Political Parties of Puerto Rico, Founded 1898 through 1945*

 

Political Party PeriodDescriptionResident Commissioner
Partido Federalista (Federal Party)1898–1904Supported internal autonomy and eventual independence. Backed primarily by coffee growers who were critical of U.S. trade policy that negatively affected their crop.1Luis Muñoz Rivera
Partido Republicano (Republican Party)1898–1932Supported eventual statehood. Backed by commercial powers with economic ties to the United States, including sugar producers. Continued as the Pure Republicans after 1924.2Federico Degetau
José Lorenzo Pesquera (unofficially)
Partido de Unión (Union Party)1904–1932Born of an alliance between dissident members of Partido Republicano and Partido Federalista. Initially supported a “catch-all” program of independence, statehood, and autonomy and stood firmly in favor of amending the Foraker Act of 1900 to include a greater degree of self-government. Eventually embraced autonomy after eliminating statehood from the platform in 1912 and independence in 1922.3Luis Muñoz Rivera
Tulio Larrínaga
Félix Córdova Dávila
Alianza (Alliance)1924–1932Derived from factions in both the Partido de Unión and Partido Republicano. Took a pragmatic approach, supporting autonomy and believing statehood and independence were politically unfeasible in Washington.4Félix Córdova Dávila
Partido Socialista (Socialist Party)1915–19485Born of the political wing of the Federación Libre de Trabajadores (Free Federation of Labor), a labor union with ties to the American Federation of Labor. Informed by the global political movement, the Party initially considered itself an extension of the American Socialist Party; formal ties between the two parties ceased in 1924. Supported statehood but focused primarily on social justice and aiding impoverished Puerto Ricans. From 1932 to 1940, Iglesias and Pagán ran under both the Partido Socialista and Partido Unión Republicana tickets in an informal Coalición.6Santiago Iglesias
Bolívar Pagán
Partido Nacionalista (Nationalist Party)1922–1960sSplit from the Partido de Unión, advocating complete cultural and political independence from the United States. Never carried a significant electoral base, peaking with an unsuccessful electoral alliance with the Liberal Party in 1932. Turned toward violence following the 1932 electoral loss amid crippling economic depression. Followers carried out a number of attempted assassinations, several successfully.7N/A
Coalición (Coalition)1924An electoral agreement between a wing of the Partido Republicano and the Partido Socialista for the 1924 election cycle. Both parties campaigned on the issue of statehood but maintained separate platforms.8Santiago Iglesias
Partido Unión Republicana (Union Republican Party)1932Derived from portions of the Alianza and the Partido Republicano. Sought statehood but favored independence over contemporary colonial arrangement. Organized in January 1932 and absorbed into the Coalición in October 1932. From 1932 to 1940, Iglesias and Pagán ran under both the Partido Socialista and Partido Unión Republicana tickets in an informal Coalición.9José Lorenzo Pesquera (unofficially)
Santiago Iglesias
Bolívar Pagán
Partido Liberal (Liberal Party)1932–1940Organized from factions of the Partido de Unión and Partido Republicano. Criticized the U.S. government for its perceived neglect of Puerto Rico’s political and economic needs, and supported independence. Provided local support for New Deal programs specific to Puerto Rico. Factions split over support for Tydings legislation in 1936, calling for immediate and complete political and economic independence.10N/A
Partido Popular Democrático (PPD or Popular Democratic Party)1938–presentOrganized by Luis Muñoz Marín shortly after he left the Partido Liberal. The PPD was a key supporter of a series of social and economic reforms in the 1930s and 1940s. Supported the formation of the Estado Libre Asociado (Free Associated State) in 1952 and thereafter supported autonomy within the commonwealth status. Dominant on the island from the 1940s to the late 1960s.11Jesús T. Piñero12

Footnotes

*General sources defining Puerto Rico’s political parties, including visual interpretations, are available in Richard E. Sharpless, “Puerto Rico,” in Robert J. Alexander, ed., Political Parties of the Americas (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982): 611–623; César Ayala and Rafael Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: A History since 1898 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007): 143 (see especially Figure 7.1); Truman R. Clark, Puerto Rico and the United States, 1917–1933 (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975): 77.

1Sharpless, “Puerto Rico”: 617; Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 52–55.

2Sharpless, “Puerto Rico”: 621–622; Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 52–55.

3Sharpless, “Puerto Rico”: 623; Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 55.

4Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 59; Clark, Puerto Rico and the United States, 1917–1933: 80–82.

5The last Socialist territorial senator, Bolívar Pagán, won his final term as a Socialist in 1948. See Fernando Bayron Toro, Elecciones y partidos políticos de Puerto Rico, 1809–2000 (Mayagüez, PR: Editorial Isla, 2003): 212.

6Gonzalo F. Córdova, Resident Commissioner Santiago Iglesias and His Times: 134; Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 61–68; “1932 General Election,” Elections in Puerto Rico: Results Lookup- Islandwide Totals, accessed 16 November 2017, http://www.eleccionespuertorico.org/;“1936 General Election, Elections in Puerto Rico: Results Lookup- Islandwide Totals, accessed 16 November 2017, http://www.eleccionespuertorico.org/; “1940 General Election, Elections in Puerto Rico: Results Lookup- Islandwide Totals, accessed 16 November 2017, http://www.eleccionespuertorico.org/.

7Sharpless, “Puerto Rico”: 617–618; Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 105–107.

8Bayron Toro, Elecciones y partidos políticos de Puerto Rico: 161.

9Córdova, Resident Commissioner Santiago Iglesias and His Times: 231–232; Clark, Puerto Rico and the United States, 1917–1933: 144–145; “1932 General Election,” Elections in Puerto Rico: Results Lookup- Islandwide Totals, accessed 16 November 2017, http://www.eleccionespuertorico.org/; “1936 General Election,” Elections in Puerto Rico: Results Lookup- Islandwide Totals, accessed 16 November 2017, http://www.eleccionespuertorico.org/; “1940 General Election,Elections in Puerto Rico: Results Lookup- Islandwide Totals, accessed 16 November 2017, http://www.eleccionespuertorico.org/.

10Sharpless, “Puerto Rico”: 617; Ayala and Bernabe, Puerto Rico in the American Century: 100, 115–116; Córdova, Resident Commissioner Santiago Iglesias and His Times: 158.

11Sharpless, “Puerto Rico”: 620–621.

12Other individuals who served as Resident Commissioner from the PPD served after 1945.