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Historical Era

Thinking Skill


The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Launch Lesson

National Archives Education Team
Focusing on Details: Discussion Topic
Historical Era:
Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
Primary Historical Thinking Skill:
Historical Analysis & Interpretation
blooms taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy:

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The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo


The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which brought an official end to the Mexican-American War, was signed on February 2, 1848. This activity asks students to read and analyze the treaty to explain the overall message and tone.

For a version in Spanish, visit: El Tratado de Guadalupe-Hidalgo.

This activity was adapted from an article formerly published on, written by Tom Gray, a teacher at DeRuyter Central Middle School in DeRuyter, NY.

Author’s Notes

Use this activity when studying the Mexican-American War and the topic of Manifest Destiny. For grades 6-12. Approximate time needed is 120 minutes.

Review with students the long-term, short-term and immediate causes of the Mexican American War. After listing these causes, ask students to predict how these issues may be resolved once the war was concluded via a treaty. If needed, define the term treaty for students.

Inform students that they will be reading and summarizing a section of the treaty. Read the opening aloud as a class and direct students to pay attention to the overall purpose and tone of the document.

Divide the class into small groups, giving each group several articles of the treaty to summarize the central ideas of each article. After the groups read and summarize their sections, complete a “jigsaw” activity.

Note: A transcript of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is available on; the link is available to students in the “Details” for the document.

  • Group 1: Articles 1 through 4
  • Group 2: Articles 5 through 7
  • Group 3: Articles 8 through 10
  • Group 4: Articles 11 through 14
  • Group 5: Articles 15 through 19
  • Group 6: Articles 20 through 23

After discussing the terms of the treaty in small groups, ask students to focus on the question they’ll see when they click “I’m Done”:

  • Considering the events that led to the Mexican War, do you think the terms negotiated in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo were a fair conclusion to this crisis? Why or why not? Cite specific details from the treaty as evidence of fairness or unfairness.

Documents in this activity: