As a historian on Mexico and author of “Mexico Behind the Mask, A Narrative History of Mexico,” I can say the article “Mexico-US treaty invalid, politician claims” is total nonsense.
Just as a reminder, the Mexican War (1846-1848) was fought over a border dispute between Texas and Mexico (Río Nueces claimed by Mexico and Rio Grande by the Republic of Texas annexed to the U.S.) Texas isn’t even mentioned in this ridiculous article.
First and foremost, all treaties signed by the vanquished are legal and obviously signed under “duress.” Try the Treaty of Versailles for openers.
Simply put, you can’t claim lands you never discovered, occupied or colonized. Of all those states mentioned (they excluded Texas, and I know why), only New Mexico and California had a Spaniard ever set foot on them. There were absolutely no Mexicans.
In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), these territories were not annexed from Mexico; neither Mexico nor Spain never claimed to own them. Mexico merely gave up any future claim to these undiscovered lands. They became known as the New Mexico Territories.
In the case of New Mexico, there were two enclaves knows as Albuquerque and Santa Fe occupied by Spaniards. They never claimed additional territory. There is no trace of a Mexican presence.
The U.S paid $15 million for California and Mexico accepted the money. Mexico should have taken the original $40 million before the war. The British were smarter, they sold their claim over the Oregon Territories.
As for southern Arizona, the U.S bought it for $10 million in what is known as the Gadsen Purchase (1853) and the Tratado de Mesillas in Mexico.
In the case of Alta California, the state was discovered by Juan Cabrillo (Portuguese) and Sebastian Vizcaino (Spaniard). They left no trace of their discoveries.
In 1767, Father Junípero Serra, a Spanish priest born in Mayorca, Spain, was sent to Alta California on an evangelical mission to create missions to bring Christianity to the Indians. Those that followed were Spaniards.
In 1848 there is no trace of any Mexican having set foot on that land. It is estimated that the population of Spaniards was around 14,000.
Historically, the first Mexicans to arrive in California did so at the invitation of the Catholic Church archdiocese of Los Angeles to give sanctuary to those Catholics being persecuted in the “Cristero Rebellion” (1926-1929).
Even the most anti-American Mexican historian, Francisco Martín Moreno, agreed in his book “México Mutilado” that United States President James Polk was only interested in land with no Mexicans in it. After all, with the fall of Mexico City, Mexico belonged to the United States.
Quote: “The Americans only wanted unoccupied lands they could freely control with a superior race, their own, the Anglo Saxons.” He also claims that Polk was known to have said, “Will I have to exterminate 6 million Mexican aborigines who are slothful and stupid, as well as totally useless like our redskin population?” (Moreno had a way with words).
What Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, his father and son should be writing about is the history of how they governed the once rich state of Michoacán and turned it into one of the poorest states in Mexico.
Today, the state has fallen into a government in chaos thanks to “Cardenismo,” which failed in everything it pretended to accomplish. Ask any Purépecha Indian and everyone else how well they are off. I know, I’ve been all over that state.
Beldon Butterfield is a writer and former publisher and media representative. He is retired and lives in San Miguel de Allende.