Throwback Thursday: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo


BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Being a diplomat during the discussion of the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was a difficult job. This treaty is probably the most misunderstood treaty in the existence of mankind. It is extremely complex and it put into motion some of the greatest changes that ever occurred for North America.

There has always been a discussion as to what is the border of Mexico and Louisiana and the United States. We had the Sabine River, the Nueces River, the Brazos River, and of course the Rio Grande. The treaty that was signed between General Antonio López de Santa Anna and General Sam Houston at the end of the Battle of San Jacinto actually specifically stated that the Rio Grande was the border.

The treaty had been written by President James K. Polk and was delivered by Nicholas Trist who was his ambassador for the project. In essence, the treaty was the best thing for the United States and Mexico because prior to that, Mexico owned all of the land saved by its claim all the way up to the Oregon border. Back in those days if you were a conquest country, you said ‘okay I got all of that land’. That is difficult to prove but more so it was difficult to manage.

What the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo did was it contained a finite range of land that Mexico could effectively govern and that is basically where the border between Mexico and the United States is now. The treaty actually told Mexico alright we are going to give you all of this money and we are going to actually set the border between the two countries so that you can effectively govern and that issue would be off of the table.

One final feature of that treaty was an understanding that Texas was indeed a part of the United States. These were monumental efforts that took place on the world’s stage and they greatly affected North America.

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