Mexicans after the U.S.-Mexican War

Beginning in spring 1846, after various diplomatic, informal economic, and unofficial militaristic attempts to take and occupy part of Mexico’s northern frontier, the U.S. declared war on its southern neighbor.  A decade after their politically unresolved dispute over Tejas, this war lasted for about one and a half years and resulted in the transfer of almost half of Mexico’s territory to the United States.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848 and ratified by both nations the subsequent spring, agreed to a payment of $15 million for the lost territory; settled the dispute over Texas in the favor of the United States; made stipulations about the land transfer; and detailed responsibilities and obligations regarding the actions of the Native Americans living on much of that land (many of whom never recognized a “foreign” power sovereignty over them and, accordingly, were hostile to Mexico and the United States).  The Treaty also detailed what was to become of the Mexicans living in the newly conquered territories.

Mexicans in the now occupied lands were to be protected under the laws of the United States and the Treaty.  They retained the right to their language, religion, and culture.  Their property and land was protected by the law.  As for citizenship, they were offered one of three options: 1) declare their intent to retain Mexican citizenship; 2) leave to Mexico; or 3) become U.S. citizens by declaration or by doing nothing.

This was the first time in U.S. history that citizenship was extended to a population that was not formally recognized as “white” by the federal government.

Two generations later, most Mexicans living in the U.S. no longer held title to their lands and found their cultural way of life increasingly under attack as U.S. white supremacy came to predominate.  In California, as land transferred from Mexican to Euro-American hands, a very racially-motivated Workingman’s Party dominated the call for a Constitutional Convention.  In 1879, that new Constitution not only made Chinese immigration illegal (the primary cause of the Party), but it also destroyed the legal protections Mexicans once enjoyed, rights promised to them in the 1848 Treaty.  California once required Spanish and English as the languages of it official business.  Now the new Constitution followed the already common practice of an English language state.

The “nation of laws” violated international and domestic laws in order to secure a democracy for some (white, European, male) at the expense of others (Mexican and nonwhite).

For more information, see:
Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California (Almaguer);
Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race (Gomez); and
Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona (Meeks)

For more details on life for Mexicans in California after the war, see the classic Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californias, 1846-1890 (Pitts).  The newer Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s (Chavez-Garcia), which pays particular attention to issues of gender and sexuality, is also an excellent source.

Read more LATINO LIKE ME.

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15 thoughts on “Mexicans after the U.S.-Mexican War

  1. Pingback: Ethnic Studies Banned for Telling Truth « The American Perpetrator

  2. Hopefully, some history and justice oriented United States Congressperson or Senator will ask for restititution for every agrieved family whose rights were violated under this ruse to empower some greedy, ignorant, low-down person.

    Also, all the decendants of the legislators who sponsored the 1879, California Constitution should help with the financial aspects if they are billionaires whose fortunes were made on the backs of the deprived and whose rights were guaranteed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hilldalgo (and the United States) and International Justice.

    Great article base on thruth and justice.
    My best,
    Charles “Chuck” Pineda, Jr. Retired Parole Board Judge,California
    Former Democratic candidate for Governor of California (1986-2010).

  3. Can you please refer me to information about the three-fifths clause and Mexican-Americans after the Mexican-American War. A scholar a couple decades ago told me Mexican-American women and children were not counted as people and men were counted as three-fifths of a person like African-American slaves.

  4. Misspelled truth and didn’t see the error until too late. Anyways here why Mexico lost the war. Spain never recognized Mexican Independence in 1821, as she felt New Spain was to rich to give her up. So, she invaded Mexico three times, and about several years apart. With new cannons from Germany, France, etc. they could hit Mexican army positions and artillery as the new cannons could shoot almost a mile while the old Mexican cannons could only shoot half a mile or less. Even though the Mexicans beat the Spaniards three times leaving several Spanish regiments in Vera Cruz for almost eighteen months before they departed. Casualties of Mexican soldiers was very high. Almost 475 thousand Mexican soldiers were killed, wounded and died, during those three Spanish invasions( Mexican sources).

    With almost a half millions men of military age killed during the Spanish invasions Mexico did not have the manpower to defend Tejas/Cuahuila from American or Europeans now American military forces.
    Then Santa Ana wrote president Polk a letter indicating if Polk let him enter Mexico he would guarantee that the Mexican Army would not win a single battle. AT THE TIME OF THE WRITTEN NOTE THE UNITED STATES NAVY WAS AFTER SANTA ANA, AND ANY SHIP HEADED TO MEXICO WAS BOARDED AND SEARCHED FOR SANTA ANA, FOR HE WAS TO BE PLACED UNDER ARREST AND TAKEN TO WASHINGTON.

    President Polk allowed Santa Ana to enter Mexico and within a few weeks took over the government as he was a very popular figure, and quite handsome! What Santa Ana stated to President Polk came true. The Mexican Army other than the initial battle that started the war lost every battle it fought with American forces. The only battle where the Mexican Army had flanked the American Army was at Buena Vista and was beating the army of Winfield Scott when Santa Ana told his victorious generals to stop the fighting and prepare to march to Vera Cruz as a new American force had landed.
    His generals protested violently stating they had the American army on the run, and in a few hours could route them leaving central Mexico in Mexican hands. I believe one general stated it would take three weeks for that new army to unload, organize, and march to support Scott’s army, and, therefore, now was the time for one great victory for the Mexico! Santa Ana overruled them all, and in the morning Scotts army waiting to be attacked and finished off saw no movement for the Mexican Army was gone.

    So, with no man power to replenish the Mexican army ranks due to the three Spanish invasions and one traitor president, Santa Ana, there was no way that Mexico could hold it’s territory, and the U.S. knew that Mexico didn’t have the manpower, artillery, navy, etc. to stop an American (English calling themselves Americans along with other northern Europeans who wanted free land and slavery) invasion or war machine.
    One thing that few historians like to mention is that the Mexican Constitution of 1821, DID NOT ALLOW SLAVERY IN ANY PART OF MEXICO, AND THAT IS WHY THE SOUTHERNERS WHO ENTERED MEXICO FOR FREE LAND CAME BY THE HUNDREDS, TOOK THE OATH OF LOYALTY TO MEXICO, GOT THEIR LAND BY STEVEN AUSTIN (EMPRESARIO), AND THEN LATER BROUGHT THEIR SLAVES WHICH, OF COURSE, ANGERED THE MEXICAN POPULATION, WHICH WAS NOW OUTNUMBERED. OUTNUMBERED DUE TO THOUSANDS OF RUFFIANS WHO DIDN’T TAKE ANY OATH, AND CAME TO TAKE TEXAS FOR THE U.S. THAT INCLUDED DAVY CROCKETT, SAM HOUSTON,WILLIAM TRAVIS A SUPPORTER OF SLAVERY. THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT AND THE MEXICAN PEOPLE DID NOT LIKE TO SEE AFRICANS IN BONDAGE, AND SAW MANY TREATED LIKE CATTLE. AND THAT IS WHY WITHOUT MANPOWER, OLD CANNONS AND RIFLES, LACK OF UNIFORMS, AND FOOD THE MEXICAN PEOPLE STOOD AND FOUGHT TOE TO TOE WITH THE BIGGEST MOST POWERFUL ARMY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE- THE UNITED STATES ARMY.

    CHARLES ‘CHUCK’ PINEDA, JR.OF CALIFORNIA
    Please excuse any typographical errors.

  5. If one doesn’t understand the above just think what we American’s did to the North American natives. We made 300 treaties with them an broke 299! The Seminoes were the only ones who we never conquered, however, they lived in the swamps of Florida. Read about how they were never beaten into submission by our army on the Internet.
    Republics, and that is what we are. Are not suppose to TAKE LAND THAT BELONGS TO OTHER REPUBLICS, ESPECIALLY YOUNG REPUBLICS LIKE THE MEXICAN REPUBLIC KNOWN TODAY AS LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS OR THE UNITED STATES OF MEXICO. HOWEVER, WE DID.

    WE, AMERICANS ARE QUITE AWARE THAT IF MEXICO HAD KEPT ITS LAND WE WOULD BE THE POVERTY NATION, AND MEXICO WOULD BE THE WORLD POWER.

    MY BEST,
    CHARLES PINEDA, JR.
    8TH ARMY IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA (1959),

  6. Kendall: Really appreciate your interest and your comments. I still think that the land grabbers are still land grabbers, and they seem to be all over the world. The Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Visigoths in Spain, The Moors in Spain, etc.
    Look at China today with those islands far from her shores!
    Keep those comments coming.
    My best,
    Charles “Chuck” Pineda, Jr.
    Former Democratic candidate for Governor of California, 1986-2010; Ret. Parole Board Judge,Ca.

  7. I see your point, but look at it from where I stand, I had no idea until recently, that Mexicans have been citizens the whole time. During slavery Black people were given 3/5 citizenship as it benefited the plantation owner. And some where between 1st contact and the trail of tears, the Natives were citizens. So the nation was NEVER all white. If the story were told that way I think a huge dent would have could have been made in this tiresome race dance. Glad I found you. (big smile)

  8. Kendall: I’m reading a book titled: The great Napoleon, and in it I learned that Charles !V, king of Spain liked to be called Emperor of two Americas. So, prior to the discovery of the Americas they were populated by North and South American natives who had their own governments, laws, custom, and everything needed to run a nation.

    If I had the power I would not use the term Indian because that is an error Columbus and his party made and has never been corrected. Columbus thought he had reached India, but he was not in India! I would use the term, here in the U.S., North Americans (natives) in order to correct Columbus’s tremendous error.

    So, when one reads about the indian wars one would read: Then General Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry attached the NORTH AMERICANS! One would then think “Holy Cow” what are they doing? And it would give the North Americans some social support, and not look at them as outsiders, but as Americans.

    We have a low down way of putting stigmatic names on other people like communist whether they are or not. Terrorist used today on whoever, our leaders want to place it on. In Korea army guys would refer to our South Korean allies as Gooks. the N—– word for Blacks. And it goes on and on.

    I’ve discovered that all these negative names comes from our English roots. The only dead Indian is a dead Indian from the British Army in India, then in our country. They, the English,referred to Napoleon as Boney. I guess it was a pastime to come up with negative sounding names. I’ve notice that in these negative and racial name calling groups they actually laugh, and have fun belittling another person!

    One of our problem in our society is that few persons with backgrounds in history, psychology, sociology, and the social sciences never seem to get elected into national political offices where changes in public policy could eventually trickle down to the masses.

    Somehow the lawyer groups have conditioned the public that they are the only ones who know what to do when elected to office. The groups that control our country like the international bankers and their American minions love attorney’s because the majority seem to have a fondness for money, and not doing any physical work, if any, at all. And these super rich bankers have time tested this profession, and a few others like Professor Thomas Woodrow Wilson who, as one of their American minions insured that private international bankers and their American minion took over the money making arm of our United States Treasury with a few reporting to Congress conditions

    Can you imagine the Federal Reserve in 2017, reported to Congress they made 4.5 trillion dollars on our economy when they really made 23.5 trillion dollars! They gave, instead of to us, 19 trillion dollars to central banks in their organization. Can you imagine what our government could have done with 19 trillion dollars?

    We need another Andrew Jackson. Read about how President Andrew Jacskson killed or ended the Federal Reserve during his administration, it’s in the Internet. And while reading about President Jackson look into how the international banker and their American minions met in an island off Florida to draft the legislation to take over the money making arm of our treasury. They used alias or fake names in order not to be caught in a conspiracy.

    In conclusion read the Proverbs and the last chapter of Ecclesiastics, and if you know the Lord Christ Jesus you will have a better perspective of what the Lord Almighty expects of us. I tell the men at the Union Gospel Mission to internalize the commands and the instructions in the Proverbs. For reading is easy, but internalizing God’s commands is much more difficult. However, if one is a believer, the Spirit of Truth will assist one in that great undertaking. And I can attest you will be a better man in the eyes of God and men.

    My best,
    Charles Pineda, Jr.
    Sacramento, California

  9. Not my intent to back you into your response. I offer my apologies, and hope to move forward with an interview with you for an upcoming The Neighborhood post. And if I may have a few moments, to gain some knowledge and feedback from you, to the benefit of me,, would be swell, but you are appreciated either way. (big smile) – KP personkendall@gmail.com, 946.84.7916

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