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The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s-1930s

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When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, rumors abounded throughout the nation that the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico secretly sympathized with the enemy. At the end of the war, The New York Times warned that New Mexico's "Mexicans professed a deep hostility to American ideas and American policies." As long as Spanish remained the primary language When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, rumors abounded throughout the nation that the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico secretly sympathized with the enemy. At the end of the war, The New York Times warned that New Mexico's "Mexicans professed a deep hostility to American ideas and American policies." As long as Spanish remained the primary language of public instruction, the Times admonished, "the majority of the inhabitants will remain 'Mexican' and retain a pseudo-allegiance [to Spain]." This perception of Spanish-speaking New Mexicans as "un-American" was widely shared. Such allegations of disloyalty, coupled with the prevalent views that all Mexican peoples were racially non-white and "unfit" to assume the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship, inspired powerful reactions among the Spanish-speaking people of New Mexico. Most sought to distinguish themselves from Mexican immigrants by emphasizing their "Spanish" roots. Tourism, too, began to foster the myth that nuevomexicanos were culturally and racially Spanish. Since the 1950s, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have dismissed the ubiquitous Spanish heritage claimed by many New Mexicans. John M. Nieto-Phillips, himself a nuevomexicano, argues that Spanish-American identity evolved out of a medieval rhetoric about blood purity, or limpieza de sangre, as well as a modern longing to enter the United States's white body politic.


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When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, rumors abounded throughout the nation that the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico secretly sympathized with the enemy. At the end of the war, The New York Times warned that New Mexico's "Mexicans professed a deep hostility to American ideas and American policies." As long as Spanish remained the primary language When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, rumors abounded throughout the nation that the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico secretly sympathized with the enemy. At the end of the war, The New York Times warned that New Mexico's "Mexicans professed a deep hostility to American ideas and American policies." As long as Spanish remained the primary language of public instruction, the Times admonished, "the majority of the inhabitants will remain 'Mexican' and retain a pseudo-allegiance [to Spain]." This perception of Spanish-speaking New Mexicans as "un-American" was widely shared. Such allegations of disloyalty, coupled with the prevalent views that all Mexican peoples were racially non-white and "unfit" to assume the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship, inspired powerful reactions among the Spanish-speaking people of New Mexico. Most sought to distinguish themselves from Mexican immigrants by emphasizing their "Spanish" roots. Tourism, too, began to foster the myth that nuevomexicanos were culturally and racially Spanish. Since the 1950s, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have dismissed the ubiquitous Spanish heritage claimed by many New Mexicans. John M. Nieto-Phillips, himself a nuevomexicano, argues that Spanish-American identity evolved out of a medieval rhetoric about blood purity, or limpieza de sangre, as well as a modern longing to enter the United States's white body politic.

33 review for The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s-1930s

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andy Villanueva III

    Nieto-Phillips argument becomes stale after the third chapter. You can tell this was a dissertation that was made into a book based the author trying to stretch to find arguments that are clearly not defined after Chapter three.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Reiten Talaga

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Johnson

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  5. 5 out of 5

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  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe Zagrodnik

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Abeyta

  11. 4 out of 5

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  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeannette Rose

  13. 4 out of 5

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  14. 5 out of 5

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    Louis Perello

  17. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  18. 5 out of 5

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  19. 4 out of 5

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  20. 5 out of 5

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  26. 4 out of 5

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  27. 5 out of 5

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  28. 4 out of 5

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  29. 4 out of 5

    Dorcus Wafula

  30. 5 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

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  32. 5 out of 5

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  33. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Norton johnson

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