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October 10, 2019

Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution, and Empire

Event Details

Date & Time

Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 6:30 PM


Sponsored by the History Department, the Political Science Department, and the Gonzaga School of Law


Free and open to the public.


Barbieri Courtroom, Gonzaga School of Law


For more information, contact: contact Veta Schlimgen, 509-313-5795 or

Event Type & Tags

  • Academics

About This Event

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.

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