Should Puerto Rico Be a State?

POLITICS

Jeb Bush recently reiterated his support for making the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico the nation’s 51st state. (CNN)

Customize your own map of Puerto Rico with our 1-Page Map.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map of the territories of the United States.

Puerto Rico, you lovely island, island of tropical breezes . . . Map by National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, along with many politicians of both parties, has supported the the movement to make Puerto Rico the 51st state of the United States. Puerto Rico is now classified as an “unincorporated territory” of the U.S. What is a territory? How is it different from a state?
    • An unincorporated territory is region governed by the United States, but not a recognized part of a state. Territories are administered directly by the federal government of the U.S. They do not have many features of sovereignty that U.S. states do, such as full representation in the U.S. Congress. (Puerto Rico does send a single delegate, with limited voting power, to the House of Representatives.)
    • Some territories have big populations, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, while others are totally uninhabited, such as the Midway Islands.
    • Many U.S. states were territories before they became states: the Alaska Territory, the Hawaii Territory, the Dakota Territory (which became two states).

 

Here is one example of what a 51-state flag might look like. Illustration by Jacobolus, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain.

Here is one example of what a 51-state flag might look like.
Illustration by Jacobolus, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain.

  • What reasons do Jeb Bush and other supporters offer for Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state in the U.S.? Debatepedia has some pro/con questions to help you think about the issue.
    • Puerto Ricans themselves voted for statehood in 2012.
    • Puerto Rico is already a part of the U.S., and has been since the 19th century.
    • Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, carry U.S. passports, and serve in the U.S. military.

 

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

CNN: In Puerto Rico, Jeb Bush pushes for statehood

Nat Geo: Puerto Rico outline map

Nat Geo: U.S. Territories map

Debatepedia: Should Puerto Rico move for US statehood? Should the US accept it?

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