US annexes all of Mexico in 1848: what does the US look like today?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by M79, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. History Learner Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    And you seem to have missed that the Germans tended to cluster in the Midwest and did become the high majorities of their areas, which was the point. The moment rail connections became common and popular media began to reach them, assimilation began.
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  2. History Learner Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    Not at all; efforts at a Trans-Continental railway were underway as early as the 1840s and, as pointed out, the Gadsen Purchase in 1853 was an effort to get the Southern route underway. Without the need for that purchase, and the sectional divide that blew almost concurrently, the railway will definitely be under construction sometime in the 1850s. Given that, ~50 years of rail traffic by 1900 is correct.
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  3. History Learner Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    One need all look at a map of topography to see the superiority of the Southern route, given that it avoids going through the Rockies. As contemporaries put it:

    It was at this moment that Stanford, in an interview published in the San Francisco Chronicle, first set forth publicly the plan to push the Southern Pacific from Yuma across into Texas. In concluding his interview he said: "The people of San Francisco will never appreciate how great a danger menaced them . . . Had Tom Scott built his road to the Pacific he would have taken from us our best prospective traffic and carried it East . . . He would have given San Francisco a blow from which she would never have recovered."

    There is absolutely no reason to assume Mexican states would oppose a Trans-Continental railway; they'd be in total agreement with the South on the matter, given the advantages of such are obvious in the railway.

    It was a useful cover, nothing more. Reading up in the railway debates, you see it was more of a matter of the South using that as an angle of attack to prevent the North from getting it rather than a matter of just not wanting to fund it.
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  4. naraht Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2010
    That's what they thought that the time, but it is *incredibly* difficult to create a scenario (that doesn't involve larger earthquakes) where the San Francisco Bay area is not a significant metropolitan area. It is the best port for five hundred miles in each direction along the coast.
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  5. mrmandias Regent

    Nov 29, 2006
    The Great Empty
    Would adding OTL Mexico to the US really make soccer a bigger deal here? Soccer wasn't a thing yet in Mexico in the 1850s, was it?
  6. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    While I find it interesting these comments I think that many of them are missing the point of the 19th century the US “white” who viewed Mexicans as second class citizens. The US did not adhere to the peace treaty provisions. Congress rejected them and Mexicans now living in US lost a lot of the guarantees and treaty rights. Why? What makes people think that a US that conquers all of México be more friendly to Mexicans. I think it be opposites and Ango Saxon white might actually enact stricter voting and citizenship rules. We might also see more restrictive immigration from less desirable European countries.

    At best we would see all land southbound Rio grande like Puerto Rico.
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  7. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Aug 3, 2009
    Moreover, IOTL they built a transcontinental over just about every route that could possibly support one, and several that really couldn't (did anyone really want three different northern routes...?) If the southern route is built first, then San Francisco still probably gets a transcontinental railroad a few years later and becomes a major port city anyway--just like Los Angeles and Seattle IOTL.
  8. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Oct 28, 2007
    The US flooded Louisiana with more Americans than they would flood the core Mexican territories.

    You continue to state this and yet you continue to miss that this undermines your claims, not mine. In 1860, slaves made up 45% of the population of Alabama, 44% of Florida and Georgia, 47% of Louisiana, 55% of Mississippi, 57% of South Carolina. Yet in spite of the massive number of these unwilling foreigners brought to the slave states, it was the slaves that were forced to give up their language, religion, and culture; not the whites who had already been living there.

    Yet somehow, you believe that Anglo immigrants to the core Mexican territories, who at best would be 10% of the population, would do what the slaves failed to do in the slaveholding states, even when they were a majority - impose their language, religion, and culture on the natives.

    In the 1850 Census, Texas had a population of 212,592; only 41,020 of whom were born in Texas. In 1850, Mexico had a population of just under 7.5 million. To overwhelm the population of Mexico the way the overwhelmed the culture of Texas, 31 million Americans would need to move to the Mexican states, which is 8 million more than the entire population of the United States.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  9. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Oct 28, 2007
    The slaveholding states, while committed expansionists, were very opposed to federal funds being spent on internal improvements, like railroads. In a full Mexican annexation, a rail route from New Orleans to Mexico City, or at least Vera Cruz to Mexico City would be incredible useful. OTOH, a transcontinental railroad was incredibly useful, but in OTL it wasn't completed until 1869, in a large part because of Southern opposition to spending federal money on internal improvements.
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  10. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Oct 28, 2007
    Rail connections were common in the Midwest in the 1850s. In 1850, German immigrants made up about 8% of the US population - it took about 70 years to fully assimilate. In a US annexation of Mexico, Mexicans would probably make up at least 90% of the core Mexican states - there is no credible way they would be assimilated.
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  11. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Oct 28, 2007
    The sectional divide between free and slave states predated the Mexican-American War and will not disappear if all of Mexico is annexed. There were advocates for a transcontinental railroad in the 1840s, but the time it took to actually build one shows that idea that there would be a rail connection to the Mexican heartland in 10 years or less is rather optimistic. The first proposal to Congress appears to have been made in 1847, suggesting a railroad from Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean. Six years later, the US government authorized the Pacific Railroad Surveys, which were made between 1853 and 1855, then published between 1855 and 1860. Bills for building along the central route were then proposed and repeatedly defeated by Southern oppositionists, until the Confederate attempt at secession. The Act finally passed in 1863, and wasn't completed. There is no reason why any of these steps would proceed faster than in OTL.

    A transcontinental railroad still does not provide a rail connection and the core Mexican terrritories. In 1900, there cannot be 50 years of regular rail traffic between the two, because there were no US-Mexico railroads in 1850. The first railroad to cross the Mexican-American border appears to be the Texas-Mexican Railway, starting in September of 1888, 30 years after the end of OTLs Mexican-American War. An ATL Mexican War where all of Mexico is annexed is going to take years longer than OTL's war. The French spent 5 1/2 years failing to conquer Mexico. In an ATL where the US annexes all of Mexico, a more realistic estimate for the first rail connection between the two would be 1890 to 1895.
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  12. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Oct 28, 2007

    That interview is from 1875 and has nothing to do with what would be the best route for a transcontinental railroad.

    So far, you have given no reason why annexing all of Mexico would even be done by 1854. You have given no reason why any of the Mexican states would have been admitted as US states by 1854. You have given no reason for why most of the Mexicans states would support any transcontinental railroad, let alone back the slaveholding states.

    If all Mexican states were immediately admitted as US states that would add about 21 more states to the existing 31, but that is never going to happen. Immediate statehood would mean 24% of the House of Representatives and 40% of the Senate are Mexicans, which no Anglo politician is going to accept. Southern politicians would be especially opposed to it because they might get 5 or 6 Mexican states as slave states with the other 25 to 26 being free states. And while the northern tier of former Mexican states might support the southern route for a Transpacific railroad, most Mexican states gain nothing from any of the proposed routes for a transcontinental railroad and would probably vote against it.

    "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; but neither this, nor any other clause contained in the Constitution, shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce..." Article 1, Section 8, Confederate Constitution
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  13. naraht Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2010
    My guess is that the area which is the Northern tier of OTL mexican states will probably be anglo dominated (not necessarily a majority, but near) by 1920, just as OTL New Mexico and Arizona were, especially Chihuahua, Sonora and Baja California. In fact in a US takes all of Mexico scenario, it is entirely possible that all of OTL Baja will be part of a "South California" which includes San Diego and possibly Los Angeles. As such it would be majority Anglo at Statehood.

    But some of the southern OTL mexican states (Chiapas, Oaxaca,etc.), I'm not sure even today in OTL that the state has a majority of people that are of European descent, and as such the likelihood of making them anglo dominated even by the 20th century is *small*.
  14. phx1138 Bocagiste troll

    Jun 20, 2009
    Charlie Townsend's guest house
    And by appearances that was more to screw over the North than because they disliked the idea of railways anywhere. If (as it would) it gave them access to new slave states, I'm less sure there would be opposition.

    And you've ignored the fact that, TTL, there's an actual need for it, where there was much less of one OTL: there's ongoing Army operations in Mexico.
  15. Wendell Wendell

    Jun 8, 2005
    Lost in what might have been
    What happens to the Mascogo people and the Mormons in this timeline?
  16. Fiver Curmudgeon

    Oct 28, 2007
    In the post you replied to, I clearly said "In a full Mexican annexation, a rail route from New Orleans to Mexico City, or at least Vera Cruz to Mexico City would be incredible useful", so I am definitely not ignoring that in TTL, there is a need for a railroad to the Mexican heartland.

    If the South opposed internal improvements simply to "screw over the North", then why did the Confederate Constitution say "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; but neither this, nor any other clause contained in the Constitution, shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce...."
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  17. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    Perhaps the Mormons move to Baja?

    More interested to see how relations develop between the Anglo and Hispanic speaking African-Americans in this scenario.
  18. manitobot Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2014
    It depends on whether the Wilmot Proviso is passed or not.
  19. David T Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    Actually, I think northerners will be particularly insistent on the Wilmot Proviso in the unlikely event All Mexico goes through. Many antislavery northerners had denounced the War as a slaveholders' conspiracy, and would hate the idea of an extension that could result in slavery going into not only California and New Mexico but potentially in some states south of the Rio Grande--at least the ones just to the south of it. And indeed the whole issue of slavery is one reason why I think All Mexico is so very unlikely. To quote (with a few minor changes) an old soc.history.what-if post of mine:


    From a reading of Frederick Merk's *Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History* (which has the best discussion I know of the movement for the acquisition of "all Mexico") I am convinced that the All Mexico movement was a phenomenon of the Northeastern penny press, and never had any real chance.

    There were a number of reasons for this. Whigs, north and south, were vehemently opposed to the idea, and they had a majority in the House of Representatives. Besides, financing an occupation of Mexico would be expensive, and the Democrats were proud of having lowered rates with the Walker Tariff. Many of them were worried that a continued occupation of Mexico would force a return to high tariff rates (which might be attractive to Democrats from protectionist Pennsylvania but not most others).

    The most important obstacle was racism and the slavery issue. On the one hand, antislavery Northerners denounced the Mexican War and any proposals for annexing Mexican territory as a slaveholders' conspiracy; yet on the other hand, some Southerners (the Whigs and Calhoun) opposed the war entirely, and few Southerners supported the acquisition of all Mexico. (The only Southern Democratic newspaper that shared the Northeastern penny press' enthusiasm for All Mexico was at the very northeastern edge of the South--Baltimore.) Both Calhoun and the Southern Whigs harped on the argument that the Mexicans were a "colored" people, who opposed slavery and would weaken it within the Union. And whatever their disagreements with Calhoun over the war itself, most Southern Democrats agreed with Calhoun when he said:

    "I know further, Sir, that we have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race--the free white race. To incorporate Mexico would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a Union as that!...Are you, any of you, willing that your States should be governed by these twenty-odd Mexican states...a mixed blood equally ignorant and unfit for liberty, not as good as the Cherokees or Choctaws?"

    Calhoun also harped on the theme that administering Mexico would require precisely the kind of centralized national government the South feared (at least unless it was sure of controlling it!).

    Note also the comments of Waddy Thompson, a South Carolina Whig who had spent some time as a diplomat in Mexico: "A friend said to me today that we will not take the people, but the land. Precisely the reverse will be the case; we shall take the people, but no land. It is not the country of a savage people whose lands are held in common, but a country in which grants have been made for three hundred and twenty-five years, many of them two and three hundred miles is all private property, and we shall get no public domain which will pay the cost of surveying it. I speak of the country beyond the Rio Grande. We shall get no land, but we shall add a large population, alien to us in feeling, education, race, and religion..."

    It might be thought that if proslavery Southerners opposed All Mexico as a menace to slavery, antislavery Northerners should have supported it for the same reason. However, the closest thing I have been able to find to this is the proposal of the antislavery *National Era* that the United States should unilaterally declare peace and should *invite* nineteen Mexican states (the ones with sufficient population) to enter the Union as states. That newspaper was convinced that doing this would fatally undermine the Slave Power. The people of these new states would all see to it that their states would remain non-slaveholding, and they were at least as fit for self-government as the hordes of immigrants now pouring into the US from Europe...But in the first place, the *National Era* emphasized that the entrance into the Union had to be voluntary; second, despite this qualification, the idea was denounced by other antislavery forces as "pandering" to the robber spirit of conquest; and third, as one might expect, it was unanimously denounced by Southerners. In any event, there was little chance of the Mexicans agreeing to this. It is true that some of the radical "Puros" so despaired of secularizing and reforming Mexico internally, they were prepared to get reform from without--by joining the United States. But even among the Puros, it's doubtful this was a widespread sentiment--certainly their leader Gomez Farias didn't feel that way.

    One gets the impression that what most Americans wanted was as much Mexican territory as possible with as few Mexicans as possible. What convinces me of the superficiality of the sentiment for "all Mexico" is that even the expansionists actually seemed relieved at Trist's treaty, despite its insubordinate origins. Thomas Ritchie of the *Washington Union* spoke for many when he expressed happiness that the land taken from Mexico was encumbered by only 100,000 Mexicans.


    To that post, I would add just a few things:

    (1) The support of the Northeastern "penny press" for All Mexico is understandable when you consider that they represented a polyglot region, and that their readers were largely immigrants, including Catholics. The rest of the country would be unlikely to share their perspective that non-Anglo-Saxons (and Catholics at that) could make good US citizens...

    (2) I do not deny that some southerners wanted more accessions and even hoped that slavery could spread there. But saying "In addition to what we got under Trist's treaty, I want Coahuila and Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon" is very different from saying "I want all Mexico."

    (3) On the subject of the likelihood that some of the northern Mexican states, if incorporated into the US, could support slavery: Noel Mauer (who has considerable knowledge of Mexico: see for his background) had an interesting blog post on this some years ago:

    "We have an example of a populated area switching to American rule. New Mexico had a population about as large as Coahuila's and a little more than half of Nuevo León or Chiahuahua. It provides a perfectly valid template for how those territories would have developed under American rule; with one wrinkle that I'll get to later.

    "We also know what American troops experienced during the occupation. Mexican politicians in the D.F. were horrified at the level of indifference, shading over in many cases -- not least Nuevo León -- outright collaboration.

    "The wrinkle, which would make Coahuila and Nuevo León different from New Mexico, is that the elites in the northeastern states actively desired American annexation and the extension of slavery. We know this because they asked for it! Santiago Vidaurri wrote a letter to Richmond in 1861 volunteering Coahuila and Nuevo León to the Confederate cause. (Vidaurri annexed Coahuila to N.L. and installed himself as the governor of Tamaulipas.)

    "These sympathies predated the Civil War. In fact, Vidaurri had been perfectly happy in 1855 to return escaped slaves to Texas. The agreement failed because the Texans wanted to send in their own people to recapture the escapees, not principled opposition; ironically, he made a whole bunch of antislavery proclamations in 1857, only to reverse them and start sending slaves home in 1858. It is hard to believe that Vidaurri or the elites that supported him would have opposed slavery, given their opportunism and their incessant complaints about labor shortages..."

    (4) In any event, with or without "All Mexico," extension of the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific was a very pro-southern solution to the slavery-in-the-territories problem. Hardly anyone expected slavery to flourish north of that line, while protecting slavery south of that line could set a precedent for future acquisitions in Mexico (if not all of it were taken at once), Central America, Caribbean islands, and anything down to Tierra del Fuego... (No wonder that even southerners who believed in principle that the federal government had a duty to protect slavery in all territories were nevertheless willing to accept extension of the Missouri Compromise line as an acceptable "compromise"!)

    (5) Don't equate slavery with cotton--many southerners hoped (and northerners feared) that slave labor could also be used for mining. That's another reason why a lot of people both north and south did not regard the slavery extension debate as a mere abstraction.
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  20. M79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    *Transcontinental railroad proposals date as far back as 1847 - Lake Michigan to Oregon - and by 1859 decisions regarding an eastern terminus were already well underway. Delaying the American Civil War probably sees it finished to the Pacific by 1865.

    *Adding all Mexico encourages a Southern Route with a line deep into OTL Mexico spyrring just west of the Rio Grande. Likely this could be done by 1865-1870 depending on popular support and the timing of the American Civil War.

    *Culture would probably replace traditional nationalism under the circumstances, if the better jobs require speaking English then watch how fast people can learn it. While the OTL northern Mexican states may change appearance of population somewhat the southern and more populated areas probably look very similar to OTL but sound very different.

    *The potential kick-start of American movement into Central America with outright annexation instead of puppetering might also be worth exploring, same for the Vanderlip proposal or equivalent in 1867
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