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Luis Muñoz Rivera
In 1887 Muñoz Rivera became a leader of the Autonomist Party . In 1890 he founded the party's newspaper La Democracía (The Democracy). At the time Puerto Rico was a possession of Spain, in 1893 he traveled to Spain to learn about its political system. Upon returning to Puerto Rico, he participated in the writing of the Plan de Ponce which proposed administrative autonomy for the island. In March 1895 he returned to Spain as part of a commission that met with Liberal leader Práxedes Mateo Sagasta. That political group accepted the commission's views and in November 1897 Sagasta granted the Autonomist Charter. Muñoz Rivera served as Secretary of State and Chief of the Cabinet for the newly-independent Government of Puerto Rico. He took possession of Chief of the Cabinet for the Autonomous Government on July 21 1898. Four days later, on July 25 1898, the United States invaded Puerto Rico. As part of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico ceased being under Spanish rule and became a possession of the United States under a military governorship. Muñoz Rivera assisted in establishing the insular police. On February 41899 he resigned from government. Shortly after, the U.S. appointed military governor Guy V. Henry dissolved the Cabinet, thus dissolving the final remnants of the autonomous government and liberties Muñoz Rivera sought under Spanish rule.
Luis Muñoz Rivera opposed the military governorship and advocated for greater self-government. In 1899 he founded the newspaper El Territorio (The Territory), which voiced the concerns of landowners that where being hurt by the U.S. imposed blockade.
Muñoz Rivera travelled to the United States to argue for the establishment of free trade between the island and the United State's mainland. He resettled in New York where and founded the bilingual newspaper Puerto Rican Herald in 1901.
In 1904 he return to Puerto Rico and founded the Unionist Party. He was elected in 1906 to the House of Delegates where he served until 1910 when he became Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States House of Representatives. He served in the U.S. Congress from 1911 to 1916. In 1915 Muñoz Rivera proposed seeking more autonomy for the island without requesting independence from the United States and equal rights without becoming a state. His proposal was greeted by opposition from many members of his party including José de Diego. Still in the end, his party agreed on his proposal. Muñoz Rivera was largely responsible for the Jones-Shafroth Act (signed March 2, 1917), granting United States citizenship to Puerto Ricans and creating a bicameral legislature in Puerto Rico which is modeled on the United States Congress. Still, he was not pleased with the Jones Act since the judicial and executive branches would still be in the control of the United States. Shorty afterwards, he became ill and returned to Puerto Rico where he died on November 15, 1916 in the town of Luquillo, before the Jones Act was enacted into law.
His remains where laid to rest at San Antonio De Paduas Cemetery in his hometown of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico.
Luis Muñoz Rivera's son, Luis Muñoz Marín also became an important figure in the Politics of Puerto Rico, by founding the Popular Democratic Party and becoming the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico. Muñoz Marín's daughter, Victoria Muñoz also became involved in politics serving in the legislature and unsuccessfully running for governor in 1992.
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