From the early challenges to religious freedom in Massachusetts to the broken treaties and systematic removal of Native Americans from their land to the abominable practice of slavery in the United States, our nation’s reality rarely measures up to the principles and ideals penned by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights. The story for Mexican-Americans is no different.
The annexations of Texas in 1845 and the Mexican Cession in 1848 make evident the bulldozing efforts of the dominant Anglo culture to fulfill its “Manifest Destiny,” in spite its own declarations that “all men are created equal” and that the United States is a nation that believes in the personal freedoms of life, speech, property and religion.
Confronted by the reality of Manifest Destiny and annexation, the new Mexican-Americans resisted the unjust domination of the U. S. Government and its citizens and challenged the broken promises of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Social banditry, the secret and nocturnal resistance of Las Gorras Blancas and their involvement in the newspaper La Voz del Pueblo and political party Partido del Pueblo Unido were different expressions of the Mexican response to the injustices they experienced by the United States and its Anglo citizens.
BACKGROUND In the spring of 1848, the congresses of the United States and Mexico ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thereby ending the Mexican- American War and finally settling the two nations’ tenuous border dispute over Texas.
This book contains a great theoretical background to social banditry and the social conditions that encourage it.
Machado, Manuel A. (1978). Listen Chicano! An Informal History of the Mexican-American. Chicago: Nelson Hall. This book contains information about different expressions of resistance against the Euro American expansion in to Latin America and is communicated through a Chicano perspective. Paz, Ireneo. (2001). Life and adventures of the celebrated bandit; Joaquin Murrieta: His exploits in the state of California.
Houston: Arte Publico Press. This book is a translation of Paz’ Spanish edition published much earlier. Within the text are primary sources that show the opinions of both the Euro Americans and the Mexican people. Pitt, Leonard. (1966). The Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890. Berkeley: University of California Press. This book has information on Joaquin Murrietta and the social conditions that led to banditry in California.