tv Hispanic Americans in Congress CSPAN August 17, 2021 12:04am-1:00am EDT
ski was hosted by the legislative archives of the national archives which also provided the video. >> i'm richard mcculley, the historian at the center for legislative archives. thank you for attending today's researcher talk on this last day of july. this is the last talk in this series until we resume in september. for those of you in attendance, our guest hardly needs an
introduction. matt waz knew ski is the historian of the u.s. house of representatives and ex-officio member on the advisory committee on the records of congress to which the legislative archives reports twice annually. he's a longtime friend and supporter as well as a source of guidance to the center through his service on the advisory committee. malt is here today to discuss hispanic americans in congress 1822 to 2012 which was published last year. this is the third in a series that has come out of the house office of the historian under matt's leadership. the previously published volumes being "women in congress 1917 to 2006" published in 2006. and "black americans in congress 1870 to 2007" published in 2008. the total page count for these three volumes i calculated is
2,573 and still counting. i believe there's the fourth volume in the works. so this series obviously represents a very substantial effort for which we're all grateful and very eager to hear about this latest publication and thank you so much for joining us, matt. >> thanks for inviting me. pleasure to be here, pleasure to see so many familiar faces. your reference to page count was excellent, because i was recently talking to -- this is the book, by the way, in hard cover version. i was recently talking to a major trade press editor, and she was telling me about a few of her authors, one of whom is very well known historian. she writes big, thick, 800-page history books. she related a story the author told her of a friend who bought
the book and said, this is a fantastic book, i can't put it down. i'm taking it to get dressed, taking it to bed. last night i was reading it in bed and holding it up like this and fell asleep and the book fell on the bridge of my nose and now i have a bruise. the editor thought this was a teachable moment for the author and said no more broken noses, that's the new book rule, no more 80-pagers. this book definitely violates that rule. it is a nose breaker. in fact, i think it fits the arnold schwarzenegger rule which is you get your workout when you lift it up. it's meant as a reference book. i think one of the interesting things that happens when you write about individual members at some length -- the essays are about 1500, maybe they round to
3,000 words. you get what look like at first seemingly disconnected dots, and then kind of through an active pointalism, the dots begin to make a bigger picture and certainly a larger picture emerged as we were working on this publication. to give you some quick background on the book, again, as richard mentioned, the third in a series. in some ways it's a book that's very much like its two predecessors. women in congress, we published the latest edition of that in 2007, and the book on african-americans we published in 2009. these were all originally authorized by print resolution by congress. the prime mover rehind the original etd decision in the 1970s was lindy bogs from louisiana who was a great potent for house history and did a lot to promote the history of the
institution. those book were like pamphlets at times because so few women had served in congress. a second edition of both those books in the early '90s and a volume on hispanic americans was added. at that point we didn't have a history operation in the house. so the library of congress hispanic division produced the first edition was appeared in 1995. the second edition of hispanic americans -- and we are working, as richard alluded, on a book of asian pacific island americans. that will wrap up the series. it mirrors the structure of the book on women and black americans in congress. there are individual essays about every member introduced in chronological order with continue textual essays that set them in generational groups. these are fortified by appendices and historical images and artifacts, some of which
people around the table have helped us find. it's aimed at an upper high school, lower college audience. in striking aspects, some of the story lines do mirror one another. women, african-americans, hispanic americans, in each story line there's a turning point where the members become surrogate representatives for the larger hispanic community, women' issues nationally or african-american's issues. there's also a similar part to this story in terms of how the groups are integrated into congress over time. there's a pioneering generation that has to work their way into the institution. there's generally a long apprenticeship phase where they gain seniority and get on good committees and work their way up into leadership. then there's kind of a mature, integration phase, and that usually happens when there's a
critical pass of enough members to create an issues caucus and drive a legislative agenda. in many aspects, this story is really distinct from women and african-americans. for one thing, it's a story that stretches back to 1822 to joseph marion hernandez, our first hispanic american in congress. it's a century before him, a half century before we see african-americans in congress. really the early part of the story is driven by american foreign policy, expansion continently and then globally, the acquisition of florida from spain, the louisiana purchase, the annexation of texas, the war with mexico in 1848, the spanish-american war. the first century is also about -- another theme that emerges is democracy -- representation at the borders of american democracy, about how
individuals who political scientists call statutory representatives, delegates and resident commissioners who the constitution didn't really contemplate and how they were incorporated into congress, how congress not only created that office, but often gave them very limited and circumscribed powers. and then the fact that these individuals for the most part were representing majority hispanic constituencies, and the question of how these people would be incorporated or whether they would actually be incorporated into the body politic. an interesting aspect of this story is that up until world war ii, two-thirds of hispanic american representation in congress were these statutory representatives. mainly delegates from new mexico and then resident commissioners from puerto rico. from a research perspective, this book is a little different, too. unlike the fields of women's
history and african-american history, hispanic, latino studies doesn't have as many monographs or political biographies of the individuals who were covered here. in this aspect the field is somewhat undeveloped and splintered. so much of our research relied on primary sources, paper collections in sante fe and albuquerque, new mexico, local and regional spanish and english language newspapers. we relied heavily on the hispanic division which was fantastic at the library of congress. georgette dorn and tracy north guided us to resources both in new mexico and puerto rico and also helped us with the story line of the book. we used the library of congress's periodicals room to look at a number of newspapers, particularly puerto rican newspapers, la core response yeah el mundo and la democracy
yeah and the ever helpful "san juan star" which was the only one of the three in english. at national archives to capture the story particularly of puerto rican commissioners, but also territorial delegates, we went into the department of interior territorial papers, record group 48, the records of the group of the territories, record group 126, bureau of insularry affairs, record group 150, and in addition to that, the center for legislative archives supplied us with a lot of images of original documents and certificates of election. so the book is structure, again, like the volumes of women in congress and african-americans, along several long generations or story line breaks. the first runs from 1822 to 1898, the era of continental expansion in the u.s. the second breaks down from the spanish american war to world
war ii, an era of u.s. colonial expansion, global expansion. the third period runs from world war ii through the civil rights movement up until 1976. the hispanic caucus was created in december of 1976. that was another turning point. post 1977 it's the modern era, after the founding of the caucus. i thought it might be useful to go through a couple of the individuals here along the way and just trace the story line. i'm happy to take questions at the end. i'm hoping to leave 15 or 20 minutes for that. the first individual here, joseph hernandez, served a very brief term. he's an incredibly interesting person, more for his career outside of congress, because it was so short, but he was one of these individuals who helped kind of bridge the state's cultural and governmental transition from spanish colony to u.s. territory. he had fought for spain prior to
the turnover to u.s. control, and then relater fought for the united states, particularly against the seminole indians in several of the conflicts with local indian tribes. he earned and lost a great fortune on several plantations. he owned hundreds of african-american slaves. his life was complex. this guy is a slave-owning, indian-fighting politician who it turned out would be cut really from the jacksonian cloth. he embodied attitudes towards statehood and representation that many of the delegates in the 19th century later would. his term of service was very brief, but it set a precedent for later territorial delegates. he was the very first delegate from florida. so he leaves at the end of the 17th congress. his focus for the couple months that he was in the house was largely internal improvements. this is a story line that
follows throughout the 19th sentry, too. he focused on a postal road from st. augustine to pensacola. like a lot of the territorial delegates in the 17th century, he had no committee assignments, so his powers were very limited. he could introduce legislation, he could cajole members, he could lobby. but his powers on the floor were circumscribed. this story takes a turn with mexico in 1846. this is really the first major turning point in this story. it raised questions for congress particularly about how territories with culturally unique populations acquired from the massive mexican secessions in the wake of the war and under the provisions of the treaty of guadalupe hidalgo, how these would be represented in the federal government and eventually incorporated.
this individual is the second hispanic american to serve in congress. he serves 30 years after hernandez. padre jose gallegos. this is a really interesting story we came across. originally turned on to it because we found it in heinz precedence. he's elected in 1853. actually the second delegate from the mexican territory. there was an anglo delegate who proceeded him. gallegos comes from an interesting background. he had been a legislator, representing knew aif vo, mexico, which in the 1840s was a frontier land. he had become very adept. he had become a former priest and after the transition to american rule been defrocked. an american bishop came in and chased him out. so he switched to a career in
politics. he comes to washington in 1853, and he does not speak english. he knows very little about the american political system. he knows very little about the party that he's elected under, the democrats. but he's very adept at finding where the leaders of power are. his first problem, of course, is he literally, figuratively is a voiceless legislator. he's relying on members of the house to translate for him. this tended to be members who were from missouri, at the other end of the sante fe trail who were bilingual. his friend was john smith phelps of missouri who acted as his informal interpreter on the floor. gallegos knew he had to change this. he went to the head of the judiciary committee and the committee on territories. they both went to the floor on his behalf in early 1854 and
pleaded with the house to allow -- first of all, to pay for a translator, and second, okay, we don't want to pay for a translator, at least let him bring one on the floor, give the translator the privilege of the floor. in both cases, the house rejected that. the chair for the territories said let him have an interpreter, in order he be more effectually participate in the proceedings of this body. mr. gallegos does not understand one word of the english language which is the misfortune of his constituents. this is not for his personal convenience, but for the convenience of the people he represented. the house rejected that argument. what happens is gallegos is left to have his speeches translated into english and read by the clerk of the house or to have members help him on the floor. again, the language barrier isn't the only impediment. he doesn't serve on a committee.
he has to lobby other members to help him push legislation. he wins election again in 1855, but this election is contested by another hispanic from new mexico who had run against him, miguel otero. that contested election really kind of opens a window onto what's happening in new mexico politics in the 19th century, because gallegos really was part of a dock nant faction of shis span i don'ts in the district who favored kind of the receding spanish system. they had latched on -- they had kind of gained revolutionary ar dur during the mexican revolution. that was culturally and politically where they were coming from. the other side was represented by otero who was from a
business-oriented, the rico class. that class tended to align with the american political model which had been introduced in new mexico. whereas gallegos was a pillar of the old ruling class, otero belonged to this group of the u.s. educated entrepreneurs who were openly aligned with the americans. here is a picture of otero. so there was a contested election in 1855. it came down to disputed votes. what happens on the floor is a fascinating event. this is july 1865. gallegos is defending himself through an interpreter, through the clerk of the house, reading his statement on the floor and he stresses his personal ties to his constituents, describing himself as native to that very mexican soil.
he emphasizes the fact that mexican american constituents, quote, chose me as their representative. i'm not ashamed of whatsoever is common to them and me. and he judged that the sneers and the jests with which house members had responded to his faltering english really to be insults against all knew aif vo mexican knows. as i'm their true representative under the laws, so i claim to be their true type in all that has been the subject of sarcasm and ridicule about the debates of this contested legislation. i receive it all as the representative of my people. otero, in stark contrast, comes to the floor. he speaks in english, he addresses the house and he repeats salacious claims against gallegos going back to his days in the priesthood. he accuses al leg goes as being an ail ghent of the culture,
which he described as indulging great hostility against the igs toewss of the united states. in contrast to gallegos, too, otero describes himself as being of -- quoting him here -- unmixed spanish decent. as part of the elite who viewed u.s. annex sags as salvation and, quoting him again, the only security from the perpetual discords and civil wars of mexico, i confess i've always been attached to the institutions of this country and to be taught from childhood to look to this quarter for the political regeneration of my people. this is a strategy that they would adopt because they believed it was a crucial link in the argument for statehood. since they believed congress needed to be convinced of knew aif vo makes cano's readiness for self-government and also
their whiteness. there's an interesting multilayered debate going on here. otero typified hispanic delegates from new mexico in a number of other ways, too. his son mariano would become the first hispanic to serve as governor of the territory in the late 1890s. these delegates -- hispanic delegates from new mexico who represent eight of the ten that served in congress in the 1800s, they had much in common. they all came from upper class backgrounds, from wealthy landed gentry, well-to-do merchant families. most of them were interrelated by blood or marriage. most had prior experience in elected office in the territorial assembly in mexico. many were successful entrepreneurs. in fact, the interesting thing is the delegate's office in many respects is a launching pad for their later career in
territorial politics. they serve in washington for a brief term, go back to the district and that burnishes their resume either to hold territorial-wide office or to push forward their business interest. like many other new mexico politicians, but especially future territorial delegates, otero and other delegates such as jose francisco chavez, had a connection to the sante fe ring which was the first and perhaps the most notable political machine in new mexico politics in this era. the group dominated politics in the latter 19th century counting among its ranks nearly every governor of the territory and most federal officials from 1865 through the late 1880s. what were these delegates interested in? largely the same thing that territorial delegates from any territory, nebraska, kansas, wherever, desired. that was infrastructure
improvements, postal roads, railroads, improvements to harbors and waterways, those things that would spur trade and business and population growth and lead to stability in the territory and put it on the road to statehood. the one outlier in this story of territorial delegates is rom lad dough pacheco of california who was the first hispanic american to serve as a full representative with voting rights. he also chaired the private land plans committee in his final term. like the new mexico delegates, he's interested in internal improvements in california. it's important to realize with the exception of pacheco, all these delegates were constrained by these institutional limits to their powers. new mexico delegates could not serve on a committee until the house changed its rules in 1871 and allowed them on to one committee, the very prestigious
coinage weights and measures committee. it made sense for a territorial with a line of mining interests, but not exactly the appropriations committee. they served brief terms, usually just one in office. when someone got a wild hair and decided they wanted to serve a second term, that set off an interparty fight that led to contested elections. they were reliant on communications with key committee chairs or powerful people in the house. we came across a wonderful newspaper quote from the times that summed up the situation this way. territories are really to be pities. they are like children under a bad stepmother. there is no position so trying as that of delegate in congress. they have no vote, are the various beg gars relying on the help of members who nothing more to do than trying to help their
own constituents. the second phase of this story starts with the spanish american war, like the war with mexico in 1846, this is another paradigm shift in the story. the central question for congress would be how or even if culturally distinct peoples from non-contiguous territories, not contemplated to ever be incorporated into the u.s. body politic could or, in fact, should be represented in the federal legislature. after the u.s. assumed control of puerto rico, u.s. officials for geo statistic regions and economic reasons were loathed to give it up. congress passes the for kerr act of 1800 which sets up what is a colonial government for puerto rico. it left the island's status ambiguous. puerto ricans at this point were in limbo. they were neither autonomous,
nor were they citizens of the u.s. the supreme court a few years after the forker act was really no clearer on this issue than the for kerr act itself. the language of down v bidwell which tried to define territorial status had the phrase, and we used it as the title for this section, that territorial inhabitants were, quote, born in a domestic sense, unquote. resident commissioners found themselves in the curious position that territorial delegates had been in in the 19th century. their powers were greatly circumscribed. and after presenting his credentials. this is federico de getau, comes in in mid 1901, degetau was recognized by congress after presenting his credentials to the state department.
the expectation was that he was going to lobby officials in government, not just in congress, but across the federal government. but the forker acts ambiguity coupled with this latent uncertainty about part's essential unfitness, led congress to deny degetau floor privileges. he couldn't speak on the floor, he couldn't come on to the floor for many months until gradually these privileges began to be extended to him. eventually he got resident commissioners, the second resident commissioner got committee assignments. so individuals who were in this position tended to act more like diplomats and lobbyists than legislators. one such individual, one of the most important ones was luis munoz rivera who was a senior statesman by the time he came as resident commissioner in 1911 to
the u.s. congress. he had been a negotiator with the spanish the 1890s. he had been a political leader in puerto rico in the 1800s and 1900s. he was a man of high culture. he comes to the u.s. and he's in this position where he, after having struggled for so long to kind of carve out a measure of puerto rican autonomy in the waning spanish empire, he now has to face incipient u.s. colonialism. he's a devoted and eloquent nationalist, but he also had a sense of pragmatism and he kind of understood in a basic way that puerto rico's chances for complete sovereignty, certainly in his lifetime, were nil, and that he was going to focus on a system of promoting home rule and some measure of autonomy within the american empire.
and to that end, he sought to shape the provisions of the second jones act which passed in 1917. the jones act somewhat liberalized the colonial regime that had been set up under the forker act, but it still kept power concentrated in a council that was appointed by the u.s. president. the governors of puerto rico were still appointed by the u.s. president and could override the acts of the puerto rican legislature. munoz rivera came onto the floor and was so el kwept. give us now the field of experiment that we ask of you, that we may show it's easy for us to constitute a stable republican government with all possible guarantees for all possible interests. he supported the second jones act as kind of a stepping stone to later reforms. he passed away shortly after passage of the act. as it does so often, and i'm
happy to point it out, the u.s. senate comes very late to this story. in fact, more than a century late. this is the first hispanic american senator, octave an know larrazolo. it's a symbolic appointment, appointed in late 1848, leaves at the end of congress in 1929. he's in poor health and passes away fairly shortly after that. what he's most interesting for is his work in new mexico in the territorial government and then later, after new mexico becomes a state finally in 1912, he pushes hispanic civil rights at the state level. so it's a fitting appointment, but highly symbolic because he wasn't in the senate very long. of course, another first here is dennis chavez who is the first hispanic american to serve in both chambers.
he's known best for his long senate career, of course. he was one of the highest ranking hispanic americans in congress, really in the 20th century because he chairs three congressional committees, one in the house, and he goes to the senate and chairs the public works committee which is a major part of his career. but his career, which bridges the new deal and into world war ii, makes him a transitional figure in this story. he really is the first hispanic american member of congress who we can point to and say here is someone acting as a surrogate representative. he's advocating for people far beyond the boundaries of his district or his state, and he's speaking for hispanic americans nationally. he does this with his work on the fair employment practices commission and also in advocating for greater puerto rican autonomy in the late 1940s and into the 1950s.
so this story line largely follows after world war ii, the story line we're familiar with with women and african-americans. it's tied in to the larger push for civil rights in the post world wash ii era. again, there are two kind of principle strands post 1945. the first involves a mexican american strides towards civil rights in the mainland u.s. which were enabled by chavez and other hispanic congressmen. the second was puerto rico's evolution from a territory to commonwealth which was made possible by a line of reform-minded puerto rican resident commissioners. these strands were kind of widely divergent at the beginning of the period, but by the end they come together, resources are pooled. agendas that had been local are nationalized. there's a large grassroots
movement. the community service organizations in california, groups like this lar raza which is a more rad kalt political movement come together. this is a period in congress where hispanic american members serve along institutional apprenticeship. the length of service increases for them. they receive more prominent committee assignments. just a handful of the people here who stick out in this period, antonio fernos-isern, the longest serving resident commissioner from puerto rico and the principal architect of puerto rico's move to commonwealth status in the early 1950s. he was widely respected by house colleagues. he had a very close working relationship with the longtime portd rican governor luis munoz marine who is the son of munoz
rivera. that partnership ended in or produced the commonwealth change in the '50s which increased puerto rican autonomy. another individual here, henry gonzalez. gonzalez gets his start in local politics, housing issues in the san antonio area. he's involved with the pan american progressive association in texas. this launches his career in progressive politics. in 1956 he becomes the first mexican american elected to the texas senate. twice he filibustered measures in the texas senate that would have resegregated texas public schools. that earned him a lot of national attention. he had a great quote in "time" magazine we came across. it may be some that the chloroform their conscious, but if we fear long enough we hate, and if we hate long enough, we fight. he runs for governor in the late
1950s in texas and is trounced. he gets name recognition and becomes a viable candidate in 1961 in a san antonio district and he comes into the house. he serves in the house for nearly four decades. best known for his service on the house banking committee. he chaired it in the late 1980s and early 1990s, passed a lot of important housing and banking reform. critic of the big banks and also a proponent for many years of opening up the rather secretive fed to greater transparency. one other individual i want to point out is ed roybal from california. a lot like gonzalez in terms of coming up through grassroots politics, he was one of the co-founders of the community service organization in california, statewide organization that pushed hispanic interests. he's elected to the l.a. city
council in 1949. he's the first mexican american to served on the l.a. city council since the 1880s. his welcome was a little rough, but he fit in and was very important in terms of a lot of programs that opened city programs and housing to hispanic americans, a growing population in east los angeles. he was elected to the house in 1962 and served 30 years. again, he rises to a very high position in congress. he becomes one of the appropriation cardinals, chairing the treasury, postal service and general government subcommittee. i want to end here briefly by talking about the last period in the book which is post 1977. this is the main page of the website where the entire book is
available online. this chapter we titled strength in numbers and challenges in diversity. i starts really with the creation of the congressional hispanic caucus in late 1976. five members including roybal and gonzalez established the caucus as a legislative service organization that would follow, track and influence policy affecting america's hispanic community. unlike other congressional caucuses, over time the diversity of the caucus somewhat limited its legislative effectiveness. it was open to members from both parties. its roster included members from across the country. there were competing regional interests at work that made the caucus act oftentimes more like an information clearinghouse than a legislative vehicle for moving legislation through
congress. regional differences often splintered the caucus. hispanic american members were divided, for instance, in the 1980s on immigration reform, and also on trade policy in the 1990s such as nafta. perhaps the most striking feature of this era is the numbers game that's going on. the civil rights act and voting rights act in the 1960s and court-ordered redistricting we began in the early '60s opened new avenues for millions of hispanic americans. voting rights act profoundly changed the face of congress in terms of african-americans but also in terms of hispanics. in the case of the latter, two-thirds of all hispanics who have ever served in congress were elected after 1976. so that's a tremendous growth. we're now up to 102 hispanic members who have served in
congress. in 1965 when the voting rights act was passed, there were just five hispanic members of congress, four representatives and a senator. in the 113th congress there are now 33 total, 30 in the house and three in the senate. so the numbers have gone up. these members have also chaired powerful committees and subcommittees, authored important legislation. they've been party leaders. they've directed national party organization, mel martinez, former senator, and they've held cabinet positions. hilda solis and mel martinez. indeed, as the hispanic population in the u.s. has grown from 6% in 1980 to 16% according to the 2010 census, and as their advocates win powerful seats at the federal level, hispanic americans have become one of the most influential voting blocs in the country. gaining that reputation has never been easy an likely won't eefr be easy or simple or
straightforward. the experiences of the hispanic members in that post 1977 period illustrate very clearly that there's no one person or caucus who can drive the agenda or determine the needs and the desires and aspirations of all hispanic american voters. this was very clear after the emergence of a separate congressional hispanic conference which was composed of republicans in the early 2000s. the caucus began to break over cuba policy, so now there is a hispanic caucus and a hispanic conference. they're divided in a partisan fashion. this is perhaps the clearest side that political debate is alive and well in that community. but regardless, based on this long history, there obviously is much inspiration that hispanic members and those who study them can draw from the rich history and the hard-won victories over
the years. we have 15 minutes left for questions. and i'd be happy to answer any. >> raise your hand so we can pass the mic to pick it up on the video. >> out of curiosity, how did you guys define hispanic for purposes of inclusion in this volume? >> that's a great question. >> was there a specific definition or was it a know it when you see it? >> we relied on the hispanic division of the library of congress which polls new members of congress as to whether they identify themselves as hispanic. the interesting thing is in the 1980s it gets a little more complicated because tony yellow of california who is a
portuguese descent lobbies to get on the hispanic caucus and actually goes back to the roman definition of hispaniola and claims portugal is part of that area that would have been referred to as hispanic. there are a couple members who come to his aid, bill richardson from new mexico and he's allowed onto the caucus. it kind of creates a problem in later years because there's actually been probably a dozen members of portuguese descent, if not more, who have been elected since then. it's a matter of whether they identify as being hispanic or not. some do. some don't. we rely relied on the library of congress. another question that we had very early on was, you have the philippine resident commissioners from the early 20th century, and many of them have hispanic sir names, almost
all of them. in working with the library of congress and hispanic division, we bowed to cultural preferences and were told filipinos regard themselves as asian pcific islander, so they'll be in that book. we relied on the guidance of the library's divisions at that point. it's trickier, obviously, than women or african-americans. you can get on a slippery slope of cultural preference. and the book itself -- we've also been asked, i should add, latino or hispanic. we use the term latino/latina in the text itself. the title of the book was passed by congressional resolution. it was the title that the hispanic caucus wanted in
introducing the legislation. so that's the title we went with. hispanic is still the census term used by the federal government. yes, ma'am. >> in regards to -- with regards to the need for translators, you mentioned that a lot of the translators were from the east and, therefore -- i'm finding this also occurred in new mexico, obviously, but in southern colorado, those hispanic representatives had no english background, and the territory of colorado would not pay for the translator. so they also had translators from the east come, but then there were differences in political language that those translators couldn't help them with. >> right. >> can you tell me when the government then started paying for translators? >> we don't know that the
government ever paid for translators for gallegos. based on anecdotal stories that we had come across, he's relying on the friendship that he's struck up in particular with missouri representatives who were bilingual. it didn't appear that he was paying for it, or not in any way that we could track, out of any house fund, like clerk disbursement reports of anything like that. he may have been paying for it out-of-pocket. but it's hard to know. >> what do you think -- what are your thoughts on translator from the east versus maybe even a hispano who served in prior legislatures -- >> what's my thought? is there a disconnect? >> yes.
did the translators have to go through some type of litmus test? >> i don't know. i would imagine gallegos -- gallegos in particular, and he's the one who relies on the translaor in this time period -- although luis munoz rivera, he wasn't fluent in english either, but he studied while he was here. he had a tutor. but again, there's no record of him ever appealing to the house for a translator or ever paying for translation out of his office allowance, at least not that we're able to track. but someone in gallegos' position, who was very familiar with territorial politics under two different national regimes, i think would probably be savvy enough to overcome differences in translations. >> i also have a question on weights and measures committee. >> uh-huh. >> you said the house allowed
the territorial delegates to serve in the committee? >> uh-huh. >> what year was that? >> 1871. >> 1871. >> yes, in the house rules. that was the one specific committee they could serve on for about two decades. then the committees are -- they opened up a bit. after awhile, they can serve on the territories committee. and after that there's another liberalization that opens it up later in this early 20th century. but for a while it's very circumscribed. >> i don't have a specific question on weights and measures during this time period for the government. >> sure. >> but in colorado territory during the 1860s, they're changing weights and measures so they're no longer -- southern colorado could no longer use the spanish variance.
>> same thing, no doubt in new mexico as well. >> is that kohei owes? >> yes, from el paso county. >> any other questions? >> a general question. in the process of doing the third volume, as you get later, have you had much or any or very much overlap in women and african-americans -- between the three volumes. if so, how has that changed the way you've talked about those individuals or has it? >> in some aspects, the hispanic caucus and the black caucus do team up in the 1980s on certain issues, not so much the women's
caucus. so i can't say that it's really changed the way we've approached the book. the story lines in that regard, they cross in terms of party association i think more than caucus one way or the other. but there are these -- again, i mentioned at the beginning there are these very clear patterns i the political process integrate into the institution. it may take many more years in one case for one group, for one stage, but they're three very clear stages. for instance, for women, for a very long time, the early women members of congress from rank and up to world war ii purposefully, with the exception of rankin, did not embrace what you would call a women's rights
agenda. they tried to minimize gender distinctions, figuring it was the best way to work into the hierarchy. it's the same way with the hispanic-american members up until chavez and the post world war ii period. there is the tension to the degree you're going to act as a surrogate representative. henry gonzalez was a co-founder of the hispanic caucus in late '76, but he is so turned off by activists and particularly loraza, which attacked him in the late '60s and early '70s, he questions tactics used by activists and questions the legislative agenda the caucus moves to in the '80s. in the '80s, at some point, he stopped paying his dues. he is no longer on the caucus records. there's absolutely -- we have yet to find the press article
that says, "today, henry gonzalez left the hispanic caucus." we know he lost interest. that's a story that, you know, is familiar with women, too. it's not -- they're not a monolithic block. there are the similarities, but i'd say that those are more kind of general ways in which these individuals interacted with the institution. in fact, the story of the caucuses interacting with each other is a much -- there's not so much there. so -- >> in the 1850s, you mentioned giagos has no experience with the american political system. can you talk with which political system they were
working with? >> he came straight out of new mexican politics when new mexico was a province of mexico. >> excuse me. my real question is -- >> sure. >> -- how difficult was the difference in changing for them, from the american political system. >> i think he wasn't familiar with the national democratic party. the democratic party in new mexico was -- had its own kind of policy agendas. there's a great book that talks about this. howard lamar, which talks about politics in the southwest, he focuses on new mexico. but to make that leap from territorial politics to the national democratic agenda, i think, was tough for him. the governor of the territory at that point was david meriwether,
who was a longtime democratic politician from back east. he served as a tutor for giagos. meriwether records it in his memoirs. i think once you got him into a legislative environment, he understood how thing worked here in d.c. he certainly knew who the two key committee chairs were, and he was convincing enough to get them to go onto the floor and argue on his behalf. even though it didn't work. but there's parts of the story that, you know, we really have to -- there are a lot of gaps to the story. >> one more question? >> sure. >> the difference between english law and then spanish or mexican law that they had to work through. what might they have encountered with that?
>> that's really kind of a territorial transition, you know, question, and i'm not so familiar with how to answer that. >> okay. >> i mean -- >> i think some of the justices had to work with that that were in the territories. you're right, yeah. >> the court justices from -- yeah. >> well, i believe our time is about expired. thank you, matt, for thato talk