The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, also, officially known as the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic was signed on February 2, 1848,
It marked an important event in American history as it ended the Mexican War (1846-1848). This document led to the drawing of the border between the US and Mexico at the Rio Grande and the Gila River.
According to the terms of this treaty, Mexico gave up 55% of its territory including the states now named California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, the majority of Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming.
Mexico also voluntarily gave up all Texas claims and recognized the Rio Grande as the southern boundary within the United States.
Hence, the Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo played a great role in officially completing the territorial expansion of the United States.
The treaty was signed at Guadalupe Hidalgo, a city where the Mexican government fled with the assistance of the US forces. Hence, the name- Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Why And How The Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo Came Into Existence
The United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846, as both countries disputed the territory of the Republic of Texas.
They had already won independence from Mexico in 1836. Surrounding this situation, the tension between the two countries kept surging since 1845.
Around this time, President James Polk admitted Texas into the Union. The biggest conflict was over which borders belonged to which country.
American troops also occupied the lands between the Nueces and the Rio Grande after the Mexican government refused to sell California and New Mexico to the United States.
Texas perceived this as an act of aggression against its country and sent its troops across the Rio Grande. President Polks saw this as an invasion of American soil and declared war on Mexico.
The war went on for almost two years till the Mexican army was defeated and it caused the fall of Mexico City in September 1847.
As a result, the treaty was signed and it officially ended the war. Mexico was forced to give up its claims to Texas and recognize the Rio Grande as America's southern boundary between Texas and Mexico.
The Aftermath of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
After the treaty was signed, Mexicans residing in the newly purchased territories were offered U.S. citizenship. If they wanted to keep their Mexican citizenship, they were required to relocate back to Mexico.
While the treaty's provisions promised to protect the rights of the thousands of Mexicans who lived in the now-American territories, their ways of life came under attack and they were discriminated against by the new settlers, which caused decades of conflict.
Abolitionists also opposed the Mexican War and the signing of the treaty, as new land would mean that slavery would be expanded into new territories as well.
Bills were presented to Congress asking that slavery be prohibited in any territories acquired by the United States after the war, but the bills did not pass.
So, even though the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War, it fostered the war over slavery that was happening in the United States, which led to the outbreak of the Civil War (1861-1865).
Key Facts About The Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo
- The negotiations made in the treaty were done by Nicholas Trist who went against the President to carry out the negotiations. As a result, he was fired immediately after the negotiations.
- Even with the success of the war, the public stopped supporting President Polk.
- The US senate approved the treaty by a vote of 38-14.
- Nicholas Trist who was the chief clerk of the State Department signed the treaty along with three Mexican representatives- Luis Cuevas, Bernardo Couto, and Miguel Atristain.
- The United States also gained 525,000 square miles of territory.
- In return, the United States paid $15 million to the Mexican government.