How does the Gadsden Purchase relate to revolution or reform?

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The Gadsden Purchase does not relate to revolution and only relates to reform in a tangential way.

The main purpose of the Gadsden Purchase was to make a southern route for a transcontinental railroad possible.  This is somewhat related to reform.  The transcontinental railroad can be seen as a reform in that it was meant as a way to improve the country's economy and to modernize the country.  If we think of the railroad in this way, we can say that the Gadsden Purchase had to do with reform because it allowed this sort of improvement and modernization to happen.

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Could the Gadsden Purchase be considered a political and social revolution?

The Gadsden Purchase was negotiated in 1853 in order to provide the U.S. with a southern route for the transcontinental railroad.

If one was to attempt to argue that this territorial acquisition was revolutionary in some way, it would be a tough sell. Politically it had a few important consequences. First, it finally resolved a long-standing territorial dispute between Mexico and the U.S. that the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo failed to rectify. The relationship between Mexico and its northern neighbor was still in tatters following the war, and the purchase of this piece of land helped repair the diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Another political consequence of the purchase was renewed squabbling between pro and anti-slavery congressmen over the acquisition of territory that would ultimately be open to slavery. In this way, the Gadsden Purchase was a contributing factor to the eventual “revolution” that would finally kill slavery.

Socially the purchase allowed the construction of a southern route for the transcontinental railroad. Rail technology could certainly be called “revolutionary” since it sped up commerce, travel, communication and the growth of the southern U.S. Mining in the southern part of Arizona brought millions of dollars in raw materials to U.S. markets. The influx of miners began to shift the cultural demographics of the region, bringing European, Asian, Mexican and Native American cultures into contact. The new rail route opened the way for the cattle industry of Texas, as well as the outlaw culture of the old west.

Nonetheless, based in the information above, one could argue that the Gadsden Purchase has “revolutionary” effects.

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