The purpose of this paper is to explore the political and military considerations that provided the frame of reference for the promulgation of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952. Since 1492 possession of this island has been coveted by nations with vital interest in the Caribbean region. To the United States, who conquered the island in 1898, Puerto Rico formed the backbone of the defense perimeter for the Panama Canal and adjacent shipping lanes. Experience during World War 11 and the subsequent threat from the Soviet Union reinforced the military value of the island. The importance of the geostrategic location of the island to the United States was the crucial factor that determined the type of political system that substituted fifty years of U.S. colonial rule with a measure of self-government. The leadership of Luis Munoz Marin and the moderate ideology of his Partido Popular Democratico (Popular Democratic Party) proved to be the best vehicle for the implementation of the reforms that would guarantee both the preservation of U.S. sovereignty over Puerto Rico and the improvement of the welfare of the people of the island.


Erwin Grieshaber

Committee Member

Richard Hall

Committee Member

Tomasz Inglot

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright