The Chicano Movement Essay

Topics: United States, Chicano, Social movement Pages: 3 (1253 words) Published: July 31, 2015
The Chicano Movement Essay

Understanding the Chicano movement requires an understanding of the past. Often heard among Mexican Americans is the saying, "We did not cross the border; the border crossed us." This refers to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war between the United States and Mexico and ceded much of the Southwest to the U.S. government for a payment of $15 million. The treaty guaranteed the rights of Mexican settlers in the area, granting them U.S. citizenship after 1 year and recognizing their property rights. However, the Senate would not ratify the treaty without revisions. It eliminated articles that recognized prior land grants and reworded articles specifying a timeline for citizenship. The result was the eviction of Mexicans from their lands, their disenfranchisement from the political process, and the institutionalization of more than a century of discrimination.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mutual aid societies and other associations in Mexican American communities advocated for the rights of community members and provided social solidarity. In 1911, the First Mexicanist Congress attempted to unify the groups under a national organization. The assembly resolved to promote educational equality and civil rights for Mexican Americans, themes that would reemerge in the Chicano civil rights movement of the mid-1960s.

Between the 1930s and the 1950s, numerous local, regional, and national organizations were socially and politically active in promoting the rights of Mexican Americans. A few key organizations included the Community Service Organizations (CSO), the G. I. Forum, and the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC). In California, community service organizations were successful in sponsoring Mexican American candidates in bids for local and state offices. The G. I. Forum, limited to Mexican American war veterans, was involved in politics and anti-segregation class action suits. Founded in...

Bibliography: 1) Chavez, Ernesto. 2002. "Mi Raza Primero!" (My People First!): Nationalism, Identity, and Insurgency in the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles, 1966-1978. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
2) Gonzales, Manuel G. 2000. Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
3) Rosales, Francisco Arturo. 1997. Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Houston, TX: Arte Publico.
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