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
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.
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
- First page of Treaty
- First page of Treaty, enlarged
- Article VIII, page 12
- Article VIII, page 12, enlarged
- Article IX, page 13
- Article IX, page 13, enlarged
- Article IX, page 14
- Article IX, page 14, enlarged
- Article IX, page 15
- Article IX, page 15, enlarged
- Article IX, page 16
- Article IX, page 16, enlarged
- Additional and Secret Article
- Additional and Secret Article, enlarged
- End of Article X, Article XI
- End of Article X, Article X, enlarged
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