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An American LanguageThe History of Spanish in the United States$
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Rosina Lozano

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297067

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297067.001.0001

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The United States Sees Language

The United States Sees Language

(p.111) Chapter 5 The United States Sees Language
An American Language

Rosina Lozano

University of California Press

In 1902, U.S. Senator Albert Beveridge led four senators from the senate committee on the territories into New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma territory. While New Mexico had operated in Spanish in its courts, schools, and politics for decades, Beveridge’s team exposed the rest of the nation to this Spanish language reality in their campaign to portray the territory as unfit for statehood. During the Senate subcommittee hearings, dozens of New Mexicans relayed their connection to both their United States citizenship and their use of the Spanish language. From census takers to court interpreters to principals, Spanish-speaking New Mexicans defended their use of Spanish. While the use of the Spanish language did not definitively delay statehood, the increased national scrutiny in the media of the language did result in a shift in territorial policies related to language that increasingly favored English in order to better conform to the country's expectations.

Keywords:   Senate hearings, Spanish, language, New Mexico, Statehood

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