Even though it was improbable, hypothetically if we annexed all of Mexico in the Mexican-American war would the US government, at that time, be able to actually control that much more territory? Secondly, if they were stable as a US territory, would they ever be granted statehood or would they be allowed to go independent eventually?
Lastly, would the US have a significantly more powerful economy as well as geopolitical influence today if it all held together and they became a state or states?
Very unlikely the US could have held it. The part that was taken (roughly a third of the country) was largely unoccupied, so there was little problem with it. But trying to control the more southern regions which had high population densities would have been much more trouble. There’d have been constant rebellions and so forth. The US did not have a large standing army at the time, but one would have been required to suppress those rebellions. It would have been a major drain to support one so far away. The US was not really that rich at the time.
The part the US took ended up forming multiple states; I expect if you’d taken the whole country it wouldn’t all have been renamed Texas either. As for letting it go its own way (supposing it still wanted to after full assimilation), it would be a first. Note that other territories held by the US which aren’t part of the US now were under “protectorate” or “lease” systems, not straight up ownership.
This OP is kind of hard to follow upon first read because the grammatical mood is not consistent. When you say, If we annexed all of Mexico . . . would the US government . . . be able to actually control that much more territory, you’re grammatically referring to the present. But that’s not what you really mean, right? What you mean to ask is, If we had annexed all of Mexico, would the US have been able to actually control that much territory?, right? You’re using a present mood when it seems clear you actually are talking about the past.
One of the reasons for the war, and for Texas Independence, was that Americans wanted to have slavery and the Mexicans had abolished it. Adding states taken from Mexico enhanced the slave states against the abolitionist states — in those states the Americans could outvote the now minority of ex-Mexicans remaining : adding a whole country most of whom were opposed to the Peculiar Institution would have been buying trouble.
Any land mass contiguous with the original 13 that came under US control eventually became states. Almost all lands under US control that are not so contiguous are not states today and have no realistic expectation of ever becoming such.
Alaska and Hawaii are the obvious exceptions, but in both cases statehood was done, IMO, for essentially WWII & Cold War strategic reasons even if WWII had ended by the time the process was completed.
Under that rule of thumb, had the 1800s US annexed all of Mexico under mostly friendly conditions, we’d expect to have seen the whole of Mexico become US states.
Language, culture, and population demographics would have been large confounding factors. But IMO the best way for Washington to solve these would have been to grant statehood and hope to flood the new states with English-speaking mainstream US immigrants. Sort of what China is doing to Xinjaing & Tibet now.
Right. They had been given territorial organization earlier because of strategic military basing (Hawaii) and gold (Alaska) but then sat there awaiting the next step for decades because that was good enough for The Powers That Be until they wound up on the frontlines.
BTW, the only real protectorates were Cuba in the early 1900s and the Phillippines after 1936. Virtually all the other overseas acquisitions were declared by SCOTUS in the Insular Cases to be a never-before-legislated thing they called “Unincorporated Territory”, whereby they gave Congress license to treat and dispose of each of them ad-hoc without regard for the precedent since the NW Ordinance that annexation and setting up of organized government meant prep for statehood. But “protectorate” in its accepted international usage means a recognition that it is a foreign land you are protecting, and Washington prefers to be able to treat the UT’s as domestic jurisdiction when it suits them.
That was the status at the time of the Cases, indeed. The original noncitizen nationals were, ironically, the Native Americans in recognized nations (until 1924). The current remaining ones are primarily the American Samoans.
One possibility is that the US would have become an officially (or at least de-facto) bilingual nation in a similar manner to Canada, with English-speaking states, Spanish-speaking states, and bilingual states. Under this system, Puerto Rico would have become a state long ago.
But that was because the upper half was low in settled Mexican population anyway and other than central Nuevo Méjico and coastal Alta California was mostly empty of non-Indians save for some strategically placed towns, so it could be quickly dominated by arriving US settlers. That’s how come initially Mexico welcomed Anglos into Texas (hey, development, investment, economic activity!), not pausing to consider what could go wrong. After the war the US settled most of the SW as “open” country and mostly marginalized the remaining Mexicans.
But AIUI, much of the issue with Native Americans was that they mostly were nomads with no fixed address. Who societally speaking had no concept of land ownership at all.
As such it was easy to assert with a straight face that they didn’t own *this *particular 10 acre plot so it was OK for John Smith of Massachusetts Bay Colony to assert the land was previously uninhabited and is now improved and claimed for ownership by him per English common law.
That same process writ large pushed the nomads into the sea, the high Arctic, or into reservations as the White Man overran the continent from coast to coast.
Mexico has no shortage of problems with land titles and non-landowning residents / tenants / squatters, both now and back in the 1800s. But central and southern Mexico was far from an uninhabited unsurveyed unrecorded nomad-only environment as the current US was during the same era.
Not so sure. The northern half of Mexico (i.e. Texas, Alta California etc…) had been de facto settled by Anglo-Saxon white guys long before it was annexed by the US. Both the culture and the ethnic make up of the country were split more or less along the Rio Grande - there were also bona fide Mexicans (and Native Americans) up there, but they didn’t make up the majority of the population.
That’s why there’s an Alamo to remember to begin with - Davy Crocket et al were fighting under Mexican colours, but those were really the colours of “Mexico as of before the revolution, back when it left us more or less alone to do whatever we wanted and didn’t expect to collect too many taxes and stuff”. Santa Anna for his part wanted to centralize government, unify the country, bring the Yanquis into the fold and, well. That didn’t work out so well for him.
This is a good point. I’d assume the valuable parts of Mexico were largely owned by some identifiable person or body and we would have recognized that ownership. I’d also assume that while most of the population didn’t own any land and they may not have fared well, if they were farmers, miners, etc., working at jobs we probably wouldn’t slaughter them if they weren’t threatening anybody.