The Theft of Mexican Territories,
US Imperialism is born
By Jorge Suárez
Monroe Doctrine: “America for Americans.” Americans means citizens of the USA, of course.
Manifest Destiny: the ideology that the US is destined to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast; attacking and destroying the indigenous people of this land and stealing the Mexican territories was just part of the process.
1817-1829 – The colonization of Texas by settlers from the US began during the Mexican war of independence and at the expense of and against the wishes of those to the East (1817).
1821 – After independence, Mexico suffers widespread economic destruction and a commercial blockade enforced by defeated Spain. The US begins to weave its plans of conquest.
1823 – The US recognizes Mexico’s independence in exchange for agreements allowing further expansion of the USA.
1824 – Fall of the self proclaimed emperor Iturbide in Mexico and proclamation of the Federal Republic.
1824-1829 – Guadalupe Victory; First President of Mexico
1825 – Mexican Congress authorizes the settlement of US colonizers (mainly English or Anglo-Saxons) in the state of Texas. These 300 slave-owning families were originally allowed to establish themselves in a specific limited area, but quickly expanded their plantations taking up ever more Mexican land. This soon turned into a full-scale invasion with the creation of landholders owning huge areas, alarming the Mexican government with the rapid escalation.
1825 – Mexico abolishes slavery.
1829 – Mexico expedites the decree of abolition. The Mexican government (under President Vicente Guerrero) attempts to implement the decree abolishing slavery effective in Texas and tries to stop US colonization there. The USA itself would not abolish slavery until 1865, as part of the conclusion of the US Civil War.
1830 – President Anastasio Bustamante prohibits the entry of more US colonizers and expels the US ambassador Poinsett for interfering in the internal affairs of Mexico. The same ambassador was involved later in “buying” Texas from Mexico.
1835 – The independence and the subsequent US annexation of Texas is on the horizon. Mexico votes in a new constitution and becomes consumed with political chaos due to division between contending political forces there. The Texas colonizers form a militia and stage an armed uprising against the government of Santa Ana under the pretext that the federal system had become too centralized.
The Conservative Party/Centralists (feudal landlords, upper clergy, older existing military caste) battles politically with the Liberal Party/Federalists (the rising bourgeoisie of liberal landlords, public officials, younger military officers, and advanced intellectuals).
The colonizers’ militia is financed directly by the US with weapons, money, ammunition and even gunboats, while the US publicly claims neutrality.
1836 – The US government militarily defeats the Mexican army in the battle of the Rio San Jacinto, proclaiming Texas as an “independent” country. Mexico does not recognize the independence of Texas.
1838-1839 – First French intervention in Mexico (War of the Pastries). This intervention helps the North Americans in their plans for annexation.
1843 – The Mexican government declares that they consider the annexation of Texas an act of war against Mexico.
1845 – Texas annexed as a US state.
1846 – President Polk sends troops toward the Mexican territory and declares war on Mexico through the first armed conflicts with Mexican troops.
1847 – The US occupies the territories of “Alta California” and “Nuevo Mexico.” These territories are now known as the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and California. In March of 1847 the US invades Mexico through the Port of Vera Cruz and on September 14th they occupy Mexico City.
1848 – February, with the US flag waving in the Zocalo (main square) of Mexico City, the US forces Mexico to sign the “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” by which the US appropriates more than a million square miles of Mexican territory.
To conceal this historic theft of Mexican territory and portray it for history as an economic transaction, the US pays Mexico the insignificant sum of 15 million dollars. The land stolen from Mexico constitutes almost one third of the current USA and more than half of what was then Mexico. US history books claim the territories were “transferred.”
1848 – 1855 – The California Gold Rush helps complete the Westward expansion. At the time the US concern was to repopulate that vast territory with US settlers. The Gold Rush helped solve this problem. 300,000 people come to California during these years from other parts of the US and other countries.
1862 – 1867 – The Second French intervention in Mexico sees the installation of Emperor Maximillian from France under the reign and with the support of Napoleon III.
1865 – Slavery is abolished in the USA at the conclusion of the US Civil War (1861-1865) between the North and the slavery-supporting South (the Confederacy), which included Texas. The maintenance of slavery in Texas was one of the key factors in the previous theft of Mexican lands. Texas had been a key state in the decision of the South to secede from the US, separating themselves from the Northern states.
1867 – The French invasion is defeated on Cinco de Mayo (The Battle of May 5th), but the war with France continues for several more years. The US celebrates this French defeat as a victory against European imperialism, notwithstanding its own conquest under the Monroe Doctrine still being enforced. For Mexicanos, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration sponsored by Budweiser, but rather the beginning of a period of re-composition of their country that continues to this day.l