Foraker Act

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The Foraker Act, officially the Organic Act of 1900, is a United States federal law that established civilian (limited popular) government on the island of Puerto Rico, which had been newly acquired by the United States as a result of the Spanish–American War. Section VII of the Foraker Act also established Puerto Rican citizenship.[1] President William McKinley signed the act on April 12, 1900 [2] and it became known as the Foraker Act after its sponsor, Ohio Senator Joseph B. Foraker.

The new government had a governor and an executive council appointed by the President of the United States, a House of Representatives with 35 elected members, a judicial system with a Supreme Court and a United States District Court, and a non-voting Resident Commissioner in Congress.[3] The Executive council was all appointed: 5 individuals were selected from island residents while the rest were from those in top cabinet positions, including attorney general and chief of police (also appointed by the President). The Insular Supreme Court was also appointed. In addition, all federal laws of the United States were to be in effect on the island. The first civil governor of the island under the Foraker Act was Charles H. Allen, inaugurated on May 1, 1900 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This law was superseded in 1917 by the Jones–Shafroth Act.

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