The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: A Key Moment in American and Mexican History

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The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848, marking the end of the Mexican-American War. This treaty, which was negotiated between the United States and Mexico, had a profound impact on both countries and set the stage for their relationship in the decades to come.

The Mexican-American War

The Mexican-American War began in April 1846, and was a result of tensions between the United States and Mexico over the Texan border dispute. The United States claimed that the border was the Rio Grande, while Mexico believed it to be the Nueces River, further to the north. The conflict lasted for two years, with several key battles being fought, including the Battle of Monterrey and the Battle of Buena Vista.

The Negotiations

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in the city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, near Mexico City. The negotiations were difficult, as both sides had demands that were not easily met. However, the United States was in a strong bargaining position, having defeated Mexico in the war, and so was able to secure the terms it wanted.

The Terms of the Treaty

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had several key provisions. Firstly, Mexico ceded a large portion of its territory to the United States, including present-day California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma. This represented a huge loss for Mexico, as it lost over half of its land in this treaty.

In exchange for this territory, the United States agreed to pay Mexico $15 million, which was a significant sum at the time. The treaty also guaranteed the rights of Mexican citizens in the ceded territories, who would now be considered American citizens. This included their property rights and the right to freely practice their religion.

The Impact of the Treaty

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had a profound impact on both the United States and Mexico. For the United States, it marked a major step in its expansion westward, as it gained a vast amount of new territory. This helped to solidify its place as a global power and set the stage for further territorial expansion in the coming decades.

For Mexico, the treaty was a significant blow, as it lost a large portion of its territory. The treaty also marked the end of Mexico’s period of expansion, as it was now forced to focus on rebuilding and recovering from the war.

Despite its negative impact on Mexico, the treaty did have some positive effects. For example, the protection of Mexican citizens’ rights in the ceded territories helped to ease tensions between the two countries and promote peace.


The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was a key moment in the history of both the United States and Mexico. Its provisions had a lasting impact on both countries, shaping their relationship for generations to come. Today, the treaty remains an important part of the shared history of these two nations, and its legacy continues to be felt in the present day.



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