The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972 Page: 326
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
This essay attempts to identify the connection between aggressive
North American moves in Texas and the eventual prostrate con-
dition of New Mexico at the time of the Mexican War. The blood-
less conquest of Santa Fe by the army of General Stephen Watts
Kearny reveals the degree to which New Mexico had lost the ability
to resist Anglo-American penetration by 1846. This essay also at-
tempts to suggest to both Mexicans and North Americans further
reasons for the bitter anti-Americanism that remained for so long
in the southwestern United States and the Mexican borderlands.
When Mexico decided to adopt a republican political system in
1824, it was influenced by certain features of the United States con-
stitution.' At the same time, the new government embraced the em-
presario policy originally proposed by Moses Austin to the colonial
government before independence. Indeed, Mexico was quite cordial
toward the United States in the early 182o's, particularly in the light
of Envoy Joel Poinsett's irritating insistence that the Adams-Onis
Treaty line should be revised."
New Mexicans demonstrated a desire for closer ties with the United
States in 1824 by sending twenty-six citizens to Council Bluffs to
discuss joint protection of traders on the Santa Fe Trail. There,
Agent Benjamin O'Fallon was instrumental in effecting a Mexican-
Pawnee peace treaty. One year later, Governor Bartolomb Baca com-
missioned Manuel Sim6n de Escudero of Chihuahua to seek from
the United States additional security for the annual caravans. With
the political machinery of Thomas Hart Benton working toward the
same objective, President James Monroe was persuaded to send three
commissioners to Santa Fe to negotiate a "highway between nations."
George Champlin Sibley soon arrived in Santa Fe where he enjoyed
cordial relations with Governor Antonio Narbona preparatory to
beginning a survey of the traders' road to the Arkansas River.'
'Watson Smith, "Influences from the United States on the Mexican Constitution of
1824," Arizona and the West, IV (Summer, 1962), 113. The legislature of New Mexico
"placed in its archives a copy of the Constitution of the United States of the north.
This had been reprinted in Mexico by order of the supreme government and dis-
tributed to all the provinces." Lansing Bartlett Bloom, "New Mexico under Mexican
Administration, 1821-1846," Old Santa Fe, I (October, 1918), 167 n.
'J. Fred Rippy, Joel R. Poinsett: Versatile American (Durham, North Carolina, 1935),
113-114. See also William R. Manning, "Texas and the Boundary Issue, 1822-1829,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVII (January, 1914), 287-241.
'Hiram Martin Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (2nd ed.;
2 vols.; New York, 1935), II, 507; H. Bailey Carroll and J. Villasana Haggard (eds.),
Three New Mexico Chronicles (Albuquerque, 1942), 114; Kate L. Gregg (ed.), The
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972, periodical, 1972; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/m1/338/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.