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Rutgers Law Rev.


This Article will discuss the interplay between citizenship, race, and ratification of statehood in the United States, both historically and prospectively. Part II will discuss the development and history of the Insular Cases and the creation of the Territorial Incorporation Doctrine (“TID”), focusing on the Territory of Puerto Rico and how the issues of citizenship, race, and statehood have evolved in shadow of empire as a result. Part III will look back on the admission to the Union of New Mexico and Arizona—the forty-seventh and forty-eighth states—and discuss the substantial difficulties these territories had in getting admitted for statehood due to their majority non-white, Spanish-speaking populations. This section also reflects on the de facto requirement of whiteness as a prerequisite for statehood as exemplified by the larger struggle for territorial statehood in the West, and the detrimental impact that the culture of white supremacy has had on the ability of territories to achieve full membership in our society. Part IV will examine the factors surrounding the admission of our fiftieth State, Hawai’i, and the impact that its large Native Hawaiian and other Asian/Pacific Islander population had on its quest for statehood. This part will also examine the strategic reasons that the United States pursued statehood for Hawai’i, due to its location in the South Pacific and the need to defend the West Coast of the United States after World War II and the Korean War. Part V discusses the unique status of the District of Columbia which, while not a territory, is a modern corollary to the issues of colonialism, race, and statehood that the territories have historically faced when seeking admission to the Union. Finally, the Article concludes with a discussion about the inability of United States citizens who are residents of the United States territories to elect voting members to Congress and reflects on how this disenfranchisement of majority-minority territories has prevented the United States from becoming a truly representative democracy.