"¿Que son los ninos?": Mexican children along the United States-Mexico border, 1880-1930
AuthorLeyva, Yolanda Chávez
KeywordsHistory, Latin American.
History, United States.
Sociology, Social Structure and Development.
AdvisorMartinez, Oscar J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is a study of Mexican children along the U.S. border from 1880 to 1930. The study explores the ways in which Mexican children were incorporated into the growing capitalist border society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During this period, there were demographic changes in both the United States and Mexico as children comprised an increasingly significant portion of the population. As a result of this growth, and the heightened visibility of children, both nations focused on the implications, both positive and negative, of being "nations of youth." Along the border, the fears and hopes associated with children were accentuated as a result of the already difficult ethnic relations between Mexicans and Anglo Americans and shifting international relations between Mexico and the United States. Mexican children became symbols of the tremendous socio-economic changes taking place along the border. Issues of control, which expressed themselves in the creation of institutions to monitor immigration, expanding educational and social service systems, and the rapid incorporation of Mexican children into the labor force, were hotly contested. On the U.S. side of the border Mexican children entered a highly racialized society in which Mexicans were considered inferior and useful only as low-paid workers. Yet at the precise time that the population of Mexican children was growing along the border, American society advocated a more protective stance towards children. As a consequence of these two circumstances, Mexican children played a unique role in this region. Mexican children were recruited as workers, and expected to act as adults by both employers and family. Schools sought to educate them yet the education was limited by ethnic stereotypes which dictated that Mexican children would become nothing more than low-paid, menial laborers. Mexican parents attempted to control their children, particularly in maintaining a Mexican identity and values while Americanization efforts undermined their parental authority. American nationalists viewed them with alarm, fearful that the growing numbers of Mexican children would overwhelm that Anglo American population. The Mexican government, in turn, viewed the emigration of Mexican children as a cultural and economic loss to the nation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College