The Mexican-American Press
CARLOS E. CORTÉS
In 1926 Ignacio Lozano, a Mexican immigrant publisher who had escaped from the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution, established a weekly newspaper entitled La Opinión in Los Angeles. As of 1984, La Opinión was still in operation under the direction of his son, Ignacio Lozano, Jr. As the nation's oldest current Mexican-American newspaper, La Opinión stands as a notable success story in the perilous history of the Mexican-American press, rooted in the larger historical process of the Mexican-American people. 1
The Mexican-American press can only partially be considered an immigrant press, because Mexican Americans (Chicanos) are only partially an immigrant- origin people. Chicanos became part of the United States through two processes-- annexation and immigration. Mexican Americans first entered U.S. history via annexation. In 1822 Anglo-Americans from the United States began to settle in the northeastern corner of Mexico, which had just won its independence from Spain. In 1835, supported by some native Mexicans who opposed the central government, Anglo settlers revolted and, in 1836, established the independent Lone Star Republic. When, in 1845, the Republic joined the United States as the state of Texas, the 5,000 Mexicans in Texas became the first large group of Mexican Americans.
Closely following the Texas annexation came the 1846-1848 U.S.-Mexican War, during which U.S. forces occupied Mexico's northern provinces of New Mexico and California and captured Mexico City, the nation's capital. The subsequent 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo recognized U.S. possession of northern Mexico (about one-third of Mexico's territory--one-half counting Texas) and specified the rights of the some 75,000 Mexicans living in the annexed territory. Finally, in 1854, via the Gadsden Treaty, Mexico sold to the United States a 30,000-square-mile strip of land (on which some 5,000 Mexicans were living) in today's southern New Mexico and Arizona. As historian David Weber has described it, Mexicans in these three territorial transfers had truly become "foreigners in their native land." 2