Border Troubles in Mexican-United States
DANIEL COSio VILLEGAS*
AS A PART OF UNDERSTANDING MEXICO'S MODERN HISTORY, WHICH
covers the victory of the Republic against the Empire in 1867
to the downfall of Porfirio Diaz in 1911, I have endeavored to study
the border frictions as one of the major deciding factors of the friend-
ship-or animosity-between Mexico and the United States. Hence, I
cannot pretend to possess a knowledge of this subject beyond my said
efforts, and even that, somewhat optimistically.
It is rather annoying to know something, but not much, of an his-
torical problem, for it may be predicted that the pretension to make
deductions out of something ignored leads to error in go percent of
the cases. Still more, it should be assumed that certainty in the re-
maining to percent is the fruit of chance, not of "logic." At the same
time, that partial wisdom (or ignorance) offers the advantage of al-
lowing more freedom to think, even to imagine, how the full knowl-
edge could be intended.
In my opinion, there are six major subject areas of border troubles
in Mexican-American relations whose research could be attempted in
two different manners. One approach would be to regard each of the
six as separated from the others. The research work should, therefore,
be conducted through independent monographic studies. The other
way would be to consider the border problem as a great isolated sub-
ject, and to study it chronologically; then it would be realized that in
a given time each of those six subjects becomes the dominant theme.
The first may be the one called by you the westward movement,
insofar as it affected Mexico's borderline with the United States. It
would start with the North American negotiations to acquire terri-
tories formerly owned by Spain and France, down to the 1848 Treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In between there would remain the subordi-
nate subjects on, first of all, the colonization of Texas, the colonists'
defiance, Texas independence, its annexation to the United States,
*Mr. Cosio is professor of history at the Colegio de Mexico. This paper was given at
the El Paso meeting of the Western History Association, 1966.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/. Accessed July 2, 2015.