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Mexican Americans' Fight For Equality In America

1859 words - 7 pages

Mexican-Americans' Fight for Equality in America

The United States has always been thought of as the the land of opportunity. Why is it that for years Mexican-Americans have been mistreated and discriminated against? There are millions of people that live in the US that are of Mexican descent. Throughout the Mexican-American history they have faced constant struggles to be recognized as equal citizens. The white man drove them from their own homes when they first settled in America. The Anglo settlers did not hold much if any respect for the Mexicans. The fight for their civil rights has been going on since the 1800s. It wasn't until the 1960s when the Chicanos were formed that affirmative action began to take place.

The Americans settled all over the United States and in the 1820s began showing interest in the West because of trade with Asia. Certain leaders were sent out on missions' to "help" better the lives of the Indians and Mexicans. When the white settlers first came to West they viewed the Indians and Mexicans as savages. They did not think of them as human because their lifestyle was unsuitable, or rather different then their own. The only way that they could tolerate them was to try and change their way of living. They attempted to convert them into the Christian religion, to change the way they ate, what they ate, how they ate it, the way they dressed, teach them English, etc. "The object of the missions is to convert as many of the wild Indians as possible, and to train them up within the walls of the establishment in the exercise of a good life, and of some trade, so that they may be able to provide for themselves and become useful members of civilized society."1

The Mexicans did not like nor were they ready to willingly accept the white settlers to take over their lives, therefore war became inevitable. During the Mexican-American war the Mexicans lost half of their land. They then formed the Treaty of Guadalupe in 1848 which promised these "new" Americans free enjoyment of their liberty and property of any kind. Although at the time the treaty appeared to be a fair and favorable settlement t did not hold true to the promises written. Over the years after the treaty many lost their lands, some even by force. Even the Mexicans who were of upper class and wealthy lost their land. The Mexicans were looked down upon and were definitely not held with the same respect as the typical white male. They did not have the same opportunities that white men had. They were forced into low paying labor market jobs. They did no receive the same education that the white people had. Therefore it was not possible to compete with the white population.

Mexican Americans became the main source of low-wage labor on ranches, farms, and the railroads in the Southwest as dual labor markets based on racedeveloped. Occupational and wage disparities, founded on the Anglo belief that Mexican Americans were racially unsuitable to...

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