Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo in Spanish), officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic,[1] is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (now a neighborhood of Mexico City) between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848.[2]

With the defeat of its army and the fall of its capital, Mexico entered into negotiations to end the war. The treaty called for the U.S. to pay US$15 million to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to US$5 million. It gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California and a large area comprising roughly half of New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to within Mexico's new boundaries or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights.

The U.S. Senate advised and consented to ratification of the treaty by a vote of 38–14. The opponents of this treaty were led by the Whigs, who had opposed the war and rejected Manifest destiny in general, and rejected this expansion in particular. The amount of land gained by the United States from Mexico was further increased as a result of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, which ceded parts of present-day southern Arizona and New Mexico to the United States of America.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement between the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico
Cover of the exchange copy of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Signed2 February 1848
LocationGuadalupe Hidalgo
Effective30 May 1848
CitationsStat. 922; TS 207; 9 Bevans 791
See also the military convention of 29 February 1848 (5 Miller 407; 9 Bevans 807).


The peace talks were negotiated by Nicholas Trist, chief clerk of the US State Department, who had accompanied General Winfield Scott as a diplomat and President Polk's representative. Trist and General Scott, after two previous unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a treaty with General José Joaquín de Herrera, determined that the only way to deal with Mexico was as a conquered enemy. Nicholas Trist negotiated with a special commission representing the collapsed government led by Don José Bernardo Couto, Don Miguel de Atristain, and Don Luis Gonzaga Cuevas of Mexico.[3]


Map of Mexico 1847
"Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Méjico by John Distrunell, the 1847 map used during the negotiations

Although Mexico ceded Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México, the text of the treaty[4] did not list territories to be ceded, and avoided the disputed issues that were causes of war: the validity of the 1836 secession of the Republic of Texas, Texas's unenforced boundary claims as far as the Rio Grande, and the 1845 annexation of Texas by the United States.

Instead, Article V of the treaty simply described the new U.S.–Mexico border. From east to west, the border consisted of the Rio Grande northwest from its mouth to the point Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico (roughly 32 degrees north), as shown in the Disturnell map, then due west from this point to the 110th meridian west, then north along the 110th Meridian to the Gila River and down the river to its mouth. Unlike the New Mexico segment of the boundary, which depended partly on unknown geography, "in order to preclude all difficulty in tracing upon the ground the limit separating Upper from Lower California", a straight line was drawn from the mouth of the Gila to one marine league south of the southernmost point of the port of San Diego, slightly north of the previous Mexican provincial boundary at Playas de Rosarito.

Comparing the boundary in the Adams–Onís Treaty to the Guadalupe Hidalgo boundary, Mexico conceded about 55% of its pre-war, pre-Texas territorial claims[5] and now has an area of 1,972,550 km² (761,606 sq mi).

In the United States, the 1.36 million km² (525,000 square miles) of the area between the Adams-Onis and Guadalupe Hidalgo boundaries outside the 1,007,935 km2 (389,166 sq mi) claimed by the Republic of Texas is known as the Mexican Cession. That is to say, the Mexican Cession is construed not to include any territory east of the Rio Grande, while the territorial claims of the Republic of Texas included no territory west of the Rio Grande. The Mexican Cession included essentially the entirety of the former Mexican territory of Alta California, but only the western portion of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, and includes all of present-day California, Nevada and Utah, most of Arizona, and western portions of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Articles VIII and IX ensured safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty.[6][7][8] The U.S. also agreed to assume $3.25 million (equivalent to $94.1 million today) in debts that Mexico owed to United States citizens.

The residents had one year to choose whether they wanted American or Mexican citizenship; Over 90% chose American citizenship. The others returned to Mexico (where they received land), or in some cases in New Mexico were allowed to remain in place as Mexican citizens.[9][10]

Article XII engaged the United States to pay, "In consideration of the extension acquired", 15 million dollars (equivalent to $430 million today),[11] in annual installments of 3 million dollars.

Article XI of the treaty was important to Mexico. It provided that the United States would prevent and punish raids by Indians into Mexico, prohibited Americans from acquiring property, including livestock, taken by the Indians in those raids, and stated that the U.S. would return captives of the Indians to Mexico. Mexicans believed that the United States had encouraged and assisted the Comanche and Apache raids that had devastated northern Mexico in the years before the war. This article promised relief to them. [12]

Article XI, however, proved unenforceable. Destructive Indian raids continued despite a heavy U.S. presence near the Mexican border. Mexico filed 366 claims with the U.S. government for damages done by Comanche and Apache raids between 1848 and 1853.[13] In 1853, in the Treaty of Mesilla concluding the Gadsden Purchase, Article XI was annulled.[14]


The land that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brought into the United States became, between 1850 and 1912, all or part of ten states: California (1850), Nevada (1864), Utah (1896), and Arizona (1912), as well as, depending upon interpretation, the entire state of Texas (1845), which then included part of Kansas (1861); Colorado (1876); Wyoming (1890); Oklahoma (1907); and New Mexico (1912). The remainder (the southern parts) of New Mexico and Arizona were peacefully purchased under the Gadsden Purchase, which was carried out in 1853. In this purchase the United States paid an additional $10 million (equivalent to $300 million today), for land intended to accommodate a transcontinental railroad. However, the American Civil War delayed construction of such a route, and it was not until 1881 that the Southern Pacific Railroad finally was completed as a second transcontinental railroad, fulfilling the purpose of the acquisition.[15]

Background to the war

Mexico had claimed the area in question since winning its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. The Spanish Empire had conquered part of the area from the American Indian tribes over the preceding three centuries, but there remained powerful and independent indigenous nations within that northern region of Mexico. Most of that land was too dry (low rainfall) and too mountainous to support many people, until the advent of new technology after about 1880: means for damming and distributing water from the few rivers to irrigated farmland; the telegraph; the railroad; the telephone; and electrical power.

About 80,000 Mexicans inhabited California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas during the period 1845 to 1850, with far fewer in Nevada, southern and western Colorado, and Utah.[16] On 1 March 1845, U.S. President John Tyler signed legislation to authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas, effective on 29 December 1845. The Mexican government, which had never recognized the Republic of Texas as an independent country, had warned that annexation would be viewed as an act of war. The United Kingdom and France, both of which recognized the independence of the Republic of Texas, repeatedly tried to dissuade Mexico from declaring war against its northern neighbor. British efforts to mediate the quandary proved fruitless, in part because additional political disputes (particularly the Oregon boundary dispute) arose between Great Britain (as the claimant of modern Canada) and the United States.

On 10 November 1845, before the outbreak of hostilities, President James K. Polk sent his envoy, John Slidell, to Mexico. Slidell had instructions to offer Mexico around $5 million for the territory of Nuevo México and up to $40 million for Alta California.[17] The Mexican government dismissed Slidell, refusing to even meet with him.[18] Earlier in that year, Mexico had broken off diplomatic relations with the United States, based partly on its interpretation of the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, under which newly-independent Mexico claimed it had inherited rights. In that agreement, the United States had "renounced forever" all claims to Spanish territory.[19][20]

Neither side took any further action to avoid a war. Meanwhile, Polk settled a major territorial dispute with Britain via the Oregon Treaty, which was signed on 15 June 1846. By avoiding any chance of conflict with Great Britain, the U.S was given a free hand in regard to Mexico. After the Thornton Affair of 25–26 April, when Mexican forces attacked an American unit in the disputed area, with the result that 11 Americans were killed, five wounded and 49 captured, Congress passed declaration of war, which Polk signed on 13 May 1846. The Mexican Congress responded with its own war declaration on 7 July 1846.

Map of Mexico including Yucatan and Upper California 1847
Map o. S. Augustus Mitchell, Philadelphia, 1847. Alta California shown including Nevada, Utah, Arizona

Conduct of war

California and New Mexico were quickly occupied by American forces in the summer of 1846, and fighting there ended on 13 January 1847 with the signing of the "Capitulation Agreement" at "Campo de Cahuenga" and end of the Taos Revolt.[21] By the middle of September 1847, U.S. forces had successfully invaded central Mexico and occupied Mexico City.

Peace negotiations

Some Eastern Democrats called for complete annexation of Mexico and claimed that some Mexican liberals would welcome this,[22] but President Polk's State of the Union address in December 1847 upheld Mexican independence and argued at length that occupation and any further military operations in Mexico were aimed at securing a treaty ceding California and New Mexico up to approximately the 32nd parallel north and possibly Baja California and transit rights across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.[18]

Despite its lengthy string of military defeats, the Mexican government was reluctant to agree to the loss of California and New Mexico. Even with its capital under enemy occupation, the Mexican government was inclined to consider factors such as the unwillingness of the U.S. administration to annex Mexico outright and what appeared to be deep divisions in domestic U.S. opinion regarding the war and its aims, which gave it reason to conclude that it was actually in a far better negotiating position than the military situation might have suggested. A further consideration was the Mexican government's opposition to slavery and its awareness of the well-known and growing sectional divide in the U.S. over the issue of slavery. It therefore made sense for Mexico to negotiate with a goal of pandering to Northern U.S. interests at the expense of Southern U.S. interests.

The Mexicans proposed peace terms that offered only sale of Alta California north of the 37th parallel north — north of Santa Cruz, California and Madera, California and the southern boundaries of today's Utah and Colorado. This territory was already dominated by Anglo-American settlers, but perhaps more importantly from the Mexican point of view, it represented the bulk of pre-war Mexican territory north of the Missouri Compromise line of parallel 36°30′ north — lands that, if annexed by the U.S., would have been presumed by Northerners to be forever free of slavery. The Mexicans also offered to recognize the U.S. annexation of Texas, but held to its demand of the Nueces River as a boundary.

While the Mexican government could not reasonably have expected the Polk Administration to accept such terms, it would have had reason to hope that a rejection of peace terms so favorable to Northern interests might have the potential to provoke sectional conflict in the United States, or perhaps even a civil war that would fatally undermine the U.S. military position in Mexico. Instead, these terms combined with other Mexican demands (in particular, for various indemnities) only provoked widespread indignation throughout the U.S. without causing the sectional conflict the Mexicans were hoping for.

Jefferson Davis advised Polk that if Mexico appointed commissioners to come to the U.S., the government that appointed them would probably be overthrown before they completed their mission, and they would likely be shot as traitors on their return; so that the only hope of peace was to have a U.S. representative in Mexico.[23] Nicholas Trist, chief clerk of the State Department under President Polk, finally negotiated a treaty with the Mexican delegation after ignoring his recall by President Polk in frustration with failure to secure a treaty.[24] Notwithstanding that the treaty had been negotiated against his instructions, given its achievement of the major American aim, President Polk passed it on to the Senate.[24]

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
A section of the original treaty

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed by Nicholas Trist (on behalf of the U.S.) and Luis G. Cuevas, Bernardo Couto and Miguel Atristain as plenipotentiary representatives of Mexico on 2 February 1848, at the main altar of the old Basilica of Guadalupe at Villa Hidalgo (within the present city limits) as U.S. troops under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott were occupying Mexico City.

Changes to the treaty and ratification

The version of the treaty ratified by the United States Senate eliminated Article X,[25] which stated that the U.S. 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. Article VIII guaranteed that Mexicans who remained more than one year in the ceded lands would automatically become full-fledged United States citizens (or they could declare their intention of remaining Mexican citizens); however, the Senate modified Article IX, changing the first paragraph and excluding the last two. Among the changes was that Mexican citizens would "be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States)" instead of "admitted as soon as possible", as negotiated between Trist and the Mexican delegation.

An amendment by Jefferson Davis giving the U.S. most of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, all of Coahuila and a large part of Chihuahua was supported by both senators from Texas (Sam Houston and Thomas Jefferson Rusk), Daniel S. Dickinson of New York, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, Edward A. Hannegan of Indiana, and one each from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee. Most of the leaders of the Democratic party, Thomas Hart Benton, John C. Calhoun, Herschel V. Johnson, Lewis Cass, James Murray Mason of Virginia and Ambrose Hundley Sevier were opposed and the amendment was defeated 44–11.[26]

An amendment by Whig Sen. George Edmund Badger of North Carolina to exclude New Mexico and California lost 35–15, with three Southern Whigs voting with the Democrats. Daniel Webster was bitter that four New England senators made deciding votes for acquiring the new territories.

A motion to insert into the treaty the Wilmot Proviso (banning slavery from the acquired territories) failed 15–38 on sectional lines.

The treaty was subsequently ratified by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 38 to 14 on 10 March 1848 and by Mexico through a legislative vote of 51 to 34 and a Senate vote of 33 to 4, on 19 May 1848. News that New Mexico's legislative assembly had just passed an act for organization of a U.S. territorial government helped ease Mexican concern about abandoning the people of New Mexico.[27] The treaty was formally proclaimed on 4 July 1848.[28]

Protocol of Querétaro

On 30 May 1848, when the two countries exchanged ratifications of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, they further negotiated a three-article protocol to explain the amendments. The first article stated that the original Article IX of the treaty, although replaced by Article III of the Treaty of Louisiana, would still confer the rights delineated in Article IX. The second article confirmed the legitimacy of land grants pursuant to Mexican law.[29]

The protocol further noted that said explanations had been accepted by the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Mexican Government,[29] and was signed in Santiago de Querétaro by A. H. Sevier, Nathan Clifford and Luis de la Rosa.

The U.S. would later go on to ignore the protocol on the grounds that the U.S. representatives had over-reached their authority in agreeing to it.[30]

Treaty of Mesilla

The Treaty of Mesilla, which concluded the Gadsden purchase of 1854, had significant implications for the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Article II of the treaty annulled article XI of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and article IV further annulled articles VI and VII of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Article V however reaffirmed the property guarantees of Guadalupe Hidalgo, specifically those contained within articles VIII and IX.[31]


Mexican Cession in Mexican View
The Mexican Cession agreed with Mexico (white) and the Gadsden Purchase (brown). Part of the area marked as Gadsden Purchase near modern-day Mesilla, New Mexico, was disputed after the Treaty.

In addition to the sale of land, the treaty also provided for the recognition of the Rio Grande as the boundary between the state of Texas and Mexico.[32] The land boundaries were established by a survey team of appointed Mexican and American representatives,[24] and published in three volumes as The United States and Mexican Boundary Survey. On 30 December 1853, the countries by agreement altered the border from the initial one by increasing the number of border markers from 6 to 53.[24] Most of these markers were simply piles of stones.[24] Two later conventions, in 1882 and 1889, further clarified the boundaries, as some of the markers had been moved or destroyed.[24] Photographers were brought in to document the location of the markers. These photographs are in Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief Engineers, in the National Archives.

The southern border of California was designated as a line from the junction of the Colorado and Gila rivers westward to the Pacific Ocean, so that it passes one Spanish league south of the southernmost portion of San Diego Bay. This was done to ensure that the United States received San Diego and its excellent natural harbor, without relying on potentially inaccurate designations by latitude.

The treaty extended the choice of U.S. citizenship to Mexicans in the newly purchased territories, before many African Americans, Asians and Native Americans were eligible. If they chose to, they had to declare to the U.S. government within a year the Treaty was signed; otherwise, they could remain Mexican citizens, but they would have to relocate. [5] Between 1850 and 1920, the U.S. Census counted most Mexicans as racially "white".[33] Nonetheless, racially tinged tensions persisted in the era following annexation, reflected in such things as the Greaser Act in California, as tens of thousands of Mexican nationals suddenly found themselves living within the borders of the United States. Mexican communities remained segregated de facto from and also within other U.S. communities, continuing through the Mexican migration right up to the end of the 20th century throughout the Southwest.

Community property rights in California are a legacy of the Mexican era. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the property rights of Mexican subjects would be kept inviolate. The early Californians felt compelled to continue the community property system regarding the earnings and accumulation of property during a marriage, and it became incorporated into the California constitution.[34]

Additional issues

Border disputes continued. The U.S.'s desire to expand its territory continued unabated and Mexico's economic problems persisted,[35] leading to the controversial Gadsden Purchase in 1854 and William Walker's Republic of Lower California filibustering incident in that same year. The Channel Islands of California and Farallon Islands are not mentioned in the Treaty.[36]

The border was routinely crossed by the armed forces of both countries. Mexican and Confederate troops often clashed during the American Civil War, and the U.S. crossed the border during the war of French intervention in Mexico. In March 1916 Pancho Villa led a raid on the U.S. border town of Columbus, New Mexico, which was followed by the Pershing expedition. The shifting of the Rio Grande would much later cause a dispute over the boundary between purchase lands and those of the state of Texas, called the Country Club Dispute. Controversy over community land grant claims in New Mexico persists to this day.[37]

Disputes about whether to make all this new territory into free states or slave-holding states contributed heavily to the rise in North-South tensions that led to the American Civil War just over a decade later. The treaty was leaked to John Nugent before the U.S. Senate could approve it. Nugent published his article in the New York Herald and, afterward, was questioned by Senators. He was detained in a Senate committee room for one month, though he continued to file articles for his newspaper and ate and slept at the home of the sergeant of arms. Nugent did not reveal his source, and senators eventually gave up their efforts.[38]

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo led to the establishment in 1889 of the International Boundary and Water Commission to maintain the border, and pursuant to newer treaties to allocate river waters between the two nations, and to provide for flood control and water sanitation. Once viewed as a model of international cooperation, in recent decades the IBWC has been heavily criticized as an institutional anachronism, by-passed by modern social, environmental and political issues.[39]

See also

Aboriginal title


  1. ^ "Treaty facsimile".
  2. ^ "Avalon Project – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; February 2, 1848". Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  3. ^ Defiant Peacemker: Nicholas Trist in the Mexican War, by author Wallace Ohrt
  4. ^ "Avalon Project – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; February 2, 1848". Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo". Retrieved 27 June 2007.
  6. ^ U.S. Congress. Recommendation of the Public Land Commission for Legislation as to Private Land Claims, 46th Congress, 2nd Session, 1880, House Executive Document 46, pp. 1116–17.
  7. ^ Mexicanos: A history of Mexicans in the United States. Manuel G. Gonzales, Indiana University Press P.86-87 ISBN 0-253-33520-5
  8. ^ The U.S.-Mexico Border: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, John C. Davenport, P.48, ISBN 0-7910-7833-7
  9. ^ Linda C. Noel, "'I am an American': Anglos, Mexicans, Nativos, and the National Debate over Arizona and New Mexico Statehood," Pacific Historical Review, (Aug 2011) 80#3 pp 430–467, at p 436
  10. ^ Richard Griswold del Castillo, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: A Legacy of Conflict, (1990) ch 5
  11. ^ "Error -- File Not Found (Hispanic Reading Room, Hispanic Division, Area Studies)".
  12. ^ Delay, Brian (2007). "Independent Indians and the U.S. Mexican War". The American Historical Review. 112 (1): 67. doi:10.1086/ahr.112.1.35.
  13. ^ Schmal, John P. "Sonora: Four Centuries of Indigenous Resistance" Houston Institute of Culture, accessed 12 Jul 2012
  14. ^ Kluger, Richard Seizing Destiny: How America Grew From Sea to Shining Sea. (2007), pp. 493–494 ISBN 978-0-375-41341-4
  15. ^ David Devine, Slavery, Scandal, and Steel Rails: The 1854 Gadsden Purchase and the Building of the Second Transcontinental Railroad Across Arizona and New Mexico Twenty-Five Years Later Mexico also got diabetes from this war(2004)
  16. ^ Nostrand, Richard L. (1975). "Mexican Americans Circa 1850". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 65 (3): 378–390. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1975.tb01046.x.
  17. ^ Mills, B. 2003. U.S.-Mexican War. Facts On File, p. 23. ISBN 0-8160-4932-7
  18. ^ a b "James K. Polk's Third Annual Message, 7 December 1847". Retrieved 27 June 2007.
  19. ^ Adams-Onis Treaty, Article III. Archived 19 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine From: Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  20. ^ "The United States hereby cede to His Catholic Majesty, and renounce forever, all their rights, claims, and pretensions to the Territories lying West and South of the above described Line [...].
  21. ^ Original Capitulation Agreement document (one of 25) on view at Campo de Cahuenga historical site
  22. ^ "Mexican Argument for Annexation." The Living Age, Volume 10, Issue 123. 19 September 1846.
  23. ^ Rives 1913, p. 622.
  24. ^ a b c d e f Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. National Archives. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  25. ^ "The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo." Library of Congress, Hispanic Reading Room. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  26. ^ George Lockhart Rives. The United States and Mexico, 1821–1848. pp. 634–636.
  27. ^ Rives 1913, p. 649.
  28. ^ Online Highways LLC editorial group. "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo". Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  29. ^ a b Treaty of Hidalgo, Protocol of Querétaro. From: Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  30. ^ David Hunter Miller, Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 5 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1937)
  31. ^ Mills, B. p. 122.
  32. ^ Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Article V. From: Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  33. ^ Gibson, C.J. and E. Lennon. 1999. "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850–1990." U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  34. ^ Cali. Const. art. XX, § 7.
  35. ^ The U.S.-Mexico Border: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, John C. Davenport, p. 60, ISBN 0-7910-7833-7.
  36. ^ Barnard R. Thompson. "Mexico's Claim to California Islands – A Never-ending Story".
  37. ^ "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Findings and Possible Options Regarding Longstanding Community Land Grant Claims in New Mexico" (PDF). General Accounting Office. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
  38. ^ "The Senate Arrests a Reporter". U.S. Senate.
  39. ^ Robert J. McCarthy, Executive Authority, Adaptive Treaty Interpretation, and the International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S.-Mexico, 14-2 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 197(Spring 2011) (also available for free download at


External links

1848 United States elections

The 1848 United States elections elected the members of the 31st United States Congress. The election took place during the Second Party System, nine months after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican–American War. With the issue of slavery (and its extension into western territories) dividing the nation, the Free Soil Party established itself as the third most powerful party in Congress. California joined the union before the next election, and elected its first Congressional delegation to the 31st Congress. Whigs won the Presidency, but Democrats won a plurality in the House and retained control of the Senate.

In the Presidential election, Whig General Zachary Taylor defeated Democratic former Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan and the Free Soil candidate, former President Martin Van Buren. Taylor won most of the Northeast and several Southern states, giving him a fairly comfortable majority in both the electoral and popular vote. One-term incumbent Democratic President James K. Polk chose to retire rather than seek re-election (becoming the first elected president to do so), and Cass defeated Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury and Secretary of State James Buchanan on the fourth ballot at the 1848 Democratic National Convention. Van Buren, the former Democratic President, ran against Cass for political reasons (Cass was a prominent supporter of slavery) and possibly for personal reasons (Cass helped defeat Van Buren's 1844 bid for the Democratic nomination). Taylor was recruited by the Whigs to replicate the success of the Whig's only previous successful candidate, General William Henry Harrison, and he easily triumphed over other Whig candidates. Taylor's win made him the last President to win election as neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

In the House, Democrats picked up a small number of seats, taking the plurality. The Whigs lost a small number of seats but remained the second largest party, while the Free Soil Party picked up a handful of seats. The House elected Democrat Howell Cobb as Speaker after sixty-three ballots.In the Senate, the Whigs won minor gains, cutting into the Democratic majority.

Alianza Federal de Mercedes

Alianza Federal de Mercedes, which in English translates to Federal Land Grant Alliance, was a group led by Reies Tijerina based in New Mexico in the 1960s that fought for the land rights of Chicano New Mexicans.

The Alianza had affiliates in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico and San Luis, Colorado.

Chicano residents had settled in the areas of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado centuries before. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States Congress ostensibly guaranteed that current residents would retain their land rights after the New Mexico territory was transferred to U.S. ownership. However, by the 1960s, many traditional shepherds had lost their land to cattle ranchers and the U.S. Forest Service.

All of Mexico Movement

The All of Mexico Movement (also called All Mexico Movement) was a political movement to expand the United States, so that it would include all of Mexico. It was an expression of Manifest Destiny but it never went into effect. The United States only took the underpopulated districts in the far North of Mexico via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Mexico, following the Mexican–American War of 1846-48.

Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales

The Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales was an engagement of the Mexican–American War that took place after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had been signed.

Botiller v. Dominguez

Botiller v. Dominguez, 130 U.S. 238 (1889), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court dealing with the validity of Spanish or Mexican land grants in the Mexican Cession, the region of the present day southwestern United States that was ceded to the U.S. by Mexico in 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

The action was in the nature of ejectment, brought in the Superior Court of the Los Angeles County by Dominga Dominguez against Brigido Botiller and others, to recover possession of a tract of land situated in said county, known as 'Rancho Las Virgenes'. The title of the plaintiff was a grant claimed to have been made by the government of Mexico to Nemecio Dominguez and Domingo Carrillo, on October 1, 1834, but no claim under this grant had ever been presented for confirmation to the board of land commissioners, appointed under the California Land Act of 1851 (9 St. 631,) 'to ascertain and settle the private land claims in the state of California,' and no patent had ever issued from the United States to any one for the land, or for any part of it.

The Court held that no title to land in California dependent upon Spanish or Mexican land grants can be of any validity unless presented to and confirmed by the board of land commissioners within the time prescribed by the United States Congress.

California Land Act of 1851

The California Land Act of 1851 (9 Stat. 631), enacted following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the admission of California as a state in 1850, established a three-member Public Land Commission to determine the validity of prior Spanish and Mexican land grants. It required landowners who claimed title under the Mexican government to file their claim with a commission within two years. Contrary to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which guaranteed full protection of all property rights for Mexican citizens, it placed the burden on landholders to prove their title.

While the commission eventually confirmed 604 of the 813 claims, almost all of the claims went to court and resulted in protracted litigation. The expense of the long court battles required many land holders to sell portions of the property or even trade it in payment for legal services. A few cases were litigated into the 1940s.

Campo de Cahuenga

The Campo de Cahuenga, ( (listen)) near the historic Cahuenga Pass in present-day Studio City, California, was an adobe ranch house on the Rancho Cahuenga where the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed between Lieutenant Colonel John C. Frémont and General Andrés Pico in 1847, ending hostilities in California between Mexico and the United States. The subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, ceding California, parts of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona (but not Texas since it had seceded from Mexico in 1836, declared itself a republic, and joined the union in 1845) to the United States, formally ended the Mexican–American War. From 1858 to 1861 the Campo de Cahuenga became a Butterfield Stage Station.

Chicano nationalism

Chicano nationalism is the pro-indigenist ethnic nationalist ideology of Chicanos. While there were nationalistic aspects of the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the Movement tended to emphasize civil rights and political and social inclusion rather than nationalism. For this reason, Chicano nationalism is better described as an ideology than as a political movement.

Hidalgo County, New Mexico

Hidalgo County (Spanish: Condado de Hidalgo) is the southernmost county of the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,894. The county seat and largest city is Lordsburg. A bill creating Hidalgo from the southern part of Grant County was passed on February 25, 1919, taking effect at the beginning of 1920. The county was named for the town north of Mexico City where the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, which in turn was named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest who is known as the "Father of Mexican Independence". This county abuts the Mexican border.

James S. Calhoun

James Silas Calhoun (1802–1852) was best known as the Governor of New Mexico Territory from 1851 to 1852. He had many careers, though, including time as a Georgian politician, military officer, and bureaucrat in the United States government.

While in his thirties and forties, Calhoun served in a variety of political roles in his home state of Georgia. First, he was elected as a member of Georgia state legislature in 1830. Later, Calhoun became mayor of Columbus, Georgia from 1838 to 1839. Finally, he served in the Georgia state senate from 1838 to 1840 and again in 1845. In between his terms in the state senate, he also acted as the U.S. Consul in Havana, Cuba from 1841 to 1842.

Calhoun held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. Following the war, Calhoun remained in the border region and held key positions with the U.S. government. First, the President appointed Calhoun the federal Indian Agent for the newly acquired territory of New Mexico. During his two-year tenure in that position, Calhoun used various tactics to convince or coerce Pueblo Native Americans to renounce their rights under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as former Mexican citizens. Calhoun claimed that he only sought to "protect" the Pueblos from their Mexican-American neighbors by excluding them from territorial affairs. At that time in New Mexico, the argument that Pueblos were citizens (but denied the right to vote) was being used to remove any federal protection from their lands and water rights so they could be sold on the open market. The Pueblo agricultural lands and water rights were some of the best in the Territory. Federal action initiated by Calhoun led to the recognition of the Pueblos by the federal government with the issuance of the Pueblo Grants pursuant to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Calhoun also negotiated a treaty with several Pueblos that Congress ultimately did not adopt, primarily due to Calhoun's premature death on a trip to Washington with a Pueblo delegation, and the subsequent federal action in 1854 recognizing the Pueblos and their lands.

President Millard Fillmore later appointed Calhoun as Governor of New Mexico Territory in 1851. One of his first acts as Governor was to propose laws restricting the movement of "free Negroes" into New Mexico. He garnered the support of wealthy Mexicans who feared for their own racial status in the U.S. Shortly after the end of his term as governor of the territory, Calhoun died of scurvy near Independence, Missouri, carrying his own coffin, while en route to Washington D.C. and eventually for his home in Georgia. He was buried in Kansas City, Missouri.

Mexican Cession

The Mexican Cession is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. This region had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande which had been claimed by the Republic of Texas, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified the southern and western boundary of the new State of Texas. The Mexican Cession (529,000 sq. miles) was the third largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 827,000 sq. miles (including land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces), followed by the acquisition of Alaska (about 586,000 sq. miles).

Most of the area had been the Mexican territory of Alta California, while a southeastern strip on the Rio Grande had been part of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, most of whose area and population were east of the Rio Grande on land that had been claimed by the Republic of Texas since 1835, but never controlled or even approached aside from the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Mexico controlled the territory later known as the Mexican Cession, with considerable local autonomy punctuated by several revolts and few troops sent from central Mexico, in the period from 1821–22 after independence from Spain up through 1846 when U.S. military forces seized control of California and New Mexico on the outbreak of the Mexican–American War. The northern boundary of the 42nd parallel north was set by the Adams–Onís Treaty signed by the United States and Spain in 1821 and ratified by Mexico in 1831 in the Treaty of Limits (Mexico-United States). The eastern boundary of the Mexican Cession was the Texas claim at the Rio Grande and extending north from the headwaters of the Rio Grande, not corresponding to Mexican territorial boundaries. The southern boundary was set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which followed the Mexican boundaries between Alta California (to the north) and Baja California and Sonora (to the south). The United States paid Mexico $15 million for the land which became known as the Mexican Cession.

Mexican–American War

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México (United States intervention in Mexico), was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the Republic of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

U.S. forces quickly occupied the regional capital of Santa Fe de Nuevo México along the upper Rio Grande and the Pacific coast province of Alta California, and then moved south. Meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron of the U.S. Navy blockaded the Pacific coast farther south in lower Baja California Territory. The U.S. Army under Major General Winfield Scott eventually captured Mexico City through stiff resistance, having marched west from the port of Veracruz on the Gulf Coast, where the Americans staged their first ever amphibious landing.

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, forced onto the remnant Mexican government, ended the war and enforced the Mexican Cession of the northern territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States. The U.S. agreed to pay $15 million compensation for the physical damage of the war and assumed $3.25 million of debt already owed earlier by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico acknowledged the loss of what became the State of Texas and accepted the Rio Grande as its northern border with the United States.

The victory and territorial expansion Polk envisioned inspired great patriotism in the United States, but the war and treaty drew some criticism in the U.S. for their casualties, monetary cost, and heavy-handedness, particularly early on. The question of how to treat the new acquisitions also intensified the debate over slavery. Mexico's worsened domestic turmoil and losses of life, territory and national prestige left it in what prominent Mexicans called a "state of degradation and ruin".

Nueces Strip

The Nueces Strip or Wild Horse Desert is the area of south Texas between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande.According to the narrative of Mexican missionary Juan Agustín Morfi, there were so many wild horses swarming in the Nueces Strip in 1777 "that their trails make the country, utterly uninhabited by people, look as if it were the most populated in the world".In the 1830s, the Republic of Texas claimed the Rio Grande as its southern border; Mexico claimed the Nueces River (150 mi or 240 km north of the Rio Grande). The area between the two rivers became known as the Nueces Strip. Both countries invaded it, but neither controlled it nor settled it.

It was the scene of the first fighting in the Mexican–American War in 1846. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, Mexico ceded the Nueces Strip to the U.S.

Ever since 1848 the border area has had a reputation for lawlessness and smuggling, and was a main zone of activity of the Texas Rangers.

Santa Fe de Nuevo México

Santa Fe de Nuevo México (English: Santa Fe [Holy Faith] of New Mexico; shortened as Nuevo México or Nuevo Méjico, and translated as New Mexico in English) was a province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and later a territory of independent Mexico. The first capital was San Juan de los Caballeros from 1598 until 1610, and from 1610 onward the capital was La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís. The naming, capital, the Palace of the Governors, and rule of law were retained as the New Mexico Territory, and the subsequent U.S. State of New Mexico, became a part of the United States. The New Mexican citizenry, primarily consisting of Hispano, Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and Comanche peoples, became citizens of the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Nuevo México is often incorrectly believed to have taken its name from the nation of Mexico. However, it was named by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Amerindian cultures similar to those of the Aztec Empire (centered in the Valley of Mexico), and called the land the "Santa Fe de Nuevo México".

Territorial evolution of Colorado

The following chronology traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Colorado.

Territorial evolution of Nevada

The following outline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Nevada.

United States Court of Private Land Claims

The United States Court of Private Land Claims (1891–1904), was a United States court created to decide land claims guaranteed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in the territories of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, and in the states of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming.

United States v. Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Co.

United States v. Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Co., 314 U.S. 339 (1941), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the power of Congress to extinguish aboriginal title is plenary and nonjusticiable but that Congress was presumed not to do so absent a clear intention. It is the leading precedent on the extinguishment of aboriginal title in the United States.

The suit was brought by the federal government, on behalf of the Hualapai against the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad. The Court held that the Hualapai's aboriginal title was not extinguished by (1) its lack of federal recognition or acknowledgment by treaty, statute, for formal government action; (2) the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (3) an 1854 federal statute creating the office of Surveyor General of New Mexico; (4) and 1865 statute creating the Colorado River Indian Reservation; (5) the 1866 federal land grant to the railroad; (6) an 1870 federal statute creating the office of Surveyor General of Arizona; or (7) the 1874 forcible removal of the Hualapai to the Colorado River Indian Reservation.

However, the Court held that the 1881 creation of a reservation by executive order at the request of the Hualapai extinguished the tribe's aboriginal title outside of that reservation. The case distinguished aboriginal title in California from aboriginal title in the rest of the Mexican Cession and is frequently cited for its in-depth discussion of the test for the extinguishment of aboriginal title.

Villa de Guadalupe, Mexico City

Colonia Villa de Guadalupe (also known as La Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo) is a former separate town, now a neighborhood in northern Mexico City which in 1531 was the site of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most renowned Marian apparition in the Americas. She can be venerated in the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, located in the villa (town).

The word Guadalupe comes from Spain, where it was originally the name of a river.

La Villa de Guadalupe is located in Mexico City (formerly called the Mexican Federal District) within the borough of Gustavo A. Madero. The town was founded in 1563 and chartered as the city of "Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo" in 1828. The city was named after Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the initiator of the Mexican War of Independence.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican–American War was signed here in 1848.

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