Mexicans Made AmericaWhy Do We Treat Them Like Alien Invaders? Network

Mexicans have contributed to making the United States in pivotal and enduring ways. In 1776, more of the territory of the current United States was under Spanish sovereignty than in the 13 colonies that rejected British rule. Florida, the Gulf coast to New Orleans, the Mississippi to St. Louis, and the lands from Texas through New Mexico and California all lived under Spanish rule, setting Hispanic-Mexican legacies. Millions of pesos minted in Mexico City, the American center of global finance, funded the war for U.S. independence, leading the new nation to adopt the peso (renamed the dollar) as its currency.

The U.S. repaid the debt by claiming Spanish/Mexican landsbuying vast Louisiana territories (via France) in 1803; gaining Florida by treaty in 1819; sending settlers into Texas (many undocumented) to expand cotton and slavery in the 1820s; enabling Texas secession in 1836; provoking war in 1846 to incorporate Texass cotton and slave economyand Californias gold fields, too. The U.S. took in land and peoples long Spanish and recently Mexicanoften mixing European, indigenous, and African ancestries. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo recognized those who remained in the U.S. as citizens. And the U.S. incorporated the dynamic mining-grazing-irrigation economy that had marked Spanish North America for centuries and would long define the U.S. West.

Debates over slavery and freedom in lands taken from Mexico led to the U.S. Civil War while Mexicans locked in shrunken territorie....

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