History and Influences of Mexican Americans and the United States John Smith
University of Wisconsin
Looking around the United States, it is not hard to see the influence that Spanish-speaking nations, namely Mexico, have had on us. Every day we see signs in Spanish. We hear it as we walk through the streets of Madison and Milwaukee. We feel the impact it has on us in our public school system. We also see the controversy it causes on the news. What I will be attempting to explore in this paper is the origins of Mexican Americans and their continuing influence on the United States.
I believe it is important to first understand the history of the relationship between Americans and Mexicans to understand the preconceived notions many Americans have towards Mexico. Although both nations are technically “Americas”, for the duration of the paper I will refer to the United States as America. After winning its independence from Spain, Mexico first had large-scale contact with Americans during the early 1800s when Americans were migrating farther west to what is present day Texas. Mexico allowed these citizens to reside despite the tension and friction that was building between Whites, Indians and Mexicans in these territories. Texas citizens declared themselves an independent nation, and due to the United States recognition of such, a war was prompted between the United States and Mexico. Mexico lost the war as well as its territories in North America. Mexican citizens who stayed behind in the lost territories became American citizens (Marger, 2012). One of the things that always confounded me about racism in the south, and states like Arizona, is the complete indifference or ignorance of this fact. I have always wondered how the White Supremacist mindset works when Mexican Americans have a natural ancestry in these states and were the first citizens of these states. How can we still see bumper stickers that say “Learn English or Go Home”, or “Go back...
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