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University of Florida Levin College of Law

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"The Constitution Follows The Flag...But Doesn't Quite Catch Up With It": The Story Of Downes V. Bidwell, Pedro A. Malavet Jan 2008

"The Constitution Follows The Flag...But Doesn't Quite Catch Up With It": The Story Of Downes V. Bidwell, Pedro A. Malavet

UF Law Faculty Publications

Some may consider a 1901 case to be ancient history, but Downes v. Bidwell and its progeny still govern all of these regions. This chapter will explore the Insular Cases as a way to understand the role of race in articulating the relationship between American territorial expansion and American citizenship-between American empire and American democracy. The chapter begins by historicizing the Downes opinion. My aim here is threefold: (1) to provide a brief description of the effects of Spanish colonial rule on Puerto Rico; (2) to set forth the circumstances leading up to the Spanish American War; and (3) to ...