WI: the USA imposes unequal treaties on Mexico (as the Europeans did in China)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Skallagrim, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    It is often discussed here that, following the Mexican-American War, the USA might have annexed more (or even all) of Mexico. Usually, this leads to a discussion aboyut just how realistic it would be for 19th century Americans to want to absorb sustantial amounts of Mexicans.

    What I have never seen suggested, however, is the idea of "unequal treaties" being imposed on Mexico, the way such threaties were in OTL imposed on China by the Europeans. What I mean by that is that ports (such as Veracruz) are permanently occupied by the USA, Mexico loses tarriff autonomy, US corporations get concessions to a lot of Mexican natural resources (such as mining sites) etc. Mexico nominally retains its independence, which prevents the whole "hassle" of absorbing Mexicans into the USA, but in practice, the Americans have control over Mexico and can exploit the country as they see fit.

    Obviously, it's a complete dick move, but it seems like a highly profitable one. It surprises me that such an idea was never raised when the option of annexing more or all of Mexico was being debated. Or perhaps it was, and I'm just unaware of it? If so, why was it rejected? I find it hard to believe that the mid-19h century politicians would discard this option out of humanitarian considerations.

    And finally, of course: what would have happened if this suggestion had been raised, and had been implemented?
     
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  2. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Not THAT different from OTL...
     
  3. Agra Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2018
    Can't really see a point where they can do it. Too much domestic strife between the Mexican-American War and the ACW. Couldn't really do in in the immediate years after that without being viewed as hypocritical by Europe after pressuring the French to leave. Then Porfirio Diaz takes power and it's probably more trouble than it's worth. Plus the Anti-Imperilist Movement and you risk to lose any interests in Latin America. Maybe it could happen later with Wilson, but if the US still joins WW1 it would make his 14 Points look pretty hollow. Though there's the Gadsden Purchase in OTL, but I don't really think that's what you're looking for.
     
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  4. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    A question of degree, to be sure, but it would be a lot more overt. I'm mostly wondering to what extent the effects of this system could persist in the long term. For instance: Veracruz as a USA-held equivalent of Hong Kong?


    While there is domestic strife in the 1850s, I don't think many people saw the scale and escalation of the Civil War coming in advance. My thinking here is that the South would see expansion into Mexico as a potential avenue to realise their "Golden Circle". The question of slavery in the "Mexican Concessions" would be simply one more subject of debate in the antebellum years.

    I suspect that the second French intervention in Mexico would be butterflied away by this turn of events in any case, so the question would mostly be: what happens to the American holdings in Mexico during the Civil War? (In that context, it matters whether they're mostly Southern filibuster-type holdings, or projects financed by Northern industrialists. Could be a mix of both, but the latter would presumably be secured by the North during or after the war.)
     
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  5. JorgeGG Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Santiago de Chile, South America
    Unequal treaties = Nationalism.

    If the US implemented unequal treaties, like foreign concessions and exclusive ports, it would be more of backlash and source of sour dispute with the US and of source of national unity for most Mexicans against Yankee imperialism. There would cries for México para los Méxicanos.
     
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  6. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

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    Obviously: as in China. One does wonder how long the USA could (or: would want to) keep this doen by force. China demonstrates that European powers could do so for quite some time even when bogged down by major conflicts elsewhere. Limited holdings, after all, are rather defensible. Moreso than a fully-formed colonial regime over an entire country would be.

    The effect on Mexican national identity would be very interesting as well. In OTL, some of the wealthiest Mexicans were explicitly willing to collaborate with the USA after the occupation of Mexico City. (I've even heard the claim that some invited Winfield Scott to become dictator and serve their interests, but I have no confirmation on that.) This rather implies that all of mexico could be united against the colonialist regime and the collaborating elite. OTL's problems stemming from a rich-poor divide in Mexico could be butterflied. A very united independence movement, which would be more broadly egalitarian could arise. Nothing like a shared struggle to unite a people, after all.
     
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  7. Agra Well-Known Member

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    I really meant it like there's no way the North will country expand further South in those years. The Mexican-American War was pretty unpopular in the North and without Texas to annex there's no way Pierce or Buchanan can justify another war against Mexico in those years.
     
  8. DValdron Random human being

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    Canada
    It's not actually all that different from OTL. The distinction being that what you would propose would impose a lot of costs and administrative burden on the United States.