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Home > History > Growth of a Nation - Gadsden Purchase

Growth of a Nation - Gadsden Purchase

This page describes the Gadsden Purchase which allowed America to acquire southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico.

Gadsden Purchase Postage Stamp

Gadsden Purchase Postage Stamp

A Conspiracy to Extend Slavery?

The Gadsden Purchase, ratified by president Franklin Pierce on June 24, 1853, added nearly 30,000 square miles to American territory in the desert southwest. The United States government paid ten million dollars to Mexico for the land that was originally bought in hopes of extending a southern route to a proposed transcontinental railroad. The purchase was originally envisioned to include a much larger chunk of Mexico, but was widely opposed by the Mexican people and by abolitionist politicians - who saw the purchase as an attempt to acquire more slave territory.

It would Eventually Become Southern Portions of New Mexico and Arizona

The Gadsden Purchase, which encompassed southern portions of modern-day Arizona and New Mexico, was organized into the New Mexico Territory upon its purchase. During the Civil War, the Union and Confederacy divided the territory into the Confederate Territory of Arizona and the Territory of Arizona (Union land which included the part of the Gadsden Purchase which is now New Mexico).

The Story of a Growing Nation

Original Colonies
Colonial Territory (Northwest Territory)
Land Ordinances of 1784 and 1785
The Louisiana Purchase
The Establishment of the 49th Parallel
The Monroe Doctrine
The Adams-Onis Treaty and the Annexation of Florida
The Building of the Erie Canal
The Battle of the Alamo
Oregon Territory
Manifest Destiny
California Gold Rush
Mexican-American War
The Alaska Purchase
The Annexation of Hawaii
The Gadsden Purchase

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