Gadsden Purchase Treaty, December 30, 1853
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The Gadsden Purchase was roughly a 30,000 square-mile region of present-day
southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was acquired by the United States in a treaty signed by American ambassador
to Mexico James Gadsden on December 30, 1853. The treaty was ratified, with changes, by the U.S. Senate and signed by President
Franklin Pierce with final approval by Mexico on June 8, 1854. The purchase was the last major territorial acquisition in
the contiguous United States.
U.S. President Franklin Pierce, influenced by James Gadsden’s friend,
Jefferson Davis, sent Gadsden to negotiate with Santa Anna for this tract of land. Many supporters of a southern Pacific railroad
route, including Davis, believed that a transcontinental route which stretched through this territory would greatly benefit
southern states should hostilities break out with the north.
The first transcontinental railroad was, however, constructed along a more
northerly route by the "big four" of western railroad construction—Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins,
and Charles Crocker. A southern transcontinental route through territory acquired by the Gadsen Purchase was not a reality
until 1881 when the tracks of the "big four's" Southern Pacific met those of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe in the Territory
of New Mexico.
U.S. Minister to Mexico James Gadsden, and three envoys of the President
of Mexico General Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón, signed the Gadsden Purchase, or Gasden Treaty, in Mexico City
on December 30, 1853. Santa Anna needed money to help defray expenses caused by the Mexican War and ongoing rebellions, so
he sold land to the United States. The treaty, amended and finally approved by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 1984, settled
the dispute over the exact location of the Mexican border west of El Paso, Texas, giving the U.S. claim to some 29,600 square
miles of land, ultimately for the price of $10 million. The land is what is now southern New Mexico and Arizona.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WHEREAS a treaty between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic
was concluded and signed at the City of Mexico on the thirtieth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three;
which treaty, as amended by the Senate of the United States, and being in the English and Spanish languages, is word for word
IN THE NAME OF ALMIGHTY GOD:
The Republic of Mexico and the United States of America desiring to remove
every cause of disagreement which might interfere in any manner with the better friendship and intercourse between the two
countries, and especially in respect to the true limits which should be established, when, notwithstanding what was covenanted
in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the year 1848, opposite interpretations have been urged, which might give occasion to
questions of serious moment: to avoid these, and to strengthen and more firmly maintain the peace which happily prevails between
the two republics, the President of the United States has, for this purpose, appointed James Gadsden, Envoy Extraordinary
and Minister Plenipotentiary of the same, near the Mexican government, and the President of Mexico has appointed as Plenipotentiary
"ad hoc" his excellency Don Manuel Diez de Bonilla, cavalier grand cross of the national and distinguished order of Guadalupe,
and Secretary of State, and of the office of Foreign Relations, and Don Jose Salazar Ylarregui and General Mariano Monterde
as scientific commissioners, invested with full powers for this negotiation, who, having communicated their respective full
powers, and finding them in due and proper form, have agreed upon the articles following:
The Mexican Republic agrees to designate the following as her true limits
with the United States for the future: retaining the same dividing line between the two Californias as already defined and
established, according to the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the limits
between the two republics shall be as follows: Beginning in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth
of the Rio Grande, as provided in the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; thence, as defined in the said article,
up the middle of that river to the point where the parallel of 31° 47' north latitude crosses the same; thence due west one
hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20' north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20' to
the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado River twenty English
miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects
the present line between the United States and Mexico.
For the performance of this portion of the treaty, each of the two governments
shall nominate one commissioner, to the end that, by common consent the two thus nominated, having met in the city of Paso
del Norte, three months after the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, may proceed to survey and mark out upon the
land the dividing line stipulated by this article, where it shall not have already been surveyed and established by the mixed
commission, according to the treaty of Guadalupe,
keeping a journal and making proper plans of their operations. For this purpose, if they should judge it necessary, the contracting
parties shall be at liberty each to unite to its respective commissioner, scientific or other assistants, such as astronomers
and surveyors, whose concurrence shall not be considered necessary for the settlement and of a true line of division between
the two Republics; that line shall be alone established upon which the commissioners may fix, their consent in this particular
being considered decisive and an integral part of this treaty, without necessity of ulterior ratification or approval, and
without room for interpretation of any kind by either of the parties contracting.
The dividing line thus established shall, in all time, be faithfully respected
by the two governments, without any variation therein, unless of the express and free consent of the two, given in conformity
to the principles of the law of nations, and in accordance with the constitution of each country respectively.
In consequence, the stipulation in the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe
upon the boundary line therein described is no longer of any force, wherein
it may conflict with that here established, the said line being considered annulled and abolished wherever it may not coincide
with the present, and in the same manner remaining in full force where in accordance with the same.
The government of Mexico hereby releases the United States from all liability
on account of the obligations contained in the eleventh article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; and the said article and the thirty-third article of the treaty of amity, commerce,
and navigation between the United States of America and the United Mexican States concluded at Mexico, on the fifth day of
April, 1831, are hereby abrogated.
In consideration of the foregoing stipulations, the Government of the United
States agrees to pay to the government of Mexico, in the city of New York, the sum of ten millions of dollars, of which seven
millions shall be paid immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, and the remaining three millions
as soon as the boundary line shall be surveyed, marked, and established.
The provisions of the 6th and 7th articles
of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo having been rendered nugatory, for the most part, by the cession of territory granted in
the first article of this treaty, the said articles are hereby abrogated and annulled, and the provisions as herein expressed
substituted therefor. The vessels, and citizens of the United States shall, in all time, have free and uninterrupted passage
through the Gulf of California, to and from their possessions situated north of the boundary line of the two countries. It
being understood that this passage is to be by navigating the Gulf of California and the river Colorado, and not by land,
without the express consent of the Mexican government; and precisely the same provisions, stipulations, and restrictions,
in all respects, are hereby agreed upon and adopted, and shall be scrupulously observed and enforced by the two contracting
governments in reference to the Rio Colorado, so far and for such distance as the middle of that river is made their common
boundary line by the first article of this treaty.
The several provisions, stipulations, and restrictions contained in the 7th
article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall remain in force only
so far as regards the Rio Bravo del Forte, below the initial of the said boundary provided in the first article of the treaty; that is to say, below the intersection of the 31° 47'30'/ parallel of latitude, with
the boundary line established by the late treaty dividing said river from its mouth upwards, according to the fifth article of the treaty of Guadalupe.
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All the provisions of the eighth and
ninth, sixteenth and seventeenth articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
shall apply to the territory ceded by the Mexican Republic in the first article of the present treaty, and to all the
rights of persons and property, both civil and ecclesiastical, within the same, as fully and as effectually as if the said
articles were herein again recited and set forth.
No grants of land within the territory ceded by the first article of this
treaty bearing date subsequent to the day-twenty-fifth of September-when the minister and subscriber to this treaty on the
part of the United States, proposed to the Government of Mexico to terminate the question of boundary, will be considered
valid or be recognized by the United States, or will any grants made previously be respected or be considered as obligatory
which have not been located and duly recorded in the archives of Mexico.
Should there at any future period (which God forbid) occur any disagreement
between the two nations which might lead to a rupture of their relations and reciprocal peace, they bind themselves in like
manner to procure by every possible method the adjustment of every difference; and should they still in this manner not succeed,
never will they proceed to a declaration of war, without having previously paid attention
to what has been set forth in article twenty-one of the treaty of Guadalupe for similar
cases; which article, as well as the twenty-second is here reaffirmed.
The Mexican Government having on the 5th of February, 1853, authorized the
early construction of a plank and railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and, to secure the stable benefits of said transit
way to the persons and merchandise of the citizens of Mexico and the United States, it is stipulated that neither government
will interpose any obstacle to the transit of persons and merchandise of both nations; and at no time shall higher charges
be made on the transit of persons and property of citizens of the United States, than may be made on the persons and property
of other foreign nations, nor shall any interest in said transit way, nor in the proceeds thereof, be transferred to any foreign
The United States, by its agents, shall have the right to transport across
the isthmus, in closed bags, the mails of the United States not intended for distribution along the line of communication;
also the effects of the United States government and its citizens, which may be intended for transit, and not for distribution
on the isthmus, free of custom-house or other charges by the Mexican government. Neither passports nor letters of security
will be required of persons crossing the isthmus and not remaining in the country.
When the construction of the railroad shall be completed, the Mexican government
agrees to open a port of entry in addition to the port of Vera Cruz, at or near the terminus of said road on the Gulf of Mexico.
The two governments will enter into arrangements for the prompt transit of
troops and munitions of the United States, which that government may have occasion to send from one part of its territory
to another, lying on opposite sides of the continent.
The Mexican government having e agreed to protect with its whole power the
prosecution, preservation, and security of the work, the United States may extend its protection as it shall judge wise to
it when it may feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law.
This treaty shall be ratified, and the respective ratifications shall be exchanged
at the city of Washington within the exact period of six months from the date of its signature, or sooner, if possible.
In testimony whereof, we, the plenipotentiaries of the contracting parties,
have hereunto affixed our hands and seals at Mexico, the thirtieth (30th) day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-three, in the thirty-third year of the independence of the Mexican republic, and the seventy-eighth
of that of the United States. JAMES GADSDEN,
MANUEL DIEZ DE BONILLA
JOSE SALAZAR YLARBEGUI
J. MARIANO MONTERDE,
And whereas the said treaty, as amended, has been duly ratified on both parts,
and the respective ratifications of the same have this day been exchanged at Washington, by WILLIAM L. MARCY, Secretary of
State of the United States, and SENOR GENERAL DON JUAN N. ALMONTE, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the
Mexican Republic, on the part of their respective Governments:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, FRANKLIN PIERCE, President of the United
States of America, have caused the said treaty to be made public, to the end that the same, and every clause and article thereof,
may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the
United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this thirtieth day of June, in the year of
our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, and of the Independence of the United States the seventy-eighth.
BY THE PRESIDENT:
W. L. MARCY, Secretary of State.
Source: Statutes of the United States, Volume 10
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