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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

citizens.2 This self-image was promoted by the creation of such organi-
zations as the Order Sons of America (OSA) in San Antonio, Texas, in
1918. The OSA was one of the earliest expressions of the native-born
Mexican American middle class's attempts to publicly identify itself as
part of the American mainstream and to claim equal citizenship.
Similar organizations emerged in the post-World War I years, culmi-
nating in the creation of the League of United Latin American
Citizens (LULAC) in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1929. Publicly articulat-
ed at first by the nascent Mexican American middle class, the emer-
gence of an American identity occurred gradually but received an
important boost during and after World War II. Returning veterans, by
joining existing organizations and by forming new ones, such as the
American G.I. Forum, asserted their demands for first-class citizenship
upon American society. And so it was, in this postwar climate of strug-
gle and self-definition, that the American Citizens' Social Club (ACSC)
of Victoria was formed.
Victoria's ACSC symbolized the consensual understanding of
American (and by extension, Mexican American) citizenship that
emerged immediately after World War II and dominated Mexican
American ideology throughout the century. This consensualism cut
across class lines and expressed itself just as powerfully in working-class
organizations as in middle-class organizations. Hence, the actions of
Victoria's Mexican American community in the latter half of the twen-
tieth century indicate that the concepts of consensus, class, and resis-
tance should be re-examined. This pervasive ideology led to a type of
consensual resistance in Victoria that remained largely impervious to
class distinctions and was expressed by the four leading Mexican
" The theme of changing a national identity from Mexican to American can be found
throughout Mario T. Garcia, Mexican Americans: Leadershzp, Ideology, and Identzty, 193o-z96o
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989) It is also at the heart of Carl Allsup, The American G.I.
Forum: Origins and Evolution (Austin: Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas
at Austin, 1982), as well as Benjamin Marquez, LULAC: The Evolution of a Mexican American
Political Organzzation (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993), 27-36. While emphasizing resis-
tance and the twin themes of victimization and colonization, this idea of a new sense of
Americanism also appears in Rodolfo Acufia, Occupied America. A Hstory of Chicanos (3rd ed.; New
York: Harper and Row, 1988), 171. Further discussions of a growing sense of Americanism
among Mexican Americans in the early twentieth century can be found in Mario T. Garcia, Desert
Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 188o-192o (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981) and
Cynthia E. Orozco, "The Origms of the League of United Latin American Citizens and the
Mexican American Civil Rights Movement in Texas with an Analysis of Women's Political
Participation in a Gendered Context, 191o-1929" (Ph.D diss., UCLA, 1992), 314. For a specific
discussion of the role of World War I on Mexican American consciousness see Carole Christian,
"Joining the American Mainstream: Texas's Mexican Americans During World War I,"
Southwestern Hstorical Quarterly, 92 (Apr., 1989), 559-595. Nancy Gentile Ford presents a broad-
er-focused work on World War I and the foreign born in general in Americans All: Forezgn-born
Soldiers in World War I (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2ool).
3 Marquez, LULAC, 16-17


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 5, 2016.

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