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The Gadsden Purchase was the official document that recognized the acquisition of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico by the United States from Mexico in the Treaty of Mesilla. The first draft was signed on December 30, 1853, by James Gadsden (U.S. ambassador to Mexico), and full acquisition of these regions took effect on June 8, 1854.
See the fact file below for more information on the Gadsden Purchase or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Gadsden Purchase worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EVENTS LEADING TO THE GADSDEN PURCHASE
- When the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, tensions were still high between Mexico and the United States.
- Both countries claimed the Mesilla Valley as part of their own country, and Mexico demanded financial compensation for Native American attacks that were ongoing in the region.
- However, the United States pointed out that, while they had agreed to help protect Mexico from such attacks, they hadn’t agreed to compensate them financially.
- The tensions between the U.S and Mexico continued when the U.S. expressed interest in continuing their transcontinental railroad, which would require cutting into Mexican territory.
- The proposed railroad line, referred to as the “Southern Pacific” line, would connect eastern states to southern California through New Orleans, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
- The hope was that with the transcontinental railway completed, this would speed up westward expansion of the U.S. and expand trade opportunities.
- James Gadsden, the new U.S. Minister to Mexico, was sent to negotiate with Mexican President Antonio de Santa Anna.
- Gadsden was instructed to renegotiate a border that provided a route for a southern railroad, to arrange for the release of funds for the Native American attacks that were occurring, and to settle any outstanding monetary claims between the countries.
- Gadsden met with Santa Anna on September 25, 1853.
- By December 30, 1853, Santa Anna and Gadsden signed a treaty that stated the U.S. would pay $15 million in exchange for 45,000 square miles south of the New Mexico territory.
- The treaty also stated that the U.S would work to prevent American raids along Mexico’s border. In return, Mexico voided U.S responsibility for Native American attacks.
CHANGES TO THE TREATY
- In January 1854, President Franklin Pierce was disappointed in the amount of territory the U.S. had secured and wasn’t happy about some of the terms.
- It was submitted to the Senate on February 10th, but Gadsden was confident that northern senators would block the treaty in order to deny the South a railroad. The treaty needed a ⅔ vote in favor of ratification in the Senate.
- Antislavery senators (referred to by Gadsden as “the greatest curse of the nation”) opposed further acquisition of slave territory, which went in contrast to Gadsden’s views of slavery as “a social blessing”.
- It was Gadsden’s plan to use the railroads as a way to establish slave-holding colonies and transport people to the California gold fields, using slave labor to build the railway.
- Pierce himself was a strong pro-southern, pro-expansion president, but lobbying gave the treaty a bad reputation and led to its defeat in the Senate.
- After adding provisions that included several protections and requirements, as well as a reduction in both acquired territory and price, the treaty passed in the Senate on April 25, 1854, by a vote of 33 to 12. One change granted permission for the U.S. to intervene when warranted by public or international law.
- Santa Anna accepted the changes, and the treaty went into effect on June 30, 1854.
CONTROVERSY AND LEGACY OF THE GADSDEN PURCHASE
- Anti-slavery U.S senators, who saw the purchase as acquisition of more slave territory, condemned the Gadsden Purchase.
- Many Mexicans opposed the purchase, as well, seeing the actions of Santa Anna as a betrayal of their country.
- Not only did they oppose the purchase, but they watched as Santa Anna squandered away the funds generated by the purchase. Historians still view this deal negatively and believe it added to the degradation of the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.
- Following the deal, issues regarding boundaries in Texas popped up, including the Country Club Dispute and the establishment of the International Boundary and Water Commission.
- Residents of the area sold to the U.S. were given full U.S. citizenship and assimilated themselves into American life.
- Various forts were established, and the U.S. Army was sent in to protect the lands. Soon after, miners and ranchers came to the area to set up mining camps and farms.
- Farmers were impressed with the grazing possibilities offered by the land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase county of Arizona, Thus, large cattle industries grew.
- The southern border of the U.S was now firmly established.
Gadsden Purchase Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Gadsden Purchase across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Gadsden Purchase worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Gadsden Purchase which was the official document that recognized the acquisition of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico by the United States from Mexico in the Treaty of Mesilla. The first draft was signed on December 30, 1853, by James Gadsden (U.S. ambassador to Mexico), and full acquisition of these regions took effect on June 8, 1854.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Gadsden Purchase Facts
- Historical Context
- Spotlight on James Gadsden
- Gadsden Crossword
- Manifest Destiny
- Map Analysis
- Gadsden Wordsearch
- Create a Commemorative Stamp
- Gadsden Diary Entry
- WebQuest Activity
- See, Think, Wonder
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Link will appear as Gadsden Purchase Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 29, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.