south by southwest




Sociology 105


1. Title : South by Southwest : The Mexican-American and His Heritage
2. Author : John Tebbel and Ramón E. Ruiz
3. Publisher : Zenith Books and Doubleday & Company Copyright 1969
4. Number of pages : 120
5. The setting of this story covers an immense number of years of conquering and colonization in the Southwest areas we now know as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. It begins in the early 15 and 1600’s, in a time when many important Spaniards, such as Juan Bautista de Anza (in 1775 he led the longest overland migration of a colony in North American history before Oregon), were moving into the Southwest in search of gold, silver, bread, and jobs. It also talks about the Indians, who were already living in the area we now know as Mexico, that did not get along real well with the Spaniards(Anglos) when they came in to invade their land. The two main Indian tribes of that time were the Mayas(a peaceful people who were interested in science, invented a calendar to grow maize, and were later believed to be wiped out by a great natural catastrophe), and the Aztecs(a powerful bloodthirsty tribe who feared no human only their gods). Next it went on to the 1800’s and early 1900’s, when Mexico decided to fight the Spaniards for their independence. Finally, the book went on into the mid to late 1900’s, where Mexico began to modernize and become a good neighbor to the United States.

6. The major conflict was between the Anglos and the Mexicans. It began with the Spaniards and the Indians(Aztecs) fighting over the Valley of Anahuac. The Spaniards(led by Cortez) ended up winning the battle over the Aztecs(led by Moctezuma). Due to the cruel and ruthless Spanish rule, a new social system was set up where the Spanish-born whites were the rulers, the Mexican-born whites were the aristocracy, and the Indians lived lives of poverty and slavery. Another class grew called mestizos(Mexican-Indian), and out of all these were the forces that created Mexico. Next, Mexico(led first by Padre Miguel Hidalgo, then by Jose Maria Morelos, and finally by a traitor D. Augustin de Iturbide) fought the Spaniards for their independence. The first two lost and were killed, but they ignited a spark that later led to victory with the help of Iturbide and his army. For a while Mexico was in chaos, but with the help of many leaders,(Benito Juarez, Porfirio Diaz, and Lazaro Cardenas to name a few) they were able to start making laws and bring Mexico to become a modern society, free from slavery and dictatorship. Now, like the rest of the world, Mexico is developing into an urban area with cities that are modern and spreading out in many directions.

7. I believe the theme of this story to be that although Mexico and the United States had very different histories, they have grown together. They share such a long border that they need to maintain a peaceful border, otherwise many problems can occur. Mexico and U.S. rely on each other for many important imports and exports. In many cases, other than a political one, the line that runs between Brownsville, Texas and San Diego, California is considered an invisible one. Many cross it often, as in some areas it is only a barbed wire fence or a river easily crossed. Also there is said to be about as many "Mexican-Americans" in the Southwest as there are in the Mexican states just south of the border, which makes it seem, in many ways, as if it is all one region.

8. The main characters were more groups than anything: the Spaniards, the Mexicans, the Indians, and the Anglos, however, there were some important ones’ within the groups to be mentioned. These are: Cortez(the leader of the Spaniards when fighting the Aztecs), Moctezuma(the leader of the Aztecs), Padre Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Maria Morelos, and D. Augustin de Iturbide(leaders of Mexico in their revolution against the Spaniards), and Benito Juarez, Porfirio Diaz, and Lazaro Cardenas(all leaders of Mexico helping to organize and modernize Mexico).

9. I would recommend this book to many of my friends and relatives. I have many Mexican American relatives that are very interested