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By Martha Menchaca

In the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a majority of the Mexican immigrant inhabitants within the usa resided in Texas, making the kingdom a flashpoint in debates over even if to disclaim naturalization rights. As Texas federal courts grappled with the difficulty, rules bearing on Mexican immigrants got here to mirror evolving political ideologies on each side of the border. Drawing on remarkable historic research of kingdom documents, U.S. Congressional documents, and different resources of neglected info, Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants offers a wealthy figuring out of the realities and rhetoric that experience resulted in present-day immigration controversies. Martha Menchaca's groundbreaking examine examines such points as U.S.-Mexico kin following the U.S. Civil battle and the schisms created by way of Mexican abolitionists; the anti-immigration stance that marked many suffragist appeals; the results of the Spanish American struggle; differences made for mestizo, Afromexicano, and local American populations; the erosion of capacity for U.S. electorate to legalize their kin; and the ways that U.S. organizations have brought on the political stipulations that inspired emigration from Mexico.The first old examine of its sort, Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants provides a clear-eyed view of provocative concerns.

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S. chargé d’affaires of the Republic, also commented in a report that “Mexicans are a race of ‘mongrels’ composed of Spanish, Indian and African blood” (cited in de León 1987: 9). Adolphus Sterne, justice of the peace and head of the Nacogdoches branch of the Texas independence movement, left a description in his diary characterizing Mexicans in Nacogdoches. , 16). In sum, the problem afromexicanos posed to Texas was the threat they posed to institutionalized slavery. Such Mexicans were considered to be sympathetic to the enslaved and could easily be convinced to help fugitives escape to Mexico.

Socially the status of Mexicans also declined over the years and was manifested in the radical decline of intermarriage between Mexicans and Anglo-Americans. Mexican women were no longer sought after as marriage partners by Anglo-American men, a practice that at times had been common in San Antonio and Laredo (Dysart 1976). In 1855 the Texan land investor John Donelson Coffee noted in a letter to his cousin that Mexicans were no longer accepted in Anglo-American social circles (Boom 1966: 283). indb 29 2/14/11 12:42:44 PM 30 Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants Mexican families and considered the single women of these families the only acceptable Mexican marriage partners.

Investors, traveled throughout Texas in 1836–1837 and characterized many Mexicans to be “nearly black but having straight hair” (Gray 1965:89). S. chargé d’affaires of the Republic, also commented in a report that “Mexicans are a race of ‘mongrels’ composed of Spanish, Indian and African blood” (cited in de León 1987: 9). Adolphus Sterne, justice of the peace and head of the Nacogdoches branch of the Texas independence movement, left a description in his diary characterizing Mexicans in Nacogdoches.

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