Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants: A Texas History

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During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a majority of the Mexican immigrant population in the United States resided in Texas, making the state a flashpoint in debates over whether to deny naturalization rights. As Texas federal courts grappled with the issue, policies pertaining to Mexican immigrants came to reflect evolving political ideologies on both sides of the border.

Drawing on unprecedented historical analysis of state archives, U.S. Congressional records, and other sources of overlooked data, Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants provides a rich understanding of the realities and rhetoric that have led to present-day immigration controversies. Martha Menchaca's groundbreaking research examines such facets as U.S.-Mexico relations following the U.S. Civil War and the schisms created by Mexican abolitionists; the anti-immigration stance that marked many suffragist appeals; the effects of the Spanish American War; distinctions made for mestizo, Afromexicano, and Native American populations; the erosion of means for U.S. citizens to legalize their relatives; and the ways in which U.S. corporations have caused the political conditions that stimulated emigration from Mexico.

The first historical study of its kind, Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants delivers a clear-eyed view of provocative issues.

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Editorial Reviews

National Genealogical Society Quarterly - Carolyn Ybarra
Menchaca’s research breadth is instructive she consulted naturalization records and indexes, voting laws, newspaper commentators’ views of naturalization, and Congressional records and speeches. They helped her understand how policy changes affected naturalization. This book will especially interest readers concerned with the role of political history in shaping naturalization policies.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute - Mac Graham
Martha Menchaca gives us a superbly researched and intensely detailed account of how the naturalization process has affected Mexicans throughout the history of Texas…. In this way we should treat Menchaca’s extensively researched history of the naturalization of Mexicans in Texas as a sounding board to current debates being presented in Congress and the media, many of which seek actively to limit the political rights of Latinos, and gloss over the complex histories that have shaped their presence and contributions to American society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292726444
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Pages: 412
  • Sales rank: 1,179,440
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MARTHA MENCHACA is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas and author of The Mexican Outsiders and Recovering History, Constructing Race.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Maps and Figures
Chapter 1. From the Making of the U.S.–Mexico Border to the U.S. Civil War
Chapter 2. The Politics of Naturalization Policy in Texas: The Case of Mexican Immigrants
Chapter 3. Ricardo Rodriguez and the People's Party in the 1890s
Chapter 4. From the Spanish-American War to the Outbreak of the Mexican Revolution
Chapter 5. Mexican Women and Naturalization: The Era of the Woman Suffrage Movement
Chapter 6. Then and Now: The Path Toward Citizenship
Appendix 1. Texas Naturalization Records and Archives, Pre-1906
Appendix 2. Persons Naturalized in Texas and by Mexican Origin, 1907–2009
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