Today on February 2nd 1848, the Mexican-American War formally comes to end with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was a peace treaty that formally ended the Mexican-American War. Its official name was the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic. Both parties signed the treaty in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo near modern-day Mexico City. The treaty did not come into force until later that year on July 4, 1848.
The Mexican-American War lasted almost two years and marked America’s first war fought primarily on foreign soil. At the time, President James Polk was an expansionist-minded leader and truly believed in manifest destiny - America’s inherent right to conquer the entire North American continent. Mexico was politically divided and its military was ill prepared to take on the growing might of the U.S. Army.
With its army crippled and capital city in enemy hands, Mexico was forced to call for negotiations. The treaty was a disaster for Mexico, forcing it to cede a third of its territory to America including modern-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. It also formally recognized America’s full annexation of Texas. They paid Mexico $15 million for all of their newly acquired territory. Mexicans living within these annexed areas were given the choice of relocating within Mexico’s new borders to receiving full American citizenship.