Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Stephen J. Sills
Understanding the Chicano movement requires an understanding of the past. Often heard among Mexican Americans is the saying, “We did not cross the border; the border crossed us.” This refers to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war between the United States and Mexico and ceded much of the Southwest to the U.S. government for a payment of $15 million. The treaty guaranteed the rights of Mexican settlers in the area, granting them U.S. citizenship after 1 year and recognizing their property rights. However, the Senate would not ratify the treaty without revisions. It eliminated articles that recognized prior land grants and reworded articles specifying a timeline for citizenship. The result was the eviction of Mexicans from their lands, their disenfranchisement from the political process, and the institutionalization of more than a century of discrimination. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mutual aid societies and ...