Puerto Rico statehood advocates follow 1796 ‘Tennessee Plan’ (but without support of today’s TN legislators)

Tennessee has been getting name-dropped during the recent attention on whether the island of Puerto Rico will become the 51st state because of a move that Tennessee forefathers took more than two centuries ago, reports WPLN — with a link to a website promoting Puerto Rico statehood under the headline, ‘Tennessee and the Tennessee Plan.’

In the recent legislative session, the current Tennessee legislature balked at a proposal to declare support for Puerto Rico statehood.

More than 200 years ago, Tennessee was still a territory and its early settlers were impatient — hoping for Congress to start the process toward statehood. Instead, local leaders went ahead and declared the territory a state. The people voted in favor, a government was formed and a constitution written. Then the trick was to persuade Congress to make all of those moves official, and that did happen in 1796.

Since then, six other states have used this aggressive method to move toward statehood.

Earlier this month, residents of Puerto Rico voted in favor of becoming a state (despite a ballot process that was messy and drew scant turnout).  Those in favor are still running with the results, continuing with the tactic of fake-it-till-you-make-it.

NBC News reports that a delegation of seven — meant to resemble two senators and five House members — will petition Congress and lobby for support. Just like Tennessee did.

Note: State Rep. Tilman Goins, R-Morristown, sponsored a resolution (HJR31) in the 2017 legislative session that, as originally drafted, urged Congress to approve statehood for Puerto Rico.  It was substantially watered down via amendment to instead urge Congress “to work with the territorial government of Puerto Rico to ensure a definitive and authoritative act of democratic self-determination” in the then-upcoming election. In that form, the resolution passed the House 53-24 on April 20. But it then died in the Senate Finance Committee, which never brought the matter up for a vote before adjournment of the session.

4 Responses to Puerto Rico statehood advocates follow 1796 ‘Tennessee Plan’ (but without support of today’s TN legislators)

  • Stuart i. Anderson says:

    The last thing in the world we need is statehood for Puerto Rico. The commonwealth is bankrupt and culturally incompatible with the rest of the nation. Its population is under-educated and hopelessly poor and overcrowded.

    I can understand why very liberal Democrats would be enthusiastic about welcoming Puerto Rico as a state with two Senators and a few House members but the rest of us have to be out of our minds to go along with this scheme

  • Len says:

    There’s the difference between progressives and conservatives right there in the above comment. PR statehood provides an opportunity to FIX the problems the commonwealth has. The residents of that island are AMERICAN CITIZENS who deserve a government that will fix these issues.

    As for cultural incompatibility, I don’t see it. Over 5 MILLION native PR people live on the mainland, they seem to fit in just fine.

  • Bobbie Patray says:

    Some excerpt from recent articles:

    In a record-setting move, Puerto Rico has filed for a form of bankruptcy protection that puts part of its monumental $70 billion debt in the hands of a federal judge.

    Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy is poised to bludgeon investors, threaten the livelihood of American citizens who planned their retirement on the island’s promises, and undermine state governments.

    The bankruptcy may also provide hope of fiscal sustainability and improved services for Puerto Rico, as the U.S. territory attempts to dig out of $74 billion in debt and $49 billion in pension promises.

    This bankruptcy may lead to their pensions and health care insurance taking hits, while services could also suffer cuts. Fabian estimated that some pensioners may get cuts of up to 20%.

    But that may be necessary to help stabilize the island. Puerto Rico has lost 20% of its jobs since 2007 and 10% of its population, sparking an economic crisis that worsens by the day.

    In addition to its debt, Puerto Rico is facing a 45 percent poverty rate, a shrinking population and unemployment more than twice the U.S. average.

    Rosselló’s $7.5 million (recent)referendum comes at a time where his government is closing up almost 200 schools in order to save $7.7 million in operating expenses

    Is making this territory a state really something we want to do?

  • Bobbie Patray says:

    Forgot to add, I don’t think the resolution would have gotten nearly as far as it did without the changes that were amended into it.

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