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The Illusion of Inclusion

The Political Story of San Antonio, Texas

By Rodolfo Rosales

Publication Year: 2000

The first in-depth history of the Chicano community’s struggle for inclusion in the political life of San Antonio during the years 1951 to 1991, drawn from interviews with key participants as well as archival research.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: CMAS History, Culture, and Society Series

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vi-vii

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pp. viii-x

I would not have finished this project, as important as it is to my life career goals, if it had not been for the support and understanding of so many people. It is so easy to forget when someone is there for you. I hope I do not. Rosa Rosales . . . I cannot begin to thank you for all your love, for all your patience, and for all your understanding. Oh, and for the real life...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-18

In 1981, the Chicano community in San Antonio gained national visibility when Henry Cisneros was elected as the first Chicano mayor of a major city in the United States. Throughout the decade of the 1980s Chicano communities across the nation gained political prominence in major urban electoral...

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2. Posing the Correct Questions

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pp. 19-39

A major objective of this study is to bring to the surface San Antonio's darker political reality of exclusion.1 There are some very good political studies of post-World War II San Antonio as a growing Sunbelt city. In fact, these studies describe the broader political economic context for this study. But these...

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Part One. The Partisan Era

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pp. 41-77

During and following World War ii the city of San Antonio grew beyond the capacity of the city government in place to provide for all its citizens and especially for the needs of its business community. This crisis in growth created a political environment of reform unprecedented in San Antonio's history...

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3. The Shaping of a Political Agenda and Its Consequences

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pp. 45-61

This chapter describes the consolidation of power by San Antonio's business community in city hall and the role of the Chicano community in this process. It begins with a descriptive analysis of the process that led to the establishment of the GGL in 1955 and its almost complete control of city government...

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4. Coalition Politics: Trench Political Warfare

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pp. 62-77

In the early 1950s, Chicano activists countered the conservative domination of the Democratic Party in Bexar County by working their own neighborhood. It is this grassroots approach to Democratic Party politics that eventually became the base by which they challenged the dominant business agenda in city...

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Part Two. A Period of Transition

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pp. 79-135

The setting in which the process described in this section occurs is referred to as the Sunbelt era, which began after World War II and had its greatest impact in the 1960s and 1970s. The national as well as regional forces let loose in this era, such as the restructuring and reorganization of the economy...

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5. The Changing of the Guard

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pp. 83-103

As a major urban center in a region where the majority of residents were Chicanas and Chicanos, San Antonio became a major staging area for the many political incursions against a very harsh and anti-Mexican environment. As early as the 1920s...

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6. The Transitional Period

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pp. 104-122

The transitional period in San Antonio represented more than simply a transition from one politics to another, as will be described in this chapter. It also represented the coming of age of San Antonio in a period of fierce competition for investors, a goal that was intimately tied to the organizational agenda...

Faces of San Antonio through Time

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pp. 123-135

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Part Three: Political Pluralism and Its Consequences

In 1977 San Antonio changed its system of electing city council members from an at-large to a single-member district system of elections. Significantly, at the same time it maintained the nonpartisan rule of elections, which maintained the exclusion of political parties from the city electoral process...

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7. Style and Strategy in San Antonio Politics

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pp. 141-158

The analysis in this chapter focuses on the consequences of change in how political representatives are elected to city council. In particular, how politics is negotiated at the electoral level and how that impacts the ability of communities to voice their interests in the decision-making process is looked at...

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8. The Cultural Is Political; the Political Is Cultural

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pp. 159-177

The previous chapter focused on the consequences of independent political representation for the Chicano community in San Antonio. The particular argument in that chapter was that political change in itself is not the sole guarantee of greater political inclusion in terms of how policy is made at the local...

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9. The Question of Inclusion: A Final Note

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pp. 178-189

The story that has been presented is of the political coming of age of the city of San Antonio from an exclusive political system of elites to a broader, more inclusive political system of representation. It is also the story of the political coming of age of the Chicano community of San Antonio as they finally...

Appendix: San Antonio Mayors and City Council Members, 1951-1999

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pp. 191-195


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pp. 197-217


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pp. 219-229


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pp. 231-236

E-ISBN-13: 9780292745124
E-ISBN-10: 0292745125
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292771024
Print-ISBN-10: 0292771029

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 20 halftones, 5 figures, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2000

Series Title: CMAS History, Culture, and Society Series