Almost citizens : Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution, and empire / Sam Erman, University of Southern California.

Erman, Sam [Browse]
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • ©2019
xv, 275 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.


Studies in legal history [More in this series]
Summary note
"This book tells the story of "almost citizens"-the people of Puerto Rico who were deemed neither citizens nor aliens, and who lived in a land deemed neither foreign nor domestic. For them, citizenship functioned like terrain during war. It was a prize to be won and a field of battle, whose strategic value shifted as the fight developed. This book follows the debates about the U.S. Constitution that swirled about them. It tends to the voices of federal judges and elected officials, but also follows Puerto Rican politicians, labor organizers, litigants, lawyers, administrators of government agencies, and journalists in Puerto Rico and on the mainland. People in all of these groups had a view of what citizenship should look like, and the idea of citizenship took shape and changed only as they advanced their sometimes competing concepts in media, law, and bureaucratic maneuvers. The story begins at the very end of the nineteenth century as annexation of the islands that comprise Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Philippines was bringing millions of people of African, Asian, and indigenous Pacific Island descent under U.S. control. Would these people become U.S. citizens and, if so, what would that citizenship mean? Citizenship at this time did not always or automatically guarantee full rights to participate in public life. Though women were undoubtedly citizens, only four states accorded them suffrage on an equal basis with men. Southern states were driving African American citizens from the ballot box and the public sphere. Among many other examples, Mexican American and Chinese American children were often required to attend segregated schools. Most of those whose rights were thus constrained were nonetheless deemed "Americans"-- Provided by publisher.
Based on author's thesis (doctoral - University of Michigan, 2010), issued under title: Puerto Rico and the Promise of United States Citizenship : Struggles around Status in a New Empire, 1898-1917.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • 9781108415491 ((hardback))
  • 1108415490 ((hardback))
  • 9781108415491 ((paperback))
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