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Eugene Dominguez

Dr. Wilson

Huma 2319

January 30, 2020

Milagro Beanfield War

The Milagro Beanfield War was written by John Nichols is about a small-town man named Joe Mondragon and how he used water to irrigate his father’s land. It all started with the signing of the treaty of Hidalgo of 1848. Almost immediately after the war, Anglo-Americans began to challenge the Mexicans for control of their land. (Alonzo, 2010). It also did not help that The U.S outlawed their communal property and passing vast acreage into the hands of American Ranching enterprises. (Nichols, pg 22). This is a prime example of the racism felt by the Mexican people by the United States. The rights of the Anglo-Americans came first.

The United States continued to show their racism in that, instead of giving some of the communal lands back to the Mexicans, President Roosevelt designated a National Forrest (Nichols, Pg 22). The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also led to the annexation of Texas (Pletcher, 2010) thus taking more land and water from the Mexican people and making it harder for them to have water for their land.

With the United States now controlling a large majority of the land that once belonged to the Mexican people, it made it difficult for them to live off their land. Many of the Americans felt that they could use them as cheap labor. They only survived by becoming indentured servants to the large companies (Nichols, pg 22). All these people wanted to do was live and raise a family on the land they were promised and even grew up on, but because of racism and the Americans knowing they had the upper hand they took advantage of these people.

Handbook of Texas Online, Armando C. Alonzo, “MEXICAN-AMERICAN LAND GRANT ADJUDICATION,” accessed January 30, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles….

Nichols, John T. The Milagro Beanfield War. New York: Henry Holt, 2000. Internet resource.

Handbook of Texas Online, David M. Pletcher, “TREATY OF GUADALUPE HIDALGO,” accessed January 30, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles….

Sabrina Smyres-Ferdin

Week Three


In The Milagro Beanfield War, the people of the town of Miracle Valley are subjected to many forms of discrimination over land, water, and taxes to name a few. One thing that I really noticed that the townspeople were going through was paying for all the new ideas, such as the lake, that the Ladd Devine company was putting in as well as the big companies taking over all the land. It was mentioned that the bartender just knew that everyone in the town would be paying heavy taxes in order to pay for it and that “the conservancy disctrict and the dam is a dirty trick… it’s one more way to steal our houses and our land” (Nichols 25). This comment refers to what happened after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

In the book, it mentions that after the treaty was signed, although their land was supposed to be protected, the United States Congress “outlawed their communal property, passing vast acreages into the public domain… like the Devine Company” (Nichols 22). Even though the treaty was supposed to protect the communal grazing lands of the minorites, this was never enforced by the American government. Therefore later on when the “remaining communal territory was designated National Forest in which a rancher could only run his animals providing he had the money and political pull to obtain grazing permits” (Nichols 22) those who were not rich Anglos had no power or ability to challenge what was happening. As those in power like the Devine Company may have noticed, these people were not listened to and this gave more power to the Anglos and gave way for them to continue taking advantage of the land and other resources.

The government did not take any claims seriously and only catered to the Anglo opinion and desires. In article VIII of the Treaty of Hidalgo, it specifies that the land that Mexican citizens have acquired will be treated as though it was land that belongs to an American citizen and any title shown will be the only proof needed to keep it. With the racism against these citizens and putting them into a minority position, however, there was no way for a previous Mexican citizen to have fought their way into keeping their land for their own even with the right documents and therefore forced into becoming “serfs of the Devine Company” (Nichols 22) in order to have some dealing with their own animals on their own land. With Joe Mondragon irrigating their land the way he did, it was one way to fight back against the Anglos that were taking over and to fight against the racism as a whole.

Works Cited

Nichols, John T. The Milagro Beanfield War. New York: Henry Holt, 2000. Internet resource.

“Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; February 2, 1848.” Avalon Project – Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/guadhida.asp.

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