Foreigners In Their Native Land Chapter 1 Summary

1170 Words5 Pages

After years of battle for independence against Spain, Mexico gained territorial expansion but was left with a struggling economy and a sparsely populated region. The United States was in a position to take advantage of Mexico during this time, after a large period of economic growth. In Chapter 7 “Foreigners in Their Native Land: A War Against Mexico” by Ronald Takaki, in his book, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, retells the events that took place during the illegal immigration of the United States into Mexican territory, the acquisition of Mexico’s land, and the discrimination experienced by Mexican-Americans after the war. The Mexican American War was driven by the idea of “Manifest Destiny”, which is the …show more content…

The United States claimed that the southern border of Texas was the Rio Grande River, but Mexico claimed that it was North of the Nueces River. President Polk also wanted to acquire California; he proposed to Congress the beneficial of California’s harbors to the Market Revolution, “Would afford shelter for our navy, for our numerous whale ships, and other merchant vessels employed in the Pacific ocean, and would in a short period become the marts of an extensive and profitable commerce with China, and other counties of the East.” (Takaki. pg.158) Polk sent John Slidell with 24 million dollars to Mexico, for the purchase of California, which Mexico declined. Polk send a “war message” to Congress, “American blood shed on American soil.”, after he had sent Zachary Taylor into the disputed border region causing an armed clash between Mexican and American troops. This series of events was the driven force of the Mexican American War. American soldiers documented the monstrosities done themselves against Mexicans during this time, “committed atrocities to make heaven weep and every American of Christian morals blush for his country. Murder, robbery, and rape of mothers and daughters in the presence of tied-up males of the families have been common all along the Rio Grande.” (Takaki. Pg.163) The …show more content…

Mexicans, in California, were guaranteed suffrage but they felt that democracy was essentially for Americans only. At first Mexicans outnumber Americans but in 1848, the Gold Rush brought massive migration in California and Mexicans became the minority. And with Anglos flocking into California, Mexicans lost political influence and their political participation started to decline. “We are opposed to allowing an ignorant crowd of Mexicans to determine the political questions in this country, where a man is supposed to vote knowingly and thoughtfully.” (Takaki. pg.166) Political restrictions reduced the ability of Mexicans to protect their rights as citizens and landowners. Laws were created were Mexican landowners were required to go to court and prove ownership of their land. Evidence shows that Mexican landowners became prey to American lawyers. It was difficult for Mexicans to prove ownership of land because they were unfamiliar with the American laws and lacking English language skills. Even if they became successful, they were forced to pay their lawyers with part of their land, or borrow money at high interest fees to pay legal fees, and others had to sell their land to pay off their debts. Many landowners who would leave their land unattended in the process of proving ownership, also lost land because squatters would steal land or destroy property. Mexicans also experienced

Open Document