

The Jones bill was first given extended consideration on the fioor of the House of Representatives on May 5, 1916—appropriately enough, just four days after the House had adopted the Jones bill for the Philippines, the preamble of which promised the Filipinos their national independence. Not surprisingly, members of the House Committee on Insular Affairs, who were familiar with testimony of Puerto Rico’s leaders, could report to the House that “it can probably be said that now there is very little expectation or desire in the island for independence” and that even the dominant Union Party had resolved in late 1915 to “postpone all action looking toward the independence of Porto Rico, and to devote our entire efforts toward a steady activity in favor of self-government.” Despite a long speech by Commissioner Muñoz Rivera in which, among other things, he opposed the collective citizenship provision of the Jones bill, Representative Fess of Ohio could report to the House immediately thereafter that there was no “serious” opposition to the citizenship proposal.

There is not any serious opposition that I know of, save this one objection that has been offered, that you are trying to force citizenship upon the Porto Ricans. I am sure that is not serious when once understood. This bill does not require the Porto Rican to take an oath of allegiance to make him a citizen…. [I]f he frets under it and does not want to be a citizen, then it is his privilege [sic] to take the step provided in this bill, to say that he does not want to be a citizen.

Munoz Rivera’s address of May 5, 1916 was unusual, if not unique, for a man who, according to a House colleague, did not often attend sessions of the House “on account of his difficulty in understanding English.” He expressed satisfaction with the provish~n of the Foraker Ar-t makillg Puerto Ricans citizens `,f Porto Rit-t,,” in nothing that.this (a[ltl his countryrnctl’s) earlier entlmsiasm for Americatl citizensllip had been darllpened by suggestions that Puerto, Rico had little or no chance of at llievitlg- statehood, regartiless ot t-itizenslIip. The Puerto Ricans, he said. “refuse to accept a citizeuship of an inferior order, a c itizcuship of the second class.” Muñoz Rivera revealed the key to the problem when he stated:

(,ive us statehood alla your gloriolts citizensilip will he welcotlle to ItS and to our children. If you deny us statehood, we decline your citizenship, fr.uIkly, proudly, as befits a people who C.UI be deprived of their t ivi1 liberties but who, alth`>ugl1 dtprived of their tivil lil~erties, will preserve their conception of honor, which none can take trom them, because they hear it in their souls, .~ m`>r.ll heritage from their forefathers.4’D

Mufioz Rivera proposed that the question of citizenship be put to a plel~iscite: “It would he strange if, having refused it so long as the<nity ·,f pc`,ple asked for it, ytu’ slnu~ltl clericie to impose it by forre now that the m.liority of the pc`,plc clecline it.” 424} 13Ut the evidence that a majority of the Puerto Rican people opposed citizenship was circltmstantial. Because Muñoz Rivera himself admitted that no vote on the matter had been taken, he presumably imputed the views of a majority of the [louse of Delegates to their constituents. Moreover, there is no evidence in congressional records that he or his p.trty ever sought the advit:e of the Puerto Rican electorate thrt~ugh lotal initiatives.

Mubiaz River.t’s .tddress had little impact on the House debate of tltis long discussed subject. What little support he stimulated for his stand against the citizenship proposal was drawn from clisparate quarters of the FIouse, but none likely to have much inHuence 011 Holtse colleagltes. From the left, he won the entllllsiastic and eloquetlt support of Representative Meyer I.ondon of New

the bill, Representative sc~rland sought assurances fron~ ih sp~sors that they had c<>nsulted with Besident cr~rnmissioner Muñoz Rivera. s`’rland stated that Mui~oz Rivera “[n]aturally . . is very much interested in this legislation. Ile told me that on account of his difficulty ir, ~nderstanding English he did ~ot frequently attend t\’e sessi`,~s `,f the

York, a Socialist who described the citizenship proposal as “the most absurd thing that has ever been advocated.”, H e added: “You can not compel people to love you. . You can not compel people who, by their elective representatives,’ say that they prefer to be citizens of their own island, of their own little country, to accept your citizenship.” London’s opposition to other aspects of the bill, especially the proposal for the disenfranchisement of illiterates, was so impassioned that it threw the House into turmoil and confusion. As the price of restoring order and avoiding a possible censure by the House, London was required to apologize to the House and to agree that some of his remarks be struck from the record because, he admitted, “[a]s they stand it would seem that I advocated or suggested that when the voters of Porto Rico were deprived of the franchise they would have a right to use violence.”

There was also opposition to the citizenship proposal from the other end of the political spectrum. Representative Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois, the former Speaker of the House, who believed that “[t]he people of Porto Rico have not the slightest conception of selfgovernment,” opposed the citizenship idea for a variety of reasons, mostly racial. He was evidently unpersuaded by the general characterizations of the Puerto Ricans as a largely white people. Noting that he had visited Puerto Rico three times, he informed the house that “Porto Rico is populated by a mixed race. About 30 percent are pure African . . . [and fully] 75 to 80 percent of the population . . . was pure African or had an African strain in their blood.” 425 He favored retention of the form of government esttabltshed by the Foraker Act and interpreted Commissioner Muñoz Rivera’s remarks in favor of a more liberal form of government as an appeal for eventual statehood. “God forbid,” he asserted to the recorded applause of his colleagues, “that in his time or mine; there should be statehood for Porto Rico as one of the United States.” 42a

House consideration of the citizenship provision of the Jones bill included little or no further floor debate, and by May 22, 1916 the House had effectively taken final action on this section of the Jones bill.427 By that day it could be noted by one member of the House that the bill not only had the unatlinttnts support of the Committee Otl Insular Affairs, but also “the support, the corclial support, of the Representative of the people of Porto Rico in this House.” 42s On the following day, the House hnis}led action on various amendments without touching the citizenship provision and passed the bill by voice vote.43′,

On May 24, 1916, the Jones bill, having passed the House, was referre’d to the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico.430 The Comrllittee hacl already held hearings `’n a compandm measure introduced in the Senate by Senator Shafroth. The report

by Senator Shafroth’s (.ommittee, published JuIle 30, 191fi, acloptecl

the provision on citizenship of the Jones bill in lull and without

comment. I\ut the Committee eliminated a provision that would

have punished any person lYhO had declared his intention not to

become a citizen of the Unitecl States by prohibititlg his subsequent

naturalization. This provisit~n, in the Ctunmittcc’s view, “was

punitive in character and f.tilecl to serve any plattic;ll purpose.” 49~

An effort by Senator Shafroth to have the Senate begin to consider

the House bill was defeated on August 18, 191fi.432 Congress was

in its custo~uary recess from Scptember 9 to December 3. Thus, the

bill could not be brought to the floor of the Senate during the re

maining months of 191fi. In the meantime, on November 15, 1916,

during the congressional recess, Resident Commissioner Munoz

Rivera died in Puerto Rico.433 The island was without an official

representative in Washington until well after passage of the legisla

? tion in late February 1917.434

? President Wilson, in his annual message to Congress on De

cember 5, 1917, asserted that favorable Senate atrion on “the bill

i amending the present organic law of Porto Rico” was a matter of “capital importance.” Shortly thereafter, a bipartisan commission from Puerto Rico appeared before the Senate Committee on Pacific Islands and Porto Rico to urge the Senate to take favorable action on the pending bill. Antonio R. Barcelo, who would succeed Muñoz Rivera as leader of the Union Party, told Senator Shafroth that if the bill, which included the provision on United States citizenship, could be passed by the Senate before the December holiday recess “it would be the finest Christmas gift that could be made to the people of Porto Rico.” The metnorandum submitted to the Committee by Barcelo on behalf of the “Porto Rican Commission” offered no criticism whatever of the citizenship provision, although it did contain suggestions for various technical amendments to the bill. The memorandum also underscored the bipartisan character of the commission’s membership and the nl4animity with whir h it supported the bill.44” Quite clearly, as far as congrressional records indicate, by December 1916 Puerto Rico’s spokesmen were eager to achieve the long awaited reformation of the colonial government and no longer asserted any reservations concerning the question of United States citizenship.

The congressional recess ended on December 4, 191fi. No doubt in response to the urgings of President Wilson and the spokesmen for the various political groupings in Puerto Rico, Senator Shafroth qtade several efforts to raise the Puerto Rico bill for early Senate consideration. After two unsuccessful efforts earlier in the month, .Shafroth was finally able to gain the floor on January 13, 1917 for the commencement of debate on the Puerto Rico legislation. His opening statement noted that there had been some division of opitlion Otl the islanrl on the question of United States citizenship, but that “[t]here seems in recent years to be less opposition to citizenship on the part of the Porto Rican people, so we have provided in this bill that they shall become citizens of the United States unless they . . . file with the court a declaration that they want to remain citizens of Porto Rico.”

Noting the ahsc4lce of Puerto Rican representation in Congress (as a result of the rlc;tth of Muñoz Rivera) atltl the failltre to at:lopt the new tuganit I;INV, Shafroti1 sm~gl~t ~cptatctlly t`, rxperlite the Senate’s consideratioll of the bill.i43 ()tl the citizetlsllip provision, which evoked few questions ar4d almost no a<lverse commentary, Shafrt~tll metely rttnitlrlctl Ihc Senate that “the t~nly reason it was not dolle in the first instarlre was because ol lhe l.lct that we had the Philippine proposition at the same titne. They did not know exactly wllat they wantcrl (tJ do.”~4 lit’ assutcrl the .Senate that the citizensltip pr`,visio’1 tnet the expectatious t~f the Puerto Rican people and noted that “we have now in Washillyton representatives of the Uniollist Party and representatives of the Republicall Party, troth satisfied wi~h this very provision of the hill.” 44s The only atTtenrlmttlt by the Scnate t:o the `-itizettsllip pr`,visiot1 wits ;t tethnical one: Puerto Ricarls would be given one year, ratller than six months. in which to decirle whether to decline Unittrl States citizenship.44′; Under the terms of the bill, anti incleerl ol: all versions of the Jolles citizenship bill introduced after 1!)12,447 only citizens of the UniterI States would be eligible to vote i~8′,r hold various offices in the govemmet1t of the ITnited States or the governmeItt in Puerto Rico.44D Thus, the bill made any such decisiot1 to decline American ~ itizenship an effective waiver of participatiot1 in the public life of the island.

ConsideratioIl of the hill proeeeclerl apace in the Senate duriIlg the remainder of Januilry 1917 and througll the micldle of FebIltary. References to the citizenship question or even to the question of the ultitltate politital .r;tte of the ishmd, were frw ~u~rl f,tr hetweet1 during these debates, rotlsulTtecl as they were by prolongecl collsideratiOrI of the technicalities of a law which would serve as the constitution of a coloIlial people. In the course of a discussion ort

February 10 of requirements for the franchise, however, Shafroth With the promise of independence to the Filipinos in 1916,

did have occasion to advert to the grant of collective~citizenship in Puerto Rico became the largest of the insular territories that were

familiar terms: “We have denied . . . [the Porto Rican] the right of regarded as permanently ullder the jurisdiction of the United States.

citizenship heretofore, and he has been clamoring for it. He sa,ys,- . In matters of citizenship, reform of colonial admitlistration, and

‘I have got to belong to your country, and I want to be a citizer; of representation in Congress, Puerto Rico inevitably became a model of sorts for the smaller territories of the American empire. The

The Senate passed the bill on February 20, 1917.452 Conferees Virgin Islands in 1927, Guam in 1950, and the Northern Mariana

were promptly appointed463 in order to reconcile the Senate and Islands in 1976 successfully claimed for their people the United

·House versions of the legislation. The conference report, involv- States citizenship extended in 1917 to the people of Puerto Rico.

ing no change in the House provision on citizenship, was submmited by Congress on February 23 and 24.466.



House approved the conference report and the final version of the In the Jones Act of 1917 the Congress of the United States, after a final brief debate, on February 24, and the Senate liberalized the structure of colonial government in Puerto Rico and followed suit two days later.’67 The act of Congress including the .granted substantially more governmental autonomy for the island citizenship provision that was virtually identical to the version pr.o- than existed under the Foraker Act of 19004’2 Simultaneously posed four years earlier by Jones, was signed by President Wilson on March 2, 1917.465 helps tr~ make the Gu]f of Mexico an American lake. I again express my From June 1916 until final congressional action in February pleasure th t this bill grants these people citizenship. ” The people of ship section of the Jones bill on Puerto Rico. That matter had Puerto Rico are full citizens of the United Utates and your committee sees no reason long since been settled and required no further commentary. But why the inhabitants of the virgin Islands should not be placed in the same cateor ” For the rat er cursor consid r f the roposal of citizenship for the a passing reference to the citizenship provision of the bill, made in g Y h Y e ation 0 p the House during the final debate on the conference report by the Rrsc. 2806-07 (1927); id. 2779; id. 3979-82; id. 410S. The `;uestion of citizenship

f e c nsidered until 1937. Citiz.nshia for

rankin Re ubli or th people of uam was nr~t seriously co

g p can member of the Committee on Insular Affairs, Residents of Cinam, Hearings l3efo?e a Subcomm of the Senate Con~m. on Terri

Representative Towner of Iowa, summarized nearly two decades of tories and Insula, Affairs on S. 1450, 75th Cong, 1st Sess. (1937). At the time,

congressional debate on citizenship for the Puerto Ricans By grant- s. f sordallo, Chairma,~ of the House of Council of the Guam Congress, and other

· , . . ‘ proponents of the citizenship bill, repeatedly invoked the precedent of Puerto Rico

ng unlteCI States cltlzenshlp to the Puerto Ricans, Towner in- and the vugin Islands. Id. 6, 8 & ss. The proposal was unsuccessful but was

“ revived and adopted in 1950

formed the House, [w]e are conferring on them what they ought (1950) (CUrrent verS~on at 8 U.sgc ~ClA407°(fl907u6a)m) CV 512, §4, 64 Stat. 384

to have had years ago and what they earnestly desire—the privilege ~Administration 134 (Library of Congress, Legislative Reference 8ervice, Public

of being American citizens and being placed under the protection Aff8irs sulletin No 95, June 1951 ) Writing in 1941 of the nstive peoples of

0 our ag. political status of the Chamorros [the nstive people of Cuam] was to be defined

by the American Congress. This has never been done, however, so they rapk as

Id. 3009 10 (remarks of Sen. Shafroth). American nationals, not as American citizens, and they are designated as ‘citizens

~s2 Id. 3667 (Senate vote). of Cusm.’” L. Thompson, Guam and Its People 56-57 (American Council, In

45Sld. (Senate conferees); id. 3733 (House conferees). stitute of Pacific Relations, Studiec of the Paciflc No. 8, 1941). The status enjoyed

d64 b the Puerto Ricans from 1 9 u t —A erican nationals rather than citizens

however, Congress reaffirmed the indefinite colonial status of the island by conferring a type of citizenship on its inhabilants that strengthened Puerto Rico’s ties to the United States but gave its people few of the civil and political rights normally associated with American citizenship. From the outset, the grant of American citizenshlp to the people of this colony was wholly divorced from the Idea of “giving . . . those people any rights that the American people do not want them to have.” The objective of making Puerto Ricans citizens, as Senator Foraker noted as early as 1900, was merely “to recognize that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States of America.” The word “citizens,” he remblded his colleagues, meant nothing more than “allegiance on the one hand and protection on the other.” Thus, a half century after the United States proclaimed the inadmissability of the ownership of persons, lt affirmed its acceptance of the contemporaneous European concept of the ownership of peoples.

As far as the proponents of United States citizenship for the Puerto Ricans were concerned, however, there was no element of compulsion in the transaction. The grant of citizenship was generally believed to conform to the wishes of the people of Puerto Rico. Apart from isolated and usually equivocal statements of opposition, members of Congress were aware only of widespread and sustained Puerto Rican support for the proposal.463 The only strong statement h1 opposition toUnite<l States c itizenship fro~ll Puerto Rico was a melTIorial from the House of Deleg,ttes presented to Congress in 1914, three years before the Jones Act became law.469 Yet this memorial did not argue for independence, and its significance was undercut by the subsequent approval of the Jones Act citizenship proposal by Puerto Rican leaders. Moreover, despite an unusual and eloquent statement on the floor of the House in opposition to the citizenship proposal, Puerto Rico’s resident commis

48333 CONC. REC. 2473 (1900) (remarks of Sen. Foraker). See text accompany~ng note 139 supra. See also text accompanying notes al6-2o supra. Chief Justiee Taft would note that the only right that cinzenship conferred upon the Puerto Hicans was the right ‘to move into the continental United States and bec`’m~ng res~dents of any state there to enjoy every right of any other citizen of the t n~ted States, c~v~l, soc~al and political.” salzac v Porto Pico, 2s8 u.s. 298,

siorler rclrailled fr`,m purs~ting his oppt~sititn~ Ill C()mmIt[Ce; 47{‘ after his death, the Jolles hill, with its citizenship ploVisi`,tl httitct and s`’pp<~rted hy h`~th ~A the island’s major parties, ~vas hitiled as his p`,litical legacy to the l’uerto Rican peoplc.~, Arter passage `,f tluc l`,ttes Act,47i2 ottly 2St) persons took the legal steps necessary to declLte United States citizenship.473

In short, the United States Congress that enacted the Jones Act <‘f 1~)17 cannot bc said itttentionally to hiive ImlJOSCCI Amcrican <itizcuship on the pe`,plc `,f Puerto Rici~. Altho’~g-l1 geographic I74 ancl racial 475 consifierati<,ns were major factors in the decisiort to make the Puerto Ricitns American citizetts, the history of support for such a measure by the island’s political leaders and the lack of

470 See text acc`’mpar~ying ~,tes 398-400 s’~pra.

i7` Scr kxt i~cco~p`~y6~g ~i<>tcs 43fi-4() st~pra. Sr” als`J A. \1`,~,Ar.F5 CA’~`iN

s’~pra ~tc ·117; I B. pAr:AN `~`pra r~’te 272, at 176-82.

Pr~ert<~ Ricrfis o’~ly E’~glish-language newspaper 6~ rep`~rting the death of

M~6~,z Rivera prominently noterl his support for A’nerican citizenship:

M~ll~i~z \vas taken ill shr~rtly after his return fro~n Washington at the ch~se r~f Congress in Septen~ber…. He visitecl many places i~ the island conferring with the leaclers not only of the tinior~ist But the Rep~hlican party i`~d 6~ these c<~fere’~ces he announced his firn~ c`~\icti`,n that C`~-gress so~>n \vould pass a hi11 providing for American citize~ship f~,r P`’rto Rica~s ancl extending a greater degree of self-g~,ver~ent to the Island.

His desire for American citizenship and his open aciv`~cacy of it together with his i~sistence that nothing be done hy a~y `>f the pr~litical fii~cicrs h~re to hi’~d~r ft cl<‘s~r knitting of the r`L~6~s r’E the Isla~d :rnd th~ U’`ited St:~tc.s at first idl hut startled ‘~:~’y `,f his 6~1fi~\~`rs uhr, `~`rc hr~wcver cr~nv6~cocl rJf the wisclom of his cr’r~rs~ :~d YW”r~g i’~ lu’` t`, s~ppr~rt hirn.

Porto Ricc, Progress November 17 1916 at 1, colt 1 (copy ~n file irt the rt’~icersi0y of Penr~syloania Lau Reoiew ).

472 The Jones Act provided in part that any citize” `’f Puerto Rico could retain his . . . political status [i.e., citizen of P~crto Rico] hy making a declaration, under oath of his decision to do so \vithin six months of the taking effect of this Act before the district court i~ the district in which he resides, the declaration to be in form as follows:

“I beir~g duly sworn hereby declare my intention not to beco~ne a citizen of the United States as provided in the Act of Congress conferring United States citizenship upon citizens of Porto Rico ….”

resistance to American rule were equally important factors.476 In granting United States citizenship to the people of Puerto Rico,

Whutever else it may be, Puerto Ricr, is not a society that is preponderantly “white” under cr~nventional North American definitions of race. See generally C. LEwrs, supra note 5, ch. 13 ( 19fi3). The statistics on race collected hy the United Statm Department of War and later by the United States Census Bureau, based as they were upon North American notions of race, were invariably meaningless. As a 1940 guide to the island noted, “[t]he remark has often been made that on the mainland a drop of Negro blood makes a white man a Negro; while in Puerto Rico A drop of white blood makes a Negro a white man.” PUERTO Rlco Rr~coNsTnucnon ADMINrsn~AnoN IN CooPr~R^noN wrnH nHE WR’nERs PROGRAM OF nHE WORKS PROGRESS ADM~Nrsn`AnoN, PUERTO Rlco: A Co~nr~ TO THE ISLAND OF RonrQueN 110 (1940). See also C. LEWIS, supra note 5, at 283 (“[I]n Latin America and the Caribbean one drop of ‘white’ blood can launch an individual on the road to social aceeptanee as white.”). The accelerated “amalgamative process hetween the races” described by Pr`’fessor Lewis, C. LEWIS, supra ‘~ote 5 at 282 and others, is effectively revealed in United States census reports between ;899 and 1850 that suggested that blacks and racially mixed persons were simply vanishing in Paerto Rico. The percentage oE the Puerto Rican population reported as “white” ~ncreased with each decade of colonial rule:

The absurdity of trying to classify Puerto Rico’s racially mixed population in terms of North American notions of race prompted this extraDrdinary formulation of the “vanishing NegTo” thesis in a leading American encyclopedia:

It is to be observed that while the census taken in 1887 shows a black population of 76,985, and that taken in 1897 reduces the figure to 75,824, the census of 1899 further reduces the figure to 59,390. If this decrease should continue for a number of years, the black race would eventually disappear from Porto Rico unless there is an immigration of that race from the other West Indian islands in the future. This is the only island in all the West Indies where the white population is so overwhelmingly. in the majonty…. In 1910 the colored population was 34.5 per cent of the whole; in 1920 it had declined to 27.0 per eent.

Congress intendecl to distinguish between the Puerto Ricatis, regarded worthy of a pennanet1t association witit the United States,477 and the Filipinos who h;~tl vigorously anc-1 ”utigtatclully” resisted Arncricat1 n~lc.47~ Alth`~gh in retrosE’cc:t this p;ltertialism m;ty not reflect favorably Otl the members ol the majc~rity supporting the lotles Act `,f 1917 it cicn~otistrates that they thougilt of the extensi~n1 `~f Uttited States t itizenship as a tr’ the Puet t`~ l~ic.n~s. Therc is no eviden~e th.ll military totistripti`,rt was a purpose of the Icgislatit~n.47t’

C.ongress did however impose severe restrictions on the citizenship conferred on the Puerto Rican people: in spite of the protests of some Pnerto Rican Icatlers for the first titne in history titizenship was granted to a people without the promise oi eventual statehood 4S0 and without the full panoply of rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court uptleld this con~ gressional action by invol;ing the doctrine of territorial incorporation.48l As a result the year after the Filipinos were promised independence Congl-ess felt free to grant a litnited citizenship to the Puerto Ricans and thereby indefinitely extended the island’s colonial status. Ironically neither Congress nor the (.ourt saw anything wrong in “punishing” one peopic with the promise of independence and “rewarding” another with continited colonialism.

I.ater congresses granted a greater n~easurc `,t lot-al self-government to Puerto Rico through the Elective C;ovtrnor Art of h.3474RY and tile enactn~etit of legislation in 1950 4~3 giving Puerto Rico the right to draft its OWtl constitution. ”Comtnotl~vealth” St;ttliS rreated a third altertl;’tive a~tcptable at least for a thuc ll) ~t~,tny (t; I’uc,-n,

lRico’s voters. But in permitting the establishment of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Congress expressly disavowed any intenti~m to alter the island’s preexisting political relationship with the United States.484

Prolonged association, growing economic dependence, and mass migration of Puerto Ricans to and from the continental United States made possible by United States citizenship, inevitably have’ had significant political consequences: fully ninety-four percent of the Puerto Rican electorate voted in 1976 for political parties devoted to maintaining, in one form or another, the “inrlisstJlubi’ link of the citizenship of the United States.” ~ti5 The pro-statehood

The legislative history of the commonwealth relationship leaves no doubt that Congress did not intend to change the island’s political status. See e.g., II.R. Rr~P. No. 227S, 81st Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in [1950] U.S. CODE CONG. & AD. NEW5 2681 (“It is important that the nature and general scope of S. 3336 [A Bill to Prot~’de for the Organization af a Constitutional Cot7err~ment by the People of Puerto Rico, 81st Cong., 2d Sess. ( 1950)] he made absoh~tely clear. The hi11 ~nder considoratir~n wr~uld not change Puerto Hico’s f~ndan~ental political, social a’~d economic relationship to the United States.” Icl. at 3, U S. Ct’Dr Cr,N`.. & A~. NEWS at 2682.). See also s REP. No. 1779, 81st Cong., 2d Sess. (19.’i0). This view was shared by the executive branch of government. See, e.g., If.R. Rr:P. No. 2275, 81st Cong., 2d Sess. s-6, reprinted in [1950] U.S. CODE CONG. & AD. NEWS 2681, 2684-85 ( letter of Secretary of the Interior Oscar L. Chapman to Senat`,r, Joseph C. O’Mahoney, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior and Iris~ilar Affairs); id. at 8-9, U.S. CODE CONG. & AD. NEWS at 2688-89 (letter of Assistar~t Secretary of State Jack K. McFall to Senator Joseph C. O’Mahoney ). Senat`>r O’Mahoney said it was “fundamental that the Cor~stitution of the United States gives the Congress complete control and nothing in the Puerto Rican eonStitution could affect or amend or alter that right.” Puerto Rico Constitution: Heardr~R’ Before the Senate Comm. on Interior and Insular Affairs. 81st Cony., 2d Sess. 40 (1952). See generalll’ note 22 supra.

~r45 See note 28 supra. Proponents of commonwealth status for Puerto Rico, including more liberal versions of that status, are no less enthusiastic in proclairnrnc the bond of Unrted States citizenshrp tban the advocates of Puerto Rico

party that swept to victory in 1976 proclaims that statehood in the American Union, and “first-class” citizenship identical in all respects to that of residents of the states, is the answer to “a citizenship ot an inferior order, a citizenship of the second c]ass.” i~0

Citizenship “of the second c]ass” in a colonia] setting was destined to fall into disrepute in the era of decolonization and the reassettion of claims to equality by long-oppressed racial minorities in the United States. ~Fhe repudiation in the Unitetl States and elsewherc `~1 previously ;~rtepitti rrotiotis of ine<lr~ality arlrl sr~borrlinatitm, .tntt the .tpp;trent suttesses of the civil rights n~r~verrrelil hr the United States and the decolorlization movements in other parts of the world, inevitably r-cinforced those in Puerto Rico who define ‘the goal of statehoocl in terms of achieving “first ~ lass” citizeriship for the islancl’s people.~87 A (.ongress writing la~vs for a tomiliktnt colonial people in 1917 extenrled to the Puerto Ricans a ritizenship “of the set orlrl tlass” perpenrating their colonhd status, and a ritizenship tirat is the root of conterilporary hopes and CCmteinS ahont Puerto Rico’s- politica1 status. It remains for a new generation of Puerto Ricans, and another Congress, to determine when, and under what circumstances, this anomalous situation will end.

Muchos populares e independentistas nos dicen que la ciudadanía americana nos fue impuesta en 1917. Pero la cita a continuación nos demuestra que los puertorriqueños habian pedido la ciudadanía americana mucho antes de 1917 y que Estados Unidos por medio de una Ley (Jones-Shaffrth Act) no las concedio en 1917: “My país solicito unánime la ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos muchas veces. Lo solicito bajo la promesa del General Miles cuando desembarco en Ponce. Demos la estadidad y recibiremos su gloriosa ciudadanía para nosotros y nuestros hijos.” -Luis Muñoz Rivera, 5 de mayo de 1916-
  •   Francisco R Gonzalez En el libro American Citizenship del intelectual Hon. Jose Cabranes, Juez Federal de Circuito, documento que hasta Jose De Diego la solicito, y que la primera vez que alguien hizo referencia a que a los Puertorriquenos (ya participaban en el Ejercito desde el 1898) nos hicieron Ciudadanos fue en el 1928 por Geigel Polanco. Es que los izquierdistas siempre tratan de cambiar la historia para acomodarla a sus Utopias. Lea a Cabranes en (Necesitamos otra fotocopia para corregir algunoas paginas, si alguien tiene el libro le agradecere una fotocopia) Pompy
  • Busque los Temas Principales de en Indice
  • **************

José A. Cabranes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
José A. Cabranes

U.S. Circuit Judge
Assumed office
August 9, 1994
Nominated by Bill Clinton

Born December 22, 1940 (age 70)
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Alma mater Columbia University
Yale University
Cambridge University

José Alberto Cabranes (born December 22, 1940), is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Formerly a practicing lawyer, government official, and law teacher, he was the first Puerto Rican appointed to a federal judgeship in the continental United States (1979).




Cabranes was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico into a family of educators; both his mother and father were school teachers. Both parents were educated in Puerto Rico’s public schools and at the then newly founded University of Puerto Rico in the first decades of the Twentieth Century, part of the first generation of Puerto Ricans educated under the American flag after Spain’s transfer of the island to the United States following the Spanish-American War (1898).

José Cabranes’s mother, Carmen López Cabranes, was born in Humacao, PR, in the southeastern part of the island, and graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1930. After graduation, Mrs. Cabranes worked as a grammar school teacher, and for a period during the Second World War, as director of the San Juan school lunch program. In 1946, she moved with her family to the South Bronx, where her husband had been recruited by the National Council of Jewish Women to become the executive director of Melrose House, a settlement house that had historically served Jewish immigrants, but was then principally serving its neighborhood’s recently-arrived Puerto Rican population.[1]

Mrs. Cabranes became an editor of Spanish-language publications for McGraw-Hill, and was the production editor of the journals of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.[2][3]

While living in New York City in the 1950s and 1960s, Carmen Cabranes was involved in politics, participating in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and Robert F. Kennedy’s 1964 senatorial campaign. She worked closed at her husband’s side in the cultural, civic and religious leadership of the Puerto Rican community in New York.[4]

The couple retired to Santurce, Puerto Rico, in 1965, where Mrs. Cabranes was briefly the editor of the industrial guide of Puerto Rico’s Economic Development Administration. She was active in pro-statehood politics, participating exuberantly in mass rallies well into her 90’s. She died in San Juan in 2006 at the age of 96.[5]

José A. Cabranes’s father, Manuel Cabranes, was born in Toa Alta, PR, a rural town in the hills of the island’s north-central region, and began his career as a rural school teacher in the countryside around Toa Alta. In time he became a teacher in the island’s capital city and principal of the Rafael M. de Labra School in Santurce, PR. In 1931, he and two other Puerto Rican teachers were selected for graduate training fellowships in the continental United States in the newly-developing professional field of social work, thereby becoming the first professionally trained social workers in Puerto Rico. Returning from graduate work at Fordham University in 1933, Manuel Cabranes served as a supervisor of social work in several of the reconstruction programs of the territorial government of the New Deal era (1934–1940), organizing and directing the territory’s first program of probation and parole (1934–1936) and later, in Mayaguez, serving as director of the Escuela Industrial Para Niños (Industrial School for Boys), one of the first “reform schools” on the island (1940–1942).

Manuel Cabranes was a founder of the probation and parole office of the island’s federal court, serving from 1942 to 1946 as Chief Probation Officer of the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico.[6] He was serving in the federal court of Puerto Rico when he was recruited to become director of Melrose House in the South Bronx, part of the first airborne migration to New York City in the post-war era. José Cabranes and an older brother, Manuel A., studied at St. Anslem’s School in the South Bronx, and later, in the public schools of Flushing, Queens.

Manuel Cabranes in 1948 was appointed the first director of the office of the government of Puerto Rico in New York City by Gov. Jesús T. Piñero, and also served for several years under the island’s first elected governor, Luis Muñoz Marín.[7] As the principal Puerto Rican Government spokesman for the mass of Puerto Ricans who had recently migrated to New York, he was called upon to defend them when attacked by opponents of the migration, including major newspapers.[8]

The government of Puerto Rico office headed by Manuel Cabranes in New York was attacked in November 1950 by Puerto Rican Nationalists who simultaneously attempted to assassinate President Harry Truman at Blair House in Washington and Governor Muñoz Marín in San Juan. The two home-made bombs hurled at the New York office failed to explode.[9]

In 1951, Manuel Cabranes began to serve in New York City Government,[10] where he served as Consultant to the Commissioner of Welfare and was active in the civic life of New York’s Puerto Rican community and a regular contributor on cultural affairs in the city’s Spanish-language newspapers, El Diario de Nueva York and La Prensa.[11] He was a leading Roman Catholic layman, serving the Archdiocese of New York for many years as Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Feast of St. John the Baptist, the annual religious celebration of the feast day of the patron saint of Puerto Rico.[12] In a time before the ready availability of public scholarships for college study, he joined in organizing the New York Puerto Rican Scholarship Fund in 1952, which awarded cash scholarships to support undergraduate and graduate education of New York Puerto Rican youth, and he led the organization for more than a decade.[13]

Manuel Cabranes retired from the New York City government in 1965 and returned with his wife to Puerto Rico, where he taught sociology at the College of the Sacred Heart, in Santurce, and was a regular contributor of articles on various subjects to Spanish-language newspapers and journals. He died in San Juan in 1984 at the age of 79.[14]

José Cabranes graduated from Flushing High School in 1957 and earned a bachelor of arts degree in History from Columbia College in 1961. Between college and law school at Yale, he taught History of Puerto Rico and History of the United States at the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, in Rio Piedras, PR. He earned his law degree from Yale in 1965 and was awarded a Kellett Research Fellowship from Columbia College and the Humanitarian Trust Studentship in Public International Law from the Faculty Board of Law of the University of Cambridge to study international law at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, in England. In 1967, he earned his M.Litt. (Masters of Letters) in International Law, and returned to New York city to practice law.[15]

[edit]Positions held

Cabranes was an associate in the New York City law firm of Casey, Lane & Mittendorf (now dissolved) from 1967 to 1971, and became avocationally active in public affairs and the civic life of the Puerto Rican community of New York. In the early 1970s he served as a trustee of the Hudson Guild settlement house, in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, and as a director of Citizens Union, a “good government” civic group first organized in the early Twentieth Century. In 1971 he became Chairman of the Board of Directors of ASPIRA of New York, an organization that helps inner-city Hispanic youth prepare for higher education,[16] and he was a founding member of the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, of which he was later (1975–1980) Chairman.[17]

In 1971, Cabranes left law practice to become Associate Professor of Law at Rutgers University Law School, in Newark, where he taught administrative law, conflicts of law and international law. While at Rutgers Law School he continued to live in New York City, and in 1971 was appointed by Mayor John V. Lindsay as a member of the board of directors of a newly-created public corporation, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.[18]

In 1973, Cabranes took a leave of absence from Rutgers Law School to accept appointment by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Rafael Hernández-Colón, as Special Counsel to the Governor and head of the Commonwealth’s Washington office (later known as the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration).[19]

In 1975, he moved to New Haven, when he was appointed by Yale’s President, Kingman Brewster, Jr., as Yale’s first general counsel. He served as Yale’s general counsel also under Acting President Hanna Holborn Gray (later President of the University of Chicago) and President A. Bartlett Giamatti.[20]

While General Counsel of Yale University (1975–1980), Cabranes served in a number of part-time public positions, including as a Public Member of the United States Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Belgrade, 1977–1978) and as Consultant to Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance (1977–1978).[21] He was elected a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and published a legislative history of the 1917 law that collectively conferred American citizenship of the people of Puerto Rico, Citizenship and the American Empire (Yale University Press, 1978).

President Jimmy Carter appointed Cabranes as one of the lay members of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, chaired by Mrs.Rosalyn Carter (1977–1979),[22] and President Carter was reported to have been ready to appoint him to an ambassadorial position.[23]Cabranes’s refusal to accept appointment as Ambassador to Colombia, after the Colombian government’s initial hesitation to accept a Puerto Rican as the American envoy, led to a political firestorm and charges by national Hispanic leaders of the White House’s mismanagement of an appointment they had supported.[24]

Cabranes was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in December 1979 and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in August 1994.[25]

Throughout his judicial career, Cabranes’s principal avocational activity has been university trusteeship, including the boards of the two American universities of which he is an alumnus. He served as a trustee of Colgate University, in Hamilton, NY, from 1981 to 1989, and as a successor trustee of Yale (Fellow of the Yale Corporation), from 1987-1999. He was the first Roman Catholic to serve on the Yale Corporation. Since 2000, he has been a trustee of Columbia University.[26][27]

[edit]Federal judgeships

In 1979, Cabranes was in the unusual position of being seriously considered for a federal district judgeship in two different states, New York (where he had grown up) and Connecticut (where he was then serving as Yale’s General Counsel).[28] Both Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihanof New York and Abraham A. Ribicoff of Connecticut were reported to have offered to recommend his appointment to President Carter.[29]

Eventually opting for Connecticut, Cabranes accepted the offer of sponsorship of Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff. President Jimmy Carter nominated Cabranes on November 6, 1979 to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Cabranes was unanimously confirmed on December 10, 1979, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican to serve as a federal judge in the continental United States.[30]

While serving on the District Court, Cabranes was elected by the Judicial Conference of the United States to the Board of the Federal Judicial Center, the educational arm of the federal judiciary whose chairman is the Chief Justice of the United States.[31] In 1988, Chief Justice Rehnquist named Cabranes as one of five federal judges on the Federal Courts Study Committee, a fifteen-member commission created by Act of Congress to study the administration of the federal courts.[32]

In 1994, it was Senator Moynihan who made possible Cabranes’s elevation to the United States Court of Appeals.[33] Moynihan recommended Cabranes for a New York seat on that Court and on May 24, 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated him to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, based in New York.[34] His nomination was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on August 9, 1994. Cabranes thus became the second Puerto Rican named to a U.S. Court of Appeals, after Juan R. Torruella who had been appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1984 to the First Circuit. Cabranes also became the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Second Circuit.

Contemporary news accounts reported that in 1993 Cabranes was considered by President Clinton for appointment to the seat on theSupreme Court of the United States that ultimately went to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.[35] Had he been appointed, Cabranes would have been the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. These reports are confirmed in the autobiography of former Clinton administration adviser George StephanopoulosAll Too Human: A Political Education.[36] Newspaper accounts in 1994 likewise reported that Cabranes was considered for the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Harry Blackmun, which ultimately was filled by Stephen Breyer.[37]

[edit]Notable rulings

The following decisions, among others, appear in the 2010 edition of the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary.[38]

United States v. Gatlin, 216 F.3d 207 (2d Cir. 2000): Cabranes, writing for the panel in a matter of first appellate impression, held that the district court was without congressionally authorized jurisdiction to try a civilian charged with committing a crime against an individual on a United States military installation abroad. Cabranes concluded that such crimes fell within a “jurisdictional gap” that was created 40 years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that civilians may not be tried in courts martial, and directed that a copy of the opinion be forwarded to members of Congress for their consideration. Following the panel’s decision, Congress enacted a statute remedying the jurisdictional gap.

In re United States (Coppa), 267 F.3d 132 (2d Cir. 2001): Cabranes, writing for the panel and granting the government’s petition for mandamus, held that the district court misapplied the teachings of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and its progeny in holding that the government was required, as a matter of constitutional law, to disclose all impeachment evidence immediately, pursuant to defendants’ request for such, without regard to its materiality and far in advance of trial.

United States v. Thomas, 274 F.3d 655 (2d Cir. 2001) (en banc): Cabranes, writing for the unanimous en banc court, held that the teachings of the Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) compel the conclusion that drug type and quantity are elements of the offense under 21 U.S.C. §841 that must be charged in the indictment and submitted to the jury for its finding beyond a reasonable doubt.

United States v. Reyes, 283 F.3d 446 (2d Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 833 (2002): Cabranes, writing for the panel, provided an account of the United States Probation Office functions and held that a probation officer conducting a court-imposed home visit of a convicted person serving a term of federal supervised release is not subject to the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment or to the reasonable suspicion standard applicable to probation searches under United States v. Knight, 534 U.S. 112 (2001). Cabranes also concluded that, contrary to the so-called “stalking horse” theory, the law permits cooperation between probation officers and law enforcement personnel.

United States v. Quinones, 313 F.3d 49 (2d Cir. 2002), reh ‘g denied 317 F. 3d 86 (2d Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1051 (2003): Cabranes, writing for the panel, held that the district court erred by finding the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 unconstitutional. Cabranes held that, to the extent that the challenge against the statute relied upon the Eighth Amendment, it was foreclosed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976). With respect to the Due Process Clause, Cabranes held that it protected against government infringement upon rights that were so rooted in the traditions and conscience of the people as to be ranked as fundamental, but that the claim that there was a fundamental right to a continued opportunity for exoneration throughout the course of one’s natural life was not (as the district court had suggested) a novel issue, and indeed, was foreclosed by relevant Supreme Court precedents.

United States v. Yousef, 327 F.3d 56 (2d Cir. 2003), cert. denied 540 U.S. 933 (2003): Cabranes, writing jointly with other members of the panel, held that the district court erroneously concluded that the acts charged in one of the counts against the defendant were offenses against the law of nations that supported the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Cabranes concluded that customary international law currently does not provide for the prosecution of “terrorist” acts under the universality principle, in part due to the failure of States to achieve anything like consensus on the definition of terrorism. Cabranes nonetheless held that prosecution and conviction of the defendant on the count in question was both consistent with and required by the United States’ treaty obligations and domestic laws.

Flores v. Southern Peru Copper Corporation, 343 F.3d 140 (2d Cir. 2003): Cabranes, writing for the panel, held that customary international law, for the violation of which an alien has a private right of action under Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, is limited to those clear and unambiguous rules by which states universally abide, or to which they accede, out of a sense of legal obligation and mutual concern. Cabranes concluded that the rights to life and health are insufficiently definite to constitute rules of customary international law and that plaintiffs, who alleged that Peruvian operations of an American mining company had caused severe lung disease, have not submitted evidence sufficient to establish that customary international law prohibits intranational pollution.

Church of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan v. Kerik, 356 F.3d 197 (2d Cir. 2004), cert. denied 125 S. Ct. 655 (2004): Cabranes, writing for the panel, upheld New York’s anti-mask statute against constitutional challenge, holding that masks worn by self-described members of an “unincorporated political membership association that advocates on behalf of the white race and the Christian faith” did not constitute expressive conduct entitled to first amendment protection. Cabranes concluded that where a statute banning conduct imposes a burden on the wearing of an element of an expressive uniform, which element has no independent or incremental expressive value, the first amendment is not implicated.

Jeffreys v. City of New York, 426 F.3d 549 (2d Cir. 2005): Cabranes, writing for the panel, affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a suit alleging excessive force on the part of New York police officers. Cabranes held that, notwithstanding the general rule that district courts may not weigh evidence or assess the credibility of witnesses at the summary judgment stage, a district court may grant summary judgment where a plaintiff relies almost exclusively on his own testimony and that testimony is “so replete with inconsistencies and improbabilities” that no reasonable juror would undertake the suspension of disbelief necessary to credit he allegations made in the complaint.

Hayden v. Pataki, 449 F.3d 305 (2d Cir. 2006) (en banc): Cabranes, writing for a majority of the en banc court, held that section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. § 1973, did not extend to a New York statute that disenfranchised currently incarcerated felons and parolees, N.Y. Elec. Law §5-106. Cabranes held that Congress did not intend to include prisoner disenfranchisement provisions of the type adopted by New York within the coverage of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and that Congress made no clear statement of an intent to modify the federal balance by applying the Voting Rights Act to these provisions.

Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143 (2d Cir. 2007): In a concurring opinion, Cabranes urged the Supreme Court to revisit and clarify its precedents on pleading standards in order to determine whether they strike the right balance between the need to deter unlawful conduct and the dangers of exposing public officials to burdensome litigation. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider the adequacy of the pleadings in this case. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 128 S.Ct. 2931 (2008).

Mora v. New York, 524 F.3d 183 (2d Cir. 2008): Cabranes, writing for a unanimous panel on a question of first impression, held that the requirement of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that a detained alien be informed of the availability of consular notification and access did not establish a right that could be vindicated in a civil rights action for damages. He also concluded that the detention of an alien without being informed of the availability of consular notification and access did not amount to a tort in violation of customary international law cognizable under the Alien Tort Statute.

Ricci v. DeStefano, 530 F.3d 88 (2d Cir 2008): In a dissenting opinion joined by five other members of the 13-member court, Cabranes objected to the perfunctory affirmance of an award of summary judgment to the defendants in a civil rights action. Cabranes dissented from the denial of en banc rehearing of this case, observing that the appeal raised important questions of first impression regarding the application of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and Title VII’s prohibition on discriminatory employment practices-primarily, whether a city employer may disregard the results of a qualifying employment examination, which was carefully constructed to ensure race-neutrality, on the gound that the results of that examination yielded too many qualified applicants of one race and not eough of another. Cabranes urged the Supreme Court to consider the question, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari on January 9, 2009. The Supreme Court reviewed the decision to dimsiss the suit, reversed it, and took the unusual step of granting judgment for the firefighters.

Arar v. Ashcroft, 532 F.3d 157 (2d Cir. 2008): In an action brought by a dual citizen of Canada and Syria arising from his alleged detention in the United States, transfer to Syria, and detention and torture in Syria, Cabranes, writing for a unanimous panel, held that the court had jurisdiction over the defendant government officials and that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim under the Torture Victim Prevention Act. Writing for the panel majority, Cabranes affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), on the grounds that (1) an alternative remedial scheme precluded recognition of the claims, and (2) special factors counseled hesitation in creating a new and freestanding Bivens remedy.

In re Terrorist Bombings (Fourth Amendment Challenges), 552 F.3d 157 (2d Cir. 2008): Affirming the convictions of Al Qaeda terrorists for their involvement in the bombing of the American Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Cabranes held, as a matter offirst impression, that the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement does not govern searches of U.S. citizens conducted abroad by U.S. agents; such searches need only satisfy the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of reasonableness. Cabranes also held that a district court’s ex parte, in camera evaluation of evidence submitted by the government in opposition to a suppression motion is appropriate when national security considerations weigh in favor of maintaining the confidentiality of that evidence.

In re Terrorist Bombings (Fifth Amendment Challenges) 552 F.3d 177 (2d Cir. 2008): Considering the motions to suppress statements made overseas to U.S. and non-U.S. officials by defendants convicted of participation in the bombing of American Embassies in East Africa, Cabranes held that oral warnings provided by a federal prosecutor were sufficient to apprise the defendants of their Miranda rights insofar as they had any such rights. In addition, Cabranes held that defendants’ 14-day incommunicado detention in Kenyan custody did not render their post-warning statements involuntary and that, in order to reopen suppression proceedings, the government is not required to offer a reasonable justification for not having presented evidence at an earlier proceeding.

SEC v. Dorozhko, 574 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2009): Writing for a unanimous panel, Cabranes held that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission could sue a computer hacker under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 even though the defendant was neither a fiduciary nor corporate insider, so long as the theory of fraud was an affirmative misrepresentation in connection with the purchase or sale of a security, rather than the violation of a duty to disclose the basis for a trade.

In re N.Y. Times Co., 577 F.3d 401 (2d Cir. 2009): Cabranes, writing for a unanimous panel, held that neither the First Amendment nor the common law right of access entitled the New York Times and other media companies to review wiretap applications that were sealed pursuant to a federal statute, where the media companies had not met the statutory threshold of “good cause.” The wiretap applications were submitted and approved as part of a federal investigation of the “Emperor’s Club,” a prostitution ring linked to the former Governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer.

Henry v. Ricks, 578 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 2009): Writing for a unanimous panel, Cabranes held that a ruling of the New York Court of Appeals that affected the elements of depraved indifference murder under New York law did not apply retroactively in a state prisoner’s habeas petition. Notably, Cabranes held that the Due Process Clause did not require the retroactive application of a change in state criminal law.

United States v. Ray, 578 F.3d 184 (2d Cir. 2009): Considering a speedy-trial challenge to a sentence imposed 15 years after conviction, Cabranes, writing for a unanimous panel, held that the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment applies to trials only, not to sentencing proceedings. Although the Sixth Amendment was inapplicable to the appellant’s sentencing, Cabranes held that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment did apply to sentencing proceedings. Because the 15-year delay in sentencing was not justified by any legitimate reason and was prejudicial, the sentence violated the Due Process Clause.

United States v. Rigas, 583 F.3d 108 (2d Cir. 2009): Writing for a unanimous panel, Cabranes upheld the sentences imposed on John J. Rigas and Timothy J. Rigas, the former CEO and CFO of Adelphia Communications Corp, which was among the largest U.S. cable companies before its collapse in an accounting scandal. Cabranes rejected arguments that the sentences were “substantively unreasonable,” and described that standard as akin to a “manifest-injustice” or a “shocks-the-conscience” standard. In other words, wrote Cabranes, appellate review of the substance of a sentence “provide[s] a backstop for those few cases that, although procedurally correct, would nonetheless damage the administration of justice because the sentence imposed was shockingly high, shockingly low, or otherwise unsupportable as a matter of law.”

Selevan v. New York Thruway Authority, 584 F.3d 82 (2d Cir. 2009): Cabranes, writing for a unanimous panel, held that plaintiffs, who challenged an interstate highway toll policy that afforded a discount to citizens of Grand Island, New York stated claims under several provisions of the Constitution, including the “dormant” Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Cabranes rejected the New York Thruway Authority’s argument that its action was not subject to scrutiny under the dormant Commerce Clause because it was a “market participant,” and the opinion established that dormant Commerce Clause challenges to highway toll policies must be analyzed under the factors set forth in the Supreme Court’s opinion in Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. County of Kent, 510 U.S. 355, 369 (1994). Cabranes also held that one of the plaintiffs, who was a United States citizen residing in Canada, could not state a claim under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, which, he explained, was designed to integrate the several states into coherent whole and did not afford protection to residents of foreign countries.

[edit]Notable publications

Cabranes is the author of Citizenship and The American Empire (Yale 1979), a legislative history of the United States citizenship of the people of Puerto Rico, and (with Kate Stith), Fear of Judging: Sentencing Guidelines in the Federal Courts (University of Chicago Press, 1998).

[edit]Recent publications & lectures

International Law by Consent of the Governed, 42 Valparaiso Law Review 119 (2007) (Indiana Supreme Court Lecture of 2006)

Myth and Reality of University Trusteeship in the Post-Enron Era, 76 Fordham Law Review 955 (2007) (The Robert L. Levine Distinguished Lecture of 2007)

Our Imperial Criminal Procedure: Problems in the Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Constitutional Law, 118 Yale Law Journal 1660 (2009) (The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture, New York County Lawyers’ Association, 2008)

The Costs of Judging Judges by the Numbers, 28 Yale Law and Policy Review 313 (2010) (with Marin K. Levy and Kate Stith)

[edit]Awards & recognition

Among the many awards received by Cabranes are the following:

  • John Jay Award from Columbia University (1991)
  • Connecticut Bar Association Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award (1993)
  • Gavel Award (Certificate of Merit) of the American Bar Association (1999)
  • Federal Bar Council’s Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence (2000)


Cabranes is married to Kate Stith-Cabranes, the Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law and former Acting Dean (2009) at Yale Law School and Cabranes’s co-author of Fear of Judging: Sentencing Guidelines in the Federal Courts (University of Chicago, 1998). They are the parents of four children: Jennifer Cabranes Braceras, a lawyer in Massachusetts, and Amy Cabranes, Director of Development of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, both born to Jose Cabranes’s first marriage, to Susan Feibush; Alejo Cabranes, a recent graduate of Dartmouth College; and Benjamin Jose Cabranes, an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

Kate Stith-Cabranes is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and a graduate of Dartmouth Collegeand Harvard Law School. She clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Byron R. White. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Kate Stith-Cabranes served for eleven years as a trustee of Dartmouth College.

[edit]See also


Constructs such as ibid. and loc. cit. are discouraged by Wikipedia’s style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title. (March 2011)
  1. ^ “Profile: Judge José A. Cabranes,” Puerto Rico Herald
  2. ^ “Carmen Cabranes, 96, Puerto Rico Activist,” New York Sun
  3. ^ “Carmen L. Cabranes Dies, U.S. Judge’s Mother,” Hartford Courant
  4. ^ Ibid.
  5. ^ Ibid.
  6. ^ “Manuel Cabranes, Puerto Rican Aide in City for 20 Years,” N.Y. Times
  7. ^ “Pinero Cites Gains by Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, July 23, 1948; “Honor Settlement House Head,” N.Y. Times, Feb. 11. 1948.
  8. ^ “Aid Plan Outlined for Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, Sept. 15, 1949; “City Puerto Ricans: Complex Problem,” N.Y. Times, Oct. 3, 1949; “Puerto Ricans Here Said to be Exploited,” N.Y. Times, Feb. 20, 1950; “Unions Plan Help to Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, March 24, 1950; “Alien Farm Labor Protested Amid Political, Racial Rifts,” N.Y. Times, April 4, 1950; “Teaching Planned for Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 22, 1950; “Manuel Cabranes, Puerto Rican Aide in City for 20 years,” N.Y. Times; Feb. 17, 1984; “Aid Plan Outlined for Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, Sept. 15, 1949; “500 Pickets Blast Newspaper Series on Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. World Telegra, Oct. 31, 1947; “They Flee Dark Future to Warm Sun to Become City’s Problem Brood,” Sunday News, Oct. 12, 1947; “Solution is Sought to Migrant Influx,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 4, 1947; “Crime Increasing in ‘Little Spain’ ,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 2, 1947; “Official Worried by Influx of Migrant Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 2, 1947; “Puerto Rico Rush Boosts City Woes,” N.Y. Journal-American, Aug. 2, 1947; “Little Puerto Rico, A Gigantic Sardine Can,” N.Y. World-Telegram, May 2, 1947.
  9. ^ Richard H. Parke, “Grand Jurors Here Study Death Plot,” N.Y. Times, Nov. 3, 1950.
  10. ^ “Foster Care Aide Sworn,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 25, 1951.
  11. ^ “2 Named Consultants to the City Welfare Chief,” N.Y. Times, March 3, 1954.
  12. ^ “Feast of St. John to Brighten City,” N.Y. Times, June 23, 1956.
  13. ^ “To Aid Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, Jan. 16, 1952; Mac Lopez, “De Maestro en Puerto Rico a Consultor de Bienestar Publico en Nueva York,” El Diario de Nueva York, Jan. 27, 1963.
  14. ^ “Manuel Cabranes, Puerto Rican Aide in City for 20 Years,” N.Y. Times
  15. ^ [1] Columbia Trustee Biography
  16. ^ “Law Professor Is Named Board Chairman of Aspira,” N.Y. Times, Sept. 13, 1971; Jerry Tallmer, “Daily Closeup: He Speaks the Language,” N.Y. Post, Sept. 27, 1971
  17. ^ “Yale Counsel in Right Place at Right Time: Cabranes a Contender in 2 U.S. Districts,” N.Y. Law Journal, July 25, 1979; Court biography; Yale Weekly Bulletin and Calendar, Oct. 3-10, 1977.
  18. ^ Ibid.; “City Aide Named to Succeed Lacot in Lincoln Hospital,” N.Y. Times, Nov. 18, 1971.
  19. ^ “Yale Counsel in Right Place at Right Time: Cabranes a Contender in 2 U.S. Districts,” N.Y. Law Journal, July 25, 1979; Court biography; Yale Weekly Bulletin and Calendar, Oct. 3-10, 1977.
  20. ^ Ibid.
  21. ^ Ibid.; “Cabranes Named to Human Rights Post,” San Juan Star, Oct. 8, 1977.
  22. ^ “Two at Yale Selected for President’s Panel,” New Haven Register, March 29, 1977.
  23. ^ “Hispanic-American Turns Down Envoy’s Post Amid Controversy,” N.Y. Times, June 13, 1977; “Yale Official Turns Down Colombia Ambassadorship,” Wash. Post, June 14, 1977.
  24. ^ Ibid.
  25. ^ [2] Columbia Trustee Biography
  26. ^ Dan Oren, Joining the Club 434 (2d. ed. 2000); Columbia University website.
  27. ^ [3] Columbia Trustee Biography
  28. ^ “Yale Counsel in Right Place at Right Time for Judgeship: Cabranes a Contender in 2 U.S. Districts,” N.Y. Law Journal, July 25, 1979; “Opportunities’ Knocks Put Judge High on List,” N.Y. Times, May 9, 1994; “At the Bar, “ N.Y. Times, May 28, 1993.
  29. ^ “A Puerto Rican for the Federal Court,” N.Y. Times, Dec. 21, 1979.
  30. ^ Ibid.
  31. ^ Report of Federal Judicial Center (1984).
  32. ^ Report of the Federal Courts Study Committee (April 2, 1990).
  33. ^ “Federal Judge To Be Elevated to Appeals Slot,” N.Y. Times, May 25, 1994, “Opportunities’ Knocks Put Judge High on Lists,” N.Y. Times, May 9, 1994; “Opportunities’ Knocks Put Judge High on Lists,” N.Y. Times, May 9, 1994; see also [4] “At the Bar; For President Clinton, old-school ties take precedence over senators’ wishes in a search for a judge,” N.Y. Times, Oct. 29, 1993.
  34. ^ Ibid.
  35. ^ “Clinton Nears Choice for High Court Nominee,” N.Y. Times, May 20, 1993.
  36. ^ George Stephanopolous, All Too Human: A Political Education 189 (2000).
  37. ^ “Opportunities’ Knocks Put Judge High on Lists,” N.Y. Times, May 9, 1994.
  38. ^ Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, Vol. II (Aspen 2010).

[edit]External links

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Tácticas Militares(Estrategia) – La Política es una Guerra de Ideas, Propuestas y Candidatos

Tácticas Militares(Estrategia)

Tácticas Militares

Tacticas Militares(Estrategia)

Asalto frontal

La táctica militar del asalto frontal es un movimiento directo y hostil de fuerzas contra el enemigo, con un gran número de elementos, en un intento por abatirlo. Es a menudo referido como un golpe suicida, debido a que comúnmente es el último recurso de un comandante que no tiene más estrategias.


Antes del siglo XIX, un asalto frontal en contra de una delgada línea defensiva podía ser efectivo cuando era apoyado por cuerpos de caballería. Sin embargo, con el incremento de la precisión y alcance de las armas de fuego, este procedimiento ha probado su aspecto suicida. Cargas de caballería contra formaciones bien organizadas de infantería, han sido igualmente suprimidas, como se ejemplifico en la Batalla de Golden Spurs en Flanders, 1302.

Como ejemplo, este tipo de combate fue muy utilizado en la Guerra Civil Estadounidense. El tipo de militares utilizados al igual que el terreno, permitió ataques de manera frontal, y la mayoría de las batallas de la guerra civil fueron peleadas de este modo.


Una emboscada es una táctica militar consistente en un ataque violento y sorpresivo sobre un elemento enemigo que se encuentra en movimiento u ocupando una posición de manera temporal.

También puede referirse al sistema de caza homólogo, usado en el reino animal por algunos depredadores.
Una táctica milenaria

La emboscada es una técnica muy antigua. Así los romanos tuvieron que aprender nuevas formas de lucha y de uniformidad para enfrentarse a los ataques de indígenas como Viriato. Tiempo después, el uso tan frecuente de está táctica privó a España de la mayoría de sus bosques pues, durante la Invasión Musulmana, se quemaban para obligar al enemigo a salir a campo abierto.[cita requerida]

Posteriormente, la invención de los explosivos dio un nuevo cariz a esta técnica al conferir a pequeñas y no muy numerosas unidades el poder de destruir columnas enteras, incluso blindadas, en pequeñas, pero feroces escaramuzas. Así los afganos pudieron terminar con un ejército británico entero, hasta entonces invicto, cuando pasaba por un desfiladero camino de Halalabad durante el siglo XIX.



Un asedio es un bloqueo militar prolongado en una fortaleza, que suele ir acompañado del asalto a ésta, con el objetivo de su conquista mediante la fuerza o el desgaste. Tiene lugar cuando un atacante se encuentra con una ciudad o fortaleza que rechaza la rendición y no puede ser tomada fácilmente mediante un asalto frontal. Normalmente conlleva el rodeo del objetivo y el bloqueo de las líneas de abastecimiento, normalmente ayudado con maquinaria de asedio, bombardeo de artillería y la construcción de túneles subterráneos para reducir las fortificaciones.

Los asedios probablemente surgen en la historia junto con el desarrollo de las ciudades a grandes centros de población. Las ciudades antiguas de Oriente Medio, por ejemplo, ya muestran restos arqueológicos de murallas fortificadas. Durante el Renacimiento y la Edad Moderna, los asedios dominaron la forma de guerra en Europa hasta tal punto que Leonardo da Vinci, por ejemplo, ganó gran parte de su renombre mediante el diseño de fortificaciones en su estudio. Las campañas medievales generalmente se diseñaban mediante una sucesión de asedios.

Sin embargo, en la era Napoleónica, el uso cada vez mayor de cañones muy poderosos fue reduciendo el valor de las fortificaciones, de forma que ya en los tiempos modernos, las trincheras sustituyeron a las murallas, y los búnkeres sustituyeron a los castillos. Ya en el siglo XX la importancia del asedio clásico fue declinando debido a la llegada de la guerra móvil. Una fortificación concreta dejó de ser tan decisiva como lo era antes y, por ello, aunque todavía se producen asedios concretos, ya no son tan importantes ni tan comunes como lo fueron antes, dados los cambios en los medios de guerra, y sobre todo por la facilidad con que hoy en día se pueden dirigir grandes volúmenes de poder destructivo contra un solo objetivo estático.

Un asedio militar puede tener cuatro posibles desenlaces:

* Los defensores pueden romperlo sin ayuda de fuera, en cuyo caso se dice que han mantenido la posición.
* Si los defensores logran vencer gracias a ayuda del exterior, se dice que se ha levantado el asedio.
* Si el asedio finaliza con los atacantes tomando el control de la ciudad o fortaleza asediada pero los defensores logran escapar, se dice que la ciudad ha sido evacuada.
* Si los atacantes salen victoriosos y logran destruir o capturar a los defensores, se dice que la ciudad o fortaleza asediada ha caído.

Carga Highland


Se ha conocido como Carga Highland (en inglés:Highland charge) a una táctica de combate que fue empleado en Escocia en los siglos XVII y XVIII.

Se trataba de un grupo reducido de highlanders armados con su escudo de pincho, un puñal en la mano izquierda, donde llevaban el escudo y lo que no arrasaba el escudo, lo remataba el puñal y en la derecha la espada corta. Se colocaban en un alto y se lanzaban corriendo y gritando contra sus enemigos. El tamaño de los highlander, sus gritos, su aspecto fiero y sus armas formaban un conjunto aterrador.



El Swarming, cuya traducción literal en castellano sería “Enjambre”, es una estrategia militar en la cual una fuerza militar ataca a un enemigo desde múltiples direcciones diferentes para después reagruparse. Aspectos importantes del swarming son la movilidad, comunicación, autonomía de la unidad y coordinación/sincronización de sus actividades. Esta última es de vital importancia para evitar el fuego amigo y conseguir una abrumadora aplicación de la fuerza.

El desarrollo de la tecnología y varios ejemplos históricos de usos de esta táctica en el campo militar y no-militar sugieren que el swarming es más efectivo que cualquier otra estrategia militar y que debería ser adoptada por parte del mundo militar, ya que un estilo de lucha superior permite a un ejército vencer cuando su número y equipamiento es inferior al del rival. Estrategias militares tradicionales han sido la melee, la masa o la maniobrabilidad. Sin embargo la “RAND corporation” – un importante “think tank” estadounidense – ha propuesto una nueva doctrina denominada swarming, que ocurre cuando las maniobras consisten en una convergencia de ataques de muchas unidades autónomas o semi-autónomas sobre un objetivo. Es una táctica empleada a lo largo de la historia por la armada napoleónica, unidades de guerrilla y en la propia naturaleza, por abejas y hormigas.

Disparo Parto

Tacticas Militares(Estrategia)
Miniatura de una crónica medieval en la que se representa a un arquero a caballo turco otomano poniendo en práctica el disparo parto.

El disparo parto, o el disparo de Partia, es una táctica militar originada por las tribus nómadas del norte de Irán. Los escitas, persas aqueménidas y los partos están entre los primeros en emplear esta táctica. Esta consistía en un retirada fingida de los arqueros a caballo disparando tras sus hombros. En un preciso momento y mientras los caballos galopan, el jinete da vuelta para lanzar flechas hacia el ejército enemigo. La respuesta resultaba en un enemigo compactado para protegerse de las flechas, quedando de esta manera vulnerable a las cargas de la caballería pesada, o bien aprovechaban la retirada para correr tras los arqueros, viéndose frente a una lluvia de flechas. Esta maniobra requiere gran destreza ecuestre, ya que para disparar, el arquero debía emplear el arco utilizando ambas manos, y en sus comienzos, sólo se podía controlar el caballo con las piernas, pues dispositivos como el estribo o la silla de montar estaban por ser inventados. Con esto el disparo parto se hizo más sencillo, siendo, sin embargo, una táctica capaz de ser realizada sólo por los mejores jinetes.

Los pueblos nómadas de Eurasia serían bien conocidos por emplear esta táctica extensivamente dentro de su manera de combatir. Entre estos están los turcos, hunos y mongoles.

El nombre de “disparo parto” fue utilizado primeramente por Roma, y se hizo famoso en Occidente tras la famosa batalla de Carrhae, donde esta maniobra fue el elemento decisivo para la victoria parta.



En la Antigua Roma, la formación en testudo o tortuga era un orden de batalla utilizado comúnmente por las legiones romanas durante el combate y muy particularmente en los asedios. La primera mención que se conoce de esta táctica es de Polibio en el siglo II a. C.

En la testudo, los infantes se cubrían con sus scutum solapándolos a modo de caparazón, mientras que la primera fila de hombres protegía el frente de la formación con los suyos levantándolos hasta el centro de su cara. En caso de necesidad, los soldados de los flancos y los de la última fila podían también cubrir los lados y la parte posterior de la formación, aunque entonces la protección de la capa de escudos que cubría el cuadro era inconclusa al reducirse su número.

Si esta táctica era utilizada correctamente, hay que tener en cuenta que requería un gran entrenamiento para que fuese efectiva. La testudo protegía a los legionarios de forma excelente frente a los proyectiles, permitiéndolos desplazarse sin miedo a ser alcanzados por flechas, dardos, lanzas y demás armas arrojadizas. Así lo atestigua Flavio Josefo al señalar su eficacia en el año 66 al sitiar las legiones romanas Jerusalén:

Se deslizaban las flechas sin dañar, y […] los soldados pudieron, sin riesgo, minar la muralla y prepararse para pegar fuego a la puerta del Templo.
Flavio Josefo. La guerra de los judíos

Un formación derivada de ésta era la fastigiata testudo, en la que los soldados iban escalonando en altura los escudos a modo de rampa. Los de la primera línea se mantenían en posición vertical, los de la segunda se inclinaban un poco más y así sucesivamente hasta llegar a la última fila que se reclinaba sobre sus rodillas. Con esta disposición, las piedras y armas que les arrojaban desde las alturas resbalan como el agua por un tejado y permitía al mismo tiempo a otros legionarios ascender caminando sobre ellos para acceder a lo alto del muro y atacar al enemigo, llegando incluso a resistir el paso de caballos y carruajes, como señala Dión Casio.

Su principal problema residía en el hecho de que era una formación muy apretada y lenta, lo que hacía que los soldados tuvieran una gran dificultad en los combates cuerpo a cuerpo. Esta limitación quedó patente durante la batalla de Carrhae cuando los partos usaron arqueros a caballo mientras los romanos permanecían en formación regular y catafractos si estos optaban por la formación en tortuga. Otros problemas radicaban en que las piernas y caras de la fila delantera estaban expuestas o que disparos prolongados con armas de largo alcance, como por ejemplo los arcos compuestos usados en Oriente, podían atravesar el scutum y ensartar la mano del soldado al escudo que sostenía, como ocurrió en Carrhae.

Defensa elástica

La doctrina defensa elástica es una estrategia diseñada para contrarrestar los efectos de tácticas que empleen una punta de lanza acorazada (como puede ser la Blitzkrieg). La composición de esta táctica es la siguiente:

Primera Línea

Esta será una línea de defensa básica y “blanda” que, aparte, ha de poseer la capacidad de poder defenderse en erizo, es decir poder atacar hacia todos los ángulos. El objetivo no es que ofrezca una resistencia tenaz sino que retenga al enemigo el tiempo suficiente para informar al mando donde está sucediendo el intento de rotura. Las líneas que no fueron atacadas colaboraran en la defensa cuando el enemigo esté en el terreno central.

Terreno central

Consiste en una franja de tierra entre la primera y la segunda línea de defensa. Esta debería estar despejada para permitir buen ángulo de tiro.

Segunda línea de defensa

Al contrario que la primera línea de defensa esta línea esta diseñada para ser más resistente y poder aguantar fuertes ataques.

Reserva móvil acorazada

La reserva consistiría en un grupo de carros de combate que serían utilizados para atacar a la punta de lanza enemiga.


Cuando el enemigo concentre sus fuerzas en un punto de la primera línea este punto caerá. Una vez que la punta de lanza enemiga penetre, la reserva móvil se dirigirá al encuentro de ella. Mientras tanto, la segunda línea de defensa apoyará a esta fuerza, mientras que la primera línea aparte de apoyar concentrará su fuego en los grupos de infantería que normalmente se utilizan como cobertura de los flancos de la punta de lanza enemiga.

Táctica del martillo y el yunque 



Esta táctica no podía realizarse a menos que los dos ejércitos tuvieran más o menos el mismo número de efectivos, ya que consistía en encerrar al contrario por los lados.

* El “martillo” correspondía a la caballería pesada de los hetairoi que presionaba al adversario y lo contenía en un espacio cerrado.
* El “yunque” correspondía a la falange y a los hipaspistas (la infantería de élite) que intervenían justo después.

Fase 1: “El martillo” 

Para llevar a las fuerzas enemigas lejos de su centro, la caballería macedonia rodeaba los flancos del ejército contrario, sistemáticamente por el flanco derecho que estaba comandado por Alejandro en persona, para luego intentar hacer un hueco y colocarse en las líneas enemigas, por lo que obligaban a sus enemigos a reagruparse.

Círculo cántabro


El círculo cántabro era una táctica militar empleada en la antigüedad, y en menor medida durante el medievo, por la caballería ligera. Se sabe por Flavio Arriano[1] y por la adlocutio de Adriano[2] que era la forma más habitual de presentarse en combate por parte de los cántabros, de ahí su nombre, y que tras las Guerras Cántabras los romanos la adoptarían en su ejército.

En ella los jinetes formaban dos escuadrones armados con jabalinas que simulaban una carga en hilera, unos por la derecha y otros por la izquierda. En el momento previo de chocar contra las líneas enemigas giraban hacia cada extremo de sus flancos al tiempo que lanzaban los dardos y se cubrían con sus escudos para posteriormente replegarse, formando cada uno de ellos un semicírculo (ambos grupos acababan formando un círculo completo). Esta acción se repetía sucesivamente.

La táctica fue empleada fundamentalmente contra la infantería y los arqueros. El movimiento constante de los jinetes les daba ventaja frente a la lenta infantería y les convertía en un difícil objetivo. La maniobra fue diseñada para hostigar y desgastar a las fuerzas enemigas compuestas por formaciones cerradas. Fue comúnmente usada contra la infantería pesada, tales como las lentas legiones romanas.

El cantabricus circulus es similar a otras maniobras de la caballería como el disparo parto (con arcos y flechas en vez de dardos) o la caracola (mediante disparos de pistolas).

Cuadro de infantería


El cuadro de infantería es una formación defensiva formada con compañías que se disponen creando un cuadro apretado en el que los soldados de la primera fila sacan las bayonetas mientras que los soldados de las filas de atrás disparan sobre las tropas que les atacan.

La función de esta formación consistía en rechazar los ataques de la caballería (que siempre cargaba en columnas o en líneas) y, sin el apoyo de otras armas, los jinetes casi nunca lograban traspasarla.

El uso de esta formación fue imprescindible durante la Batalla de las Pirámides, en la que Napoleón se tuvo que enfrentar en inferioridad numérica a las cargas de los mamelucos, una de las mejores tropas de caballería de aquella época.

“Un frente cerrado o un cuadro de buena infantería resiste a una masa de kirguises diez veces más numerosa…” (Miguel Strogoff, de Julio Verne)


La coronelía es una formación militar ideada por el “Gran Capitán” Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba y utilizada con gran efectividad durante las Guerras Italianas de 1494 – 1559.

Representaba la evolución natural de las viejas compañías de milicia, efectivas en escaramuzas y combates en frentes reducidos, pero poco apropiadas para una campaña a gran escala.

Así, las compañías fueron integradas en una unidad mayor: la coronelía, que constaba de cuatro de aquéllas. Esto permitía una potencia de combate mayor sin renunciar a la maniobrabilidad de las compañías.

A medida que los ejércitos europeos evolucionaban, aumentaban los terrenos por defender, y las coronelías fueron a su vez integradas en una unidad mayor: los tercios, creados tras la reforma del ejército realizada por Carlos I en 1534.

Táctica de la Batalla de Gaugamela 


La Batalla de Gaugamela supuso la confrontación decisiva entre el ejército de Alejandro y el de Darío III (1 de octubre del 331 a. C.). También se la conoce como Batalla de Arbela, debido a su relativa proximidad (100 km) con la ciudad de Arbela, la actual Erbil, al norte de Iraq.
Número de efectivos 

Alejandro Magno disponía de un ejército de 47.000 hombres, que eran pocos si los comparamos con los de Darío, quien según los historiadores modernos reunió entre 100.000 y 240.000 soldados (cifra máxima debido a los problemas de suministro). La técnica del “martillo” y del “yunque”, que fue la clave de las victorias de Alejandro hasta entonces, ya no podía conducir a la victoria, pues era en efecto imposible rodear a la totalidad del ejército persa.

Tacticas Militares(Estrategia)
Desarrollo de la batalla 
Disposición en niveles 

Con el fin de no dejarse rodear por la innumerable caballería persa, Alejandro decidió disponer a sus tropas en niveles, algo completamente innovador en la Antigüedad. Alejandro tomó el mando del ala derecha de la caballería de compañeros (hetairoi), mientras que Darío III permaneció en el centro, en medio de sus tropas. Para ocupar el máximo terreno posible, Alejandro decidió alargar su flanco derecho. Avanzaba al trote para que le siguieran de cerca sus batallones de tiradores de élite (soldados de a pie equipados con hondas o lanzas de corto alcance), que Alejandro tenía como tropas de apoyo. Dicha táctica le sirvió para hacer que el ejército persa no se percatara de su presencia. Los falangistas y la caballería de Tesalia y Tracia, situada en el ala izquierda bajo el mando de Parmenión, tenían que mantener su posición durante todo el tiempo posible.

Ocupación máxima del terreno

El plan de Alejandro funcionó: las tropas A, B y C (letras asignadas arbitrariamente para permitir una definición rápida) les bloquearon el paso, creando así una brecha en el ejército persa. Dando un rápido revés, Alejandro dio media vuelta para dirigirse a la brecha. Los honderos y los lanzadores de jabalina que hasta entonces estaban tapados por el ala derecha de la caballería se descubrieron y llevaron a cabo su misión. En los demás frentes, la caballería del ala izquierda y la infantería de Alejandro resistieron a pesar de todo la embestida de los carros persas sobre el centro macedonio.

Retirada de Darío

Los honderos y lanzadores de jabalina atacaron a las tropas A, B y C para impedirles realizar sus maniobras. Al desestabilizarse, estas tropas perdieron la formación. Alejandro se metió de lleno en la brecha y decidió ir a por Darío III, subido en su carro y protegido por la Guardia Real. Cuando Darío vio lo que Alejandro pretendía hacer, comprendió que no le quedaba más opción que huir. Su huida desmoralizó a las tropas. En los otros frentes, el ala izquierda y la falange comenzaron a dar signos de debilidad ya que las tropas que les atacaban no oyeron la señal de retirada por encontrarse en medio del fragor de la batalla y alejados del rey persa.

Formaciones Samurai

Ganko (pájaros en vuelo).– Era una formación muy flexible que permitía que las tropas se adecuaran dependiendo de los movimientos del oponente. El comandante estaba situado en la parte trasera, pero cerca del centro para evitar problemas con la comunicación.

Tacticas Militares(Estrategia)
Formación Ganko. Formación Ganko. 

Hoshi (cabeza de flecha).- Era una formación agresiva en la que los samurái aprovechaban las bajas ocasionadas por los disparos de los ashigaru. Los elementos de señalización estaban cerca de los principales generales del comandante.

Formación Hoshi. Formación Hoshi. 

Saku (cerrojo).– Esta formación estaba considerada como la mejor defensa en contra de la formación Hoshi,[132] ya que dos hileras de arcabuceros y dos de arqueros estaban en posición para recibir el ataque.

Formación Saku. 

Kakuyoku (alas de grulla).– Formación recurrente con la finalidad de rodear al enemigo. Los arqueros y arcabuceros menguaban las tropas enemigas antes del ataque cuerpo a cuerpo de los samurái mientras que la segunda compañía los rodeaba.

Formación Kakuyoku. Formación Kakuyoku. 

Koyaki (yugo).
– Debe su nombre a los yugos utilizados en los bueyes. Era utilizada para neutralizar el ataque “alas de grulla” y “cabeza de flecha” y su finalidad era que la vanguardia absorbiera el primer ataque y dar tiempo a que el enemigo revelara su siguiente movimiento ante el cual la segunda compañía pudiera reaccionar a tiempo.

Formación Koyaku. 

* Gyorin (escamas de pescado).
– Se utilizaba frecuentemente para hacer frente a ejércitos mucho más numerosos con la finalidad de atacar un sólo sector para romper las filas enemigas.

Tacticas Militares(Estrategia)
Formación Gyorin. Formación Gyorin. 

Engetsu (media luna).– Formación utilizada cuando el ejército aun no era vencido pero se necesitaba realizar una retirada ordenada al castillo. Mientras que la retaguardia retrocedía, la vanguardia podía aun organizarse de acuerdo a las circunstancias.

Formación Engetsu.

Mapa de Campaña de Waterloo

Persecución de Darío

Tal y como ocurrió en la Batalla de Issos, Alejandro estuvo a punto de capturar a Darío, pero la caballería del ala izquierda estaba muy debilitada. Alejandro decidió entonces dejar ir a Darío para poder salvar a su ejército. Aprovechando la situación en que se encontraban los macedonios, las tropas persas huyeron del campo de batalla con sus jefes. Alejandro tenía la victoria asegurada, a pesar de que al principio de la batalla su posición no era favorable, pero quedó decepcionado por no haber podido capturar o matar al Gran Rey.


Darío huye con su guardia de Inmortales y la caballería bactriana. Alejandro y sus compañeros les persiguieron en vano durante 120 km. Darío murió poco después en las montañas de Media, asesinado por sus dignatarios. A raíz de esta victoria, Alejandro es coronado como rey de Asia en una ceremonia fastuosa celebrada en Arbela y a su llegada a Babilonia.


Fase 2: “El yunque” 

Atacando por los flancos, la caballería macedonia sorprendía a las tropas enemigas por la rapidez y fuerza de su impacto; en el centro, la falange y los hipaspistas avanzaban para abrir el segundo frente. Una vez se le cerraba el paso al enemigo, éste quedaba en una trampa. Generalmente, esto causaba una gran confusión porque no podía distinguirse si las unidades estaban dispersas o sólo mal coordinadas.

Tacticas Militares(Estrategia)guerra

Mapa de Campaña de Waterloomilitar


Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz – Estratega Militar y Político Alemán

Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz[1] (play /ˈklzəvɪts/; June 1, 1780 – November 16, 1831[2]) was a Prussian soldier and German military theorist who stressed the moral and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death.

Clausewitz espoused a romantic conception of warfare, stressing the dialectic of how opposite factors interact, and noting how unexpected new developments unfolding under the “fog of war” called for rapid decisions by alert commanders. Clausewitz saw history as a complex check on abstractions that did not accord with experience. In opposition to Antoine-Henri Jomini he argued war could not be quantified or graphed or reduced to mapwork and graphs. Clausewitz had many aphorisms, of which the most famous is, “War is not merely a political act, but also a political instrument, a continuation of political relations, a carrying out of the same by other means,” a working definition of war which has won wide acceptance.Claus

Carl von Clausewitz – Wikipedia

Clausewitz, Karl von

Clausewitz, Karl von (kärl fun klou’zuvits) [key], 1780–1831, Prussian general and military strategist. Clausewitz was an original thinker most influenced by the Napoleonic wars in which he fought. He served in the Rhine campaigns (1793–94), won the regard of Gerhard von Scharnhorst at the Berlin Military Academy, and served in the wars against Napoleon I. In the service of Russia from 1812 until 1814, he helped negotiate the convention of Tauroggen (1812), which prepared the way for the alliance of Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain against Napoleon. Later he reentered the Prussian army, played an important role at Waterloo, and was appointed (1818) director of the Prussian war college. His masterpiece On War was unfinished and was published posthumously. Written in a dialectic style influenced by Hegel and subject to varying interpretations, it remains influential. Clausewitz argued that although most conflicts tend toward total war in the abstract, the “friction” of reality keeps war limited, unpredictable, and dangerous. His most famous dictum, that war “is merely the continuation of policy by other means,” emphasizes his conception of war as one part of normal and pragmatic politics. At the same time, he stressed the need to strive for the most complete military victories possible, using whatever reasonable resources were available. While his work echoes themes from the ancient text The Art of War, attributed to Sun Tzu, and even more from the work of Machiavelli, Clausewitz has influenced many 20th-century strategists and historians, especially Bernard Brodie. See strategy and tactics.

See P. Paret, Clausewitz and the State (1976).

Frases De Carl Von Clausewitz

Carl Von Clausewitz » últimas frases

La guerra no es más que un duelo en una escala más amplia.


La guerra no es simplemente un acto político, sino un verdadero instrumento político, una continuación de las relaciones políticas, una gestión de las mismas con otros medios.


La guerra no es sino la continuación de las transacciones políticas, llevando consigo la mezcla de otros medios. Decimos la mezcla de otros medios, para indicar que este comercio político no termina por la intervención de la guerra.


La guerra es un acto de violencia que intenta obligar al enemigo a someterse a nuestra voluntad.


La guerra en relación a sus tendencias dominantes constituye una maravillosa trinidad, compuesta del poder primordial de sus elementos, del odio y la enemistad que pueden mirarse como un ciego impulso de la naturaleza; de la caprichosa influencia de la probabilidad y del azar, que la convierten en una libre actividad del alma; y de la subordinada naturaleza de un instrumento político, por la que recae puramente en el campo del raciocinio.


Al hablar de destrucción de fuerzas enemigas hemos de observar que nada nos obliga a limitar este concepto simplemente a las fuerzas físicas, sino que por el contrario, deben comprenderse en ellas, necesariamente, las morales.


Toda actividad militar esta relacionada, directa o indirectamente, con el combate. Es el fin por el cual un soldado es reclutado, equipado, armado y entrenado, y propósito por el cual come, duerme, bebe y marcha es, simplemente, que él debe luchar en el lugar y momento correcto.


Generalmente nos inclinamos más a creer lo malo que lo bueno, a exagerarlo sin visible causa.


¿Cuál es la idea fundamental de la defensa? Es la de parar un golpe. ¿Por qué señal se distingue? Se distingue porque en ella se espera el golpe que se debe parar.


Es cierto que la cuestión política no penetra profundamente en los detalles de la guerra; no se colocan los centinelas, no se conducen las patrullas según las consideraciones políticas. Pero la influencia del elemento político es tanto mayor, cuando se hace el plan de toda la guerra, de la campaña y a menudo también de una batalla.


Cuanto más importante y de mayor entidad sean los motivos de la guerra, cuanto más afectan a los intereses vitales de los pueblos, con mayor empeño se tratará de derribar al adversario, entonces tienden a confundirse objetivo guerrero y fin político y la guerra aparece menos política y más puramente guerrera.


La defensiva no es más que una forma ventajosa de guerra, por medio de la cual se desea procurar la victoria para poder, con ayuda de la preponderancia adquirida, pasar al ataque, es decir a un objeto positivo.

ue uno largo, pero nadie que quisiera cruzar un foso ancho empezaría por saltar hasta su centro.


La máquina militar, el ejército y cuanto a el pertenezcan es en el fondo bien sencillo, y parece, por lo tanto, fácil de manejar. Mas reflexionando se ve que ninguna de sus partes está compuesta de una sola pieza; que todas están compuestas de individuos, cada uno de los cuales conserva en todas partes su propia fricción.


Pero para que el que se defiende haga también la guerra, debe asestar golpes, es decir dedicarse a la ofensiva. Así la guerra defensiva comprende actos ofensivos que forman parte de una defensiva de un orden más o menos elevado.


Una guerra en la cual las victorias solamente sirven para parar los golpes y donde no hay ninguna intención de devolverlos, sería tan absurda como una batalla en la cual la defensa más absoluta (la pasividad) prevaleciese en todas las partes y de todas maneras.


Un rápido y vigoroso cambio hacia la ofensiva – el relámpago de la espada vengadora – es lo que constituye los más brillantes episodios de la defensa.


La guerra es la continuación de la política por otros medios.


En la filosofía de la guerra no se puede introducir en absoluto un principio modificador sin acabar cayendo en el absurdo.


Un mismo objetivo político puede originar reacciones diferentes, en diferentes naciones e incluso en una misma nación, en diferentes épocas.


Para que al oponente se so meta a nuestra voluntad, debemos colocarlo en una tesitura más desventajosa que la que supone el sacrificio que le exigimos. Las desventajas de tal posición no tendrán que ser naturalmente transitorias, o al menos no tendrán que parecerlo, pues de lo contrario el oponente tendería a esperar momentos más favorables y se mostraría remiso a rendirse.


Ninguna actividad humana guarda una relación más universal y constante con el azar como la guerra. El azar, juntamente con lo accidental y la buena suerte, desempeña un gran papel en la guerra.


La guerra entablada por una comunidad, la guerra entre naciones enteras, y particularmente entre naciones civilizadas, surge siempre de una circunstancia política, y no tiene su manifestación más que por un motivo político.


Las Fuerzas Militares deben ser anuladas, esto es puestas en tal estado que no puedan continuar la lucha. Haremos notar aquí que con la expresión “aniquilamiento de los medios de combate enemigos” nos referimos a la idea expuesta.


tiempo, ni una simple pasión por la osadía y el triunfo, ni el fruto de un entusiasmo sin límites; es un medio serio para alcanzar un fin serio. Todo el encanto del azar que exhibe, todos los estremecimientos de pasión, valor, imaginación y entusiasmo que acumula, son tan sólo propiedades particulares de ese medio.


Cuanto más intensos y poderosos sean los motivos y las tensiones que justifiquen la guerra, más estrecha relación guardará ésta con su concepción abstracta.


La estrategia es el uso del encuentro para alcanzar el objetivo de la guerra. Por lo tanto, debe imprimir un propósito a toda la acción militar, propósito que debe concordar con el objetivo de la guerra. En otras palabras, la estrategia traza el plan de la guerra y, para el propósito aludido, añade la serie de actos que conducirán a ese propósito.


La estrategia determina el lugar donde habrá de emplearse la fuerza militar en el combate, el tiempo en que ésta será utilizada y la magnitud que tendrá que adquirir. Esa triple determinación asume una influencia fundamental en el resultado del encuentro.


(…) En la estrategia todo resulta muy simple, pero no por ello muy fácil. Una vez que, por las relaciones de Estado, se determina lo que la guerra podrá y tendrá que ser, entonces el camino para alcanzar esto será fácilmente encontrado; pero seguirlo en línea recta, llevar a cabo el plan sin verse obligado a desviarse mil veces por mil influencias variables, requiere, además de fuerza de carácter, una gran claridad y firmeza mental.


(…) El desarme o la destrucción del adversario (sea cual fuere la expresión que escojamos) debe consistir siempre el objetivo de la acción militar.


La táctica constituye la enseñanza del uso de las fuerzas armadas en los encuentros, y la estrategia, la del uso de los encuentros para alcanzar el objetivo de la guerra.


En la táctica, todo encuentro, grande o pequeño, resulta un encuentro defensivo si dejamos la iniciativa al enemigo y esperamos que se adentre en nuestro frente.


El alcance y los efectos de las distintas armas tienen especial importancia para la táctica.


La expresión fortaleza de carácter, o simplemente carácter, significa una tenaz convicción, ya sea ésta el resultado de nuestro propio juicio o el de otros, ya esté basada en principios, opiniones, inspiraciones momentáneas o cualquier otro producto del entendimiento.


Sólo los principios generales y modos de ver las cosas que gobiernan la actividad desde el punto de vista más elevado pueden ser el fruto de un claro y profundo juicio, y en ellos descansa, a manera de pivote, la opinión que se forme respecto de un caso particular considerado de manera inmediata.


(…) El ataque envolvente, o desde varios lados, sólo es posible como norma para el bando que mantiene la iniciativa, o sea, la ofensiva, y que el defensor, en el curso de la acción, no está en condiciones, como no lo está en la táctica, de devolver el golpe al enemigo cercándolo a su vez.


En la guerra, el combate no es una lucha de individuos contra individuos, sino un todo organizado que integran muchas partes.


El combate determina todo cuanto se refiere a las armas y los equipos, y éstos a su vez modifican la esencia del combate. En consecuencia, existe una relación recíproca entre unos y otro.


Si la intención negativa, o sea, la concentración de todos los medios en una resistencia pura, permite alcanzar una superioridad en el combate, y si esto resulta suficiente para equilibrar cualquier ventaja que pueda haber adquirido el enemigo, entonces la simple continuidad del combate será suficiente para conseguir, de forma gradual, que la pérdida de fuerzas sufrida por el enemigo llegue a un punto en que su objetivo político no tenga una adecuada compensación, y en este punto tenderá por tanto a abandonar la lucha.


Carl Von Clausewitz

Biografía y obras destacadas de Carl Von Clausewitz

Biografía: Filósofo y militar alemán, uno de los más influyentes teóricos de la guerra, sólo comparable con Sun Tzu. Carl Von Clausewitz nació en el seno de una familia de clase media, de padre militar. En 1792 se alistó para el servicio en el Ejército Prusiano con 13 años y participó de los combates durante las campañas del Rin (1793-1794). Luego sirvió durante el asedio de Maguncia y la invasión prusiana de Francia en la Revolución Francesa (1789-1799). En 1795, tras retirarse Prusia de la guerra, Carl Von Clausewitz fue destinado a la guarnición en Neuruppin e invirtió su tiempo en estudiar filosofía, ética y arte además de temas relacionados con las ciencias y la guerra. En 1801 fue aceptado en la Academia Militar Prusiana, siendo un alumno excepcional y convirtiéndose en favorito del General Gerhard von Scharnhorst, director de la Academia y futuro primer Jefe de Estado Mayor del nuevo Ejército de Prusia surgido en 1809. Carl Von Clausewitz se recibe en 1904 con las mejores notas y es nombrado ayudante de campo del príncipe Augusto Fernando de Prusia. Al estallar las Guerras Napoleónicas, sirvió para el ejército prusiano, participando en la batalla de Jena (1806) y cayendo prisionero de Francia tras una victoria aplastante. Tras recuperar la liberta en 1808, Carl Von Clausewitz se unió al movimiento reformador impulsado por Scharnhorst y August Neidhardt von Gneisenau. Tiempo después comenzó a impartir clases en la Academia y contrajo matrimonio con la Condesa Marie von Brühl, pasando a codearse con las élites literarias e intelectuales de Berlín. Tras participar en la Batalla de Leipzig (1913) y la Batalla de Lützen (1813), fue nombrado en 1815 Jefe de Estado Mayor del III Cuerpo de Ejército prusiano, bajo el mando del General Johann von Thielmann. Carl Von Clausewitz participo de la Campaña de Waterloo y fue ascendido a Mayor General y nombrado director de la Academia Militar Prusiana en Berlín en 1818. Debido al estallido de diversos movimientos revolucionarios en Europa en 1830, el ejército fue movilizado a la frontera y un brote de cólera diezmó al batallón. Carl Von Clausewitz volvió a su hogar en 1831 y tras unos días de aparente normalidad, murió de cólera. Un año después, su viuda publicó sus manuscritos con el nombre “De la guerra”.

Obras Destacadas

  • De la guerra (1832)

Read more: Karl von Clausewitz — Infoplease.com

Translator: Colonel J.J. Graham


ewitz Quotes/Quotations

“War is the continuation of policy (politics) by other means.”
– Karl von Clausewitz
“It is clear that war is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means”
This is from a translated version of “On War” from 1976

“Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity. If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.”
– Karl von Clausewitztn’t guarantee that these Clausewitz quotations are correct or true,

b“The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. All influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent’s strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision.”

– Karl von Clausewitz

“We must, therefore, be confident that the general measures we have adopted will produce the results we expect. Most important in this connection is the trust which we must have in our lieutenants. Consequently, it is important to choose men on whom we can rely and to put aside all other considerations. If we have made appropriate preparations, taking into account all possible misfortunes, so that we shall not be lost immediately if they occur, we must boldly advance into the shadows of uncertainty.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“After we have thought out everything carefully in advance and have sought and found without prejudice the most plausible plan, we must not be ready to abandon it at the slightest provocation. Should this certainty be lacking, we must tell ourselves that nothing is accomplished in warfare without daring; that the nature of war certainly does not let us see at all times where we are going; that what is probable will always be probable though at the moment it may not seem so; and finally, that we cannot be readily ruined by a single error, if we have made reasonable preparations.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first and most important rule to observe…is to use our entire forces with the utmost energy. The second rule is to concentrate our power as much as possible against that section where the chief blows are to be delivered and to incur disadvantages elsewhere, so that our chances of success may increase at the decisive point. The third rule is never to waste time. Unless important advantages are to be gained from hesitation, it is necessary to set to work at once. By this speed a hundred enemy measures are nipped in the bud, and public opinion is won most rapidly. Finally, the fourth rule is to follow up our successes with the utmost energy. Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is the province of chance. In no other sphere of human activity must such a margin be left for this intruder. It increases the uncertainty of every circumstance and deranges the course of events.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The best form of defense is attack.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“In war the will is directed at an animate object that reacts.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“There is only one decisive victory: the last.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“a certain grasp of military affairs is vital for those in charge of general policy.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“no one starts a war-or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so-without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy’s forces, is the first-born son of war.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Only great and general battles can produce great results”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Blood is the price of victory”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If the enemy is to be coerced, you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of the situation must not be merely transient – at least not in appearance. Otherwise, the enemy would not give in, but would wait for things to improve.”
– Karl Von Clausewitzrom a translated version of “On War” from 1976

“Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity. If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. All influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent’s strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“We must, therefore, be confident that the general measures we have adopted will produce the results we expect. Most important in this connection is the trust which we must have in our lieutenants. Consequently, it is important to choose men on whom we can rely and to put aside all other considerations. If we have made appropriate preparations, taking into account all possible misfortunes, so that we shall not be lost immediately if they occur, we must boldly advance into the shadows of uncertainty.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“After we have thought out everything carefully in advance and have sought and found without prejudice the most plausible plan, we must not be ready to abandon it at the slightest provocation. Should this certainty be lacking, we must tell ourselves that nothing is accomplished in warfare without daring; that the nature of war certainly does not let us see at all times where we are going; that what is probable will always be probable though at the moment it may not seem so; and finally, that we cannot be readily ruined by a single error, if we have made reasonable preparations.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first and most important rule to observe…is to use our entire forces with the utmost energy. The second rule is to concentrate our power as much as possible against that section where the chief blows are to be delivered and to incur disadvantages elsewhere, so that our chances of success may increase at the decisive point. The third rule is never to waste time. Unless important advantages are to be gained from hesitation, it is necessary to set to work at once. By this speed a hundred enemy measures are nipped in the bud, and public opinion is won most rapidly. Finally, the fourth rule is to follow up our successes with the utmost energy. Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is the province of chance. In no other sphere of human activity must such a margin be left for this intruder. It increases the uncertainty of every circumstance and deranges the course of events.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The best form of defense is attack.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“In war the will is directed at an animate object that reacts.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“There is only one decisive victory: the last.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“a certain grasp of military affairs is vital for those in charge of general policy.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“no one starts a war-or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so-without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy’s forces, is the first-born son of war.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Only great and general battles can produce great results”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Blood is the price of victory”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If the enemy is to be coerced, you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of the situation must not be merely transient – at least not in appearance. Otherwise, the enemy would not give in, but would wait for things to improve.”
– Karl Von Clausewitz


Principal ideas

A young Carl von Clausewitz

Some of the key ideas discussed in On War include:

  • the dialectical approach to military analysis
  • the methods of “critical analysis”
  • the nature of the balance-of-power mechanism
  • the relationship between political objectives and military objectives in war
  • the asymmetrical relationship between attack and defense
  • the nature of “military genius” (involving matters of personality and character, beyond intellect)
  • the “fascinating trinity” (wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit) of war
  • philosophical distinctions between “absolute” or “ideal war,” and “real war”
  • in “real war,” the distinctive poles of a) limited war and b) war to “render the enemy helpless”
  • “war” belongs fundamentally to the social realm—rather than to the realms of art or science
  • “strategy” belongs primarily to the realm of art
  • “tactics” belongs primarily to the realm of science
  • the importance of “moral forces” (more than simply “morale”) as opposed to quantifiable physical elements
  • the “military virtues” of professional armies (which do not necessarily trump the rather different virtues of other kinds of fighting forces)
  • conversely, the very real effects of a superiority in numbers and “mass”
  • the essential unpredictability of war
  • the “fog” of war[7]
  • “friction”
  • strategic and operational “centers of gravity”[8]
  • the “culminating point of the offensive”
  • the “culminating point of victory”

[edit]Interpretation and misinterpretation

Clausewitz used a dialectical method to construct his argument, leading to frequent misinterpretation of his ideas. British military theorist B. H. Liddell Hart contends that the enthusiastic acceptance of thePrussian military establishment – especially Moltke the Elder – of what they believed to be Clausewitz’s ideas, and the subsequent widespread adoption of the Prussian military system worldwide, had a deleterious effect on military theory and practice, due to their egregious misinterpretation of his ideas:

As so often happens, Clausewitz’s disciples carried his teaching to an extreme which their master had not intended. … [Clauswitz’s] theory of war was expounded in a way too abstract and involved for ordinary soldier-minds, essentially concrete, to follow the course of his argument – which often turned back from the direction in which it was apparently leading. Impressed yet befogged, they grasped at his vivid leading phrases, seeing only their surface meaning, and missing the deeper current of his thought.[9]

As described by Christopher Bassford, professor of strategy at the National War College of the United States:

One of the main sources of confusion about Clausewitz’s approach lies in his dialectical method of presentation. For example, Clausewitz’s famous line that “War is a mere continuation of politics by other means,” (“Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln”) while accurate as far as it goes, was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point – made earlier in the analysis – that “war is nothing but a duel [or wrestling match, a better translation of the German Zweikampf] on a larger scale.” His synthesis, which resolves the deficiencies of these two bold statements, says that war is neither “nothing but” an act of brute force nor “merely” a rational act of politics or policy. This synthesis lies in his “fascinating trinity” [wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit]: a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation.[2]

Another example of this confusion is the idea that Clausewitz was a proponent of total war as used in the Third Reich’s propaganda in the 1940s. He did not coin the phrase as an ideological ideal – indeed, Clausewitz did not use the term “total war” at all. Rather, he discussed “absolute war” or “ideal war” as the purely logical result of the forces underlying a “pure,” Platonic “ideal” of war. In what Clausewitz called a “logical fantasy,” war cannot be waged in a limited way: the rules of competition will force participants to use all means at their disposal to achieve victory. But in the real world, such rigid logic is unrealistic and dangerous. As a practical matter, the military objectives in real war that support one’s political objectives generally fall into two broad types: “war to achieve limited aims” and war to “disarm” the enemy, that is, “to render [him] politically helpless or militarily impotent.” Thus the complete defeat of one’s enemies may be neither necessary, desirable, nor even possible.

In modern times the reconstruction of Clausewitzian theory has been a matter of some dispute. One analysis was that of Panagiotis Kondylis, a Greek-German writer and philosopher who opposed the interpretations of Raymond Aron, in Penser la Guerre, Clausewitz, and other liberal writers. According to Aron, Clausewitz was one of the very first writers to condemn the militarism of the Prussian general staff and its war-proneness, based on Clausewitz’s argument that “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” In Theory of War, Kondylis claims that this is inconsistent with Clausewitzian thought. He claims that Clausewitz was morally indifferent to war (though this probably reflects a lack of familiarity with Clausewitz personal letters, etc., which demonstrate an acute awareness of war’s tragic aspects) and that his advice regarding politics’ dominance over the conduct of war has nothing to do with pacifistic ideas. For Clausewitz, war is simply a means to the eternal quest for power, of raison d’État in an anarchic and unsafe world.

Other notable writers who have studied Clausewitz’s texts and translated them into English are historians Peter Paret of Princeton University and Sir Michael Howard, and the philosopher, musician, and game theorist Anatol Rapoport. Howard and Paret edited the most widely used edition of On War (Princeton University Press, 1976/1984) and have produced comparative studies of Clausewitz and other theorists, such as Tolstoy. Bernard Brodie‘s A Guide to the Reading of “On War”, in the 1976 Princeton translation, expressed his own interpretations of the Prussian’s theories and provided students with an influential synopsis of this vital work.


Despite his death without having completed On War, Clausewitz’ ideas have been widely influential in military theory and have had a strong influence on German military thought. Later Prussian and German generals such as Helmuth Graf von Moltke were clearly influenced by Clausewitz: Moltke’s notable statement that “No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy” is a classic reflection of Clausewitz’s insistence on the roles of chance, friction, “fog”, uncertainty, and interactivity in war.

After 1890 or so, Clausewitz’s influence spread to British thinking as well. One example is naval historian Julian Corbett (1854–1922), whose work reflected a deep if idiosyncratic adherence to Clausewitz’s concepts. Clausewitz had little influence on American military thought before 1945, but influenced MarxEngelsLenin, and Mao, and thus the Communist and Soviet traditions, as Lenin emphasized the inevitability of wars among capitalist states in the age of imperialism and presented the armed struggle of the working class as the only path toward the eventual elimination of war.[10]Because Vladimir Lenin was an admirer of Clausewitz who called him “one of the great military writers”, his influence on the Red Army was immense.[11] The Russian historian A.N. Mertsalov commented that “It was an irony of fate that the view in the USSR was that it was Lenin who shaped the attitude towards Clausewitz, and that Lenin’s dictum that war is a continuation of politics is taken from the work of this anti-humanist anti-revolutionary.”[11] Clausewitz directly influenced Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, who read On War in 1938 and organized a seminar on Clausewitz as part of the educational program for the Party leadership in Yan’an. Thus the “Clausewitzian” content in many of Mao’s writings is not merely second-hand knowledge, via Lenin (as many have supposed), but reflects Mao’s own in-depth study.

The idea that war involves inherent “friction” which distorts, to a greater or lesser degree, all prior arrangements, has become common currency in other fields as well, such as business strategy and sports. The phrase fog of war derives from Clausewitz’s stress on how confused warfare can seem while one is immersed within it.[12] The term center of gravity, used in a specifically military context, derives from Clausewitz’s usage, which he took from Newtonian Mechanics. In US military doctrine, “center of gravity” refers to the basis of an opponent’s power, at either the operational, strategic, or political level, though this is only one aspect of Clausewitz’s own use of the term.

[edit]Late 20th and early 21st century

After 1970, some theorists claimed that nuclear proliferation made Clausewitzian concepts obsolete after a period – the 20th century – in which they dominated the world.[13] John E. Sheppard, Jr., argues that by developing nuclear weapons, state-based conventional armies simultaneously both perfected their original purpose – to destroy a mirror image of themselves – and made themselves obsolete. No two nuclear powers have ever used their nuclear weapons against each other, instead using conventional means or proxy wars to settle disputes. If, hypothetically, such a conflict did in fact occur, presumably both combatants would be effectively annihilated.

The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century has seen many instances of state armies attempting to suppress insurgenciesterrorism, and other forms of asymmetrical warfare. If Clausewitz focused solely on wars between countries with well-defined armies, as many commentators have argued, then perhaps On War has lost its analytical edge as a tool for understanding war as it is currently fought. This is an ahistorical view, however, for the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon was full of revolutions, rebellions, and violence by “non-state actors”–the war in the French Vendée, the war in Spain, etc. Furthermore, Clausewitz himself wrote a series of “Lectures on Small War” and studied the rebellion in the Vendée 1793-1796 and the Tyrolean uprising of 1809. In his famous “Bekenntnisdenkschrift” of 1812, he called for a “Spanish war in Germany” and laid out a comprehensive guerrilla strategy to be waged against Napoleon. In On War itself he included a famous chapter on “The People in Arms.”

One prominent critic of Clausewitz is the Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld. In his book The Transformation of War,[14] Creveld argued that Clausewitz’s famous “Trinity” of people, army, and government was an obsolete socio-political construct based on the state, which was rapidly passing from the scene as the key player in war, and that he (Creveld) had constructed a new “non-trinitarian” model for modern warfare. Creveld’s work has had great influence. Daniel Moran replied, however, saying ‘The most egregious misrepresentation of Clausewitz’s famous metaphor must be that of Martin van Creveld, who has declared Clausewitz to be an apostle of Trinitarian War, by which he means, incomprehensibly, a war of ‘state against state and army against army,’ from which the influence of the people is entirely excluded.”[15]Christopher Bassford went further, noting that one need only read the paragraph in which Clausewitz defined his Trinity to see “that the words ‘people,’ ‘army,’ and ‘government’ appear nowhere at all in the list of the Trinity’s components…. Creveld’s and Keegan’s assault on Clausewitz’s Trinity is not only a classic ‘blow into the air,’ i.e., an assault on a position Clausewitz doesn’t occupy. It is also a pointless attack on a concept that is quite useful in its own right. In any case, their failure to read the actual wording of the theory they so vociferously attack, and to grasp its deep relevance to the phenomena they describe, is hard to credit.”[16]

Some have gone further and suggested that Clausewitz’s best known aphorism, that war is a continuation of policy by other means, is not only irrelevant today but also inapplicable historically.[17] For an opposing view see Strachan, Hew, and Herberg-Rothe, Andreas, eds. Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century (2007).[18] Others, however, argue that the essentials of Clausewitz’s theoretical approach remain valid, but that our thinking must adjust to the realities of particular times and places. Knowing that “war is an expression of politics by other means” does us no good unless we use a definition of “politics” which is appropriate to the circumstance and to the cultural proclivities of the combatants in each specific situation; this is especially true when warfare is carried on across a cultural or civilizational divide, and the antagonists do not share as much common background as did many of the participants in the First and Second World Wars.

[edit]In popular culture

  • 1945: In the Horatio Hornblower novel The Commodore, by C. S. Forester, the protagonist meets von Clausewitz during the events surrounding the defence of Riga.
  • 1945: In That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis, Lord Feverstone (Dick Devine) defends rudely cutting off another professor by saying “[…] but then I take the Clausewitz view. Total war is the most humane in the long run.”
  • 1955: In Ian Fleming‘s novel MoonrakerJames Bond reflects that he has achieved Clausewitz’s first principle in securing his base, though this base is a relationship for intelligence purposes and not a military installation.
  • 1977: In The Wars by Timothy Findley, a novel about a nineteen-year-old Canadian officer who serves in World War I, one of his fellow soldiers reads Clausewitz’s On War, and occasionally quotes some of its passages.
  • 2000: In the Ethan Stark military science fiction book series by John G. Hemry, Clausewitz is often quoted by Private Mendoza and his father Lieutenant Mendoza to explain events that unfold during the series.
  • 2004: Bob Dylan mentions Clausewitz on pages 41 and 45 of his Chronicles: Volume One, saying he had “a morbid fascination with this stuff,” that “Clausewitz in some ways is a prophet” and reading Clausewitz can make you “take your own thoughts a little less seriously.” Dylan says that Vom Kriege was one of the books he looked through among those he found in his friend’s personal library as a young man playing at The Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village.
  • 1962: In the film Lawrence of Arabia, General Allenby (Jack Hawkins) contends to T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) that “I fight like Clausewitz, you fight like Saxe.” To which Lawrence replies, “We should do very well indeed, shouldn’t we?”
  • 1977: In Sam Peckinpah‘s film Cross of Iron, Feldwebel Steiner (James Coburn) has an ironic conversation in the trenches between hostilities with the advancing Red Army with his comrade, Cpl. Schnurrbart, in which they refer to German philosophers and their views on war. Cpl. Schnurrbart: ” …and von Clausewitz said, ‘war is a continuation of state policy by other means.’” “Yes,” Steiner says, overlooking the trenches, ” …by other means.”
  • 1995: In the film Crimson Tide, the naval officers of the nuclear submarine have a discussion about the meaning of the quote “War is a continuation of politics by other means.” The executive officer (Denzel Washington) contends that the interpretation of Clausewitz’s ideas by the captain (Gene Hackman) is too simplistic.
  • 2007: In the film Lions for Lambs, during a military briefing in Afghanistan Lt. Col. Falco (Peter Berg) says: “Remember your von Clausewitz: ‘Never engage the same enemy for too long or he will …’”, “adapt to your tactics”, completes another soldier.[19]
  • 2009: In the film Law Abiding Citizen, Clausewitz is frequently quoted by Clyde Shelton, the main character played by Gerard Butler.


  • War therefore is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.
    • Chapter 1, paragraph 2
  • War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst.
    • Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 1
  • To introduce into the philosophy of War itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity.
    • Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 3
    • Variant translation: To introduce into the philosophy of war a principle of moderation would be an absurdity.
      • As quoted in The Campaign of 1914 in France and Belgium‎ (1915) by George Herbert Perris, p. 56
  • War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds.
    • Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 8
    • Variant translation: War is an act of violence which in its application knows no bonds.
      • As quoted in The Campaign of 1914 in France and Belgium‎ (1915) by George Herbert Perris, p. 56
  • War Is Merely the Continuation of Policy by Other Means
    We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means.

    • Chapter 1, Section 24, in the Princeton University Press translation (1976)
    • Variant translation: War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.
  • Determination in a single instance is an expression of courage; if it becomes characteristic, a mental habit. But here we are referring not to physical courage but to courage to accept responsibility, courage in the face of a moral danger. This has often been called courage d’esprit, because it is created by the intellect. That, however, does not make it an act of the intellect: it is an act of temperament. Intelligence alone is not courage; we often see that the most intelligent people are irresolute. Since in the rush of events a man is governed by feelings rather than by thought, the intellect needs to arouse the quality of courage, which then supports and sustains it in action.
    Looked at in this way, the role of determination is to limit the agonies of doubt and the perils of hesitation when the motives for action are inadequate.

    • Chapter 3
  • We repeat again: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.
    • Chapter 3
  • Action in war is like movement in a resistant element. Just as the simplest and most natural of movements, walking, cannot easily be performed in water, so in war it is difficult for normal efforts to achieve even moderate results.
  • Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat the enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.
  • The invention of gunpowder and the constant improvement of firearms are enough in themselves to show that the advance of civilization has done nothing practical to alter or deflect the impulse to destroy the enemy, which is central to the very idea of war.
  • The worst of all conditions in which a belligerent can find himself is to be utterly defenseless.
  • Men are always more inclined to pitch their estimate of the enemy’s strength too high than too low, such is human nature.
  • …only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble, and that element is never absent.
  • …in the whole range of human activities, war most closely resembles a game of cards.
  • Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.
  • With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence should be thrown into the other to correct the balance. The greater they are, the greater the margin that can be left for accidents.
  • …the side that feels the lesser urge for peace will naturally get the better bargain.
  • Blind aggressiveness would destroy the attack itself, not the defense.
  • Our discussion has shown that while in war many different roads can lead to the goal, to the attainment of the political object, fighting is the only possible means.
  • Any complex activity, if it is to be carried on with any degree of virtuosity, calls for appropriate gifts of intellect and temperament. If they are outstanding and reveal themselves in exceptional achievements, their possessor is called a ‘genius’.
  • If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.
  • …the role of determination is to limit the agonies of doubt and the perils of hesitation when the motives for action are inadequate.
  • Of all the passions that inspire a man in a battle, none, we have to admit, is so powerful and so constant as the longing for honor and reknown.
  • Obstinacy is a fault of temperament. Stubbornness and intolerance of contradiction result from a special kind of egotism, which elevates above everything else the pleasure of its autonomous intellect, to which others must bow.
  • …self-reliance is the best defence against the pressures of the moment.
  • Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.

[edit]Book 2

  • Architects and painters know precisely what they are about as long as they deal with material phenomena. … But when they come to the aesthetics of their work, when they aim at a particular effect on the mind or on the senses, the rules dissolve into nothing but vague ideas.
  • Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves more or less as a substitute for hatred between individuals.
  • …soldierly simplicity of character that has always represented the military at its best. In the higher ranks it is different. The higher a man is placed, the broader his point of view. Different interests and a wide variety of passions, good and bad, will arise on all sides. Envy and generosity, pride and humility, wrath and compassion – all may appear as effective forces in this great drama.
  • …talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.
  • The more physical the activity, the less the difficulties will be. The more the activity becomes intellectual and turns into motives which exercise a determining influence on the commander’s will, the more the difficulties will increase.
  • Great things alone can make a great mind, and petty things will make a petty mind unless a man rejects them as completely alien.
  • Knowledge in war is very simple, being concerned with so few subjects, and only with their final results at that. But this does not make its application easy.
  • …an intellectual instinct which extracts the essence from the phenomena of life, as a bee sucks honey from a flower. In addition to study and reflections, life itself serves as a source.
  • Knowledge must be so absorbed into the mind that it ceases to exist in a separate, objective way.” “…in 1797 the secret of the effectiveness of resisting to the last had not yet been discovered.
  • …it is better to go on striking in the same direction than to move one’s forces this way and that.
  • There are times when the utmost daring is the height of wisdom.
  • Thus it has come about that our theoretical and critical literature, instead of giving plain, straightforward arguments in which the author at least always knows what he is saying and the reader what he is reading, is crammed with jargon, ending at obscure crossroads where the author loses its readers. Sometimes these books are even worse: they are just hollow shells. The author himself no longer knows just what he is thinking and soothes himself with obscure ideas which would not satisfy him if expressed in plain speech.
  • Anyone who feels the urge to undertake such a task must dedicate himself for his labors as he would prepare for a pilgrimage to distant lands. He must spare no time or effort, fear no earthly power or rank, and rise above his own vanity or false modesty in order to tell, in accordance with the expression of the Code Napoléon, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • Essentally combat is an expression of hostile feelings. But in the large-scale combat that we call war hostile feelings often have become merely hostile intentions. At any rate, there are usually no hostile feelings between individuals. Yet such emotions can never be completely absent from war. Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves as a more or less substitute for the hatred between individuals. Even when there is no natural hatred and no animosity to start with, the fighting itself will stir up hostile feelings: violence committed on superior orders will stir up the desire for revenge and retaliation against the perpetrator rather than against the powers that ordered the action. It is only human (or animal, if you like), but it is a fact.

[edit]Book 3

  • A prince or general can best demonstrate his genius by managing a campaign exactly to suit his objectives and his resources, doing neither too much nor too little.
  • What we should admire is the acute fulfillment of the unspoken assumptions, the smooth harmony of the whole activity, which only become evident in the final success.
  • Where execution is dominant, as it is in the individual events of a war whether great or small, then intellectual factors are reduced to a minimum.
  • If we do not learn to regard a war, and the separate campaigns of which it is composed, as a chain of linked engagements each leading to the next, but instead succumb to the idea that the capture of certain geographical points or the seizure of undefended provinces are of value in themselves, we are liable to regard them as windfall profits. In so doing, and in ignoring the fact that they are links in a continuous chain of events, we also ignore the possibility that their possession may later lead to definite disadvantages.
  • …in war, the advantages and disadvantages of a single action could only be determined by the final balance.
  • The moral elements are among the most important in war. They constitute the spirit that permeates war as a whole, and at an early stage they establish a close affinity with the will that moves and leads a whole mass of force, practically merging with it, since the will is itself a moral quantity. Unfortunately they will not yield to academic wisdom. They cannot be classified or counted. They have to be seen or felt. … It is paltry philosophy if in the old-fashioned way one lays down rules and principles in total disregard of moral values. As soon as these appear one regards them as exceptions, which gives them a certain scientific status, and thus makes them into rules. Or again one may appeal to genius, which is above all rules; which amounts to admitting that rules are not only made for idiots, but are idiotic in themselves.
    • Ch 3 : Moral Factors, as translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret.
  • The commander’s talents are given greatest scope in rough hilly country. Mountains allow him too little real command over his scattered units and he is unable to control them all; in open country, control is a simple matter and does not test his ability to the fullest.
  • Boldness will be at a disadvantage only in an encounter with deliberate caution, which may be considered bold in its own right, and is certainly just as powerful and effective; but such cases are rare.
  • Timidity is the root of prudence in the majority of men.
  • Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero.
  • …as man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective.
  • Beauty cannot be defined by abscissas and ordinates; neither are circles and ellipses created by their geometrical formulas.
  • If a segment of one’s force is located where it is not sufficiently busy with the enemy, or if the troops are on the march – that is, idle – while the enemy is fighting, then these forces are being managed uneconomically. In this sense they are being wasted, which is even worse than using them inappropriately.
  • …any move made in a state of tension will be of more important, and will have more results, than it would have made in a state of eqilibrium. In times of maximum tension this importance will rise to an infinite degree.
  • The state of crisis is the real war; the equilibrium is nothing but its reflex.

[edit]Book 5

  • All war presupposes human weakness and seeks to exploit it.

[edit]Book 6

  • If defense is the stronger form of war, yet has a negative object, it follows that it should be used only so long as weakness compels, and be abandoned as soon as we are strong enough to pursue a positive object.
    • Chapter 1
  • Surprise becomes effective when we suddenly face the enemy at one point with far more troops than he expected. This type of numerical superiority is quite distinct from numerical superiority in general: it is the most powerful medium in the art of war.
    • Chapter 2
  • Phillipsburg was the name of one those badly drawn fortresses resembling a fool with his nose too close to the wall.
    • Chapter 11
  • A general who allows himself to be decisively defeated in an extended mountain position deserves to be court-martialled.
    • Chapter 17
  • …only a fraction of book learning will seep into practical life anyhow; and the more foolish the theory, the less of it.

Clausewitz (1



All Politics Is Local – Por Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr.

Comentario Pásalo a Cien. Ver’Neill

All Politics Is Local

Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.

Por: Tip O’Neil

Resumen para propósitos educativos, sin fines de lucro, no hemos podido solcitar autorización al autor, pero entendemos promueve la compra y lectura del libro original que aun no está traducido al español.

Bob Adams, Inc., 1-800-872-5627,

Político por 60 años. Legislador estatal, Congresista Federal y Speaker desde el 1977-1986 por Massachusetts.

Es una colección de anécdotas, cuentos e historietas de sus vivencias en la política activa.

Resumen: Listado de Máximas Políticas de Tip O’Neill:

  1. Decide y vota según tu consciencia, tu país, tu distrito y según el liderato, en ese orden.
  2. Nunca cuestiones o impugnes la honestidad, integridad o sinceridad de otro ciudadano sin pruebas contundentes.
  3. El mundo es redondo, lo que hoy le sucede a otros, mañana te sucederá a ti.
  4. Puedes lograr lo que desees si estás dispuesto a concederle el crédito a otros.
  5. Nunca pierdas el idealismo y la fe en los demás.
  6. Dirige por consenso y nunca por imposición. Motiva, persuade, enseña con tu ejemplo.
  7. Entre más grande el grupo, menos compromiso tienen.
  8. Aprende a decir: “No se, pero me informaré pronto para contestar tu pregunta”.
  9. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupit. Mantente simple, estúpido.
  10. No te mantengas molesto, existe un mañana. El que hoy es tu adversario, mañana podría ser tu colaborador.
  11. Nunca hables de ti en tercera persona.
  12. Si dices la verdad, no tendrás que recordar lo que dijiste.
  13. El corredor que comienza rápido, termina lento.

Lo más importante para un político es mantener su palabra, defender los intereses de sus representados, ser leal y razonable. Hablar claro, en forma sencilla y entendible. Con sentido del humor, pero sobre todo, entender que toda política es local.

La primera vez que aspiré a un cargo público perdí, por eso mi padre me dijo que “toda política es local, nunca lo olvides”. Por eso nunca más perdí, porque nunca lo olvidé. Siempre visité y estudié a todos los electores y los cambios habidos en mi distrito. Cuando me escribían o llamaban, los atendía, pronto, los ayudaba en lo que podía, no les decía llamen ustedes, yo llamaba para tratar de resolver sus problemas. Si no los atiendes volverás a ser pronto otro elector más.

En todo se aplica el consejo de estar en el sitio preciso, en el mejor momento y sacarle todo el provecho posible. Una vez montamos a un candidato sobre un caballo para llamar la atención, y lo logramos.

En toda campaña política hay cuatro factores: el candidato, los issues, la organización y las finanzas. Con el tiempo ha variado la suma de dinero que se usa, pero lo que no ha cambiado es que cada elector agradecerá que le pidas su contribución y su voto.

Nunca “mires” la cantidad de su contribución. No te tientes a ayudarlo por la cuantía. Pero no se lo digas a más nadie, porque el que pueda contribuir mucho no lo haría.

Si no pides el voto, es posible el vecino o elector piense que no te lo mereces.

Piensa antes de hablar. El que habla sin pensar erra frecuentemente.

No hay enemigo pequeño. (Si se va a tener alguno que sea grande. El pequeño te denigra, el grande te enaltece, el pequeño nada tiene que perder y te puede matar, el grande tiene algo que perder y se cuida de que nadie lo acuse de abusador. El perdonavidas te tira con piedras, el Rey tiene que cuidar su prestigio.)

Henry Ford visitó Irlanda y le solicitaron una donación al Hospital de sus antepasados. Le hizo un cheque por $5 mill dólares. Al otro día el periódico local publicó que la donación había sido por $50 Mil, por lo que Ford rehizo el cheque antes de que el periódico aclarara.

Un candidato “positivo” se dedicó a la campaña más sencilla, económica y efectiva que se puede hacer. Caminar casa a casa. En una libreta apuntaba a los que le abrían las puertas y le prometían votar por él los anotaba como seguros, los demás como probables y nada por los que no abrían. En una casa le contestó una señora que le dijo que conocía bien a su padre como un maleante y que sería como su padre. Apuntó: “Probable”.

El político en una reunión saluda personalmente a cada elector. A veces más de dos veces en una misma actividad. (CRB en Guayama saludó hasta un maniquí.)

Benjamín Franklyn decía que el candidato le debe pedir contribuciones políticas primero a los que conoce le ayudarán, luego a los que es posible lo ayuden y a los que sabe no le ayudarán por si se ha equivocado con ellos.

Entre un voluntario que ofrezca tiempo y otro que aporte dinero, usualmente cuenta más el del tiempo. El dinero se gasta, el trabajo voluntario es perdurable, se lo dicen a todos sus amigos, son los que más votos llevan a las urnas y si los atendemos, volverán a ayudar en las próximas campañas.

Harry Truman ganaba poco como Juez por lo que le solicitó a su Jefe político lo designara Asesor del Condado, pero como no era “suficientemente listo” lo enviaron al Senado Federal.

Nunca dejes que te presenten en actividades deportivas, a menos que sea por una razón muy especial. Cuidado en las actividades religiosas. Un abucheo espontáneo puede ser muy perjudicial.

Se debe ser agradecido. Especialmente con la esposa. Siempre. En política se necesitará su ayuda antes de lo previsto.

Un político debe ser un buen orador. Aprender la técnica. Practicar su voz. Leer y aprenderse de memoria buena poesía, tal como:

    1. Mensaje de Poloniou a su hijo Laertes, de Hamlet, Shakespeare.
    2. “La Villa Desierta”, poema de Oliver Goldsmith
    3. “It Can Be Done”, por Edgar A. Guest, poema.
    4. “Abou Ben Adhem”, por Leigh Hunt, poema.
    5. “Around the Corner”, por Charles Hanson Towne, poema.
    6. “If”, por Rudyard Kipling, poema.
    7. “Friendship”, por Ralph Waldo Emerson, poema.
    8. “Psalm Of Life”, por Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poema.
    9. “The Man In The Glass”, por autor anónimo, poema.
    10. “Rules of the Road”, Por John Boyle O’Reilly, poema.

Vea en español: La Vida Es Sueño De Calderón de la Barca Lea buena poesía y buena prosa para el ritmo y el buen decir, para que sus discursos sean espontaneos y en forma natural.)
Otros WEB Pages de Poemas son: Poema 20

Nunca ataques la familia de tu oponente.

Los golpes bajos no son de líderes, el líder debe aparecer siempre como el “bueno de la película”. (En Puerto Rico Jorge de Castro Font se quemó y depravó por atacar a Sila como “guerrillera”, a Miguel Lausells diciéndole que quería hacer una “Convención en el Escambrón”. Eduardo Bhatia para atacar el Proyecto Young dijo que todos los Congresistas eran “corruptos” y unas “prostitutas”, en New Jersey que los puertorriqueños nunca seríamos un Estado porque somos “pobres, ignorantes y mendigos”. y su campaña se basó en decir que “las madres puertorriqueñas paren hijos para el wellfare”, que en Puerto Rico lo que hay es narcotraficantes y que nuestro español dividiría y destruiría a los Estados Unidos. Por eso Luis Gutiérrez lavó su automóvil con una vellonera en el estacionamiento del Congreso y enviaban títeres a los pasillos del Capitolio diciéndoles a los Congresistas que si querían un Estado de cafres. ¿Son esos los dirigentes que Puerto Rico elegiría si se les dice la verdad?)

Nunca ataques la familia de tu oponente.

Una vez en una Convención me entregaron un discurso, cuando lo leí era igual al orador anterior. No leas en público como tuyo, lo que no has revisado antes.

Habla de lo que sepas, como lo sepas y sientas. O aparecerás insincero.

El discurso de Gettysburg de Abraham Lincoln es de 271 palabras. El Primer Mensaje de Inauguración de Clinton fue de 14 minutos, el de Kennedy de varios minutos, el Padre Nuestro es de dos párrafos, la Constitución Americana y el Manifiesto Comunista son de pocas páginas. Mantén los discursos cortos, al punto, sencillos, con frases trascendentales. Él período de atención de un auditorio es de un promedio de 18 minutos. Un ejemplo, anécdota, historia, parábola o cuento es fácil de recordar.

El político tiene que aprender a escuchar. Hablar cuando tiene algo importante que decir. Para decir boberías es mejor callar.

Los mejores discursos son los que tienen una frase clave: “No preguntes lo que tu país puede hacer por ti, sino lo que tú puedes hacer por tu país”, de Kennedy; “No tenemos nada que temer sino al miedo mismo”, de Franklyn Delano Roosevelt; “Con malicia para nadie y caridad para todos”, Abraham Lincoln; “No hay problema en América que América no pueda resolver”, Clinton. Una vez había un candidato a Contralor que no sabía hablar. En una actividad de candidatos estaba tan nervioso que le preguntó al que estaba al lado qué decir, porque era auditor y no orador, pues diga eso. Cuando lo presentaron se paró en el podium y dijo: “Yo soy un auditor y no un orador”, y se sentó. Ganó porque todos recordaron su mensaje.

Cuando te presentes como orador siempre considera el auditorio, el tiempo, los oradores anteriores, si el tema es el apropiado y que es mejor hablar poco sustancial que mucho innecesario.

En cada elección hay que trabajar mucho. Esto motiva a otros a trabajar y juntos es como se gana. En mi segunda campaña visité diez mil personas en sus hogares, besé miles de niños, le dije lo guapas que estaban a miles de damas, y pronuncié doscientos discursos. Mi esposa al escucharme dijo: “Pronunciaste el mismo discurso doscientas veces”. (Lo mejor es un mismo discurso adaptado a cada ocasión, para lograr naturalidad, tempo y espontaneidad.

Nada aborrece más que que escuchar a un político leer un discurso. Si puedes, habla desde la manga. Una vez una señora le preguntó a un Senador que cómo podía esperar que ellos recordaran su discurso si ni él podía recordarlo y tenía que leerlo.

En los duelos, los políticos hablan del fallecido primero y luego de ellos, o primero de ellos y se olvidan del fallecido. Lo mejor es hablar lo que se debe o callarse.

Favorece lo que tu consciencia y la razón te dicta es lo mejor, de esa forma el que no esté de acuerdo, al menos te respetará.

El político tiene que atender primero a los que le ayudan, a la mayoría, de ellos depende mantenerse en el poder.

Puedes cambiar de opinión sobre algún asunto importante, pero hazlo rápido y explícalo.

Considera las divisiones internas de los grupos o entidades. Escoge ayudar a una facción sólo si conviene.

Todo detalle es importante. A cada persona que conozcas, escríbele una carta. Envía miles de cartas justificadas. Envía tarjetas de felicitación. Al votar hacen la diferencia. Una vez le escribí una carta de condolencia a una anciana, que me preguntó si conocía a su esposo fallecido. “No pero como su esposo tenía 70 años, pensé que usted podría necesitar ayuda con el Seguro Social”, y me lo agradeció. (Ramón Luis Rivera envía tarjetas de felicitación por el cumpleaños, navidades, Día de las Madres y de los Padres, con sus oficiales casa a casa. Gana por 38,000 votos. También visita las funerarias y hospitales diariamente.)

No te quejes por las muchas horas de trabajo intenso en la política. Piensa qué estarías haciendo si te derrotan.

Había un Congresista que enviaba una carta o mensaje escrito cada semana a sus electores. Más del 30% de los electores no reciben cartas y piensan que te interesas por ellos. Una vez le envió una felicitación por un recién nacido a una casa de unos ancianos, que dijeron que aunque no tenían bebés se la agradecían por haber pensado en ellos. (Siempre debes tener tarjetas de voluntarios a la mano, y darle seguimiento. Cuando visites a alguien déjale aunque sea una tarjetita para que se recuerden de ti. Carlos Cerra le regala bolas a los niños en las navidades, y estos motivan a que sus padres se lo agradezcan en las elecciones.)

Te eligen para que le sirvas de tarjeta para tirarte piedras y lodo. En el famoso libro “La Guerra y La Paz” el Conde Rostov, tras ser seleccionado líder y recibir homenajes de su pueblo, salió a luchar y al escuchar las balas dijo: “Por qué me disparan, a quién todos aman?” Esto debe recordar cada líder. El que te elijan no quiere decir que te seguirán por siempre. (Recuérdate de las personas que te ayudaron a subir porque serán los mismos que encontrarás cuando bajes.)

La política brinda grandes satisfacciones personales, pero ni dinero, ni poder real inmediato.

El político debe conocer las particularidades de cada barrio, sector o precinto. Estúdialas. Para identificarse con los vecinos, el visitar los sitios especiales o detalles interesantes del área. (El 98% de la campaña es persona a persona que es donde se logran los votos y se establecen los temas, pero el 98% del dinero se va en estribillos para la prensa, radio y la televisión de los temas que se han podido establecer en la campaña persona a persona.)

La mejor recomendación a un nuevo Candidato es que seleccione a sus ayudantes y asesores con experiencia, que sean capaces, preparados, inteligentes, trabajadores y algunos colaboradores leales con deseos de aprender. Saber seleccionar el equipo de trabajo es esencial, porque el líder no trabaja solo, porque su equipo hace más trabajo que el propio Candidato.

En la democracia los votos son esenciales para ganar y lograr hacer las obras. La política es el arte de lo posible y de saber negociar y lograr compromisos. Para la Declaración de Independencia de los EU, los delegados a la Convención de Filadelfia acordaron sería por unanimidad. El Delegado por Delaware había dicho que votaría a favor si era el último voto decisivo porque estaba muy enfermo. Uno tenía un empate dos a dos, se convenció a un opositor que se quedara en su casa. Pennsylvania estaba cuatro a tres, y se convenció a dos opositores a que se quedaran en sus casas. Nueva York se abstendría. Convencieron a Carolina del Sur posponiendo la decisión sobre la esclavitud. Trajeron al de Delaware muy enfermo a votar, Nueva York votó a favor a última hora y así nació la Nación más democrática que ha conocido el mundo, por pura negociación y compromisos.

El que actúa bien, pensando en el bienestar general, no tiene que preocuparse por su próxima elección. Las decisiones deben hacerse como se deben hacer, sin pensar en las repercusiones inmediatas. El líder piensa en las próximas generaciones, no en la próxima elección. Si te ocupas del bienestar general de tu electorado, tu electorado se ocupará de ti en las elecciones.

Hay cosas que no se pueden delegar, que debes hacerlas tú mismo. Como contar los votos para cualquier elección o decisión. Cómo buscar el voto de cada cual, de todos los que puedas.
Compromiso no es renegar a tus principios e ideas, sino posponerlas total o parcialmente para que se pueda lograr una mayoría que logre realizar una prioridad. Es lograr 218 votos en la Cámara o 51 en el Senado Federal. ¿Cómo conseguir los votos? Apelando a su consciencia, a la razón, a la conveniencia, al Patriotismo, a la lealtad partidista y a su confianza en el proponente. Nunca con amenazas o extorciones. Nunca uses el ultimatum. Nunca para derrotarlo personalmente. Legislar es lograr componendas, llegar hasta el punto medio. Nunca le pidas se suicide políticamente. Una vez le pedí el voto a un compañero que me dijo era difícil. Le dije que para las cosas fáciles no tenía que pedirle su voto y me apoyó. Es necesario saber hasta dónde se le puede pedir el voto a un compañero. (Últimamente se dice que se baila con el que baile contigo.)

Nada vale tanto en política como la lealtad. Para exigir lealtad hay que ser leal. Especialmente en situaciones difíciles. La democracia no funciona si cada cual hala sólo para su lado. Es necesario colaborar y ser fiel a los principios generales del partido.

En la democracia, cada cual debe respetar las funciones de los demás. Cada cual tiene su autoridad y hay que respetarla. Deng Xiaoping de China siempre que me hablaba preguntaba si el Presidente tenía que pedirle el dinero al Congreso, y yo le contestaba que no podía olvidarse de ello. La democracia no es el sistema de gobierno más eficiente, sino el que logra la mayor libertad individual posible.
El poder hay que saberlo usar, no importa cuán fuerte sea el opositor. Una vez un Secretario quería cerrar una instalación militar esencial para mi distrito. Había una legislación importante y me ausenté. El Presidente me llamó y le dije que estaba dedicándole todo mi tiempo a salvar la instalación militar, que por eso no tenía tiempo para asistir a votar. El Presidente me dijo que él se encargaría de asegurarme que la instalación militar no cerrara y que yo acudiera a votar. La política es tú me ayudas y yo te ayudo, tú me cuidas las espaldas y yo las tuyas. Así es que se negocia en el Congreso para el bienestar general de todos los que votamos, por eso el poder principal en la democracia es el voto. (En la democracia el voto es más poderoso que el dinero, los ejercitos o la religión.)

A veces hay que forzar, estimular o motivar a compañeros a realizar labores que no le agradan. Una vez le pedí a un compañero aceptara un Comité que no deseaba, pero le puse como anzuelo el designarlo a otro que sí aspiraba. Aceptó el “paquete” o “convoy”.

El Senador por Alaska quería que el Congreso traspasara las vías ferroviarias al Estado. Logró que un Presidente del Comité, que había causado mucho resentimiento en la Cámara retrasando proyectos, lo llevara a votación el último momento. Con el proyecto en la mano fue a la Cámara a verme. Fui al líder de la oposición, sabiendo que quería hacer quedar mal al Presidente del Comité del Senado y le dije que podríamos enseñarle cómo se puede aprobar un proyecto en poco tiempo, y le aprobamos trabajando por el amigo Senador de Alaska. Moraleja, hay que conocer los enemigos de tu adversario.

No se tiene éxito atacando a los que están arriba. Al insubordinado nadie lo respeta, ni a quien ayuda en un momento dado porque saben no tiene lealtad para nadie.

Negociar es la forma de lograr compromisos. Una vez necesitaba un favor de otro compañero y se lo cambié por otro favor. Tú me ayudas y yo te ayudo. Ese es el juego.

Una vez un Congresista designó a un joven de su distrito para la Academia Naval. El joven tuvo problemas y llamó al Decano el cual le dijo que era el último de su clase, “Alguien tiene que ser el último”, le dijo. Le dieron otra oportunidad que aprovechó muy bien y se convirtió en un Capitán famoso. Cuando se pide un favor hay que hacerlo con elegancia y tener una buena respuesta preparada para contestar los argumentos negativos.

Reagan me prometió ayudar a Irlanda. Su Secretario de Defensa se opuso. Le dije a Reagan que tendría que usar cinco minutos de la Sesión pública para decir que el Presidente no cumplió su palabra. Me pidió cinco minutos para hablar con el Secretario de la Defensa, a los cinco minutos me llamó y me dijo que los que estábamos en política nunca podíamos incumplir nuestra palabra, y se resolvió el problema.

Todos me pedían listados de proyectos de ley, para ver mis prioridades. Yo atendía los proyectos de ley como se presentaran. Nunca preparé listados de proyectos que no sabía lo que pasaría con ellos.

El tiempo es el recurso más valioso para el político. Se hacen calendarios para cumplirlos, que sean razonables, aunque haya retrasos imprevistos y normales.

En esta época de grandes cosas, todavía son las pequeñas cosas las que hacen la diferencia. Cada elector tiene su razón especial y particular de votar, por lo que en el trato personal, la visita a su hogar, es la campaña que nunca falla.

En campaña por una ciudad o municipio, busca y visita lo que sea “unique”, habla de ello en tu discurso. Todos te lo agradecerán y recordarán.

Cuando resuelves un problema, hazlo con los demás, así resuelves varios problemas a la misma vez.

No me gustan los insultos. Ni hacerlos ni que me los hagan. No es recomendable hacerlos porque invita a que te los hagan. (El líder no debe ocuparse de pequeñeces, dejarle eso a los políticos tradicionales.)

Carter propuso tantas cosas a la vez que no logró ninguna. Regan se dedicó a pocas y las logró. Hay que conocer el sistema democrático, su lentitud, en lo que trabaja, pero tener siempre fe en que funciona.

Toda decisión política conlleva perjudicar a algunos, es buena si sólo perjudica a unos pocos, pero incluso a esos se debe buscar la forma de minimizar el perjuicio, o prometerles algo para el futuro. Porque el beneficiado es agradecido en forma tímida, pero el perjudicado responde en forma agresiva. Unos pocos (Especialmente Grandes Intereses) bien organizados pueden hacer más daño que los muchos no organizados, incluso el día de las elecciones si no se le ha comunicado bien a la mayoría los beneficios que deben defender.

El que participe en política debe tener un genuino interés en ayudar a la gente.

Subir bajando a otros no es aconsejable. Tratar de subir muy rápido, menos. Si algo es importante en política es el “timing”.

El político que no cumpla con sus promesas, que no las haga. Es mejor ser sincero que mentir al prometer, lo primero decepciona en forma pasajera, lo segundo en forma permanente.

Lo más importante para una persona es su nombre, que lo recuerden. El político debe recordar los nombres y tener alguien al lado que se los recuerde continuamente. (Las Avanzadas de CRB usaban walkie talkies en las caminatas para esto.)
En política la percepción de la gente es más importante que la realidad. Hay que tener cuidado a que te anuncien en actividades religiosas, deportivas, sociales o cívicas y que no te vean brincando una fila. (La mujer del César no sólo tiene que ser honesta, sino también aparentarlo.)

Cuando se es líder de un pueblo, cada pequeña cosa se magnifica. Es importante resaltar las obras, pero no el ser distinto a los demás en cosas como dar una propina, ser cortés, o actuar según el protocolo de cada ocasión.

En la depresión el 25% estaba desempleado, el 55% bajo el nivel de pobreza, el 8% con un plan de pensiones y el 3% con un seguro médico. El político tiene que tener fe en la democracia americana, ha funcionado bien, siempre ha resuelto los pequeños y grandes problemas, debe confiar en que la sabiduría del electorado siempre acierta, a corto o a largo plazo.

Las estadísticas y los números se pueden usar a nuestro favor. Los mejores bateadores logran un hit cada tres veces al bate, pero a los políticos le exigen mil por ciento. Cuando a John F. Kennedy le atacaban porque era muy joven con 43 años de edad para la Presidencia, señaló que Ted Williams se retiraba a los 42 años porque era muy viejo para el beisbol. Una vez la Secretaria de Prensa de Kennedy dijo que sólo había dos bateadores de 400 en la historia de los Estados Unidos, Ted Williams y Kennedy.

Todos critican a los políticos. Cuando pasaba mucho tiempo en Washington me estaba alejando de los electores de mi distrito, cuando pasaba mucho tiempo en mi distrito estaba desatendiendo la labor en Washington. Cuando guiaba un auto viejo decían que era tacaño, cuando lo cambié que ya los cabilderos me habían comprado. Cuando uso ropa nueva me dicen arrogante y si vieja que era un atorrante. Cuando falto a la iglesia un domingo que me convertí en ateo, si no falto que estoy buscando votos. Siempre hay quien critique a los políticos.

“Cualquiera puede romper una casa, pero hace falta un carpintero para construirla”, dijo Sam Rayburn. También dijo “Primero Americano y segundo Demócrata”.

Un solicitante de un préstamo, mejor dicho suplicante, le explicó sus necesidades al Banquero del pueblo. Tras escucharle, el banquero le dijo que tenía una forma para conceder o no un préstamo: “tengo un ojo de vidrio y otro normal, si me dice cuál es el de vidrio le concedo el préstamo”. Escogió el de la izquierda. Entonces el banquero le dijo que cómo lo había adivinado: “Es que el ojo de la izquierda es más considerado”.

Siempre se debe decir gracias y por favor. Es difícil que no acepten tu pedido cuando lo haces en forma razonable. Cada vez que gané unas elecciones le agradecí a mi contrincante su participación, en la séptima elección todos firmaron un anuncio a mi favor. (Lincoln cabalgaba con su encopetado Secretario de la Defensa al frente de la Casa Blanca, cuando un esclavo le saludó y le devolvió el saludo cortésmente. El Secretario le preguntó por qué y Lincoln le dijo que no podía permitir que el esclavo fuera más cortés que el Presidente.)

Al político se le requiere haga favores, pero es importante el recordarlos. Cuando alguien te pida un favor, recuerda que es lo más importante para él, que lo solicita porque lo necesita y cree le puedes ayudar. Trata de ayudar a cada cual, no importa si su petición es grande o pequeña. Es bueno ser importante, pero es más importante el ser bueno.

Los ayudantes son los que dicen que no, el político es para decir sí. Antes que decir que no, es mejor decir que estudiarás el asunto. Cada elector de ser escuchado, por el líder o uno de sus ayudantes. Cuando te aborde un grupo, espera que todos hablen, pedirán media docena de cosas, de las cuales algunas puedes prometer hacerlas y otras prometer estudiarlas.

Pídele a tus ayudantes y asesores las buenas y malas noticias. Su misión principal es mantenerte informado de lo que está pasando. Regularmente las malas noticias son las más importantes porque permiten atender la situación inmediatamente y corregirlas. El ayudante que no te diga la verdad porque te teme es un mal ayudante. Dile frecuentemente si eres la persona para quien ellos pensaron trabajar antes de comenzar a trabajar para ti.

El líder debe ser algo distinto a los demás, eso lo hace sobresalir en el grupo. (Napoleón decía que el líder debe estar con la gente y un poco más arriba que la gente.)

La política es largas horas, interrupciones continuas, atender a cada colaborador, tensiones, debates, decisiones difíciles y no tener privacidad. El político tiene que tener un entretenimiento que le permita alejarse un poco y relajarse para minimizar las tensiones.

El político tiene que compartir con muchos grupos y mucha gente. Para ser exitoso es necesario conectarse con cada grupo y persona, buscar ese interés común que los une y motiva colaborar juntos.

Hay que saber decir si y más importante, aprender a decir que no. Lo primero es lo más agradable, lo segundo lo más profundo.

Hoy la política es 24 horas al día. Es imprescindible conseguirte un buen contable que cuide todas tus cuentas.

Es más fácil hacer promesas en la campaña que cumplirlas cuando logras la posición. Es más fácil correr la campaña que correr la posición.

Nunca digas algo que no te guste aparezca el próximo día en el periódico. La labor de los periodistas es buscar las “noticias”, dondequiera que aparezcan, en la forma más sensacionalista posible. Nunca tomes una pregunta de un periodista como algo personal, ellos tienen su misión y el político la suya. Antes de contestar a una pregunta imprudente, respira hondo, contéstala si te conviene o esquívala si te conviene, pero nunca te molestes públicamente con el periodista. Los periodistas controlan lo que aparece en los medios informativos, no te pelees con ellos. Si alguno escribe algo incorrecto, corrígelo con altura. Si alguno es difícil, apúntalo en una tablita, y luego no le concedas privilegios. No todos los periodistas son iguales, algunos realizan su labor, otros quieren mortificarte, pero no le ayudes a que te perjudiquen. Ayuda al que te trate con razonabilidad y en forma justa. Ante los periodistas, aparece objetivo y relajado. Un amigo decía: “No escribas si puedes hablar, no hables si puedes hacer muecas, no hagas muecas si te puedes mantener callado”. (En boca cerrada no entran moscas.)

La Democracia Americana es la primera constitucional y funcional en el mundo. Depende de dos partidos principales, y otros periferales. Cada dos y cuatro años uno gana y otro pierde, pero se mantiene siempre la estabilidad y continuidad. La diversidad, las diferencias son procesales porque todos creemos en resolver todos los problemas en forma democrática y defender los derechos a la libertad individual. Los Demócratas serían cinco o más partidos en cualquier otro país, los Republicanos tres o cuatro. El político tiene que tener una base organizativa, por lo que debe ser fiel al partido en forma razonable.

Aprende a diferir sin ser desagradable. Cuando te opongas a algo hazlo con respeto a las ideas de los demás. No pierdas la calma en una discusión, porque podrías perder el argumento y a los amigos y compañeros. Si pierdes el argumento pero no a los amigos y compañeros, los motivarás a que consideren tus argumentos y hasta convencerlos luego. Recuerda que el mensajero es tan importante como el mensaje.

Lo más difícil para el político es saber cuándo debe retirarse. Cuándo ha cumplido con su misión o efectividad. Porque es mejor retirarse antes de que sea muy tarde. No esperes a que el electorado te saque.

Listado de Máximas Políticas de Tip O’Neill:

  1. Decide y vota según tu consciencia, tu país, tu distrito y según el liderato, en ese orden.
  2. Nunca cuestiones o impugnes la honestidad, integridad o sinceridad de otro ciudadano sin pruebas contundentes.
  3. El mundo es redondo, lo que hoy le sucede a otros, mañana te sucederá a ti.
  4. Puedes lograr lo que desees si estás dispuesto a concederle el crédito a otros.
  5. Nunca pierdas el idealismo y la fe en los demás.
  6. Dirige por consenso y nunca por imposición. Motiva, persuade, enseña con tu ejemplo.
  7. Entre más grande el grupo, menos compromiso tienen.
  8. Aprende a decir: “No se, pero me informaré pronto para contestar tu pregunta”.
  9. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupit. Mantente simple, estúpido.
  10. No te mantengas molesto, existe un mañana. El que hoy es tu adversario, mañana podría ser tu colaborador.
  11. Nunca hables de ti en tercera persona.
  12. Si dices la verdad, no tendrás que recordar lo que dijiste.

13. El corredor que comienza rápido, termina lento.

EL PAÍS DE CUATRO PISOS – Por José Luis González

EL PAÍS DE CUATRO PISOS – Por José Luis González


(Notas para una definición de la cultura puertorriqueña) José Luis González.

… la historia era propaganda política, tendía a crear la unidad nacional, es decir, la nación, desde fuera y contra la tradición, basándose en la literatura, era un querer ser, no un deber ser porque existieran ya las condiciones de hecho …

Por esta misma posición suya, las intelectuales debían distinguirse del pueblo, situarse fuera, crear o reforzar entre ellos mismos el espíritu de casta, y en el fondo desconfiar del pueblo, sentirlo extraño, tenerle miedo, porque en realidad era algo desconocido, una misteriosa hidra de innumerables cabezas, [] Por el contrario muchos movimientos intelectuales iban dirigidos a modernizar y des-retorizar la cultura y aproximarla al pueblo, o sea nacionalizarla.

(Nación-pueblo y nación retórica, podría decirse que son las dos tendencias)

 —Antonio Gramsci, Cuadernos de la cárcel (III, 82).

 Un grupo de jóvenes estudiosos puertorriqueños de las ciencias sociales, egresados en su mayor parte de diversas Facultades de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y agrupados en Puerto Rico en el Seminario de Estudios Latinoamericanos, me dirigieron hace poco (escribo en septiembre de 1979) la siguiente pregunta: ¿Cómo crees que ha sido afectada la cultura puertorriqueña por la intervención colonialista norteamericana y cómo ves su desarrollo actual? Las líneas que siguen constituyen un intento de respuesta a esa pregunta.

Las he subtitulado “Notas” porque sólo aspiran a enunciar el núcleo de un ensayo de interpretación de la realidad histórico-cultural puertorriqueña que indudablemente requeriría un análisis mucho más detenido y unas conclusiones mucho más razonadas.

Cuando llegaron a Puerto Rico los USA para liberarnos no había Universidades ni escuelas públicas, con el 97% de analfabetismo, por eso la Cultura Puertorriqueña la Trajeron los Americanos

Con todo, espero que sean de alguna utilidad para los miembros del seminario y para los demás lectores que las honren con su atención crítica.

La pregunta, como nos consta a todos, plantea una cuestión importantísima que ha preocupado y sigue preocupando a muchos puertorriqueños comprometidos, desde diversas posiciones ideológicas, con la realidad nacional puertorriqueña y naturalmente interesados en sus proyecciones futuras.

Al empezar a contestarla, me he preguntado a mi vez qué entienden ustedes —pues sin duda se han enfrentado al problema antes de proponérmelo a mí— por “cultura puertorriqueña”.

Me he dicho que tal vez no sea exactamente lo mismo que entiendo yo, y no me ha parecido arbitrario anticipar esa posibilidad porque tengo plena conciencia de que todo lo que diré a continuación presenta el esbozo de una tesis que contradice muchas de las ideas que la mayoría de los intelectuales puertorriqueños han postulado durante varias décadas como verdades establecidas, y en no pocos casos como auténticos artículos de fe patriótica.

Trataré, pues, de ser lo más explícito posible dentro del breve espacio que me concede la naturaleza de esta respuesta (que, por otra parte, no pretende ser definitiva sino servir tan sólo como punto de partida para un diálogo cuya cordialidad, espero, sepa resistir la prueba de cualquier discrepancia legítima y provechosa).

Empezaré, entonces, afirmando mi acuerdo con la idea, sostenida por numerosos sociólogos, de que en el seno de toda sociedad dividida en clases coexisten dos culturas: la cultura de los opresores y la cultura de los oprimidos.

En 1898 los Americanos encontraron a Puerto Rico como Puerto Pobre, con muchas enfermedades y trajeron salud y progreso a los Puertorriqueños
En 1898 los Americanos encontraron a Puerto Rico como el Puerto Pobre, con muchas enfermedades y trajeron libertad individual, salud y progreso a los Puertorriqueños

Claro está que esas dos culturas, precisamente porque coexisten, no son compartimientos estancos sino vasos intercomunicantes cuya existencia se caracteriza por una constante influencia mutua.

La naturaleza dialéctica de esa relación genera habitualmente la impresión de una homogeneidad esencial que en realidad no existe.

Tal homogeneidad sólo podría darse, en rigor, en una sociedad sin clases (y aun así, sólo después de un largo proceso de consolidación).

En toda sociedad dividida en clases, la relación real entre las dos culturas es una relación de dominación: la cultura de los opresores es la cultura dominante y la cultura de los oprimidos es la cultura dominada..

Y la que se presenta como “cultura general” , vale decir como “cultura nacional” , es, naturalmente, la cultura dominante..

Para empezar a dar respuesta a la pregunta que ustedes me hacen resulta necesario, pues, precisar qué era en Puerto Rico la “cultura nacional” a la llegada de los norteamericanos..

Pero, para proceder con el mínimo rigor que exige el caso, lo que hay que precisar primero es otra cosa, a saber, ¿qué clase de nación era Puerto Rico en ese momento?.

 Muchos puertorriqueños, sobra decirlo, se han hecho esa pregunta antes que yo..

Y las respuestas que se han dado han sido diversas y en ocasiones contradictorias..

Hablo, claro, de los puertorriqueños que han concebido a Puerto Rico como nación; los que han negado la existencia de la nación tanto en el siglo pasado como en el presente, plantean otro problema que también merece análisis, pero que por ahora debo dejar de lado.

Consideremos, pues, dos ejemplos mayores entre los que nos interesan ahora: Eugenio Maria de Hostos y Pedro Albizu Campos.

Para Hostos, a la altura misma de 1898, lo que el régimen colonial español había dejado en Puerto Rico era una sociedad “donde se vivía bajo la providencia de la barbarie”; apenas tres décadas más tarde, Albizu definía la realidad social de ese mismo régimen como “la vieja felicidad colectiva”.

¿A qué atribuir esa contradicción extrema entre dos hombres inteligentes y honrados que defendían una misma causa política: la independencia nacional de Puerto Rico? Si reconocemos, como evidentemente estamos obligados a reconocer, que Hostos era el que se apegaba a la verdad histórica y Albizu el que la tergiversaba, y si no queremos incurrir en interpretaciones subjetivas que además de posiblemente erróneas serían injustas, es preciso que busquemos la razón de la contradicci6n en los procesos históricos que la determinaron y no en la personalidad de quienes la expresaron.

No se trata, pues, de Hostos versus Albizu, sino de una visión histórica versus otra visión histórica.

 Empecemos, entonces, por preguntamos cuál fue la situación que movió a Hostos a apegarse a la verdad histórica en su juicio sobre la realidad puertorriqueña en el momento de la invasión norteamericana..

En otras palabras, ¿qué le permitió a Hostos reconocer, sin traicionar por ello su convicción independentista, que a la altura de 1898 “la debilidad individual y social que está a la vista parece que hace incapaz de ayuda a sí mismo a nuestro pueblo”? Lo que le permitió a Hostos esa franqueza crítica fue sin duda su visión del desarrollo histórico de Puerto Rico hasta aquel momento.

Esa visión era la de una sociedad en un grado todavía primario de formación nacional y aquejada de enormes males colectivos (los mismos que denunciaba Manuel Zeno Gandía al novelar un “mundo enfermo” y analizaba Salvador Brau en sus “disquisiciones sociológicas”).

Si los separatistas puertorriqueños del siglo pasado, con Ramón Emeterio Betances a la cabeza, creían en la independencia nacional y lucharon por ella, fue porque comprendían que esa independencia era necesaria para llevar adelante y hacer culminar el proceso de formación de la nacionalidad, no porque creyeran que ese proceso hubiera culminado ya.

No confundían la sociología con la política, y sabían que en el caso de Puerto Rico, como en el de toda Hispanoamérica, la creación de un Estado nacional estaba llamada a ser, no la expresión de una nación definitivamente formada sino el más poderoso y eficaz instrumento para impulsar y completar el proceso de formación nacional.

Ningún país hispanoamericano había llegado a la independencia nacional en el siglo XIX como resultado de la culminación de un proceso de formación nacional, sino por la necesidad de dotarse de un instrumento político y jurídico que asegurara e impulsara el desarrollo de ese proceso.

Ahora bien: el hecho es que los separatistas puertorriqueños no lograron la independencia nacional en el siglo pasado y que todavía hoy muchos independentistas puertorriqueños se preguntan por qué no la lograron.

Todavía hay quienes piensan que ello se debió a que una delación hizo abortar la insurrección de Lares, o a que los 500 fusiles que Betances tenía en un barco surto en San Tomas no llegaron a Puerto Rico a tiempo, o a que veinte años después los separatistas puertorriqueños estaban combatiendo en Cuba y no en su propio país, o a quién sabe qué otras “razones” igualmente ajenas a una concepción verdaderamente científica de la historia.

Porque la única razón real de que los separatistas puertorriqueños no lograran la independencia nacional en el siglo XIX fue la que dio, en más de una ocasión, el propio Ramón Emeterio Betances, un revolucionario que después de su primer fracaso adquirió la sana costumbre de no engañarse a sí mismo, y esa razón era, para citar textualmente al padre del separatismo, que “los puertorriqueños no querían la independencia”.

Pero, ¿qué querían decir exactamente esas palabras en boca y en pluma de un hombre como aquel, que nunca aceptó otro destino razonable y justo para su país que la independencia nacional como requisito previo para su ulterior integración en una gran confederación antillana? ¿Quiénes eran “los puertorriqueños” a que aludía Betances y qué significaba eso de “no querer la independencia”? El mismo lo explicó en una carta escrita desde Port-au-Prince poco después de la intentona de Lares, en la que atribuía esa derrota al hecho de que “los puertorriqueños ricos nos han abandonado”.

A Betances no le hacía falta ser marxista para saber que en su tiempo una revolución anticolonial que no contara con el apoyo de la clase dirigente nativa estaba condenada al fracaso.

Y en Puerto Rico esa clase, efectivamente, “no quería la independencia”.

Y no la quería porque no podía quererla, porque su debilidad como clase, determinada fundamentalmente —lo cual no quiere decir exclusivamente— por el escaso desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas en la sociedad puertorriqueña, no le permitía ir más allá de la aspiración reformista que siempre la caracterizó.

El relativo desarrollo de esas fuerzas productivas, y por consiguiente de la ideología de la clase hacendada y profesional criolla (lo que más se asemejaba entonces a una incipiente burguesía nacional) entre 1868 y 1887 fue lo que determinó el tránsito del asimilismo al autonomismo en la actitud política de esa clase.

A lo que nunca pudo llegar ésta, ni siquiera en 1898, fue a la convicción de que Puerto Rico era ya una nación capaz de regir sus propios destinos a través de un Estado independiente.

En el caso de Hostos, pues, la aspiración a la independencia no estaba reñida con una apreciación realista de la situación histórica que vivía.

Y fue esa apreciación la que lo llevo a dictaminar en 1898, cuando se enfrentó directamente a la realidad del país después de un exilio de varias décadas, que el pueblo puertorriqueño estaba incapacitado para darse un gobierno propio, y a proponer, para superar esa incapacidad, un proyecto de regeneración física y moral cuyas metas podían alcanzarse, si se aprovechaba bien el tiempo, en plazo de veinte años”.

La situación histórica que le tocó vivir a Albizu no se caracterizó tan sólo por el escaso desarrollo de la clase dirigente criolla que él quiso movilizar en una lucha independentista, sino por algo todavía peor: por la expropiación, la marginación y el descalabro de esa clase a causa de la irrupción del capitalismo imperialista norteamericano en Puerto Rico.

Ese proceso lo ha explicado muy bien Ángel Quintero Rivera en sus aspectos económico y político, dejando muy en claro que la impotencia de esa clase para enfrentarse con un proyecto histórico progresista al imperialismo norteamericano en razón de su cada vez mayor debilidad económica, la llevó a abandonar su liberalismo decimonónico para asumir el conservadorismo que ha caracterizado su ideología en lo que va de este siglo.

La idealización —vale decir la tergiversación— del pasado histórico ha sido uno de los rasgos típicos de esa ideología.

Pedro Albizu Campos fue, sin duda alguna, el portavoz más coherente y consecuente de esa ideología conservadora.

Conservadora en su contenido, pero, en el caso de Albizu, radical en su forma, porque Albizu dio voz especialmente al sector más desesperado (el adjetivo, muy preciso, se lo debo a Juan Antonio Corretjer) de esa clase.

Esa desesperación histórica, explicable hasta el punto de que no tendría por qué sorprender a nadie, fue la que obligó a Albizu a tergiversar la verdad refiriéndose al régimen español en Puerto Rico como “la vieja felicidad colectiva”.

Ahora establezcamos la relación que guarda todo esto con el problema de la “cultura nacional” puertorriqueña en nuestros días.

Si la sociedad puertorriqueña siempre ha sido una sociedad dividida en clases, y si, como afirmamos al principio, en toda sociedad dividida en clases coexisten dos culturas, la de los opresores y la de los oprimidos, y si lo que se conoce como “cultura nacional” es generalmente la cultura de los opresores, entonces es forzoso reconocer que lo que en Puerto Rico siempre hemos entendido por “cultura nacional” es la cultura producida por la clase de los hacendados y los profesionales a que vengo aludiendo hace rato.

Conviene aclarar, sin embargo, la aplicación de esta terminología de “opresores” y “oprimidos” al caso puertorriqueño, porque es muy cierto que los opresores criollos han sido al mismo tiempo oprimidos por sus dominadores extranjeros.

Eso precisamente es lo que explica que su producción cultural en el siglo pasado, en la medida en que expresaba su lucha contra la dominación española, fuese una producción cultural fundamentalmente progresista, dado el carácter retrogrado, en todos los órdenes, de esa dominación.

Pero esa clase oprimida por la metrópoli era a su vez opresora de la otra clase social puertorriqueña, la clase formada por los esclavos (hasta 1873), los peones y los artesanos (obreros, en rigor, hubo muy pocos en el siglo XIX debido a la inexistencia de industrias modernas propiamente dichas en el país).

La “cultura de los oprimidos”, en Puerto Rico, ha sido y es la cultura producida por esa clase.

(Esa cultura, por cierto, sólo ha sido estudiada por los intelectuales de la clase dominante como folklore, ese invento de la burguesía europea que tan bien ha servido para escamotear la verdadera significación de la cultura popular).

Y de ahora en adelante, para que podamos entendernos sin equívocos, hablemos de “cultura de élite” y de “cultura popular”.

Lo que importa examinar (aunque sea en forma esquemática, por razones de espacio), para responder a la pregunta de ustedes, es en primer término el nacimiento y el desarrollo de cada una de esas culturas.

Lo más indicado es empezar por la cultura popular, por la sencilla razón de que fue la que nació primero.

Ya es un lugar común decir que esa cultura tiene tres raíces históricas: la taína, la africana y la española.

Lo que no es lugar común, sino todo lo contrario, es afirmar que de esas tres raíces, la más importante, por razones económicas y sociales, y en consecuencia culturales, es la africana.

Es cosa bien sabida que la población indígena de la Isla fue exterminada en unas cuantas décadas por la brutalidad genocida de la conquista.

(Bien sabida como dato, pero indudablemente mal asimilada moral e intelectualmente, a juzgar por el hecho de que la principal avenida de nuestra ciudad capital todavía ostenta el nombre de aquel aventurero codicioso y esclavizador de indios que fue Juan Ponce de León).

El exterminio, desde luego, no impidió la participación de elementos aborígenes en nuestra formación de pueblo; pero me parece claro que esta participación se dio sobre todo a través de los intercambios culturales entre los indígenas y los otros dos grupos étnicos, especialmente el grupo africano y ello por una razón obvia: indios y negros, confinados en el estrato más oprimido de la pirámide social, estuvieron necesariamente más relacionados entre si, durante el periodo inicial de la colonización, que con el grupo español dominante.

También es cosa muy sabida, por documentada, que el grupo español, a lo largo de los dos primeros siglos de vida colonial, fue sumamente inestable: recuérdese que en 1534 el gobernador de la colonia daba cuenta de sus afanes por impedir la salida en masa de los pobladores españoles atraídos por las riquezas de Tierra Firme, al punto de que la Isla se veía “tan despoblada, que apenas se ve gente española, sino negros”.

El ingrediente español en la formación de la cultura popular puertorriqueña deben de haberlo constituido, fundamentalmente, los labradores (sobre todo canarios) importados cuando los descendientes de los primeros esclavos eran ya puertorriqueños negros.

De ahí mi convicción, expresada en varias ocasiones para desconcierto o irritación de algunos, de que los primeros puertorriqueños fueron en realidad los puertorriqueños negros.

No estoy diciendo, por supuesto, que esos primeros puertorriqueños tuvieran un concepto de “patria nacional” (que nadie, por lo demás, tenía ni podía tener en el Puerto Rico de entonces), sino que ellos, por ser los más atados al territorio que habitaban en virtud de su condición de esclavos, difícilmente podían pensar en la posibilidad del hacerse de otro país.

Alguien podía tratar de impugnar este razonamiento aduciendo que varias de las conspiraciones de esclavos que se produjeron en Puerto Rico en el siglo XIX tenían por objeto —según, en todo caso, lo que afirman los documentos oficiales— huir a Santo Domingo, donde ya se había abolido la esclavitud.

Pero no hay que olvidar que muchos de esos movimientos fueron encabezados por esclavos nacidos en África —los llamados bozales— o traídos de otras islas del Caribe, y no por negros criollos, como se les llamaba a los nacidos en la Isla antes de que se les empezara a reconocer como puertorriqueños.

Por lo que toca al campesinado blanco de esos primeros tiempos, o sea los primeros “jíbaros”, lo cierto es que era un campesinado pobre que se vio obligado a adoptar muchos de los hábitos de la vida de los otros pobres que vivían desde antes en el país, vale decir los esclavos.

En relación con esto, no está de más señalar que cuando en el Puerto Rico de hoy se habla, por ejemplo, de “comida jíbara”, se está hablando, en realidad de “comida de negros”: plátanos, arroz, bacalao, funche, etc.

Si la “cocina nacional” de todas las islas y las regiones litorales de la cuenca del Caribe es prácticamente la misma por lo que atañe a sus ingredientes esenciales y sólo conoce ligeras (aunque en muchos casos imaginativas) variantes combinatorias, pese al hecho de que esos países fueron colonizados por naciones europeas de tan diferentes tradiciones culinarias como la española, la francesa, la inglesa y la holandesa, ello sólo puede explicarse, me parece, en virtud de que todos los caribeños —insulares o continentales— comemos y bebemos más bien como negros que como europeos.

Lo mismo o cosa muy análoga cabría decir del “traje regional” puertorriqueño cuyas características todavía no acaban de precisar, que yo sepa, nuestros folkloristas: el hecho es que los campesinos blancos, por imperativo estrictamente económico, tuvieron que cubrirse con los mismos vestidos sencillos, holgados y baratos que usaban los negros.

Los criollos de clase alta, tan pronto como los hubo, tendieron a vestirse a la europea; y la popular guayabera de nuestros días, como podría atestiguar cualquier puertorriqueño memorioso de mi generación, nos llegó hace apenas tres décadas de Cuba, donde fue creada como prenda de uso cotidiano en el medio de los estancieros.

La cultura popular puertorriqueña, de carácter esencialmente afroantillano, nos hizo, durante los tres primeros siglos de nuestra historia pos-colombina, un pueblo caribeño más.

El mayoritario sector social que produjo esa cultura produjo también al primer gran personaje histórico puertorriqueño: Miguel Henríquez, un zapatero mestizo que llegó a convertirse, mediante su extraordinaria actividad como contrabandista y corsario, en el hombre más rico de la colonia durante la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII hasta que las autoridades españolas, alarmadas por su poder, decidieron sacarlo de la Isla y de este mundo.

En el seno de ese mismo sector popular nació nuestro primer artista de importancia: José Campeche, mulato hijo de esclavo “coartado” (es decir, de esclavo que iba comprando su libertad a plazos).

Si la sociedad puertorriqueña hubiera evolucionado de entonces en delante de la misma manera que las de otras islas del Caribe, nuestra actual “cultura nacional” sería esa cultura popular y mestiza, primordialmente afroantillana.

Pero la sociedad puertorriqueña no evolucionó de esa manera en los siglos XIX y XX.

A principios del XIX, cuando nadie en Puerto Rico pensaba en una “cultura nacional” puertorriqueña, a esa sociedad, por decirlo así, se le echo un segundo piso, social, económico y cultural (y en consecuencia de todo ello, a la larga, político).

La construcción y el amueblado de ese segundo piso corrió a cargo, en una primera etapa, de la oleada inmigratoria que volcó sobre la Isla un nutrido contingente de refugiados de las colonias hispanoamericanas en lucha por su independencia, e inmediatamente, al amparo de la Real Cédula de Gracias de 1815, a numerosos extranjeros -ingleses, franceses, holandeses, irlandeses, etc. —; y, en una segunda etapa, a mediados de siglo, de una nueva oleada compuesta fundamentalmente por corsos, mallorquines y catalanes.

Esta última oleada fue la que llevó a cabo, prácticamente, una segunda colonización en la región montañosa del país, apoyada en la institución de la libreta que la dotó de una mano de obra estable y, desde luego, servil.

El mundo de las haciendas cafetaleras, que en el siglo XX vendría a ser mitificado como epítome de la “Puertorriqueñidad”, fue en realidad un mundo dominado por extranjeros cuya riqueza se fundó en la expropiación de los antiguos estancieros criollos y en la explotación despiadada de un campesinado nativo que hasta entonces había vivido en una economía de subsistencia.

(Un magnifico retrato de ese mundo es el que nos ofrece Fernando Pico en su reciente libro Libertad y servidumbre en el Puerto Rico del siglo XIX, Ediciones Huracán, Rió Piedras, 1979).

Esos hacendados peninsulares, corsos y mallorquines, fueron, muy naturalmente, uno de los puntales del régimen colonial español.

Y la cultura que produjeron fue, por razones igualmente naturales, una cultura señorial y extranjerizante, Todavía a fines de siglo los hacendados cafetaleros mallorquines hablaban mallorquín entre sí y sólo usaban el español para hacerse entender por sus peones puertorriqueños.

Y los corsos, como atestiguan no pocos documentos históricos y literarios, fueron vistos como extranjeros, frecuentemente como “franceses”, por el pueblo puertorriqueño hasta bien entrado el siglo XX.

Por lo que toca específicamente a los mallorquines, vale la pena llamar la atención sobre un hecho histórico que merecería cierto estudio desde un punto de vista sociocultural: muchos de esos emigrantes eran lo que en Mallorca se conoce como chuetas, o sea descendientes de judíos conversos.

Lo que tengo en mente es lo siguiente: ¿qué actitud social puede generar el hecho de que una minoría discriminada en su lugar de origen se convierta en brevísimo plazo, como consecuencia de una emigración en minoría privilegiada en el lugar adonde emigra? Lo mismo podría preguntarse, claro, en relación con los inmigrantes corsos, que en su isla natal eran mayormente campesinos analfabetos o semianalfabetos y en Puerto Rico se convirtieron en señores de hacienda en unos cuantos años.

La pobreza de la producción cultural de la clase propietaria cafetalera en toda la segunda mitad del siglo XIX (en comparación con la producción cultural de la élite social de la costa) nos habla de un tipo humano y social fundamentalmente inculto, conservador y arrogante, que despreciaba y oprimía al nativo pobre y era a su vez odiado por éste.

Ese odio es lo que explica, entre otras cosas, las “partidas sediciosas” que en 1898 se lanzaron al asalto de las haciendas de la “altura”.

He dicho 1898, y eso nos sitúa, después de esta necesaria excursión histórica, en el meollo de la pregunta que ustedes me hacen.

Comencé diciendo que para precisar qué era en Puerto Rico la ”cultura nacional” a la llegada de los norteamericanos, primero había que dilucidar qué clase de nación era Puerto Rico en ese momento.

Pues bien, a la luz de todo lo que llevo dicho no me parece exagerado en modo alguno decir que esa nación estaba tan escindida racial, social, económica y culturalmente que más bien deberíamos hablar de dos naciones.

O más exactamente, tal vez de dos formaciones nacionales que no habían tenido tiempo de fundirse en una verdadera síntesis nacional.

No se sobresalte nadie: el fenómeno no es exclusivamente puertorriqueño sino típicamente latinoamericano.

En México y en el Perú, por ejemplo, todavía se está bregando con el problema de los “varios países”: el país indígena, el país criollo y el país mestizo; en la Argentina es muy conocido el añejo conflicto entre los “criollos viejos” y los inmigrantes y sus descendientes; en Haití es proverbial la pugna entre negros y mulatos, etc., etc.

Todo lo que sucede es que en Puerto Rico se nos ha “vendido” durante más de medio siglo el mito de una homogeneidad social, racial y cultural que ya es tiempo de empezar a desmontar.

No para “dividir” al país, como piensan con temor algunos, sino para entenderlo correctamente en su objetiva y real diversidad.

Pensemos en dos tipos puertorriqueños como serían, por ejemplo, un poeta (blanco) de Lares y un estibador (negro o mulato) de Puerta de Tierra, y reconozcamos que la diferencia que existe entre ellos (y que no implica, digámoslo con toda claridad para evitar malos entendidos, que el uno sea “más” puertorriqueño que el otro) es una diferencia de tradición cultural, históricamente determinada, que de ninguna manera debemos subestimar.

A esa diferencia responden dos visiones del mundo —dos Weltanschauungen— contrapuestas en muchos e importantes sentidos.

A todos los puertorriqueños pensantes, y especialmente a los independentistas nos preocupa, y con razón, la persistente falta de consenso que exhibe nuestro pueblo por lo que toca a la futura y definitiva organización política del país, o sea al llamado “problema del status”.

En ese sentido, se reconoce mayor reparo la realidad de un “pueblo dividido”.

Lo que no hemos logrado hasta ahora es reconocer las causas profundas —vale decir históricas— de esa división.

El independentismo tradicional ha sostenido que tal división no existía antes de la invasión norteamericana, que bajo el régimen colonial español lo que caracterizaba a la sociedad puertorriqueña era, como decía Albizu, “una homogeneidad entre todos los componentes y un gran sentido social interesado en la recíproca ayuda para la perpetuidad y conservación de la nación, esto es, un sentimiento raigal y unánime de patria”.

Sólo la fuerza obnubilante de una ideología radicalmente conservadora podía inducir a semejante visión enajenada de la realidad histórica.

Lo que Puerto Rico era en 1898 sólo puede definirse, mitologías aparte, como una nación en formación.

Así la vio Hostos, y la vio bien.

Y si a lo largo del siglo XIX, como llevo dicho, ese proceso de formación nacional sufrió profundos trastornos a causa de dos grandes oleadas inmigratorias que, para insistir en mi metáfora, le echaron un segundo piso a la sociedad puertorriqueña, lo que pasó en 1898 fue que la invasión norteamericana empezó a echar un tercer piso, sobre el segundo todavía mal amueblado.

Ahora bien: en esa nación en formación, que además, como sabemos o deberíamos saber, estaba dividida no sólo en clases sino también en etnias que eran verdaderas castas, coexistían las dos culturas de que vengo hablando desde el principio.

Pero, precisamente porque se trataba de una nación en formación, esas dos culturas no eran tampoco bloques homogéneos en sí mismas.

La élite social tenía dos sectores claramente distinguibles: el sector de los hacendados y el sector de los profesionales.

Quintero Rivera ha explicado con mucha claridad cómo se diferenciaban ideológicamente esos dos sectores de la élite: más conservador el primero, más liberal el segundo.

Por lo que a la producción cultural se refiere, hay que precisar lo siguiente.

La cultura que produjeron los hacendados fue, sobre todo, un modo de vida, señorial y conservador.

Los propios hacendados no fueron capaces de expresar y ensalzar literariamente ese modo de vida: de eso tendrían que encargarse, bien entrado ya el siglo XX, sus descendientes venidos a menos como clase (como clase, entiéndase bien, porque individualmente los nietos de los hacendados “arruinados”, convertidos por lo general en profesionales, empresarios o burócratas, disfrutan de un nivel de vida como el que nunca conocieron sus abuelos).

Sólo a la luz de este enfoque puede entenderse bien, por ejemplo, el contenido ideológico de un texto literario como Los soles truncos, de René Marqués.

La cultura que produjeron los profesionales en el siglo XIX, en cambio, se materializó en obras e instituciones: casi toda nuestra literatura de ese período, el Ateneo, etc.

Y en esas obras e instituciones lo que predominó fue la ideología liberal de sus creadores.

Así pues —y es muy importante aclarar esto para no incurrir en las simplificaciones y confusiones propias de cierto “marxismo” subdesarrollado—, “cultura de clase dirigente” en la sociedad colonial puertorriqueña del siglo XIX no quiere decir precisa ni necesariamente “cultura reaccionaria”.

Reaccionarios hubo, sí, entre los puertorriqueños cultos de esa época, pero no fueron los más ni fueron los más característicos.

Los más y los más característicos fueron liberales y progresistas: Alonso, Tapia, Hostos, Brau, Zeno.

También los hubo revolucionarios, claro, pero fueron los menos y, además, en muchos casos, característica y reveladoramente, mestizos: piénsese en Betances, en Pachín Marín y en un artesano como Sotero Figueroa que culturalmente alternaba con la élite.

Mestizos fueron también —,¿alguien se atreverá a decir que por “casualidad”?— los autonomistas más radicales: piénsese en Baldorioty y en Barbosa, tan incomprendidos y despreciados por los independentistas conservadores del siglo XX, el uno por “reformista” y el otro por “yankófilo”.

¡Como si la mitad, cuando menos, de los separatistas del XIX no hubieran querido separarse de España sólo para poder anexarse después a los Estados Unidos, espejo de democracia republicana para la mayor parte del mundo ilustrado de la época! Ahí está, para quien quiera estudiarla sin hacerle ascos a la verdad, la historia de la Sección Puerto Rico del Partido Revolucionario Cubano en Nueva York, donde los separatistas-independentistas como Sotero Figueroa conmilitaron hasta el 98 con los separatistas-anexionistas (será contrasentido gramatical, pero no político) como Todd y Henna (y estos dos apellidos, por cierto, ¿no nos están hablando del “segundo piso” que los inmigrantes le echaron a la sociedad puertorriqueña a principios y mediados del siglo?) Todo esto parecerá digresión, pero no lo es: la “cultura nacional” puertorriqueña a la altura del 98 estaba hecha de todo eso.

Vale decir: expresaba en sus virtudes, en sus debilidades y en sus contradicciones a la clase social que le daba vida.

Si esa clase se caracterizaba, como hemos visto, por su debilidad y su inmadurez históricas, ¿podía ser fuerte y madura la cultura producida por ella? Lo que le daba una fortaleza y una madurez relativa era, sobre todo, dos cosas: 1) el hecho de que tenía sus raíces en una-vieja y rica cultura europea (la española), y 2) el hecho de que ya había empezado a imprimir a sus expresiones un sello propio, criollo en un sentido hispanoantillano.

Esto último es innegable, y por eso se equivocan quienes sostienen (o sostenían, cuando menos, hace dos o tres décadas) que no existe una “cultura nacional” puertorriqueña.

Pero también se equivocaban y siguen equivocándose quienes, pasando por alto el carácter clasista de esa cultura, la postulan como la única cultura de todos los puertorriqueños e identifican su deterioro bajo el régimen norteamericano con un supuesto deterioro de la identidad nacional.

Tal manera de ver las cosas no sólo confunde la parte con el todo, porque esa cultura ha sido efectivamente parte de lo que en un sentido totalizante puede llamarse “cultura nacional puertorriqueña”, pero no ha sido toda la cultura producida por la sociedad insular; sino que, además, deja de reconocer la existencia de la otra cultura puertorriqueña, la cultura popular que, bajo el régimen colonial norteamericano, no ha sufrido nada que pueda definirse como un deterioro, sino más bien como un desarrollo: un desarrollo accidentado t lleno de vicisitudes, sin duda, pero desarrollo al fin.

Y decir esto no significa hacer una apología del colonialismo norteamericano desde la izquierda, como se obstinan en creer algunos patriotas conservadores, sino simplemente reconocer un hecho histórico: que el desmantelamiento progresivo de la cultura de la élite puertorriqueña bajo el impacto de las transformaciones operadas en la sociedad nacional por el régimen colonial norteamericano ha tenido como consecuencia, más que la “norteamericanización” de esa sociedad, un trastocamiento interno de valores culturales.

El vacío creado por el desmantelamiento de la cultura de los puertorriqueños “de arriba” no ha sido llenado, ni mucho menos, por la intrusión de la cultura norteamericana, sino por el ascenso cada vez más palpable de la cultura de los puertorriqueños “de abajo”.

Ahora bien: ¿por qué y cómo ha sucedido eso? Yo no veo manera de dar una respuesta válida a esta pregunta como no sea insertando la cuestión en el contexto de la lucha de clases en el seno de la sociedad puertorriqueña.

Tiempo sobrado es ya de que empecemos a entender a la luz de una concepción científica de la historia lo que realmente significó para Puerto Rico el cambio de régimen colonial en 1898.

Y cuando digo “lo que realmente significó”, quiero decir lo que significó para las diferentes clases sociales de la sociedad puertorriqueña.

Es perfectamente demostrable, porque está perfectamente documentado, que la clase propietaria puertorriqueña acogió la invasión norteamericana, en el momento en que se produjo, con los brazos abiertos.

Todos los portavoces políticos de esa clase saludaron la invasión como la llegada a Puerto Rico de la libertad, la democracia y el progreso, porque todos vieron en ella el preludio de la anexión de Puerto Rico a la nación más rica y poderosa —y más “democrática” no hay que olvidarlo— del planeta.

El desencanto sólo sobrevino cuando la nueva metrópoli hizo claro que la invasión no implicaba la anexión, no implicaba la participación de la clase propietaria puertorriqueña en el opíparo banquete de la expansiva economía capitalista norteamericana, sino su subordinación colonial a esa economía.

Fue entonces, y sólo entonces, cuando nació el “nacionalismo” de esa clase, o, para decirlo con más exactitud, del sector de esa clase cuya debilidad económica le impidió insertarse en la nueva situación.

La famosa oposición de José de Diego —es decir, de la clase social que él representaba como presidente de la Cámara de Delegados— a la extensión de la ciudadanía norteamericana a los puertorriqueños se fundaba (como él mismo lo explicó en un discurso que todos los independentistas puertorriqueños deberían leer o releer) en la categórica declaración del presidente Taft de que la ciudadanía no aparejaba la anexión ni una promesa de anexión.

Y cuando, además de eso, se hizo evidente que el nuevo régimen económico —o sea la suplantación de la economía de haciendas por una economía de plantaciones— significaba la ruina de la clase hacendada insular y el comienzo de la participación independiente de la clase trabajadora en la vida política del país, la retórica “patriótica” de los hacendados alcanzó tal nivel de demagogia que incluso el sector liberal de los profesionales no vaciló en ridiculizarla y condenarla.

Solo así se explican los virulentos ataques de Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, Nemesio Canales y Luis Llorens Torres a los desplantes “antiimperialistas” de José de Diego, el próspero abogado de la Guánica Central erigido en tonante “Caballero de la Raza”.

(Y en directa relación con esto último, permítanme ustedes un paréntesis cuya pertinencia me obliga a no dejarlo en el tintero.

La crítica —y “criticar no es censurar, sino ejercitar el criterio”, como decía José Martí— a la ejecutoria política de un personaje histórico de la importancia de José de Diego debe entenderse como un esfuerzo por entender y precisar, con apego a la realidad histórica, las razones que determinaron la conducta de todo un sector de clase de la sociedad puertorriqueña en un momento dado.

Esa conducta ha sido mitificada durante medio siglo por los herederos sociales e ideológicos de ese sector.

Quienes respondemos o intentamos responder a los intereses históricos de la otra clase social puertorriqueña, o sea de los trabajadores, no debemos combatir esa mitificación con otra mitificación.

Y en ese error, me parece, han incurrido dos estimables investigadores de la historia social puertorriqueña como son Juan Flores y Ricardo Campos, quienes en su trabajo “Migración y cultura nacional puertorriqueñas: perspectivas proletarias” —incluido en Puerto Rico: identidad nacional y clases sociales (Coloquio de Princeton), Ediciones Huracán, Rió Piedras, 1979—, oponen a la mitificada figura del prócer reaccionario José de Diego la figura también mitificada del destacado luchador e ideólogo proletario Ramón Romero Rosa.

Si Flores y Campos hubieran recordado que los santos tienen su lugar en la estera de la religión pero no en la de la política, no habrían callado el hecho de que Romero Rosa, después de prestarle eminentes servicios a la clase obrera puertorriqueña, acabó por ingresar en el Partido Unionista, que era, como todos sabemos, el partido de la clase adversaria.

Flores y Campos seguramente no carecen de los conocimientos necesarios para explicar este hecho, y por ello precisamente es de lamentar que su trabajo, muy atendible por lo demás, se resienta de cierto maniqueísmo que no favorece la justeza esencial de sus planteamientos).

La clase trabajadora puertorriqueña, por su parte, también acogió favorablemente la invasión norteamericana, pero por razones muy distintas de las que animaron en su momento a los hacendados.

En la llegada de los norteamericanos a Puerto Rico los trabajadores vieron la oportunidad de un ajuste de cuentas con la clase propietaria en todos los terrenos.

Y en el terreno cultural, que es el que nos ocupa ahora, ese ajuste de cuentas ha sido el motor principal de los cambios culturales operados en la sociedad puertorriqueña de 1898 hasta nuestros días.

La tantas veces denunciada penetración cultural norteamericana en Puerto Rico no deja de ser un hecho, y yo sería el último en negarlo.

Pero, por una parte, me niego a aceptar que esa penetración equivalga a una “transculturación”, es decir a una “norteamericanización” entendida como “despuertorriqeñanización” de nuestra sociedad en su conjunto; y, por otra parte estoy convencido de que las causas y las consecuencias de esa penetración sólo pueden entenderse cabalmente en el contexto de la lucha entre las “dos culturas” puertorriqueñas, que no es sino un aspecto de la lucha de clases en el seno de la sociedad nacional.

La llamada “norteamericanización” cultural de Puerto Rico ha tenido dos aspectos dialécticamente vinculados entre sí.

Por un lado, ha obedecido desde afuera a una política imperialista encaminada a integrar a la sociedad puertorriqueña —claro está que en condiciones de dependencia— al sistema capitalista norteamericano; pero, por otro lado ha respondido desde adentro a la lucha de las masas puertorriqueñas contra la hegemonía de la clase propietaria.

La producción cultural de esta clase bajo el régimen colonial español fue, por las razones que ya hemos explicado, una producción cultural de signo liberal-burgués; pero la nueva relación de fuerzas sociales bajo el régimen norteamericano obligó a la clase propietaria, marginada y expropiada en su mayor parte por el capitalismo norteamericano, a abandonar el liberalismo sostenido por su sector profesional y a luchar por la conservación de los valores culturales de su sector hacendado.

El telurismo característico de la literatura producida por la élite puertorriqueña en el siglo XX no responde, como todavía se enseña generalmente en los cursos de literatura puertorriqueña en la Universidad, a una desinteresada y lírica sensibilidad conmovida por las bellezas de nuestro paisaje tropical, sino a una añoranza muy concreta y muy histórica de la tierra perdida, y no de la tierra entendida como símbolo ni como metáfora, sino como medio de producción material cuya propiedad paso a manos extrañas.

En otras palabras: quienes ya no pudieron seguir “volteando la finca” a lomos del tradicional caballo, se dedicaron a hacerlo a lomos de una décima, un cuento o una novela.

Y estirando un poco (pero no demasiado) la metáfora, sustituyeron, con el mismo espíritu patriarcal de los “buenos tiempos”, a sus antiguos peones y agregados con sus nuevos lectores.

Lo que complica las cosas, sin embargo, es el hecho de que un sector importantísimo de los terratenientes en Puerto Rico a la llegada de los norteamericanos no estaba constituido por puertorriqueños sino por españoles, corsos, mallorquines, catalanes, etc.

Esos terratenientes eran vistos por las masas puertorriqueñas como lo que eran en realidad: como extranjeros y como explotadores.

Su mundo social y cultural era el que añoraban, idealizándolo hasta la mitificación, las tres protagonistas de Los soles truncos.

Y presentar ese mundo como el mundo de la “Puertorriqueñidad” enfrentado a la “adulteración” norteamericana, constituye no só1o una tergiversación flagrante de la realidad histórica, sino además, y ello es lo verdaderamente grave, una agresión a la Puertorriqueñidad de la masa popular cuyos antepasados (en muchos casos cercanos) vivieron en ese mundo como esclavos, como arrimados o como peones.

Entonces, así como sus valores culturales le sirvieron a la clase propietaria para resistir la “norteamericanización”, esa misma “norteamericanización” le ha servido a la masa popular para impugnar y desplazar los valores culturales de la clase propietaria.

Pero no sólo a la masa popular- y creo que esto es digno de especial señalamiento—, sino incluso a ciertos sectores muy importantes de la misma clase propietaria que han vivido oprimidos en el interior de su propia clase.

Pienso, sobre todo, en las mujeres.

¿A alguien se le ocurrirá negar que el actual movimiento de liberación femenina en Puerto Rico —esencialmente progresista y justo a despecho de todas sus posibles limitaciones— no es en grandísima medida un resultado de la “norteamericanización” de la sociedad puertorriqueña? El desconocimiento o el menosprecio de estas realidades ha tenido, entre otras, una consecuencia nefasta: la idea, sostenida y difundida por el independentismo tradicional, de que la independencia es necesaria para proteger y apuntalar una identidad cultural nacional que las masas puertorriqueñas nunca han sentido como su verdadera identidad.

¿Por que esos independentistas han sido acusados, una y otra vez, de querer “volver a los tiempos de España”? ¿Por qué los puertorriqueños pobres y los puertorriqueños negros han escaseado notoriamente en las filas del independentismo tradicional y han abundado, en cambio, en las del anexionismo populista? El independentismo tradicional suele responder a ésta última pregunta diciendo que los puertorriqueños negros partidarios de la anexión están “enajenados” por el régimen colonial.

El razonamiento es el siguiente: si los puertorriqueños negros aspiran a anexarse a una sociedad racista como la norteamericana, esa “aberración” sólo puede explicarse en términos de una enajenación.

Pero quienes así razonan ignoran u olvidan una realidad histórica elemental: que la experiencia racial de los puertorriqueños negros no se ha dado dentro de la sociedad norteamericana sino dentro de la sociedad puertorriqueña, es decir, que quienes los han discriminado racialmente en Puerto Rico no han sido los norteamericanos sino los puertorriqueños blancos, muchos de los cuales, además, se enorgullecen de su ascendencia extranjera: española, corsa, mallorquina, etc”.

Lo que un puertorriqueño negro, y un puertorriqueño pobre aunque sea blanco —y nadie ignora que la proporción de pobres entre los negros siempre ha sido muy superior a la proporción entre blancos–, entienden por “volver a los tiempos de España”, es volver a una sociedad en la que el sector blanco y propietario de la población siempre oprimió y despreció al sector no-blanco y no- propietario.

Pues, en efecto, ¿cuántos puertorriqueños negros o pobres podían participar, aunque sólo fuera como simples electores, en la vida política puertorriqueña en tiempos de España? Para ser elector, en aquellos tiempos, había que ser propietario o contribuyente, además de saber leer y escribir, ¿y cuántos puertorriqueños negros o pobres podían satisfacer esos requisitos? Y no digamos lo que le costaba a un negro llegar a ser dirigente político.

Barbosa, claro.

¿Y quién más? Pero, además, no era Barbosa a secas, sino el doctor Barbosa.

¿Y dónde se hizo médico Barbosa? No en Puerto Rico (donde España nunca permitió la fundación de una universidad), ni en la propia España (donde los puertorriqueños que estudiaban eran los hijos de los hacendados y los profesionales blancos), sino en los Estados Unidos, en Michigan por más señas, un estado norteño y de vieja tradición abolicionista, lo cual explica fácilmente muchas cosas que los independentistas tradicionales nunca han podido entender en relación con Barbosa y su anexionismo.

Pues bien: si el independentismo tradicional puertorriqueño en el siglo XX ha sido —en lo político, en lo social y en lo cultural— una ideología conservadora empeñada en la defensa de los valores de la vieja clase propietaria, ¿a santo de qué atribuir a una “enajenación” la falta de adhesión de las masas al independentismo? ¿Quiénes han sido y son, en realidad, los enajenados en un verdadero sentido histórico? Por lo que a la cultura popular atañe, hay que reconocer que ésta tampoco ha sido homogénea en su evolución histórica.

Durante el primer siglo de vida colonial y seguramente buena parte del segundo, la masa trabajadora, tanto en el campo como en los pueblos, estuvo concentrada en la región del literal y fue mayoritariamente negra y mulata, con preponderancia numérica de los esclavos sobre los libertos.

Más adelante esa proporción se invirtió y los negros y mulatos libres fueron más numerosos que los esclavos, hasta que la abolición, en 1873, liquidó formalmente el status social de estos últimos.

La cultura popular puertorriqueña primeriza fue, pues, fundamentalmente afroantillana.

El campesinado blanco que se constituyó más tarde, sobre todo el de la región montañosa, produjo una variante de la cultura popular que se desarrolló de manera relativamente autónoma hasta que el auge de la industria azucarera de la costa y la decadencia de la economía cafetalera de la montaña determinaron el desplazamiento de un considerable sector de la población de la “altura” a la “bajura”.

Lo que se dio de entonces en adelante fue la interacción de las dos vertientes de la cultura popular, pero con claro predominio de la vertiente afroantillana por razones demográficas, económicas y sociales.

Empero, la actitud conservadora asumida por la clase terrateniente marginada desnaturalizó esta realidad a través de su propia producción cultural, proclamando la cultura popular del campesinado blanco como la cultura popular por excelencia.

El ”jibarismo” literario de la élite no ha sido otra cosa, en el fondo, que la expresión de su propio prejuicio social y racial.

Y así, en el Puerto Rico de nuestros días, donde el jíbaro prácticamente ha dejado de existir como factor demográfico, económico y cultural de importancia, en tanto que el puertorriqueño mestizo y proletario es cada vez más el verdadero representante de la identidad popular, el mito de la “jibaridad” esencial del puertorriqueño sobrevive tercamente en la anacrónica producción cultural de la vieja élite conservadora y abierta o disimuladamente racista.

Así, pues, cada vez que los portavoces ideológicos de esa élite le han imputado “enajenación”, “inconsciencia” y “pérdida de identidad” a la masa popular puertorriqueña, lo que han hecho en realidad es exhibir su falta de confianza y su propia enajenación respecto de quienes son, disgústele a quien le disguste, la inmensa mayoría de los puertorriqueños.

Y han hecho otra cosa, igualmente negativa y contraproducente: han convencido a muchos extranjeros de buena voluntad y partidarios de nuestra independencia de que el pueblo puertorriqueño está siendo objeto de un “genocidio cultural”.

Víctima especialmente lamentable de esa propaganda “antimperialista”, que en rigurosa verdad no es sino el canto de cisne de una clase social moribunda, ha sido el notable poeta revolucionario cubano Nicolás Guillén, quien en su tan bien intencionada cuan mal informada “Canción puertorriqueña” ha difundido por el mundo la imagen de un pueblo culturalmente híbrido y esterilizado, incapaz de expresarse como no sea tartajeando una ridícula mezcla de inglés y español.

Todos los puertorriqueños, independentistas o no, saben que esa visión de la situación cultural del país no corresponde ni de lejos a la realidad.

Y hay tantas buenas razones de todo tipo para defender la independencia nacional de Puerto Rico, que resulta imperdonable fundar esa defensa en una falsa razón.

La buena razón cultural para luchar por la independencia consiste, a mi juicio, en que esta es absolutamente necesaria para proteger, orientar y asegurar el pleno desarrollo de la verdadera identidad nacional puertorriqueña: la identidad que tiene sus raíces en esa cultura popular que el independentismo —si en verdad aspira a representar la auténtica voluntad nacional de este país— está obligado a comprender y a hacer suya sin reservas ni reticencias nacidas de la desconfianza y el prejuicio.

Lo que est ocurriendo en el Puerto de nuestros días es el resquebrajamiento espectacular e irreparable del cuarto piso que el capitalismo tardío norteamericano y el populismo oportunista puertorriqueño le añadieron a la sociedad insular a partir de década de los cuarenta.

Vistas las cosas en lo que a mí me parece una justa perspectiva histórica, el evidente fracaso del llamado Estado Libre Asociado revela con perfecta claridad que el colonialismo norteamericano —después de haber propiciado, fundamentalmente para satisfacer necesidades del desarrollo expansionista de la metrópoli, una serie de transformaciones que determinaron una muy real modernización en la dependencia de la sociedad puertorriqueña— ya sólo es capaz de empujar a esa sociedad a un callejón sin salida y a un desquiciamiento general cuyos síntomas justamente alarmantes todos tenemos a la vista: desempleo y marginación masivos, dependencia desmoralizante de una falsa beneficencia extranjera, incremento incontrolable de una delincuencia y una criminalidad en gran medida importadas, despolitización e irresponsabilidad cívica inducidas por la demagogia institucionalizada y toda una cauda de males que ustedes conocen mejor que yo porque están viviéndolos cotidianamente.

Hablar de la bancarrota actual del régimen colonial no quiere decir, de ninguna manera, que este régimen haya sido “bueno” hasta hace poco y que sólo ahora empiece a ser “malo”.

Lo que estoy tratando de decir —y me interesa mucho que se entienda bien — es que los ochenta años de dominación norteamericana en Puerto Rico representan la historia de un proyecto económico y político cuya viabilidad inmediata en cada una de sus etapas pasadas fue real, pero que siempre estuvo condenado, como todo proyecto histórico fundado en la dependencia colonial, a desembocar a la larga en la inviabilidad que estamos viviendo ahora.

Esa inviabilidad del régimen colonial en todos los órdenes es precisamente lo que hace viable, por primera vez en nuestra historia, la independencia nacional.

Viable y, como acabo de decir, absolutamente necesaria.

Quienes estamos comprometidos desde dentro y desde fuera del país con un futuro socialista para Puerto Rico —y hablo, como ya deben de saberlo ustedes, de un socialismo democrático, pluralista e independiente, que es el único socialismo digno de llamarse tal, a diferencia del “socialismo” burocrático, monolítico y autoritario instituido en nombre de la clase obrera por una nueva clase dominante que sólo puedo definir como burguesía de Estado porque es la auténtica propietaria de los medios de producción a través de un aparato estatal inamovible y todopoderoso—, tenemos por delante una tarea que consiste, ni mas ni menos, en la reconstrucción de la sociedad puertorriqueña.

Mi conocida discrepancia con el independentismo tradicional a este respecto es la discrepancia entre dos concepciones del objetivo histórico de esa reconstrucción.

Yo no creo en reconstruir hacia atrás, hacia el pasado que nos legaron el colonialismo español y la vieja élite irrevocablemente condenada por la historia.

Creo en reconstruir hacia adelante, hacia un futuro como el que definían los mejores socialistas proletarios puertorriqueños de principios de siglo cuando postulaban una independencia nacional capaz de organizar al país en “una democracia industrial gobernada por los trabajadores”; hacia un futuro que, apoyándose en la tradición cultural de las masas populares, redescubra y rescate la caribeñidad esencial de nuestra identidad colectiva y comprenda de una vez por todas que el destino natural de Puerto Rico es el mismo de todos los demás pueblos, insulares y continentales, del Caribe.

En ese sentido, concibo las respectivas independencias nacionales de todos esos pueblos sólo como un prerrequisito, pero un prerrequisito indispensable, para el logro de una gran confederación que nos integre definitivamente en una justa y efectiva organización económica, política y cultural.

Sólo así podremos llegar a ocupar el lugar que por derecho nos corresponde dentro de la gran comunidad latinoamericana y mundial.

En lo económico, esto, lejos de constituir una aspiración utópica, se revela ya como una necesidad objetiva.

En lo político, responde a una tendencia histórica manifiesta: la liquidación de nuestro común pasado colonial mediante la instauración de regímenes populares y no-capitalistas.

Y en lo cultural, que es lo que nos ocupa ahora específicamente, es preciso que reconozcamos y asumamos una realidad que aun los más conscientes de nosotros hemos pasado por alto hasta ahora.

El hecho de que en el Caribe se hablen varios idiomas de origen europeo en lugar de uno solo, se ha considerado hasta ahora como un factor de desunión.

Y como factor de desunión han utilizado ese hecho, efectivamente, los imperialismos que han hablado a nuestro nombre.

Pero, ¿acaso debemos nosotros, los sojuzgados, ver ese hecho con la misma óptica que nuestros sojuzgadores? Por el contrario, debemos verlo como un hecho que nos acerca y nos une porque es un resultado de nuestra historia común.

La gran comunidad caribeña es una comunidad plurilingüe.

Eso es real e irreversible.

Pero eso, en lugar de fragmentamos y derrotarnos, debe enriquecernos y estimularnos.

Y consideradas así las cosas, sucede que, gracias a una de esas “astucias de la historia” de que hablan algunos filósofos, el imperialismo norteamericano, al imponernos a los puertorriqueños el dominio del inglés (¡sin hacernos perder el español, estimado Nicolás Guillén!), nos ha facilitado, claro está que sin proponérselo, el acercamiento a los pueblos hermanos angloparlantes del Caribe.

No hemos de saber inglés los puertorriqueños para suicidarnos culturalmente disolviéndonos en el seno turbulento de la Unión norteamericana —”el Norte revuelto y brutal que nos desprecia”, que decía Martí—, sino para integrarnos con mayor facilidad y ganancia en el rico mundo caribeño al que por imperativo histórico pertenecemos.

Cuando al fin seamos independientes dentro de la independencia caribeña mestiza, popular y democrática, no sólo podremos y deberemos apreciar y cuidar como es debido nuestro idioma nacional, que es el buen español de Puerto Rico, sino que podremos y deberemos instituir en nuestro sistema educativo la enseñanza del inglés y del francés, con especial énfasis en sus variantes criollas, no como idiomas imperiales sino como lenguas al servicio de nuestra descolonización definitiva.


 González, José Luis.


El país de cuatro pisos y otros ensayos.

Río Piedras: Ediciones Huracán.

– Digitalizado por la profesora Sandra E.

Torres-Ortiz; para uso académico del curso de Literatura puertorriqueña II, Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Barranquitas.

Marzo 2009.


Lea sobre José Luis González –

 Lea el Libro La Anexión de Puerto Rico –

El Perfecto Idiota Colonialista

El Perfecto Idiota Colonialista

Para poder entender a nuestros amigos populares y de otras ideologías hay que leer el “MANUAL DEL PERFECTO IDIOTA LATINOAMERICANO”. En ese manual podemos encontrar algunas semejansas de lo que ocurre en Puerto Rico en el ambito político, económico y social. Veamos:


[El pensamiento político de nuestro perfecto idiota se parece a esos opulentos pucheros tropicales, donde uno encuentra lo que quiera, desde garbanzos y rodajas de plátano frito hasta plumas de loro. Si a este personaje pudiéramos tenderlo en el diván de un psicoanalista, descubriríamos en los pliegues más íntimos de su memoria las úlceras de algunos complejos y resentimientos sociales.]


[Como la mayor parte del mundo político e intelectual latinoamericano, el perfecto idiota proviene de modestas clases medias, muy frecuentemente de origen provinciano y de alguna manera venidas a menos. Tal vez tuvo un abuelo próspero que se arruinó, una madre que enviudó temprano, un padre profesional, comerciante o funcionario estrujado por las dificultades cotidianas y añorando mejores tiempos de la familia. El medio de donde proviene está casi siempre marcado por fracturas sociales, propias de un mundo rural desaparecido y mal asentado en las nuevas realidades urbanas.]


[Nuestro perfecto idiota es también un soñador. Ciertamente no es un hombre de grandes disciplinas intelectuales, aunque en sus discursos haga frecuentes citas de Neruda, Vallejo o Rubén Darío y use palabras como telúrico, simbiosis, sinergia, programático y coyuntural. Sin embargo, donde mejor resonancia encuentra para sus ideas es en el mundo cultural de la izquierda, compuesto por catedráticos, indigenistas, folkloristas, sociólogos, artistas de vanguardia, autores de piezas y canciones de protesta y películas con mensaje. Con todos ellos se entiende muy bien. ]


[A nuestro perfecto idiota del mundo cultural no le parece impugnable gestionar y recibir becas o subsidios de funcionarios o universidades norteamericanas, puesto que gracias a ellas puede, desde las entrañas mismas del monstruo imperialista, denunciar en libros, ensayos y conferencias el papel neocolonialista que cumplen no sólo los Chicago Boys o los economistas de Harvard, sino también personajes tales como el Pato Donald, el teniente Colombo o Alexis Carrington. En estos casos, el perfecto idiota latinoamericano se convierte en un astuto quintacolumnista que erosiona desde adentro los valores políticos y culturales del imperio. Nuestro amigo, pues, se mueve en un vasto universo a la vez político, económico y cultural, acude en apoyo de la otra y la idiotez se propaga prodigiosamente como expresión de una subcultura continental, cerrándonos el camino hacia la modernidad y el desarrollo. Teórico del tercermundismo, el perfecto idiota nos deja en ese Tercer Mundo de pobreza y de atraso con su vasto catálogo de dogmas entregados como verdades.]


(Solamente hay que cambiar la palabra “latinoamericano” y poner “populares”.)

“Los latinoamericanos no estamos satisfechos con lo que somos, pero a la vez no hemos podido ponernos de acuerdo sobre qué somos, ni sobre lo que queremos ser.” -Carlos Rangel-


[“..somos pobres porque ellos son ricos, que la historia es una exitosa conspiración de malos contra buenos en la que aquéllos siempre ganan y nosotros siempre perdemos…”]




[El subdesarrollo de los países pobres es el producto histórico del enriquecimiento de otros. En última instancia, nuestra pobreza se debe a la explotación de que somos víctimas por parte de los países ricos del planeta. Como ilustra esta frase, que podría pronunciar nuestro idiota, “la culpa de lo que nos pasa no es nunca nuestra. Siempre hay alguien, una empresa, un país, una persona, responsable de nuestra suerte”. Nos encanta ser ineptos con buena conciencia. Nos da placer morboso creernos víctimas de algún despojo.]

EN PUERTO RICO “Nadie está exento de sucumbir en algún momento de su vida a este género de idiotez.

EN PUERTO RICO “Practicamos un masoquismo imaginario, una fantasía del sufrimiento, porque nos encanta culpar a algún malvado de nuestras carencias”.


Leyendo el Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano encontre varias similitudes con lo que hace el PPD, sus AMIGOS y la PRENSA en Puerto Rico y con los puertorriqueños para engañarlos y mentirles. Veamos:


[“Es una expresión inventada para justificar el aislamiento de una nación con respecto a las otras”. Pero que en Puerto Rico los Populares y de otras ideologías la usan para justificar su patriotismo.)


[Palabra, en algunos casos, de inseguridades políticas, disimulo; en otras, de perversos designios autoritarios, y mezcla, en muchos momentos, de ignorancias y complejos frente al poderoso y el rico, nuestro nacionalismo ha producido personajes fascinantes y monigotes grotescos, figuras señeras y oligofrénicos peligrosos,..] (Esto lo vemos en Puerto Rico, y que daño nos ha hecho)


[Nuestro perfecto idiota no está solo. Tiene amigos. Amigos poderosos o influyentes en Estados Unidos y en Europa que toman las inepcias, las falacias, las interpretaciones, excusas y espejismos del idiota latinoamericano, las difunden en sus respectivos países y las devuelven a América Latina debidamente estampilladas por la conciencia universal. Parece increíble que mentiras truculentas, fabricadas en casa por ese rústico populista que es nuestro amigo el idiota, vengan desde los grandes centros de la cultura universal acompañadas, como los vinos, de un certificado de autenticidad. Pero así ocurre. Así ha ocurrido siempre con las fábulas nacidas en América Latina, tal vez desde los tiempos de Cristóbal Colón.]


¿Quiénes son esos amigos internacionales del perfecto idiota latinoamericano? ¿Otros idiotas? No, no lo son necesariamente, salvo cuando se refieren a nuestro continente, del cual suelen convertirse en voceros a través de informaciones, de editoriales de prensa, de reportajes escritos o televisados, de libros de ensayos, de pronunciamientos políticos o intervenciones diplomáticas. Pues entre ellos hay de todo. Periodistas, en primer término, y no exclusivamente de periódicos de izquierda que, por razones ideológicas, estuviesen fatalmente inclinados a compartir las mismas enajenaciones del perfecto idiota: también encuentran inexplicables espacios y licencias para insertar sus inefables bohenas en diarios tan respetables como Le Monde, The Times, El País, The New York Times o II Corriere della Sera. Hay, por otra parte, escritores, filósofos, sociólogos, políticos y diplomáticos cuya visión de América Latina es tan desatinada, tan ordinariamente pavimentada de estereotipos y de infundios, de deformaciones y peligrosas simplificaciones, como la que sesenta años atrás, en plena época brutal del estalinismo, tenían de la Unión Soviética, por ejemplo, tantos homólogos suyos. El mundo cambia, pero estos casos de daltonismo político se repiten incansablemente. Y sobre todo en lo que respecta a América Latina, convertida por obra de esta confabulación de idiotas en el paraíso de la desinformación. ¿Cómo explicar que gentes cultas y sin duda capaces de economizarse disparates cuando hablan de su propio país carezcan de toda perspicacia crítica cuando se trata del continente latinoamericano?


Lecturas Esenciales – (Lea El Manual del Perfecto Idiota Latinoamericano)  Sobre Alvaro Vargas Llosa Sobre Maquiavelo adaptadp a Puerto Rico  Sobre Sun Tzu Sobre La Historia de los Partidos Políticos de Puerto Rico  Sobre Como Ganar Elecciones – Resumen del Pensamiento de Napolitan – Politics is Local  – Un Mensaje A García Principios de Guerra



En la Introducción del libro el Arte de la Guerra de Thomas Cleary, relata que una persona le preguntó a un antiguo médico chino, cuyos hermanos eran también médicos, sobre quién era el mejor médico, y le contestó:

El médico, cuya reputación era tal que su nombre llegó a convertirse en sinónimo de “ciencia médica” en China, respondió:

“Mi hermano mayor puede ver el espíritu de la enfermedad y eliminarlo antes de que cobra forma, de manera que su reputación no alcanza más allá de la puerta de la casa.

El segundo de mis hermanos cura la enfermedad cuando ya es extremadamente grave, así que su nombre no es conocido más allá del vecindario.

En cuanto a mí, perforo venas, receto pociones, y hago masajes de piel, de manera que, de vez en cuando, mi nombre llega a oídos de los nobles.”

Esto se aplica a Puerto Rico donde el Gobernador Pedro Rosselló es médico y ha sido el gobernador que más grandes obras ha realizado en nuestra historia en un cuatrienio. Porque ha entendido que hacían falta cambios fundamentales que eliminaran males presentes y evitaran los futuros.

En el proceso de gobernar se han producido conflictos y diferencias, por lo que es esencial acudir al escrito más prestigioso e influyente en cuanto a dirimir controversias y establecer estrategias: El Arte de la Guerra. No porque en Puerto Rico haya guerra armada, sino porque la política es una guerra de ideas y en su desarrollo necesita de las mejores estrategias.

En el estudio de este libro encontrarás las formas de evitar o minimizar los conflictos y las controversias. Porque los conflictos no permiten o limitan el trabajo arduo y coordinado. Porque para poder trabajar y realizar grandes obras, hay que atender a los negativos y destructivos (populares y sus aliados izquierdistas) que sólo saben criticar negativamente. La idea es lograr más con menos, ganar sin destruir, que el triunfo sea de todos.

El hombre debe hacer sus decisiones en forma objetiva y racional. Porque si se deja llevar por la emoción y la pasión comete graves errores. Si todos fuéramos racionales, el diálogo edificante y constructivo resolvería todos los problemas. Pero la naturaleza humana tiene ambas cualidades, y el germen de todos los conflictos es que algunos se dejan llevar por lo emocional, la codicia, la avaricia, el odio, el rencor y la envidia para actuar.

La paradoja de El Arte de la Guerra es que presenta los principios de la guerra para evitarla. Es una paradoja, pero altamente instructiva.


El Arte de la Guerra
Actualización Comentada del libro de Sun Tzu

Un resumen comentado del libro para ganar siempre con la menor lucha, conocerte y conocer al adversario, usado por los japoneses y otros países que se han desarrollado económica y socialmente en los últimos 30 años. Con enseñanzas utilizables en la vida diaria.

Para el Resumen del libro El Arte de la Guerra

Introducción al Arte de la Guerra


Este libro se supone fue leído por Nicolás Maquiavelo, Napoleón Bonaparte, Von Clausewits y otros estrategas políticos, los cuales aplicaron y actualizaron sus principios. El Arte de la Guerra es triunfar con la menor lucha, es ganar antes de la batalla, conocerte y conocer al adversario; buscar las diferencias y aquellas cosas en que aventajas al adversario. Es un libro que se estudia no sólo en las Academias Militares, sino para las estrategias comerciales y políticas.
Como Comisionado Residente y Comisionado Residente, Pedro Pierluissi no es un político tradicional, su único propósito, meta y fin de lograr el bienestar general de su Pueblo, las circunstancias lo han llevado a convertirse en gran estratega, por eso le recomendó leer y utilizar las enseñanzas del libro El Arte de la Guerra a todos sus asesores, ayudantes, oficiales y colaboradores.
Este es un ejercicio intelectual básico, con información utilizable en la vida diaria.

Algunos pensarán que puede ser leído por dirigentes populares y usarse en contra de la estadidad esencial para el bienestar de los puertorriqueños, pero la teoría es que si lo leen y se les motiva a aprender a pensar, se convertirán en estadistas, porque el 90% de los populares ya son pro-americanos y sólo el restante 10% son fanáticos anti-americanos.

Citas de Sun Tzu

All men can see tdhese tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
Sun Tzu

All war is based on deception.
Sun Tzu

All war is deception.
Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception.
Sun Tzu

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.
Sun Tzu

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
Sun Tzu

Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.
Sun Tzu

For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards.
Sun Tzu

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
Sun Tzu

A statue of Sun Tzu

He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
Sun Tzu

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.
Sun Tzu

Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
Sun Tzu

If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.
Sun Tzu

If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
Sun Tzu

If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
Sun Tzu

If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
Sun Tzu

In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.
Sun Tzu

Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
Sun Tzu

It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.
Sun Tzu

It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.
Sun Tzu

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
Sun Tzu

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.
Sun Tzu

Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
Sun Tzu

Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
Sun Tzu

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
Sun Tzu

Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
Sun Tzu

Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.
Sun Tzu

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.
Sun Tzu

Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
Sun Tzu

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Sun Tzu

Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
Sun Tzu

The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution.
Sun Tzu

The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
Sun Tzu

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
Sun Tzu

The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Sun Tzu

The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Sun Tzu

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
Sun Tzu

The skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man.
Sun Tzu

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Sun Tzu

There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.
Sun Tzu

There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
Sun Tzu

Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
Sun Tzu

Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
Sun Tzu

To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
Sun Tzu

To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
Sun Tzu

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
Sun Tzu

When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
Sun Tzu

You have to believe in yourself.
Sun Tzu

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Un Mensaje a García

Magistral Escrito que TODOS Debemos Leer

Loíza: el espejo de Puerto Rico – Magistral Escrito que TODOS Debemos Leer

{Magistral Escrito que TODOS Debemos Leer. Puerto Rico es una Selva de Opositores a TODO. Los que Perjudican en TODO. Ese Odio, Rencor y Envidia al Empresario que Trabaja y le Da Trabajo a los Demás, a la Libre Empresa y al Libre Comercio. En el Puerto Rico de Hoy los Empleados públicos son los principales enemigos del progreso. Se Odia el Éxito y se Aplaude la Mediocridad. Se Premia al Criticón Negativo y Destructivo, y se Condena al Emprendedor Trabajador. Gozan los que se oponen a que se hiera la tierra para Sembrar y Cosechar Comida para los Seres Humanos. Los que prefieren áreas para el control de los Ladrones, Pillos y Maleantes, a áreas mantenidas para el disfrute Familiar. Se Prefiere lo Espectacular y se Oponen a lo Sobrio Constructivo y Edificante.

Hoy en Puerto Rico los Ideólogos Izquierdistas Chavistas Controlan y evitan las iniciativas productivas, y Eso Tienen Que Cambiar. Por eso al Final incluimos el Escrito Un Mensaje a García, que entendemos vendría bien leerlo y aplicarlo a Puerto Rico de Hoy.}


A Message to Garcia

By Elbert Hubbard

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain & the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly.

What to do!

Some one said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, & in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, & half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, & sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office- six clerks are within call.

Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio”.

Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:

Who was he?

Which encyclopedia?

Where is the encyclopedia?

Was I hired for that?

Don’t you mean Bismarck?

What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?

Is he dead?

Is there any hurry?

Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?

What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself.

And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply, can neither spell nor punctuate- and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him up town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” & with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer- but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.

It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best- those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to any one else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular fire-brand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slip-shod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude, which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry & homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.

I have carried a dinner pail & worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; & all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village- in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed, & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia.



Temas    Educación Especial   Plebiscito   Estadidad   ELA   Separación   Independencia

NR-Este artículo apareció publicado por primera vez el 22 de febrero de 1899, en la revista Phillistene. La historia del mensaje a García es de la vida real y ha sido relatada muchas veces. Esta es una adaptación al español hecha por J. F. B.Se dice que Helbert Hubbard, en el último año del siglo pasado (1899) se encontraba solo en la redacción de un pequeño periódico en el Medio Oeste de los Estados Unidos un domingo por la tarde preparando la edición del lunes. Le faltaba un espacio en la primera página y como no existían las agencias de noticias, se vio obligado a rellenar el espacio con un pequeño escrito que improvisó y tituló “Un Mensaje A García”. Lo escribió en una hora. Unas semanas después recibió una carta del Presidente de la New York Central Railroad, una de las compañías más grandes de la surgente Nación, solicitándole 100,000 copias de su escrito y que le enviara la factura por lo que fuera. Como no tenía una imprenta disponible para producir un pedido tan grande, le contestó autorizándolo a reproducirlo solicitándole se especificara su nombre como autor.Helbert HubbardMeses más tarde, una delegación de Rusia visitó la NYCR y le interesó el pequeño escrito. Lo llevaron al Zar de Rusia el cual ordenó traducirlo y que se le entregara a cada empleado ruso. Pasaron los años y al comienzo de la Primera Guerra Mundial, los japoneses encontraron un pequeño papel amarillo que tenían todos los prisioneros rusos en el frente de batalla y entendiendo era un secreto militar lo enviaron a Tokio. Los japoneses lo tradujeron y ordenaron se le entregara a cada soldado y empleado japonés. Así pasó con los alemanes, españoles, turcos, chinos, franceses y los italianos, hasta regresar a los americanos. Luego se preparó hasta una película para el cine. Para 1913 se habían distribuido más de 40 millones y traducido a todos los idiomas, el escrito más publicado estando vivo su autor hasta esa época.

Quizás porque algunas de las ideas y conceptos del escrito “Un Mensaje A García” pueden resultar hoy día chocantes, pocos conocen hoy ese escrito. Pero entendemos que además de ser uno de los escritos que más se ha publicado y leído, su valor hoy es incuestionable como motivo de inquietar al empleado Puertorriqueño, público o privado y al liderato del Gobierno. Por ese reproducimos su traducido. Además de haber hecho el compromiso, como miles lo hicieron antes, de distribuir Un Mensaje a García en cada oportunidad que nos sea posible, incluyendo el nombre de su autor.

UN MENSAJE A GARCÍANR-Este artículo apareció publicado por primera vez el 22 de febrero de 1899, en la revista Phillistene. La historia del mensaje a García es de la vida real y ha sido relatada muchas veces. Esta es una adaptación al español hecha por J. F. B.Se dice que Helbert Hubbard, en el último año del siglo pasado (1899) se encontraba solo en la redacción de un pequeño periódico en el Medio Oeste de los Estados Unidos un domingo por la tarde preparando la edición del lunes. Le faltaba un espacio en la primera página y como no existían las agencias de noticias, se vio obligado a rellenar el espacio con un pequeño escrito que improvisó y tituló “Un Mensaje A García”. Lo escribió en una hora. Unas semanas después recibió una carta del Presidente de la New York Central Railroad, una de las compañías más grandes de la surgente Nación, solicitándole 100,000 copias de su escrito y que le enviara la factura por lo que fuera. Como no tenía una imprenta disponible para producir un pedido tan grande, le contestó autorizándolo a reproducirlo solicitándole se especificara su nombre como autor.Helbert Hubbard

Meses más tarde, una delegación de Rusia visitó la NYCR y le interesó el pequeño escrito. Lo llevaron al Zar de Rusia el cual ordenó traducirlo y que se le entregara a cada empleado ruso. Pasaron los años y al comienzo de la Primera Guerra Mundial, los japoneses encontraron un pequeño papel amarillo que tenían todos los prisioneros rusos en el frente de batalla y entendiendo era un secreto militar lo enviaron a Tokio. Los japoneses lo tradujeron y ordenaron se le entregara a cada soldado y empleado japonés. Así pasó con los alemanes, españoles, turcos, chinos, franceses y los italianos, hasta regresar a los americanos. Luego se preparó hasta una película para el cine. Para 1913 se habían distribuido más de 40 millones y traducido a todos los idiomas, el escrito más publicado estando vivo su autor hasta esa época.

Quizás porque algunas de las ideas y conceptos del escrito “Un Mensaje A García” pued

en resultar hoy día chocantes, pocos conocen hoy ese escrito. Pero entendemos que además de ser uno de los escritos que más se ha publicado y leído, su valor hoy es incuestionable como motivo de inquietar al empleado puertorriqueño, público o privado y al liderato del Gobierno. Por ese reproducimos su traducido. Además de haber hecho el compromiso, como miles lo hicieron antes, de distribuir Un Mensaje a García en cada oportunidad que nos sea posible, incluyendo el nombre de su autor.

Un Mensaje A García

En todo el asunto cubano de la Guerra Hispanoamericana, un hombre aparece en el horizonte de mi memoria como Marte en su perihelio.

Cuando comenzó la guerra entre España y los Estados Unidos, era muy necesario el comunicarse rápidamente con el líder de los insurgentes. García estaba en algún sitio de las densas montañas cubanas – pero nadie sabía dónde. No se podía usar el correo o el telégrafo para llegar a e1. El Presidente necesitaba su cooperación, con urgencia.

¿Qué se podía hacer?

Alguien le dijo al Presidente, “Hay un tal Rowan que puede encontrar a García, si es que alguien puede”.

A Rowan se le requirió fuera y se le dió una carta para que se la entregara a García. Como “el tal Rowan” tomó la carta, la se11ó en una cartuchera de cuero, se la amarró a su pecho sobre el corazón, en cuatro días desembarcó de noche en las costas de Cuba desde un pequeño bote, desapareció dentro de la jungla, y en tres semanas reapareció al otro lado de la Isla, habiendo atravesado un país hostil a pié y entregó la carta a García – son cosas que no tengo especial interés describir sus detalles. El punto que deseo hacer es este: El Presidente Mackinley le entregó a Rowan una carta para que se la llevara a García; Rowan tomó la carta y no preguntó, ¿Dónde esta García?”.

¡Por todo lo Eterno! Aquí está un hombre del cual se le debe erigir una estatua en bronce en cada universidad y escuela. No es conocer los libros lo que necesitan nuestros estudiantes, ni conocer de esto o aquello, pero endurecer su columna vertebral para que se les pueda confiar en su responsabilidad de actuar prontamente, que puedan concentrar sus energías: para que puedan hacer una cosa: “Llevar un Mensaje A García”.

El General García está muerto, pero existen otros Garcías. No existe un hombre que haya tenido que realizar una gestión donde muchas se requiera de muchas otras personas, que no haya sido abrumado; muchas veces por la imbecilidad del hombre común – la inhabilidad – desinterés de concentrase en una cosa y realizarla.

Requerir ayuda innecesaria, la desatención tonta, la indiferencia necia, y el trabajo a medias parece ser la norma; y ningún hombre puede realizar sus objetivos-a menos que por la fuerza o engaño o amenazas se obligue o soborne a otros para que le ayuden; o por extraño, Dios en su infinita bondad realice un milagro, y le envié el Ángel De La Luz como su asistente.

Tú, lector, has el siguiente experimento:

Estás sentado en tu escritorio como supervisor, con seis oficinistas subalternos a tu alrededor.

Llama a uno de ellos y le requieres: “Por favor, ve a la enciclopedia y prepara un memorando sobre la vida de Correggio.”

El oficinista lo responderá amablemente diciendo: “Si señor,” y se irá a realizar la encomienda?

En toda la vida eso no ocurrirá. El oficinista lo mirará con ojos incrédulos, moviéndolos como un pez en pecera, y le hará una o varias de las siguientes preguntas:

¿Quién era él?

¿En cuál enciclopedia?

¿Fui empleado para pacer eso?

¿Quiso decir Bismarck?

¿Por qué Carlos no lo hace?

¿Está muerto?

¿Hay prisa en eso?

¿Le puedo buscar el libro para que usted lo busque?

¿Para qué usted desea esa información?

Apuesto diez a uno a que después de haber contestado todas sus preguntitas, y explicado cómo y dónde encontrar la información, el por qué la necesitas, el oficinista irá a buscar a otro para que le ayude a tratar, de buscar a Correggio y vendrá luego a decirte que esa persona no existe. Por supuesto puede que pierda mi apuesta, pero de acuerdo a la Ley de Probabilidades no perderé.

Pero si eres listo, no te romperás la cabeza explicándole a tu “asistente” que Correggio está en el índice bajo las C’s, no bajo las K’s, pero suavemente le dirás, “No se preocupe,” e irás a hacer lo mismo. Es esa incapacidad para obrar independientemente, esa incapacidad moral estúpida, esa blandenguería de la voluntad y el carácter, ese desinterés y falta de disposición para hacer bien las cosas de buena gana, esas son las cosas que han pospuesto para lejos en el futuro la convivencia perfecta de los hombres.

Si el hombre no actúa por su propia iniciativa para sí mismo, ¿qué hará cuando el producto de sus esfuerzos sea para todos?

La fuerza bruta parece necesaria y el temor a ser rebajado el sábado a la hora del cobro, hace que muchos trabajadores o empleados, conserven el trabajo o la colocación. Anuncia buscando un taquígrafo y de diez solicitantes, nueve son individuos que no saben ortografía y lo que es mas, de individuos que no creen necesario conocerla.

¿Podrían esas personas escribir una carta a García? “Mire usted”–me decía el gerente de una oficina con seis oficinistas subalternos a su alrededor “Bien, qué le pasa? Es -un magnifico contador; mas si se le manda a hacer una diligencia, tal vez la haga, pero puede darse el caso de que entre en cuatro salones de bebidas antes de llegar y cuando llegue a la calle principal ya no se acuerde de lo que se le dijo”.

¿Puede confiarse a ese hombre que lleve un mensaje a García?

Recientemente –Hemos estado oyendo conversaciones y expresiones de muchas simpatías hacia “los extranjeros naturalizados que son objeto de explotación en los talleres”. Así como hacia “el hombre sin hogar que anda errante en busca de trabajo honrado”, y junto a esas expresiones, con frecuencia emplearse palabras duras hacia los hombres que están dirigiendo empresas.

Nada se dice del patrón que envejece antes de tiempo tratando en vano de inducir a los eternos disgustados y perezosos a que hagan un trabajo a conciencia; ni se dice nada del mucho tiempo ni de la paciencia que ese patrono ha tenido buscando personal que no hace otra cosa sino “matar el tiempo” tan pronto como el patrono vuelve la espalda.

En todo establecimiento, oficina, y en toda fábrica se tiene constantemente en práctica el procedimiento de selección por eliminación.

El patrono está constantemente obligado a rebajar personal que ha demostrado incompetencia en el desempeño de sus funciones, y a tomar otros empleados. No importa que los tiempos sean buenos, este procedimiento de selección sigue en todo tiempo y la única diferencia es que, cuando las cosas están malas y el trabajo escasea, se hace la selección con más escrupulosidad, paro fuera, y para siempre fuera tiene que ir el incompetente y el inservible. Por interés propio el patrono tiene que quedarse con los mejores, con los que puedan llevar Un Mensaje a García.

Conozco a un individuo de aptitudes verdaderamente brillantes, pero sin la habilidad necesaria para manejar su propio negocio, y que, sin embargo, es completamente inútil para cualquier otro, debido a la insana sospecha que constantemente abriga de que su patrono le oprime o tratará de oprimirle. Sin poder mandar, no tolera que se le mande. Si se le diera un mensaje para que se lo llevara a García, probablemente su contestación sería: “Lléveselo usted mismo”.

Hoy este hombre anda errante por las calles en busca de trabajo, teniendo que sufrir las inclemencias del tiempo. Nadie que le conozca se ofrece a darle trabajo, puesto que es la esencia misma del descontento. No entra por razones y lo único que en el podría producir algún efecto sería un buen puntapié salido de una bota del número nueve, de suela gruesa. Se, en verdad, que un individuo tan moralmente deforme como ese, no es menos digno de compasión que el físicamente invalido; pero en nuestra compasión derramemos también una lagrima por aquellos hombres que se encuentran al frente de pequeñas y grandes empresas, cuyas horas de trabajo no están limitadas por los sonidos del pito y cuyos cabellos prematuramente encanecen en la lucha que sostienen contra la indiferencia zafia, contra la imbecilidad crasa y contra la ingratitud cruenta de los otros, quienes, a no ser por el espíritu emprendedor de estos, andarían hambrientos y sin hogar.

Diríase que me he expresado con mucha dureza. Tal vez sí; pero cuando el mundo entero se ha entregado al descanso, yo quiero expresar una palabra de simpatía hacia el hombre que sale adelante en su empresa, hacia el hombre que, aún a pesar de grandes inconvenientes, ha sabido dirigir los esfuerzos de otros hombres y que, después del Triunfo, resulta que no ha ganado mas que su subsistencia.

También yo he cargado mi lata de comida al taller y he trabajado a jornal diario, y también he sido patrono y se que puede decirse algo de ambos lados.

No hay excelencia en la pobreza “per se”, los harapos no sirven de recomendación, no todos los patronos son rapaces y tiranos, ni todos los pobres son virtuosos.

Mi simpatía toda va hacia el hombre que hace su trabajo tan bien cuando el patrono está presente, como cuando se encuentra ausente. Y el hombre que al entregársele Un Mensaje a García, tranquilamente toma la misiva, sin hacer preguntas idiotas, y sin intención de arrojarla a la primera alcantarilla que encuentre a su paso, o de hacer otra cosa que no sea entregarla a su destinatario. Ese hombre nunca queda sin trabajo ni tiene que declararse en huelga para que se le aumente el sueldo. La civilización busca ansiosa, insistentemente, a esa clase de hombres. Cualquier cosa que ese hombre pida, la consigue. Se le necesita en toda ciudad, en todo pueblo, en toda villa, en toda oficina, tienda y fábrica y en todo taller. El mundo entero lo solicita a gritos, se necesita y se necesita con urgencia al hombre que pueda llevar “Un Mensaje a García”.

{“Un mensaje a García” también conocido como “La carta a García” o simplemente “Carta a García”, es un ensayo escrito por Elbert Hubbard, en el que en primer término relata brevemente la anécdota del soldado estadounidense Rowan, que es llamado para entregar de parte del presidente de Estados Unidos, un mensaje al jefe de los rebeldes, oculto en la sierra cubana, en el curso de la Guerra hispano-estadounidense a fines del siglo XIX.

Hubbard resalta el hecho de que Rowan recibe el mensaje y se limita a entregarlo a pesar de que nadie le proporcionó información ni medios para encontrar a García, para lo cual Rowan recorre a pie la isla de Cuba de costa a costa. Ante esto, Hubbard propone por medio de otros varios ejemplos, que la aplicación para cumplir inmediatamente con la tarea encomendada, sin reticencias y sin vacilaciones, es el principal valor para conseguir el éxito, sobre todo en el trabajo, aún más que el talento o la erudición. Concluye sosteniendo que el mundo necesita “muchos Rowan” y que existen pendientes por entregar muchos “mensajes a García”, en aplicación de la máxima “hacer bien lo que se tiene que hacer”.

De acuerdo con el experto en lingüista Charles Earle Funk, “carta a Garcia” ha sido usada en la cultura popular como una expresión que incita a realizar tareas difíciles.}

Ver –

Introducción al escrito por Herbert Hubbard:

Un Mensaje a Garcia
Un Mensaje a Garcia

Esta pequeña narración, “Un Mensaje a García”, fue escrita en una sola hora, por la tarde después de la comida. Esto sucedió el 22 de febrero de 1899, día en que se conmemora el natalicio de Washington. La edición correspondiente al mes de marzo de la revista “Philistine” iba a entrar en prensa.

Nació como brote entusiasta de mi corazón, escrito después de un día en que había agotado mis fuerzas tratando de convencer a algunos aldeanos indolentes, para que abandonasen su estado comatoso, por una actividad radial.

Pero la verdadera inspiración brotó al calor de la discusión, mientras bebía una taza de té, con mi hijo Bert, quien sostenía que el verdadero héroe de la Guerra de Cuba había sido Rowan, quien, por sí solo, había realizado la más importante hazaña: había llevado El Mensaje a García.

Fue una idea inspiradora. Mi hijo tenía razón, porque efectivamente había sido un verdadero héroe el realizador de aquella obra, el que había llevado el mensaje a García. Me levanté y escribí el relato.

Tan poco importante me pareció el artículo así realizado, que lo publiqué sin título. Salió la edición y en breve vinieron peticiones por mayor número de ejemplares de la edición de marzo de “Philistine”, una docena, cincuenta, cien. Cuando la Compañía de Noticias Americanas pidió mil ejemplares, pregunté a mis ayudantes cuál era el artículo que había conmovido en tal forma al público. Este era el artículo sobre García.

Al día siguiente George H. Daniels, del Ferrocarril Central de Nueva York, nos mandó el siguiente telegrama: “Coticen precio cien mil ejemplares de artículo Rowan en forma de panfleto, con aviso del Empire State Express al final y digan en qué fecha pueden entregarlos”.

Contesté dando el precio y añadí que entregaríamos los folletos en dos años. Nuestros talleres eran entonces muy pequeños y cien mil folletos nos parecían una enormidad.

El resultado fue que hube de autorizar al señor Daniels para que reimprimiera el artículo como quisiera. Así salió medio millón de ejemplares, en forma de folleto.

Por dos o tres veces más lo reprodujo el señor Daniels, en cantidad de medio millón y más de doscientos periódicos y revistas lo reprodujeron también. Posteriormente fue traducido a todas las lenguas.

Cuando el señor Daniels distribuía el “Mensaje a García”, estaba aquí el Príncipe Hilakoff, Director los Ferrocarriles de Rusia. Era huésped del Ferrocarril Central de Nueva York y el señor Daniels lo acompañó en su viaje a través del país. El Príncipe vio el artículo y se interesó por él, probablemente no por otra cosa que por estarlo distribuyendo tan en grande el señor Daniels. Sea de ello lo que se quiera, cuando regresó a su país, lo hizo traducir al ruso y dio un ejemplar a cada empleado de los ferrocarriles de Rusia.

Otros países siguieron el ejemplo y de Rusia pasó a Alemania, a Francia, a España, a Turquía, al Indostán y a China.

Durante la guerra entre Rusia y el Japón, cada soldado llevaba consigo un ejemplar del “Mensaje a García”. Los japoneses encontraron estos folletos en manos de los prisioneros y, pensando que tendrían algún mérito, los tradujeron al japonés. Y por orden del Mikado se dio un ejemplar a cada empleado del gobierno japonés, civil o militar.

“Un Mensaje a García” ha sido impreso, pues, en más de cuarenta millones de ejemplares, suma que jamás ha alcanzado publicación alguna, quizá gracias a una serie de incidentes afortunados.