History ETDs

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On February 2, 1848, representatives of the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War and also provided for the cession of a vast portion of the northern Mexican frontier to the United States. The treaty gradually sank into relative obscurity and has only recently re-emerged to a position of prominence, due primarily to court suits over old Mexican land grants presently being considered in those areas which were formerly a part of Mexico. The two most prominent aspects of the treaty pertain to questions of its legality and the guarantees of citizenship and property which it made to the inhabitants of the ceded territory. Aside from these two points there has been very little research into the origin of the treaty to ascertain what Influences affected it or what precedents were used to establish support for the provisions within it. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the treaty and determine those precedents and influences. The thesis is divided into an introduction, five chapters and an appendix. The introduction describes some causes of the Mexican War and President Polk's appointment of Nicholas P. Trist as an executive agent to Mexico for the purpose of securing a peace treaty. Trist was recalled by the President because he had exceeded his instructions, but he disregarded the recall and remained in Mexico to consummate the treaty. Chapter I discusses the instructions and project for a treaty which Secretary of State James Buchanan had drawn up for Trist. The extent of the influence of Mexico upon the treaty Is explored in Chapter II. Chapter III discusses the precedents from earlier United States treaties used to support the provisions within the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The battle over ratification of the treaty Is presented In Chapter IV. Chapter V concludes the thesis with a discussion of the validity of the treaty. The Appendix contains copies of the treaty, instructions to the negotiators from their respective governments and extracts from the various treaties used as precedents.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Colgett Cutter

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

John L. Kessell



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