Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo settled the war between Mexico and the United States. It is the legal document that defines our borders with Mexico. It has some very interesting clauses, I'll just highlight a few here.

Article 16 is very short. It reads, "Each of the contracting parties reserves to itself the entire right to fortify whatever point within its territory it may judge proper so to fortify its security." In case you doubted our right to build a wall, there it is!

Article 8 and 9 actually contradict eachother. The contradiction provides us open precedence and a look into the signers' minds. Article 8 makes Mexican citizens in our newly acquired territories, who do nothing, American citizens within a year of the signing. Article 9, however says Congress will make people citizens when it deems fit. Furthermore, Congress will only consider giving "enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States" to those who "shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican republic."

Eight thus consolidates and justifies our power. We are not a colonial government with subjects. We have control over all who reside within our borders. Notice, however, that it does make people choose between one loyalty or another. Article 9 shows a culturist understanding that both nations have core cultures. If you do not behave like an American, you are not. When you behave like Americans, we will guarentee states and local folks treat you as such. But if you behave as Mexicans, you are a Mexican and may not have full rights. VERY INTERESTING!!!

There are other interesting provisions worth noting. Article 11 of the treaty discusses the rutrn of those who are kidnapped by "savages" (read: Indians) and taken across the border. Each side agrees to do their best to get the captives free and then charge the other for the cost of freeing them. Read liberally, that could indicate that if we recover Mexican illegals from coyotes, we could charge the Mexican government for the costs of our border operations upon "their release and deliverty to the Mexican agent."

The treaty is an important and fun document to understand. Before signing off, however, I must address a related subject. Many Mexican citizens (really since we now recognize dual nationality) have the idea that we stole much of our country. Since just such wrangling over ownership cost Mexico the state of Texas, we must address this. The Treaty accepts $15 million dollars in exchange for the territories ceded. If someone says that sale was done under duress, remind them that the Gadsden Purchase (giving us the South of Arizona and New Mexico) happened in five years later. In 1853 there was no longer any fear of war.

Can you imagine someone saying, "Yes you stole my computer, but I agreed to sell you the mouse and monitor after?" That is the sentiment being stated by those who claim we stole the Southwestern United States. It was all paid for, but the Texan war for Independence should reminds us that sovereignty follows culture - Anglos would not be ruled by Mexican people and laws. So, as the Treaty of Guadalupe reminds us, we have to take the loyalties of our people and borders seriously. When someone contests ownership of our Southwest, remember the Treaty of Guadalupe, remember the Alamo and remember the Gadsden Purchase.
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