Monday, September 30, 2013

Sobel Wiki: a state of forgetfulness

This week's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on the Mexican state of Mexico del Norte. Mexico del Norte is unusual for a Mexican state in that it actually makes sense. The neighboring state of Arizona, for instance, is basically one big rotten borough, having almost no white settlers at the time Andrew Jackson created it in 1819 (as well as being anachronistically named). The state of Chiapas is equally problematic, being the mother of all gerrymanders -- ninety percent of Mexico's population concentrated in a single state -- as well as being anachronistically named. By contrast, Mexico del Norte actually had a majority of white settlers, almost 30,000 of them, and was already a long-established Mexican province. The only odd thing about making it a state of the new United States of Mexico was the decision to change the name from Nuevo Mexico to Mexico del Norte.

Unlike Jefferson, the home state of the U.S.M.'s Anglo minority, or California, the birthplace of Kramer Associates, or the Hispanic states of Chiapas and Durango, Mexico del Norte was always just sort of there in Sobel's U.S.M. It was one of the main battlegrounds of the Rocky Mountain War, but after that Mexico del Norte was basically a cypher. It was like a second Arizona, except that it didn't even produce any notable political leaders to compare with Arizona's Arthur Conroy and Thomas Rogers. After a while, even Sobel seemed to forget it was there; after 1926, he forgot to include Mexico del Norte's vote tallies in his tables of presidential election results.