What we gained that time we lost so much

Gustafscenen Session 6: Global inequality – levels and trends organized by Ellen Hillbom


Diego Castañeda Garza, Sergio Silva Castañeda


In this article we explore the precariousness of the Mexican state between the two most important foreign interventions that the country suffered in the 19th century. We argue that, although the Mexican state did not manage to consolidate itself until the last quarter of the 19th century, there were important conditions that changed between 1848 and 1862 that at least allowed for the occupation of the north of the country. The defeat of Mexico in 1848 and the subsequent loss of territory allowed for a manageable and less threatened border. At the same time, it encouraged a political agreement in the center of the country on the importance of controlling that border and occupying that territory. In this paper we use a panel model as well as a synthetic control analysis to show how these changes did produce a trend change in the demographics of the northern states (except Sonora), reflecting a greater capacity of the Mexican state to protect its territory and even exploit it economically. By 1862 these changes allowed the Mexican state to survive precisely in those territories that were its greatest weakness between 1846 and 1848.


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