What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation


Is New Mexico an ‘Incomplete Project’ of the United States?

Brought Into the Union Through Conquest, the State’s Untidy Identity and History of Autonomy Persist

May 14, 2019

New Mexico has an uneasy and complicated history. After joining the United States by conquest—through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848—its residents didn’t automatically become citizens until the area gained statehood in 1912. The legacy of this past—which includes Native American settlements that stretch back over a millennium and Spanish colonization in the late 16th century—was the subject of a Smithsonian/ASU “What It Means to Be American” event, titled “How Did the American Conquest …

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