Mexican American Culture

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Literature Review of the Mexican Culture
Crystal Contreras
New Mexico State University

Abstract
This paper is a review on Mexican American culture in the United States. I will discuss the history of this culture and how they became part of the U.S. I will also talk about the different wars and treaty that was signed to give them rights. I will also include the latest in demographics and population from the Census Bureau (2010). I will cover the Mexican Americans prejudices and discrimination and provide slurs that are commonly used in this group. I will go over some resilience factors that helped my ethnic group in dealing with prejudice and discrimination. Another topic of discussion will be what I feel social workers need to know when working with my ethnic group. I will touch on Biases within the culture against other cultures and define one personal bias of my own. I will close my literature review with reflecting on what I have learned.

Brief Mexican History
The first Mexicans that became part of the United States did not have to cross any borders. Instead the borders crossed them. Spanish speaking people have lived in Northern provinces since the Spaniards colonized Mexico in the sixteenth century. They have always played an important role in the Continents culture and history. Mexico won its Independence from Spain in 1820. The War of Independence with Spain in 1820’s left Mexico with difficulty settling in its Northern provinces. A policy initiated by Spain that allowed Americans to settle in their regions, in effort to populate was continued by the Mexican government (King, 2000). However it backfired when Texas declared Independence from Mexico. Mexico felt betrayed by the Americans because they took advantage of their kindness and took over the state in 1845 (Skidmore, 228).

The Mexican American War, 1846-1848, was driven by the idea of “Manifest Destiny;” which was the belief that Americans had the right to expand country borders from sea to sea. This principle has been a major political and religious rationalization in the United States, demanding assimilation, containment, or annihilation of everyone else in between and First Nations peoples and Mexican (Robbins, Chatterjee, & Canda, p. 135). This angered Mexicans and Native Americans and caused disputes. President Polk was eager and did not stop until he confiscated large areas of land and sought war.

Polk felt a war with Mexico would only prove profitable for the United States, so he enticed the Mexicans to attack. Once Mexico attacked, Polk claimed he had to defend the United States, for Mexico had invaded American territory. Polk’s unexpected election, slavery conflicts, and the Mexican war were all issues in American politics during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Of all the possible explanations for these problems, territorial expansion is the number one reason. The idea of Manifest Destiny split American politics more than any other factor up to the eighteen fifties.

In 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo the Mexican American War came to an end. The signing of the treaty ended the territorial disputes that caused conflict between the countries. Mexicans were pronounced to be U.S Citizens and the treaty promised citizenship along with civil and property rights. The United States paid Mexico $15,000,000 in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States and agreed to pay American citizens debts owed to them by the Mexican Government. 1910 big groups of Mexicans crossed into the Southwestern United States. They were encouraged by the economic, social, and political movements of the Mexican Revolutionary years and the rise in industrial and agricultural employment in the United States. Arriving through both direct and indirect routes, Mexicans worked as unskilled and semiskilled laborers in agriculture[->0] and heavy industry (Figueroa,...
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