Item #2924 Constitucion de la República de Cuba. Convención Constituyente.
Constitucion de la República de Cuba
Constitucion de la República de Cuba
Constitucion de la República de Cuba
1901 Constitution of Cuba - Signed by Its Signatory

Constitucion de la República de Cuba

Habana: Tipografía “El Fígaro,” Obispo 62, 1901. First edition. The Constitution signatory, José de Jesús Monteagudo’s copy. Inscribed by the delegates of the Constitutional Convention and signatories of the Constitution. In original wrappers. 36 [4] p. The cover is with some stains and foxing. Little bit folded. Very good condition.

The exceedingly rare first edition of the first version of the first Cuban Constitution as an independent state, inscribed by thirty-one signatories of the Constitution, for José de Jesús Monteagudo.

This is the original version of the 1901 Constitution of Cuba, as it was adopted by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on February 21, 1901. It claims full sovereignty for the independent republic of Cuba, not yet appended with the eight sections of the Platt Amendment.

“Para Monteagudo”, lettered in ink to the top of last text-page. José de Jesús Monteagudo (1861–1914) was a Cuban military officer, one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention and signatory of the Constitution. The present copy is signed by all thirty-one signatories of the Constitution: the President of the Convention Domingo Méndez-Capote (later Vice President of Cuba); and the Secretaries, Alfredo Zayas y Alfonso (later President of Cuba), and Enrique Villuendas; and the delegates: Juan Rius Rivera, José Miguel Gómez, Eudaldo Tamayo, José Braulio Alemán, José de Jesús Monteagudo, Martín Morúa Delgado, José Luis Robau, Luis Fortún, Manuel R. Silva, Pedro Betancourt Dávalos, Eliseo Giberga, Joaquín Quilez, Gonzalo de Quesada y Aróstegui, Diego Tamayo, Manuel Sanguily, Alejandro Rodríguez Velazco, Miguel Gener y Rincon, Emilio Núñez Rodríguez, Leopoldo Berriel, José Lacret Morlot, Rafael Portuondo Tamayo, José Fernández de Castro, Antonio Bravo Correoso, José N. Ferrer, Juan Gualberto Gómez and Rafael Manduley; it bears two signatures which are not listed in the official printed text: Pedro González Llorente and Salvador Cisneros Betancourt. The Spanish–American War ended with the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which — apart from other terms favorable to the USA— granted the United States temporary control of the former Spanish colony of Cuba. The United States established a military administration on the island under General Leonard Wood in 1898, which besides its many achievements, called for a Constitutional Convention to meet in September 1900. The convention met first at Havana in November 1900, and a Constitution patterned upon that of the United States was signed by the delegates on February 21, 1901. (Boeckel, 1930)

The 1901 Constitution of the Republic of Cuba consists of a total of 115 articles, distributed through fourteen titles, in addition, there is a short preamble defining the aims of the Convention and the fundamental law, and seven paragraphs of transitory provisions. The fourteen titles define and represent the nation, its form of government, and its territory [I], the Cuban people [II], the rights of the foreigners [III], the civil rights (basically the Cuban “Bill of Rights” divided into three sections) [IV], the sovereignty and public powers [V], the legislative powers (divided into six sections, following mainly the Constitution of the United States) [VI], the executive power (divided into two section, the method of election is by presidential electors, as in the United States, and giving the President virtually the same powers as those of a president of the United States) [VII], the Vice-President [VIII], the provision for the cabinet officers [IX], the judiciary (divided into three sections) [X], the provincial government (divided into three sections, here a departure is made from the system of the United States, in that the provinces are distinctly subordinate to the national government) [XI], the municipal government (divided into three sections, and emphasizes the centralized character of the Cuban state, a section that has no counterpart in the US Constitution) [XII], the national treasure [XIII], and the method of amending the Constitution [XIV]. (Chapman, 1925)

This version of the Constitution, adopted by the delegates in February 1901, failed to address the question of Cuban-American relations, thus the United States, still exercising military authority over Cuba, withheld its approval until the Convention amended the Constitution in June to incorporate the Platt Amendment, which virtually made Cuba a U.S. protectorate by placing limitations on Cuban sovereignty and providing a legal basis for future U.S. military interventions in Cuba. Finally, the amended 1901 Constitution was implemented on 20 May 1902, and remained in effect until 1940. The Platt Amendment was abrogated in 1934, although the United States retained its lease on Guantánamo Bay, where a naval base had been established. (CEE, 2022)

An extremely scarce and precious memento of Cuba's Republican era. We could trace only two copies in institutional holdings of this very first edition of the Cuban Constitution as an independent state, of which one, signed the same way as our copy, is held at the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries, the other copy, undisclosed if it is singed, is listed in the publication of the National Library José Martí in Cuba “Bibliografia Cubana 1900–1916” (no. 73).

Literature: Boeckel, R. M. (1930). Cuban-American relations. Editorial research reports 1930 (Vol. II).; [CEE, 2022] “Platt, Orville Hitchcock.” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. on Infoplease. Accessed September 2, 2022.; Chapman, Ch. E. (1925): The Cuban Constitution and Congress. In: California Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Nov. 1925), pp. 22–35. Accessed September 2, 2022.; Graupera Arango, E. (1986) Bibliografía Cubana 1900-1916. Ciudad de La Habana: Biblioteca Nacional José Martí.

Price: €120,000.00

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