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Crucible of Struggle

A History of Mexican Americans from Colonial Times to the Present Era

Second Edition

Zaragosa Vargas

Publication Date - November 2016

ISBN: 9780190200787

464 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $79.99

The only narrative history of Mexican Americans from 1600 to the present--written by a leading scholar in the field


Latinos in the U.S. are a major political, economic, and cultural force that is fast changing the national identity of this country. Mexican Americans, specifically, account for nearly two thirds of this population. Mexicans are the oldest settlers of the United States and the nation's largest group of recent immigrant arrivals. Their population is increasing faster than that of all other Latino groups combined. The growing importance of this minority group--which will be felt strongly in twenty-first-century America--calls for a fresh assessment of Mexican-American history.

The second edition of Crucible of Struggle: A History of Mexican Americans from the Colonial Period to
the Present Era
includes a new final chapter that examines such issues as increased anti-immigrant
activity after 2006, the crucial role of Latinos in the election of Barack Obama, increased border
enforcement and deportation in the wake of the U.S. Senate's failure to pass amnesty legislation,
Latinos and private detention centers, the role of individual states in immigration reform, the surge
of unaccompanied children from Central America, and more.

New to this Edition

  • A new final Chapter 12: Latinos and the Challenges of the 21st Century that covers such issues as:
  • increased anti-immigrant activity after 2006
  • the crucial role of Latinos in the election of Barack Obama
  • increased border enforcement and deportation in the wake of the U.S. Senate's failure to pass amnesty legislation
  • Latinos and private detention centers
  • the role of individual states in immigration reform
  • the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America

About the Author(s)

Zaragosa Vargas is Kenan Eminent Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Previous Publication Date(s)

September 2010


"Crucible of Struggle remains a landmark book for readers interested in Mexican American, labor, and civil rights histories in the United States. Vargas's detailed and powerful account reveals how working people have long fought for dignity and rights, and his final chapter now traces the legacies of those past struggles for our own time. This groundbreaking work of analysis charts an important path for scholars, policymakers, and students."--Stephen Pitti, Yale University

Table of Contents

    A Note on Terminology

    Chapter 1. The Era of the Spanish Northern Frontier to 1821
    Spanish Institutions and Mixed-Race Society of the Northern Frontier
    The Founding of New Mexico
    Resisting Spanish Colonization: The Pueblo Revolt of 1680
    Duty to the Crown and Church Fulfilled: The Spanish Reconquest of New Mexico
    A Buffer Zone Against Expansion: Spanish Colonial Texas
    The Apache and Comanche Threat in Texas
    The Condition of the Spanish Texas Colony in the Early Nineteenth Century
    Guarding the Western Periphery: Spanish Colonial Alta California
    Mexican Independence Comes to the Northern Frontier

    Chapter 2. Life and Society in Mexico's Northern Borderlands, 1821-1846
    Indian Relations on the Northern Frontier After Mexican Independence
    Men of the Plains: New Mexican Ciboleros and Comancheros
    The Opening of Commercial Markets: The Taos Trade Fair and the Santa Fe Trail
    Conflict in New Mexico: The 1837 Revolt
    Tejano Life on the Texa s Frontier Under Mexico
    The Never-Ending Indian Menace: Comanchc Raid in Texas
    The Growing Conflict in Texas with Mexico
    The Drive for Texas Independence
    Making California Mexican
    The California Missions: Making Indians Faithful and Industrious Christians
    The Golden Age of California Ranching
    The Californio Era Revolts Against Mexican Rule

    Chapter 3. Mexican Americans in the Era of War and American Westward Expansion
    The Southwest on the Eve of the Mexican War
    The Outbreak of War
    The American Occupation of New Mexico
    The 1847 Taos Revolt Against American Occupation of New Mexico
    The American Occupation of California
    The Battles at Monterrey and Buena Vista
    The Enduring Paradox: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    Chapter 4. Mexican Americans from the 1850s to the End of the Civil War
    Mexican Americans in the Postconquest Southwest
    The Californio Banditti Joaquin Murieta and Tiburcio Vasquez
    Juan Cortina: Champion and Hated Villain of the Texas Border Region
    Mexican Americans in the American Civil War
    Mexican Americans Fight in the Indian Wars

    Chapter 5. Mexican Americans in the Southwest, 1870 to the Early Twentieth Century
    The Mexican Americans of California
    The Tejanos and Mexicans of Texas
    Disenfranchising Tejano Voters as Political Strategy
    The Mexicans of Arizona and New Mexico
    The United States and the New Mexico Land Grants Question
    Las Gorras Blancas and the Struggle to Protect Land Grants
    Statehood for New Mexico Arizona?
    The New Southwest Economy and the First Modern Phase of Mexican Immigration to the United States

    Chapter 6. Mexican Immigration, Work, Urbanization, and Americanization, 1910-1929
    Mexican Labor Strife and Struggle
    Teja no Freedom Fighters: The Plan de San Diego
    The Killing Fields of South Texas
    Immigration from Mexico During the Years 1910-1920
    Mexicans, World War I, and the 1920-1921 Depression
    Mexican Immigration from 1920 to 1929
    Mexican Los Angeles
    Mexicans in the Rocky Mountain and Plains States
    Mexicans in the Urban Industrial Heartland of the Midwest
    Mexicans and Social and Cultural Change and Americanization
    Mexican Mutualism and Fraternalism

    Chapter 7. The Mexican American Struggle for Labor Rights in the Era of the Great Depression
    The Plight of Mexicans in the Early Years of the Great Depression
    The Repatriation Campaign Unfolds
    Mexicans in the Era of the National Recovery Act
    Mexican Women Workers Battle for Equality
    Mexican Coal Miners' Wage War in Gallup
    Tejano Struggles for Unionism in South Texas
    Emma Tenayuca Brings Social Justice to San Antonio's Mexicans
    The 1938 Strike by San Antonio's Pecan Shellers
    The UCAPAWA Organizes Colorado's Mexican Farmworkers
    Mexican American CIO Unionists Organize Los Angeles and Southern California

    Chapter 8. The Mexican American People in the World War II Era
    Mexican Americans on the Eve of the Second World War
    Justice Delayed: The Sleepy Lagoon Incident
    Mexican Americans and the Sinarquista Menace
    America's War at Home: The Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots
    Mexican Americans on the Pacific and European War Fronts
    Mexican Americans Fight Against Discrimination: The Case of Los Angeles
    Mexican American Women War Workers
    Braceros: The Mexican Contract Labor Program Begins
    American Race Relations and Mexican Americans

    Chapter 9. Mexican Americans in the Postwar Years,1946-1963
    Forgotten: The Status of Mexican Americans in Postwar America
    Mexican Americans in the Early Postwar American Labor Movement
    The Radicalism of ANMA
    Mexican Americans and the Community Service Organization
    Mexican Americans Caught in the Web of the Red Scare
    Mexican Americans in the Dragnets of Operation Wetback and Operation Terror
    Civil Rights Litigation by Mexican Americans
    Don't Bow to the Powers That Be: Shifts in the Mexican American Rights Movement
    Mexican Americans and the Democratic Party

    Chapter 10. Mexican Americans in the Protest Era,1964-1974
    Viva La Huelga!:Gaining Ground for Farmworkers
    The People's Choice: Reies Lopez Tijerina and the New Mexico Land Grants Movement
    Cultural Nationalism and Community Control: The Crusade for Justice
    A Search for Identity: The Chicano Student Movement
    Righteous Discontent: The Chicana Women's Movement
    Raza Si! Guerra No!:The National Chicano War Moratorium
    "Pardon My English": La Raza Unida Party

    Chapter 11. Mexican Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century
    Mexican Americans and Reagan's "New Morning in America"
    "Tú Voto Es Tú Voz" (Your Vote is Your Voice): Mexican Americans and the Political Process
    Mexican Americans and the Civil Wars in Central America
    Unemployment, Drugs, Gang Warfare, and the 1992 Rodney King Riots
    The 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act or IRCA, the English-Only Movement, and Proposition 187
    "Fight the Power": From the Bakke Decision to Proposition 209
    Mexican American Workers Organize
    "NAFTA's Gonna Shaft Ya": Mexican Americans and the North American Free Trade Agreement
    Latino: A New National Identity and Continued Latino Immigration

    Chapter 12. Latinos and the Challenges of the 21st Century
    Latinos and Increased Anti-immigrant Activity After 2006
    Latinos Help Elect Barack Obama in 2008
    Latino Bear the Weight of Deportation
    Latinos and the Great Recession
    Adequate Health Care for Latinos
    Individual States Take On Immigration Reform
    Latinos Once More Standup for Immigrant Rights
    The Dreamers and Doers
    Latinos and the 2012 Reelection of Barack Obama
    Latinos and Private Detention Centers
    The Surge of Unaccompanied Children from Central America