President Martin Van Buren Orders Official Ratification of the Second Ever Treaty Between the United States and Mexico

It established a commission to settle claims against Mexico by American citizens

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One of the key points of conflict between the United States and Mexico was the status of Texas. Initially, the United States claimed Texas was part of the Louisiana Purchase, acquired from France in 1803. The Spanish disagreed, and the issue was resolved in Spain’s favor in the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty, in...

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President Martin Van Buren Orders Official Ratification of the Second Ever Treaty Between the United States and Mexico

It established a commission to settle claims against Mexico by American citizens

One of the key points of conflict between the United States and Mexico was the status of Texas. Initially, the United States claimed Texas was part of the Louisiana Purchase, acquired from France in 1803. The Spanish disagreed, and the issue was resolved in Spain’s favor in the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty, in which the United States released hold on Spanish Texas and instead was allowed to acquire Spanish Florida. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, but years of turmoil followed until the creation of the Republic of Mexico in 1824.

Meanwhile, Americans led by Stephan F. Austin and others began settling in eastern Texas, soon coming into conflict with the Mexican government, since they sought both autonomy and the introduction of slavery into Mexico, which had abolished it in 1829. This led to the Texas Revolution and the establishment of the Texas Republic in 1836. During the 1820s and 1830s, citizens on both sides of the shifting border made claims against the Mexican Republic and the United States. In September 1838, Secretary of State John Forsyth and Mexican minister Francisco Pizarro Martinez negotiated a Convention to evaluate the claims and determine compensation. President Van Buren forwarded it to the Senate, and the Senate approved it on January 31, 1839.

Document signed, as President, Washington, February 8, 1839, directing the Secretary of State to “affix the seal of the United States to the ratification and the ratified copy of the Convention with the Mexican Republic for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United States.” This was just the second treaty ever concluded between the United States and Mexico.

But things did not do as planned, as the Mexicans refused to ratify this version because the part to be played by the King of Prussia as arbitrator was not sufficiently spelled out for them. Instead the convention was tinkered with in April 1839 and the final version passed and ratified. It would be implemented in 1840.

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