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Stages of Expansion
Digital History ID 557

Author:   José María Tomel y Mendívil

Annotation: During the initial stage of Anglo-American expansion into the Southwest, when Mexicans comprised the overwhelming majority of the Southwest's population, Anglos used marriage as an instrument to gain entry into trade and land. In Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas Anglo-Americans frequently intermarried with Mexican elites. Usually, these involved marriages of Anglo men, like Jim Bowie, known for the famous bowie knife, with the daughters of Mexican elites.

During a second phase of expansion, a growing number of Anglos moved into regions somewhat distant from those settled by Mexicans. Anglo-Texans settled in east Texas; Anglo-Californians in the Sacramento Valley; and Anglo-New Mexicans in the region's southern and eastern portions.

Later, following the conquest of the region by the United States, massive Anglo-American migration tended to overwhelm the preexisting Mexican population. Thus in Texas, the Mexican and Mexican American population constituted just five to ten percent of the state's population between 1860 and the end of the nineteenth century. In California, Mexicans and Mexican Americans also constituted less than ten percent of the population by the century's close.

Document: From the state of Maine to Louisiana a call has been made in the public squares to recruit volunteers for the ranks of the rebels in Texas.

Everywhere meetings have been held, presided over, as in New York, by public officials of the government, to collect money, buy ships, enlist men, and fan that spirit of animosity that characterizes all the acts of the United States with regard to Mexico. The newspapers, paid by the land speculators...have sponsored the insurrection of Texas with the same ardor they would have supported the uprising of 1776. Our character, our customs, our very rights have been painted in the darkest hues, while the crimes of the Texans have been applauded in the house of the President, in the halls of the capitol, in the marts of trade, in public meetings, in small towns, and even in the fields. The President of the Mexican republic was publicly executed in effigy in Philadelphia in an insulting and shameful burlesque. The world has witnessed all these incidents, of which we have become aware through the shameful accounts in the newspapers of the United States. Could greater insults, outrages, or indignities be offered us by an open declaration of war? Let national indignation answer the question.

The Anglo-Americans, not content with having supplied the rebels with battleships to prey upon our commerce, to deprive us of our property and to commit all the abuses of piracy upon the high seas and on our defenseless coast, have protected them with their fleet and have captured the ships of the Mexican squadron that have tried to prevent contraband trade in Texan waters. It is such acts that make our blockade ineffective....

The loss of Texas will inevitably result in the loss of New Mexico and the Californias. Little by little our territory will be absorbed, until only an insignificant part is left to us. Our destiny will be similar to the sad lot of Poland. Our national existence, acquired at the cost of so much blood, recognized after so many difficulties, would end like those weak meteors which, from time to time, shine fitfully in the firmament and disappear. It is for this reason that General Terán wrote the government, "Whoever consents to and refuses to oppose the loss of Texas is a despicable traitor, worthy of being punished with a thousand deaths."

Source: José María Tomel y Mendívil, "Relations Between Texas, The United States of America and the Mexican Republic," (Mexico, 1837), trans. and ed. by Carlos E. Castañeda, The Mexican Side of the Texas Revolution (Dallas, 1928).

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