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What we gained that time we lost so much: demographic trends and territorial control in Mexico after the war with the United States




Wars, State formation, Native Americans, Mexico, Modernization, JEL: N46, F51, P16, H56


This paper underscores demographic dynamics as a silent force shaping Mexico's 19th-century narrative, enhancing our comprehension of the nation's historical evolution. By examining the aftermath of American expansion (1846-1848) and the subsequent French intervention, this study shifts the focus from traditional state capacity discussions to demographic trends. It reevaluates Mexico's state formation during the 19th century and reveals the intrinsic role of demographic dynamics. Analyzing population trends at critical junctures, this research illuminates Mexico's vulnerability during its formative years. The transformation of Mexico's demographic landscape post-Mexican-American War becomes pivotal, laying the foundation for a more robust state in the face of foreign threats. The shift from a sparsely populated frontier to a strategically controlled border forms the core of this exploration, demonstrating how demographic shifts influenced territorial dominance and state resilience. This paper contributes to a deeper understanding of Mexico's historical evolution through the lens of demographic dynamics.