The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 is one of the most monumental land purchases in United States history. In basic terms, the Gadsden Purchase was an area of land that was acquired by the United States from Mexico in order to build a railway for the transportation of goods in the South from East to West in order to fulfill Manifest Destiny. Throughout this paper, I hope to accurately navigate through the events prior to the Gadsden Purchase as well as the early life of James Gadsden. Although many topics relate to the purchase itself, I will offer a historical view into Gadsden’s life before, after, and during the purchase as well as a more in depth look into the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. I shall also touch base on why the land was so sought after, for what purposes, the Santa Anna profile, and the details of the land and the growth of the region after the treaty. Although the original railway plans were never fully developed, the region of the Gadsden Purchase is rich in history and culture, and is, in my opinion the most well-known land purchase in United States history. James Gadsden was born May 15th 1788 in Charleston, South Carolina. There is not a lot of information about his childhood or even his earlier years of education but we do know that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in Connecticut in 1806. After graduating college he soon realized his calling was to join the army. He was brought in as a commissioned officer under the command of General Andrew Jackson, who later in 1828 became the President of the United States of America. Gadsden served under General Jackson during two wars, the war of 1812 against the English and against the Native Indians in Florida in 1819. While fighting the Indians he built and defended a great fort, named Fort Gadsden. This today would be found in the Florida panhandle. He later helped establish Fort Brooke south of Fort Gadsden. Fort Brooke was built on the lands we now know as Tampa. James second chapter in his life was to leave the U.S. Army and move to Florida and become a planter. He got into politics in Florida and was appointed commissioner in 1823, and helped with the moving Indians out of Florida and southern Georgia along the long treacherous road called the “Trail of Tears”. He has a couple cities and a county named after him in the South.
Railway expansion was starting to become a big hit and James Gadsden moved back to South Carolina and became the President of the South Carolina Railroad Company from 1840-1850. He decided that it would be best if his associates would start promoting transcontinental railway travels from the east coast to the west coast. This railway was thought up to start in southern Georgia and pass through the southern states and through Mexico and into California where it would end in San Diego. During their planning on this route, they discovered that the best possible route after El Paso was through Mexican Boundaries. James was very much for the owning of slaves, and when he went to California he talked to State Senator Thomas Jefferson Green, in which these two men devised a plan to divide up California into two separate states and allow slavery in the South. This would be turned down shortly after being submitted with no chance of retrying it. In 1853, James Gadsden was appointed the new U.S. minister to Mexico by the American Government. He was given orders to negotiate with Mexico for more land along the border. The United States government wanted to acquire more of what today we call Arizona and New Mexico. He was also supposed to clear up any questions on where the border was with Mexico since it was a grey area in the past. Gadsden successfully completed the government’s orders by negotiating with the Mexican government in Mexico City. He ended up buying the land from Mexico which covered from the south most New Mexico and Arizona, and by creating the boundary between the United States and Mexico as two long...
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