A Mexican History Lesson

If you have been watching the mass protests by Hispanic groups across the nation on any other network than Fox News, you would probably come to the conclusion that it is simply a demonstration by patriotic citizens and immigrants angry over the possibility of new restrictions imposed by Congress. Though there have been some who have waved American flags, as we see on those other networks, most of the demonstrators have held high the banner of Mexico and signs that I would consider treasonous. With chants of “Mexico!” “Mexico!” the protesters held many anti-American signs, some of which stated that the American Southwest belongs to them and that we stole it from Mexico. These people need a quick lesson in the history of their own country.

In the early 19th century Texas was a Northern province of Mexico, then under the thumb of Spain. Stephen F. Austin began leading settlers into Texas in 1821 with the intent on starting a colony there. Mexico, however, gained its independence from Spain that very year. As thousands of Americans poured into Texas, many seeking a new start for themselves, Mexico began to clamp down on the migration and eventually began to pass measures that many Americans thought to be severe restrictions on their freedoms, one of which was a ban on slavery. Texas was soon in a state of revolt by the mid-1830’s and formally declared its independence from Mexico in 1836.

 Seeking to put down the rebellion, General Santa Anna, also Mexico’s president (actually he was more like a dictator), led his army into Texas, in what historian Richard Bruce Winders has called a “war of extermination.” He crushed the Texans, who had gained the support of many American volunteers, at the Alamo, then won again at Goliad, where he ordered more than 300 prisoners executed. Yet this did little to discourage the Texas army under Sam Houston, who trapped Santa Anna at San Jacinto and nearly destroyed his army.

Santa Anna was captured the next day and given a choice: be executed or give up all claims to Texas. And, being the head of state, he signed a treaty that recognized the independence of Texas. The Treaty of Velasco, signed in the presence of both the president and vice president of the Republic of Texas, stated that the southern boundary of Texas, its border with Mexico, would be the Rio Grande River, and all Mexican forces had to retreat south of that boundary. The Mexican government would later claim that the true boundary was the Nueces River, near Corpus Christi. However, a new government in Mexico City, in effect, removed Santa Anna from office and declared the treaty to be null and void. This is where the arguments center.

The Mexican government did not, and would not, recognize the Republic of Texas, and President Andrew Jackson, because of domestic political considerations, did not do so until his final day in office, March 4, 1837.

The Republic of Texas maintained its independence for a few years but there was little doubt in anyone’s mind that it would eventually end up in the United States. That was accomplished, despite Mexican threats and a break in diplomatic relations, as a new, young president was taking office. James K. Polk became the 11th president of the United States in 1845 and was full of the spirit of Manifest Destiny that was pervading the nation. President Polk sought to make America a continental power and was eyeing other Mexican territories, namely California.

The Mexican government was crying for war as Texas became the 28th state in the Union. But President Polk did not want war and sought to avoid conflict in his quest for more Mexican land. He offered to buy New Mexico for $5 million, to negotiate a price for California, and for the U.S. to assume all of Mexico’s debt of $4.5 million in exchange for a recognition of the Rio Grande as the southern boundary of the United States. The Mexican government refused. Knowing that there was a dispute over the boundary of Texas, Polk sent an army under General Zachary Taylor to the Rio Grande in the hopes that such an action would provoke the Mexican army to attack. It worked.

The Mexican War lasted from April 1846 until September 1847, when American forces under General Winfield Scott captured Mexico City. Officially concluding the war, the Mexican government agreed to the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which granted the U.S. the rights to California, New Mexico, and all of the present-day U.S. southwest, from Sante Fe to San Francisco. And out of the goodness of our hearts, the United States also paid Mexico $15 million dollars for the land we had just gained with our blood, sweat, tears, and treasure.

Now that all seems fairly simple to me and any other reasonable American – we won and they lost, and to lose is to pay a price, but the Mexicans don’t see it quite that way. They feel that all of the American Southwest still belongs to them, because we “stole” it somehow, so to cross over the border into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, or California is not really illegal because it’s theirs anyway. A poll recently conducted in Mexico found that an astonishing 60 percent of the population of Mexico agreed with that position. This is both a result of ignorance and Mexican propaganda.

Fanning the flames on this side of the border are several prominent, radical Latino organizations, such as MEChA, that hope to reclaim this area under Mexican sovereignty or a new Mexican nation, a movement known as the Reconquista. Some have already designated Los Angeles as the capital of what is known as Aztlan, the seven states of the American southwest. The idea is to get millions of Mexican immigrants to flood the Southwest, many of which would obviously be illegal, wait for another blanket amnesty, like some in Washington are proposing, and hopefully gain enough voters to break the southwest off via a legal referendum. Don’t think it’s serious? We might just wake up to that reality one day. What would be our response? How could we deny it since we are in the process of spreading democracy around the globe? We would look mighty hypocritical if we moved in to stop it!

In addition to radical organizations, there are several prominent Hispanics in this country, on the taxpayer payroll, who are advocating a splintering of our country. One of which is political science Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, who teaches as the University of Texas in Austin. He recently made David Horowitz’s list of the 101 most dangerous academics in America. Professor Gutierrez, according to Horowitz, once advocated killing Americans if that is what was necessary to accomplish Aztlan. In 2004 he boasted that Hispanics were “the future of America. Unlike any prior generation, we now have the critical mass. We’re going to Latinize this country.” He is also the author of a lovely book entitled A Chicano Manual on How to Handle Gringos.  Friends, this used to be called treason!

So ask yourself, my fellow citizens, is this acceptable to you? Some might argue that the right of self-determination, or secession, is a natural right. That may be so but for foreigners to come into this country, most being illegal and prodded by their own governments, and try to take part of it away does not fall under any category of rights. We, as a nation, do possess the right of self-determination and self-preservation. We have a right to determine for ourselves who can come here and who can’t. I just hope and pray that we, as Americans, will protect the nation of our fathers, our culture, our heritage, and our history, and pass it on, better than we left it, to our future generations.


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