Talk:Gadsden Purchase

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Good article Gadsden Purchase has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
October 10, 2008 Good article nominee Listed


To anon: Please stop reverting to old version of the map. Here is the discussion on the changes to the map (sssssssssssssfrom User_talk:RadicalBender). RADICALBENDER 20:08, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Gadsden Purchase Map[edit]

Splendid map you made! But, I must admit, even as a map-head, I'm a bit lost. D'you think it would be possible to include markers for a city or two? I'd suggest Phoenix or Tucson (T. is inside the Gadsden tract, isn't it?), El Paso -- and maybe Santa Fe, it's remote enough not to get too crowded. What do you think? Feasible? Or would it be just too fiddly? Hajor 18:47, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hmmm. I suppose it's possible. The only problem would be I don't know which cities would have existed at the time of the Gadsden Purchase. I think Tucson might be in that territory, but otherwise... Let me do some research. RADICALBENDER 18:49, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Wow, fast reply! Tucson, Santa Fe, and El Paso / Juárez were all mission towns when the territory belonged to New Spain. Don't know about Phoenix. Hajor 18:56, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Heh. Well, let's see: according to my big honkin' atlas, Tucson, Yuma and Sierra Vista seem to be the three largest cities inside the Gadsden Purchase today. Phoenix and all of its suburbs - Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, are just outside of the Gadsden purchase, as is Silver City, NM and Las Cruces, NM.
I'm not as concerned now about the historical cities of the time since there weren't very many in the region (still aren't). So, we'll just go with some nearby modern ones for context.
Let's try this. Texas isn't really in the map, so I'll leave out El Paso, but let's do Phoenix (out), Tucson (in), Yuma (in), Sierra Vista (in), Las Cruces (out) and Alamogordo (out). That sound allright? RADICALBENDER 19:03, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ok, Sounds good. Shame about El Paso, but yes, you'd have to include another set of state lines and the int'l border for it to make sense (and the end result would be too fussy, I suspect). So go ahead and try that. See how it works out, but (with a 250px or so display inside the article...) I'd suggest Sierra Vista as the prime candidate for the chop. Hajor

Not worth redoing for just this, but if you make a new version, how about Santa Fe. I added material in the article about it, in reference to the difficult of governing that part added to the New Mexico Territory. -- Decumanus | Talk 19:30, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Oh, what thing of beauty hast thou wrought! Don't listen to the naysayers suggesting that Sierra Vista wouldn't fit. Splendid work! Hajor

Okee-dokee. New map is up. File is now in .png format (which is what it should've been all along). I made the city labels a bit larger than what I normally use (14pt vs. 12pt) so that they should still be readable shrunk at 300px. I also added Santa Fe in. :) RADICALBENDER 19:39, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Fantastic! That was fast! -- Decumanus | Talk 19:40, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Gadsden Purchase is not an area[edit]

any more than when you go to the store and purchase bread it is called "bread purchase". The Gadsden Purchase was an event, and at the time of the purchase the area was called "Gadsden Purchase" in that it was the area purchased, but the area itself is called Gadsdena. -- 17:05, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

So does your rule also apply to the Louisiana Purchase? Rhallanger 09:37, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Sure does. The name of the "Louisiana Purcase" is "Louisiana," duh. --Daniel C. Boyer 17:25, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
What? No. That is bogus. The Louisiana Purchase was very large. Louisiana refers to the modern state of Louisiana, which is very small in comparison. See Louisiana Purchase instead of talking out of your ass. -- 19:38, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
What? Yes. Lousiana is a large area of which a small part is the "modern state of Louisiana." They are both called "Louisiana." --Daniel C. Boyer (talk) 16:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

There is very little evidence, online at least, for the name "Gadsdena" - 418 Google results as of this writing, a number which includes several Wikipedia mirrors, and many of the result seem to be surnames. Furthermore, "purchase" used in a name for a piece of purchased land is a common designation; apart from Rhallanger's Louisiana Purchase, there is also the Holland Purchase, the Symmes Purchase, the Platte Purchase, the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, and so forth. At the very least, "more properly" should be deleted, but the article would probably not be any poorer without any mention of "Gadsdena" at all. -- 13:42, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Alternate versions of the Gadsden Purchase[edit]

I was wondering if anyone knows where one might obtain a map of some of proposed alternatives for the gadsden puchase. Watercat77 00:46, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. Turtledove's alternate history books have the CSA purchasing, what from the description in the article suggests would've been the purchase. But that's a novel, so no idea how accurate his rendition is.
~ender 2007-05-08 11:58:AM MST

I'm having trouble trying to find any reference to what would have been purchased for the $15m. You would think that the original treaty papers of 1853 at the Yale site would have that information, but that appears to actually have the text from the ratified purchase in 1854 (even though it's dated December 1853). All references I can find only state that the boundary was reduced by somewhere between 9000 and 15000 square miles and the price reduced by $5m. Anyone have any further information? zimmhead 19:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

A map of the alternate proposals would be an excellent addition to this article.
I was in a library in Phoenix back in 1995, and found a book on the Gadsden Purchase. I don't remember the title or author, but the book included at least four maps of alternate proposals. The most expansive had the US buying all of Baja California, a huge chunk of Sonora, and all of the land in between. That includes all of the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez. That would have meant ocean-front property in Arizona!
But the prime goal was establishing the southern railroad route, and the US was satisfied with the final purchase.--Vybr8 (talk) 03:23, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Mexicans who resided in the area?[edit]

So what happened to the people who were living in the area when it got purchased? Did they get relocated (and by whom? Mexican Army, US Army, or what?), or did they get transfferred to American citizenship, or some other solution?
~ender 2007-05-08 11:58:AM MST

American citizenship was conferred upon them. --Node 10:11, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
I believe they were permitted to relocate to Mexican territory freely if they so wished. Most stayed and were granted American citizenship per terms of the agreement between the US and Mexico. The same is true for lands seized during the Mexican-American war, as well as for French subjects living in the Louisiana Purchase lands.

Money woes[edit]

  • U.S. paid Mexico $10 million
    I would think was to pay would be more accurate, given the apparent $4 million gap.
  • The matter about the money was to be very conflictive
    Awkward. I'd suggest dropping the entire phrase.

--JohnRDaily 19:01, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

The article says:

"When the money arrived in Mexico City, $1 million ($23 million in 2006 dollars) was missing, resulting in receipt of only $6 million ($140 million in 2006 dollars)"

And then what happened!? Mexico just accepted $6 million without protest? Can anyone fill in the end of the story? Where are you getting this information? Article III of the Gadsden Purchase treaty states:

In consideration of the foregoing stipulations, the Government of the United States agrees to pay to the government of Mexico, in the city of New York, the sum of ten millions of dollars, of which seven millions shall be paid immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, and the remaining three millions as soon as the boundary line shall be surveyed, marked, and established.

Did Mexico in any way fail to conclude their end of the bargain? Pisomojado (talk) 09:16, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Footnote Free Zone[edit]

There isn't a single footnote in this entire, POV-laden article. I'll start weeding out the POV if I can find a place to begin, although it looks like the best solution would be to scrap everything except the intro, and allow contributors to re-build with proper references.DougRWms 05:21, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Gadsden Purchase/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Protonk comments[edit]



  • For these reviews I commonly just refer to footnotes and references by the fn number (or the name if it is unique and simple). For those numbers I mean the number in the footnotes section, starting with 1 for this revision.
  • Overall I don't see any problems. I don't own any of the sources so I will not check citations against text, but I will assume they are proper for the purposes of this review.
  • Dead link in the NOTES Section: "Land sale still thorn to Mexico: Historians say United States imperialism behind treaty". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2007-10-04. —Preceding unsigned comment added by VinDSL (talkcontribs) 17:42, 8 June 2010 (UTC)


  • WP:EL Suggests placing the template before the external link section.
  • The book listed should either be moved to a Further reading section or removed. Removed
  • The explanation for the Arizona daily star external link should be incorporated as a reference or removed per WP:EL. Integrated, as well as another source from Google News
  • Various links in the See also section are better incorporated into the body of the article as topic hatnotes such as {{Main}} or incorporated into the body text. See also should be there to point readers to related subjects which do not have cause to be regularly linked in the article otherwise (this isn't universal or written in stone, but a general bit of guidance). Done, all that's left are more general subjects that couldn't be linked
  • I have some general layout concerns regarding this article and I will try to articulate them below:
  • The Extent section should largely be split up. The array of coordinates for the treaty boundary should be made into an infobox for the top of the article. The border text of the treaty can be moved into the ratification section (or elsewhere) or removed entirely. Done, though this needs more tweaking per Updates section
  • The Eventual railroad development section should be moved up to the history portion. Possibly as a sub-section to "eventual statehood". Moved
  • "The disputed territory (Mexico favored the map, the US the survey results) involved a few thousand square miles and about 3,000 residents..." Parenthetical asides should be avoided. Perhaps remove it and introduce it into the previous sentence in the text? Done
  • There are quite a few comma splices and other grammatical errors in the text. I am...the wrong person to help clean that up, but a c/e should be found to clean up the prose. Done, as best I could; if there are still noticeable errors, we can have another user come in for a quick check
  • The lede should include a summary of all major points in the article per WP:LEAD. I think some discussion of the controversy, statehood and pop sections should be included. Sort of done, I made the lede more general by moving some things down into the history section

Small issues (not MOS)[edit]

  • "...a treaty signed by President Franklin Pierce on June 24, 1853, and then ratified by the U.S. Senate." When was it ratified by the senate? Is the exact date important for the lede? Done Date added to lede
  • "The administration of Franklin Pierce, strongly influenced by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis,[1]..." Why is this cited? Citation moved
  • "The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had ended the Mexican-American War, but there were issues affecting both sides that still needed to be resolved." This should be absorbed into the following section or expanded. (Sort of done, I added another clause briefly summing up the three issues)
  • Southern route for the Transcontinental Railroad This is a generally good section. I would prefer that the reader be presented for some connection between the push for a southern railroad and the eventual Gadsden purchase. Why that part of Arizona? The lead makes some causal connections and explanations but I don't see this mirrored in the body. I see the comment on flat land later in the article, but the flow in the lede seems clearer than the flow in the article. (Section from lede moved down)
  • Richard Kluger can be wikilinked. Done
  • "Historian Richard Kluger, however, described the difficulties of the task:" I would just summarize the quote that follows this passage. He doesn't explain the issue in an inimitable or pithy fashion. The reader is (IMO) better off with a good summary. (Not done, I wasn't sure how to proceeed here; the quote is simple enough, can't really be summarized)
  • "Americans had failed in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo negotiations to secure the right of transit across the 125 mile wide Isthmus of Tehuantepec." This sentence is worded awkwardly. Done
  • "In 1847 these rights were acquired by a British bank, a development that could lead, Americans feared, to British colonization in violation of the Monroe Doctrine." Is this attributed to any source? The Monroe doctrine was a foreign policy stance by the united states, not a binding constraint on the British. If the source notes this that's fine. (I believe this is part of the sourced statement; however, I added "in violation of the precepts of the Monroe Doctrine" to make it more clear)
  • "The situation was totally muddled, and it appeared that only government intervention could straighten things out." this seems a conversational, if accurate depiction. Eh, removed anyway, not sourced
  • "Pierce’s selection as Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis," If we are talking post March, this sentence can read: "Pierce’s Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis,..." Done
  • "The Gadsden Purchase helped to end Santa Anna's political career." Is there a source for this statement? Removed
  • Population I would left justify the table and right justify the image, allowing text to flow between the two. (Not done, no idea how to do this)
  • Eventual railroad development There are two bare external links to pdfs in this section. (Needs more work per Updates section)
  • Are there sources that cover the railroad section or the controversy section? (Not sure here)
  • "Ironically, most of the route was north of the Gadsden Purchase, and most of the Purchase was south of the route." The first half kind of implies the second. If this was intentional for some rhetorical balance, please disregard this comment. (I rather like this sentence, rhetorical value)
  • "the Senate vote 27 to 18 in favor of the treaty which fell three votes short of the necessary two-thirds required for treaty approval." → "27 to 18 in favor of the treaty, falling three votes short..." Done
  • "It was expected by Gwin that a southern route would be approved -- both..." Evidently double hyphens are the WORST THING EVER. In this case you are looking to replace these with —the em dash. Done


This is an interesting article. It is informative, complete and factual. I think that once the layout, image and larger issues here are dealt with the article will pass easily. The copyediting thing is important but I'm not going to demand a complete check prior to passing this article (As I didn't list the errors and provide suggestions). I didn't look into the POV because I don't know much about the subject but the article appears neutral. I'm placing this article on hold for ~7 days to allow for the minor issues to be worked out. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to review this article. Protonk (talk) 05:37, 26 September 2008 (UTC)


The lede should be a stand alone summary of the significant aspects of the article. For reasons that are not readily apparent, two paragraphs were totally eliminated from the lede with no explanation. These paragraphs contain essential information on reasons why the purchase was initiated and describes its eventual failure.

I am not sure why two paragraphs were added that contain nothing but a detailed description of the boundaries -- detail (that besides being extremely boring prose) that does not seem to be appropriate for an article lede, especially since there is a map that right along side the lede that identifies the territory being discussed. I have reduced these paragraphs to a footnote although I have no objection to it being incorporated elsewhere in the body of the article. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 10:36, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

The paragraphs were not eliminated, they were merely moved into the history section just below. As Protonk noted, the history section does not make any direct statements about why the United States was interested in building trains there, so I moved the relevant info from the lede down to improve flow of the article. See also Protonk's recommendation that the Extent section be broken up, which is why the geolocation coordinates have been moved into the lede. As I noted above, there aren't really any relevant infoboxes for this type of article. GlassCobra 10:44, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I realize that the paragraphs were moved. The problem is that this move adversely effected the content and relevance of the lede. The suggestion made by the GA reviewer was that the lede be expanded, not reduced.
The reason why Southerners were interested in a southern route to the railroad is already covered in the section where you moved the two paragraphs (Southern commercial conventions). There was a commercial interest in the South led by folks like Gadsden, de Bow's et al that saw an economic value to railroad development. The article states:
Gadsden wanted to connect all Southern railroads into one sectional net.[6] He was concerned about the increasing amount of railroad construction in the North that was resulting in the trade in lumber, farm goods, and manufacturing goods shifting from the traditional north-south route based on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to an east-west axis that would bypass the South. He also saw Charleston, his home town, losing its prominence as a seaport. In addition, many Southern business interests feared that a northern transcontinental route would cut off the South from trade with the Orient, while other Southerners argued that diversification away from a strictly plantation economy was necessary to keep the South independent from northern bankers.
Later in the article it is explained how this desire was combined with a desire to expand territorial acquisition beyond simply the minimum needed for the RR. Also included is material to show why the Pierce Adminisration came to favor, or at least support. a southern route. I'm not sure exactly what is missing or is unclear. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 12:16, 9 October 2008 (UTC)


Some other thoughts:

  • The railway map pdf's need full citations as best as possible.
  • I would prefer that the geolocation points not go in the lead unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • See how the histortical marker looks with the default thumbnail size. Done
  • I'll check back later tonight or tomorrow on individual points. If it isn't too much trouble, do you mind striking out or otherwise noting where you have accomplished parts of the suggestions above? Or if you didn't do something, just leave a note saying why. Protonk (talk) 22:44, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Reply from GlassCobra[edit]

Hi Protonk, thanks again for doing this. I struck out the points I addressed as you requested, and added comments in bold or italics depending on whether or not they were completed. I agree that the geolocation points are a bit unwieldy in the lede; however, there aren't any suitable infoboxes for purchases like this (I looked into Template:Infobox Treaty, but it doesn't have a geolocation section). Not sure what to do with the railway maps, what needs to be added to the citations? Perhaps they ought to just be removed. GlassCobra 06:40, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Oh, sorry about not fully explaining the citation request. I just mean see what else can be filled out in {{Cite web}}. Date, website, etc. I don't think you need to fish out where the original source was in order to cite them, just cite the website hosting them. Protonk (talk) 14:18, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm passing this article. I trust that you guys will work out a satisfactory place for those GPS points that isn't in the lead. Other than that the remaining issues are small. Congratulations. Protonk (talk) 18:22, 10 October 2008 (UTC)


The lede should be a stand alone summary of the significant aspects of the article. For reasons that are not readily apparent, two paragraphs were totally eliminated from the lede with no explanation. These paragraphs contain essential information on reasons why the purchase was initiated and describes ts eventual failure.

I am not sure why two paragraphs were added that contain nothing but a detailed description of the boundaries -- detail (that besides being extremely boring prose) that does not seem to be appropriate for an article lede, especially since there is a map that right along side the lede that identifies the territory being discussed. I have reduced these paragraphs to a footnote although I have no objection to it being incorporated elsewhere in the body of the article. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 10:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Currency conversion[edit]

The second paragraph of Indian Raids has inconsistent conversions. The first sentence says "$12 million ($310,000,000 today)," while the second to last sentence ends "$12 million ($650,000,000 today)." I believe the latter should be $25 million, based on arithmetic. --Kelseymh (talk) 02:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

What is the reasoning behind the conversion between Spanish/Mexican/US dollars of the time and current US dollars? It appears to be about 1:25 but no justification is given. --JWB (talk) 00:08, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Changes to the article lede[edit]

A paragraph had been added to the article lede and it was sourced to this [1] website. The editor who added this needs to establish that ths website and the article's author, Randy L. Sible, qualify as reliable sources. I could not find any credentials for Mr. Sible using Google nor could I find any editorial policy for the parent website for the article.

If there is more to say abouth the adverse effects of the Gadsden Purchase on Mexico, then the FIRST PLACE is to put that material in the body of the article and attribute it to reliable sources. The article already contains properly sourced material that decribes Santa Anna's and Mexico's motives and I'm not sure that Sible's unsourced article adds anything to this article.

Please discuss here rather than simply adding the material back again. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 17:47, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

The same editor added the following to the lede:
Author Robert L. Scheina notes Mexican leader (many would say dictator) Santa Anna's actions and the reactions of the Mexican people to Santa Anna's decisions (such as the Gadsden Purchase). Scheina's writes in his work "Santa Anna: A Curse Upon Mexico" about the $10 million purchase between the US and Santa Anna in the Gadsden Purchase: "Known as the Gadsden Purchase (after James Gadsden, the US minister to Mexico), the sudden wealth it brought, half of which he appropriated for himself, allowed Santa Anna to attack his opponents even more harshly. ... In July 1855, Santa Anna again approached Gadsden concerning the sale of more Mexican territory, but an uprising in southern Mexico overtook his efforts. [1]
I have removed it because, once again, it introduces material in the lede not covered in the body of the article. The issue of Santa Anna's corruption (which I guess is the point) does not warrant mention in THIS ARTICLE except perhaps in an aftermath section. There are also obvious style issues with the edit -- why name in the text the book title, describe the general contenys of the book,repeat info. already in the lede, etc. Please discuss here first WHAT you want to add to the article about Santa Anna and HOW you expect to accomplish it. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 12:08, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I added it to give some background as to why "Mexico" sold this land, and to show it was not the consensus of the Mexican people to sell this land. The land sale was made by Santa Anna who was pretty much a dictator and was rebelled against largely because of land sales like this Gadsden Purchase. I don't see how this doesn't fall into the context of the article as other parts speak of the US motives for the railroad project and such; why not speak on the Mexican side about who sold the land.--Historylover4 (talk) 16:49, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

The article lede ends with this sentence: In the United States, the debate over the treaty became involved in the sectional dispute over slavery, ending progress before the American Civil War in the planning or construction of a transcontinental railroad. If you want to add a comparable sentence summarizing the repercussions in Mexico, go ahead -- but first be sure that the sentence summarizes something that is already in the body of the article. Perhaps something like "In Mexico, this sale of even a small part of their territory was a contributing factor in the later downfall of Mexiacan leader Santa Anna who negotiated the deal.
The article DOES have a subsection titled Gadsden and Santa Anna that explains his motives in the negotiations. The material is properly sourced. If you feel there are OTHER motives that should be added, this is the place to put them -- providing your material is prperly sourced. The material from Scheina, properly written, should probably go in the subsection Post-ratification controversy. This section already says " Even the sale of a relatively small strip of land angered the Mexican people, who saw Santa Anna's actions as a betrayal of their country. They watched in dismay as he squandered the funds generated by the Purchase. Contemporary Mexican historians continue to view the deal negatively and believe that it has defined the American-Mexican relationship in a deleterious way." The sourcing for that material is weak -- it refers to only a newspaper article that now has a dead link. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 18:43, 15 May 2010 (UTC)


The dates in this article appear to contradict some of the various sources, or perhaps the sources just contradict each other. First of all, the primary source, the text of the treaty itself, says that it was signed on December 30, 1853, but the article says June 24, 1853. Then the ratification date...

  1. [2]: December 30, 1853
  2. [3]: April 1854
  3. [4]: Spring 1854
  4. [5][6]: June 1854
  5. [7]: June 24, 1854
  6. [8][9][10]: June 30, 1854

Any ideas? howcheng {chat} 21:45, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

The December 1853 date is the date the treaty was signed by the negotiators in Mexico. The signing date by Pierce in June 1853 is wrong -- the final Senate ratification, with changes added, didn't come until April 25, 1854 so he probably signed it shortly after that. The June 1854 dates probably refer to the date that the changes were ratified by Mexico. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 22:53, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually I went back and checked the treaty itself again, and it says at the end June 30 for Pierce's signing. howcheng {chat} 00:06, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
The document you linked is not the original treaty. Instead it is a Proclamation issued by President Pierce in which the treaty was made public -- the date of June 30 is the date Pierce signed the proclamation rather than the date he signed the treaty. Note the language from the document:
And whereas the said treaty, as amended, has been duly ratified on both parts, and the respective ratifications of the same have this day been exchanged at Washington, by WILLIAM L. MARCY, Secretary of State of the United States, and SENOR GENERAL DON JUAN N. ALMONTE, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Mexican Republic, on the part of their respective Governments:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, FRANKLIN PIERCE, President of the United States of America, have caused the said treaty to be made public, to the end that the same, and every clause and article thereof, may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.
The dates are covered in a State Department website at [11]. It states:
"With a great deal of difficulty resulting from the increasing strife between the northern and southern states, the U.S. Senate ratified a revised treaty on April 25, 1854. The new treaty reduced the amount paid to Mexico to $10 million and the land purchased to 29,670 square miles, and removed any mention of Native American attacks and private claims. President Pierce signed the treaty and Gadsden presented the new treaty to Santa Anna, who signed it on June 8, 1854."
After Pierce had signed the original treaty, as amended, and Mexico signed the amended treaty on June 8, no further action was required to put the treaty into effect. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 00:54, 29 December 2010 (UTC)