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Chronological Reasoning and Causation

Sweat and Tears: Puerto Ricans Migrate to New York State

  1. Load Cover of Brochure for U.S. Employers Hiring Puerto Rican Workers, 1960 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load Cover of Brochure for U.S. Employers Hiring Puerto Rican Workers, 1960 in Main Image Viewer
  3. Load Houses in a Slum, Orocouis, Puerto Rico, 1941 in Main Image Viewer
  4. Load People Waiting to Buy Bread, Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico, n.d. in Main Image Viewer
  5. Load Labor Bosses Recruiting Farm Workers, Caguas, Puerto Rico in Main Image Viewer
  6. Load Typical Kitchen of Jibaro house, Puerto Rico, 1938 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

This question is based on the accompanying documents. It has been created in order to test your ability to work with historical documents. Some of these documents have been edited for the purposes of this question. As you analyze the documents, try to understand the source of the document and any point of view that is presented in the document.

Historical context: In 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American War, the island of Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States. Although Puerto Ricans gained some limited U.S. citizenship rights in 1917, the island was not made a Commonwealth of the United States until 1952. The migration of Puerto Ricans to New York State has been great since the 1940s due to high unemployment rates on the island. The island has served as a rich source of labor for U.S. agricultural and industrial businesses.

Task: Using information from the following documents and your own knowledge of history, answer the questions that follow each document in Part A. Your answers to the questions will help you to accomplish the writing assignment given in Part B.

PART A Short-Answer Questions

Directions: Read and analyze the documents and answer the short-answer questions in the space provided. Prepare for the reading of the documents by studying the vocabulary definitions that are given before each document.


Using information from at least seven of the documents to support your thinking, and your own knowledge of history, write an essay describing the experience of Puerto Rican migrant workers who came to New York State. Your essay should include a description of economic conditions in Puerto Rico and the effect these conditions had on migration to New York; as well as conditions that Puerto Ricans encountered when they migrated. Your essay should be well-organized and include an introduction, several paragraphs, and a conclusion. You must use evidence from seven of the ten preceding documents to support your thinking.