Southern History Series: John C. Calhoun Opposed The “All of Mexico” Plan

Sen. John C. Calhoun famously opposed the Mexican War.

Calhoun was adamantly opposed to conquering and incorporating “All of Mexico” which some of the most strident American imperialists wanted to do at the time because he felt that it would poison the Union. He was later proven right about that and many other things besides:

“RESOLVED, That to conquer Mexico and to hold it, either as a province or to incorporate it into the Union, would be inconsistent with the avowed object for which the war has been prosecuted; a departure from the settled policy of the Government; in conflict with its character and genius; and in the end subversive of our free and popular institutions.”

“RESOLVED, That no line of policy in the further prosecution of the war should be adopted which may lead to consequences so disastrous. …”

The next reason which my resolutions assign, is, that it is without example or precedent, wither to hold Mexico as a province, or to incorporate her into our Union. No example of such a line of policy can be found. We have conquered many of the neighboring tribes of Indians, but we have never thought of holding them in subjection—never of incorporating them into our Union. They have either been left as an independent people amongst us, or been driven into the forests.

I know further, sir, that we have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race. To incorporate Mexico, would be the very first instance of the kind of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the Government of a white race. The greatest misfortunes of Spanish America are to be traced to the fatal error of placing these colored races on an equality with the white race. That error destroyed the social arrangement which formed the basis of society. The Portuguese and ourselves have escaped—the Portuguese at least to some extent—and we are the only people on this continent which have made revolutions without being followed by anarchy. And yet it is professed and talked about to erect these Mexicans into a Territorial Government, and place them on an equality with the people of the United States. I protest utterly against such a project.

Sir, it is a remarkable fact, that in the whole history of man, as far as my knowledge extends, there is no instance whatever of any civilized colored races being found equal to the establishment of free popular government, although by far the largest portion of the human family is composed of these races. And even in the savage state we scarcely find them anywhere with such government, except it be our noble savages—for noble I will call them. They, for the most part, had free institutions, but they are easily sustained among a savage people. Are we to overlook this fact? Are we to associate with ourselves as equals, companions, and fellow-citizens, the Indians and mixed race of Mexico? Sir, I should consider such a thing as fatal to our institutions.

The next two reasons which I assigned, were, that it would be in conflict with the genius and character of our institutions, and subversive of our free government. I take these two together, as intimately connected; and now of the first—to hold Mexico in subjection. …”

It is not often appreciated by modern day “progressives” how much racism and white supremacy had to do with putting the brakes on American imperialism or why it came to an end during the Cold War. Historically speaking, “racists” and “white supremacists” have tended to oppose American imperialism because starting devastating wars in foreign countries and occupying them indefinitely has only led to the death and displacement of foreigners and their eventual migration here.

The failure of the “All of Mexico” movement is one example of this. The failure of the Grant administration to annex the Dominican Republic is another. The opposition to annexing Hawaii is another. The opposition to the Spanish-American War and the failure to annex Cuba is another. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 which granted independence to the Philippines is yet another example of this.

“White supremacists” have typically wanted America to be less engaged in the world for the United States could remain White and Christian. The Founding Fathers were “white supremacists” and their foreign policy was non-interventionism, peace and commerce with all nations.

Note: It goes without saying that “white supremacists” have supported settling and annexing contiguous territories. It’s also true that Free Soilism similarly constrained American imperialism because Northerners opposed the expansion of the South and vice versa. Still, there is a long tradition of “white supremacists” like Rep. John Rankin or Sen. James K. Vardaman of Mississippi opposing American imperialism and it has continued down the present day in the strident opposition of their descendants to the Iraq War and now war with Blompf’s plans to intervene in Syria, Venezuela and Iran.

About Hunter Wallace 12371 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. “I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the Government of a white race. ”

    Oh, Lord. If only……

  2. Calhoun seems to have been widely popular also. Calhoun county in Michigan would appear to be named after him.

  3. Thank you for publishing this. I read most of this many years ago and thought it was important. Glad you feel the same way.

  4. I think Calhoun was correct in not wanting the USA to conquer Mexico. He was wrong however in believing that Mexico was almost all Indian or mestizo.

    The latest surveys in Mexico using genetics, hospital research, and racial image officially came to the following result:

    Mexicans are: 47% white
    1.2% african (most generally heavily mixed with Indian blood)
    21.5% Indigenous (Indian)
    30% Other—–mostly Mestizo

    The classification of white is different in Mexico than the USA. In Mexico not only genetics but the image of a person was used in determining race. So a person who is primarily white by blood and image will not only self identify as white but will be considered white.

    The official source for this information can be found not only in Mexico but in Demographics in Mexico under Wikipedia near the bottom of the page.

  5. Today about 1/4 of Mexicans live north of the Rio Grande, in Los Estados Unidos. This could have been preventec if we had annexed northern Mexico in 1848, all the way down the Baja peninsula, and then driven out its mestizo and Indian inhabitants to make way for White settlement. Think of how great America would have been if President Polk’s proposal for expansion into northern Mexico and parts of the Carribbean had come to fruition. We wouldn’t be on the defensive against the inferior brown hordes of invaders like we are now.

  6. Just a summary comment on all of you Calhoun Posting – a great man, worthy of respect and emulation – Who is the modern Calhoun? (answer: no one!)

  7. We should make a distinction between White Nationalism and White Separatism. White Nationalism is the word of choice now but if so where is the white nation? White Separatism, on the other hand, mandates separation from the powers that be. In other words it is not quite white nationalism but more correctly termed White Separatist-Nationalism because we must separate from what is before we can possibly build what should be! In other words come out from among them all yee my people and be thou separate and apart to paraphrase the Bible.

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