Watch LIVE

Were there 'Mexicans' here 'Long before America was even an idea?


Earlier on the site we showed you a speech of President Obama omitting "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence. But as reader Robert pointed out, there's also a little revisionist history included in the clip.

You can watch the video here, but this is the Obama quote that Robert takes umbrage with:

Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many people. From British to French, to Dutch and Spanish -- to Mexicans -- to countless Indian tribes, we all shared the same land.

Here's what Robert noticed: "The President forgot that the United States in 1776 had no Mexicans in it.  Mexico as a nation rebelled and left the Spanish Empire in 1821. Prior to 1821 it was a Spanish Colony."

Robert is right: "Mexicans" weren't Mexicans until they fought a war of independence. Granted, Mexico was a region, and as such one could technically consider its inhabitants Mexicans, just as those in the South can be called Southerners. But I don't think that's what the president was going for. Even if it was, certainly Mexicans as we know them today could not be considered such "long before America was even an idea."

And maybe that's where the president can be faulted most -- using such a non-descript phrase to make a claim of history. "Long before America was even an idea" covers a very large time frame (just as his next phrase "land of plenty" can mean so many things -- North America? The United States? The 13 original colonies?). I can't help but think during that nebulous period "Mexicans" were a mix of (among others) Aztecs, Mayans, and especially Spaniards.

Robert has a stronger position: "History has facts and it will not always conform to ideological straight jackets."

Most recent
All Articles