Spanish America Essay

This essay has a total of 4270 words and 24 pages.

Spanish America


1 Legacy of hate: The conquest of Mexico’s northwest
A. The invasion of Texas-Not all the Anglo-Americans favored the conflict. Eugene C.
Barker states that the immediate cause of the war was “ the overthrow of the nominal
republic by Santa Anna and the substitution of centralized oligarchy” which
allegedly would have centralized Mexican control. Texas history is a mixture of selected
fact and generalized myth. Historians admit that smugglers were upset with Mexico’s
enforcement of her import laws.

B. The invasion of Mexico- In the mid-1840s, Mexico was again the target. The expansion
and capitalist development moved together. The two Mexican wars gave U.S. commerce,
industry, mining, agriculture, and stockraising. The truth is that the Pacific Coast
belonged to the commercial empire that the United States was already building in that

C. The rationale for conquest- the Polk-Stockton Intrigue, Americans have found it rather
more difficult than other peoples to deal rationally with their wars. Many Anglo-Americans
historians have attempted to dismiss it simply as a “bad war”, Which took
place during the era of Manifest Destiny.

D. The myth of a nonviolent nation- most studies on the Mexican –American war dwell
on the causes and results of the war, and dealing with war strategy. Mexicans attitude
toward Anglo-Americans has been influenced by the war and vice-versa.

E. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo- By late 1847 the war was almost at an end.
Scott’s defeat of Santa Anna in a hard fought battle at Churubusco put Anglo
–Americans at the gates of Mexico City. Although Mexicans fought valiantly, the
battle left 4,000 dead, with another 3,00 prisoners. February 2, 1848 the Mexicans
ratified the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, with Mexico accepting the Rio Grande as the
Texas border and ceding the Southwest.

2 Remember the Alamo: The colonization of Texas
A. The creation of a Dominant Class- Before 1848, the valley of the Rio Grande supported
many thousands of cattle. Commerce between the people on both sides of the river bound
them together. As technological changes took place in the regions economy, class divisions
became more marked within the Mexican community; the upper class more often aligned
themselves with the new elite. In many cases the rich Mexicans became brokers for the
ruling elite and helped control the Mexican masses.

B. Politics of Gender- Social relations between Mexicans and the dominant society became
more rigid with the passage of time. Intermarriage between the native aristocracy and the
white ruling elite was not uncommon; both because of lack of white woman and for control
of the native population.

C. Controlling Mexicans- the railroad played a key role in the economic development of San
Antonio after the Civil War. The railroad encouraged the development of cattle trade and
brought tourist to the city. Newspaper accounts inflamed residents, spreading rumors that
Mexicans had armed themselves.

D. Divide and Conquer- In August 1894, Blacks attacked Mexicans at Beeville, Texas.
Mexicans were brought there to drive down wages of blacks and to create a labor surplus.
The federal government encouraged this antagonism by stationing black soldiers in Mexican

E. The Historian as an Agent of Social Control- Texas had a history of violence. This
brought terror toward the Mexicans since they didn’t have the same protection under
the law. In South Texas, Mexicans outnumbered the North American, latter controlled
politics and the land.

F. The Revolt of “Cheno” Cortina- Mexicans did not accept North American rule
and they hardly felt like liberated people. They called them greasers and denied them the
opportunity to acquire property, to excerise political control over their own lives, and
to maintain their rights within the society. But many took to the road.

G. The People’s Revolt- The El Paso Salt War of 1877 is an example of the
people’s revolt. Mexicans in the country banded together along lines of race and
class taking direct action in the response to the political chicanery of foreigners. It
was a class struggle against the rich, powerful gringo establishment.

3 Freedom in a Cage: The colonization of New Mexico
A. The Distortion of History- We are white too! Many New Mexicans have historically found
security in believing that they assimilated into Anglo-American culture and that they
effectively participate in the democratic process. In order to survive economically, many
descendants of the original New Mexican settlers found it easy to separate themselves from
Mexicans who arrived at the turn of the 20th century. And they called themselves Hispanos.

B. The Myth of the Bloodless Conquest- Another myth is that Mew Mexicans peacefully joined
the Anglo nation an “became a willing enclave of the United States.” By this
sleight of hand New Mexicans are not seen as victims and, consequently, the enemies of the
Anglo-Americans, but rather their willing friends. No one liked the thought of the U.S.
invading his or her land.

C. The Land Grab- Land, New Mexico’s basic resource, was at heart of the Pueblo
Indians grievances against the Spaniards. The Santa Fe Ring’s power rested in its
control of the territorial bureaucracy.

D. The Santa Fe Ring- The ring controlled the governor and the most of the officeholders
in the territory and was supported by Max Frost, editor of the Mew Mexican. An influx of
newcomers and capital formalized and extended the range of the North American elite and
the ricos, with the creation of a network of speculators.

E. The Lincoln County War- The causes of the Lincoln County War were similar to those in
the Colfax County. This controversy indirectly involved the Santa Fe Ring, centering on
one of its smaller satellites and its challengers. The power roles were led by the
Anglo-Americans one Republican and other Democrate. It has often been portrayed as a
personal feud or as a cattle or range war.

F. The Americanization of the Catholic Church- The Roman Catholic Church, the most
important institution to New Mexicans directly touched their lives from cradle to grave.
Soon after the church limited its functions to strictly spiritual matters. Antonio Jose
Martinez was a strong leader in the church.

G. The Resistance- The 1880s saw increased opposition to land encrachments. Mexicans
suffered from the impact of the railroad, private contractors stripped the timber from the
land. So by the middle of the decade, Mexicans organized the association of the
Brotherhood for the Protection of the rights and Privileges of the People of New Mexico,
whose stated purpose was to free New Mexico from corrupt politicians and monopolies.

H. The End of the Frontier- The Santa Fe Ring’s heyday lasted from 1865 to 1885.
Government corruption, warfare, and political favoritism all marred these years. Drew
national attention to the lawlessness in New Mexico forced changes.

4 Sonora Invaded: The Occupation of Arizona
A. Building a Myth- The major portion of the Mesilla Valley was in northern Sonora, aka
Arizona. The United States did not want it solely for the purpose of a southern railway
route. The main attraction was the Mesilla’s mineral wealth.

B. Euroamerican Colonialism- Until 1863, Arizona was a frontier of New Mexico isolated
from Santa Fe by hundreds of miles of deserts, mountains, and apache land. Arizona’s
geographical isolation presented a barrier to its economic development. Capitalists needed
cheap labor and inexpensive transportation.

C. The Polarization of Society- Relations between the Apache and North Americans gradually
deteriorated. Self-government did not reach Arizona. From the beginning, Anglo-Americans
in Arizona formed a privileged class. Mining was big and required large capital

D. Ending the Frontier- After the Civil War, machine politics became popular in Arizona.
The Federal Ring, centered in Tucson. The ring brought limited prosperity, and by the
1870s, Tucson as well as the rest of Arizona culturally became Anglo.

E. The Industrializing of Arizona- With the arrival of the railroad, opportunity for
upward mobility became more restricted, and as Arizona became more industrialized, many
small Mexican businesses could not compete. Racism toward Mexicans increased with the end
of the Apache threat. Mexicans more frequently became scapegoats for societal problems.

F. Nativism and La Liga Protectora Latina- At the state constitutional convention in
Phoenix on October 10,1910, Labor organizers demanded the limitation of aliens because,
according to them, alien labor offered unfavorable competition, drove wages down, and
stiffed union organization. At the convention labor leaders introduced resolution to
exclude non-English speaking persons from mine working jobs forcing mines to employ 80%
U.S. citizens.

5 California Lost: America for Anglo-Americans
A. The Conquest- In 1821 California became part of the Mexican republic. Mexico trades and
immigration polices, and thereafter the number of foreigners entering the province
increased. During the first years the mission principally benefited from the new trade.
Rancho system was contributed to the growth

B. The Occupation- The occupation relied almost on the marketplace and the transaction of
capital. Before the conquest the California economy had just begun to enter the
international marketplace.

C. The Changing of Elites- Capitulation at Monterey exposed Mexican workers to higher
levels of Exploitation. The lower class mestizes and mulattoes joined the Indians in this
labor pool. In the northern part of the state, the gold rush made them instant minorities.
While in the southern part they remained the majority for the next 20 years. The gold rush
established a pattern of North American- Mexican relations.

D. The Legitimation of Violence- Vigilante mobs set the tone for a kaleidoscopic series of
violent experiences for Mexicans and Latin Americans. The most flagrant act of vigilantism
happened at downieville in 1851, when after a kangaroo trail, a mob lynched a Mexican
woman they called Juanita. She was the first woman hanged in California.

E. Currents of Resistance- From 1855 through 1859 El Clamor Publico was published in Los
Angles by Ramirez. 1859 the paper went out of business.

F. The Underclass- The railroad Substantially changed social relations in California.
Mexicans were affected in obvious ways. Over the next three decades Mexicans played the
role of a small and politically insignificant minority. Mexican labor made a transition
from pastoral occupations to menial wage work.


6 The Building of the Southwest: Mexican Labor, 1900-1930
A. Background to the Migration North from Mexico, to 1910-The first U.S. industrial
revolution spread to agriculture in the Southwest by the 1859’s with
McCormick’s machine reaping grain in fields that had once belonged to the Mexicans.
Mining bonanzas attracted may Anglos. Railroad interest laid track linking west and west,
greatly increasing, the development of interests of the Southwest. The Southwest supplied
raw materials for the East.

B. Nativist Reactions to the Mexican Migration, 1910-1920-By 1920 the population of Mexico
reached 15.16 million. In that year, at least 382,002 persons of Mexican extraction lived
in the US. In 1913 primarily due to an economic depression, the commissioner sounded the
alarm, indicating that Mexicans might become a public charge. The Mexican Revolution
intensified discrimination against immigrants. From the beginning of the conflict, in
1910 U.S. corporations and persons doing business in Mexican called for military

C. Mexican Workers, 1910-1920 – Production in the Southwest conditioned the work
experience and settlement patterns of Mexican workers. Because the region was
underdeveloped, it needed large armies of migrants or casual workers – for instance,
for ranching, agriculture, railroad work, irrigation construction, and other pick and
shovel labor. When they moved to the Southeast they did not have the advantage of the
labor organization. The labor was also affected the many who went to the United States.

D. Mexicans Move to the City: the 1920s – Dramatic changes occurred during this time
that affected all labor. North American quickly shifted to the cities as the immigration
from Europe slowed. During the 20’s nearly 20 million North American left the farm
for the city. Mechanization all contributed to the large harvest, which increased demand
for temporary labor. The new immigration policy kept unskilled workers out of the
country, encouraging the immigration of skilled workers. Mexicans also became very
urbanized during this time. San Antonio and Los Angeles were favorite destinations.
Religious refugees also joined the exile community. These refugees were mostly middle and
upper class in contract to the majority of those who worked as laborers.

E. Mexican labor in the 1920s – In 1921 California producers formed the Valley Fruit
Growers of San Joaquin County as well as a labor bureau in Arizona, the Arizona Cotton
Growers Assn, just to name a few. Railroads paid Mexicans the lowest industrial salaries
ranging from 35cents to 39 cents an hour. Packing houses were higher at 45 to 47 cents,
while in steel they earned 45 t0 50 cents. In the plants management Blacks and Mexicans
were played against each other. In agricultural areas the White planted, irrigated, and
cultivated, while Mexicans did heavier work of weeding, hoeing, thinning, and topping.
The labor struggles of the 1920’s proved that Mexicans were neither tractable nor
docile. A marked rise in the consciousness of Mexican workers took place.

F. Greasers Go Home: Mexican Immigration, the 1920s – Opposition to Mexican
Continues for 12 more pages >>