1835 marked the beginning of a conflict that would eventually result in the Mexican-American War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which was of major importance to the expansion of the United States. It was at this time that the state of Coahuila-Tejas in the northern part of Mexico, revolted against the Mexican government. A year later the state, calling itself the Texas Republic, declared its independence and extended its borders from the recognized Rio Nueces to the Rio Grande. Although defeated in the Battle of San Jacinto of that same year, Mexico continued to consider Texas as a part of its country that it would eventually try to take back. In 1845, the United States government colonized the Texas Republic and sent military forces to protect the Rio Grande border. As Mexico still considered the Rio Grande a part of their territories, clashes between the two sides eventually resulted in the Mexican-American War which lasted from May 13, 1846 to February of 1848.
With the capture of Mexico City by General Winifield Scott in August of 1847, discussions of a peace treaty commenced, led by President Polk’s representative Nicholas Trist. By February, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in the city by the same name. Provisions of the treaty called for Mexico to relinquish 55% of its territory for $15 million and for the United States to pay off the $3 million in debt owed to American citizens by the Mexican government. As a result the United States gained sovereignty over Arizona and the Grand Canyon region, as well as upper California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado. The treaty also permanently set the Rio Grande as the border of Texas. Other provisions included the promise of the United States to police its boundaries, compulsory arbitration of future disputes, protection of property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new boundaries.
Later that year the treaty was ratified by the United States and Mexico. In March 1848, the U.S. ratification removed Article 10, which stated that the government would honor and guarantee all land grants awarded in lands ceded to the U.S. to citizens of Spain and Mexico by those respective governments. The United States also amended Article 9, stating that Mexican citizens would only “be admitted at the proper time” as deemed by the U.S. Congress. This amendment differed from the original wording that stated Mexican citizens would be admitted “as soon as possible”.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is a significant part of the history and growth of the United States. As a peace Treaty it brought closure to the war between the U.S. and Mexico, ended the dispute over the Rio Grande as the border of Texas, and ceded areas such as the Grand Canyon and California.
Educational and government websites are an excellent source of information regarding the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Listed below are detailed links from these sources.
- Hispanic Reading Room: An overview of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that includes links to maps of the areas used for negotiation.
- The National Archives: Background on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that includes an image of the cover, page one and signature pages of the treaty.
- PBS: Wars End: Discusses the end of the Mexican-American War and the negotiations involved in the creation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- The Virtual Museum of San Francisco: An excerpt from the 1911 text American History written by David Saville Muzzey, regarding the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- Our Documents: The complete transcript of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with the exclusion of Article 10.
- The Handbook of Texas Online: A look at the negotiations and signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- University of Daytona The original text for Article 9 and Article 10 of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- U.S. English: A discussion on what effect, if any, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago means in terms of English as a language.
- 1848 Mexican American War: A project by the University of Michigan, which discusses the Mexican-American War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- Treaty of Hidalgo Summary: A brief summary of the main Articles of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- America’s Library: An overview on the western expansion, which includes the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- Descendents of Mexican War Veterans: The history of the Mexican-American War from the beginning to the signing and ratification of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.