Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan:
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
This lesson correlates to the National History Standards.
- Era 4 -Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
- Standard 1C -Demonstrate understanding of the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the nation's expansion to Northwest, and the Mexican-American War.
This lesson correlates to the National Standards for Civics and Government.
- Standard III. B.2. -Explain the major responsibilities of the national government for foreign policy and how foreign policies, including trade and national security, affect everyday lives and communities.
- Standard IV. A.1. - Explain how nation-states interact with each other.
- Standard IV. B.2 .- Describe the various means used to attain the ends of United States foreign policy, such as diplomacy; economics, military and humanitarian aid; treaties; sanctions; military intervention; covert action.
This lesson relates to the power granted to the president and the Senate to make and approve treaties with foreign nations (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, of the U.S. Constitution).
Share these lessons with your history, government, and language arts colleagues.
Analyzing the Document
- Use the Teaching With Documents activity, "Lincoln's
Spot Resolutions," to prepare the students for studying the Mexican
War. Instruct the students to review their textbook and other source information
about the time period and the events that led to the end of the Mexican War and
the signing of the treaty.
- Divide the students into groups of 3 to 5 and ask them to use the resources
reviewed in #1 to identify the issues/causes that led to the Mexican War. Direct
them to categorize the data as long-term, short-term, or immediate. Ask each
group to report their results to the class in order to create a comprehensive
classroom list of the issues/causes.
- Distribute copies of the Written
Document Analysis Worksheet to students. Instruct them to analyze document
1, page 1 , of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in either a classroom computer
activity or a homework assignment. Upon completion of the assignment, discuss
with the class the worksheet results, including the language and formality of
- Distribute the comprehensive list of issues/causes created in #2 and copies
of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to new groups of 3-5 students. Direct the
groups to match or link the articles of the treaty with the causes/issues that
lead to war. Groups should report to the class the information that they have
Note: A transcript of the treaty is available online from the California State University at http://www.monterey.edu/other-sites/history/treaty.html
- Locate and distribute prepared map sets and direct students to use their
textbooks and other related resources to identify the boundary changes that took
place in the United States after the treaty. Ask the students to label the maps
from the time period before the treaty (include boundary lines, territories,
and major land features).
- Distribute copies of document 3 , the photograph of the border marker being
rebuilt in the 1890s, and instruct them to complete the Photograph
Analysis Worksheet. Discuss with the class the worksheet results, including
possible methods that may have been used to determine the exact location of the
marker. When completed, share with students the information about the border
markers from the Historical Background section of the lesson.
In a follow up activity, discuss with students the following topics: how the Mexican-U.S. boundaries are determined and marked today; what ways public and private land boundaries are determined and marked; how disputes among the states or between the United States and foreign nations (ie. Mt. Vernon Conference-1785, Pinckney Treaty, Louisiana Purchase, settlement of the Oregon Territory-1846, etc.) have had an impact on U.S. history; and how boundary lines between private individuals have arisen and caused controversies between individuals.
- Ask students to write a position paper supporting or opposing the following
thesis: Considering the events that led to the Mexican War, the terms negotiated
in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo were a just conclusion to this crisis
- Direct students to read Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, of the U.S. Constitution and then prepare a list of the actions taken by the executive and legislative branches in negotiating, ratifying, and enforcing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The photograph included in this lesson is from Record Group 77, Records of
the Office of the Chief Engineers. National Archives Identifier:
The National Archives Catalog replaces its prototypes, the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) and NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL). You can still perform a keyword, digitized image and location search. The online catalog's advanced functionalities also allow you to search by organization, person, or topic.
The online catalog is a searchable database that contains information about a wide variety of NARA holdings across the country. You can use the online catalog to search record descriptions by keywords or topics and retrieve digital copies of selected textual documents, photographs, maps, and sound recordings related to thousands of topics.
Currently, about 80% of NARA's vast holdings have been described in the online catalog. Thousands of digital images can be searched in the online catalog. In keeping with NARA's Strategic Plan, the percentage of holdings described in the online catalog will grow continually.
This article was written by Tom Gray, a teacher at DeRuyter Central Middle School in DeRuyter, NY.
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