“On September 30, 1822, Joseph M. Hernández began his service in Congress as Florida’s first Territorial Delegate, pioneering Hispanic-American representation in the American republic. Like other Hispanic Americans in the federal legislature during the 1800s, Hernández advanced from the periphery of the Union to hold a brief term in an office whose core duties were more diplomatic than legislative, working to turn the former Spanish colony where he was born into a state. Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822–2012, chronicles the story of Hernández and the 90 Hispanics who followed him into Congress. In helping to shape Congress, these nuevomexicanos, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Guamanians, among others, enriched U.S. history.”
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