The Mexican Americans Coexistence Story – Term Paper Example
The paper “The Mexican Americans Coexistence Story" is an affecting example of a term paper on history. Mexican Americans have a long history. This essay discusses their migration from Mexico to America before the twentieth century to this day, their struggles in America, their language, their relationship with Americans and their modern-day activities and religion.
Mexico is to the south of the United States of America, a Spanish colony that was often referred at as the New Spain. There were unequal land and resource distribution, which meant that most Mexicans were poor. They had to work as farmers and do other odd jobs for poor pay to sustain themselves. As the population increased, the inequality gap between the poor and the wealthy increased. This caused Mexicans to revolt against Spain’s rule in the year 1821 (Kanellos, 1993).
In the 1980s, the government of Mexico encouraged American settlements in Texas. As American immigrants increased in number, they started to demand autonomy (Acuna, 1998). This is because they feared Mexico would outlaw slave trade or impose taxes on them. The conflict between the migrants and Mexican president occurred when the new president, Lopez de Santa Anna put control measures on trade between the United States and the Anglos living in Mexico. Although a peace deal recognized Texas as independent, the president retreated on this agreement on his return to Mexico. The relationship between the Americans in Mexico and the Mexicans remained strained. War broke out between the two states and by the time it ended, Mexico lost 890,000 miles of land to America (McWilliams, 1990).
Later, Mexico sold 30,000 miles to the United States and the American government gave citizenship to Mexicans in these areas within two years, with the signing of the Gadsden treaty formalizing the new boundaries. Between the years 1900-1930s however, most migrants went back because of the economic depression experienced at that time – about half of the migrants within the period went back to Mexico. The Mexican government attempts to reverse the migration trend failed, as they could not match wages and facilities to those offered in the United States of America (Portes, 1985).
In the early years since their migration to America, the Mexicans lived in rural areas. This however changed and in 1920 for example, about 40% lived in cities. This number increased to about 94% in the year 1990. In the year 1990, about 4.7% of American residents were Mexican Americans, most of who were found in the pacific states, which accounted for about 47.8% of the West Central states like Texas, which had 30% of the Mexican Americans (Mirande, 1985).
Spanish was for a long time the prominent language among the Mexican Americas. This changed as assimilation by the American culture and systems took place. Today, most Mexican-Americans are used to both English and Spanish and some are accustomed to code-switching from time to time during their conversation (Mirande, 1985).
Over the years, Mexican Americans faced several challenges in the United States of America. They faced discrimination and segregation – they could not mix with the whites in schools, in buses, and in public joints. Americans considered them inferior and they violated their voting rights and hence, had no representatives in public and political offices. Between the late 1940s and early 1960s, Mexican Americans were fighting for equal rights – they wanted segregation in buses and schools declared illegal. They wanted equal voting rights.
Through sustained protests, boycotts, and court battles, the Mexican Americans gained much-needed equality by early 1960s. Since then, they have been able to elect their representatives. They also managed to end segregation in schools, buses, joints, and other public facilities. Most Mexican Americas are democrats as evidenced by the Latino national political survey done in the year 1992, which showed that about 56% of Mexican Americans are democrats especially in the presidential election (Carson, 1981).
Mexican Americans’ contribution to the culture of America is evident. Events like the cowboy's festivities, their music, food, and dressing have greatly been experienced and practiced in America. Over the years, they have intermarried with Americans giving rise to a new generation who has with the mixed cultural background (Mirande, 1985).
About 75% of Mexican Americans are Catholics. They have continued to observe religious ceremonies and holidays relating to their catholic faith. Such holidays include our Lady of Guadalupe and Christmas day. Mexican Americans also observe death rituals like dressing the body in special clothing, letting it remain in the house overnight before burial so that close friends and family members can pay tribute, and singing (Acuna, 1998).
The Mexican Americans have undergone so much transition that they have become so distinct with the Mexicans living in Mexico. While Mexicans still use Spanish as their official language, the Mexican Americans use English. They have also changed most of their customs. As Duran and Russell (1992) point out, Mexican Americans are proof of how the environment changes peoples’ beliefs and customs. Their struggle for equality with the Whites and its success shows just how the unity of purpose can transform a nation, its people and its culture.