Standards Correlations

This lesson correlates to the National History Standards.

This lesson correlates to the National Standards for Civics and Government.

Constitutional Connection

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).

Cross-curricular Connections
Share these lessons with your history, government, and language arts colleagues.

Analyzing the Document

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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 the document. 

  4. 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 compiled.
    Note: A transcript of the treaty is available online from the California State University at 

  5. 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).

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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 document included in this project is from Record Group 11, General Records of the United States. It is available online through the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) Identifier:


The photograph included in this lesson is from Record Group 77, Records of the Office of the Chief Engineers. It is identifier:


ARC replaces its prototype, the NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL). You can still perform a keyword, digitized image and location search. ARC's advanced functionalities also allow you to search by organization, person, or topic.

ARC is a searchable database that contains information about a wide variety of NARA holdings across the country. You can use ARC 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 20% of NARA's vast holdings have been described in ARC. 124,000 digital images can be searched in ARC. In keeping with NARA's Strategic Plan, the percentage of holdings described in ARC will grow continually.