Narratives like The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit provide us with a basis for understanding the ways that popular culture in its most general sense– as the culture of the popular classes, i.e., the people– dramatize and question socio-historical forces.
One of the roots of the land-grab that we’ve come to call the Mexican-American War concerns the spread of chattel slavery and the maintenance of the political and economic powers of the slaver class. The Republic of Texas was founded by slave-owners who wouldn’t abide by Mexican law, which in 1829 outlawed chattel slavery.
A map of Africa in 1922. At this point in history, only Egypt is beginning to decolonize. Note also, this map was made in the aftermath of WWI, so German West and East Africa had been taken over by the British.