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  1. Towards Modern Public Finance: The American War With Mexico (Financial History)
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  4. Towards Modern Public Finance: The American War With Mexico 1846 1848 (Financial History) 2009

Although this process has involved—even required—a great deal of cooperation, relations between the United States and Mexico have more often been characterized by antagonism, exploitation, and unilateralism. This long history of tensions has contributed to the three greatest challenges that these countries face together today: economic development, immigration, and drug-related violence.

Keywords: Mexico , foreign relations and foreign policy , U. Along this frontier, most of the land was either empty, tied up in large, inefficient estates, or owned communally by indigenous groups like the Caddos, Cherokees, and Comanches. According to these 19th-century intellectuals, the ideal settlers of the northern territories would be white Catholic Mexican farmers, who would serve as modernizing examples for the Indians and act as a barrier between Mexico and the rapidly expanding United States.

After the original thirteen colonies declared their independence in , U. Beginning with the Treaty of San Lorenzo in , the United States started obtaining a great deal of what had been Spanish land in the Louisiana Territory and Gulf South, culminating with the acquisition of East and West Florida in Mexico abolished slavery in , thirty-six years before the United States.

Most black immigrants from the United States ended up settling in the Mexican state that was most easily accessible: Texas. The fact that land was less expensive and easier to obtain in Mexico than in the United States attracted some twenty thousand Anglo Americans to Texas in the s. By , the population of Anglo-Texans outnumbered the Mexican-Texans ten to one. The Texas Revolution began with a small skirmish over a cannon on October 2, ; within a year, Texas had gained independence and was soon petitioning the United States for annexation.

In the United States, the question of whether to acquire Texas and other Mexican territories figured prominently in wider debates about slavery and U. Critics of U. These debates came to a head in the presidential election of The narrow victory of expansionist Democrat James K. The U.

General Winfield Scott launched an amphibious invasion of Veracruz from the east. The sense of historical repetition was widespread. One of the cadets wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death from the walls of Chapultepec Castle. Santa Anna resigned the presidency and fled, but guerrilla fighting and further rebellions threatened to drag on until Polk and the provisional Mexican government agreed to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February Mexico lost 55 percent of its national territory to U.

Mexicans fought over who was to blame for their devastating loss and how to recover, while U. Civil War hero and president Ulysses S. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. After the war, the Mexican and U. The two governments agreed to give the members of this stranded population a choice: they could move back to Mexico and maintain their Mexican citizenship, remain in the United States while still retaining their Mexican citizenship, or stay in the United States and eventually gain U.

Thousands of others moved south, some by force and others voluntarily, and formed communities on the Mexican side of the new international boundary. Mexican leaders were even more determined than ever to fortify what remained of their northern frontier and once again turned to immigration as the solution. What was more, the residents of this region were already used to living in the harsh desert climate of northern Mexico and capable of holding their own against skilled Indian warriors like the Comanches and Apaches.

About 25 percent of people of Mexican heritage from New Mexico, California, and Texas relocated to Mexico in the four decades following the U. And in the later years of the 19th century, these repatriates provided a crucial source of labor for farms, railroads, and mines in underpopulated areas of northern Mexico where other immigrants and native Mexicans were less willing to live. The permeable border between Mexico and the United States also allowed thousands of people to move in the other direction, and Mexican people and practices played crucial roles in settling and developing the southwestern United States.

Towards Modern Public Finance: The American War With Mexico (Financial History)

Mexican immigrants and the former Mexican citizens who chose to stay in the transferred territories provided not just labor but also local knowledge about effective mining, farming, and ranching techniques. Mexicans and Mexican Americans worked—and mixed—with people from all over the United States, Europe, and China as they built railroads and canals, extracted gold, silver, and copper from the subsoil, and established homesteads, farms, and ranches. Racial distinctions went through a period of extreme flux in the late 19th century in the former Mexican territories as these various groups encountered, comingled, and competed with each other.

Figure 1. Mexican cotton pickers, ca. At the same time that the United States was developing its economy with the help of Mexican labor and practices, U. By the late 19th century, the U. But two months after Robert E. Grant at Appomattox, Grant sent forty-two thousand U. The Mexican government offered tax exemptions and subsidies to attract investment and stimulate new industries. The majority of U. By the early 20th century, U. Brantiff, like other U.

Especially in the northern part of Mexico, where U. Even in areas like southern Mexico where U. Across the country, contact with U. The utter chaos of the Mexican Revolution put an end to the mutually beneficial relationship that Mexican and U. Madero founded an opposition political party and toured the country canvassing support. The United States and its citizens played multiple, sometimes conflicting roles in the Mexican Revolution.

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At the same time that the United States provided haven and supplies to Mexican revolutionaries, however, the U. But Madero proved incapable of containing the revolution that he had unleashed and immediately faced opposition both within his own ranks and from the Porfirian old guard that he had neglected to remove from power. But Huerta turned on Madero.

At this crucial moment, the U. Wilson did not stop Villa and other rebels from smuggling weapons across the U. Convinced that the two nations were about to go to war, they fled in droves.

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Villa decided to take revenge and incite an international conflict by sacking the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico, on March 9, His men looted, raped, and pillaged, killing ten civilians and eight soldiers in the process. The death toll among the attackers was even higher. The invasion force pursued the revolutionary outlaw for almost a year but ultimately had to admit failure.

Figure 2. Ambulance corps leaving Columbus, New Mex. Despite its neutrality, the country ended up playing an important, if indirect, role in the war. Secretly, both the German and Mexican governments hoped to use each other to distract the United States or gain ground against it. The German secretary of state, Arthur Zimmermann, was hesitant to show open support for Carranza, but he believed that the Mexican leader could provide a useful diversion. He calculated that if Carranza were to stage another attack on U. To entice Carranza into cooperating, Zimmermann sent him a coded telegram in January offering to return Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to Mexico once the United States had been defeated.

Wilson, who was trying to convince Congress and the public to agree to take greater measures against Germany, published the telegram, and Zimmermann made the surprising move of publicly confirming its authenticity. The Mexican Revolution, the corresponding U. The United States protested immediately and then began withholding recognition from the Mexican government after yet another violent uprising unseated Carranza in But questions of foreign investment and intervention continued to dominate U.

Dwight Morrow, a former president of J. Morgan Company who became U. The Great Depression, combined with a series of disastrous interventions in Central America and the Caribbean, had driven U.


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Mexicans declared that March 18, , was the day that Mexico gained its economic independence. But Roosevelt stuck to his Good Neighbor Policy and, instead of invading or otherwise sanctioning Mexico, pushed the U. Even more important were the roles of Mexican producers and workers in the U. Mexico provided strategic metals, oil, rubber, food, and agricultural material.

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Towards Modern Public Finance: The American War With Mexico 1846 1848 (Financial History) 2009

Wartime cooperation with the United States was a significant boon to the Mexican economy and laid the foundation for predominantly friendly relations between the two governments thereafter. Mexican entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers had been pushing for industrialization since before the war, but the markets and financing were lacking until the wartime redirection of U.

The United States also helped fund infrastructure projects in Mexico to increase output during the war, including building dams and canals and improving railroad lines. By the end of the s, some , U. The Mexican government established a powerful Department of Tourism to attract and protect its new visitors and financed thousands of miles of highways to facilitate travel.

However, a majority of the Ways and Means Committee did not agree, and as chairman, he felt an obligation to press for the amendments they favoured. Therefore, he proposed retaining tea and coffee on the free list, but rearranging the tax schedules to increase total revenue. In a series of amendments approved by the House acting as a Committee of the Whole, McKay secured changes increasing the uppermost rate on luxury items to per cent, creating a new 40 per cent schedule for items such as expensive furniture and spices, and moving beer, ale and china to 38 Towards Modern Public Finance the 30 per cent schedule.


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Iron, coal and sugar remained at 30 per cent. After an effort to kill the bill by making salt tax free, to the detriment of New York salt manufacturers, it passed on 3 July by a vote of — Lewis argued that the overall effective rate was The effective rate varied according to the view of the advocate or opponent.

Lewis believed it to be In support of the Democrats, Walker provided his own estimates on 16 July. He also raised the spectre of large-scale fraud if the Treasury used foreign invoices to compute the ad valorem rates. The key moment proved to be a tie procedural vote that required Vice-President George Mifflin Dallas to cast the deciding vote. Political loyalty to the Polk administration came high to Dallas, a Pennsylvania patrician, deeply concerned about the reaction in his home state. Further, his father, Alexander James Dallas, as Secretary of the Treasury —16 , had successfully manoeuvred the bill creating the bank through Congress.

The Dem- Ideology, Revenue and Financial System 39 ocrats eventually managed to pass the House bill with only slight modification on 28 July , by a vote of 28— The House of Representatives began consideration on 30 March , and passed the bill on 2 April.


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  • The debate revolved around the effects on the economy of withdrawing the federal deposits from the banks and mandating the exclusive use of specie in government transactions. The Democrats believed such action a boon both to the government and public. Governmental use of specie would increase the metal in circulation, thereby improving the currency.

    The Mexican American War (1846-1848)

    Further, they feared the specie policy would lead to a loss of public confidence in bank notes, the most common medium of exchange. Whigs questioned the need to tinker with a system that kept Treasury funds secure and available for use by the public. Besides the safety provided by bank vaults, the convenience of both the public and government would be better served by paying out treasury drafts through bank tellers rather than federal officers.