Myth busted: US ‘Stole’ the American West from Mexico


The doofus carrying the above sign doesn’t seem to know his history.

While this vato loco and the rest of his esés are big on screaming that the land from the Rio Grande to this Pacific coast was stolen from the Mexican government and various American Indian tribes, the truth of the matter is actually… no.

With the Mexican-American War coming to an end in 1848, and Gen. Winfield Scott acting as the military governor of Mexico City, ALL of Mexico was technically under US occupation.

So in reality, the United States owned all of Mexico.

But magnanimous in victory, the United States recognized the Mexican government of President Antonio de Santa Anna after he had already surrendered.

But wait, there’s more.

With the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States willfully gave Mexico its nationhood back.

Not only was Vera Cruz and Mexico City under American military occupation, the Mexican territories of Nuevo México and Alts Californias were also under active US military control.

The US agreed to withdraw troops from all of the conquered Mexican land in the south of the country. Things like that didn’t happen a whole helluva lot in the middle of the 19th Century.

The US went on not only to pay $15 million to the Mexican government for New Mexico and California ($478.5 million today), Washington also agreed to pay the $3.25 million in debts owed by the Mexican government to American citizens ($106.3 million today).

Total price tag, $18.25 million ($582.1 million today).

But wait, there’s more.

In light that the only two cities of consequence were Santa Fe and San Francisco, it’s arguable that Santa Anna got the better part of the deal.

The Mexican citizens of the newly purchased land of Nuevo México and Alta Californias were not to be treated as a conquered people, but instead were granted US citizenship as well as the right to vote.

But wait, there’s more.

Five years later in 1853, Washington and Mexico City agreed to the Gadsden Purchase, in which a small slice of present-day southern Arizona and New Mexico was bought for the princely sum of $10 million ($327.3 million today).

So not only is the myth that the United States “stole” the American West from Mexico completely busted, that raises an interesting question if we stole the same land from the American Indians.

Please keep in mind that the Mexicans and the Spanish before them were stealing Indian land waaaaaaay before the evil Gringos ever blew into el pueblo.

But no one ever seems to be protesting against that unfortunate historical truth.