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Unformatted text preview: Mexico Mexico P o s t C o n q u e s t M e x ic o
To this day, Mexicans are very conscious of this history. • Crucially, in the colonial period the distinction between peninsulares (European Spaniards, a.k.a. gachupines) and criollos (Mexican-born people of pure Spanish descent) was considered racial. • Criollos were second class citizens in much the way African Americans were in the pre-civil rights era South, or Chinese Americans were in California in the early 1900’s. 1 9 t h C e n t u r y M e x ic o
The 19th century in Mexico runs from 1810-1910 bracketed by two revolutions. • 19th century Mexico is the life story of three men: • Antonio López de Santa Ana. • Benito Juárez. • Porﬁrio Díaz. INDEPENDENCE
an d SANTA ANA The Struggle for Independence/ Early Independent Period (1 8 1 0 – 1 8 2 1 ) The Revolution started, September 16, 1810 in the small mining town of Dolores, 150 miles north of Mexico City. A small group of criollo conspirators was planning a revolt to take place December 8, 1810. One member of the group was Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the local parish priest. From the time his arrival in Dolores in 1803, Hidalgo was more interested in addressing the injustices faced by his Indian and mestizo parishioners than in addressing their spiritual needs. He started many illegal businesses to help the poor miners, including growing silk worms and making silk. The group of conspirators included Captian Ignacio Allende, a local cavalry ofﬁcer, a former local governor and his wife, Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. • News of the plot leaked to the local Spanish commander. • Doña Josefa Ortiz learned that their cover had been blown and sent word to Hidalgo. • At 2AM on the morning of September 16, 1810 Hidalgo rang the church bell to gather his parishioners for mass--earlier than usual. • His homily ended in a call to arms: ¡Viva la Vírgen de Guadalupe! ¡Muerte a los gachupines! • Hidalgo led the arosed crowd out to take the small town of San Miguel, and the revolution was on. • But the mob was unruly and they picked up thousands more as they marched from town to town. • Hidalgo was unprepared for the violence against peninsulares he had unleashed. • For a month and a half they wreaked havoc on one city after another. • Coming to Mexico City, Hidalgo was unwilling to go on. • Against military advice he withdrew. • So the ﬁrst round was lost, all the leaders were caught and executed, even the priest, Hidalgo, who died before a ﬁring squad, July 31, 1811. What was left of the movement was José María Morelos, an Indian priest in southern Mexico. He headed a guerrilla movement from 18131815. He proposed a very liberal constitution based on tax rather than tribute. This caused opposition from criollos and peninsulares alike. Morelos was betrayed, captured, and executed in 1815. The remaining guerrilla leader was Vincente Guerrero. For the next six years, the Spanish are unable to stamp out the independence minded guerillas. Finally, convinced that the war was unwinnable, Augustín Iturbide, originally a government supporter prosped to Vincente Guerrero, a plan guaranteeing equal rights of criollos and peninsulares and independence from Spain. This became the Plan of Iguala (1821). The Plan of Iguala had three parts (now represented by the colors of the Mexican ﬂag: a. independence from Spain b. equal rights for criollos and peninsulares c. supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church The next events continue the turbulence of the war for independence. Iturbide joins his troops to Guerrero’s. With Iturbide as leader, these troops turn or defeat the remaining loyalist forces. Although Spain does not accept it at the time, by 1822, Mexico is independent. Iturbide views himself as responsible for the success of making Mexico independent. With the military behind him, Iturbide has himself declared emperor in 1822. But, in fact, there is no effective powerbase supporting him beyond the military. He is expelled in 1823 after a revolt by populist factions, i.e., liberals. In the meantime Spain has never recognized Mexico as independent. In 1828 they invade. But instead of coming through Veracruz — the real point of vulnerability — they land further north on the coast. The enterprise is doomed from the start. They come ashore in a malarial swamp, and everyone gets sick immediately. The Spanish commander recognizes early on that his is a losing proposition and surrenders. A young, one-time Loyalist ofﬁcer from Jalapa is in charge of the forces sent to meet the Spanish threat. Jalapa is the capital of the state of Veracruz. He is criollo. His name is Antonio López de Santa Ana. He dominates the next 25 years of Mexican history. The Santa Ana Era (1 8 2 1 – 1 8 5 4 ) The pattern of Santa Ana’s career is that he likes the glory of being a hero, but is bored with running the country. He keeps getting elected president, but resigns until the next crisis calls him out of retirement. He takes full credit for defeating Spain, making it sound like a glorious military victory. He rides the glory into ofﬁce, but then gets bored and turns matters over to the vice-president. But then Texas. In 1835 Texas seceded from Mexico. The history was long. Mexico couldn’t get ordinary Mexicans interested in settling the northern territories. Aware of the territorial interests of the US, they offered land grants to non-Mexicans. Hence the Swiss rancher, Sutter in California on whose land gold would be discovered. People from the US were among those accepting land grants from Mexico. They agreed, in good faith, to abide by Mexican law. But it was the cultural differences that couldn’t be overcome In the end distrust between the Mexican government and the Anglo and German settlers drove the Texans to declare independence.. Santa Ana came to Texas to protect Mexican interests. He won a major, brutal battle at the Alamo. (He ordered all the male survivors of the siege executed, including Davy Crockett.) Believing he had won the war, he got careless. But he was captured at the battle of San Jacinto and agreed to independence for Texas in exchange for his own freedom. In spite of Santa Ana’s agreement with Texas president David Burnet, Mexico never did ofﬁcially recognize that Texas was independent. Actually two treaties regarding Texas independence were signed that April in 1836, one public and one secret. The public treaty stipulated: a. Santa Ana would not take up arms against Texas. b. He would not persuade other Mexicans to do so. c. All hostilities would immediately cease. d. The Mexican army would withdraw across the Rio Grande. e. Prisoners of war would be exchanged. The secret treaty stipulated: a. Santa Ana would be released and transported to Veracruz. b. In return he would prepare a Mexican cabinet to receive a delegation from Texas so the Lone Star Republic could be formally recognized as independent of Mexico. Needless to say, these treaties were not well received in Mexico. In fact, the legislature promptly enacted a law which stated that no agreement made by a captive Mexican president is binding. So no peace delegation from Texas was ever received. And no recognition of Texas independence was ever extended. Texas was de facto independent from Mexico from 1836 to 1845. This was not because of any US support, which was not given, although the US formally recognized Texas in 1837. Texas was left independent of Mexico, because of Mexico’s internal problems which left her unable to muster the necessary resources, political and military to take Texas back. ...
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- Fall '09