1952 July 25

Puerto Rico Constitution Ratified


Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United Sates, which it acquired in 1898 by invasion in the Spanish American War. The 1917 Jones Act granted Puerto Rican residents American citizenship. In 1947, an amendment to the Jones Act granted Puerto Ricans the right to elect their own governor, who had previously been appointed by the president of the U.S. The U.S. Congress in 1950 passed a law allowing a referendum on whether Puerto Ricans wanted a constitution. The voters chose to have a constitution, and the resulting document was ratified two years later, on this day.

Article II of the Constitution contains a Bill of Rights consisting of 20 separate sections. Many provisions are similar to the U.S Bill of Rights, although often with slightly different language.

Section 20 contains a set of social justice provisions that are not in the U.S. Bill of Rights, including:

“The right of every person to receive free elementary and secondary education.

The right of every person to obtain work.

The right of every person to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, and especially to food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

The right of every person to social protection in the event of unemployment, sickness, old age or disability.

The right of motherhood and childhood to special care and assistance.”

Read the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: http://www.topuertorico.org/constitu.shtml

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