Anglo Views of Mexicans in 1804 and 1921

    These 2 views appeared more than a century apart. Note the characteristics attributed to Spaniards and Mexicans and the attitudes toward them.

    Item 1: Journal entry by US ship captain, William Shaler

    ["California would fall without effort," 1804, edited for clarity]

    [The Spanish in California] have, at great expense and considerable industry, removed every obstacle out of the way of an invading enemy. They have stocked the country with such multitudes of cattle, horses, and other useful animals, they have no longer have the power to remove or destroy them. They have taught the Indians many fine useful arts, and accustomed them to agriculture and civilization. They have spread a number of defenseless inhabitants over the country, whom they never could induce to act as enemies to those who should treat them well, by securing to them the enjoyments of liberty, property, and free trade, which would almost instantaneously quadruple the value of their actual possessions. In a word, they have done everything that could be done to render California an object worthy of the attention of the great maritime powers; they have placed it in a situation to want nothing but a good government to rise rapidly to wealth and importance.

    The conquest of this country would be absolutely nothing; it would fall without an effort to the most inconsiderable force. As the greatest effort the Spanish government would be capable of making towards its recovery would be from the shores of New Spain, opposite the peninsula, a military post, established at the bay of Los Angles, and of San Diego, fortified and defended by a component body of troops, would render such an attempt ineffectual. The Spaniards have few ships or seamen in this part of the arsenal of San Bias would be their only resource on such an occasion, and might be very easily destroyed.

    But, admitting that the inactivity of the invaders should permit them to transport troops over to the peninsula, those that come from New Spain could not be very formidable, either in point of numbers or courage. They would have to penetrate through Lower California, where they would not find even water in their march; all the other resources of that desolute country could be easily removed out of their way. They could not march round the head of the gulf. The natural .obstacles of such an expedition would be very numerous; and they must besides force their way through many warlike nations of savages.

    An expedition by sea to Upper California would be equally difficult for them. The bad weather they must encounter in winter, and the great length of the passage in summer, on account of the prevailing northwest winds, would render it a very precarious undertaking. In a word, it would be easy to keep California in spite of the Spaniards, as it would be to wrest it from them in the first instance.

    Item 2: Spech by Texas congressman John C. Box

    [U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, Hearings on Temporary Admission of Illiterate Laborers from Mexico. 66th Congress, 2nd Session]

    The people whom it is proposed to import are a mixture of Spaniard, Indian, and Negro, crossed and living under adverse conditions for many generations. Americans found they could not live with them on genial terms in Texas 80 years ago. In a contest that arose when the Mexican showed both his inferiority and savage nature, the same traits which prevailed with them in the days of the Alamo and Goliad show themselves in the dealings with each other and with the Americans now. I could go on indefinitely for the story has no end. Villa, Huerta, Orozco, Carranza, and their bands and the conditions of Mexico now are exhibits of Mexican character.

    During President Jackson's administration more than eighty years ago, he wrote a message to Congress on the unsettled conditions of the Mexican people and the Mexican nation, and if some dates and local coloring were eliminated, it would fit into the message of President Taft or President Wilson during any of the last 12 years, for he describes conditions almost identical with those existing now, and those conditions have been the prevailing characteristics of Mexican life.