Muñoz Marín, Luis (1898–1980)

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Muñoz Marín, Luis (1898–1980)

Luis Muñoz Marín (b. 18 February 1898; d. 30 April 1980), the first elected governor of Puerto Rico (1948–1964). Muñoz Marín, the son of political leader Luis Muñoz Rivera, spent much of his young life in the United States as a student, a writer, and an advocate of Puerto Rican independence. His political outlook gradually underwent a transformation, however, and he came to believe that economic development was more vital than immediate independence. In 1938, alienated from the political parties dominant in Puerto Rico, Muñoz Marín founded the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), whose motto was "Bread, Land, and Liberty." Following a strong PPD showing in the 1940 elections, Muñoz became president of the Puerto Rican Senate in 1941. He immediately pushed through basic reforms in land tenancy, natural resources, transportation, and education. The PPD, with Muñoz Marín as its president, swept the 1944 elections, but the independence issue ultimately divided the party. Muñoz Marín remained with the less radical PPD, favoring economic and social reform with U.S. assistance.

The first gubernatorial elections took place on 2 November 1948, and Muñoz Marín won with a clear majority, becoming the first Puerto Rican to be elected governor of the island. He vigorously promoted industrial development as part of his program Operation Bootstrap, but eventually he rejected independence as an option for Puerto Rico, favoring instead a permanent union with the United States. After holding the office of governor for four terms, he declined to run again in 1964, though he remained an active figure in Puerto Rican politics for many years.

See alsoOperation Bootstrap; Puerto Rico, Political Parties: Overview.


Thomas Aitken, Jr., Poet in the Fortress: The Story of Luis Muñoz Marín (1964).

Lieban Córdova, Luis Muñoz Marín y sus campañas políticas (1984).

Manuel De Heredia, Luis Muñoz Marín: Biografía abierta (1973).

Arturo Morales Carrión, ed., Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History (1983), pp. 221-304.

Additional Bibliography

Maldonado, A. W. Luis Muñoz Marín: Puerto Rico's Democratic Revolution. San Juan: Editorial Universidad de Puerto Rico, 2006.

Villaronga, Gabriel. Toward a Discourse of Consent: Mass Mobilization and Colonial Politics in Puerto Rico, 1932–1948. Westport: Praeger, 2004.

                                          Sara Fleming

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