Little Bits of History

March 10

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 10, 2017

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is ratified by the US Senate. The Mexican-American War was fought between April 25, 1846 and February 3, 1848. America annexed Texas in 1845, a land still considered by Mexico to be Mexican even though the 1836 Texas Revolution ended with Texas being separated from Mexico and becoming the Republic of Texas. In 1844, newly elected US President James Polk offered to buy disputed lands from Mexico but his offer was rejected. US troops were placed in the disputed area and were attacked by Mexican troops. Eventually a full scale war, rather than independent raids, found America and the California Republic faced off against an unstable Mexican government.

When Mexico found itself with a beaten army and their capital city fallen into enemy hands, they began to negotiate for an end to the war. The treaty was signed on February 2, 1848 in the Villa De Guadalupe Hidalgo, now a neighborhood in Mexico City. The US was to pay Mexico $15 million and also to pay claims of American citizens who had filed against Mexico, which was another $3.25 million. The US was to gain territory above the Rio Grande which would serve as a border for Texas. The US was given ownership of California and territory covering about half of New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. The Mexicans living in those regions were given the option of becoming American citizens with full civil rights, or returning to Mexico. About 90% chose to stay.

Because previous negotiations with General Jose Joaquin de Herrera had been futile, Nicholas Trist of the US state Department and General Winfield Scott met with a commission from the collapsed government led by Don Jose Bernardo Couto, Don Miguel de Atristain, and Don Luis Gonzaga Cuevas. Rather than listing the lands to be ceded, the treaty stipulated the new border between the US and Mexico. All territory north of the newly delineated boundary would belong to the United States. The monies to be paid to Mexico and to pay off claims amounted to about $500 million in today’s dollars and the portion to be paid to Mexico was divided over five years with $3 million paid each year.

The Treaty was brought to Washington for approval and some adjustments were made and some others, while attempted to be added, were defeated in Congress. The proviso to ban slavery in the new territories failed to pass 15-38. After much work, the treaty was ratified on this day by a vote of 38-14 and ratified by Mexico through a legislative vote and a Senate vote on May 19. The treaty was formally proclaimed on July 4, 1848.

When the peace treaty is signed, the war isn’t over for the veterans, or the family. It’s just starting. – Karl Marlantes

No treaty is ever an impediment to a cheat. – Sophocles

In case of war, a treaty would have to be made at the end of the war. – Townsend Harris

America will honor our treaty obligations. – John R. Allen


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