Conquest, Faith, and Resistance in the Southwest

Timothy Matovina

in Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162271
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850365 | DOI:
Conquest, Faith, and Resistance in the Southwest

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This chapter explores the various ways Latinos drew on their Catholic faith and popular traditions to resist the discriminatory treatment they faced after the US–Mexico War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 ceded the Southwest to the United States. Although in theory the treaty promised Latinos the same rights and privileges as all other citizens, in practice Latinos were forced to live in segregated communities, had to attend segregated schools, and were discriminated against. This kind of shoddy treatment took place outside and inside of the Catholic Church. The chapter further explores the various struggles of indigenous (born and raised in the area) native-born priests like Antonio José Martínez, who resisted discrimination by Anglo-American public and church officials. It demonstrates the vital role that Latino clergy and popular Catholic traditions had in political, civic, and social action in the Southwest. It also shows the various ways Latinos used popular religious traditions as a resource to engage in civic and social action. This offers a valuable corrective to studies that ignore the impact of religion and popular religiosity or confine it to the “domestic sphere”.

Keywords: Latinos; Catholic Church; Catholicism; segregation; discrimination; Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; US–Mexico War; Southwest

Chapter.  7062 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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