Borderlands and Chicano Culture Mexican-Americans Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Cotton must be picked within a very narrow harvest time. If it is not harvested when the time is right much of the production will be lost. It was the intent of the workers to time the strike so that it would have the greatest impact on owners in hopes that it would force them to raise wages for workers. However, many of the owners did not see the migrant workers as American citizens and treated them much as slaves were treated in the old South. They used tear-gas, saw-off shotguns, and arrested workers that participated in the strike (Guerin-Gonzales, p. 121).

Schools were closed and children were used to make up for the lost workforce. They also recruited cotton pickers from Texas to fill the labor gap (Guerin-Gonzales, p. 128). These substitutions reduced the impact of the strike and many migrants lost their positions as a result. The strike did not have the impact that they had hoped for.

The strike was a result of economic conditions that affected the rest of the country, not just migrant workers in the Southwestern cotton industry. All across the nation, labor strikes attempted to take power from wealth factory owners and raise living conditions for workers. The failure of the 1933 cotton strike fueled feelings among many Americans that Mexican migrant workers took jobs away from Americans that were more deserving. It intensified racial tensions that had been building since the turn of the century when the mass migration began.

In conclusion, workers came the borderlands drawn by high wages and the wealth of America. When times were good, they may have been seen as an asset, allowing production to increase without additional operating costs. However, when the Great Depression hit, attitudes changed and they became scapegoats for many social problems. The tensions experienced in 1933 resulted from an attitude that Mexican immigrants were not viewed as citizens, but as foreigners with no rights. This same attitude fuels the current debate over whether to allow Mexican immigrants the same rights as American-born nationals. The primary issue is the same and demonstrates that many of the issues that were relevant in the cotton strike are still without a permanent resolution.

Works Cited

Guerin-Gonzales, C. Mexican Workers and American Dreams: Immigration,

Repatriation, and California Farm Labor, 1900-1939. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, NJ. 1994.

Hamilton, N. Central American Migration: a Framework for Analysis. Latin American Research Review. Vol. 26. No.…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Guerin-Gonzales, C. Mexican Workers and American Dreams: Immigration,

Repatriation, and California Farm Labor, 1900-1939. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, NJ. 1994.

Hamilton, N. Central American Migration: a Framework for Analysis. Latin American Research Review. Vol. 26. No. 1. 1991. pp. 75-94.

Sanchez, G. Becoming Mexican-American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945. Oxford University Press. New York.

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