The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was a Whopper!

I don't know why I decided to read a history book.  I am in my sixth week of reading it.  I have found out about more Indian tribes than I ever knew existed.  The book is called Empires, Nations and Families: A New History of the North American West, 1800 - 1860, by Anne F. Hyde.  I learned about the prosecution of the Mormons and the slaying of their leader Joseph Smith.  Brigham Young was referenced in the book and also their quest to find land that they could call their own.  If only the Indians had been so lucky.  Living on a reservation is not what I call the promised land.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo in Spanish), officially Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic,[1] is the peace treatysigned in Guadalupe Hidalgo between the U.S. and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–48). With the defeat of its army and the fall of the capital, Mexico entered into negotiations to end the war. The treaty called for the United States to pay $15 million to Mexico and pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to $3.25 million. It gave the United States the Rio Grande boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California, and a large area comprising New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to Mexico or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights; over 90% remained. 

The Mexican American war began as a result of tensions over the borders of present day Texas.  The U.S. government claimed the Rio Grande as the border and the Mexican government claimed Texas as a whole as part of its territory.  In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico.  It was a number of casualties on the Mexican side that led it to capitulate victory.  Almost 16,000 Mexicans died during the battles.  Approximately 13,000 Americans died during the war.  It was stated that many died as a result of disease.  To end up with parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona made this a major victory.  One story that is being revealed by this book is the continuing losses of the Native population at this time.

Long before the U.S. declared war on Mexico, indigenouspowers waged their own wars on Mexicans. Brian DeLay explains how na-tive warriors—Navajos, Apaches, and especially Comanches and their Kiowaallies—unwittingly prepared northern Mexico for American conquest. Byturning Mexican villages, farms, and ranches into a thousand man-made“deserts,” Comanche raiders left the provinces below the Rio Grande depopu-lated, destitute, and divided. All but defeated by Indians, norteƱos lacked

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The Comanche Indians played a major role in preparing the United States for a war with Mexico. In the 18th century, the Comanche established a virtual empire called Comancheria over a large portion of the southern Great Plains which they shared with the WichitaKiowa, and Kiowa Apache and, after 1840, the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho. Comanche power peaked in the 1840s when they conducted large scale raids hundreds of miles deep into Mexico while also warring against the Anglo-Americans and Hispanics inTexas. Their decline resulted from epidemics of cholera and smallpox and encroachments on their territory by the expanding population of the United States.[2]  Wikipedia  I personally would not have wanted to see Comanche raiders approaching my camp.  We must remember though, that in spite of John Wayne movies, our American ancestors were encroaching on land that the Natives lived on for centuries.




This population of Indians struck fear in Anglo settlers and Mexicans alike.  Many Anglos saw nothing less than the extermination of Comanches and other native tribes as one of the goals of western expansion.  As I research other Native tribes exterminated during our country's growth I will really understand the cost of war.  Another phenomenon I discovered about the Mexican American War was that a large number of eventual Civil War generals served during this battle.  An interesting reference follows:

Reading the list of junior officers who served in the US Army during the Mexican-American War is like seeing a who’s-who of the Civil War, which broke out thirteen years later. Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet, P.G.T. Beauregard, George Meade, George McClellan and George Pickett were some – but not all – men who went on to become Generals in the Civil War after serving in Mexico.

Not only did this war enrich the coffers of the U.S., it also prepared these gentlemen for one of the bloodies internecine wars in the world.  I hope to finish this book in the near future.  Afterwards, its back to non-fiction and quick reads.  Meanwhile, this slice of American history evaded me and it is an adventure of learning for me.



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