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Angle-Saxon Ideologies in the 1920-30s - Their Impact on the Segregation of Mexican Students in California

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AJA Review: Angle-Saxon Ideologies in the 1920-30s:

Their impact on the segregation of Mexican Students in California

      The author of the academic journal article “Angle-Saxon Ideologies in the 1920-30s: Their impact on the segregation of Mexican Students in California” are Martha Menchaca and Richard R. Valencia. The articles traces back the development of Anglo-Saxon superiority over other minority groups, especially Mexican Americans. The article revolves around the theories during the nineteenth century and their impact on the segregation of Mexican American students, specifically in the area of Santa Paula District. The purpose of the article was to clarify how Anglo-Saxons were showing their superiority over other minorities, and how the government were purposely helping them segregate the minorities. For instance, the federal level passage of Plessy vs Ferguson in 1896 and the separate but equal code of 1974 helped to further establish segregation. The case study of Santa Paula, California, shows the Anglo dominations and their ascendance as well as decline in academic, religious and governmental spheres.

         The nation’s ethnic composition during the 20s was diversifying. “Manifest Destiny” was used to justify United States’ expansion practices, however, it served to show the Anglo-Saxons were a superior race and gave them the right to govern other races. They also viewed that since America has conquered the land, Mexicans were unworthy of controlling the land. The population of Mexican and Mexican-American were increasing at an alarming rate, tripling during the twenties. The increasing of the population also increased the school segregation of Mexican students. Santa Paula was an ethnically balanced community, however school segregation and policies developed that racial minorities were not to mix with whites. Every construction that happened at Santa Paula was segregated and the races were classified either inferior or superior. Designated churches were made for Mexicans which further developed other forms of racial segregations. There was a clear bias in the level of education as Mexican students were not even taught properly in school. The Mendez vs Westminster case of 1947 ended the case of segregation of Mexican students in California.

      The author makes a good point that Anglo Saxons thought that establishing control over the ethnic groups would limit their biological proliferation and entrance into Anglo-Saxon institutions. The author also believes that the targeted group for the segregation laws were initially black, American Indians, Chinese and Japanese, however, once they found that Mexicans were very able to endure very hard labor, they felt insecure and targeted every minorities. It was very painful to read some of the texts as I could just imagine the troubles the students had to endure, and I liked how the author gave a very detailed explanation about the situation in Santa Paula. I did not like how Anglo-Saxons were viewed as more of the bad guys and everything was to blame it on them perspective from the author. I felt like giving more perspective on why Anglo-Saxons viewed Mexicans inferior or their views in general would have made the article better. I feel like the recommended audience for the article were the minorities as it only show cased the struggles of Mexicans and how it could connect to the stories of other minorities. I do not think Anglo-Saxons or whites were the core audience as it only showed perspective from the victim end.

        The article is very powerful in expressing the blatant segregation laws and events occurred during the 20s. It gives a brief description and statistics of the event, however, the article is very much one-sided. The article also expresses that every segregation event caused harm to the Mexicans, however, since the segregation rules were being applied in majority of the country, it was more of an event that would have had to occur in California as well. This article contributes hugely towards the understanding of California ethnic history as we can know how Mexicans-Americans were oppressed in their homeland and also how California is one of the most diverse State in the country.

The New Deal policies helped to expand the federal government’s part in the economy in relation to helping the nation recover from the Great Depression. By expanding the federal government’s role significantly, the New Deal played a role in redesigning the American political culture based on the notion that the government is supposed to take care of its citizens’ welfare. Prior to 1930s, most part the national political debate was focused on whether the federal government was supposed to play a role in the economy (Library of Congress para. 4-5). However, after the new deal, the question shifted to how the federal government should intervene in the economy. The New Deal sought to revive the economy by inspiring consumer demand (History para. 23-25). It encompassed federal deficit spending to enhance economic growth. Roosevelt had a vision that by enabling employers to sell more products, they would get more revenue and in turn, hire more workers. Roosevelt's administration envisioned a reversal of the impact caused by the Great Depression.

The second thing I did not know is that the first part of the New Deal entailed a series of programs initiated during the first one hundred days of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. President Roosevelt addressed the banking problem by declaring a four-day banking holiday, which was meant to stop Americans from withdrawing their savings from struggling banks. The move was followed by the Congress' approval of the Emergency Banking Act, which helped to reorganize most banks and close those that were into receivership. Roosevelt then encouraged people to return their savings into banks resulting in reopening of up to three-quarters of the banks within one month (History Para. 1). The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) played a crucial role in boosting agricultural prices because it enables the government to offers farmers subsidies that, in turn, helped to minimize output. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was also enacted during the first one hundred of Roosevelt's administration. The policy helped to create employment opportunities for young, single men at federally sponsored jobs on public lands. The Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA) was implemented, thereby giving federal grants to states, which in turn handled wages for government employees and funding aid for poor programs (History Para. 12). President Roosevelt's administration also spearheaded the implementation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC played a critical role in monitoring and regulating the stock market. In a nutshell, the policies and programs that were enacted and implemented under the New Deal played a crucial part in creating employment opportunities and improving the overall welfare of the people.

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