What Was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?

The Treaty is officially known as the treaty of friendship, peace, settlement, and limit between Mexico and the United States.
The Treaty is officially known as the treaty of friendship, peace, settlement, and limit between Mexico and the United States.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is officially known as the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement between the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico and is notable for ending the Mexican–American War. The treaty was signed between Mexico and the United States in the Mexico City neighborhood of Villa-de Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848, and came into effect on July 4, 1848.

Causes of the American-Mexican War

The Spanish Empire conquered parts of Texas over four centuries ago. After Mexico defeated the Spanish in 1821, they claimed Texas as part of Mexico. On March 1, 1845, President Tyler signed legislation which allowed the United States to take over Texas which would be effective on December 29, 1845, but the Mexican government considered this an act of war. France and the United Kingdom tried to persuade Mexico from declaring war against the United States, but their efforts proved fruitless.

As per the legislature signed by President Tyler, his predecessor President James Polk sent an envoy to Mexico with a $40 million offer for the Alta California and a $5 million offer for the Nuevo Mexico. The Mexican government refused to even meet with the envoy which resulted in the Mexican army attacking the American forces in the disputed region. After the death of 11 Americans, and the capturing of 49 American troops, President Polk signed the war declaration on May 13, 1846, and the Mexican government responded with their war declaration on July 7, 1846. The American-Mexican war ended in September 1847 after the United States forces successfully invaded and occupied Mexico City and central Mexico for two years.

Who Negotiated the Treaty?

After the war was over, General Winfield Scott and Nicholas Trist (a chief clerk of United States department) negotiated with the Mexican commission under Don Jose Coulo, Luis Cuevas, and Miguel Atristain. Scott and Trist had previously tried to negotiate with Mexico before concluding that the best way to deal with Mexico was after conquering them.

Terms of the Treaty

Although the treaty did not state that Mexico cedes Santa-Fe-De Nuevo Mexico and Alta California, the Mexican government ceded these territories. The treaty defined the borders of Texas which stretched as far as Rio Grande. The article V of the agreement described the Mexico-United States border from west to east, and the borders included the Rio Grande to the port of Santa-Fe-de Nuevo Mexico and then down to the River Gila. Mexico ceded over 55% of their pre-Texas claims, and they currently occupy approximately 761,606 square miles. The 525,000 square miles area between the Guadalupe Hildago and Adams-Onis boundaries right outside the 389,166 square miles land claimed by Texas became the Mexican Cession.

Articles eight and nine guaranteed the safety of the properties owned by Mexicans living in these territories and the United States government assumed the $3.25 million debt the Mexicans owed the Americans. Article XII demanded that United States pay $15 million to Mexico while article XI provided that the United States punish all the Indians raiding Mexico while prohibiting the Americans from purchasing the properties acquired by the Indians in the raids.

The area purchased by the United States became part of the ten states as from 1845 when purchased in 1912. The United States acquired remaining portions of Arizona and New Mexico in 1853 under the Gadsden Purchase. The United States also added $10 million for the area intended for the transcontinental railroad.


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