The Wages of White Supremacy: A Historical Example

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The dumb ass who shot up a Walmart in El Paso was, by his own account, motivated by a fear of a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas. The fear monger in chief has used those exact words to describe asylum seekers from south of the border, and the shooter apparently idolized Trump. But the idea of a threat to the pure white race goes back much further than the rise of Trump. There is a white nationalist theory called “White Extinction” or “The Great Replacement” that argues an international conspiracy exists to replace the white race with people of inferior races, which, it turns out, is every race but pure white. It is the same theory that Adolf Hitler expounded in Mein Kampf and attempted to prevent by ridding Germany of everyone not of the pure Aryan race (which was and is a fantasy. Hitler himself was probably part Jewish). It is the ideology that motivated the Christchurch Mosque attacks in March, 2019. You may recall that the “very fine people” in Charlottesville chanted “Jews will not replace us” as they marched through the streets with tiki torches.

It turns out, however, that exactly the opposite occurred in Texas. In the early 1820s the United States underwent a severe economic downturn. At the same time Mexico was waging wars of independence, and they had difficulty managing their frontier, including the territory of Texas. In the 1820s Mexico attempted to solve the problem by allowing foreigners to settle in Texas. Moses Austin negotiated an arrangement with the Mexican government that would allow him to lead a number of American families into Texas and settle with the understanding that they would become Mexican citizens Moses Austin died before the settlement could take place but the group was led by his son Stephen Austin.

There were two difficulties with the agreement. One was that Austin and his colleagues were slave owners and Mexico was anti-slavery (slavery was abolished in Mexico in 1829). The other was that because there was little control of the border Texas was being overrun with illegal immigrants from the United States. This caused a great deal of concern in Mexico City. After a commission was sent to investigate, the commission recommended that the border be closed and forts established to control entry into Mexico. On April 6, 1830, the Mexican government enacted a colonization law that declared, “citizens of foreign countries lying adjacent to the Mexican territory are prohibited from settling as colonists in the states or territories of the Republic, adjoining such countries.”[1]

Because of domestic difficulties the Mexican government was never able to effectively secure the border. At the same time Americans in Texas, even those who had sworn allegiance to Mexico, still considered their first allegiance to the United States. When a change in the Constitution of Mexico in 1836 threatened to strictly enforce Mexican law, the Texans cried out that they were under tyranny and declared independence. Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna attempted to recover Texas but was unsuccessful. Texas assumed the status of an independent republic, even though Mexico did not concede sovereignty.

The Texans’ plan was to apply for statehood, but because of the controversy surrounding the issue of slavery and no doubt also because the Mexican government threatened war if The US tried to annex Texas (Mexico had a large well trained European style army and the United States had no army), Texas remained a republic until 1845. In 1845 Texas was annexed by Congress and entered the Union as a slave state. The annexation was recognized by Mexico in the treaty concluding the US-Mexican War, which was only peripherally motivated by events in Texas.

The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo guaranteed recognition of Mexican and Spanish land grants and equality of former Mexican citizens (Hispanics) and Americans, but within a couple of decades Americans had swindled most of the Mexicans out of their property and reduced them to second class citizens. Underlying the invasion and conquest of Texas was an assumption of white supremacy. They didn’t even bother trying to hide it then. Senator John Calhoun of South Carolina declared to the Senate in 1848, “The great misfortunes of Spanish America are to be traced to the fatal error of placing these colored races on an equality with the white race.”[2]

Mexicans were bound to lose the territory, so it was thought, along with California, because they were Mexican — mixed race people unable to govern themselves. There was never any attempt by white Americans to live in harmony with Mexicans.

It is not Hispanics or any other group who have demonstrated the will to destroy other cultures. It is those who cling to the fallacious notion of a superior white race.


[1] Michael C. Meyer, ed., The Oxford History of Mexico (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 348.

[2] John C. Calhoun, “A Southern Senator Opposes the “All-Mexico” Plan,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed August 4, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1273.