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The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

In November 1835, the northern part of the Mexican state of Coahuila-Tejas declared itself in revolt against Mexico's new centralist government headed by President Antonio López de Santa Anna. By February 1836, Texans declared their territory to be independent and that its border extended to the Rio Grande rather than the Rio Nueces that Mexicans recognized as the dividing line. Although the Texans proclaimed themselves citizens of the Independent Republic of Texas on April 21, 1836 following their victory over the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto, Mexicans continued to consider Tejas a rebellious province that they would reconquer someday.

In December 1845, the U.S. Congress voted to annex the Texas Republic and soon sent troops led by General Zachary Taylor to the Rio Grande (regarded by Mexicans as their territory) to protect its border with Mexico. The inevitable clashes between Mexican troops and U.S. forces provided the rationale for a Congressional declaration of war on May 13, 1846.

Hostilities continued for the next two years as General Taylor led his troops through to Monterrey, and General Stephen Kearny and his men went to New Mexico, Chihuahua, and California. But it was General Winfield Scott and his army that delivered the decisive blows as they marched from Veracruz to Puebla and finally captured Mexico City itself in August 1847.

Mexican officials and Nicholas Trist, President Polk's representative, began discussions for a peace treaty that August. On February 2, 1848 the Treaty was signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo, a city north of the capital where the Mexican government had fled as U.S. troops advanced. Its provisions called for Mexico to cede 55% of its territory (present-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah) in exchange for fifteen million dollars in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican property.

Other provisions stipulated the Texas border at the Rio Grande (Article V), protection for the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new border (Articles VIII and IX), U.S. promise to police its side of the border (Article XI), and compulsory arbitration of future disputes between the two countries (Article XXI). When the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in March, it reduced Article IX and deleted Article X guaranteeing the protection of Mexican land grants. Following the Senate's ratification of the treaty, U.S. troops left Mexico City.

U.S. and Mexico border area

The Library holds the copy of the Treaty found in Nicholas Trist’s papers, and as such, it does not represent the final version of the document which is kept at the U.S. National Archives.  In addition, the Library prepared a presentation on Primary Documents in American History: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Senate's Printed version of the bilingual treaty appears on the following pages of The Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875. Other reproductions of the printed text of the official treaty appear on the Web in various locations. Note, for example, Yale University's Avalon Project relating to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

We provide portions of the text of Trist's negotiated and handwritten treaty. Note the differences between the final version approved by the Senate in articles IX, and X (which was deleted in its entirety). Also, Trist's draft contains a 'secret chapter' in case the US Senate did not approve the treaty.

Nicholas Philip Trist Papers, 1795-1873,  Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Copyright and Other Restrictions for "Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty"

The Library is offering broad public access to the "Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty" as a contribution to education and scholarship. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. More information about U.S. Copyright is provided by the Copyright Office.

Additionally, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of Library of Congress gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.

The nature of historical archival collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Whenever possible, the Library provides information about copyright owners and other restrictions in the catalog records, captions, and other texts that accompany materials. The Library provides such information as a service to aid patrons in determining the appropriate use of an item, but that determination ultimately rests with the patron.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library's collections.

The Library of Congress is eager to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future.

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  March 3, 2015
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