The Mormon Battalion and the Gadsden Purchase | BYU Studies

The Mormon Battalion and the Gadsden Purchase

The Mormon Battalion and the Gadsden Purchase
Section and Issue
Article
from
Product
Product Attributes
PDF (Download)
$0.00

The Mormon Battalion and the Gadsden Purchase

Author Richard O. Cowan,

The battalion's pioneering trek through uncharted territory left its mark on the U.S.-Mexican border and blazed a trail for the future Southern Pacific Railroad.

When looking at a map of the southern boundaries of Arizona and New Mexico, one might wonder about the reasons for the curious jogs and angles. Actually, as is often the case, a knowledge of history can provide significant perspective. The boundary in question was a result of the 1853 Gadsden Purchase, by which the United States bought nearly thirty thousand square miles of land from Mexico for $10 million. American history textbooks commonly explain that this purchase was necessary to secure the route of a proposed southern transcontinental railroad. This is also the area through which the Mormon Battalion had marched only seven years earlier, mapping a potential wagon road as they went.