Talk:Gadsden Purchase

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Good articleGadsden Purchase has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
October 10, 2008Good article nomineeListed
On this day...Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on December 30, 2004, December 30, 2005, December 30, 2006, December 30, 2007, December 30, 2010, December 30, 2013, December 30, 2015, December 30, 2016, and December 30, 2018.


To anon: Please stop reverting to old version of the map. Here is the discussion on the changes to the map (sssssssssssssfrom User_talk:RadicalBender). RADICALBENDER 20:08, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Gadsden Purchase Map[edit]

Splendid map you made! But, I must admit, even as a map-head, I'm a bit lost. D'you think it would be possible to include markers for a city or two? I'd suggest Phoenix or Tucson (T. is inside the Gadsden tract, isn't it?), El Paso -- and maybe Santa Fe, it's remote enough not to get too crowded. What do you think? Feasible? Or would it be just too fiddly? Hajor 18:47, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hmmm. I suppose it's possible. The only problem would be I don't know which cities would have existed at the time of the Gadsden Purchase. I think Tucson might be in that territory, but otherwise... Let me do some research. RADICALBENDER 18:49, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Wow, fast reply! Tucson, Santa Fe, and El Paso / Juárez were all mission towns when the territory belonged to New Spain. Don't know about Phoenix. Hajor 18:56, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Heh. Well, let's see: according to my big honkin' atlas, Tucson, Yuma and Sierra Vista seem to be the three largest cities inside the Gadsden Purchase today. Phoenix and all of its suburbs - Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, are just outside of the Gadsden purchase, as is Silver City, NM and Las Cruces, NM.
I'm not as concerned now about the historical cities of the time since there weren't very many in the region (still aren't). So, we'll just go with some nearby modern ones for context.
Let's try this. Texas isn't really in the map, so I'll leave out El Paso, but let's do Phoenix (out), Tucson (in), Yuma (in), Sierra Vista (in), Las Cruces (out) and Alamogordo (out). That sound allright? RADICALBENDER 19:03, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ok, Sounds good. Shame about El Paso, but yes, you'd have to include another set of state lines and the int'l border for it to make sense (and the end result would be too fussy, I suspect). So go ahead and try that. See how it works out, but (with a 250px or so display inside the article...) I'd suggest Sierra Vista as the prime candidate for the chop. Hajor

Not worth redoing for just this, but if you make a new version, how about Santa Fe. I added material in the article about it, in reference to the difficult of governing that part added to the New Mexico Territory. -- Decumanus | Talk 19:30, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Oh, what thing of beauty hast thou wrought! Don't listen to the naysayers suggesting that Sierra Vista wouldn't fit. Splendid work! Hajor

Okee-dokee. New map is up. File is now in .png format (which is what it should've been all along). I made the city labels a bit larger than what I normally use (14pt vs. 12pt) so that they should still be readable shrunk at 300px. I also added Santa Fe in. :) RADICALBENDER 19:39, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Fantastic! That was fast! -- Decumanus | Talk 19:40, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Gadsden Purchase is not an area[edit]

any more than when you go to the store and purchase bread it is called "bread purchase". The Gadsden Purchase was an event, and at the time of the purchase the area was called "Gadsden Purchase" in that it was the area purchased, but the area itself is called Gadsdena. -- 17:05, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So does your rule also apply to the Louisiana Purchase? Rhallanger 09:37, 3 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sure does. The name of the "Louisiana Purcase" is "Louisiana," duh. --Daniel C. Boyer 17:25, 11 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What? No. That is bogus. The Louisiana Purchase was very large. Louisiana refers to the modern state of Louisiana, which is very small in comparison. See Louisiana Purchase instead of talking out of your ass. -- 19:38, 19 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What? Yes. Lousiana is a large area of which a small part is the "modern state of Louisiana." They are both called "Louisiana." --Daniel C. Boyer (talk) 16:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is very little evidence, online at least, for the name "Gadsdena" - 418 Google results as of this writing, a number which includes several Wikipedia mirrors, and many of the result seem to be surnames. Furthermore, "purchase" used in a name for a piece of purchased land is a common designation; apart from Rhallanger's Louisiana Purchase, there is also the Holland Purchase, the Symmes Purchase, the Platte Purchase, the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, and so forth. At the very least, "more properly" should be deleted, but the article would probably not be any poorer without any mention of "Gadsdena" at all. -- 13:42, 11 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Alternate versions of the Gadsden Purchase[edit]

I was wondering if anyone knows where one might obtain a map of some of proposed alternatives for the gadsden puchase. Watercat77 00:46, 24 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. Turtledove's alternate history books have the CSA purchasing, what from the description in the article suggests would've been the purchase. But that's a novel, so no idea how accurate his rendition is.
~ender 2007-05-08 11:58:AM MST

I'm having trouble trying to find any reference to what would have been purchased for the $15m. You would think that the original treaty papers of 1853 at the Yale site would have that information, but that appears to actually have the text from the ratified purchase in 1854 (even though it's dated December 1853). All references I can find only state that the boundary was reduced by somewhere between 9000 and 15000 square miles and the price reduced by $5m. Anyone have any further information? zimmhead 19:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

A map of the alternate proposals would be an excellent addition to this article.
I was in a library in Phoenix back in 1995, and found a book on the Gadsden Purchase. I don't remember the title or author, but the book included at least four maps of alternate proposals. The most expansive had the US buying all of Baja California, a huge chunk of Sonora, and all of the land in between. That includes all of the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez. That would have meant ocean-front property in Arizona!
But the prime goal was establishing the southern railroad route, and the US was satisfied with the final purchase.--Vybr8 (talk) 03:23, 1 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mexicans who resided in the area?[edit]

So what happened to the people who were living in the area when it got purchased? Did they get relocated (and by whom? Mexican Army, US Army, or what?), or did they get transfferred to American citizenship, or some other solution?
~ender 2007-05-08 11:58:AM MST

American citizenship was conferred upon them. --Node 10:11, 2 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe they were permitted to relocate to Mexican territory freely if they so wished. Most stayed and were granted American citizenship per terms of the agreement between the US and Mexico. The same is true for lands seized during the Mexican-American war, as well as for French subjects living in the Louisiana Purchase lands.

Money woes[edit]

  • U.S. paid Mexico $10 million
    I would think was to pay would be more accurate, given the apparent $4 million gap.
  • The matter about the money was to be very conflictive
    Awkward. I'd suggest dropping the entire phrase.

--JohnRDaily 19:01, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article says:

"When the money arrived in Mexico City, $1 million ($23 million in 2006 dollars) was missing, resulting in receipt of only $6 million ($140 million in 2006 dollars)"

And then what happened!? Mexico just accepted $6 million without protest? Can anyone fill in the end of the story? Where are you getting this information? Article III of the Gadsden Purchase treaty states:

In consideration of the foregoing stipulations, the Government of the United States agrees to pay to the government of Mexico, in the city of New York, the sum of ten millions of dollars, of which seven millions shall be paid immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, and the remaining three millions as soon as the boundary line shall be surveyed, marked, and established.

Did Mexico in any way fail to conclude their end of the bargain? Pisomojado (talk) 09:16, 13 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Footnote Free Zone[edit]

There isn't a single footnote in this entire, POV-laden article. I'll start weeding out the POV if I can find a place to begin, although it looks like the best solution would be to scrap everything except the intro, and allow contributors to re-build with proper references.DougRWms 05:21, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This comment is out of date. The article has many inline citations and a Note, plus received Good Article status in 2008. --Prairieplant (talk) 21:19, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The lede should be a stand alone summary of the significant aspects of the article. For reasons that are not readily apparent, two paragraphs were totally eliminated from the lede with no explanation. These paragraphs contain essential information on reasons why the purchase was initiated and describes ts eventual failure.

I am not sure why two paragraphs were added that contain nothing but a detailed description of the boundaries -- detail (that besides being extremely boring prose) that does not seem to be appropriate for an article lede, especially since there is a map that right along side the lede that identifies the territory being discussed. I have reduced these paragraphs to a footnote although I have no objection to it being incorporated elsewhere in the body of the article. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 10:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Currency conversion[edit]

The second paragraph of Indian Raids has inconsistent conversions. The first sentence says "$12 million ($310,000,000 today)," while the second to last sentence ends "$12 million ($650,000,000 today)." I believe the latter should be $25 million, based on arithmetic. --Kelseymh (talk) 02:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is the reasoning behind the conversion between Spanish/Mexican/US dollars of the time and current US dollars? It appears to be about 1:25 but no justification is given. --JWB (talk) 00:08, 20 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changes to the article lede[edit]

A paragraph had been added to the article lede and it was sourced to this [1] website. The editor who added this needs to establish that ths website and the article's author, Randy L. Sible, qualify as reliable sources. I could not find any credentials for Mr. Sible using Google nor could I find any editorial policy for the parent website for the article.

If there is more to say abouth the adverse effects of the Gadsden Purchase on Mexico, then the FIRST PLACE is to put that material in the body of the article and attribute it to reliable sources. The article already contains properly sourced material that decribes Santa Anna's and Mexico's motives and I'm not sure that Sible's unsourced article adds anything to this article.

Please discuss here rather than simply adding the material back again. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 17:47, 9 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The same editor added the following to the lede:
Author Robert L. Scheina notes Mexican leader (many would say dictator) Santa Anna's actions and the reactions of the Mexican people to Santa Anna's decisions (such as the Gadsden Purchase). Scheina's writes in his work "Santa Anna: A Curse Upon Mexico" about the $10 million purchase between the US and Santa Anna in the Gadsden Purchase: "Known as the Gadsden Purchase (after James Gadsden, the US minister to Mexico), the sudden wealth it brought, half of which he appropriated for himself, allowed Santa Anna to attack his opponents even more harshly. ... In July 1855, Santa Anna again approached Gadsden concerning the sale of more Mexican territory, but an uprising in southern Mexico overtook his efforts. [1]
I have removed it because, once again, it introduces material in the lede not covered in the body of the article. The issue of Santa Anna's corruption (which I guess is the point) does not warrant mention in THIS ARTICLE except perhaps in an aftermath section. There are also obvious style issues with the edit -- why name in the text the book title, describe the general contenys of the book,repeat info. already in the lede, etc. Please discuss here first WHAT you want to add to the article about Santa Anna and HOW you expect to accomplish it. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 12:08, 15 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I added it to give some background as to why "Mexico" sold this land, and to show it was not the consensus of the Mexican people to sell this land. The land sale was made by Santa Anna who was pretty much a dictator and was rebelled against largely because of land sales like this Gadsden Purchase. I don't see how this doesn't fall into the context of the article as other parts speak of the US motives for the railroad project and such; why not speak on the Mexican side about who sold the land.--Historylover4 (talk) 16:49, 15 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article lede ends with this sentence: In the United States, the debate over the treaty became involved in the sectional dispute over slavery, ending progress before the American Civil War in the planning or construction of a transcontinental railroad. If you want to add a comparable sentence summarizing the repercussions in Mexico, go ahead -- but first be sure that the sentence summarizes something that is already in the body of the article. Perhaps something like "In Mexico, this sale of even a small part of their territory was a contributing factor in the later downfall of Mexiacan leader Santa Anna who negotiated the deal.
The article DOES have a subsection titled Gadsden and Santa Anna that explains his motives in the negotiations. The material is properly sourced. If you feel there are OTHER motives that should be added, this is the place to put them -- providing your material is prperly sourced. The material from Scheina, properly written, should probably go in the subsection Post-ratification controversy. This section already says " Even the sale of a relatively small strip of land angered the Mexican people, who saw Santa Anna's actions as a betrayal of their country. They watched in dismay as he squandered the funds generated by the Purchase. Contemporary Mexican historians continue to view the deal negatively and believe that it has defined the American-Mexican relationship in a deleterious way." The sourcing for that material is weak -- it refers to only a newspaper article that now has a dead link. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 18:43, 15 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The dates in this article appear to contradict some of the various sources, or perhaps the sources just contradict each other. First of all, the primary source, the text of the treaty itself, says that it was signed on December 30, 1853, but the article says June 24, 1853. Then the ratification date...

  1. [2]: December 30, 1853
  2. [3]: April 1854
  3. [4]: Spring 1854
  4. [5][6]: June 1854
  5. [7]: June 24, 1854
  6. [8][9][10]: June 30, 1854

Any ideas? howcheng {chat} 21:45, 28 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The December 1853 date is the date the treaty was signed by the negotiators in Mexico. The signing date by Pierce in June 1853 is wrong -- the final Senate ratification, with changes added, didn't come until April 25, 1854 so he probably signed it shortly after that. The June 1854 dates probably refer to the date that the changes were ratified by Mexico. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 22:53, 28 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually I went back and checked the treaty itself again, and it says at the end June 30 for Pierce's signing. howcheng {chat} 00:06, 29 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The document you linked is not the original treaty. Instead it is a Proclamation issued by President Pierce in which the treaty was made public -- the date of June 30 is the date Pierce signed the proclamation rather than the date he signed the treaty. Note the language from the document:
And whereas the said treaty, as amended, has been duly ratified on both parts, and the respective ratifications of the same have this day been exchanged at Washington, by WILLIAM L. MARCY, Secretary of State of the United States, and SENOR GENERAL DON JUAN N. ALMONTE, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Mexican Republic, on the part of their respective Governments:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, FRANKLIN PIERCE, President of the United States of America, have caused the said treaty to be made public, to the end that the same, and every clause and article thereof, may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.
The dates are covered in a State Department website at [11]. It states:
"With a great deal of difficulty resulting from the increasing strife between the northern and southern states, the U.S. Senate ratified a revised treaty on April 25, 1854. The new treaty reduced the amount paid to Mexico to $10 million and the land purchased to 29,670 square miles, and removed any mention of Native American attacks and private claims. President Pierce signed the treaty and Gadsden presented the new treaty to Santa Anna, who signed it on June 8, 1854."
After Pierce had signed the original treaty, as amended, and Mexico signed the amended treaty on June 8, no further action was required to put the treaty into effect. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 00:54, 29 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Added infobox to article, and question on dates[edit]

I just added infobox former subdivision, which is used in the article on the Louisiana Purchase and the article on the Northwest Territory. I filled it in as best I can using date in the article. The footnote that was attached to the caption of the map is now added to a new sentence in the ratification subsection, so that is not lost. I also changed one section title from Pierce administration to Final negotiations and ratification of the purchase treaty. I added a template to this Talk page per instructions from Template:Infobox former subdivision. No I did not, the template is already present on this page. --Prairieplant (talk) 21:19, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a date in the lead paragraph that appears nowhere else in the article, December 30, 1853, and it needs to be in the main article somewhere, if it is to be in the lead. I put the date in the infobox as Treaty drafted. In the lead paragraph it says that Gadsden signed the treaty that day, but gives no indication that anyone else signed it as well -- perhaps his Mexican counterpart? Is there a name for that person? I could not tell if was Santa Anna himself, so I made no guesses and left that part of the lead alone. Once the date is cleared up, the same sentence should be put in the section on ratification. If my term in the infobox of Treaty drafted is not accurate, then let's change that when the date is clear. Another date that might be interesting for the article is when Gadsden was appointed as negotiator by Pierce. In the spring of 1853? Later?
I also gave a title (Desire for a southern transcontinental rail line) to the last couple of paragraphs of the lead, as they appeared to be laying the groundwork for the treaty, including the national debates of that time and the desire for a second transcontinental rail line, rather than providing highlights of the article in chronological order. Those paragraphs, when part of the lead, followed the status of the transcontinental rail line, which is the close of the main article. The two paragraphs of the lead as now modified seem good to me. --Prairieplant (talk) 20:55, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I read a source already used on the page to add to the article in two other places. The source is James, Harold L. (1969). "History of the United States-Mexican boundary survey--1848-1955" (PDF). Retrieved July 7, 2018 – via New Mexico Geological Society. It looks trustworthy to me, but I also looked at the list of sources with different dates for the signing of the treaty in published books above, so one source may not be enough. Rjensen if you get time, can you check over my changes, make sure this is still a high quality article? And perhaps fix the lead regarding what happened on December 30, 1853. --Prairieplant (talk) 23:08, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Multiple RS state " on December 30, 1853 he [Santa Anna] and Gadsden signed a treaty stipulating that the United States... " Roger L. Kemp, ed. (2010). Documents of American Democracy. p. 195. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help) and Spencer Tucker et al eds (2013). The Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 255. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help) I did not see the James book. Rjensen (talk) 23:32, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you Rjensen. The James source is on line as a pdf, easy to read. It had been in conference proceedings, but the New Mexico Geological Society put in online as a source. So the link in the references will take you to it. Here it is I changed the text of the article to reflect that both people signed it and used the Kemp reference. --Prairieplant (talk) 00:24, 8 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The James book is by geologists, not historians, and I do not recommend using it. Stating the landscape of the boundary, and measuring it precisely, they are not doing historical research on diplomacy. Rjensen (talk) 03:08, 8 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, Rjensen I see that makes good sense in an article about history and politics and the years immediately following a war. There is a place in the article where the commentary (the cost effectiveness of the purchase overall) where a second view is needed. I hope it is okay to use the James piece there, as the topic is the copper and other mines in the area, which is geology, and I will identify him as a geologist. I did not like the cost effectiveness section much, because it reported the views of just one source, and the views were wholly negative. The geologist sees it another way, even if there is not another historian to balance the view point. And I will add all the sources you gave for the date question I raised, now I have more time today. No use leaving such good information only on the talk page! Thank you again. --Prairieplant (talk) 20:12, 8 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And the more I search for the economist who wrote that paper, the less I can find about him after 2012. His method of assessing the price of a land exchange in terms of later revenues to the U.S. government is not impressive to me, given my past career using engineering economics and other evaluation techniques for current projects. The nation's borders were set by notions different from the federal government's return on investment, as taxes. The southern alignment for the transcontinental railroad was delayed while major arguments were fought out, but it was built and is still used. Some days I am tempted to delete the section, but I leave it, in hopes there is another source available to put that sort of analysis in perspective. At least now there is an economist and a geologist presenting different views on the overall value of the acquisition of the land by the U.S. government, and in turn to two U.S. states. --Prairieplant (talk) 16:06, 18 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Awkward and non-standard number expression resulting from conversion[edit]

Can someone please fix this? I don't know how. There is code that says

. . . route for $25,000 (equivalent to ${{Formatprice|{{inflation|US-GDP|25000|1849}}}} in {{inflation-year|US-GDP}}{{inflation-fn|US-GDP}}). . .

that renders as, ". . . route for $25,000 (equivalent to $600 thousand in 2016)." The expression "$600 thousand" is not a style used anywhere in English-language publications. It works for millions and billions, but not for thousands. It should just say "$600,000." I've corrected this in other articles, but don't know how to do it here. Thank you. Holy (talk) 16:33, 19 September 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

HolyT Maybe drop use of the format price template, as it used the word thousand on purpose. Template:Format price. Maybe the remaining template for inflation will yield a number in more sensible format. I am not familiar with the template, as I just looked it up now. It does look odd for thousand, though writing millions can be okay. --Prairieplant (talk) 18:25, 19 September 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
HolyT I dropped the price template and its many curly brackets, and added some parameters to the inflation template and now the result shows $600,000 as is logical. I needed to learn the inflation template for another article, and what I learned works in two articles, which is good. --Prairieplant (talk) 10:53, 26 September 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Prairieplant Great job, thank you for making the effort! Holy (talk) 17:47, 26 September 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ten million dollars is entered in the text 3 times, once in the lead and twice in the article. Two of the three times, the conversion shows the same modern value in dollars. The third times shows it slightly different. They ought to be the same every time, right? Below are from the lead (3rd para), Indian Raids (last line), and Ratification (4th bulleted item):
  • The financially-strapped government of Santa Anna agreed to the sale, which netted Mexico $10 million (equivalent to $220 million in 2016[3])
  • while President Fillmore proposed a settlement that was $10 million less ($220 million[3]).[25]
  • dropping the price to $10 million (equivalent to $217 million in 2016[3]) from $15 million ($325 million[3]).
The first and third should be exactly the same, as the sentence in the lead is highlighting what was demanded by the US Congress to agree to a final settlement. I am not seeing what changed the result by $3 million dollars. The code all looks the same to me, after editor Keith o cleaned up excess wiki links and looked to be making the dollar conversions all using the same basis, US GDP, and same format. Maybe someone else can see how to make $10 million always come to the same amount, at least for the two instances when the exact same $10 million is under discussion, in the lead and in the Ratification subsection. --Prairieplant (talk) 07:05, 17 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was a matter of significant digits, thank you Keith o. --Prairieplant (talk) 04:55, 19 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]