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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War

Foraker Act (Organic Act of 1900)

Military government of Porto Rico from October 18, 1898, to April 30, 1900. p. 82. uncompressed TIFF (.tif) version of this image.

On April 2, 1900, U.S. President McKinley signed a civil law that established a civilian government in Puerto Rico. This law was known as the Foraker Act for its sponsor, Joseph Benson Foraker (an Ohio statesman), and also as the Organic Act of 1900. The new government had a governor and an executive council appointed by the President, a House of Representatives with 35 elected members, a judicial system with a Supreme Court, and a non-voting Resident Commissioner in Congress. 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.