Taking your information from Katherine Benton-Cohen’s book, Borderline Americans, write an essay on how the term
“American” became synonymous with “white” in Cochise County during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Start by discussing the nature of relations between Mexicans and whites in the different sections of the county during the 19th century.
How did relations change over time and what factors led to those changes?
In answering these questions, you should pay some attention to changing demographics but focus on how mining companies’ interest in exploiting its labor force, the Bisbee Deportations, and the aftermath of the deportations led to the creation of “one county, two races.”
Borderline Americans covers distinct situations that occurred in Cochise county where the definition of being American was pursued based on what benefited the Anglos in the area. IN areas such as in Tres Alamos, there were situations of intermarriage. In Bisbee, there was the dual-wage system the separated Mexicans from Americans, and in Tombstone, Anglos and Mexicans would come together to combat native Indians. Yet, when Mexicans wanted to put their American civil rights to action, Anglos would counter act them by saying how they were not American enough. a.
In Cochise County, “corporations and governments exerted enormous influence over the creation of racial categories” (pg. 14). Everyone fought over what defined race and who could benefit from the term (pg. 14). b.
In Tres Alamos, Anglos and Mexicans were friendly towards one another for political reasons. “In theory. New Spain’s elite was Spanish, but in a sparsely settled frontier area, people who were Spanish-speaking, wealthy, or landed qualified as being Spanish, and thus—in the context of American racial codes—white (pg 28). c.
In other areas in Arizona such as in Tucson, Anglo cowboys and Mexicans joined forces to combat the native Indians (pg. 63). d.
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