How Overseas Empire Became Constitutional. Almost Citizens. Santiago Iglesias Pursue Citizenship

“Almost Citizens is a key-stone book for understanding the history of Puerto Rico after 1898.  The most important publication in the 21st century historiography of the island. A required reading for all those who want to comprehend the political present.” Dr. Gonzalo F. Cordova, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, author of Resident Commissioner Santiago Iglesias and HIs Times.

Almost citizens is the story of the struggle of against the racism that gave birth to the current relationship. Degetau’s perseverance in setting the basis for equality, Iglesias relentless fight for the Puerto Rican workingman’s full American citizenship rights, Isabel González and Domingo Collazo irrupt into history as the voice of we, the Puerto Rican people. Erman’s remarkable erudition allows Islanders to confront the foundational myths that keep them subject to the U.S.. This is the scholarship that I missed as President of the Board of the Institute of Culture and Secretary of Education of Puerto Rico. Dr. Carlos E. Chardon.

“Camino de Santiago Iglesias Pantín a la Ciudadania Americana Obrera.

“We Are Naturally Americans”: Federico Degetau and Santiago Iglesias Pursue Citizenship in Almost citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution, and Empire.

Sam Erman as an “archeologist” of history and law, has uncovered a chapter in the Lost History of Santiago Iglesias Pantín, Federacioìn Libre de los Trabajadores de Puerto Rico, Pan-American Federation of Labor and Balzac v. Porto Rico.” Manuel “Lin” Iglesias-Beléndez, Grandson.

“Almost Citizens involved more than legal scholarship on your part. It’s a political history and a family history, too.” Gilien Silsby, USC Gould School of Law.

Fundación Santiago Iglesias Pantín, Inc. (FSIP). Manuel “Lin” Iglesias-Beléndez

From: Sam Erman <
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2018 7:17 PM
Subject: How Overseas Empire Became Constitutional

Dear friends,
I’m writing to announce the U.S. release yesterday of my book, Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution and Empire (Cambridge University Press).  It is a much better book than I had even hoped, and that is is no small part due to the help of so many of you.  As a teaser, check out this magazine story, this tweet, or the description and promotional postcard below. For those of you inclined to share via social media, I will be very grateful (especially because I am not on social media myself).




Almost Citizens

Almost Citizens lays out the tragic story of how the United States denied Puerto Ricans full citizenship following annexation of the island in 1898. As America became an overseas empire, a handful of remarkable Puerto Ricans debated with U.S. legislators, presidents, judges, and others over who was a citizen and what citizenship meant. This struggle caused a fundamental shift in constitutional jurisprudence: away from the post-Civil War regime of citizenship, rights, and statehood and toward doctrines that accommodated racist imperial governance. Erman’s gripping account shows how, in the wake of the Spanish– American War, administrators, lawmakers, and presidents, together with judges, deployed creativity and ambiguity to transform constitu- tional law and interpretation over a quarter century of debate and litigation. The result is a history in which the United States and Latin America, Reconstruction and empire, and law and bureaucracy intertwine.

Sam Erman is Associate Professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.



Sam Erman
USC Gould School of Law
699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089

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