«Once upon a time in Laredo» by Mimi Swartz
«Once upon a time in Laredo» by Mimi Swartz is a story that is based on historical events that happened in Texas during the reign of Queen Martha Washington.Martha Washington’s communication was a private organization of wealthy Laredo residents that presented young ladies to society in an annual ball. The event mimics the elaborate reception Martha Washington gave in honor of President George Washington's last night in office. (National Geographic)
The border between Mexico and American Texas for a long time had remained inaccessible to other countries. The border was accessible and understandable only to those who had a house in that area. Nevertheless, Martha was the very “la primer dama de nuestranación,” who “put her country and the General above herself.”
Such an event led to discussions between two different cultures, as well as the spatial distribution of these countries did not satisfy them. The two Laredos, it has been said, beat “with one heart.” This particular stretch of border is both baroque and byzantine, the moststratified and status-conscious of border towns, part Texan, part Mexican, and somewhat American, withrules, rituals and folkways that have grown as complex and vibrant as the bougainvillea that blooms alongcolumns and rooftops in so many local yards. The information in the log provides the study of life between two worlds, the problems and their dependence on each other. A controversial point also remains the Queen of action in relation to the population of these territories. Taxes requirements wearing dress weighing 85 pounds, and their high cost is the cause of quarrels and disputes between states.Author correlates the complex history of the small border town of Laredo in south Texas with an annual debutant ball honoring the first United States President and his wife. In an effort to “gin up patriotism along the border”,( National Geographic,p.4) the pageant celebration can not only remedy the town’s struggles with their history and multicultural background but also show Laredo’s present struggles with lineage and class structure in a changing modern world.
Swartz makes evidence of her claim by giving historical examples describing how Laredo and how this border town became so famous for its debutant ball. Understanding the unique challenges this border town in Texas was facing, the author paints a picture of how its existence came to be. “After the U.S. defeated Mexico in 1948 in a bitter war for control of Texas, the boundary between the two countries shifted to the Rio Grande, and Laredo jointed the Union” ( National Geographic p.4). Once territories were drawn and many of its citizens came from across the border and even “drawing immigrants from Europe and other parts of the U.S.” (p.4), the town was becoming multicultural in its nature. In an effort to cement itself in the country, the citizens of Laredo had created a celebration for George Washington “…to prove that Laredo’s loyalty was to the U. S.”
The border between the two countries has moved to Rio - Grande and Laredo joined the Union after the United States defeated Mexico in 1848. The reason of war was to establish control over Texas. People crossed the river to remain Mexican citizens because Nuevo Laredo has become a new city.
Laredo has grown due to flow of immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world. An active trade between the US and Mexico was another important reason for development of this city. This area began to develop even better in 1920s due to discovery of oil in its territory.
In general, Laredo differed from other border cities. For example, many Spanish families have large land ownership. Some organized family business and obtained state positions, some pursued their careers in such economic institutions as banks. All these factors had a positive impact on the development of this region. Anglo-Saxon immigrants meshed with a local population and their children very true Mexicans. Josephs became Pepes, spoke Spanish. If these men were unreally lucky, they married representatives of Mexican nobility.
Community leaders have established the celebration of the birth of George Washington as a way to demonstrate patriotism along the borderline during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Such step proved the loyalty of Laredo to the policy of the United States. The Ball has become a way to connect the beauties of the city with the most eligible bachelors, cementing and maintaining dynastic alliances.
Nevertheless, the development of the region remained unchanged: stratification of society remained typical – the structure of population included a tiny layer of the rich people, who maintained their social position due to the taxes and a vast majority of jobless poor people. We can note that the income per person in Laredo was $ 11,000.
Many people found extravagant Martha's celebration of alarm, as she put on display a kind of wealth that has preserved itself for centuries on the backs of the poor. “Does the oligarchy think about the plight of the immigrants?” asks Maria Eugenia Guerra, a former debutante who publishes an alternative newspaper called LareDOS. “Only when it inconveniences them.” Not surprisingly, Jennie Reed disagrees: “Of course we are aware of the poor here. People in the society probably give away more money to charity.
Mimi Swartz used to give many historical facts, which confirm the activity of the government and the people at the time of major events. (Mimi Swartz, 4). The government is established through individuals being elected to represent the citizens in its community, state and nation. These individuals establish laws to be voted on by the citizens. These laws are set up to protect and provide for the people. Balancing the needs of everyone fairly.
Critical thinking by Mimi Swartz brings hope to our hearts that every epoch bears a public person who cares about the poor people. Oligarchy as a form of a state governance proved its ineffectiveness. The work of Mimi Swartz is actual nowadays because she rises very important issues – relationship between people during the wartime, relationships between different layers of population, These themes will never lose its meaning for human society.
Mimi Swartz. National Geographic . November 2006. Print.
National Geographic «http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/11/laredo/santos-field-notes»