In San Juan in 1934, the Senate and House of Representatives of Puerto Rico passed a concurrent resolution petitioning the Federal government for statehood. The resolution’s purpose was
to declare that the final status of Puerto Rico should be statehood and that the People of Puerto Rico desires that Puerto Rico should become a state, forming a part of and becoming associated with the Federated States of America; to petition the Congress of the United States of America for legislation authorizing the People of Puerto Rico to adopt its own state constitution for its approval by the Congress of the United States of America after it has been ratified by a plebiscite to which it shall be submitted; to demand from the Congress of the United States of Americaan immediate liberalizing reform of a political and economic nature, of the autonomic regimen at present enjoyed by Puerto Rico, through amendments to the Organic Act in force, and for other purposes.
The resolution went on to state that for 35 years the people of Puerto Rico, trusting in the justice of the United States, had “suffered the disappointments” of living under a system in which, though citizens of the United States, they were dealing with different laws and systems from those in the States. Puerto Rico, the resolution continued, understood that
preservation of its characteristics and other traditions are not in conflict with the principles and ideals of the American nation, and that the vernacular may subsist in conjunction with the use of English language, all within the new structure of government within which the People of Puerto Rico will live in dignity in association with the People of the United States of America, under the same flag.
The resolution also contained a list of other measures to be accomplished, including draining of mangrove swamps and work to get tuberculosis under control.
Read the full text of the resolution.
Puerto Ricans have now been U.S. citizens for nearly a century. In 2012, another concurrent resolution from the House of Representatives and the Senate of Puerto Rico asked Congress to “respond diligently and effectively” to the territory’s November 2012 plebiscite vote, which rejected the islands’ current territory status and petitioned Congress and the President to “begin the process to admit Puerto Rico to the Union as a State.”
History repeats itself.