The US paid Mexico after winning the Mexican-American War, huh?

Jul 2019
4
San Diego, CA
In reading Grant's memoirs, I learned the astonishing fact that the US actually paid Mexico money after the US won the war. I had a very difficult time believing this so I looked it up on Wiki and there it was:

The treaty gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, established the U.S.-Mexican border of the Rio Grande, and ceded to the United States the present-day states of California, Nevada, and Utah, most of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming. In return, Mexico received $15 million[163] ($434 million today) – less than half the amount the U.S. had attempted to offer Mexico for the land before the opening of hostilities[164] – and the U.S. agreed to assume $3.25 million ($94 million today) in debts that the Mexican government owed to U.S. citizens.

Does anyone know why we agreed to this? I've never heard of a victor country paying a vanquished country after the war. The Marshall Plan might be a possible exception.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,728
SoCal
We might have been concerned about the appearance of legality in regards to this. Still, it was a very nice thing to do considering that, for instance, Germany didn't pay France for Alsace-Lorraine in 1871.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
Defeated countries are very often burdened by paying "reparations" to the victor. Revanche for lost lands and vengeance often result, but the US and Mexico have not been at war again for 170 years. The United States has gained much of its territory through purchase rather than through aggression (Louisiana; the former Mexican territories; Alaska).

It was not altruistic. It was good business, and all three purchases were had at bargain prices. Most people do not recognize the importance in geopolitics of controlling such a huge area in the middle of North America. If the US had it, no one else could. (It was one reason why the preservation of the Union was paramount in the Civil War. Foreign influences - say of Britain or France in the South, and the lower Mississippi Valley, could not be accepted.)
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,728
SoCal
Defeated countries are very often burdened by paying "reparations" to the victor. Revanche for lost lands and vengeance often result, but the US and Mexico have not been at war again for 170 years. The United States has gained much of its territory through purchase rather than through aggression (Louisiana; the former Mexican territories; Alaska).
You forgot to mention the US Virgin Islands here. :(

It was not altruistic. It was good business, and all three purchases were had at bargain prices.
That should be four purchases! :(

Most people do not recognize the importance in geopolitics of controlling such a huge area in the middle of North America. If the US had it, no one else could. (It was one reason why the preservation of the Union was paramount in the Civil War. Foreign influences - say of Britain or France in the South, and the lower Mississippi Valley, could not be accepted.)
It was also very useful as living space. The Western and Southwestern US territories perhaps more than the Louisiana Purchase territory.
 
Apr 2017
1,624
U.S.A.
The concept of paying for territory seized after a war is not unusual, it goes back centuries. More or less it was designed to lessen the anger from taking the territory and compensate the victim for its loss. A modern comparison would be eminent domain. If someone beats you up and kicks you out of your home you'd be pretty mad, but if they compensated you afterward, you'd be less mad.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
@Futurist

The V.I. were purchased, yes. However, that was a decision of momentary military expediency (1917 IIRC). The US was concerned that the Islands might be sold to Germany and used as forward location for U-Boats. The US V.I. as far as I know have never been much economically, and are something of an anomaly. My opinion.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
The concept of paying for territory seized after a war is not unusual, it goes back centuries. More or less it was designed to lessen the anger from taking the territory and compensate the victim for its loss. A modern comparison would be eminent domain. If someone beats you up and kicks you out of your home you'd be pretty mad, but if they compensated you afterward, you'd be less mad.
Hmmmm....Eminent Domain is to be satisfied by "just compensation" according to the US Constitution. Fair market value is the usual test, but fair market value is in the eye of the beholder. That is almost always the "state," and the state can think only of its interests.
 
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Zip

Jan 2018
478
Comancheria
We paid Spain for Florida (there was no war) but we were making them an offer they couldn't refuse, know what I mean?
 
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