The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 355
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2003 Whither Tejano History: Origins, Development, and Status 355
advantage of helpless ranch dons. Provocative studies now averred that at
least some of the lands were lost over the generations through partition-
ing to heirs and that the court system was not necessarily unfair in adju-
dicating Tejano land grants.19 Political powerlessness, once described as
emanating from conspiracy among whites to disfranchise Texas
Mexicans, is presently thought to have involved a coalition of Anglos
and Mexican American elites, especially in the ranch counties of South
Texas, who used the Tejano vote for political advantage.0Violence and
crime against Tejanos, earlier associated almost exclusively with Anglo
ruffians, are now determined to have been as much a part of the life of
early Spanish-speaking settlements and twentieth century barrios as they
were a problem for the rest of Texas society.21 Anglo Americans, depict-
ed during the 197o0s as Mexican haters, by the 99os came under recon-
sideration as scholars discovered numerous instances in which "gringos"
acted as amigos de la raza.22 It should be stressed that despite these depar-
tures, historians had not forsaken race as a causal force in Texas history.
Rather, the newer arguments reflected finer analyses that built on older
ones while not completely displacing them.
Writings published during the last few years of the twentieth century
also moved toward more deft elaboration of earlier premises or gave
greater clarity to new topics. Revision perhaps seems an inappropriate
term for that process, as the body of works to be revisited was still mod-
est. But after thirty years, the "shelf life of truth" for Tejano history had
run its course and consequently the time was ripe for reappraisal. The
expected re-examination came subtly in articles, dissertations, and a
trickle of books. Among the latter was Armando C. Alonzo's Tejano
Legacy: Rancheros and Settlers in South Texas, 1734-900 (Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 1998). While illuminating many aspects
of Texas-Mexican life in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (among these,
community building during the eighteenth century, demographic
resiliency and growth, stock raising, and-the main focus of the book-
land tenure), this important work took issue with several long-standing
" Ana Carohna Castillo Crimm, "Success m Adversity: The Mexican Americans of Victoria
County, Texas, 18oo-188o" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1994), 8-9, 18o-181, 216,
219, 288; and Armando Alonzo, Tejano Legacy: Rancheros and Settlers zn South Texas, 1734-1900
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998), 9, 280, 283, and 161-181, 259-270.
1See, for instance, Roberto R. Calder6n, "Mexican Politics m the American Era, 1846-19oo:
Laredo, Texas" (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 1993); and Jerry D.
Thompson, Warm Weather and Bad Whiskey: The i886 Laredo Electzon Rot (El Paso: Texas Western
21 References are made in F. Arturo Rosales, Pobre Raza: Violence, Justce, and Moblzzation Among
Mexico Lzndo Immigrants, 1900oo-936 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999).
22 Arnoldo De Le6n, "Our Gringo Amigos: Anglo Americans and the Tejano Experience," East
Texas Hstorical Journal, 32 (Fall, 1993), 72-79.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/423/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.