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DISTANT NEIGHBORS:  The U.S. and the Mexican Revolution

Nicholas Philip Trist (1800-1874)

Nicholas P. Trist was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and had decided upon a military career, but quit West Point in 1822 to marry Virginia Randolph, the granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson.  This astute marriage brought him into Jefferson’s orbit; he studied law with the former President, acted as his private secretary in 1825-1826, and then helped settle his estate following his death. 

He then entered the State Department as a clerk under Henry Clay, and worked as a private secretary to Andrew Jackson off and on from 1828 to 1833.  He served as Consul in Havana (1833-1841) and in 1845 became chief clerk at the Department of State.  In April 1847 President James Knox Polk named him to be peace commissioner to end the Mexican War.  Trist quarreled with both Gen. Winfield Scott and the Mexican negotiators before President Polk rescinded his commission in November 1847 and demanded that he return to Washington.

Trist decided to stay and finish negotiating the treaty.  Some historians believe that his closeness to British diplomats influenced his decision.  He signed the treaty in February 1848 and returned to the United States without a job.  Subsequently, he devoted the rest of his life to practicing law. A presentation about the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, (including selected pages from the Trist's draft) is available at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/ghtreaty/ghtreaty.html and at http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Guadalupe.html .

Photograph of Nicholas Trist

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-cwpbh-02914 (digital file from original neg.)

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Nicholas Philip Trist (1800-1874)

Nicholas P.Trist nació en Charlottesville, Virginia, y había decidido en una carrera militar, pero abandonó la Academia de West Point en 1822 para casarse con Virginia Randolph, nieta de Thomas Jefferson. Este astuto matrimonio lo atrajo a la órbita de Jefferson; estudió leyes con el ex-presidente, actuó como su secretario privado en 1825-1826, y ayudó a resolver su patrimonio después de su fallecimiento.

Después entró a trabajar como oficinista en el Departamento de Estado bajo Henry Clay, y trabajó varias veces como secretario privado de Andrew Jackson entre 1828 y 1833. Fue embajador en La Habana (1833-1841) y en 1845 fue nombrado Jefe de Oficina en el Departamento de Estado. En abril de 1847 el presidente James Polk lo nombró como comisionado de paz para terminar la Guerra Mexicana. Trist riñió con el general Winfield Scott y los negociadores mexicanos antes de que el presidente Polk revocase su nombramiento y demandase su regreso a Washington.

Trist decidió permanecer y terminar de negociar el tratado. Algunos historiadores creen que su estrecha relación con diplomáticos británicos influyó en su decisión. Firmó el tratado en febrero de 1848 y regresó a los Estados Unidos sin trabajo. Posteriomente, dedicó el resto de su vida a ejercer la abogacía.

Una presentación sobre el Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo (que incluye páginas seleccionadas del borrador de Trist) está disponible en: http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/ghtreaty/ghtreaty.html y también en: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Guadalupe.html

 

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  November 9, 2011
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