The Mexican-American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848, which gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, and ceded to the United States the land of the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. In return, Mexico received $15,000,000. The acquisition was controversial among U.S. politicians that had opposed the war from the start.
President Ulysses S. Grant, who as a young army officer had served in Mexico under General Taylor, wrote in his Memoirs, published in 1885,
"I was bitterly opposed ... to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation."_ And on another occasion said, "I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico. I had a horror of the Mexican War, and I have always believed that it was on our part most unjust. The wickedness was not in the way our soldiers conducted it, but in the conduct of our government in declaring was. We had no claim on Mexico. Texas had no claim beyond the Nueces River, and yet we pushed on to the Rio Grande and crossed it. I am always ashamed of my country when I think of that invasion"
California, Texas and the rest of these lands have been developed into present day economic powerhouses at the expense of a stolen Mexican heritage and patrimony, and a good deal of cooperative labor by irredentist Mexicans working as expatriates alongside their conquerors.
It is in the nature of friendly relations between the imperial giant and the its more humble neighbor to the south that no petition is ever put forward for economic rectification for the dastardly and murderous forced annexation of nearly half of Mexico some one hundred and sixty years ago.
But since African-Americans and their just minded allies have a long standing movement for compensation for the unpaid work and suffering of their ancestors as slaves in enterprises built up to successes by the labor of men and women enslaved against their will. And since this call for restitution is gaining strength and adherents every year and some serious legal action is taking place with many descendents of slavers and slave owners coming to admit it is justified, long overdue and must eventually be forthcoming.
Should African-Americans be successful then one can well imagine the possibility of Mexicans also coming to request economic considerations and/or compensation in one form or another for the immoral action that took from Mexicans their most valuable resource, land. Such an ethical review of the history of the United States could be healthy and propitious.
African-Americans and Mexicans make up a large part of America's economically dis-privileged underclass society. If the homicidal injustice of present wars of occupation were ended the trillions saved could be used in intelligent restitution arrangements for the institution of American slaves and even perhaps for the stealing of half of Mexico.
Oh, there would arise a hue and cry about how and who should benefit and how much. A agency would have to be created to effect opportunities for education, health benefits, housing and arts and culture to be made available to qualifying members of that underclass sector of American society which is a sore on the body politic of the nation.
America has always had money to throw away destroying other nations like Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Some day it might spend such monies to improve America.
This article is not suggesting anything concrete in the way of dealing with America's past perfidy. The essay is rather directed at those Americans who are self-righteous and outraged at comparatively much smaller misdemeanors and illegalities of Mexicans and other would be immigrants from nations to the South whose home economies are dominated profitably by U.S. conglomerate corporations.
They climb fences and swim across rivers, risking their lives to be able to provide for their families in a world divided into those that have-so-much and those that have-so-little as a result of less than fair intra-national predatory trade.
Of course the present situation is highly complex with suffering on both sides. Depressing the wages of local citizens with the use of cheaper foreign labor is always a method of increasing profits for employers. The majority of the immigrants would not come if there were no work offers waiting for them.
Much of the criminal element would then also not come, for most are parasites preying on immigrant communities. Criminalizing such a large part of the work force breeds crime in itself, and opens opportunities for all kinds of unscrupulous taking advantage of the insecurity of families of illegals. Drugs would not come in if there were not a plethora of well-healed buyers. As President Evo Morales of Bolivia has said, "The drug abuse must be eliminated in the noses of the gringos."
Mix the problems and desires of all concerned, job hungry immigrants, Americans trying to protect their jobs, employers vying with each other, pressure on social services and crime control, frustration fueling racism, dangerous drugs, the children's education and health and no solution that completely satisfies everyone seems possible.
But if through compassion, love of fairness and a clean conscience with everyone giving a little in human recognition that all are each other's brothers and sisters, hermanos and hermanas, then acceptable and comfortable compromises could be made and future improvements expected.
Those coming in from Mexico deserve American understanding. It would be a big step forward to respect a sense of history that has joined the culture and people of Mexico with that of America.
The single market and open borders of the twenty-seven nations of the European Union guaranteeing the freedom of movement of people, goods, services and capital through a standardized system of laws which apply in all member states gives a living and working example of what could be the future of the North America community of nations.