Second-Class Citizenship Granted to Puerto Ricans

1917

United States

Discrimination & Inequity

In 1917, Congress passed the Jones Act, which granted Puerto Ricans a nominal form of U.S. citizenship: citizenship without federal voting rights.

Puerto Rico first came under (see also: New Colonies & Territories Shape Migration 1898) and remained without an internationally recognized status until 1917. Critics of the act argued it was a play to gain more soldiers for the war effort; following its passage, more than 20,000 Puerto Rican men were promptly drafted. As European immigration waned during this period, thousands of Puerto Ricans also migrated to Northern and Midwestern cities where industrial work abounded in the wartime economy.