A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Cornpanytxecutive offices, Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Pres. Spanish Surnamed American Employment in the Southwest One of a series of excerpts from SPANISH SURNAMED AMERICAN EMPLOYMENT IN THE SOUTHWEST by Fred H. Schmidt, Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California at Los Angeles. Prepared for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the auspices of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Printed by U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. $2.00. Our Manifest Destiny It was observed at the outset that the central historical fact that is pertinent to this study is that the Southwest once represented a colonial empire to the United States. In today’s world there is an unpleasantness about this admission. Most historians avoided making it in the past, and all would not accept it today. Nevertheless, the acknowledgement of colonialism and colonial attitudes is as essential to an understanding of the present problems of Spanish Surnameds as is the acknowledgment of slavery in the case of Negro Americans. The shadows of the past do extend into the present, and the ones that concern us here begin with this country’s initial annoyance over a Spanish presence on the continent. Spain’s frontier of settlements in lands that now are a part of the United States once exceeded by far that of any other European power. . . . The loss of the Louisiana territory separated its holdings on the continent. When the United States acquired that territory from France 3 years later, the area was set for an historic unwinding of national destinies that best can be compared to a corrida, ‘a pageant of the bullring. There was never uncertainty as to which nation was the matador. It was a confrontation between a young, zestful nation born in the English cultural stream and a distant, ancient nation trying to hold together an empire that had brought Latin civilization to most of the Americas within the 300 years preceding. The metaphor of the bullring is not overdrawn. The ceremonial ploys that characterized the confrontation in its early stages were clearly meant to hasten the fatal moments intended from the first. The trumpeting of the first bars of what was to be called “Manifest Destiny” could only mean death to Spain. The United States doubled in size with the Louisiana PUrchase. The country’s boundaries on the west side of the Mississippi River became an almost exact reflection of the shape and size of its boundaries on the east. It was as though the continent had been creased along that river to make a giant inkblot which spread a symmetrical wing of the Nation’s boundaries over the lands to the west. In 1819 the King of Spain ceded Florida to the United States, following Jackson’s invasion of that area. In exchange, the United States disavowed any claims to what is now Texas and to the other lands that lay to the west and southwest in what was known as New Spain. The Treaty of 1819 for the first time defined a boundary between New Spain and the great central river system that the United States had purchased from France. This boundary created for Americans the concept of a southwestern region adjacent to their country. The line of separation crossed the continent from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, setting the northern and eastern limits of the area referred to today as the Southwest. . . . The erratic thrusts of the westward migration were expected to bypass the Southwest and head only for the more salubrious Oregon Territory. This view did not reckon with the expansionist designs and covetous policies that obsessed other Americans 20 years later. In the next two decades American settlers moved to the borderland frontiers. Some moved beyond it, going outside the United States, often moving in fugitive fashion; sometimes they went to be free of persecution, as in the case of the Mormons. The notion that the national boundaries should follow them became popularized in the tantalizing phrase, “Manifest Destiny,” a belief that there was a providential design that their kind, the English-speaking “Anglo Americans,” should fill the continent from ocean to ocean. Spain’s colonial empire southwest of the international boundary gave way to the Republic of Mexico in 1820. The lands adjacent to the United States, which had long been administrative outposts far removed from the main centers of Spanish activity, became States of the new Mexican nation: Texas, New Mexico, and Upper California. These areas already had a long history tying them to the European cultural stream. . . . The Spanish-speaking people in these areas knew that their forebears had established many things on American lands before the first Englishman ever reached those lands. They fanned and mined; they built aqueducts that still operate; theirs were the first wheels to turn on the continent; they introduced many grains, fruits, vegetables, and fibers to the land; they brought livestock and turned the horse loose in America; they organized cities and built over 50 missions from southern Louisiana to north of San Francisco Bay. They did all of these things, lived all this history, before their history was taken from them. These deep roots are slighted by most U.S. historians. The story of the country’s development is too often told by those who scanned the westward movement only from the east. That perspective disadvantages those whose heritage ties them to the other half of the cultural division of Europe. It disadvantages even more those indigenous people who wrote no histories to tell of their three centuries of retreat before the advancing Anglos. The Southwest became a place to discard what was unwanted, a dumping ground for the dispossessed, for Indian tribes that were pushed from their verdant eastern homelands and thereby made to compete with each other for the same living and hunting areas. The native tribes in the Southwest had been peaceably disposed toward the United States, but the influx of other Indians driven out by the United States became the cause of constant friction. All too often the movement west has been viewed as the individual acts of independent, self-sufficient pioneer types, willing to take the risks of failure or destruction. Without question, those who went to the frontier were generally of this character. But this is not enough. The pioneers were encouraged in their westward push by public policies, by Federal programs of frontier defense and for dealing with and moving the Indians. The superior forces of the fierce plains Indians could have cut down settlers as they arrived, had not Congress appropriated the funds to move these tribes and make available the U.S. Army to keep them at bay. This was a deliberate manpower policy, as deliberate as those policies today that are concerned with the efficient utilization and placement of the labor force.