In the early years of the twentieth century, newcomer farmers and
migrant Mexicans forged a new world in South Texas. In just a
decade, this vast region, previously considered too isolated and
desolate for large-scale agriculture, became one of the United
States' most lucrative farming regions and one of its worst places
to work. By encouraging mass migration from Mexico, paying low
wages, selectively enforcing immigration restrictions, toppling
older political arrangements, and periodically immobilizing the
workforce, growers created a system of labor controls unique in its
levels of exploitation. Ethnic Mexican residents of South Texas
fought back by organizing and by leaving, migrating to destinations
around the United States where employers eagerly hired them--and
continued to exploit them. In From South Texas to the Nation, John
Weber reinterprets the United States' record on human and labor
rights. This important book illuminates the way in which South
Texas pioneered the low-wage, insecure, migration-dependent labor
system on which so many industries continue to depend.
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