It was true back in 2008, and a much needed review today!
From Alberto Aceredaat the American Thinker: “A large segment of the American Hispanic community has historically shared conservative Republican values, even though today many of them vote Democrat. In fact, a close look at US history demonstrates that Hispanics have traditionally been closer to conservative Republican values than to those of the Democrat Party.
The GOP needs to establish a clear agenda to reach and mobilize these millions of American Hispanics who are not getting the conservative Republican message. Their presence in the party and their vote is critical and it is still today a swing vote up for grabs. Democrats should not assume that American Hispanics are part of their base. But Republicans should understand the need to act quickly.
History, the Press and the American Hispanics
In the beginning of this 21st Century, “American” is what defines us as a nation. However, in order to better understand the historical facts about American Hispanics, it is helpful to consider that states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana or Florida, among others, were home to Hispanic peoples even before the United States gained independence from England. These and other Spanish-speaking territories were originally part of Spain, and later Mexico. Many cities in the United States were founded in the 16th and 17th centuries: St. Augustine, Santa Fe, Pensacola, Albuquerque, and others. Understanding that in some parts of the United States the Hispanic cultural roots are older than the Anglo-Saxon roots is key to contextualizing the reasons why many generations of American Hispanics have largely maintained their cultural traditions and the Spanish language.
American Hispanics looked favorably towards the ideals of the Republican Party at the time it was founded in the middle of the 19th Century. The Spanish settlers who lived in what back then was called “Alta California” resisted being governed by a Mexican government that had won independence from Spain in 1810. The Mexican army suppressed them and those men and women called “Californios” welcomed “Yankee Gringos” as liberators who freed them from the Mexican yoke. Like other American Hispanics living on the north of the Mexican border in 1848, these “Californios” were among the first Americans to face the realities of being of Hispanic origin in a predominantly Anglo-American world.
After the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, there were over 130 Spanish-language or bilingual newspapers published in the United States during the second half of the 19th century. Many of these bilingual newspapers printed laws and public notices bilingually or in Spanish. They embraced the ideas of freedom, moral and material progress implemented in the United States. Most of these newspapers in the Spanish language supported the magnanimous ideals of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and those of equality, democracy and civil liberties espoused in the U.S. Constitution. Out of a section in the “Los Angeles Star” (LA´s first bilingual newspaper since 1851) evolved “El Clamor Público” (The Public Outcry) in 1855, edited by Francisco P. Ramírez. As an American Hispanic, Ramírez tried to take the best from both worlds, finding his own democratic thinking was best reflected in the Republican Party ideals of the day.
In the 1850s there were numerous articles in Spanish in “El Clamor Público” articulating the views of most of these “Californios”. As a representative newspaper in Spanish of its times, we find praises to the U.S. Constitution (“Alabanza de la Constitución Americana”), to George Washington and to American history. It did not stand apart from the debates over slavery that increasingly gripped politics in the United States. In fact, its hostility to slavery propelled many American Hispanics into the Republican Party when it emerged in the 1850s with a platform of opposition to the spread of human bondage to the West. We also find opinion editorials that openly supported and even asked for the American Hispanic vote for the Republican Party and for the candidacy of John C. Fremont, the GOP´s first ever candidate for president in 1856. They openly confronted and even disqualified Democrat presidential candidates such as James Buchanan, Jr.
In a region controlled by southern Democrats, who brought the prevailing racial attitudes of the cotton-producing region with them when they migrated to California, newspapers such as “El Clamor Público” defended the principles and ideas of the Republicans. By 1859 this newspaper advised its readers about the need to learn English, to understand that American Hispanics were under the American flag and about the importance to become Americanized all over, in language, in manners, in customs and in habits. In the 1859 election, the same newspaper publicized Republican candidates such as Leland Stanford for governor. Ramírez himself ran for the assembly on the Republican ticket. Other American Hispanic leaders such as Abel Stearns, Manuel Raquena, and José Fuentes actively supported the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln’s war effort. They organized rallies and urged their fellow compatriots to vote Republican policies as a duty to which they owed to themselves.
The Spanish-American war in 1898 created some turmoil between Spain, the Hispanic world and the United States. Throughout the 20th Century, the Democrats were able to shape the image of the GOP as the party of the anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, the “Know Nothings”… when, in fact, that was not the case. In 1972, for example, Richard Nixon began the “Spanish-Speaking Committee,” greatly expanded by other Republican presidents. In 1979, President Ronald Reagan stated the idea that American Hispanics are Republicans. Presidents such as George W. Bush recognized the importance of offering American Hispanics a voice in his administration and opened the doors wide and welcomed them to unprecedented levels of political access and participation in government.”
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