Independent Mexico

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The Itúrbide in 1822 convened a congress and in this, taking advantage of the struggle between monarchists (exponents of the great property and the high clergy) and liberals, these in turn divided between Scots (aristocrats and clericals) and Yorkinos(democratic republicans and federalists, relying above all on the mestizo mass), he was nominated by the monarchists as emperor with the name of Augustine I. Against him, however, still rose up in December of the same year (1822), at the head of the liberals, another general, Antonio López de Santa Ana; which, with a new military coup, put an end to the ephemeral empire and gave Mexico the republican form with the constitution of October 4, 1824, modeled on the American one. Arising from military pronouncements in a country with monarchical traditions, in the hands of the large landowner and clergy, devoid of bourgeoisie, made up of an overwhelming majority of Indians and brutalized mestizos and a small minority of whites only,

Struggles of leaders (Santa Ana; Anastasio Bustamante; Nicolas Bravo; the mestizo Vicente Guerrero, expelled from the presidential seat and shot in Oaxaca in 1831) and of factions rather than parties (first monarchists and republicans; centralists and federalists then, aristocrats and clerics -military the former, the latter democratic and anticlerical); ephemeral presidencies and recurring dictatorships; attempts at Spanish restoration and complications with foreign countries (in 1839 a French squad bombed and occupied Veracruz); Bloody contrasts between the various elements of the population (in 1828 20,000 Spanish aristocrats were expelled at once), fill that Mexican political and social scene, of which the wife of the Spanish prime minister to Mexico, Calderón de la Barca, a Scotswoman, he left us in his diaryLife in Mexico (1842) the liveliest painting. Behind the scene, however, a blind, invisible and unconscious but irresistible force ferments the trampled race (mestizos and Indians), which is rising from its age-old abjection, especially after the proclamation of legal equality between Whites and Indians (1833) and the abolition of black slavery (1835). This last reform raises the planters of Texas (1836) against the republic, who break away from Mexico and, thanks to the warm support of the slave aristocracy of the United States, manage to beat the Mexican troops with Sam Houston (the same president Santa Ana on April 21, 1836 was taken prisoner and held in captivity for a few months) and to maintain the independence of the country until Texas (more than 814,000 sq. Km.) Was even annexed to the United States of ‘ America (1845). The resulting Mexican-American conflict offered the United States the coveted opportunity for a war of conquest, as easy as it is unjust, against Mexico. That if General Zachary Taylor, having crossed the northern border, was unable to occupy the country mainly due to lack of roads, General Winfield Scott would march resolutely on its capital, after having landed in Veracruz and having dismantled Chapultepec, heroically defended in vain. The war ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848), for which Mexico had to cede New Mexico and California (more than 1,338,000 sq km) to the United States for a negligible compensation of 15 million dollars, plus to the amnesty of another 3.5 million represented by private American complaints. Five years later (1853) the United States, with the “buy Gasden”, bought another 116 thousand sq km for 10 million dollars. about Mexican territory, bringing the northern border of Mexico to the current line.

Meanwhile, humiliated and discordant, he remained after the war for seven years under the influence or the dictatorship of Santa Ana; until the rising tide of opponents forced him to take refuge in the island of Cuba. The republic was then going through another period of disorder and anarchy, which recommended the adoption of a new political constitution (1897), by virtue of which the the following year (1858) Benito Juárez ascended to the presidency by way of succession, in his capacity as president of the Supreme Court. This was a pure Indian blood lawyer, born of a peon52 years earlier (1806), as a boy of a bookseller who had initiated him to ecclesiastical studies, which he then deserted for legal ones, energetic governor of the native state of Oaxaca in 1847; Minister of Finance under President Juan Álvarez in 1853. Fiercely opposed by the Conservative party, which managed to keep the same capital together with General Miguel Miramón for three more years, B. Juárez, a politician of uncommon constructive capacity, set about implementing bold reforms (separation of the Church from the State; civil marriage; nationalization of ecclesiastical assets, etc.) but had to fight against new insurrections and face inveterate financial difficulties, which ended up leading to the most serious international complications following the decreed suspension of the payment of foreign debts and complaints for damages of foreign subjects. The protests were soon followed by foreign military intervention; which, which began in 1861 with a demonstration action by the three powers concerned (England, France and Spain) on the basis of the London convention, ended, after the denunciation of this, with the exclusive military action of France, which for political reasons, dynastic and even private, of high personalities interested in unstable Mexican loans, aimed to establish in Mexico a hereditary constitutional monarchy controlled by it, with Archduke Maximilian of Austria as emperor. On 7 June 1863, the French, after Puebla surrendered, entered with General E. -F. Forey in the capital, whence Benito Juárez with the government retired to S. Luis Potosí; and the following year, with the favor of the clerical-conservative part of the country, legalizing the constitutional movement, the empire was a fait accompli: on June 12, 1864, the emperor Maximilian of Austria entered Mexico with the empress Charlotte. Pupil of the invading foreigner, also engulfed in insolvable debts, fought by the republican forces that remained in arms, the ephemeral empire, which stood on the tip of French bayonets, began to fall since the United States, hitherto engaged in the interior in the Civil War, began to adopt a more resolute policy of opposition to the French intervention in Mexico (December 1865) and Napoleon III, worried by the Prussian threat after the expulsion of Austria from Germany (1866), he announced that in 1867 the French troops would evacuate Mexico. Under the pressing pressure of the republican arms, which with General Porfirio Díaz were now moving to besiege the same capital, Maximilian moved to Querétaro, where on May 16, 1867 he surrendered to the republicans to be subjected the following month to a court-martial on the basis of a law of 1862 against the enemies of the republic. On June 14, 1867, the court sentenced him to death together with generals Miramón and Tomás Mejía; and the sentences, despite the efforts of the partisans, the protests of the diplomatic representatives, the appeals of the United States themselves, was carried out on the 19th following the Cerro de las Campanas near Querétaro. On 20 June Mexico City also capitulated and on 15 July 1867 B. Juárez returned to try in vain, in the midst of new seditions of ambitious generals and new international and financial difficulties, the work of restoring the country, which three years of war had finished ruining. Re-elected president in 1871, B. Juárez died in 1872 to remain, even with his sins, in the conscience of the Mexican people as one of the fathers of the constitution and of the country. After a troubled presidency of Sebastiano Lerdo de Tejada, successor of the deceased as president of the  Supreme Court and continuator of his anticlerical policy, power in November 1876 passed into the hands of Porfirio Díaz to remain there, in fact, until 1911.

Independent Mexico