In 1819, Texas was ceded to Spain by the United States as part of a purchase agreement
Shortly thereafter, Mexico gained its independence from Spain, leaving Texas as a
part of Mexico.
The United States attempted, unsuccessfully, to purchase Texas from Mexico,
but the settlement of Texas by United States immigrants resulted in the secession of Texas from
Mexico, and its annexation into the United States.
War erupted between the United States and
Mexico over Texas, and the United States prevailed.
On February 2, 1848, the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican American War (reader, 1).
The treaty laid
out the peaceful terms of the agreement, new borders and dividing lines between the two
countries, and guaranteed the evacuation of Mexico by U.S. forces.
The treaty also addressed
numerous other issues such as citizenship and protection for Mexicans living in what was now
United States territory.
Although in the treaty, the United States was relatively generous to
Mexico, the Mexican government, and Mexicans living in newly acquired United States
territory, the treaty had a broad spectrum of effects on the Mexicans who chose to remain in the
United States; many of these effects were negative.
Technically, the treaty guaranteed the
preservation of the Mexican land, religion, language, culture, and lifestyle in the newly acquired
territory, and guaranteed that Mexicans living in the United States, whether or not they chose to
become citizens, would be treated as equals.
However, these benefits were neither
governmentally nor socially enforced.
Instead, in most cases and most aspects of social,
political, and economic life, ethnic Mexicans in Southwestern United states were treated as
inferiors, and incurred minimal gains from the well-meaning promises of the U.S government at
the time of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Although most of the effects of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo affected those Mexicans
living in the Southwest negatively, the treaty benefited them in a few ways, the greatest in which