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This article examines U.S. Puerto Rico relations during the American century through the prism of the colonial state and identifies eight periods of fundamental political and economic change that altered the conduct of U.S. colonial practice in Puerto Rico. These periods witnessed the emergence, ascendancy and decline of local political coalitions that competed for control of the control state. The coalitions articulated distinct economic projects and pursued different strategies to resolve Puerto Rico's status as an unincorporated territorial possession. Each period was also marked by insular economic restructuring precipitated by shifts in U.S. fiscal policies and changes in the economy, by U.S. congressional efforts to enact legislation to resolve Puerto Rico's dependent territorial status, and by changing perceptions of hemispheric challenges to U.S. national security interests.


This article was reproduced with permission of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, UPR, Rio Piedras Campus © 2002: Caban, Pedro.(2002) "Puerto Rico: State Formation in a Colonial Context" Caribbean Studies, Vol.30, No. 2 (December 2002):170-215. Retrieved from


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