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In 1835 the Republic of Texas separated from its previous Mexican rule. After spending the better part of their one sovereign decade attempting to join the United States, Texas was annexed by the USA in 1845. The United States offered Texas security, stable rule, and economic survivability, as many had families in the United States and feared that Mexico had plans to strike once more at Texas, hence this trope. The United States also would protect the settlers' right to own slaves-- these settlers, first invited to Texas by the Mexican government after agreeing to follow Mexican law, balked at Mexico's ban on slavery in 1829, which these slave-owning settlers very much disagreed with.  The slavery aspect is something Texans unsurprisingly tend to gloss over when discussing their state's history.
In 1846, the United States Congress declared war on Mexico following a border skirmish between a Mexican cavalry detachment and a U.S. patrol. Long story short, Mexico lost, and the Mexican government ended up signing the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty, in which Mexico transferred to the USA the territories that are nowadays covered by California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Oklahoma -- that is, around 60% of its territory (though only a very small part of its population or gross national income)- for the sum of 15 million dollars ( accounting for inflation, that's about $313 million today). This was later followed by the sale of La Mesilla / purchase of Gadsden for the purpose of building a transcontinental railroad.
Needless to say, the thought of being formerly such a huge country that lost so much land supposedly means that every single Mexican has at one point dreamed of getting back the "Lost Territories". And of course, Mexico being next to the U.S. a crapsack world by comparison, this desire is all but a pipe dream.
But what if, in fiction, the USA were weakened enough to make this dream come true?
Thus, whenever in speculative fiction you see the United States somehow greatly weakened, or in the past before the USA became a superpower, you can pretty much be assured the back story will involve Mexico conquering at least Texas and California.  This is particularly ironic, because Mexico's economy is barely larger than Texas . But then again, it IS Texas.
See also Divided States of America.
- The above picture comes from an ad for Swedish Vodka that only ran in Mexico. That there was a backlash when it was leaked into the USA is putting it mildly. This news article will explain better anything about the ad and the controversy.
- In Red Dawn several Central/South American countries invaded the US through Mexico after a limited nuclear strike.
- In the Wild Wild West movie, Mexico was one of the backers of Loveless's plan in exchange for the return of Texas and California.
- Referenced in 80s Cannon-produced action film Avenging Force. The lead white supremacist's rant about liberals and communists refers to 20 million Mexicans in the United States who would just "love to rebel and join the Socialist Republic of Mexico."
- In the comedy Viva Max, the title General Maximillian is driven to near insanity when the Mexican woman he has a crush on spurns him and insults his capacity as a military officer. He assumes that, naturally, the best way to impress her is to recapture the Alamo.
- A news story near the beginning of RoboCop describes rebels in Mexico rattling the U.S. borders.
- In Escape From L.A., all of Latin America has been united under the Shining Path and is about to invade the US. Revolutionary agent Cuervo Jones kidnaps and brainwashes The President's Daughter in order to seize control of the "Sword of Damocles" EMP satellite superweapon, and plans to use it to lead off the war. Snake Plissken is sent into the ruins of Los Angeles in order to retrieve the weapon and stop the invasion.
- In the book One Second After (taking place in the aftermath of an EMP attack on the US) taking advantage of the confusion, Mexico takes over a good portion of the southern US, including Texas.
- The War Against the Chtorr. Southern Mexico provides staging areas for an "Army of Economic Liberation" to invade an ostensibly demilitarised United States. The invaders get their ass handed to them due to secret technology the US has been hiding. When Mexico subsequently collapses, many other nations think it's not a coincidence.
- One Sliders episode featured a world where Mexico decides to take back Texas and California (possibly others as well). They get quckly thrown out of Texas, however, since "every Texas citizen owns a gun", but California cities turn into war zones.
- In Shadowrun, Aztlan (AKA The Country Formerly Known As Mexico) invaded and conquered parts of California and Texas (both of which had split off from the U.S.).
- Twilight 2000. After the Soviet nuclear attack on the U.S., Mexico invaded the southern U.S.
- Mexico attempts to take Texas (claiming it belonged to them, even if they were centuries late) at one point in the Deus Ex back story, after the incident with the original NSF reveals how weak the US had become. It's not mentioned in the main plot, but it is given through in-game media. The Nameless Mod mentions it in the fan fiction shop.
- A Mexican-occupied Texas level was planned, but cut from development.
- Soviet troops in Red Alert 2 invade via Mexico (or at least we see a Apocalypse Tank crushing a "Welcome to Texas" sign).
- The backstory states that Mexico is part of the World Socialist League, and the USSR faked a civil war there to justify a troop intervention -- which provided them a base to invade the USA.
- In Tom Clancy's HAWX, the title squadron flies to Ciudad Juarez due to Mexican rebels going into the United States to escape retribution from government forces.
- Inverted in Xkcd; a comic showing a handful of satellite operators who start debating the situation with Israel and Palestine when the sat reaches that general area get shut down by their boss moving the sat to Oklahoma, which another technician calls "Occupied North Texas". Leading to the boss sighing and just telling him to shut up.
- The Nation of Aztlan movement has this as its goal.
- Imperial Germany during World War One delivered the Zimmermann Telegram, which offered to give Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to Mexico if it sided with Germany. The British decrypted the message and sent it to the U.S. before the Mexicans could even get around to responding. This was pretty much the last straw that drove the U.S. to enter the war against Germany. Because Mexico was in the middle of a revolution, it probably wouldn't have been interested anyway.
- Mexican President Carranza actually had the Mexican Army's General Staff analyze the Zimmerman Note and what Germany was offering, and turned down the offer on the grounds that 1) holding and occupying the states in question would have been a nightmare; 2) German financial assistance was meaningless in that the only country capable of supplying Mexico enough arms to attack the United States was the United States itself! and 3) No German military assistance was immediately forthcoming due to Germany's own situation in Europe and Allied shipping patrols in the Atlantic. Carranza correctly concluded that the Zimmerman Note was a case of Germany saying to Mexico "Let's You and Him Fight" in an effort to keep the U.S. out of World War One.
- George Friedman, in his novel The Next 100 Years, details his very broad political predictions for the 21st century and states that Mexico will at least attempt this by 2100, due to Mexico's likely stabilization (he points out China has been in chaos in the recent past and overcome that chaos), its population growth and the US population decline.
- This may become a moot point if the United States, Mexico, and Canada continue their economic integration and extend it into the political sphere. Some people even envision a common economy and currency (the "amero"; though given the near-identical value of the US and Canadian dollars, some advocates say they should just be merged as the "North American dollar"), and open borders based on the EU model. However, there are substantial sentiments in all three countries against further integration, and the Drug War, the HUGE debt of the U.S. that would be passed on mostly debt-free countries, along with the terrible paying habits of U.S. that would generate even more debt and the underdeveloped economy (and lawless areas controlled by the heavily-armed drug cartels) of Mexico are bigger obstacles.
- Inverted by the suggestion that Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León would be on the shortlist of Mexican states to join the U.S., being closer to Texas than the rest of Mexico.
- As recently as the 1980s the annexation of Baja California was proposed as a means of alleviating Mexico's foreign debt owed to the United States.
- This was exactly why the Mexican-American War happened, with Mexico trying to reconquer Texas. Obviously, it didn't work out.
- Actually, the war happened because Mexico and Texas was arguing over where the Texan border was - Texas said Rio Grande, Mexico said Nueces River - and that argument carried over to the United States when Texas was annexed. When James K Polk sent troops to uphold the Rio Grande border and was fired on by Mexican troops, it started the war... and subsequent Curb Stomp Battle with the U.S. smashing its way through ninety percent of Mexico.
- ↑ Texas was actually granted a one-year exemption from the 1829 ban, but Mexican president Anastasio Bustamante ordered that all slaves be freed in 1830. To circumvent the law, many Anglo colonists converted their slaves into indentured servants for life.
- ↑ Some Northerners would say good riddance.
- ↑ And not even as large as California's; in fact should Mexico hypothetically succeed this very moment in recovering just these two states, the Mexican economy would practically triple its size.