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Mexican-American Incorporation into the United States - Essay Example

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The military campaigns rife between the US and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 eventually culminated into the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The outcome of this war was that Mexico handed over almost 55 percent of its territory to the United States in exchange for $ 15 million (Daily Herald, 2008)…
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Mexican-American Incorporation into the United States
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Download file to see previous pages Since those days, the Americans of Mexican origin seem to have succeeded immensely in their efforts towards assimilating into the American society. The contemporary data reveals that almost 100 percent of the third generation Mexican Americans have English as their first and often only language (Daily Herald, 2008). In both California and Texas, one in four residents is of Mexican origin (Daily Herald, 2008). In fact, Mexican Americans have not only adapted well to the American society and culture, but have also left a deep and everlasting impact on multiple aspects of American society. In this context, it is interesting to trace the efforts and attempts of early Mexican Americans to come to terms with the American way of life, which was to be their destiny and future in the changed geo-political dynamics in the post war scenario.
It goes without saying that adaptation and incorporation is always a two way process. The attempts of early Mexican Americans to adapt to incorporation into the United States, needs to be analyzed in the light of the environment that awaited them in their new country. As far as the American strategic interests vested in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo were concerned, they were more about the appropriation of new territories, then about the assimilation of a different civilization. In fact, President James Polk blatantly acknowledged this in his diary by writing that, "I declared my purpose to be to acquire for the United States, California, New Mexico, and perhaps some other of the northern provinces of Mexico (Knight Ridder/ Tribune News Service, 1998)." This treaty not only increased the size of America by one third, but also resulted in the accrual of nearly all of the present Southwest, Nevada and significant sections of Utah and Wyoming (Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 1998). So petrified were the Mexicans post the invasion that they willingly surrendered a large part of Arizona merely after five years for a mere $ 10 million (Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 1998). Thus, the US certainly achieved its strategic interests in terms of acquisition of land mass and territories. However, the Anglo attitude towards the willingly or unwillingly incorporated Mexicans in the aftermath of this treaty was not as warm and benign. This US sense of destiny as a nation was devoid of any compensatory or salubrious plans for the Mexicans residing in the acquired territories. Like the already existing 300 treaties with the Native Americans, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had its share of betrayal and disrespect (Knight Ridder/ Tribune News Service, 1998).
The incorporation of the Mexican territories in the United States was not only a unique situation in the American history, but also an unprecedented episode in the world history. Here was one complete civilization that with the stroke of a pen and the firing of a couple of cannonballs was pushed into a new civilization and culture (Christensen, 1998). The irony of the situation in a 21st ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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