DELMA S ARRIGOITIA, Fordham University


This is a study of the legislative activities of Jose De Diego during the first two decades of the United States rule in the Island of Puerto Rico. De Diego was a well known Puerto Rican poet, orator, lawyer, journalist and politician who lived during the period of transition endured by this island when Spain ceded it to the United States after the Spanish American War. In 1903 De Diego became an outstanding member of the Camara de Delegados or lower chamber of the legislative system created in Puerto Rico by the Foraker Act. The Camara de Delegados since it was an elective body became the voice of Puerto Rican public feeling in those days of United States colonial experimentation. De Diego became president of the Camar de Delegados in 1907 and continued in this position until he was elected President of the new House of Representatives created by the Jones Act which replaced the Foraker Act in 1917. He died in 1918. The dissertation focuses on the political legislation associated with De Diego. Among the sources used are: all bills presented by De Diego; minutes of the Camara de Delegados; debates of the Island's legislature as they are reported in contemporary Puerto Rican newspapers; De Diego's speeches; commentaries made on his legislative and political activities in the Island press; the Journal of the Executive Council, upper chamber of the Foraker Act legislative system; the annual reports of the governors of Puerto Rico to Washington; the Congressional Record; and De Diego's published works as well as additional documentation and studies deemed necessary to understand De Diego and his times. De Diego, believed that Puerto Rico's language, racial composition, history and traditions made independence the logical political solution for her. His position on independence evolved with time. It was not until 1913 that he became an ardent advocate. This evolution appeared to have resulted from the frustration that accumulated during the period of the Foraker Act, and from the favorable climate created in the United States by the victory of the Democrats and President Wilson. De Diego always believed in working towards his political goal within the legal and constitutional system of the United States. Through his bills, speeches and writings he breathed new life to the independence ideal. He distinguished himself among the Puerto Ricans that fought against the Foraker system of government. Through his reports and memorials to Washington, letters to United States authorities and interviews with American officials, he expressed as no other Puerto Rican of his time, the frustration of Puerto Ricans with United States colonial policy in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Subject Area

Latin American history

Recommended Citation

ARRIGOITIA, DELMA S, "JOSE DE DIEGO: A LEGISLATOR IN TIMES OF POLITICAL TRANSITION (1903-1918)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8521402.