10 photos, index
As the island of Puerto Rico transitioned from Spanish to U.S. imperial rule, the military and political mobilization of popular sectors of its society played important roles in the evolution of its national identities and subsequent political choices. While scholars of American imperialism have examined the political, economic, and cultural aspects of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico, few have considered the integral role of Puerto Rican men in colonial military service in helping to consolidate the empire.
In Soldiers of the Nation Harry Franqui-Rivera argues that the emergence of strong and complicated Puerto Rican national identities is deeply rooted in the long history of colonial military organizations on the island. Franqui-Rivera examines the patterns of inclusion-exclusion within the military and the various forms of citizenship that are subsequently transformed into socioeconomic and political enfranchisement. Analyzing the armed forces as an agent of cultural homogenization, Franqui-Rivera further explains the formation and evolution of Puerto Rican national identities that eventually led to the creation of the Estado Libre Asociado (the Commonwealth) in 1952. Franqui-Rivera concludes that Puerto Rican soldiers were neither cannon fodder for the metropolis nor the pawns of the criollo political elites. Rather, they were men with complex identities who demonstrated a liberal, popular, and broad definition of Puertorriqueñidad.
List of Illustrations
1. Birth of a Nation: A Labor of Thirty Years, 1868–1898
2. Puerto Rican a la Americana: A Hearts and Minds Campaign, 1898–1914
3. A New Day Has Dawned: World War I and Mobilization of the Peasant
4. War against the Yankees! Prelude to the Battle over Modern Puerto Rico
5. Education, Industrialization, and Decolonization: The Battlefields of World War II
6. Fighting for the “Nation”? War at Home and Abroad