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[Detail] General view of harbor at San Juan, Porto Rico looking South.

Historical Research: Formulating Historical Questions

When the Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States, new policies for governing the island were needed. Two laws that dealt with the civilian government of Puerto Rico were the Foraker Act (Organic Law), passed April 12, 1900, and the Jones Act, passed December 5, 1916. What questions do you have about these laws establishing U.S. policy toward governance of Puerto Rico? Write two or three research questions about the Foraker and Jones Acts and try to find answers to the questions. Do the answers give you a better understanding of the U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship in the early twentieth century?

The Supreme Court also became involved in determining how the new island possessions of the United States fit into the constitutional framework. They did so through a series of cases called the "Insular Cases," decided between 1901 and 1904. Write two or three research questions about the Insular Cases. For example, you might ask how these Court decisions affected U.S. political and economic policy in Puerto Rico. When you have framed your questions, conduct research to find the answers.