Union of Puerto Rico
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politics and government of
The UPR was founded in February 1904 by Luis Muñoz Rivera, Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, Antonio R. Barceló, José de Diego and others after the disbanding of the Federal Party. The party supported greater self-government for the island, though the party was divided between those in favor of independence and those favoring statehood. The party was highly successful electorally through the 1930s.
Various members of the party felt that the Union Party was not doing enough for the cause of Puerto Rican independence. These included José Coll y Cuchí who, in 1919, quit the party and with his followers founded the Nationalist Association of Puerto Rico (Asociación Nacionalista de Puerto Rico) in San Juan. The Nationalist Association had a youth group called the "Juventud Nacionalista" (Nationalist Youth) which was at that time presided by José Paniagua. The Nationalist Youth was then composed of students from the University of Puerto Rico and High School students.
Other high-ranking members who also felt as Coll y Cuchí and quit the party were Dr. Leopoldo Figueroa, José S. Alegría (father of Ricardo Alegría) and Eugenio Font Suárez, co-founded the Independence Association of Puerto Rico (Asociación Independentista).
Birth of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
On September 17, 1922, the Independence Association merged with Coll y Cuchí's Nationalist Association of Puerto Rico and the Nationalist Youth (Juventud Nacionalista) political organizations to form the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.
In 1924, the Union Party joined with dissident members of the Republican Party to form the Alianza ("Alliance"). This group generally supported autonomy for Puerto Rico. In 1932, the Alianza reconstituted itself as the Liberal Party and formally endorsed independence. The Alianza's more conservative, pro-statehood, faction broke off and joined with the Republicans to form the Republican Union.
- José Trías Monge, Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World (Yale University Press, 1997) ISBN 0-300-07618-5