Saturday, June 27, 2015

Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History

Morales Carrión, Arturo, Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History, New York: W. W. Norton, 1983.

Reviewed in The Christian Science Monitor.

Review by Thomas G. Mathews:
There has never been available a scholarly one volume general history on Puerto Rico in English. There have been and are popular histories written in English and Spanish for the general public and there are text book like histories written for the high school level in Spanish and English. Until now a well written, adequately documented, balanced and fairly objective history in English has been lamentably lacking. Arturo Morales Carrión, and his four colleagues, have filled this void. Prepared at the request of the editors of the American Association for State and Local History, this work, if it were to be published in Spanish could stand as an authoritative national history for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The volume covers quite adequately a vast span of time from the pre-historical period, the four hundred years of Spanish control, and the modern period up to about 1970. The balance achieved in the coverage is excellent with two thirds of the book allotted to the present century.

The chapters in the first part of the book are written by three colleagues of the principal author and cover the Spanish colonial period. These chapters, although not documented, are supported by a rich collection of references which is more than just an annotated bibliography, but is rather a very judicious selection of works for further study on the topics covered in each chapter. Each contributor is a specialist in a particular time period in Puerto Rican history. Aida Caro contributes two chapters on the Spanish colonial administration and the church as they affected Puerto Rico during the first two centuries of Spanish rule. Luis González, an economic historian, contributes three chapters on the Bourbon period and the nineteenth century. Arturo Santana, drawing on his doctoral dissertation, writes on the early influences of the United States in the Caribbean, and specifically Puerto Rico, at the time of revolutionary turmoil. In the last chapter of the book, María Teresa Babín contributes a stirring essay on the cultural history of Puerto Rico. Each of these contributors write with authority and knowledge, backing their interpretations with a wealth of material drawn from a life of scholarly work.

The bulk of the book, eight chapters on the XXth century, is the work of Arturo Morales Carrión and it is here that the merit of the book lies. The chapters are exceptionally well written. The use of source material of both primary and secondary nature shows a very skillful professional hand. but most of all the author has come very close to achieving what many, myself included, would say is impossible: an objectivity and balance which must bring out praise from the full spectrum of Puerto Rican politics.

The author, as he confesses in the text, was a “close associate of Governor (Luis) Muñoz (Marín).” (p. 299) Although trained as a historian, Morales Carrión spent many years in government administrative posts, in both Puerto Rican and United States State Departments. He has given evidence, in this work at least, that he may be longer remembered as a historian rather than a diplomat. This is a job well done.

Revolution in Mexico: Years of Upheaval, 1910-1940

Wilkie, James Wallace, & Albert L. Michael, Eds., Revolution in Mexico: Years of Upheaval, 1910-1940, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969. (paperback with pages coming loose.)


I. THE REVOLUTION: BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW (Prefatory notes by Ramon Beteta and Alberto Morales Jimenez)
Chronology: Mexico’s Presidents, 1876 – 1940.
1. Causes of the Revolution, by Frank R. Brandenburg.
2. Mexico’s Economic Development, 1910 – 1940, by Raymond Vernon.

II. THE REVOLUTION: A FIESTA OF BULLETS (Prefatory notes by Octavio Paz and Mariano Azuela)
Chronology of Important Events.
3. Plan of San Luis Potosi, by Francisco I. Madero.
4. Emiliano Zapata Greets the Victorious Francisco Madero, by Gildardo Magaña.
5. Plan of Ayala, by Emiliano Zapata, et. al.
6. The Arrest of Francisco Madero and Murder of His Brother, by Stanley R. Ross.
7. Mrs. Francisco Madero’s Attempt to Save the Life of Her Husband, by Ernest Gruening.
8. The Politics of Armed Struggle in the Mexican Revolution, 1913 – 1915, by Lyle C. Brown.
9. Pancho Villa and the Rules of War, by John Reed.
10. Villa Meets Zapata, by Robert E. Quirk.
11. The Crimson Jester: Zapata of Mexico, by Harry H. Dunn.
12. Moral Imperialism and the United States Intervention, by Howard F. Cline.
13. Note to President Wilson Concerning the United States Occupation of Veracruz, by Venustiano Carranza.
14. La Soldadera, by John Reed.
15. Generals, by Carleton Beals.
16. Battle of Celaya, by Robert E. Quirk.
17. Mexico’s Constitution of 1917, by Lyle C. Brown.
18. Open Letter to Carranza, by Emiliano Zapata.

III. THE NORTHERN DYNASTY (Prefatory notes by Francisco Javier Gaxiola, Jr., and Samuel Velazquez G.)
Chronology of the Northern Dynasty.
19. The Neo-Bourbons, by Howard F. Cline.
20. Alvaro Obregon: The Happy Man with One Arm, by Hudson Strode.
21. Bolshevist Mexico? By The New York Times.
22. Calles and the Mexican Oil Controversy, by Dwight W. Morrow.
23. The Achievements of Calles, by Frank R. Brandenburg.
24. Public Health in Mexico, by Ernest Gruening.
25. The Meaning of the Cristero Religious War, by James W. Wilkie.
26. The Indian Who Sways Mexico’s Destiny, Joaquin Amaro, by Carleton Beals.
27. The Foundation of Mexico’s Official Party, by Robert E. Scott.
28. “A Handful of Millionaires”, by Carlos Fuentes.
29. On Strikes, by Abelardo Rodriguez.
30. Letter of Resignation from the CROM, by Vicente Lombardo Toledano.
31. Calles’ Agrarian Ideology, by Eyler N. Simpson.
32. The Agrarian Reform Must Continue, by Graciano Sanchez.
33. “God Does Not Exist”, by Arnulfo Perez H.
34. Sexual Education and Socialist Education in Mexico – The early 1930’s, by James W. Wilkie.

IV. THE CARDENAS ERA (Prefatory notes by Carlos Fuentes and Daniel Cosio Villegas)
Chronology of the Cardenas Era.
35. Strikes Under Cardenas, by John W.F. Dulles.
36. Rise of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), by Nathaniel and Sylvia Weyl.
37. The Cardenas – Calles Break, by Albert L. Michaels.
38. Sinarquismo Victory in Tabasco, by Rev. Joseph Ledit, S.J.
39. Mexico’s Popular Front – The Party of the Mexican Revolution (PRM), by Nathaniel and Sylvia Weyl.
40. Cardenas Expropriates the Foreign-Owned Oil Industry, by William Cameron Townsend.
41. Oil Company Reaction, by E. David Cronon.
42. Problems of the Cardenas Government, by Virginia Prewett.
43. Mexico’s Future, by Jose Vasconcelos.
44. The Founding of the National Action Party (PAN), by Manuel Gomez Morin.
45. Election Day, 1940, by Betty Kirk.
46. A Communist’s View of Cardenas, by Valentin Campa.
47. A Summary of the Cardenas Epoch, by Albert L. Michaels.

V. CONCLUSION. (Prefatory notes by Manuel Avila Camacho and Frederico Bach)
48. Mexico’s Transition in 1940, by Howard F. Cline.
Bibliographic Essay.
Bibliographic Index of Authors Quoted.

The Pageant of Cuba

Strode, Hudson, The Pageant of Cuba, New York: Random House, 1934.

Available online.

Reviewed in The Spectator.

Reviewed in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review © 1935.

Hudson Strode (October 31, 1892 – September 22, 1976) was an author and professor of creative writing at the University of Alabama. He taught at the University of Alabama from 1916 until his retirement in 1963. His creative writing classes gained international fame for the literary successes achieved by his students. Strode’s students published over 55 novels and 101 short stories. One of Strode's students was the author Borden Deal. Strode wrote several books on Scandinavian and Caribbean countries before turning to biography.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Porto Rico; History and Conditions Social, Economic and Political

Mixer, Knowlton, Porto Rico; history and conditions social, economic and political, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926. (has one page with a photo torn out)

Available for download.

Reviewed in The University Journal of Business © 1926.

Reviewed in The Geographical Teacher © 1926.

Excerpt from a Review by: Advocate of Peace through Justice:
The author shows the fine co-operative spirit of the Red-Cross, in whose service he spent some time in Puerto Rico. He has spared no pains, evidently, to obtain data from various American bureaus and commissioners, and his bibliography comes from the Director of the Carnegie Library at San Juan. Yet the story is written in one dimension. Judging from internal evidence, Mr. Mixer is not himself familiar with the Spanish language and, possibly for that reason, is not able sympathetically to interpret the history of the island.

Puerto Rico and the Non-Hispanic Caribbean: A Study in the Decline of Spanish Exclusivism

Morales-Carrión, Arturo, Puerto Rico and the Non-Hispanic Caribbean: A Study in the Decline of Spanish Exclusivism, Río Piedras, PR: University of Puerto Rico Press, 1952.

Available at Questia.

Reviewed in The Hispanic American Historical Review © 1954.

Dr. Arturo Morales Carrión, as Gov. Rafael Hernández Colón eulogized him, "one of the principal figures" in the history of Puerto Rico. Born November 16, 1913 in Havana, Cuba, of Puerto Rican parentage, he died in June, 1989 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after having served under Gov. Luis Muñoz Marín as Under Secretary of State of Puerto Rico, under President John F. Kennedy as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs,[1] as special assistant to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States and as president of the University of Puerto Rico.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Senate of Puerto Rico Concurrent Resolution No. 1

The Senate of Puerto Rico, Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1, San Juan, PR: Bureau of Supplies, printing and Transportation, 1935.

Messrs. Martínez Nadal, Iriarte, Bolívar Pagán, Echevarría, García Méndez, García Veve, Ochart, Pacheco, Ramos, Reyes Delgado, Serrallés, Valdés, and Villanueva, introduced on behalf of the Economy Commission of the Legislature of Puerto Rico, the following


Setting forth to the President and the Congress of the United States of America the economic and social evils confronting The People of Puerto Rico and pointing out specific recommendations for a complete economic-social rehabilitation of the Island.

Whereas, The Island of Puerto Rico is an organized non-contiguous territory of the United States of America, considered as an integral part of the Nation by reason of the citizenship enjoyed by it;

Whereas The National Administration has made public its purpose to include the Island of Puerto Rico within the General Rehabilitation Plan which the President of the United States of America, Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt, has submitted to Congress to cope with the prevalent economic situation and to combat unemployment;

Whereas, The Island of Puerto Rico is undergoing a very serious economic crisis, brought about by the destruction of its wealth by the hurricanes of 1928 and 1932, the prevalent depression, world-wide in its extent, the approval by Congress of the Jones-Costigan Act, which included sugar as a basic commodity under the provisions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the application of the retroactive provision of which to our Island, has reduced by 240,000 tons of sugar the crop of 1933-34, and by 25% the 1934-35 production;

Whereas, As a result of the application to our Island of the said Agricultural Adjustment Act, a large number of commodities for the maintenance of the people, which are imported from the United States market, have been considerably increased in price, thus aggravating the subsistence problem;

Whereas, According to the provisions of the Jones-Costigan Act, a large portion of the land now under sugar-cane cultivation is to be withdrawn from such cultivation, and consequently, nearly 20,000 laborers will lose their opportunity of work in the cultivation and harvesting of the yield of said lands, thus increasing the number of the unemployed, now that there are but few industries in the Island and no opportunity to secure any profitable occupation to make up for the lockout of the agricultural laborers;

Whereas, The Congress of the United States has enacted a law providing for the establishment, operation and maintenance of foreign-trade zones in ports of entry to the United States, to facilitate and develop foreign commerce, it being required that the establishment of such free zones or open ports be requested by the States, the Territory of Puerto Rico being comprised within the meaning of the term State;

Whereas, It is a generally accepted fact that the Insular public debt of $27,466,000 and the municipal public debt of $16,782,228.13 is a heavy burden on the economy of our people and is by itself an element that hinders the efforts made towards economic reconstruction, which makes it urgently necessary to convert and merge such debt, whose service requirements are becoming too burdensome, specifically because of the fact that the funds for such purposes are derived from special property taxes which in many cases reach exorbitant rates which cannot possibly be reduced, due to the constitutional prohibition to the effect that the value of contracts shall not be impaired;

Whereas, The depression, overwhelming in its effect, has given occasion for the accumulation by the municipalities of Puerto Rico of a floating debt amounting to over $3,000,000;

Whereas, In order to attain the economic rehabilitation of our Island, it is necessary to carry out important public works without which it would be impossible to achieve the development of our agricultural, industrial and commercial wealth, due to the lack of adequate means of communication, of the utilization of the water resources, of an exhaustive organization of our lands to obtain abundant yields, and of means to diffuse among our country people the necessary knowledge as to cultivation of the lands and disposition of the products in the most profitable and convenient way to obtain the best returns therefrom;

Whereas, The Economy Commission of the Legislature of Puerto Rico duly studied the economic-social problem of Puerto Rico in all its aspects, held hearings, carried out investigations, designated the committees which were to submit their conclusions as regards the various aspects of the question under consideration, and arranged and compiled the findings of the committees, embodying them in the Plan herein set forth;

Whereas, The Legislature of Puerto Rico has always shown an earnest desire and a firm resolution fully to cooperate in the task of putting into operation any financial reconstruction plan that might be worked out by the National Administration to further the betterment and progress of the Island of Puerto Rico; and this being an organized noncontiguous Territory of the United States, it must find a remedy for its problems under the protection of the laws approved by Congress,

Now Therefore, Be it resolved by the Senate of Puerto Rico, the House of Representatives Concurring:

To approve, as it is hereby approved, in order that it may serve as a basis for the economic reconstruction of Puerto Rico the Plan herein inserted, setting forth in its various aspects the economic-social problem of the Island.

The Virgin Islands: A Caribbean Lilliput

Lewis, Gordon K., The Virgin Islands: A Caribbean Lilliput, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1972. (Signed by the author for Tom & Joyce Mathews)



PART ONE: The Past

1. The Danish Background.
2. 1917: The American Beginnings.
3. 1931: The New Deal Period.
4. 1941: The War Period and After.

PART TWO: The Present

5. The Economy.
6. The Social Milieu: The Native Virgin Islanders.
7. The Social Milieu: The Continentals.
8. The Social Milieu: The French and the Puerto Ricans.
9. The Social Milieu: The West Indian Aliens.
10. Family, Color, and Community.
11. Religion, Education, and Communications.
12. The Machinery of Government.
13. Parties and Politics.
14. The problem of Status.