There are a multiple ways in which Mexico, which would have had the similar economic potential early in the mid-19th century to early 20th century as Japan, South Korea, Australia, US and Canada, did could have infinitely become better off than the mess it has become in the past 100-plus years. I find some the best ways are:

1. Have the Reforma War be much shorter and decisive for Benito Juarez and the Liberals. Because the country wasn't as destroyed by the war, they can still keep their payments or work out a deal for a pause, thus no French Intervention. Thus, you have Juarez running continuously, without wars to stop his policies and improvements.

2. have Porfiriato Diaz has retired in 1910 and allowed Reyes, Limantour or Madero to succeed him, then Porfiriato Mexico could have transitioned peacefully into a reformed state. Madero would likely have more success than a Reyes or Limantour since he is more of a reformer. Labor and land reform could have happened within stable institutions instead of a revolutionary society.

3. What if Emporer Augustin I had remained in power and Mexico grew to become an economic powerhouse like Japan and Spain?

4. have Spain succeed in their reconquest of Mexico in 1821–29 and follow up on that success - Mexico re-joins Spain as New Spain, and lots of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and other Roman Catholic Stock settlers move to Mexico in much the similar manner as Argentina and Brazil (and the country develops accordingly) (NO OFFENSE)

All of these scenarios, at best, would forestall PRI Dictatorship and all its deleterious effects, and Mexico would thus be a developed country in the same league as Japan, South Korea, China, Western/Northern/Southern Europe, North America, and Australia. Which of these scenarios sounds better in terms of turning Mexico into a First World country and 5th Largest Economy?
 

WILDGEESE

Gone Fishin'
How about an increase in the scope of the US - Mexican War 1846/48?

You could have the US Army march straight in to the entire country, remove the government and install a US style system of government, elections every four years etc.

Would this make Mexico more stable allowing better economic development?

Would the US Armed Forces be big enough or strong enough to do this though?

Regards filers
 
How about an increase in the scope of the US - Mexican War 1846/48?

You could have the US Army march straight in to the entire country, remove the government and install a US style system of government, elections every four years etc.

Would this make Mexico more stable allowing better economic development?

Would the US Armed Forces be big enough or strong enough to do this though?

Regards filers

even that too would help
 
Mexico joins the United States in the 1990s?

NAFTA Is Not Enough: Steps toward a North American Community by Robert Pastor, Brookings Institution Press. (2002)

From the lessons learned from the EU, the three governments should establish a North American Development Fund that would concentrate on investing in infrastructure from the border to the center of the country. If roads are built, investors will come and fewer people would emigrate. A second objective should be education. In the mid-1980s, Spain and Portugal had an educational profile comparable to Mexico’s, but an infusion of EU funds into higher education had a profound effect, more than doubling enrollment. In contrast, Mexico’s level of tertiary education has remained the same. The additional benefit of supporting higher education in remote areas is that these new institutions could become centers for development, and students and professors could help upgrade elementary and secondary schools in the area. That is what Spain and Portugal did.​
Instead of creating a new bureaucracy or modifying the North American Development Bank, which has neither the experience nor the mandate, the North American Development Fund should be administered by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. If the United States contributed at the EU level, that would amount to $400 billion. This figure is useful for alerting Americans to the magnitude of the EU commitment and the meagerness of North America’s, but no one believes it is possible at the current time. The World Bank has estimated that Mexico needs $20 billion a year for ten years just to upgrade its infrastructure. A development fund that could loan, say, half of that would have a significant impact on Mexico and North America. Fox has proposed that all three governments contribute in proportion to the size of their economies. The United States’ contribution would be the largest of the three but could be in callable capital or loan guarantees. It would be roughly comparable to the amount that the United States contributed to the Alliance for Progress forty years ago. Mexicans already buy more per capita from the United States than any other country except Canada. Stimulating Mexico’s growth, therefore, would have a double return on the investment.​
 
You need to break PRI's stranglehold on power earlier. You need to find a way for the 1988 presidential election to not be rigged (Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas won, but the "elected" president was priísta technocrat Carlos Salinas de Gortari).

If you want an even earlier end to the Perfect Dictatorship, you need to somehow put a priísta president who is willing to destroy his own party's political monopoly. What about Carlos Alberto Madrazo? He was a reformer of sorts who was appointed president of PRI before being forced out by Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, one of the dictatorship's greatest murderers along with his chief underling and successor Luis Echeverría.
 
There are a multiple ways in which Mexico, which would have had the similar economic potential early in the mid-19th century to early 20th century as Japan, South Korea, Australia, US and Canada, did could have infinitely become better off than the mess it has become in the past 100-plus years. I find some the best ways are:
Oh boy I like these ones!

Let me give you my two cents about your ideas.

1.- Better Reforma War. The war was unavoidable: you had the liberals and conservatives fighting ever since Santa Anna stepped down. The clash would've happened no matter what, and it would've been explosive. I simply don't see how Juárez could've quashed the conservatives in a lesser time span. Even OTL, the conservatives remained relevant enough to orchestrate the Second Mexican Empire - after all, the whole debt thing was just an excuse to invade Mexico. Even if such a thing were to happen, a Juárez presidency would've lasted up to his death... remember that OTL he tried to reelect himself over and over again. A Juárez presidency would've certainly brought reforms, but in a twisted, deformed way: the right ideas would take place, but during implementation, they wouldn't come out right. Juárez simply lacked the statesman complex that Porfirio Díaz enjoyed: Juárez would witness the very slow decay of Mexico, as the rich elite would go away and the Church would continue to wrestle for control. Juárez, as much as he is praised, wouldn't be able to make Mexico better even with a more successful Reforma War.

2.- Porfirio succession. The most likely candidate would obviously be Limantour: Reyes was seen as too much of a threat and Madero was a radical to Porfirio's eyes. I don't see Porfirio resigning: perhaps as his health deteriorates he delegates power more and more, but he never leaves office. That means a Limantour presidency starting in 1915. The post-Porfirio years would be exceedingly hard: the iron fist that the old President had would be removed, allowing for all kinds of crazy stuff to happen. Limantour would have to be strong enough to keep stability while at the same time being a reformer. He was, I believe, the most perfect example of a technocrat in Porfirio's cabinet, and he was a cunning banker, so I believe economic prosperity would continue at least a few years more. Madero would undoubtedly try to bring reforms, although without the debacle of 1908-1910, and without Villa to assist him, it's hard to say just how successful he would be. He could, maybe, become a part of the Limantour government through natural means and influence change from within, maybe even convincing Limantour to appoint him as his successor. All in all, I envision something similar to 1940's Cuba: a prosperous but unequal and very undemocratic Mexico. But hey, no PRI, so there's that.

3.- Agustín I. Yeah, no. The First Mexican Empire was without a doubt the sloppiest, least functional incarnation of Mexico. Even if Agustín I managed to overcome the initial hurdles and manage to form a legitimate empire, you'd still see a terrible centralization of power, rampant corruption, an atrocious economy, and a disjointed country with little to no unity. Agustín I was very unpopular, so much so that his old independence buddies were the ones to unseat him. Progressing into the 19th century, this discomfort, adding to it desires for federalization and a young Santa Anna ready to prove himself, and you have yourself the recipe for a civil war so vast that it would literally kill Mexico as we know it. Each region goes their separate way, with the US coming along to gobble up as they so choose, impeded only by their own internal politics. A continuous Agustín I empire would truly be Mexico's darkest timeline.

4.- Reconquista. So, we're touching hot water now. I would argue, and this is certainly controversial here in Mexico, that Argentina only succeeded because there were no natives (yeah, yikes). The existence of a large indigenous population meant that the Spaniards in Mexico developed the casta hierarchy system which pretty much defined the 300 years of Spanish rule in Mexico. Pure-blood Spaniards were on top, followed by the criollos (Spaniards born in the Americas), then mestizos (mixed-blood), their various combinations, and finally the natives and slaves. This is the system that created an unequal and economically backwards Mexico. In Argentina, however, the native population was much smaller and had less meaningful contact with the Spanish. So you had vast, resource-rich and thinly populated stretches of land, all within a geopolitically stable region with no natives to worry about. It was prime real estate for Europeans, who came in and brought their wealth with them. A similar thing happened in Chile and Uruguay.

Mexico was, however, cursed with the casta system. Although it doesn't excuse the poor management of Mexicans, it does provide context. Going back to the scenario, if Spain succeeded in conquering Mexico, all that happens is that a second war of independence flares up. The economic burden of invading and occupying Mexico (plus Texas, the American Southwest and Central America, which was still Mexican territory back then), would leave Spain bankrupt immediately. Within a few years, Mexico would regain its independence as the Spaniards are simply unable to keep up with the war. Mexico would pretty much be left worse than it started, with a lessened population, crappy economy, and zero infrastructure. Even if Spain somehow won and managed to stick around, all that would happen would be a continuation of the casta system and all the garbage it comes along with. All in all, not the best scenario either for Mexico.

If you ask me, the best way for Mexico to become a better nation would be a smoother transition between Porfiriato and democracy. Under Porfirio, Mexico lived some pretty good days economically and culturally. If you get yourself a more competent Madero, or even just a reform-minded successor to Porfirio, you could begin the gradual transition into a more equal and democratic state. If things go well, you'll have a sound government during the oil boom of the 1970's, and kickstart Mexico's rise to first-world status.

I know that's a lot of text, but I do see it as my area of expertise. Questions are welcome!
 
Oh boy I like these ones!

Let me give you my two cents about your ideas.

1.- Better Reforma War. The war was unavoidable: you had the liberals and conservatives fighting ever since Santa Anna stepped down. The clash would've happened no matter what, and it would've been explosive. I simply don't see how Juárez could've quashed the conservatives in a lesser time span. Even OTL, the conservatives remained relevant enough to orchestrate the Second Mexican Empire - after all, the whole debt thing was just an excuse to invade Mexico. Even if such a thing were to happen, a Juárez presidency would've lasted up to his death... remember that OTL he tried to reelect himself over and over again. A Juárez presidency would've certainly brought reforms, but in a twisted, deformed way: the right ideas would take place, but during implementation, they wouldn't come out right. Juárez simply lacked the statesman complex that Porfirio Díaz enjoyed: Juárez would witness the very slow decay of Mexico, as the rich elite would go away and the Church would continue to wrestle for control. Juárez, as much as he is praised, wouldn't be able to make Mexico better even with a more successful Reforma War.

2.- Porfirio succession. The most likely candidate would obviously be Limantour: Reyes was seen as too much of a threat and Madero was a radical to Porfirio's eyes. I don't see Porfirio resigning: perhaps as his health deteriorates he delegates power more and more, but he never leaves office. That means a Limantour presidency starting in 1915. The post-Porfirio years would be exceedingly hard: the iron fist that the old President had would be removed, allowing for all kinds of crazy stuff to happen. Limantour would have to be strong enough to keep stability while at the same time being a reformer. He was, I believe, the most perfect example of a technocrat in Porfirio's cabinet, and he was a cunning banker, so I believe economic prosperity would continue at least a few years more. Madero would undoubtedly try to bring reforms, although without the debacle of 1908-1910, and without Villa to assist him, it's hard to say just how successful he would be. He could, maybe, become a part of the Limantour government through natural means and influence change from within, maybe even convincing Limantour to appoint him as his successor. All in all, I envision something similar to 1940's Cuba: a prosperous but unequal and very undemocratic Mexico. But hey, no PRI, so there's that.

3.- Agustín I. Yeah, no. The First Mexican Empire was without a doubt the sloppiest, least functional incarnation of Mexico. Even if Agustín I managed to overcome the initial hurdles and manage to form a legitimate empire, you'd still see a terrible centralization of power, rampant corruption, an atrocious economy, and a disjointed country with little to no unity. Agustín I was very unpopular, so much so that his old independence buddies were the ones to unseat him. Progressing into the 19th century, this discomfort, adding to it desires for federalization and a young Santa Anna ready to prove himself, and you have yourself the recipe for a civil war so vast that it would literally kill Mexico as we know it. Each region goes their separate way, with the US coming along to gobble up as they so choose, impeded only by their own internal politics. A continuous Agustín I empire would truly be Mexico's darkest timeline.

4.- Reconquista. So, we're touching hot water now. I would argue, and this is certainly controversial here in Mexico, that Argentina only succeeded because there were no natives (yeah, yikes). The existence of a large indigenous population meant that the Spaniards in Mexico developed the casta hierarchy system which pretty much defined the 300 years of Spanish rule in Mexico. Pure-blood Spaniards were on top, followed by the criollos (Spaniards born in the Americas), then mestizos (mixed-blood), their various combinations, and finally the natives and slaves. This is the system that created an unequal and economically backwards Mexico. In Argentina, however, the native population was much smaller and had less meaningful contact with the Spanish. So you had vast, resource-rich and thinly populated stretches of land, all within a geopolitically stable region with no natives to worry about. It was prime real estate for Europeans, who came in and brought their wealth with them. A similar thing happened in Chile and Uruguay.

Mexico was, however, cursed with the casta system. Although it doesn't excuse the poor management of Mexicans, it does provide context. Going back to the scenario, if Spain succeeded in conquering Mexico, all that happens is that a second war of independence flares up. The economic burden of invading and occupying Mexico (plus Texas, the American Southwest and Central America, which was still Mexican territory back then), would leave Spain bankrupt immediately. Within a few years, Mexico would regain its independence as the Spaniards are simply unable to keep up with the war. Mexico would pretty much be left worse than it started, with a lessened population, crappy economy, and zero infrastructure. Even if Spain somehow won and managed to stick around, all that would happen would be a continuation of the casta system and all the garbage it comes along with. All in all, not the best scenario either for Mexico.

If you ask me, the best way for Mexico to become a better nation would be a smoother transition between Porfiriato and democracy. Under Porfirio, Mexico lived some pretty good days economically and culturally. If you get yourself a more competent Madero, or even just a reform-minded successor to Porfirio, you could begin the gradual transition into a more equal and democratic state. If things go well, you'll have a sound government during the oil boom of the 1970's, and kickstart Mexico's rise to first-world status.

I know that's a lot of text, but I do see it as my area of expertise. Questions are welcome!

You're right i agree with you and thanks for correcting me. the best scenario would definitely be better transition between Porfiriato and Democracy.
 
What about having Juarez die in 1858, thereby allowing the republic of the conservadores a shot and preventing the Second Empire entirely?
 
So, we're touching hot water now. I would argue, and this is certainly controversial here in Mexico, that Argentina only succeeded because there were no natives (yeah, yikes). The existence of a large indigenous population meant that the Spaniards in Mexico developed the casta hierarchy system which pretty much defined the 300 years of Spanish rule in Mexico. Pure-blood Spaniards were on top, followed by the criollos (Spaniards born in the Americas), then mestizos (mixed-blood), their various combinations, and finally the natives and slaves. This is the system that created an unequal and economically backwards Mexico. In Argentina, however, the native population was much smaller and had less meaningful contact with the Spanish. So you had vast, resource-rich and thinly populated stretches of land, all within a geopolitically stable region with no natives to worry about. It was prime real estate for Europeans, who came in and brought their wealth with them.

This is pretty similar to the thesis in Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson. They argue that settler colonies are more likely to develop semi-egalitarian (and thus functional) political and economic institutions. However, they argued it was less a matter of the immigrants being wealthy as there not being a choice to develop a caste hierarchy. The examples they give are Australia and the British American colonies and basically argue that because they didn't have enough natives to enslave to operate the economy (in the American case, a lot of these events predate the widespread use of African American slaves), they had to develop semi-democratic institutions in order to motivate the colonists to actually produce anything of value. A particularly striking example is Jamestown where the first elected assembly was created not on the basis of high minded Enlightenment ideals or British parliamentarianism but to represent stakeholders within the colony.

If you ask me, the best way for Mexico to become a better nation would be a smoother transition between Porfiriato and democracy. Under Porfirio, Mexico lived some pretty good days economically and culturally. If you get yourself a more competent Madero, or even just a reform-minded successor to Porfirio, you could begin the gradual transition into a more equal and democratic state. If things go well, you'll have a sound government during the oil boom of the 1970's, and kickstart Mexico's rise to first-world status.

One thing that's striking is that Ireland and Mexico were tracking pretty close together on GDP per capita basis until the 80s or 90s when they diverge drastically. So making Mexico considered a "developed" nation by 2020 with a POD in the 60s or 70s seems fairly plausible to me in theory if the political situation (of which I am not aware in an detail) would permit reforms.
 
This is pretty similar to the thesis in Why Nations Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson. They argue that settler colonies are more likely to develop semi-egalitarian (and thus functional) political and economic institutions. However, they argued it was less a matter of the immigrants being wealthy as there not being a choice to develop a caste hierarchy. The examples they give are Australia and the British American colonies and basically argue that because they didn't have enough natives to enslave to operate the economy (in the American case, a lot of these events predate the widespread use of African American slaves), they had to develop semi-democratic institutions in order to motivate the colonists to actually produce anything of value. A particularly striking example is Jamestown where the first elected assembly was created not on the basis of high minded Enlightenment ideals or British parliamentarianism but to represent stakeholders within the colony.



One thing that's striking is that Ireland and Mexico were tracking pretty close together on GDP per capita basis until the 80s or 90s when they diverge drastically. So making Mexico considered a "developed" nation by 2020 with a POD in the 60s or 70s seems fairly plausible to me in theory if the political situation (of which I am not aware in an detail) would permit reforms.
I agree. The problem was that in the early 70's, when the Arab countries stopped selling oil and the Oil Crisis went down, Mexico was in a prime position to fill up the vacuum and get filthy rich. Who was in power? Luis Echeverría: a member of the PRI political dynasty, and essentially one of the worst excuses of a President we've ever had. He started out his term flying high with the oil market, but failed to capitalize on this golden opportunity, and by the end of his term Mexico was ridden in financial turmoil. The only conceivable way to see this not happening is simply not having the PRI in the first place, which means no Mexican Revolution.
 
What about having Juarez die in 1858, thereby allowing the republic of the conservadores a shot and preventing the Second Empire entirely?
The only problem is that the conservadores wanted to create an Empire from the onset. Should Juárez die early, the Reforma Laws are thrown away, the 1857 Constitution is eliminated, the Church recovers its power, and the Empire gets going sooner, maybe '60 or '61. The one thing that could change would be that Archduke Maximilian of Austria isn't offered the Crown, meaning a more competent monarch could take his place.
 
How about an increase in the scope of the US - Mexican War 1846/48?

You could have the US Army march straight in to the entire country, remove the government and install a US style system of government, elections every four years etc.

Would this make Mexico more stable allowing better economic development?

Would the US Armed Forces be big enough or strong enough to do this though?

Regards filers
The short answer is no. People tend to forget that the regular US army back into 1846/48 was a small professional force. Much of the US army that fought in the Mexico was recruited for the war only. After the war, most of the men expected to go home. There really wasn't enough manpower to occupy and control all of Mexico. That is why the US only kept the Mexican land above the Rio Grande. Most of that land was less settled with people. California was an exception, but mainly due to the US desire for ports on the Pacific for Asian trade.
 

Driftless

Donor
2.- Porfirio succession. The most likely candidate would obviously be Limantour: Reyes was seen as too much of a threat and Madero was a radical to Porfirio's eyes. I don't see Porfirio resigning: perhaps as his health deteriorates he delegates power more and more, but he never leaves office. That means a Limantour presidency starting in 1915. The post-Porfirio years would be exceedingly hard: the iron fist that the old President had would be removed, allowing for all kinds of crazy stuff to happen. Limantour would have to be strong enough to keep stability while at the same time being a reformer. He was, I believe, the most perfect example of a technocrat in Porfirio's cabinet, and he was a cunning banker, so I believe economic prosperity would continue at least a few years more. Madero would undoubtedly try to bring reforms, although without the debacle of 1908-1910, and without Villa to assist him, it's hard to say just how successful he would be. He could, maybe, become a part of the Limantour government through natural means and influence change from within, maybe even convincing Limantour to appoint him as his successor. All in all, I envision something similar to 1940's Cuba: a prosperous but unequal and very undemocratic Mexico. But hey, no PRI, so there's that.

Disclaimer: I have limited and mostly anecdotal knowledge of Mexican history..... I've been reading some on the Pancho Villa Expedition and the events leading up to it, and most seem to think that Madero was perhaps too trusting/naive about some of the holdover leaders. Would it have helped the situation for him to make more of a clean-sweep of administrators and generals? Or was he doomed from the start?
 
Disclaimer: I have limited and mostly anecdotal knowledge of Mexican history..... I've been reading some on the Pancho Villa Expedition and the events leading up to it, and most seem to think that Madero was perhaps too trusting/naive about some of the holdover leaders. Would it have helped the situation for him to make more of a clean-sweep of administrators and generals? Or was he doomed from the start?
You bet! Madero was an idealist. He wasn't a professional politician: he was all about ideas, but not about properly implementing them. This led to a bunch of issues which manifested themselves during his short, troubled presidency. Everyone, everyone, warned Madero about not trusting Victoriano Huerta. Even his own brother told him he wasn't loyal. Madero didn't worry about it, and what happened? Huerta goes off to overthrow and kill Madero. He also failed to appease the revolutionary leaders that placed him in power in the first place: he refused to implement the land reforms demanded by Zapata, claiming that everything would get better by itself, and then he also angered Villa and Pascual Orozco by failing to address their own interests and leaving them in the dust.

I believe Madero was a very flawed character, but he was also uncommonly progressive for his time. A more competent Madero, one that could unify the revolutionary movement and implement rapid change, could've bettered the democratic system of Mexico and place a lasting precedent. Too bad history wasn't so lenient.
 
The only problem is that the conservadores wanted to create an Empire from the onset. Should Juárez die early, the Reforma Laws are thrown away, the 1857 Constitution is eliminated, the Church recovers its power, and the Empire gets going sooner, maybe '60 or '61. The one thing that could change would be that Archduke Maximilian of Austria isn't offered the Crown, meaning a more competent monarch could take his place.
So, Zuloaga would not have remained president?
 
So, Zuloaga would not have remained president?
Quite the contrary, he would've served in office until the advent of the Empire, or at least remain politically prominent. If Comonfort still sucks, and without Juárez to unify the liberals, I do believe Zuloaga would've had no opposition in the presidency.
 
Quite the contrary, he would've served in office until the advent of the Empire, or at least remain politically prominent. If Comonfort still sucks, and without Juárez to unify the liberals, I do believe Zuloaga would've had no opposition in the presidency.
So why, if he's comfortably in power with no rivals would he accept being replaced by a monarch?
 
So why, if he's comfortably in power with no rivals would he accept being replaced by a monarch?
That's actually an interesting question. OTL he fell out of favor even among conservatives before the Empire came to be. OTL he even tried to ally himself with Maximilian I, but by then he was politically irrelevant. I believe, if he manages to stay in power, that he would first agree to lead the Regency before the new Emperor arrives. By then, some kind of liberal resistance movement involving Ignacio Zaragoza, Porfirio Díaz, or Sebastián Lerdo would pop up. Zuloaga leads the military campaigns against the resistance (which would remain fractured unless Díaz steps up to take the mantle of leader) or accepts some high-ranking post within the Empire. Even if he leaves the presidency, he is still a formidable figure, able to direct policy and whatnot. Again, it depends on who becomes Emperor ITTL.
 
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