The Mexican American and the African American Experience in the Earlier Centuries





The Mexican American and the African American Experience in the Earlier Centuries


America is one of the most frequented destinations for immigrants across the globe, especially during the period from the 17th century to the 19th century. North America experienced a high influx of immigrants from Africa as slaves, Europe from England as settlers, among others. The original inhabitants of America are the American Indians, also known as Native Americans. The Mexican Americas, largely from Mexico and other Spanish territories occupied the southern United States of Utah, Nevada, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. The different groups of immigrants coexisted in the United States, despite their different social standings, culture, and ethnic background. To understand these groups better, it is important to compare and contrast their different historical backgrounds and ways of life. In this paper, a comparison between the Mexican Americans and the African Americans will provide further insights into their histories and experiences in the United States.


The Mexican Americans entered the United States during the late 16th century period, and occupied the southern region in small settlements. Most of the Spaniards were in Texas, California, and Arizona. Those who occupied Texas were referred to as Tejanos, and those who occupied California were referred to as Californios. Most of the Hispanic Americans provided labor in the industries, mostly in the railroad and mining industries mostly in the southwestern parts of the United States. It is evident that the Mexican American immigrants experienced a normal life, where they freely engaged in various economic activities, which improved their lives and increased their population in the states.

However, on the other hand, African Americans arrived in America as African slaves through the transatlantic slave trade that was later abolished. Most of the Africans were from West African countries, and were sold off as slaves by their own people through collaborations with the Europeans from England. Other slaves were captured and sold as slaves in West African coastal raids. They arrived in the Americas through the Middle Passage and the triangular. Most of the African slaves were in the southern states. Unlike the Mexicans, the African slaves worked in cotton and rice plantations, and ranches. However, one of the similarities between the two ethnic groups is the fact that they both worked in the railway industries where they built the railroads that served the Americas. However, despite working together, the African Americans provided slave labor, which was largely free or if paid, very little money that could barely support them. They therefore depended on their masters for livelihood, unlike the Mexican Americans.

Mexican Americans were actively involved in politics and civil actions. For instance, the Tejanos largely supported the 1846-1848 Mexican American war, and refused to recognize the government of Mexico as their original rulers. This was so because they believed in the American westward expansion. The area claimed includes the present day Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Utah. When presented with a choice, most Spaniards chose to remain in the states and become United States citizens. This sharply contrasts with the African Americans slaves’ experience. The slaves were brought to the states against their will and under very harsh conditions. For instance, during the long transatlantic voyages, most of them died from amoebic dysentery due to the unhygienic conditions in the ships, some chose to jump into the sea and face death by drowning instead of becoming a slave. Additionally, upon landing, the slaves were overworked, with their women experiencing sexual abuse and assault from their masters. They were indeed under very harsh conditions, unlike the Mexicans, who were at least free. It was almost impossible for a slave to own property, as they were considered property themselves. Later on, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Americans gained control over the vast territory. The Mexicans were promised that with the new treaty, the landowners would be fully protected by the government, just as the American citizens would. However, this was not the case as most of the Mexicans lost their rights in the federal courts. The English settlers also drove the Mexican Americans out of their mining camps, especially during the period of the California Gold Rush. Additionally, the federal courts imposed rules that any non-English man could not testify in a court of law. Such rules were discriminatory as they Mexicans were sidelined by the same government that vowed to protect them. This new rule was similar to the Jim Crow rules for the African Americans, which segregated them from the whites, whether in the restaurants, buses, banks, and other public amenities, the Blacks were not supposed to mix with the whites under any circumstance. Therefore, both ethnic groups experienced racial discrimination from the whites, despite their racial backgrounds.

The Mexicans could own land, which was mostly in the south of Texas. These parcels of land were called rancheros and were owned by the elites. There were those who owned smaller rancheros and were only different from the elite by the extent of their land and property. They also had the lower class populations who were referred to as peons. The main difference between the peons and the African American slaves were the fact that they were free and a status above the slaves. They were also, just as the slaves restricted to movement, and could not move around without the permission of the landowner. In addition to this, the peons and vaqueros performed manual labor in the estates and plantations as the African American slaves did. The peons experience differed from the African American slaves in that they were never sold out to slave dealers, but were considered faithful servants to the Mexican elites.

African American slavery thrived between the 18th and 19th century, where very few slaves were able to own smaller parcels of land and even afford to own slaves. Sometimes the slaves would escape to freedom and establish their own lives. To ensure the escaped slaves maintained their freedom, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation order that declared any slave that had escaped to the union lines as free. The slaves were also helped by abolitionists to escape through the Underground Railroad. This was only an African American experience because the Mexican Americans had not been enslaved by the whites. The Mexicans faced racial discrimination and sidelined economically during the California Gold Rush era.


The Mexican American experience as compared to the African American one is not as brutal. However much they were sidelined, they were never at any point under captivity or indentured slavery. Their peons and vaqueros were considered faithful servants to the Mexican elite. However euphemistic the term “faithful servant” sounds, their servitude is very different from that of the African American slaves, and that marks the main difference between the African American experience and the Mexican American one.


Calculate your order
275 words
Total price: $0.00

Top-quality papers guaranteed


100% original papers

We sell only unique pieces of writing completed according to your demands.


Confidential service

We use security encryption to keep your personal data protected.


Money-back guarantee

We can give your money back if something goes wrong with your order.

Enjoy the free features we offer to everyone

  1. Title page

    Get a free title page formatted according to the specifics of your particular style.

  2. Custom formatting

    Request us to use APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, or any other style for your essay.

  3. Bibliography page

    Don’t pay extra for a list of references that perfectly fits your academic needs.

  4. 24/7 support assistance

    Ask us a question anytime you need to—we don’t charge extra for supporting you!

Calculate how much your essay costs

Type of paper
Academic level
550 words

How to place an order

  • Choose the number of pages, your academic level, and deadline
  • Push the orange button
  • Give instructions for your paper
  • Pay with PayPal or a credit card
  • Track the progress of your order
  • Approve and enjoy your custom paper

Ask experts to write you a cheap essay of excellent quality

Place an order