The History of Mexican Americans Essay

The History of Mexican Americans Essay

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In the Preface of Major Problems in Mexican American History Zaragosa Vargas writes, "Nearly two thirds of Latinos in the United States are of Mexican descent, or Chicanos- a term of self definition that emerged during the 1960's and early 1970s civil rights movement. Chicanos reside mainly in the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest. Their history begins in the precolonial Spanish era, and they share a rich mestizo cultural heritage of Spanish, Indian, and African origins. The Chicanos' past is underscored by conquest of the present-day American Southwest first by the Spanish and then by the United States following the Mexican American War" (xv). When one thinks of a Chicano one thinks of the Mayans and Aztecs, the conquests, New Spain, Mexico, Spanish empire, Mexican American War, the Alamo, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, negative stereotypes, missionaries, borders, struggles, resistance, disappointments and injustice. These are some of the important issues which has deeply affected the history of Mexican American's. Vargas covers all of these issues and issues of identity, their fight for their land rights, the issue of Americanization, how stereotypes became Anglos justice for their conquest, and he also focused on the women's role throughout history.

On the other hand, as Vargas points out every aspect of the Chicano struggle, the documentary Chicano, began with the struggles of the Mexican American's in the 1960's. They give a brief background of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo but not about the events that lead to the treaty itself. Without reading Vargas, the first part of the documentary series would be confusing. It did help to see the emotions of the Chicanos and major figures in the resistance moveme...


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...exican murals help understand better the issue and situations Chicanos have faced. One can read so much but visualizing it can add a different comprehension of the history. Like the famous saying says, "A picture is worth a million words". That is exactly what the murals shown on the web page do. The combination allowed me to understand better the issue which Mexican-Americans faced and are still facing todayand as Michelle Rosado mentioned, "The video... is a good educational tool because it shows actual footage. The only fault is that it does not tell the whole history which might make it a little difficult to understand. Lastly, the textbook is the best source because it contains actual documents from time periods throughout the whole Mexican-American history, from the beginning to the present which is what gives us a full understanding of the events that occur".

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