MAS10B / Section 1
Section 1: 1900-1930
C. How did the Great Depression affect Mexican Americans differently than other Americans? Explain the multiple impacts endured by the Mexican Americans.
After WWI money was being spent three times the rate of tax collection and soon the government began to cut spending in the 1920’s. This then resulted in the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a massive economic crisis that was held over a period of ten years, 1923-1939. With the Great Depression hardships began to rise, unemployment sky rocketed, and for Mexican-Americans, things got unbearable. During the Great Depression Mexican-Americans, unlike white Americans, were faced with hysteria and deportation (illegal and lawful), false accusations, segregation, and extreme loss of jobs. While all Americans suffered during the Great Depression, Mexican-Americans suffered tremendously more.
Mexican immigrants and Mexican- American Citizens constantly lived in fear of deportation during the Great Depression. In 1924 Labor Appropriation Act established the Mexicans and Mexican Americans were made to feel as if they didn’t belong in the United States. As the economy began to fall into a deeper depression, Mexican, citizens or not, were being deported at a rapid pace. At times women and their children were forced on buses and shipped off to Mexico, miles away from civilization. They were forced to walk hundreds of miles and were separated from their families for years on end (Acuna, 194). Now, if this was done to white Americans, it would be considered cruel and injustice but for Mexicans it was allowed. That alone is an example of how unfairly Mexicans were treated and deported with no warning. Another factor that led to the massive deportation of Mexicans, and Mexican American citizens was the Repatriation Act of 1929. This law was set in “mute” and allowed the process to return a person back to ones place of origin of citizenship (Cruz, 02/25/13). It was estimated that “150,000 Mexicans were repatriated” as soon as the Repatriation Act of 1929, which was indeed a discriminative law against Mexicans (Acuna, 194). With this act if deported, Mexicans were not allowed to collect any wages they had made or even sell their land. Slowly everything was being taken away from Mexicans during the Great Depression. Once again, if a law such as this was put in effect towards the white-Americans it would certainly not be in “mute” and be treated as legal law, they also would make a huge riot if it came down to collecting money that they earned, but since Mexicans were not white, they had no chance. One of the biggest factors that lead to the deportation of approximately 2 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans was the belief and false accusation that anyone of Mexican decent was stealing “American” jobs.
With the accusation of all Mexicans, citizen or not, that they were stealing Americans jobs resulted in a fight for jobs that they would never win. They never stood a chance when competing White-Americans for employment because now, even the “Mexican work” was being filled by whit Americans (Acuna, 204). The most considered occupations for Mexican men were “in agriculture (45 percent), manufacturing (24 percent), and transportation (13 percent)” (Ruiz, 9). With all the jobs being taken over by white Americans, Mexicans began to grow hungrier, fall even further into poverty, and made the surviving a hard thing to accomplish. Also with the lack of income, many Mexicans began to become malnourished, and sick, which then resulted in the ridiculous speculations that all Mexicans were “diseased”.
In reality Americans, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans were all becoming terribly ill with tuberculosis, and other illnesses. However, the White Americans started to point fingers toward the Mexicans, causing rumors to spread that Mexicans were the ones who started...
Cited: Acuna , Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. 7th. New York: Pearson, 2011. Print.
Covarrubias, Jesus. Lectures: January- March 2013.
Cruz, Maria. Lectures: January- March 2013.
Ruiz, Vicki L. From Out of the Shadows. tenth anniversary edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, 2008. Print.
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