Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

James Sanders


Kyle Bulthuis


Victoria Grieve


The story of how New Mexico became part of the United States is well known, along with many of the different legends. In an effort to shine new light onto this historical stage I took many of the same documents that other scholars have used and studied them from a colonial viewpoint. New Mexico appeared to be further along in its nationalism and economic development than other areas of the continent before the United States took an interest in it, but the American movement west can, and should, be read as an early United States colonial expansion. This new reading deserves its own narrative, which is provided here.

In order to undertake this new reading I have examined some key issues including the misconceptions that many Americans held towards New Mexico and its people, the economic relations between Americans, New Mexicans, and Native Americans, and the importance of Manifest Destiny in the push westward. None of these are new subjects, but a colonial reading of the documents provides a new perspective that will demonstrate how different the United States’ advance into New Mexico was from other westward movements.