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The Gadsden Purchase is a 29,670-square-mile region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 1854 and signed by President Franklin Pierce, with final approval action taken by Mexico on June 8, 1854. The purchase was the last major territorial acquisition in the contiguous United States, adding a large area to the United States. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande; it was largely for the purpose that the US might construct a transcontinental railroad along a deep southern route. It also aimed to reconcile outstanding border issues between the US and Mexico following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican–American War of 1846–48. As the railroad age progressed, business-oriented Southerners saw that a railroad linking the South with the Pacific Coast would expand trade opportunities. They thought the topography of the southern portion of the Mexican Cession was too mountainous to allow a direct route. Projected southern routes tended to run to the north at their eastern ends, which would favor connections with northern railroads and ultimately favor northern seaports. Southerners saw that to avoid the mountains, a route with a southeastern terminus might need to swing south into what was then Mexican territory.
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"gadsden purchase." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 26 Nov. 2015. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/gadsden purchase>.