Quaker Political Interventions, and U.S. Puerto Rico Policy Development, 1900-1917

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Spring 2015


This article explores how Quaker political interventions - between the Foraker Act (1900) and the Jones Act (1917) - shaped insular policy debates over the extension of citizenship, and self-government in Puerto Rico. I do so by examining the debates held at the Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indian and other Dependent Peoples (LMC) over U.S. Puerto Rico policy development within the context of an emerging U.S. imperialist state. I contend that LMC Quakers in their pursuit of liberal egalitarian outcomes accepted the dominant and divisive Christian racialist assumptions of the times producing some unintended consequences in terms of the development of U.S. policy toward Puerto Rico that still resonate today. These consequences include: dissent among Puerto Rican delegates to the LMC that strained U.S. Puerto Rico affairs more broadly, a decline in Quakers' political influence in insular policy development, and increased the likelihood for an ascriptive inegalitarian form of political membership (statutory collective U.S. citizenship) in Puerto Rico.

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Journal of Race and Policy

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