Hispanics in USA

carter pate (CPATE@UTCVM.BITNET)
Thu, 2 Dec 1993 10:33:01 EST

With respect to the exchange begun by Tim Holloway:
With a special interest in Hispanic cultures and peoples, I have stumbled
on a very undeveloped aspect of the issue, at least as discussed by most sociol
ogical treatments of minorities in the US:
If treaties are part of our sovereign law, what is the impact of various t
reaties of accession on the initial status and continuing rights of hispanic pe
oples in the USA? Treaties gverning the Louisiana Purchase, and former British
-Spanish territories in Florida assured full citizemship for those remaining in
U.S. territory, and protection for property, religion and culture(presumably i
ncluding language). Similar provisions were negotiated in the Treaty of Guadel
upe Hidalgo, but omitted by the U.S. Senate in the process of ratification.
As I read the provisions inthe Treaty of Paris regarding Puerto Rico, only nati
ve of Spain were given full protection, and others born in P.R. were left in li
mbo, as some sort of unnamed "subjects". At least until given citizenship in
That's all the time I had to explore, so far. What do some of you legal
historians know to clarify? Exactly why did the Senate omit the provisions fro
m Guadelupe Hidalgo, and what legal standing do they have in such unilateral c
For my money, we'd have been much better off if they'd remained. Assuming
that, and recognizing that Pueblo Indians were Mexican citizens at the time of
accession, it would also apply to them (but perhaps not to Apache, Navaho, or
Hopi, but that's a different matter.)
Also, who can clarify the anomalous problem regarding Puerto Rico? The C
ommonwealth status they've narrowly preferred can't last forever.
Does anyone else suspect this legal history has implications on the "offi
cial language" issue? I personally think the issue is stupid, but it does rile
up some people
Thanks for comments. cpate