“CALIFORNIA WAS STOLEN FAIR AND SQUARE”
From time to time, history revisionists claim California never really belonged to Mexico and deny the United States stole California from Mexico.
The true historical answers to those questions are yes, California was legally part of Mexico and, yes, the United States stole California and what is now Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.
Who said so? Congressman Abraham Lincoln on January 12, 1848 in a memorable speech that exposed President James Polk’s motivation for invading Mexico in 1846.
Lincoln: “The President…declares that the soil was ours on which hostilities were commenced by Mexico…it was incumbent upon him to present the facts from which he concluded the soil was ours, on which the first blood of the war was shed. I…show that the whole of this—issue and evidence— is, from beginning to end, the sheerest deception…he ordered General Taylor into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, purposely to bring on a war…having it now settled that territorial indemnity is the only object, we are urged to seize…all that he was content to take a few months ago, and the whole province of Lower California to boot, and to still carry on the war—to take all we are fighting for, and still fight on. So, again, he insists that the separate national existence of Mexico, shall be maintained; but he does not tell us how this can be done after we shall have taken all her territory.”
A real non-revisionist professional historian from Ohio State, Allan R. Millet (Colonel, USMCR ret) writes in his “Semper Fidelis- History of the United States Marine Corps, p.74) that President Polk sent a secret agent, 33-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Archibald H. Gillespie, a “Spanish-speaking adventurer who arrived in California as Polk’s personal secret agent” to organize illegal alien Americans into a fighting force to take over the Mexican port and town of San Diego.
What a coincidence. American troops are ordered to invade Mexican territory to provoke a war to grab real estate… American troops invade Mexico a thousand miles from California to dispute the land between one river and another. Before that happened Lt. Archibald H. Gillespie (USMC) was personally ordered by President Polk to travel aboard a U.S. Navy ship to San Diego – in civilian clothes to organize a military “Putsch” against a small contingent of Mexican soldiers to claim California. Coincidence?
Was Abraham Lincoln wrong? No. But revisionists who publish stories that Spanish descendants or even born Spaniards were in revolt in California against Mexico City is amateurish baloney.
Mexico City appointed territorial governors and kept Mexican soldiers in small garrisons in California from the moment the Spanish were driven out of Mexico in 1821. Mexico City empowered its California governors to gift land grants that were ratified by American courts (the courts also recognized Spanish land grants). Mexico City ordered the seizure of the famous 21 Catholic missions and their lands and they were shut down. The Mexicans in California that continued to reside one year after the war-ending Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by both countries automatically became U.S. citizens. But, they had to be Mexican citizens to qualify.
Citizenship law that required immigrants be “white” to become naturalized citizens was overridden by the treaty. Some Americans did not consider Mexicans to be “white.”
So, if California was semi-independent and not controlled by Mexico, how could the United States legally include California into the treaty with Mexico that gave it and the rest of the Southwest to the United States? Why? As Abraham Lincoln stated, to pay the “expenses of the war” that was illegally provoked to begin with. How could the United States automatically make California residents U.S. citizens if they weren’t Mexicans to begin with? The treaty only stated Mexicans qualified to be U.S. citizens.
In his 1848 speech, future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln clearly proved that President Polk “purposely,” as he put it, provoked a war with Mexico by sending the Army into Mexican territory. Polk’s intent, to grab as much Mexican real estate as possible. The United States is culpable of stealing California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. So posited U.S. Congressman Abraham Lincoln and he was right.
Revisionist charlatans who claim to absolutely know that the U.S. didn’t steal California can be ignored for Lincoln’s position is supported by Colonel Allan R. Millet (USMCR, ret) and his exposure of Marine Lt. Archibald H. Gillespie and his secret mission to California to organize a covert force to take it over when the planned war started. President James Polk was the head conspirator to steal California. He succeeded.
The best part of Mexico – California – was stolen by the United States. The alleged $15 million the U.S. paid Mexico as part of the treaty never reached Mexico, it was paid to Americans with claims against Mexico. Claims that Mexico voluntarily signed California away when it signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is a laugh riot. Mexico City was occupied by the United States Army and the Mexicans were told the U.S. would occupy Mexico City and the Port of Vera Cruz until it signed and ratified the treaty.
That is called extortion. California was stolen from Mexico.
Contreras’ newest book – MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS (Floricanto/Berkeley Press, 2016) is available at Amazon.com.