Mar 102014
 

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On this date in 1848 the U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo) which officially established peace, friendship, national boundaries, and terms of a financial settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, thus ending the Mexican–American War (1846–48). With the defeat of its army and the fall of the capital, Mexico entered into negotiations to end the war. The treaty called for the United States to pay $15 million to Mexico and pay off the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico up to $3.25 million. It gave the United States the Rio Grande boundary for Texas, and gave the U.S. ownership of California, and a large area consisting of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to Mexico or receiving U.S. citizenship with full civil rights; over 90% remained. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty by a vote of 38-14, against the Whigs who had opposed the war, rejected Manifest Destiny in general, and rejected this expansion in particular.

The peace talks were negotiated by Nicholas Trist, chief clerk of the State Department, who had accompanied General Winfield Scott as a diplomat and President Polk’s representative. Trist and General Scott, after two previously unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a treaty with General José Joaquín de Herrera, determined that the only way to deal with Mexico was as a conquered enemy. Nicholas Trist negotiated with a special commission representing the collapsed government led by Don Bernardo Couto, Don Miguel de Atristain, and Don Luis Gonzaga Cuevas of Mexico.

Although Mexico ceded Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, the text of the treaty did not list territories to be ceded in specific, and avoided the disputed issues that were causes of war: the validity of the 1836 secession of the Republic of Texas, Texas’s unenforced boundary claims as far as the Rio Grande, and the 1845 annexation of Texas to the United States.

Instead, Article V of the treaty simply described the new U.S.-Mexico border. From east to west, the border consisted of the Rio Grande northwest from its mouth to the point Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico (roughly 32 degrees north), as shown in the Disturnell map, then due west from this point to the 110th meridian west, then north along the 110th Meridian to the Gila River and down the river to its mouth. Unlike the New Mexico segment of the boundary, which depended partly on unknown geography, “in order to preclude all difficulty in tracing upon the ground the limit separating Upper from Lower California,” a straight line was drawn from the mouth of the Gila to one marine league south of the southernmost point of the port of San Diego, slightly north of the previous Mexican provincial boundary at Playas de Rosarito.

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Comparing the boundary in the Adams–Onís Treaty to the Guadalupe Hidalgo boundary, Mexico conceded about 55% of its pre-war, pre-Texas territorial claims and now has an area of 1,972,550 km² (761,606 sq mi). In the United States, the 1.36 million km² (525,000 square miles) of the area between the Adams-Onis and Guadalupe Hidalgo boundaries outside the 1,007,935 km2 (389,166 sq mi) claimed by the Republic of Texas is known as the Mexican Cession. That is to say, the Mexican Cession is construed not to include any territory east of the Rio Grande, while the territorial claims of the Republic of Texas included no territory west of the Rio Grande. The Mexican Cession included essentially the entirety of the former Mexican territory of Alta California, but only the western portion of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, and included all of present-day California, Nevada and Utah, most of Arizona, and western portions of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Articles VIII and IX ensured safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty. The U.S. also agreed to assume $3.25 million (equivalent to $88.6 million today) in debts that Mexico owed to United States citizens. The residents could choose whether they wanted American or Mexican citizenship; all but 1000 or so chose American citizenship, which included full voting rights. Article XII engaged the United States to pay, “In consideration of the extension acquired”, 15 million dollars (equivalent to $410 million today), in annual installments of 3 million dollars.

Article XI of the treaty was important to Mexico. It provided that the United States would prevent and punish raids by Native Americans into Mexico, prohibited U.S. citizens from acquiring property, including livestock, taken by the Native Americans in those raids, and stated that the U.S. would return captives of the Native Americans to Mexico. Mexicans believed that the United States had encouraged and assisted the Comanche and Apache raids that had devastated northern Mexico in the years before the war. This article promised relief to them. Article XI, however, proved unenforceable. Destructive raids continued despite a heavy U.S. presence near the Mexican border. Mexico filed 366 claims with the U.S. government for damages done by Comanche and Apache raids between 1848 and 1853. In 1853, in the Treaty of Mesilla concluding the Gadsden Purchase, Article XI was annulled.

The land that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brought into the United States became, between 1850 and 1912, all or part of ten states: California (1850), Nevada (1864), Utah (1896), and Arizona (1912), as well as the whole of, depending upon interpretation, the entire state of Texas (1845) that then included part of Kansas (1861), Colorado (1876), Wyoming (1890), Oklahoma (1907), and New Mexico (1912). The remainder (the southern parts) of New Mexico and Arizona were peacefully purchased under Gadsden Purchase, which was carried out in 1853. In this purchase the United States paid an additional $10 million (equivalent to $280 million today), for land intended to accommodate a transcontinental railroad. However, the American Civil War delayed construction of such a route, and it was not until 1881 that the Southern Pacific Railroad finally was completed, fulfilling the purpose of the acquisition.

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The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo completed the much disputed aspirations of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny which proposed that the U.S. was destined to expand to fill the central portion of North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Canadian border to the Rio Grande.  Its goals were to be achieved by conquest and imperialism, and set the tone for much of the 19th century including wars such as the Mexican-American War and the various wars against Native American nations.

Historians have emphasized that “Manifest Destiny” was a contested concept—many prominent politicians (such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and most Whigs) rejected it. Historian Daniel Walker Howe writes, “American imperialism did not represent an American consensus; it provoked bitter dissent within the national polity. [Whigs] saw America’s moral mission as one of democratic example rather than one of conquest.”

Manifest Destiny always limped along because of its internal limitations and the issue of slavery, says Merk. It never became a national priority. By 1843 John Quincy Adams, originally a major supporter, had changed his mind and repudiated Manifest Destiny because it meant the expansion of slavery in Texas. Merk concludes:

From the outset Manifest Destiny—vast in program, in its sense of continentalism—was slight in support. It lacked national, sectional, or party following commensurate with its magnitude. The reason was it did not reflect the national spirit. The thesis that it embodied nationalism, found in much historical writing, is backed by little real supporting evidence.

The treaty led to numerous conflicts which had to be adjudicated, and it was constantly subject to revision well into the 20th century.

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The treaty extended U.S. citizenship to Mexicans in the newly purchased territories, before many African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans were eligible. Between 1850 and 1920, the U.S. Census counted most Mexicans as racially “white,” despite the actual mixed ancestry of most Mexicans. Nonetheless, racially tinged tensions persisted in the era following annexation, reflected in such things as the Greaser Act in California, as tens of thousands of Mexican nationals suddenly found themselves living within the borders of the United States. Mexican communities remained segregated de facto from and also within other U.S. communities, continuing through the Mexican migration right up to the end of the 20th century throughout the Southwest.

Community property rights in California are a legacy of the Mexican era. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the property rights of Mexican subjects would be kept inviolate. The early Californians felt compelled to continue the community property system regarding the earnings and accumulation of property during a marriage, and it became incorporated into the California constitution.

Border disputes continued. The U.S.’s desire to expand its territory continued unabated and Mexico’s economic problems persisted, leading to the controversial Gadsden Purchase in 1854 and William Walker’s Republic of Lower California filibustering incident in that same year. The Channel Islands of California and Farallon Islands are not mentioned in the Treaty.

The border was routinely crossed by the armed forces of both countries. Mexican and Confederate troops often clashed during the American civil war, and the U.S. crossed the border during the war of French intervention in Mexico. In March 1916 Pancho Villa led a raid on the U.S. border town of Columbus, New Mexico, which was followed by the Pershing expedition. There were constant disputes concerning boundaries between purchase lands and those of the state of Texas, as well as between the U.S. and Mexico. Controversy over community land grant claims in New Mexico persists to this day.

Disputes about whether to make all this new territory into free states or slave-holding states contributed heavily to the rise in North-South tensions that led to the United States Civil War just over a decade later. The treaty was leaked to John Nugent before the U.S. Senate could approve it. Nugent published his article in the New York Herald and, afterward, was questioned by Senators. Nugent did not reveal his source.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo led to the establishment in 1889 of the International Boundary and Water Commission to maintain the border, and pursuant to newer treaties to allocate river waters between the two nations, and to provide for flood control and water sanitation. Once viewed as a model of international cooperation, in recent decades the IBWC has been heavily criticized as an institutional anachronism, by-passed by modern social, environmental and political issues.

In a recent battle between tourists, fishermen, surfers, other members of the public, and venture capitalist billionaire Vinod Kholsa, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Gerald J. Buchwald invoked the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to deny public access to a portion of the California coastline. See, Friends of Martin’s Beach v. Martin’s Beach 1, LLC, San Mateo County Civil Case #CIV517634. Despite the California State Constitution’s specific provision enabling members of the public to access the beach, Judge Buchwald ruled that the Treaty trumped the California Coastal Act because it predated it, and officially ended a century of access to Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA. In this controversial ruling, Judge Buchwald found that the treaty, which settled the Mexican-American War, granted the 200-acre beach property to Jose Antonio Alviso before California’s Constitution in 1879 established the public trust doctrine that preserved access to such areas for all state residents.

The region ceded to the U.S. by Mexico covers territory that is quite diverse culturally.  I have already given several recipes from the Southwest, so I thought it might be interesting to move farther afield.  I settled on Utah because the outdoor Dutch oven is the state cooking utensil, symbol of pioneer days. It is made of cast iron with three legs so that it can sit stably in coals, and a concave lid to hold hot coals.  It is an incredibly versatile cooking pot that can be used for stews, baking, frying, and roasting.

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The cherry is the state fruit of Utah, so here is a recipe for Dutch oven cherry cobbler.

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Cherry Cobbler

Ingredients:

2 (12½ ounce) cans unsweetened dark sweet cherries
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter

Instructions:

Drain cherries and reserve juice. Combine the cherries and brown sugar in a small bowl.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl. Stir to blend well.

Stir in egg and ¾ cup reserved cherry juice to make a fairly thick batter. If necessary, add a little more juice so you can just stir the heavy batter with a spoon.

Melt butter in a 12″ Dutch oven. Spoon batter over butter. (Butter will come up over batter at the edges.) Gently spoon cherries and any juice remaining in the bowl into center of the batter. Bake at 350°F (see below) or cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour with 16-18 coals on top and 8 coals on bottom. Be sure to rotate oven cover every 15 minutes for even heating when using coals.

Cobbler is done when the sides just begin to pull away from the pan and a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can estimate the temperature of a Dutch oven by holding your palm 6 to 8 inches from it and rotating it.  The number of seconds you can hold it there indicates the temperature: 8 = 250-350°F; 5 = 350-400°F; 3 = 400-450°F; 1 = 450-500°F.

Sep 042013
 

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Los Angeles was founded on this date in 1781, by the Spanish governor of California, Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. This post focuses on Los Angeles from its founding up to 1848 – the Spanish/Mexican years – when the town was very different from the massive urban sprawl it has become.

In 1777 Governor Neve toured Alta California and decided to establish civic pueblos for the support of the military presidios (fortified bases). The new pueblos would reduce the secular function of the Franciscan missions in the area by reducing the dependency of the military on them. At the same time, they would promote the development of industry and agriculture. Neve identified Santa Barbara, San Jose, and Los Angeles as sites for his new pueblos. His plans for them closely followed a set of Spanish city-planning laws contained in the Leyes de Indias (Laws of the Indies) promulgated by King Philip II in 1573. Those laws were responsible for laying the foundations of the largest cities in the region, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tucson, and San Antonio—as well as Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Fe, San Jose, and Laredo.

The royal regulations were based on the ancient teachings of Vitruvius, who set down the rules for founding of new cities in the Roman Empire. Basically, the Spanish laws called for an open central plaza, surrounded by a fortified church, administrative buildings, and streets laid out in a grid, defining rectangles of limited size to be used for farming and residences. It was in accordance with such precise planning that Governor Neve founded the pueblo of San José de Guadalupe, California’s first municipality, on the great plain of Santa Clara on 29 November 1777.

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According to a written message sent by Governor Neve to report the juridical foundation of Los Angeles, 44 pobladores (settlers) gathered at San Gabriel Mission and, escorted by soldiers and two padres from the mission, set out for the spot that had been chosen twelve years earlier. The official name of the pueblo was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula” (“The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River”). “The Queen of Angels” is an honorific of the Virgin Mary.

At the end of the first year only eight of the original founders were still in the pueblo; three had been forced out “for being useless to themselves and the town.” But the town grew as soldiers and other settlers came and stayed. In 1784 a chapel was built on the Plaza. The pobladores were given title to their land two years later. By 1800, there were 29 buildings that surrounded the Plaza, flat-roofed, one-storey adobe buildings with thatched roofs made of bullrushes.

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By 1821 Los Angeles had grown into a self-sustaining farming community, the largest in Southern California. Its development conformed strictly to the Leyes de Indias and the Reglamento of Governor Neve. Town planning was based on the unit of measurement, the vara, which was somewhat flexible, but was approximately 33 inches.The pueblo itself included a square of 10,000 varas, five and a quarter miles, on each side. The central Plaza was in the middle, 75 varas (208 ft.) wide and 100 varas (277 ft.) long. On the west side of the Plaza facing east, space was reserved for a church and municipal buildings. Each vecino (freeholder) received a solar (lot), 20 varas (55.5 ft.) wide and 40 varas (110 ft.) long.

Each settler also received four rectangles of land for farming, two irrigated plots and two dry ones. Each plot was 200 square varas. The farm plots were separated from the pueblo by a tract of land 200 varas wide. Some plots of land, propios, were set aside for the pueblo’s general use and revenue. Other plots of land, realengas, were set aside for future settlers. Land outside the city, baldíos, included mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests, and belonged to the king.

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When the settlers first arrived, the Los Angeles floodplain was heavily wooded with willows and oaks. The Los Angeles river flowed all year. Wildlife was plentiful, including deer, antelope, and bear, even an occasional grizzly bear. There were abundant wetlands and swamps. Steelhead and salmon swam the rivers. The first settlers built a water system consisting of ditches (zanjas) leading from the river through the middle of town and into the farmlands. The city was first known as a producer of fine wine grapes. The raising of cattle and the commerce in tallow and hides would come later.

Because of the great economic potential for Los Angeles, the demand for labor grew rapidly. Los Angeles began attracting Native Americans from as far away as San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Unlike the missions, the pobladores paid Native Americans for their labor. In exchange for their work as farm workers, vaqueros, ditch diggers, water haulers, and domestic help, they were paid in clothing and other goods as well as cash and alcohol. The pobladores bartered with them for prized sea-otter and seal pelts, sieves, trays, baskets, mats, and other woven goods. This commerce greatly contributed to the economic success of the town and the attraction of other Native Americans to the city.

Not only economic ties but also marriage drew many Native Americans into the life of the pueblo. In 1784—only three years after the founding—the first recorded marriages in Los Angeles took place. The two sons of settler Basilio Rosas, Maximo and José Carlos, married two young Native American women, María Antonia and María Dolores.

The construction on the Plaza of La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles took place between 1818 and 1822, much of it with Native American labor. The new church completed Governor Neve’s planned transition of authority from mission to pueblo. The angelinos would no longer have to make the bumpy 11-mile ride to Sunday Mass at Mission San Gabriel. In 1820 the route of El Camino Viejo was established from Los Angeles, over the mountains to the north and up the west side of the San Joaquin Valley to the east side of San Francisco Bay.

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Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821 was celebrated with great festivity throughout Alta California. No longer subjects of the king, people were now ciudadanos, citizens with rights under the law. In the plazas of Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and other settlements, people swore allegiance to the new government, the Spanish flag was lowered, and the flag of independent Mexico raised. Independence brought economic growth. There was a corresponding increase in population as more Native Americans were assimilated and settlers arrived from the United States, Europe, and other parts of Mexico. Before 1820, there were just 650 people in the pueblo. By 1841, the population nearly tripled to 1,680.

During the rest of the 1820s the agriculture and cattle ranching expanded, as did the trade in hides and tallow. The new church was completed, and the political life of the city developed. The system of ditches which provided water from the river was rebuilt. Trade and commerce further increased with the secularization of the California missions by the Mexican Congress in 1833. Extensive mission lands suddenly became available to government officials, ranchers, and land speculators. The governor made more than 800 land grants during this period.

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In 1834, Governor Pico was married to Maria Ignacio Alvarado in the Plaza church. It was attended by the entire population of the pueblo, 800 people, plus hundreds from elsewhere in Alta California. In 1835, the Mexican Congress declared Los Angeles a city, making it the official capital of Alta California. It was now the region’s leading city. The same period also saw the continued arrival of many foreigners from the United States and Europe. They would play a pivotal role in the U.S. takeover

In May, 1846, the Mexican American War broke out. Because of Mexico’s inability to defend its northern territories, California was exposed to invasion. On August 6, 1846, Commodore Robert F. Stockton anchored off San Pedro and proceeded to march inland to occupy Los Angeles. On August 13, accompanied by John C. Frémont, Stockton marched into the Los Angeles Plaza with his brass band playing “Yankee Doodle” and “Hail Columbia.” Stockton’s troops occupied the headquarters and home of Governor Pico, who had fled to Mexico. After three weeks of occupation, Stockton left, leaving Lieutenant Archibald H. Gillespie in charge. Subsequent maltreatment by Gillespie and his troops caused a local force of 300 locals to rise up in protest, led by Captain José María Flores, José Antonio Carrillo, and Andrés Pico. Flores demanded the U.S. troops surrender, and promised safe passage to San Pedro. Gillespie accepted and departed, ending the first phase of the Battle of Los Angeles.

John C. Frémont

John C. Frémont

Full-scale warfare came to the area when Los Angeles residents dug up a colonial cannon that had been used for ceremonial purposes. They had buried it for safekeeping when Stockton approached the city. They used it to fire on American Navy troops on 8 October 1846, in the Battle of Dominguez Rancho. The victorious locals named the cannon el piedrero de la vieja (the old woman’s gun). In December, the Mexicans were again victorious at the Battle of San Pascual near present-day Escondido.

Determined to take Los Angeles, Stockton regrouped his men in San Diego and marched north with six hundred troops, along with U.S. Army General Stephen Watts Kearny and his guide Kit Carson. Captain Frémont marched south from Monterey with 400 troops. After a few skirmishes outside the city, the two forces entered Los Angeles, this time without bloodshed. Confronted with overwhelming force, Andrés Pico, who had succeeded Flores as military commander and acting as chief administrative officer, met with Captain Frémont. At a ranch in what is now Studio City, they signed the Treaty of Cahuenga on 13 January 1847. That formally ended the California phase of the Mexican–American War. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on 2 February 1848, ended the war and ceded California to the U.S.

In honor of the Mexican heritage of Los Angeles I have chosen a recipe for tamales adapted from the cooking of El Cholo restaurant in Irvine (the image is from their website).

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El Cholo Tamales

Ingredients:

12 ears yellow corn
¼ lb cornmeal
¼ cup butter
¼ cup lard (or vegetable shortening)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup half and half or light cream
Salt
12 (1 oz/28 g) strips Monterey Jack cheese, halved
1 (12 oz/340 g) can green chiles, cut into strips

Instructions:

Cut both ends off the ears of corn. Remove the husks, careful to keep them whole for wrapping. Put them to soak in warm water for at least 15 minutes, and up to 2 hours.  They must be pliable.

Cut the corn kernels off the cob and grind them with the cornmeal in a food processor. Set aside.

Beat the lard and butter in mixing bowl until creamy. Add the sugar, half and half, and corn mixture plus salt to taste and mix well. This is your masa (corn dough).

For each tamale, overlap 2 corn husks lengthwise. Spread ¼ cup layer of masa on the husks as thinly and evenly as possible to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the edges.

Place 1 cheese strip and 1 chile strip over the masa. Spread 2 tbsps of masa thinly over the top of the filling.

Bring the edges of the corn husks over the filling to cover completely, then fold the ends of the corn husks up. Place husks on square of parchment paper, then fold the sides of the parchment over the tamale and then fold up the ends. Tie string around the packages to hold them in place. Repeat for the rest of the tamales.

Place the packages on end on a steamer rack, and steam over water on a gentle boil for about 40 minutes.

Yield: 24 tamales