Originally the descendants of Mexicans living in the area of the USA occupied in the Mexican–American War of 1846–8. In the 1950s the name was gradually adopted by Mexican Americans, who as the country's second largest minority group began to develop a distinctive consciousness. Chicano cultural organizations were formed, while successful trade union activity under Chavez led to some improvements in pay and working conditions in the 1960s and 1970s. Meanwhile, the 1970s brought some educational advances with the establishment of bilingual and bicultural courses. Despite this, their group identity remained brittle, as many considered themselves merely as sojourners, there to make money to take home to Mexico. In 2000, 21.5 million Chicanos were recorded as living in the US, though this census figure revealed little about their self‐identification as Mexican Americans apart from other Hispanic American groups.
Subjects: United States History.