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Border Dilemmas: Racial and National Uncertainties in New Mexico, 1848-1912

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The U.S.-Mexican War officially ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which called for Mexico to surrender more than one-third of its land. The treaty offered Mexicans living in the conquered territory a choice between staying there or returning to Mexico by moving south of the newly drawn borderline. In this fascinating history, Anthony Mora a The U.S.-Mexican War officially ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which called for Mexico to surrender more than one-third of its land. The treaty offered Mexicans living in the conquered territory a choice between staying there or returning to Mexico by moving south of the newly drawn borderline. In this fascinating history, Anthony Mora analyzes contrasting responses to the treaty’s provisions. The town of Las Cruces was built north of the border by Mexicans who decided to take their chances in the United States. La Mesilla was established just south of the border by men and women who did not want to live in a country that had waged war against the Mexican republic; nevertheless, it was incorporated into the United States in 1854, when the border was redrawn once again. Mora traces the trajectory of each town from its founding until New Mexico became a U.S. state in 1912. La Mesilla thrived initially, but then fell into decay and was surpassed by Las Cruces as a pro-U.S. regional discourse developed. Border Dilemmas explains how two towns, less than five miles apart, were deeply divided by conflicting ideas about the relations between race and nation, and how these ideas continue to inform discussion about what it means to “be Mexican” in the United States.


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The U.S.-Mexican War officially ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which called for Mexico to surrender more than one-third of its land. The treaty offered Mexicans living in the conquered territory a choice between staying there or returning to Mexico by moving south of the newly drawn borderline. In this fascinating history, Anthony Mora a The U.S.-Mexican War officially ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which called for Mexico to surrender more than one-third of its land. The treaty offered Mexicans living in the conquered territory a choice between staying there or returning to Mexico by moving south of the newly drawn borderline. In this fascinating history, Anthony Mora analyzes contrasting responses to the treaty’s provisions. The town of Las Cruces was built north of the border by Mexicans who decided to take their chances in the United States. La Mesilla was established just south of the border by men and women who did not want to live in a country that had waged war against the Mexican republic; nevertheless, it was incorporated into the United States in 1854, when the border was redrawn once again. Mora traces the trajectory of each town from its founding until New Mexico became a U.S. state in 1912. La Mesilla thrived initially, but then fell into decay and was surpassed by Las Cruces as a pro-U.S. regional discourse developed. Border Dilemmas explains how two towns, less than five miles apart, were deeply divided by conflicting ideas about the relations between race and nation, and how these ideas continue to inform discussion about what it means to “be Mexican” in the United States.

32 review for Border Dilemmas: Racial and National Uncertainties in New Mexico, 1848-1912

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Morgan

    This book was phenomenal, and I enjoyed it far more than I thought it would. The author deconstructs the categories of race and nationality in New Mexico, and actually explores how these evolved in both time and by perspective. The author makes a point of not collapsing this into Anglos vs. Mexicans - the issue is explored from the perspectives of Native Americans, Mexicans in Mexico, multiple competing Mexican American perspectives, Euro-Americans, and visiting Europeans. They even explored are This book was phenomenal, and I enjoyed it far more than I thought it would. The author deconstructs the categories of race and nationality in New Mexico, and actually explores how these evolved in both time and by perspective. The author makes a point of not collapsing this into Anglos vs. Mexicans - the issue is explored from the perspectives of Native Americans, Mexicans in Mexico, multiple competing Mexican American perspectives, Euro-Americans, and visiting Europeans. They even explored areas that I thought were really clever - for example, how did bilingual writers express race differently in Spanish vs. English, how did gender and class affect racial and national identities, and how did the Native Americans of the Southwest get excluded from the category of Mexican. If you are at all interested in race in New Mexico or the Southwest, this is the book for you!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniella

    Covers the history of New Mexico during the territorial period specifically that of Las Cruces and Mesilla with really thoughtful analysis of race and nation. It really highlights the tensions between Euro-Americans and Mexicans/Mexican-American, however, there is only brief mentions of Native Americans in the book. What this book does incredibly well is showing us the perspectives of the people that lived during that period and how complex their reasonings are surrounding current events and rac Covers the history of New Mexico during the territorial period specifically that of Las Cruces and Mesilla with really thoughtful analysis of race and nation. It really highlights the tensions between Euro-Americans and Mexicans/Mexican-American, however, there is only brief mentions of Native Americans in the book. What this book does incredibly well is showing us the perspectives of the people that lived during that period and how complex their reasonings are surrounding current events and racial issues. I really appreciated his exploration of "interior frontier" and the evolution of identity in New Mexico.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Marmolejo

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Fox

  5. 5 out of 5

    Xander

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  8. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Irene

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alan Wierdak

  11. 5 out of 5

    Macy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lionel Jacobs

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  14. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

  15. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brenden

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Brooks

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie & Sherry

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deb Foster

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Valdez

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jay Lowd

  27. 4 out of 5

    EcoDesk Pomona

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eko Marzuki

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex Riedel

  31. 4 out of 5

    M. Baca

  32. 4 out of 5

    Lee

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