• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

The United States annexes "All Mexico", 1848

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The Philippines, a nation of 6.5 million and largely Catholic or Muslim, in 1900.
Point, that was a time America pulled off something similar. Though in that case, the country had only recently been independent (and that unrecognised) without AFAIK much time to develop a professional army, while Mexico's been independent for decades. The US is also able to claim they're fighting an "insurrection" and claims they're doing this for the Filipinos' own good, they're certainly not colonising, oh no, while Mexico would clearly be a war of conquest to everyone - and (cos Mexico's massive) require more men to do it.

So America could possibly do it in the short term at least, but they'd have to be happy to accept the cost.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
Point, that was a time America pulled off something similar. Though in that case, the country had only recently been independent (and that unrecognised) without AFAIK much time to develop a professional army, while Mexico's been independent for decades. The US is also able to claim they're fighting an "insurrection" and claims they're doing this for the Filipinos' own good, they're certainly not colonising, oh no, while Mexico would clearly be a war of conquest to everyone - and (cos Mexico's massive) require more men to do it.

So America could possibly do it in the short term at least, but they'd have to be happy to accept the cost.
The biggest difference I believe is that Mexico had a large annexationist sympathy within it that, to my knowledge, the Philippines never had.

Winfield Scott estimated the upper classes (who later supported the French invasion) as well as 40% of the population in general were in support, something other American observers noted. Mexican sources suggest the Liberals were divided, with the Puros also supporting the Americans, which means the Liberal opposition that later on fought the Mexicans in defense of Mexican independence OTL would be divided here. I don't discount the possibility that some insurgency would occur, but it just seems like in the absence of widespread popular support that it would be successful or lasting. The U.S. Army's Historical Series has a work on the occupation which notes that the best area of resistance was sustained in the densely populated Southern Mexico on the Mexico City-Veracruz axis, but that it liked popular support of the locals and was dependent upon the continued ability of the Mexican Government to fund it. Of course, the U.S. could screw it up and engender such, but once the general demobilization begins it seems the likelihood of that happening decreases as the volunteers go home and the professional army takes over full duties; the 10 Regiments Bill was making its way through Congress by the end of the war.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
Worth bearing in mind that in reality non-English languages were still very common until WW1, when the anti-German-language campaign started.

In my opinion the increased non-Anglophone population and established status of Spanish in Mexico would be unlikely to be challenged- federal politicians would of course have to be bilingual, but I don't think the English language would become the main conversational language.

On the contrary, the lack of civil war and spread of bilingualism might not only lead to French remaining in Louisiana as mentioned above, but could even result in stuff like Dakota becoming primarily German-speaking. With English's status in those states analogous to the role of English in the EU.
Sorry for just now getting to this, I missed it while responding to others!

It's worth noting that the First World War only accelerated existing trends with the use of German in the United States. In 1890, there had been about 800 German-language papers, but this declined to 613 in 1900 and then 554 in 1910 according to the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. The same was seen in other groups, such as French in Louisiana which was already on the decline before the Civil War because of Anglophone settlement and commercial ties. Ultimately, it wasn't so much as Government policy as the result of the Civil War but rather access to the wider American culture, economic ties, etc which ultimately lead to assimilation into the English-speaking majority.

I suspect Mexico, by means of its distance and expected settlement patterns, to take longer and likely Spanish will stay strong into the 20th Century although with English steadily increasing; first as a dual language or secondary one before gradually giving way to the language of predominance. We've seen this same pattern today in the American Hispanic community and even Mexico, IOTL, has now mandated English instruction on the basis of making Mexico bilingual because of the increasing importance of English due to economic factors. I suspect this would happen ATL, just moved up several decades.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
As far as I can see, the evidence in favour of notable annexationist sympathy in Mexico here is a) political opponents casting shade on Mexican liberals, or Americans saying 'Well, they probably want the war to be lost so they can return to power and they're quite pro-American, but they have to put on a patriotic face at the mo', b) an American source in the shape of Winfield Scott guesstimating only 2/5ths of the population wanted annexation (And uh, people wanted him as President) and c) that treasonous (and given what they were proposing, mad) elements in Northern Mexico during the US civil war were hoping for Confederate annexation and their own empowerment.

This is not remotely compelling evidence towards the notion that Mexicans wouldn't have behaved like most conquered people have behaved like when their national independence is extinquished from abroad. That notion feels very Murica, tbh.
Admittedly, there is a dearth of English-language sources on the Mexican response to the All Mexico movement in general or the war itself; I'm not sufficiently advanced in my Spanish abilities either (to the anger of my girlfriend, who is Mexican, lol) to go through their sources. That has forced me to rely on English translations of the political situation and accusations made by Mexican authorities contemporary to these events, as well as American observer responses. It's worth noting, however, that large swathes of the Mexican populace welcomed the Americans in the North and were generally ambivalent elsewhere; when the French came 20 years later, they too had a large body of the Mexican populace actively collaborate with them.

Was it as wide as the sources have suggested from the American end? Perhaps not, but there is enough agreement among them all to suggest there very much was an element of such on the Mexican end, although we are not sure exactly how large it was. Mexican authorities were sufficiently convinced of such to be greatly concerned about it in 1847-1848, later even having treason trials from such.
 

lerk

Well-known member
I suppose if America does annex Mexico we get a much more alarmed UK which in response probably just annexes all of Oregon and becomes a lot more wary of the US in general. If the Civil War still happens I can imagine that the possibility of an Anglo-French intervention becomes more likely as they will probably see an independent South + the independent Mexico which will most likely emerge from it as a good way to cut America down to size and punish it for being so expansionist.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
Just as a general update, I contacted Pedro Santoni and he's generously provided me with several resources as well as some suggestions for me to track down further resources to see what exists on the Mexican side of the equation. Outside of that, I also emailed and had a correspondence with Amy Greenberg and Noel Maurer, which was likewise interesting; both Santoni and Greenberg agree with Fuller's interpretations and research, with Greenberg being the most emphatic. Maurer does not, however, although he did state that he sees it as possible that the U.S. could make an annexation stick if it wanted to. Both he and Santoni agree Winfield Scott's estimates of Mexican support are off base, however.
 
Last edited:

Elektronaut

Ice Cold in Elswick
Admittedly, there is a dearth of English-language sources on the Mexican response to the All Mexico movement in general or the war itself; I'm not sufficiently advanced in my Spanish abilities either (to the anger of my girlfriend, who is Mexican, lol) to go through their sources. That has forced me to rely on English translations of the political situation and accusations made by Mexican authorities contemporary to these events, as well as American observer responses. It's worth noting, however, that large swathes of the Mexican populace welcomed the Americans in the North and were generally ambivalent elsewhere; when the French came 20 years later, they too had a large body of the Mexican populace actively collaborate with them.

Was it as wide as the sources have suggested from the American end? Perhaps not, but there is enough agreement among them all to suggest there very much was an element of such on the Mexican end, although we are not sure exactly how large it was. Mexican authorities were sufficiently convinced of such to be greatly concerned about it in 1847-1848, later even having treason trials from such.
'Large swathes of the population' re: northern Mexico seems a contradiction in terms to me, given how thinly populated it was. That's what made US annexation there entirely viable, and potentially it was viable further south, Baja etc, but that doesn't equate to the entire country's annexation being possible without a murmur from the population.

I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on this but googling around for JSTOR articles etc I'm not seeing any evidence of your claim of 'ambivalence' in Central Mexico and a lot of accounts that there was significant and bloody resistance to Scott's forces. And that's just for a temporary military occupation, not after a declared annexation. So I'm not really sure where you're getting the notion of ambivalence from.

The notion that an independent country of millions would settle down into being happy Americans after conquest is an extraordinary claim as it's very much counterintuitive to the human historical experience in the modern period, and extraordinary claims require strong evidence. I don't see that at all here.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
'Large swathes of the population' re: northern Mexico seems a contradiction in terms to me, given how thinly populated it was. That's what made US annexation there entirely viable, and potentially it was viable further south, Baja etc, but that doesn't equate to the entire country's annexation being possible without a murmur from the population.
The claim made by several American observers was that there was broad support, but in Northern Mexico in particular there was; this is not to say that region was excessively populated, just that it was a region that was particularly supportive of annexation or Americans in general terms. Think of it in terms of a political map, in that a party might have broad support but in certain provinces/states/etc it is especially powerful.

I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on this but googling around for JSTOR articles etc I'm not seeing any evidence of your claim of 'ambivalence' in Central Mexico and a lot of accounts that there was significant and bloody resistance to Scott's forces. And that's just for a temporary military occupation, not after a declared annexation. So I'm not really sure where you're getting the notion of ambivalence from.
There was indeed a resistance movement in Central Mexico, which I've mentioned earlier up thread and which was supported by the Mexican Government. The U.S. Army's Historical Series even has a free, online work you can read on the subject which goes over it, but it's noted by most sources that this partisan movement lacked popular support on the broad level; it was basically sustained by funds from the Mexican Government itself, rather than the locals.

The notion that an independent country of millions would settle down into being happy Americans after conquest is an extraordinary claim as it's very much counterintuitive to the human historical experience in the modern period, and extraordinary claims require strong evidence. I don't see that at all here.
As I've noted, most of the sources available-at least in English-suggest there was support. Given they were Americans, however, obviously there is a valid reason to wonder how much bias played a role in such assessments; it's why I've contacted the academics and am continuing my research. Specific to the historical human experience in the modern period as a general claim, however, I'd really recommend Does Conquest Pay? The Exploitation of Occupied Industrial Societies by Peter Liberman. Collaboration is often extensive and resistance movements have very little effect in harassing the occupier or depriving him of economic gains at the expense of the occupied as a result.
 
Last edited:

History Learner

Well-known member
I've been continuing my research on this and am always adding sources to my current collection to refine both my knowledge and arguments, so I'd like to share some recent findings. The citation in question here is Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War by John C. Pinheir:

The Philadelphia Public Ledger, for example, argued that the Spanish Catholic nature of Mexico would create problems in the future if the country were not annexed quickly. This refuted the prevailing view that the white Anglo-Saxon United States could never absorb a non-white race of people as social and political equals. John L. O’Sullivan, who had introduced Americans to the term “Manifest Destiny” in 1845, now argued that because the “virtues of the Anglo-Saxon race make their political union with the degraded Mexican-Spanish impossible,” the only choice was to “amalgamate” the races through the work of “missionaries of republicanism.”3

Further on:

Whig opinion of the war vacillated to some extent but evolved relatively little prior to the onset of Scott’s Mexico City campaign. In their opposition to what was already being called “Mr. Polk’s War” by its opponents, they resorted to arguments and vocabulary rooted in racialist, anti-Catholic beliefs. Whigs generally opposed westward expansion for constitutional and practical reasons, believing that too diverse and far-flung a country posed a danger to American identity. They also had legitimate worries that adding new states in the West would diminish their political power. During the war, however, Whigs emphasized none of these concerns. Instead, they tended to stress religion and race in their arguments against annexing Mexican territory. Whigs doubted whether “eight millions of men at war with us by race, by language, by religion, manners, and laws” could ever become virtuous American republicans.​
Aware that increasing numbers of evangelical Protestants were supporting the war at least as a means of evangelizing Mexicans, Whig leaders cognizant of evangelical influence in their party acknowledged the war’s one potential benefit: rescuing “seven millions of people from extinction by sowing among them the seeds of a true Christian faith.” Even so, saving Mexican souls was not the Whig leadership’s primary concern. The largest pitfall of any Mexican conquest, they believed, grew out of the old belief enunciated by John Jay in Federalist #2 that republics needed to be homogenous in culture, language, religion, and custom in order to prosper and not disintegrate. Thus, Whigs simply denied that a republican endeavor comprised of two different peoples—Americans and Mexicans—could succeed: “even if annexation were good for Mexico, it would [be] bad for us.”6​

Further:

The Rev. John N. Maffit occupied the extreme pro-war position. A Methodist Episcopal minister, Maffit hailed from New York but had lived in Tennessee and Kentucky. In 1841 he had served as chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives. By that time he had already become famous (or, rather, infamous) for his controversial preaching on the Southern lecture circuit. In the summer and fall of 1847, the Rev. Maffit embarked on a speaking tour of a number of cities, including New York, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. He preached primarily about the war and argued “that the conquest...is part of the design of Providence for reforming the religion and morals of that country.” Indeed, Maffit’s anti-Catholicism ran so deep that he unapologetically supported not only the war, but also the conquest of all Mexico strictly for the purposes of evangelization.39​
Preachers like Maffit even made their way to Mexico as volunteer chaplains. One of these, Richard A. Stewart, was a sugar planter and Methodist minister from Louisiana. Stewart was so strongly in favor of the war for religious and expansionist reasons that he captained his own volunteer company. His fervor in Mexico matched Maffit’s in the United States. Stewart preached a sermon on the eve of the conquest of Matamoras that quickly became famous. In it, he portrayed America as Israel and 144 Missionaries of Republicanism “the land of Mexico. .. as the land of the Canaanites” waiting to be conquered.40 Evangelical pacifists pointed to Stewart’s Matamoras sermon as the inevitable outgrowth of the proposition that the war could be turned toward the good end of opening Catholic Mexico to the Gospel. Stewart’s rationale, however, was little different than that which underlay most Anglo-Saxonist, Manifest Destiny rhetoric.41​

Further:

Most Protestant preachers who were also anti-Catholic occupied a middle ground between the uncompromising anti-war stance of Parker and the fiery pro-war rhetoric of Maffit. They censured the war as unnecessary and evil but acknowledged that “God was going to bless the next generation of Mexicans through the wickedness of the American nation.” Ministers from every geographical section of the country voiced such sentiments. Even those who did not believe in Manifest Destiny or trumpet the Anglo-Saxon race assured the faithful that the war would “result in good to Mexico” because it “may be the way by which God means to disenthrone the man of sin” from North America. Others, in explaining how “evil shall be overruled for good,” pointed out that the war would “push forward also the principles of civil and religious liberty.”43​
 

Jackson Lennock

Well-known member
So let's put stuff into bigger context.

The Missouri Compromise was as much a compromise about a pathway to ending slavery as it was to expanding it. If adhered to, the only place slavery could have expanded to was Arkansas and Oklahoma, and from there it would die off because Slavery needed room to expand or it would die, because it was really bad on soil and because growing slave populations coupled with lack of increase in cotton output (because there'd only be so much land) would combine to result in slavery not being lucrative. Plus, free states would inevitably outnumber slave states.

This was part of why Texas Annexation was so controversial - it breathed new life into slavery! The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo at least was supposed to limit the consequences of this by preventing its expansion into other territories, but the Compromise of 1850 essentially undid both the Missouri Compromise *and* Guadeloupe Hidalgo.


So on the one hand, you've massively expanded slavery's possibility for growth - which will drive the North crazy because they could end up outnumbered in the country. On the other hand, you've taken away much of the need for undermining the Missouri Compromise where it existed.


As far as I can see, the evidence in favour of notable annexationist sympathy in Mexico here is a) political opponents casting shade on Mexican liberals, or Americans saying 'Well, they probably want the war to be lost so they can return to power and they're quite pro-American, but they have to put on a patriotic face at the mo', b) an American source in the shape of Winfield Scott guesstimating only 2/5ths of the population wanted annexation (And uh, people wanted him as President) and c) that treasonous (and given what they were proposing, mad) elements in Northern Mexico during the US civil war were hoping for Confederate annexation and their own empowerment.

This is not remotely compelling evidence towards the notion that Mexicans wouldn't have behaved like most conquered people have behaved like when their national independence is extinquished from abroad. That notion feels very Murica, tbh.

I see a third possibility based on what you said in (c). It's possible that the 2/5's numbers are correct, but only with respect to an inaccurate sample. Like, perhaps 2/5 of the Mexicans up north who didn't have much of a positive attitude towards Mexico City might perhaps have liked the US as an option (akin to Santiago Vidaurri supposedly being interested in joining the Confederacy, or the Republic of Yucatan requesting annexation and the Bill even passing the House). Or maybe the elites who the Americans dealt with were disproportionately friendly, and that gave the Americans the wrong impression. Would elites be any less likely to try any use the Americans as a foreign power to assert their hierarchy than they were the French and Austrians (with Maximilian) or Spanish (with the Mon-Almonte Treaty of 1859)? The Conservatives even bamboozled Maximilian OTL with fake referendum results.


All-Mexico to me seems unlikely in 1848. But a line from Tampico to the Pacific, plus Yucatan, essentially puts every anti-centralization portion of Mexico under the US flag. If you couple that with the McLane-Ocampo Treaty's guarantee of an extraterritorial route across the Isthmus of Tehantepac, you're pretty close to it.


1655387442231.png

If the US is bigger, I could see the US Civil War bleeding over into Mexican politics. Maybe Liberal elements in Mexico decide to make common cause with Lincoln's Republicans, and Mexico ends up part of a Republican-dominated US.
 

Roger II

Well-known member
I think at that point though you either 1) have all the problems of "oh noes, turns out they have no interest in staying with us despite what Don Hidalgo de Nobilidad or whoever told us" discussed above or 2) have a US that has incorporated a lot of people who are 1) invested in the American political project or some version thereof but who are also much more likely to be Catholic, maybe Spanish-speaking, and possibly indigenous (large swathes of Mexico spoke something other than Spanish until Juarez had his way and indeed still do). So you wind up with a very different trajectory for American history with interesting results.
 

Roger II

Well-known member
Actually I'd read a story set in this TL where it's 70 years after Glorious Annexation and the Standard Diner Breakfast is either hotcakes con frijoles or tacos de canasta with scrambled eggs and bacon, most people are multilingual unless they are either from Bumfuck, NH or Assendia, Chiapas (both from more Spanish speakers and butterflies meaning non-Spanish, non-English languages hold on better) and other interesting cultural shifts.
 

JesterBL

Gastronaut
Location
Flyover Country, USA
Pronouns
he/him
Even Decades of Darkness had the US slowly absorb Mexico- I could see something like what @Jackson Lennock described above leading to a revanchist Mexican Republic, leading to another war and eventually the whole of Mexico ending up either absorbed as states or territories or in an extra-constitutional status akin to the Insular Territories of a later era (I will admit that this was more or less the scenario I was considering when I sketched out my own All-Mexico AH called We Take Nothing By Conquest, Thank God)
 

History Learner

Well-known member
So let's put stuff into bigger context.

The Missouri Compromise was as much a compromise about a pathway to ending slavery as it was to expanding it. If adhered to, the only place slavery could have expanded to was Arkansas and Oklahoma, and from there it would die off because Slavery needed room to expand or it would die, because it was really bad on soil and because growing slave populations coupled with lack of increase in cotton output (because there'd only be so much land) would combine to result in slavery not being lucrative. Plus, free states would inevitably outnumber slave states.

This was part of why Texas Annexation was so controversial - it breathed new life into slavery! The Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo at least was supposed to limit the consequences of this by preventing its expansion into other territories, but the Compromise of 1850 essentially undid both the Missouri Compromise *and* Guadeloupe Hidalgo.

So on the one hand, you've massively expanded slavery's possibility for growth - which will drive the North crazy because they could end up outnumbered in the country. On the other hand, you've taken away much of the need for undermining the Missouri Compromise where it existed.
The easy solution to this is keeping to what the Missouri Compromise stated; Slavery being prohibited north of the 36° 30' parallel. Slavery can expand into New Mexico Territory, "Colorado" (OTL SoCal) and the new Mexican territories while everything above the line can still become Free States. The balance between both sections could be kept with each new State for the other matched by one on the other side of the dividing line. Whether it matches the intent of the original agreement is secondary to it matching the de jure precedent with the Missouri for Maine deal, while also satisfying the sectional desires of everyone but the Abolitionists. The South doesn't have to worry about the status of Slavery in general while the Free Soil faction of the North is satisfied it can settle the Great Plains without competition from Slave labor.

If Dallas was such a supporter of "all Mexico", why not have Polk die or be assassinated? In DoD, this happened - except that Mangum was POTUS, and Cass became his successor.
Because Trist conducted the OTL Treaty without Presidential approval anyway; whether Dallas or Polk is in charge would not change his inclinations. I'd also have to invent an assassination plot, when Yellow Fever where Trist was at was already running rampant and killing large numbers of Americans in late 1847 anyway. It's just the easiest, most sound PoD.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
Has discussion of this scenario happened with su novia or not? If it hasn't, I recommend a continued policy of *not* amigo! ;)
We have, and since I posted that my Spanish abilities have really improved over the course of the past year; I'm actually going into some Spanish language Mexican archives right now an academic directed me into for study. Fascinating stuff, I made end up posting it in the other Mexican annexation thread I did here.
 
Last edited:

raharris1973

Active member
We have, and since I posted that my Spanish abilities have really improved over the course of the past year; I'm actually going into some Spanish language Mexican archives right now an academic directed me into for study. Fascinating stuff, I made end up posting it in the other Mexican annexation thread I did here.
If you away without a lucha Libra about it, good on you, I'd just be careful, don't assume your typical Mexican or non-American is open-minded about the idea and is willing to consider it non-offensive.
 

History Learner

Well-known member
If you away without a lucha Libra about it, good on you, I'd just be careful, don't assume your typical Mexican or non-American is open-minded about the idea and is willing to consider it non-offensive.
Would you be shocked if this came about via talking to her and her brother? I'll @ you when I post about it in the other thread, I think you'll find the sources interesting I've unearthed.
 
Top