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Martin Van Buren & Border Troubles Between Texas Independence and the Mexican War
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I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of State to affix the Seal of the United States to the ratification and the ratified copy of the Convention with the Mexican Republic for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United States. . . .

MARTIN VAN BUREN. Partially Printed Document Signed, as President, February 8, 1839, 1 p. 8 x 10 in.

Inventory #23995.01       Price: $2,500

Historical Background

One of the key points of conflict between the United States and Mexico was the status of Texas. Initially, the United States claimed Texas was part of the Louisiana Purchase, acquired from France in 1803. The Spanish disagreed, and the issue was resolved in Spain’s favor in the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty, in which the United States purchased Spanish Florida. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, but years of turmoil followed until the creation of the Republic of Mexico in 1824.

Meanwhile, Americans led by Stephan F. Austin and others began settling in eastern Texas, soon coming into conflict with the Mexican government, since they sought both autonomy and the introduction of slavery into Mexico, which had abolished it in 1829. This led to the Texas Revolution and the establishment of the Texas Republic in 1836.

During the 1820s and 1830s, citizens on both sides of the shifting border made claims against the Mexican Republic and the United States. In September 1838, Secretary of State John Forsyth and Mexican minister Francisco Pizarro Martinez negotiated a Convention to evaluate the claims and determine compensation. President Van Buren forwarded it to the Senate, and the Senate approved it on January 31.

This order instructs Secretary of State John Forsyth to affix the Seal of the United States to both the Senate ratification and the ratified copy of the Convention. The claims commission established by the convention met in Washington, with representatives from both nations. A representative of the King of Prussia arbitrated in cases where the commissioners disagreed.

In 1845, the United States annexed Texas, which led to further border disputes and the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Text of Convention

Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) of New York was the first president who had not been born a British subject. He was admitted to the bar in 1803, and joined the Democratic-Republican Party supporting Aaron Burr and George Clinton. He served in the New York Senate from 1813 to 1820, as New York Attorney General from 1815 to 1819, and U.S. Senator from 1822 to 1828. After serving as New York governor for less than three months in 1829, he became Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of State (1829-1831), minister to the United Kingdom (1831-1832), and Vice President (1833-1837). Van Buren was elected president after Jackson’s second term. The Panic of 1837 marred his presidency, and he lost a bid for reelection in 1840 to William Henry Harrison.

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