RESOURCE:

The Bracero Program: A Historical Investigation

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Primary Source, Worksheets
Duration: 90 Minutes
Date Posted: 11/14/2013

Historical research starts with a question about the past. However, piecing together an accurate answer to these questions is not as straightforward as it may seem. Primary sources can—and often do—conflict with one another, as do secondary sources.  That said, sources can also complement one another in a way that allows for a deeper level of historical understanding.  The historian’s job is to explore and evaluate all kinds of sources to construct an answer—their interpretation of the past. Historical investigations help students build these skills.

This historical investigation examines the Bracero Program, which grew out of a series of bi-lateral agreements between Mexico and the United States that allowed millions of Mexican men to come to the United States to work on, short-term, primarily agricultural labor contracts. From 1942 to 1964, 4.6 million contracts were signed, with many individuals returning several times on different contracts, making it the largest U.S. contract labor program.