The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954

ANicholas P. rist ald the Zreaty of
ruadalpc IJtidalgo
ROBERT A. BRENT
THE WAR between the United States of America and the
Republic of Mexico officially ended with the treaty of
peace signed at Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.
The sole signer of the treaty for the United States was Nicholas
Philip Trist, who, by his personal negotiation, had brought to a
close one of the most unusual chapters in the annals of diplomacy.
General Zachary Taylor's entry into the area between the Nu-
eces and the Rio Grande had resulted in the battles of Palo Alto
and Resaca de la Palma and the opening of the "shooting phase"
of the Mexican War. The area had been disputed by Texas and
the Republic of Mexico since 1836, when, in the eyes of the major
powers of the world, Texas won its independence. Mexico had
refused to recognize the independence of Texas but had insisted
that if it were accepted as a fait accompli, the territory of Texas
should end at the Nueces River.
In terms of the international custom that justifies successful
revolutions and adheres to the theory that whatever boundaries
are claimed and can be defended are legitimate, the claims of
Texas to the territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande
were not indefensible. While Mexico never acknowledged the
independence of Texas, but carefully pointed out that under Span-
ish and Mexican rule Texas had extended no farther south than
the Nueces, the Mexican government had never seriously threat-
ened the established Texas government, nor had Mexico taken
any real measures to dominate by military occupation or civilian
settlement the area in dispute. On the other hand, Texas had
existed as a sovereign nation for nine years by right of a successful
revolution-the same right by which Mexico and the United
States claimed sovereignty.
Texas was annexed to the United States in 1845 on the basis
of the Rio Grande boundary, and since the Constitution spe-
cifically prohibits the federal government from bargaining away

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/. Accessed December 29, 2014.