Loyalty Questioned: Nuevomexicanos in the Great War

TitleLoyalty Questioned: Nuevomexicanos in the Great War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsGonzales, Phillip, and Ann Massmann
JournalPacific Historical Review
Date Published11/2006

Prior to World War I, Nuevomexicanos (Mexican American natives of New Mexico) were relegated to second-class citizenship, partly through accusations of disloyalty to the United States and unfitness for democracy. In response, they constructed a "Spanish American" identity in an early instance of cultural citizenship (expressing Americanism through ethnic identity). How did Nuevomexicanos express their ethnic identity during the war? Like the "new immigrants" who also constructed dual identities, members of the Nuevomexicano middle class exuberantly participated in the war effort. They melded images of their heritage with patriotic symbols of America, especially in the Spanish-language press. Nuevomexicano politicians and community leaders recruited the rural masses into the war cause overseas and on the home front, including the struggle for woman suffrage. Support from New Mexico's Anglo establishment aided their efforts. Their wartime contributions improved the conditions of minority citizenship for Nuevomexicanos but did not eliminate social inequality. [Author]

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