How Native Americans, Mexican “Tejanos,” Anglo-Americans, and Mexicans From the Central High Valley Heartland of Mexico, Viewed Themselves and Each Other in a Southwest of “Shifting Borders”
White settlers did this by targeting Mexicans with voting laws and taxes, suing for possession of their land and subjecting them to police violence. This presaged the way the U.S. would treat Mexicans in California and the New Mexico territory when it gained this land from Mexico in 1848—as foreigners who had less right to be there than the white settlers who’d moved in.
And it was the state bureaucracy, employing novel means of communication such as mass education, that perpetuated the nation unto subsequent generations. Whether accounts spotlight institutions or identities, the underlying theme is centralization: The national state wins out over lesser political organizations and potential challengers, and the people divest themselves of previous ethnic or local loyalties as the nation becomes their overriding identity.
Gomez L. The Birth of the “Hispanic” Generation: Attitudes of Mexican-American Political Elites toward the Hispanic Label. Latin American Perspectives. 1992;19(4):45–58.
Telles E, Ortiz V. Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race. New York: Russel Sage Foundation; 2008.