Could Mexico Have Become A World Power in the 1800s?

Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May, commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, against the French occupation of Mexico after the Mexican-American War of 1846 and the 1858–61 Reform War.

Symbolically, it’s a celebration of anti-slavery, anti-racists defeating pro-slavery racists, or in California and the American Southwest, an expression by Hispanic settlers against European dominance.

In observance, the Alternate History Facebook group offers some Mexican alternate scenarios, among them, the Points of Departure necessary to make Mexico a world power. “They have had the population, the resources, and (at various points) the leadership to pull it off. What has to change to get Mexico past the endemic corruption that has kept it from its true potential?” asks Steve Condrey.

  • Mexican president and General Santa Anna (1794-1876) being a better, less self-serving leader.
  • Mexico wins the war with the US in 1846. How?
  • Henry Ryto: “When captured in the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto, Santa Anna sent orders to the other Mexican armies to cease hostilities and retreat south. What if the orders were refused, as Santa Anna was a prisoner of the Texan rebels? What if the Mexican army continued its offensive into Texas?” Click for discussion on Facebook.
  • Ian GouldHow about a much earlier (ca. 1750) discovery of gold in California leading to much more settlement there prior to independence?”
  • Carlos Eugenio Thompson PinzónBy population dynamics, it seems that Northern Mexico, from Texas to California, is doomed to be settled by a sizable number of Anglos, so any politics that would rather make those Anglos loyal to Mexico rather than wishing to join the USA. So, probably, the first step is to get rid of Santa Anna.”
  • Ed Sentne An earlier American civil war with a Southern victory would have helped keep the northern territories falling to the palefaces, which could have set Mexico on a dominant path.”
  • Jacob VardyOne cool PoD: Vicente Guerrero, the second president, is not captured and executed. He remains president, instituting liberal reforms. In addition to banning slavery in 1821 he proclaims Mexico a refuge for escaped slaves, promising 40 acres and a mule to any slave who makes it to Mexico. Combined with his liberal policies and stable government there is substantial population growth from the 1820s onwards.

    “In the 1840s there are repeated border clashes between the two United States as Yankees attempt to kidnap Chicanos into slavery, and demand the return of escaped slaves. The border clashes never come to a declared war since every mobilisation of the USA results in a counter-mobilisation by the UK and France. Who seek to protect their access to the Mexican market.”

    Like · Reply · May 4 at 8:09am

    “In the 1840s there are repeated border clashes between the two United States as Yankees attempt to kidnap Chicanos into slavery, and demand the return of escaped slaves. The border clashes never come to a declared war since every mobilisation of the USA results in a counter-mobilisation by the UK and France. Who seek to protect their access to the Mexican market.”

    Like · Reply · May 4 at 8:09am

    Cory Albrecht

    Cory AlbrechtSanta Ana wasn’t really the problem, mind you, he was the symptom. He took advantage of a deep-seated rift in Mexico between the liberals and the conservatives. Guerrero surviving and implementing these reforms would only rile up the conservative faction and make them more rebellious and that is the exact opposite of what you’d need to have a stable, prosperous Mexico. In fact, I bet such reforms would kick off the War of Reform 25 years early.

    “And the only reason that didn’t last longer than 4 years in OTL was because the relatively low-grade and spotty civil war between the factions since independence had left Mexico with a weak economy. An earlier War of Reform would undoubtedly be longer and bloodier because both sides would have more economic resources to support them during a full scale civil war.”

    Like · Reply · May 4 at 4:33pm

    Click for discussion on Facebook.

    “And the only reason that didn’t last longer than 4 years in OTL was because the relatively low-grade and spotty civil war between the factions since independence had left Mexico with a weak economy. An earlier War of Reform would undoubtedly be longer and bloodier because both sides would have more economic resources to support them during a full scale civil war.”

    Like · Reply · May 4 at 4:33pm

    Click for discussion on Facebook.

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