2p .“ national archives .” educator resources H u m a n i t i e s
For this week’s assignment, analyze an expert from The Milagro Beanfield War. The narrative is steeped in race relations, but they are effected or affected by land and water disputes that are based in the historical treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, which ended the Mexican-American War. However, the war, itself, was less ideological than geographical and economical. The Treaty annexed a larger portion of what we think of the Southwest: Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, etc. Thus, it was a type of political land grab, rather than a war against a sworn enemy. In fact, the dispute arose from Mexican and American disagreements about land boundaries and resources. To obtain the full territory and avoid further conflict, the United States quickly struck a deal that would (at least on paper) guarantee area Mexican residences the rights they had prior to the treaty. The National Archives describes the following terms:
The United States paid Mexico $15,000,000 “in consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States” (see Article XII of the treaty) and agreed to pay American citizens debts owed to them by the Mexican government (see Article XV). Other provisions included protection of property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new boundaries of the United States (see Articles VIII and IX), the arbitration of future disputes between the two countries (see Article XXI). (“National Archives” para. 4)
However, such promises were fleeting at best and completely untrue on a cultural and social level—i.e. the “law” may have given former Mexican Nationals such privileges and protections, but they were not enforced by the regional, territorial, or federal government. Instead, rampage abuse of the people and land ensued without checks or balances. As critic and historian Donathan Olliff describes, the provisions of the treaty have frequently been interpreted and applied in a fashion that violates both the letter and spirit of the agreement (962). The lasting consequences of such actions are addressed in The Milagro Beanfield War: The narrative’s conflict is directly linked to the dominant’s appropriation of land and its given resources (water, in this case). Thus, we must understand the oppressed peoples’ (minority) role as more than simple racism; it is linked to wealth, economics, and livelihood—i.e. the power structure is supported and maintained by institutionalized racism. The minority is then only useful as another resource (labor) or for exploitation.
Discussion Board Question: Expound on at least one element of racism that is addressed in the piece and explain how such discrimination is either grounded in a larger economic issue and/or used to the advantage of the dominant. For example, you could analyze water, land, culture, capital, etc. Access The Milagro Bean Field War from this link: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Milagro_Beanfield_War.html?id=WbN_AQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false . Support your argument with at least ONE additional scholarly source.
The exerpt is fairly short, but it is based on the longer work of the John Nickel’s novel of the same name. If you enjoy the selection, I suggest picking up a copy and reading it in its entirety. It might be a piece you wish to focus on in your final project. Now that being said, you can explore and analyze the film or the book. It is your choice. We are also going to review art, politics, and more history and literature for the remainder of the course, so there are quite a few options available for the attention of your final project in week eight (8). I am just giving you all a heads-up of what is to come.
Olliff, Donathon C. American Historical Review. 1991, Vol. 96 Issue 3, p962-964. 2p.
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