Futurist wrote: ↑
03 Jan 2021 00:09
Having the US militarily intervene in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution certainly sounds interesting--though Mexicans might view it as being a stab-in-the-back on the part of the voracious and land-hungry US, no? It's worth noting that, in 1930, there was already speculation that the US's total population might peak around the year 2000 or so:
So, if these views would have already existed in the 1910s, then there might not have been a pressing need among Americans to acquire additional space during this time like there was back in the 1840s, when the US's population was still growing much more rapidly.
The proximate cause for the conflict was the kidnapping of William Jenkins, who was an American consular official. After his release, Mexican authorities arrested him, claiming he was behind his own kidnapping; of the sources listed, the majority conclusion is that this was untrue and probably an effort by Mexican leaders to absolve themselves of failing to protect American diplomatic officials. Outside of this immediate cause, there was underlying issues afoot, most prominently the looming threat of the Carranza Government to nationalize American oil interests as well as a recent report from the U.S. Congress showing Bolshevik (and Pro-German, during WWI) activities within Mexico that was considered a threat to the United States. This is important, given that the First Red Scare was currently underway. Thus, the desire was not for simple land, but rather on national security and economic grounds.
The crisis reached its decisive point in November, when Secretary of State Robert Lansing sought to issue an ultimatum to force a conflict. According to Never Wars: The US War Plans to Invade the World
by Blaine Pardoe, the U.S. Military had first drawn up embryonic plans during the crisis, and these were later refined into War Plan Green later in the 1920s. From these, we know the idea was of a force of around 400,000 U.S. soldiers (Both Army and Marines) to fight the conflict, with a holding action and limited offensives along the existing U.S. border. The main thrust, however, was to come via an amphibious landing action against Veracruz and from there an overland campaign was to be conducted against Mexico City, with the capture of said location to be the main objective. Essentially, in many ways, it was to be a replay of the earlier conflict in the 1840s. What ultimately prevented it was President Wilson, who recovered from his stroke and thus was able to undermine Secretary Lansing and defuse the tensions.
As far as what would come next, that is a good question. According to the 1921 Mexican Census, the population of Mexico was 14,334,780 compared to 106,021,537 Americans, based on the 1920 Census. During the 1840s war, Mexico had 1/3 of the population of the United States but now, in 1919, it had just 13.5% of the U.S. population, making it a much more easily digestible conquest if all of it was taken. If not all, and just Northern Mexico was taken, said area was still very sparsely populated and given the even greater disparity between the U.S. population and this smaller area, it could be reasonably annexed. As for the Catholic issue, they composed about 18% of the U.S. population, meaning there was 19 million Catholics in America; more than the entire population of Mexico, quite ironically.
Overall, I think the U.S. could do either and make it work. Undoubtedly insurgency would occur after, but the U.S. Military at this time had a lot of institutional experience in successfully fighting such, from the still recent Indian Wars, the Philippine–American War, the various interventions in the 1910s and then, later in the historical 1920s, in Central America during the so called "Banana Wars". Whether they would is probably the real question, and I think it depends on political developments in the U.S. itself and what actions the Mexicans themselves take.