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They Came to Toil: U.S. News Coverage of Mexicans on the Eve of the Great Depression
Unformatted Document Text:  They  Came  to  Toil:  U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression   Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­10-­       Utah, coupled with political chaos in Mexico, which included the Mexican Revolution of 1910, revived the pull-and-push forces that controlled Mexican immigration. 38 Mexican immigrants benefitted from laws that restricted Asian laborers, first the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the subsequent Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1908, which restricted Japanese immigrants prior to World War I. The Japanese immigrated in the late nineteenth century to fill the void left after the departure of the much-maligned Chinese, who had been victims of nativist vitriol. The Japanese wore out their welcome when they proved too entrepreneurial, forming cooperatives, buying property and ultimately competing with the farmers who had hired them. 39 Mexicans were perceived by some, such as Los Angeles Times Publisher Harry Chandler, as a rung above Asians on the hierarchy of color; and the U.S. quest for cheap labor led U.S. business to see the solution in immigrants from their own front yard. 40 But the oil-fueled boom that led to suburban expansion of the 1920s, rising sales of automobiles and mechanization of the nation’s farms, brought turmoil to the farm economy. While the 1920s produced a booming economy for most of America, it represented the start of nearly two decades of recession on the nation’s farms. 41 Almost one-third of the U.S. population still lived on farms in the 1920s. They had fared well during World War I when Europe, unable to feed itself, imported tons of grain. By the early ‘20s, however, Europe’s farm economy was recovering, leading to massive overproduction by U.S. farmers who were turning quickly to the tractor and other mechanized equipment. 42 These events likely helped fuel the drive for immigration restrictions that led to the 1924 Immigration Act.

Authors: Garza, Melita M..
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They  Came  to  Toil:  
U.S.  News  Coverage  of  Mexicans  on  the  Eve  of  the  Great  Depression  
Melita  M.  Garza  -­-­  Page  -­10-­  
 
 
Utah, coupled with political chaos in Mexico, which included the Mexican Revolution of 
1910, revived the pull-and-push forces that controlled Mexican immigration.
38
  
Mexican immigrants benefitted from laws that restricted Asian laborers, first the 
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the subsequent Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1908, 
which restricted Japanese immigrants prior to World War I. The Japanese immigrated in 
the late nineteenth century to fill the void left after the departure of the much-maligned 
Chinese, who had been victims of nativist vitriol. The Japanese wore out their welcome 
when they proved too entrepreneurial, forming cooperatives, buying property and 
ultimately competing with the farmers who had hired them.
39
 Mexicans were perceived 
by some, such as Los Angeles Times Publisher Harry Chandler, as a rung above Asians 
on the hierarchy of color; and the U.S. quest for cheap labor led U.S. business to see the 
solution in immigrants from their own front yard.
40
 But the oil-fueled boom that led to 
suburban expansion of the 1920s, rising sales of automobiles and mechanization of the 
nation’s farms, brought turmoil to the farm economy. While the 1920s produced a 
booming economy for most of America, it represented the start of nearly two decades of 
recession on the nation’s farms.
41
 
Almost one-third of the U.S. population still lived on farms in the 1920s. They 
had fared well during World War I when Europe, unable to feed itself, imported tons of 
grain. By the early ‘20s, however, Europe’s farm economy was recovering, leading to 
massive overproduction by U.S. farmers who were turning quickly to the tractor and 
other mechanized equipment.
42
 These events likely helped fuel the drive for immigration 
restrictions that led to the 1924 Immigration Act. 


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