Harvest of Empire

by Juan González

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Epilogue Summary

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Gonzalez begins the epilogue with a consideration of how briefly the United States has held its empire status, historically speaking. Despite its mere two hundred years, the US is unique in the breadth of its reach and the strength of its ideologies, which have allowed its influence to pervade globally. However, Gonzalez suggests that the US must acknowledge that its empire was built—at least in part—on exploitation masquerading as Manifest Destiny. 

Because of this, Gonzalez argues that the US has a moral responsibility to amend its policies in Latin America and change its attitude toward Latino immigrants. He lists six provisions that would mitigate some of the problems about which US politicians and citizens express concern.

Gonzalez calls for a system of common labor between Mexicans and Americans along the countries’ border, thereby making it difficult for the corporations who exploit Mexican laborers to continue doing so.

He favors ending the US’s colonial dominion over Puerto Rico, as it communicates that the US sanctions second-class treatment of Puerto Ricans.

He argues that American public schools should encourage the study of Spanish as a second language for Americans, while establishing a better bilingual system for native speakers.

Gonzalez claims that investing money and resources in urban infrastructure and public schools would benefit not only the large number of Latinos living in cities but also the local economies.

Gonzalez suggests that the US cease all military involvement in Latin America, including those military operations aimed towards the war on drugs.

Finally, Gonzalez urges for the end of Cuba’s “economic blockade,” which he argues is unfair to Cuban citizens. Moreover, the US’s treatment of Cubans engenders discord with other Latinos, who resent the ways in which Cuban immigrants have special access to programs that have led to the relative prosperity of Cuban-American communities.

Gonzalez believes that these six solutions will gradually lead to lower levels of illegal immigration and establish better relations between Anglos and Latinos, the latter of which will only continue to grow in the United States. In his final statement, Gonzalez underscores his thesis that Latinos have always played an integral role in American history.

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Part 3: Harvest, Chapter 14 Summary