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Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants

A Texas History

By Martha Menchaca

Publication Year: 2011

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.

Published by: University of Texas Press

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Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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p. ix

Maps and Figures

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p. x

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pp. xi-xii

"This book would not have been possible without the contributions of a number of individuals. I gratefully thank Th eresa J. May, Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief at the University of Texas Press, for her support throughout this project. I also offer my gratitude..."

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pp. 1-14

"The aim of this book is to examine the naturalization history of Mexican immigrants in Texas. A large body of literature exists on Mexican immigration, yet the study of their incorporation as U.S. citizens has been largely neglected. I seek to understand how Mexican immigrants became..."

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CHAPTER 1. From the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. Civil War

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pp. 15-51

"The U.S. Congress passed its fi rst Naturalization Act in 1790 and chose to allow only white immigrants to become naturalized citizens. This racial stipulation was not nullified until the passage of the Nationality and Immigration Act of 1952 (Hull 1985). Prior to removing the racial clause,..."

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CHAPTER 2. The Politics of Naturalization Policy in Texas: The Case of Mexican Immigrants

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pp. 52-108

"In this chapter I examine the naturalization history of the Mexican-origin population in Texas from 1848 to 1892. I explore the social and political events that prompted Mexican immigrants to migrate to the United States and also consider how Mexicans were received in Texas, arguing that the..."

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CHAPTER 3. Ricardo Rodriguez and the People's Party in the 1890s

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pp. 109-159

"During the 1890s a growing political movement in Texas sought to bar people of Mexican origin from obtaining U.S. citizenship. The movement was led by the People's Party but was strongly supported by Republicans and some Democrats. Few Democratic politicians formed alliances with..."

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CHAPTER 4. From the Spanish-American War to the Outbreak of the Mexican Revolution

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pp. 160-205

"Judge Maxey's ruling in favor of Ricardo Rodriguez indisputably clarified the political status of people of Mexican descent under U.S. law: they could not be denied U.S. citizenship on the basis of race. Although the Rodriguez case was a legal triumph for people of Mexican descent in its protection of...

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CHAPTER 5. Mexican Women and Naturalization: The Era of the Woman Suffrage Movement

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pp. 206-259

"Th roughout this narrative I have advanced an analysis of the naturalization history of Mexican immigrants in Texas and examined why obtaining citizenship was closely intertwined with electoral politics. Following this thematic approach, I examine here the woman suffrage movement in Texas..."

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CHAPTER 6. Then and Now: The Path Toward Citizenship

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pp. 260-312

"In this chapter I analyze the political process Mexican immigrants currently undergo to become U.S. citizens. I advance a numerical overview of Mexican immigrants' naturalization rates from 1960 to the present and explore the social conditions that over the years have led them to..."

APPENDIX 1. Texas Naturalization Records and Archives, Pre-1906

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pp. 313-320

APPENDIX 2. Persons Naturalized in Texas and by Mexican Origin, 1907-2009

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pp. 321-322


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pp. 323-324


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pp. 325-338


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pp. 339-366


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pp. 367-372

E-ISBN-13: 9780292729988
E-ISBN-10: 0292729987
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292725577
Print-ISBN-10: 0292725574

Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 6 b&w photos, 1 map, 22 tables
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 741749424
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Naturalizing Mexican Immigrants

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Immigrants -- Texas -- History.
  • Mexican Americans -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Texas -- History.
  • Mexican Americans -- Government policy -- Texas -- History.
  • Texas -- Ethnic relations.
  • Texas -- Politics and government.
  • Naturalization records -- Texas.
  • Citizenship -- Texas -- History.
  • Naturalization -- Texas -- History.
  • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
  • Mexico -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
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