Stanford Humanities Center
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The nation has always been multilingual, and Spanish-language rights, in particular, have remained an important political issue into the present. After the U.S.-Mexican War, the Spanish language became a language of politics as Spanish speakers in the U.S. Southwest used it to build territorial and state governments. Spanish was visible on a broad array of items: on ballots; on stage, where translators next to political speakers could be seen and were expected; in governors’ proclamations; and in officially sanctioned translations of state laws. In the twentieth century, Spanish became a political language where its speakers and those opposed to its use clashed over what its presence in the United States meant and whether to allow its continuation.
Rosina Lozano (’00) is an Associate Professor of History at Princeton University where she is affiliated with the Programs in American Studies, Latino Studies, and Latin American Studies, as well as the PIIRS Migration Lab. Her current research project, tenatively entitled Intertwined Roots: Mexican Americans and Native Americans in the Southwest, tells the story of the ever-changing relationship between Mexican-Americans and Indigenous peoples.
From the Publisher
An American Language is a tour de force that revolutionizes our understanding of U.S. history. It reveals the origins of Spanish as a language binding residents of the Southwest to the politics and culture of an expanding nation in the 1840s. As the West increasingly integrated into the United States over the following century, struggles over power, identity, and citizenship transformed the place of the Spanish language in the nation. An American Language is a history that reimagines what it means to be an American—with profound implications for our own time. Read more