Anti-Miscegenation Laws, Native Americans and Latinos

In contrast to Blacks and Asians, anti-miscegenation laws were seldom applied to Native Americans and never mentioned Latinos. The reasons for the lenient treatment of Latinos and Native Americans are quite similar. In both cases, these groups first came into contact with Whites when frontiers were being settled. At the outset, Whites had much to gain by forming friendly alliances with Indian tribes or Mexican natives. On occasion, these alliances could be cemented through intermarriage. Consider, for example, the Anglo settlers who arrived in northern Mexico to make their fortunes in the early to mid-1800s. Mexico, newly freed from Spanish rule, hoped to capitalize on the sparsely populated furthermost reaches of its territory by attracting foreign investors. However, Mexican officials did not want Anglos simply to come to their country, exploit the land, and leave with their fortunes. Instead, the government wanted to encourage permanent settlement, and an excellent way to do this was to reward those who put down roots there. As a result, Mexico offered naturalization opportunities and corresponding trade advantages to Anglos who married Mexican women. Indeed, the expectation was that Anglo settlers would be loyal to Mexican wives, not manipulate or abandon them after using them to personal advantage…

Rachel F. Moran, “Love with a Proper Stranger: What Anti-Miscegenation Laws Can Tell Us About the Meaning of Race, Sex, and Marriage,” Hofstra Law Review, Volume 32, Issue 4, (2004): 1663-1679.

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