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Map of Arizona and New Mexico
Map of Arizona and New Mexico

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The Gadsden Purchase Was Signed in Mexico City
December 30, 1853

U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis influenced the president to send Gadsden to negotiate with Santa Anna for the land. Davis valued it, as others did, as the perfect tract for the construction of the southern transcontinental railroad. The railroad line would connect western territories to the east and north, greatly increasing the accessibility of these new lands. By 1869, the "big four" of western railroad construction--Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker--had pushed the Central Pacific Railroad line eastward over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Utah to join with the Union Pacific, completing the first transcontinental railroad.
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