Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Arizona

With much thanks to Professor George Martinez’s urging and reminder, his post on international law also brings to mind the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, its linkages to Arizona and the Governor of Arizona’s oath of office.

As an international peace agreement the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo terminated the United States war against Mexico in 1848.[i] Aside from the innumerable treaties signed between Indian nations and the United States, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the only treaty specific to individuals of Mexican, Indian and Spanish descent. Accordingly the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo encompasses the United States formally establishing a legal relationship with them including protection of the Black Mexican citizens who also resided in the former Mexican territories.

The Treaty remains a living document into the present with the United States Constitution declaring all treaties not unlike federal law as “the supreme Law of the Land.” Comprised of several covenants the Treaty promised to those remaining in the annexed territories inter alia the right to the protection of their property interests, the right to all the protections of the United States Constitution, with yet additional covenants expediting the termination of the war.[ii] In sum, the Treaty comprises a contractual agreement between the two nations with the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution directing judges to effectuate the Treaty’s promises.[iii]

The Governor of Arizona migrated to the State in 1970 and thus it is unknown whether her education ever included the study of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Indigenous Nations that have resided in the Arizona region since time immemorial.[iv] Out of respect and just in case, this post as a basic educational tool serves to remind supporters of SB 1070 and those seeking to wipe out Arizona’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural history that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also applies to Arizona.[v]

Even more specifically, if the State’s oath of office for Governors is typical of the oaths of office applicable to other states and holders of public offices, the present Governor has sworn to uphold the United States Constitution. Curiously, even if giving the Governor the benefit of the doubt, the signing of SB 1070 and elimination of ethnic studies in the State breaches the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. Perhaps it will ultimately be announced that it was all an “unintentional breach” of the oath of office?

For those that were not fortunate enough to study the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo— and here the author offers mil gracias to the Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota for her education of the Treaty— the document also provides an answer to the dilemma of the present. Article XXI as contractually signed by both the United States and the Republic of Mexico boldly states in part:

If unhappily any disagreement should hereafter arise between the Governments of the two Republics, whether with respect to the interpretation of any stipulation in this treaty, or with respect to any other particular concerning the political or commercial relationships of the two Nations, the said Governments, in the name of those Nations, do promise to each other, that they will endeavour in the most sincere and earnest manner, to settle the differences so arising, and to preserve the state of peace and friendship, in which the two countries are now placing themselves: using, for this end, mutual representations and pacific negotiations.”

Article XXI also declares that the nations “. . . shall have maturely considered, in the spirit of peace and good neighbourship. . .” a resolution.

In contrast the restrictionist legislation of the present is generating a firestorm of boycotts with much harm and injury to the State and its constituents that could also prove irreparable long into the future. While the Treaty addresses a relationship between the two nations, perhaps Arizona's narrow approach to the complexities of migration to the State will facilitate the Treaty's application in the present.

[i]Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement with the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico, Feb. 2, 1848, U.S.-Mexico. 9 Stat. 922.

[ii]The Treaty also contains some racist language as to Indians not assimilated within its territories but it is beyond the limitations of this post. See Article XI of the Treaty.

[iii]U.S. Const. art, VI, cl 2.

[iv]The breach of particular covenants fall outside the limitations of this post.

[v]Arizona is also tethered to the Gadsden Purchase.


  1. Thank you for reminding us that the Treaty guarantees the rights of Mexican Americans in Arizona.

  2. If Arizona doesn't respect the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights then it is much less likely they would ever respect a document such as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,which to a racist and xenophobic Arizonan,is even more threatening because it's title has..."forin' soundin' Mexican words in it"...

  3. Dont be absurd, the treaty guaranteed rights to those Mexicans witnessing and experiencing the change and evolution of one country into another. It does not guarantee rights to illegal border corssers, nor is it an agreement to perpetually allow all illegal aliens to come, at whim, across our border into our country. Nor does this document give power to Mexico over US Soil, borders or laws. And YES, Im a Chicana, and NO I havent been snowed into believing that illegal aliens are my responsibility or should have my support just because I happen to speak spanish or have roots in common. In fact, if I took that stance, you could effectively call me a racist, which, I am NOT. My grandmother was born in California in 1926, her mother was born in California in 1899, in turn her mother was born in California in 1878 and finally, my great-great-great grandmother was born in California in 1848. Unlike MOST Chicanos, I actually have mapped and researched my family tree. California became a state in 1950, and the point is that at that time, the Mexicans that lived on these lands had to choose whether to stay, or move back across the newly established border. Staying was no day at the park, and the Treaty was put in place to assure that these people would be treated fairly and protected. My family was obviously one of those that chose to stay and embrace becoming an American. I have NEVER had relatives that live across the present day border into mexico and I dont feel a loyalty to mexico either. I am an American that happens to also be Mexican, I am proud of both, and in that order. America, love it or leave it.

  4. Wow, the last comment is a prime example of false-consciousness and self-hate. Unfortunately, particularly in the media, we often witness Latinos and Latinas as figureheads for anti-immigrant and anti-Spanish language efforts. The last comment and ones like it, are exactly the reason why I created this blog. Thanks for the reminder. Unfortunately for you, despite the zeal in which you spout your venom, you will not be nearly as productive as those motivated to defend people against efforts such as Arizona's hateful and biggoted law. In fact, I only respond here, not to waste me time in responding to his type of self-hate, but to support a cause and a fellow traveler.

    Interestingly, I take issue over whether the post-Mexican-American War granted rights to illegals--it did. It granted virtually unlimited power to the expansionists! While I suspect your views are set in stone, this may nonetheless serve as a teaching moment. Consider reading some of the works of academia's leading scholar, Richard Delgado( a Mexican-American). While I am confident he would take issue with most of what you wrote, and his works might actually open-up your mind a bit.

    In any event, I am fairly confident post may one day serve the anti-Latino lobby well.

    Ediberto Roman

    P.S. Your "love it or leave it" reference, and much worse, is exactly the type of hateful rhetoric you would face if you walked down the street of any town or city in Arizona displaying any marker of your so-called cultural pride.

  5. Ay pendejo, how can you be so ridiculously absurd? Richard Delgado is so proud to be MEXICAN, NOT American, that he married a white woman, what was he doing in that instance, demonstrating his critical race theory solution? Lmfao, damn you are lame, do some research pendejote! Mexico shoots illegals that come into their country by way of their southern border. Furthermore, with a name like ediberto, I can be fairly certain youre little more than a generation away from an illegal or immigrant yourself, so how on earth would you ever relate to an American who happens to be of Latino descent. Shame on you, if you love mexico so much, and are so proud of your mexican roots, why dont you go do all of this protesting and organizing in mexico? Is it not mexico you are fleeing? Is it not mexico that has failed you both socially and economically? So why not put your efforts into revolutionizing mexico, after all, that is truly the root of the problem. But no, instead you would rather perpetuate the lazy mexican stereotype, talk about self-hating. Theres no worse self-hate than that which confirms the stereotypes to be true, now get off your ass and go protest in mexico and call for change there! And yes I have walked down the street displaying several markers of my cultural pride, havent had a problem yet, but then again, I dont refuse to speak english, demand that others learn spanish, or work low paying jobs then line up for the social programs low wage earners qualify for. I also am not a traitor, I love my country! U.S.A**** and I dont fly foreign flags! And if I cant feed them, I dont breed them! Welcome to the USA and once again, if you dont like it, then LEAVE it!

  6. Some people are just ignorant!! Fortunately, you won't be able to post here again! Good travels!


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