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    Tanenhaus, David S. 2013. A Companion to American Legal History.


Marriage and Mestizaje, Chinese and Mexican: Constitutional Interpretation and Resistance in Sonora, 1921–1935


On a hopeful September day in 1912, Gim Pon, a twenty-five year old Chinese man from Canton, boarded the steamship Siberia in Hong Kong harbor to sail west across the Pacific. The Siberia docked briefly in San Francisco, but Gim Pon's destination, and that of seven fellow Chinese travelers, was not California but the northern Mexican state of Sonora. In the early twentieth century, thousands of men like Gim Pon immigrated to Mexico, boosting the Chinese population there from slightly over 1,000 in 1895 to more than 24,000 in the mid-1920s. Sonora, which hugs Arizona at the United States/Mexico border, was a popular destination, and hosted the largest Chinese population of any Mexican state through the 1920s. Once in Sonora, Gim Pon adapted to life in Mexico: he changed his name to Francisco Gim, learned Spanish, and became naturalized as a Mexican citizen on February 27, 1920. Most importantly, he formed a family with Julia Delgado.

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Julian Liam , “Chinos and Paisanos: Chinese Mexican Relations in the Borderlands,” Pacific Historical Review 79 (2010): 5085

Julia Maria Schiavone Camacho , “Crossing Boundaries, Claiming a Homeland: The Mexican Chinese Transpacific Journey to Becoming Mexican, 1930s–1960s,” Pacific Historical Review 78 (2009): 545–77

Carlos Martínez-Assad , “Alternativas de poder regional en México,” Revista Mexicana de Sociología 40 (Oct.–Dec., 1978): 1411–28

David L. Raby and Martha Donis , “Ideología y construcción del Estado: la función política de la educación rural en México: 1921–1935,” Revista Mexicana de Sociología 51 (1989): 305–20

August O. Spain , “Mexican Federalism Revisited,” The Western Political Quarterly, 9 (1956): 620–32, 627–28

Charles C. Cumberland , “The Sonora Chinese and the Mexican Revolution,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 40 (1960): 191

Edgar F. Love , “Marriage Patterns of Persons of African Descent in a Colonial Mexico City Parish,” Hispanic American Historical Review 51 (1971): 7991 (noting intermarriage among racial groups)

Homer H. Dubs and Robert S. Smith , “The Chinese in Mexico City in 1635,” Far Eastern Quarterly 1 (1941–1942): 387–89

Deenesh Sohoni , “Unsuitable Suitors: Anti-Miscegenation Laws, Naturalization Laws, and the Construction of Asian Identities,” Law & Society Review 41 (2007): 587

Comment: Statutory Prohibitions against Interracial Marriage,” California Law Review 32 (1944): 269–80

Charles A. Hale , “The Civil Law Tradition and Constitutionalism in Twentieth-Century Mexico: The Legacy of Emilio Rabasa”, Law and History Review 18 (2000): 257–79

Dara Orenstein , “Void for Vagueness: Mexicans and the Collapse of Miscegenation Law in California,” Pacific Historical Review 74 (2005): 367–408

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
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