DBQ: New Settlement in the Mexican Cession (1848)
What happened to the Mexicans who now found themselves living in a different country?
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the modern day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, but had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande which had been claimed by the Republic, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified Texas's southern and western boundary. The Mexican Cession (529,000 sq. miles) was the third largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 820,000 sq. miles, followed by the acquisition of Alaska (about 586,000 sq. miles).
After the Mexican-American War, Mexico lost about one third of its territory to the United States. This land, called the Mexican Cession, attracted American settlers. What happened to the Mexicans who now found themselves living in a different country?
Use your knowledge of the postwar era, and documents A, B, C, and D to answer the questions at the bottom and the essential question below.
The Mexican Cession
Entire State Part of State
Texas (Texas Annexation)
California (Mexican Cession)
Nevada (Mexican Cession)
Utah (Mexican Cession)
Arizona (Mexican Cession, Gadsden Purchase)
New Mexico (Mexican Cession, Gadsden Purchase, Texas Annexation)
Oklahoma (Texas Annexation)
Kansas (Texas Annexation)
Colorado (Texas Annexation, Mexican Cession)
Wyoming (Texas Annexation, Mexican Cession)
“Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico … shall be free to continue where they now reside…. In the said territories, property of every kind, now belonging to Mexicans not established there, shall be inviolably respected. … The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican Republic … shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States and be admitted at the proper time … to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States, according to the principles of the Constitution; and in the mean time, shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion without restriction.”
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848
“That ultimately the whole of Mexico will be embraced in our Union, there is very little room to doubt. That dislike to Americans of the North, which was a characteristic of the Mexicans, founded on prejudice, has to a very remarkable extent given way to admiration, and a desire for closer intimacy….”
—“Mexico and the Mexicans,” The United States Democratic Review, June 1850
“What a difference between the present time and those that preceded the Americans. If the Californios could all gather together to breathe a lament, it would reach heaven as a moving sigh which would cause fear and consternation in the Universe. What misery!”
— Mariano Vallejo, late 1800s
“Unlike earlier [American] colonists, these new settlers came as conquerors. In most areas they were vastly outnumbered by Mexicans who had recently been given citizenship and, supposedly, equal rights. The Anglo settlers most likely felt insecure as a minority and so they, the conquerors, set out to subdue the conquered. Mexican Americans soon found that they were discriminated against and treated like aliens in lands they felt rightfully belonged to them. Their land was taken from them; their political power, or the potential for it, usurped, and their social position threatened.”
—A History of the Mexican-American People, Julian Samora, 1977
1. According to Document A, which of the following states was not affected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?
2. According to Document B, Mexican residents in the Mexican Cession did what?
3. Which of the following pairs of documents express similar main ideas?
4. Writing Task What were the most important long-term consequences of the Mexican Cession? Use your knowledge of American history and evidence from the sources above to explain your answer.