In this study of the nonfiction writings of American “experts” on both Mexican society and Mexican immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Gilbert González illustrates how the labor demands of capitalism shaped the views and policies that maintained Mexican immigrants in the United States as an ethnic minority. The manifold injustices associated with that construction — and here the author emphasizes discriminatory educational policies — were part of the “peaceful conquest” of the Mexican economy, which eventually led rural Mexicans to work in the United States. Following his earlier scholarship, González emphasizes the structural bases of Mexican-American inequality, in this instance linking the racist stereotypes Americans used to describe Mexicans before and after their immigration to the material requirements of American capitalism and the perspectives related to that expansion in two countries. Culture of Empire is effective in this regard,...

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