Treaty of Guadalupe

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Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Articles V, VIII, IX and X

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the U.S.-Mexican War. Signed on February 2, 1848, it is the oldest treaty still in force between the United States and Mexico. As a result of the treaty, the United States acquired more than 500,000 square miles of valuable territory and emerged as a world power in the late nineteenth century.

Beyond territorial gains and losses, the treaty has been important in shaping the international and domestic histories of both Mexico and the United States. During the U.S.-Mexican War, U.S. leaders assumed an attitude of moral superiority in their negotiations of the treaty. They viewed the forcible incorporation of almost one-half of Mexico's national territory as an event foreordained by providence, fulfilling Manifest Destiny to spread the benefits of U.S. democracy to the lesser peoples of the continent. Because of its military victory the United States virtually dictated the terms of settlement. The treaty established a pattern of political and military inequality between the two countries, and this lopsided relationship has stalked Mexican-U.S. relations ever since.

Signing the treaty was only the beginning of the process; it still had to be approved by the congresses of both the United States and Mexico. No one could foresee how the Polk administration would receive a treaty negotiated by an unofficial agent; nor could they know the twists and turns of the Mexican political scene for the next few months. In both the U.S. and Mexican governments there was opposition to the treaty. In the United States, the northern abolitionists opposed the annexation of Mexican territory. In the Mexican congress, a sizable minority was in favor of continuing the fight. Nevertheless both countries ratified the document. The signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo marked the end of a war and the beginning of a lengthy U.S. political debate over slavery in...
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