In the early years of the twentieth century, newcomer farmers and
migrant Mexicans forged a new world in South Texas. In just a
decade, this vast region, previously considered too isolated and
desolate for large-scale agriculture, became one of the United
States' most lucrative farming regions and one of its worst places
to work. By encouraging mass migration from Mexico, paying low
wages, selectively enforcing immigration restrictions, toppling
older political arrangements, and periodically immobilizing the
workforce, growers created a system of labor controls unique in its
levels of exploitation.
Ethnic Mexican residents of South Texas fought back by organizing
and by leaving, migrating to destinations around the United States
where employers eagerly hired them--and continued to exploit them.
In From South Texas to the Nation
, John Weber reinterprets
the United States' record on human and labor rights. This important
book illuminates the way in which South Texas pioneered the
low-wage, insecure, migration-dependent labor system on which so
many industries continue to depend.