Imprisoned in San Juan when the Americans invaded Puerto Rico inSantiago Iglesias was a fiery labor organizer who frequently ran afoul of Spanish authorities.
His father, Manuel Iglesias, was a carpenter. Early in his training, he took part in a violent strike, his first act in a lifelong struggle to reform labor rights.
In Iglesias ed the Spanish Socialist Party and moved to Cuba, where he took a job in a furniture factory. His work with organized labor, including rallying laborers to lobby for a hour workday, led to his frequent dismissal from and constant movement between jobs. He attempted to escape to England in ; however, after arousing the suspicions of his fellow passengers aboard the ship, which was to route through Spain on its way to Great Britain, he disembarked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on December Two days after he arrived, Iglesias met with local labor leaders to discuss starting a newspaper to promote their causes.
Taking advantage of the eroding Spanish colonial infrastructure in Puerto Rico, Iglesias quickly organized meetings, educational programs, and literature deed to unite laborers. He refrained from publicly supporting the political factions that were emerging in the late s as Spain promised autonomy to Puerto Rico, believing that the local political elite cared little about the working people.
Two weeks later, amid the confusion caused by the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Iglesias attempted to escape to New York, but Spanish authorities captured and incarcerated him in San Juan.
Iglesias spent the rest of the war in prison. He was nearly killed when an American bomb hit his jail cell on May The Spanish government attempted to deport Iglesias, but before that occurred, Washington asked Madrid to release all political prisoners in October Brooke, for whom Iglesias was an interpreter.
Realizing he needed to link with U. He worked as a carpenter in Brooklyn while learning English and taking night classes at Cooper Union College. Supporters appealed his case to the Puerto Rican supreme court, and after Iglesias served seven months, the court overturned his sentence.
The election was unique in that Puerto Rican women were permitted to vote providing they like men passed a literacy test. In addition, the scramble to overturn new, local election law that purposely favored large, established political parties left little time for campaigning. Roosevelt, and his supporters. Iglesias also asserted that he planned to be a dedicated representative of Puerto Rico in Congress. It is cooperation. Despite interruptions by the powerful September San Cipriano hurricane—whose devastation forced a special legislative session—and political wrangling that lasted through the summer, the fall campaign went relatively smoothly.
Despite the political shifts and economic difficulties surrounding the contest, the election was one of the quietest since The Partido Liberal trailed with 29 percent of the vote, and the Nacionalistas garnered less than 1 percent. Iglesias arrived in Washington after attending an AFL convention in Cincinnati, eventually settling his large family in a duplex in northwest Washington.
Sworn in on the Opening Day of the 73rd Congress —he became the first Resident Commissioner to receive committee asments in addition to a seat on the Insular Affairs Committee, traditionally reserved for the representative from Puerto Rico. Iglesias was also named to the Agriculture, Labor, and Territories Committees. He still lacked the right to vote and the ability to accrue seniority on committees, but at that time lawmakers considered the Agriculture Committee to be one of the most attractive committee asments in the House. The new Resident Commissioner educated his colleagues about Puerto Rican history, government, and economic issues, speaking frequently and protractedly on the House Floor about matters that affected his home island.
Furthermore, he emphasized the economic problem Puerto Rico faced as a result of the Depression and asked that the territory be included in economic rehabilitation plans proposed by newly elected President Roosevelt.
Public Health Service. At other times Iglesias had to shift tactics to block the effects of New Deal legislation.
Moreover, quotas ased to Cuba, the Philippines, Hawaii, and mainland producers were much higher. He also cited his limited rights as Resident Commissioner.
Francis Riggs, who had been assassinated by Nacionalista extremists in February In the thick of the debate over the Tydings legislation, Iglesias faced his first re-election campaign. Iglesias campaigned vigorously for his statehood bill, denouncing the Tydings legislation and the independence movement generally.
Crespo fired off five rounds from the 1,person crowd that had gathered to hear Iglesias speak. It is a very small minority, without any important standing among the masses of the people.
After the election, Iglesias became the face of the anti-independence movement in Puerto Rico. How could they, in view of what the United States has meant to them! Speaker William Bankhead of Alabama appointed a committee to attend funeral services in Puerto Rico, where Iglesias lay in state in San Juan, while flags on the island flew at half-staff.
At least one older brother, Eduardo, immigrated to Argentina and was never heard from again. See Gonzalo F. Andrews notes that Iglesias masterminded the walkout as a protest against his employer. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Under the provisions of the Foraker Act, Resident Commissioners faced re-election every two years, until Thus, the Liberal Party, a new political entity, and the Nationalists, who had polled a meager votes in the election, were forced to circulate these documents to gain a place on the ballot. Ironically, the breakup in the Alianza put him in the position of opposing his own law.
When examined separately, Liberals were still the single largest polling party over Socialists and Republicans. View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U. Carreras, Juan.
Epoca: a San Juan, P. Cordova, Gonzalo F. Rio Piedras, P. Santiago Iglesias y las elecciones de Palencia de Castilla [i. San Juan. Venezuela, House of Representatives.
Washington: Government Printing Office, Senior, Clarence Ollson. Santiago Iglesias, Labor Crusader.
Foreword by Herman Badillo. Hato Rey, P. United States. Memorial Services held in the House of Representatives of the United States, together with remarks presented in the eulogy of Santiago Iglesias, late a resident commissioner from Puerto Rico.
Seventy-sixth Congress, Third Session. Washington: GPO, Whittaker, William George. Featured Search Historical Highlights of the House.
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Featured Black Americans in Congress. Featured Mace of the U. House of Represen- tatives. House Trivia Timeline. Featured Resources for National History Day Office Resident Commissioner. Party Coalitionist. Congress es 73rd —74th —75th —76th — Biography Imprisoned in San Juan when the Americans invaded Puerto Rico inSantiago Iglesias was a fiery labor organizer who frequently ran afoul of Spanish authorities. Catherwood Library Ithaca, NY. Benjamin Schlesinger, President;2 linear feet.
Correspondents include Santiago Iglesias. Papers: Santiago Iglesias Pantin papers,1 reel microfilm. Papers are mostly in Spanish. Office of the Historian: history mail.
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