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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  -­11-­       The appeal of Mexican immigration was far from unanimous. Notable among the opponents was John C. Box, a congressman from the East Texas cotton-growing region. In 1928, Box and Sen. William J. Harris of Georgia, who represented another cotton- growing state, sponsored bills to restrict Western Hemisphere immigration. Their efforts failed, but Box and Harris successfully stoked a national debate that elicited unflattering depictions of Mexicans. 43 Gutiérrez turns to a Saturday Evening Post article for the statement that he says encapsulated the ensuing anti-Mexican sentiment: “’Mexican exclusion,” the Post editorialized, “is [the American worker’s] only salvation.’” 44 It was June 1929 and the Great Crash was four months away. The Saturday Evening Post was a renowned anti-immigrant publication, according to Gutiérrez. 45 Less well known is the view of Mexicans and immigration found in a cradle of the old Spanish colonial empire– San Antonio–particularly in English and Spanish news coverage at the dawn of a new decade of economic strife. Mexican Coverage Themes Seven significant themes emerged in San Antonio’s newspaper coverage of Mexicans. These included: (1) economic arguments; (2) ethnicity and race and the hierarchy of color; (3) friendship, diplomacy and fairness; (4) Mexico reclaims its citizens; (5) deportations by the numbers; (6) civil rights and school children; and (7) Spanish/Mexican cultural nostalgia. The Express and La Prensa marshalled the first three themes in news stories and editorials concerning proposed legislation to limit Mexican immigration. The consistency of the two newspapers’ policy arguments was striking, particularly in contrast to the positions of Box and like-minded politicians who tried to curb southern hemisphere

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  -­11-­  
 
 
The appeal of Mexican immigration was far from unanimous. Notable among the 
opponents was John C. Box, a congressman from the East Texas cotton-growing region.  
In 1928, Box and Sen. William J. Harris of Georgia, who represented another cotton-
growing state, sponsored bills to restrict Western Hemisphere immigration. Their efforts 
failed, but Box and Harris successfully stoked a national debate that elicited unflattering 
depictions of Mexicans.
43
 Gutiérrez turns to a Saturday Evening Post article for the 
statement that he says encapsulated the ensuing anti-Mexican sentiment: “’Mexican 
exclusion,” the Post editorialized, “is [the American worker’s] only salvation.’”
44
 It was 
June 1929 and the Great Crash was four months away. The Saturday Evening Post was a 
renowned anti-immigrant publication, according to Gutiérrez.
45
 Less well known is the 
view of Mexicans and immigration found in a cradle of the old Spanish colonial empire–
San Antonio–particularly in English and Spanish news coverage at the dawn of a new 
decade of economic strife. 
Mexican Coverage Themes 
Seven significant themes emerged in San Antonio’s newspaper coverage of 
Mexicans. These included: (1) economic arguments; (2) ethnicity and race and the 
hierarchy of color; (3) friendship, diplomacy and fairness; (4) Mexico reclaims its 
citizens; (5) deportations by the numbers; (6) civil rights and school children; and (7) 
Spanish/Mexican cultural nostalgia.  
The Express and La Prensa marshalled the first three themes in news stories and 
editorials concerning proposed legislation to limit Mexican immigration. The consistency 
of the two newspapers’ policy arguments was striking, particularly in contrast to the 
positions of Box and like-minded politicians who tried to curb southern hemisphere 


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