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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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This essay outlines the reasons for Mexican immigration to the United States during the early part of the twentieth century as well as the issues immigrants confronted in their new home.

Elisa Silva was born in Mazatlán, Mexico and emigrated to the United States at age twenty, eventually settling in Los Angeles. In this interview, conducted during the mid-1920s, Silva describes her ambivalence towards the culture and traditions of…

Elisa Silva was born in Mazatlán, Mexico and emigrated to the United States at age twenty, eventually settling in Los Angeles. In this interview, conducted during the mid-1920s, Silva describes her motivation for coming, her difficulties finding…

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In January 1914, the town of Ojinaga in northern Mexico was the site of a battle between the forces of Pancho Villa and those loyal to Mexican president Victoriano Huerta. This photo depicts refugees from the fighting making the sixty-mile journey to…

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This chart shows the numbers of Mexican immigrants entering the United States between 1900 and 1940, as counted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

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Beginning as early as 1897, members of Congress who wanted to limit immigration to the U.S. began proposing laws that would require immigrants to be literate. After repeated vetoes of such laws, the 1917 Immigration Act, sponsored by Congressman John…

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In 1913, revolutionaries in the north of Mexico revolted against the newly-installed regime of president Victoriano Huerta. The rebels, who took the name Constitutionalists, fought the Mexican Army for control of Matamoros, a town just across the Rio…

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The turmoil that accompanied the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) sent many Mexicans to the United States looking for a better life. At times the violence of the Revolution crossed the border as well. After Pancho Villa raided the town of Columbus, New…

In 1903, Mexican and Japanese farmworkers in Oxnard, California joined together to resist a wage cut by their employers. When they requested that their union be allowed to join the American Federation of Labor, President Samuel Gompers told the…

During the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the U.S. passed a number of laws restricting immigration by nationalities seen as racially inferior. For example, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred all immigration from China, while the…
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