Director

Topics: Puerto Rico, Federal government of the United States, Politics of Puerto Rico Pages: 114 (30327 words) Published: November 6, 2013
Political Science Department

Honors Projects
Macalester College

Year 

A New State of Puerto Rican Politics:
Framing the Plebiscites on Status
Justin D. Bigelow
Macalester College, jdbigelow@gmail.com

This paper is posted at DigitalCommons@Macalester College.
http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/poli honors/5

A New State of Puerto Rican Politics:
Framing the Plebiscites on Status

Justin Bigelow
Political Science Department
Macalester College
Advised by Professor Paul Dosh
April 2007

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations

i

Acknowledgements

ii

An Introduction

1

Chapter 1: A Brief History of Puerto Rico

11

The Spanish Epoch and Transitional Period

12

The U.S. Epoch

15

The New State of Puerto Rico

17

Questioning and Reinforcing the New State: The Plebiscite Era

18

Chapter 2: Political Status in an Economic Framework

29

The Economic Framework

34

Puerto Rico and Federal Tax Benefits

35

Permanent and “Statutory” U.S. Citizenship

38

Language of the State

40

International Recognition of the Puerto Rican Nation

41

The Puerto Rican Balance Sheet

42

Chapter 3: Contested Nationalisms of Puerto Rico

47

Individual Expressions of Nationalism

49

The Nationalist Framework

51

Political and Social Nationalisms in Puerto Rico

57

Chapter 4: The Morality of Status

65

The Economics and Ideologies of Status

66

Other Interpretations of Status

69

Moral Politics

74

The Morality of Status

77

Translating the “Nation as Family” Metaphor into Puerto Rican

77

Status as Family Composition

83

A Conclusion

94

Appendix 1.1 1993 Plebiscite Options

103

Appendix 1.2 1998 Plebiscite Options

105

Bibliography

107

i

List of Illustrations
Figure 1.1 U.S. Party/Ideology Spectrum

6

Figure 1.2 Puerto Rican Ideology/Party Triangle

6

Figure 4.1 An Outline of Lakoff’s Moral Framework

77

Table 2.1 Plebiscite Votes (and Percentages) in 1993 and 1998

45

ii

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to the friends, family, and faculty who have supported me as I pursued this project. Special thanks to Professor Dan Trudeau, Professor Adrienne Christiansen, and my advisor, Professor Paul Dosh. One big, cathartic group hug for those in the Political Science Honors Colloquium. A gracious thanks to Ruth Strickland. Finally, a long and loving thank you to my parents, Jim and Lisa Bigelow, for their whole-hearted support of my education.

An Introduction

On November 7, 2000, two million United States citizens cast their ballots without voting for president, not by choice, but by federal mandate. This is tradition. Since 1917, when residents of Puerto Rico were granted United States citizenship, they have been denied the right to vote for president. As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans have been denied any form of voting representation in the federal government: no voting congressperson or senator, and no electoral votes for president. Still, citizens continually exercise their right to vote in local elections at higher frequency than any state of the union.1 The right to vote in federal elections is just one aspect of what has been deemed the Puerto Rican question.

1

Manuel Alvarez Rivera. Elecciones en Puerto Rico. (2007) www.electionspuertorico.org. and David Lublin and D. Stephen Voss. Federal Elections Project. Washington, D.C. and Lexington, KY : American University and University of Kentucky. 2001. Although the official Puerto Rican voter turnout for 2000 (82.2 percent) is inflated, the island persistently boasts higher voter turnout than any state in the union based on a comparison of ballots cast versus voting-aged population. Using Census 2000 data of people over the age of 18 residing in Puerto Rico, an estimated 74.1 percent of the voting-aged population voted in 2000. This compares to the highest state estimate for the 2000...


References: “Preciosa” performed by Marc Anthony. Desde un principio. Sony International. 1999. “¡Aunque pase lo
que pase, yo seré puertorriqueño! ¡Yo te quiero Puerto Rico!”
Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (eds.) Nationalism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press,
1994
York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
(eds.) Nationalism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. 83.
Nationalism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. 29-34.
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