BECK index

Mexico and Democracy 1817-44

by Sanderson Beck

Mexican Independence & Iturbide 1817-23
Mexico of Victoria and Guerrero 1823-31
Mexico and Santa Anna 1832-44
Mexican California
New Mexico
Texas Revolution in Mexico 1817-36

Mexican Independence & Iturbide 1817-23

Mexico 1744-1809
Mexico’s Struggle for Independence 1810-17
North Mexico and Texas 1744-1817

      By 1817 Mexico’s revolution against Spain had been crushed in much of the country including Vera Cruz, Puebla, Mexico, Mizteca, and Tecpan. Liberal offers of pardon reduced much of the fighting. Young Francisco Javier Mina led 300 men to Fort Sombrero, and he published a letter that he was fighting against a tyrannical king, not Spain. On July 30 Marshal Pascual Liñán besieged them with an army of 4,000 men. In fighting to escape, many were killed and captured, but Mina got away with some and went to Fort Remedios to support José Antonio Torres. On October 27 sentries were surprised, and Mina was captured and shot on November 11. More than 400 men were taken as prisoners with women and children.
      In 1818 Padre Torres tried and failed to relieve Jaujilla and alienated many by taking private property and burning villages and haciendas. By 1820 most of New Spain had been pacified, and the revolution had been reduced to Pedro Ascensio holding out on the hill in Goleta and General Vicente Guerrero occupying the banks of the Mescala.
      In 1820 Spain’s liberal Constitution of 1812 was restored, and King Fernando VII decreed the release of all political prisoners. News of revolutionary activity in Spain reached Mexico in April. New Spain’s Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca revived freedom of the press on June 17, and on October 13 he liberated prisoners in Mexico. The priest Francisco Severo Maldonado supported the 1812 Constitution. He believed in the brotherhood of the human family and advocated universal free education.
      Col. Agustín de Iturbide had fought against revolutionaries led by Morelos who was captured and executed in 1815. In 1816 Iturbide was relieved of his command because of corruption and cruelty. In November 1820 Viceroy Apodaca reinstated him, and Iturbide asked and got more forces and money to go after Vicente Guerrero’s insurgents. By December he had 2,479 men; but instead of attacking, Iturbide secretly invited Guerrero to meet him on 4 February 1821, and he persuaded Guerrero to join him with his 1,200 armed men. Then on the 24th Iturbide issued his printed “Plan of Iguala” proclaiming the independence of New Spain governed by a junta with an army that would protect the following three guarantees: a constitutional monarchy, citizenship for all inhabitants, and the secular and regular clergy.
      Viceroy Apodaca opposed this and began mobilizing an army of up to 5,000 men. The Masonic Order favored a constitutional system and was influential. Iturbide left Iguala on March 12. While many of his troops were deserting, he went to Teloloapan. There he met with Guerrero before going on to Guanajuato where they proclaimed independence. On the 19th Anastasio Bustamente joined his cause, increasing independence forces to 6,000. Lt. Col. José Joaquin de Herrera accepted the Iguala Plan, and on April 1 his forces occupied Cordoba. Iturbide reached Valladolid on May 12. One week later the commandant Quintanar came over to independence, and the next day the garrison of 600 men capitulated. Captain Santa Anna’s force captured the town of Alvarado, and they entered Jalapa on May 29. The city of San Pedro supported the Iguala Plan in June as did most of Nueva Galicia. On July 5 royalists led by Brigadier Buceli forced Viceroy Apodaca to resign. Troops deserted General José de la Cruz and went to Zacatecas which proclaimed independence.
      Juan O'Donojú arrived at Vera Cruz on August 3 as the new Viceroy, and he proclaimed liberal principles. Iturbide entered the city of Puebla on August 2, and three days later he declared national independence. O'Donojú learned that Iturbide had an army of 30,000 men with almost all the garrisons. On the 24th at Cordoba they made a treaty based on the Iguala Plan for a Mexican Empire. Pedro Celestino Negrete led independence fighters and fought Juan de la Cruz Mourgeón’s army at Durango for three weeks until the city surrendered on August 31. Mourgeón was allowed to take his army to embark for Spain at Vera Cruz. The royalist Arredondo lost his command and left for Havana.
      On September 22 the Regency Junta was formed with Iturbide, O'Donojú, José Isidro Yáñez and three others, but O’Donojú died on October 8. Iturbide and the Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City on September 27, and the Junta was installed the next day. All of Mexico had been liberated except for Vera Cruz, Perote, and Acapulco. Iturbide divided Mexico into five parts under captain-generals Bustamente, Negrete, Guerrero, and two others. Also on the 27th Santa Anna moved his forces into Vera Cruz, and that day their council recognized independence.
      On November 6 the Regency Junta proposed a congress with two chambers—one with deputies representing the church, the military, and the city councils with the other having one representative for every 50,000 people. The murder of a Spaniard trying to leave Mexico led more to try to get passports. On 9 January 1822 Iturbide suspended issuing passports until congress should act. Later they decided that each province should be represented by only one clergyman, one military officer, and one magistrate or lawyer, and they made it compulsory to have the agricultural, mining, and commercial classes represented. On the 26th Iturbide had 17 eminent people arrested for urging more liberal elections. The government had little money and was paying high salaries. Iturbide was rewarded with one million pesos and was granted 20 leagues of land in Texas, and his annual salary was 120,000 pesos. Commerce with Spain had stopped, and treaties had not yet been made with other nations.
      After the elections the Congress was installed on 24 February 1822. The Bourbonists wanted a constitutional government under a king from that European dynasty; the Iturburdists desired a nation under Iturbide; and the Republicans preferred a federal republic. On February 13 the Spanish government had decreed that the treaty of Cordoba was illegal, and that led to the Bourbonists dividing to join the other two parties. The government was broke, and the Congress reduced military and civil salaries by up to 20%. Republicans wanted the size of the army reduced, but Iturbide intended to keep it at 35,900 men plus provincial militia and civic companies. On March 11 the Congress decreed that the Regency could decide on finances.
      General Nicolás Dávila hoped to restore Spanish rule. On April 2 he sent a letter to Iturbide, and Col. Buceli led the regiment of Ordenes to Xuchi; but Anastasio Bustamente’s force defeated them and took prisoners to the capital. On the 3rd the Congress declined to meet with Iturbide without the Junta Regents, and he and José Isidro Yáñez called each other traitors. On the 11th three members of the Junta were replaced by Nicolás Bravo and two others while Iturbide and Yáñez were retained. On May 6 the Congress read an address from the 11th regiment that they had taken the oath of loyalty to the Congress; but they also abhorred monarchy and preferred republics as in South America. In response on the 18th the Congress approved an army of 20,000 men. An infantry regiment shouted for Iturbide to be emperor, and a large crowd gathered in the capital and did the same. The next day the Congress invited Iturbide, and they voted without a quorum 67-15 to elect him emperor. On May 31 he appointed a Council of State. Many European monarchists left the country. Congress in June decreed the monarchy hereditary and declared his son the imperial prince. Emperor Iturbide was crowned with great ceremony and fake jewels on July 21. On August 13 he founded the honorary Order of Guadalupe to reward the meritorious in the military and others.
      The priest Pablo Servando Mier had returned to Congress on July 15 after having been detained by Dávila. Mier satirized Emperor Iturbide and the government and argued for republican government. The monarchist El Sol and the republican El Hombre Libre newspapers were suppressed. On August 26 the Emperor had 19 deputies arrested including Mier. Felipe de la Garza had become governor of Nuevo Santander (Tamaulipas) on August 5, and on September 16 he issued a pronunciamiento (plan) opposing Iturbide, but ten days later he fled to Monterrey. On September 25 deputy Lorenzo de Zavala argued that the Congress was illegal because it had not been divided into two chambers. On the 28th Treasury Secretary Antonio Medina presented his report estimating the year’s deficit at 2,826,630 pesos, and by the end of the year it was over four million.
      Iturbide and his council urged reducing the number of deputies to seventy. After Congress rejected his demands for this, for veto power, and for a police force, the Emperor dissolved the Congress on October 31. Two days later Iturbide installed an institute with 45 members selected from the deputies. On November 5 they ordered a forced loan of $2,800,000, and Iturbide seized money about to be shipped to Spain. The government ended the castas system of racial identities, making all equal, but native tribes lost their legal protection of communal property. Mexican ports were opened to other nations as trade restrictions were ended. Taxes were reduced, and the government forced the Church to loan them money. In 1822 food prices increased, making it difficult for Mexico City with 155,000 people, Puebla with 60,000, Guadalajara with 50,000, and others.
      General Antonio López de Santa Anna had tried to take over Ulúa on October 26 but had failed. Iturbide wanted to remove him from his command at Vera Cruz; but the Emperor had alienated Spaniards at Jalapa by taking their money, and he had little support. Santa Anna, who governed Vera Cruz, complained that Iturbide had not kept his promises, and on December 2 he declared Vera Cruz a republic. In early January 1823 Mexico recognized the independence of Central America. The generals Guerrero, Bravo, and Guadalupe Victoria also revolted against Iturbide, and Santa Anna joined them. General Echávarri was given troops to put down Santa Anna’s revolt, but on February 1 he and 33 cohorts declared the Casa Mata Plan that called for a constituent assembly to establish a republic. Many troops deserted the capital, and on the 23rd the 9th and 11th regiments liberated those imprisoned by the Inquisition including Mier and Col. Eulogio Villa Urrutia whom they named their chief. On the same day Jalisco issued a federalist plan.
      Iturbide ordered the Congress to meet on 7 March 1823, but only 58 gathered. The junta at Puebla would not recognize them. On the 19th in the chamber Navarrete read Iturbide’s hand-written abdication. He promised to leave the country and asked for his debts to be paid. Congress canceled the Iguala Plan and the Cordoba treaty so that Iturbide would have no authority. Bravo escorted him away, and that day the Liberty Army entered the capital. Iturbide was taken to Vera Cruz, and he left Mexico on May 11 and went to Italy. He crossed Europe to London, and fearing a Spanish attack on Mexico he came back; but five days after landing he was captured and executed by a firing squad on 19 July 1824.

Mexico of Victoria and Guerrero 1823-31

      On 29 March 1823 the Congress had its first quorum with 103 deputies that made it legitimate, and they elected Bravo, Victoria, and Pedro Celestino Negrete as the executives of the provisional government. Mariano Michelena substituted for Victoria while he was in Vera Cruz. The triumvirate appointed Lucas Alamán minister of foreign and internal relations, Pablo de la Llave for justice and the church, and Francisco de Arrillaga for the treasury. The provisional government had only $42, and they ordered selling tobacco and cigars from government warehouses and taking property of Jesuits, Hospitallers, and the Inquisition. They also borrowed $32 million from two firms in England, but they received only about 12 million pesos and spent much of it preparing for an invasion by Spaniards.
      On April 4 commissioners from Oaxaca, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Valladolid, and Guanajuato asked for a new congress, and delegates from Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Texas had formed a junta and wanted a federal union with Mexico. On the 14th the government approved the Mexican flag in green, white, and red representing the three guarantees with an eagle eating a snake. Guadalajara wanted to recall Iturbide, and they were led by Quintanar and Anastasio Bustamante. Bravo and Negrete led an army of 2,000 men and headed toward Guadalajara. In Nueva Galicia they persuaded Colima to leave Guadalajara to become a federal territory. Absent Bravo and Negrete were replaced by Miguel Domínguez and Vicente Guerrero. The Congress gave military courts jurisdiction on cases of rebellion and robbery on public highways.
      The republicans divided into a conservative Centralist party of former monarchists led by Manuel de Mier y Terán and Carlos Bustamante. The liberal Federalists had supported Iturbide and wanted a constitution like the United States. The Scottish Rite Masons supported the Centralists, and the York Rite Masons favored the Federalists. On 5 June 1823 Santa Anna announced a federalist plan for San Luis Potosí. On the 17th rules were made for national elections, and a constituent assembly began meeting on November 7. The Federalist deputy Miguel Ramos Arizpe was elected president of the constitutional committee, and on 31 January 1824 the Constitutive Act was adopted. A revolt started in the capital on the 23rd led by General José María Lobato, spread to Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Guadalajara, and Querétaro, but they were quelled. General Echávarri was replaced in Puebla by Gómez Pedrasa. Guerrero pacified Cuernavaca and Cuautla in the south. A plot led by Lt. Basiliso Valdés on the night of May 28 was discovered, and he was arrested and executed. A tax collector was murdered while traveling to Oaxaca. Victoria went to quell the movement and learned of a Spanish fleet arriving to reinforce San Juan de Ulúa, and he sent troops to Vera Cruz in August. By mid-year Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Coahuila, and Jalisco had declared themselves sovereign.
      As each article of the Constitution was passed, it was enacted as a law. This constitution was similar to the USA Constitution except that Roman Catholicism was made the religion of the Mexican nation, and Supreme Court judges were to be elected by state legislatures. Torture was banned.
      The liberal priest, lawyer, historian, and politician José María Luis Mora influenced and criticized this constitution and its implementation over the years until his death in 1850. Mora was influenced by the French philosophers Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Benjamin Constant, and he admired Spain’s Constitution of 1812. On 13 March 1822 he published his essay “The Supreme Civil Authority Is Not Unlimited.” He spent his last sixteen years in Paris but sent his writing to Mexico. He favored the government taking over land the Church owned but did not use except for income, and he urged giving municipal governments more responsibility.
      The Election Law was passed on 13 July 1824. That month another law allowed ships to prey on Spanish commerce. The army besieging San Juan de Ulúa was reinforced, and the commander Coppinger would capitulate on 18 November 1825. On 1 September 1824 Guadalupe Victoria was elected President and Nicolás Bravo Vice President, and they began serving on 9 October. The republic called itself Los Estados Unidos de Mexicanos. Chiapas had voted in September to be part of Mexico instead of Guatemala. The other states were Chihuahua, Coahuila and Texas, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla de los Angeles, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Sinaloa (Occidente), Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Vera Cruz, Yucatán, and Zacatecas. The two Californias, Colima, and New Mexico were accepted as territories, and Tlascala became a territory on 24 November. On 24 December the Congress granted amnesty for political offenses, but they authorized the President to expel dangerous foreigners. The first constitutional Congress began on 1 January 1825. Jalisco had issued its constitution on 18 November, and every other state except Mexico and Coahuila-Texas produced constitutions in 1825.
      Declarations by Britain and the United States warned European powers not to interfere in Mexico. In September the liberal Yorkinos brought about the resignation of the conservative Alamán, and by late 1826 the Yorkinos and federalists controlled the cabinet with Finance Minister José Ignacio Esteva, Justice Minister Miguel Ramos Arizpe, War Minister Manuel Gómez Pedraza, and Foreign Relations Minister Juan José Espinosa. Britain agreed to a treaty of friendship and commerce that Mexico ratified on 27 October 1827. In January 1827 the friar Joaquin Arenas, a counterfeiter, had urged the federal district’s commandant Ignacio Mora to restore Spanish government. Mora told President Victoria, and the friar and others were arrested. The generals Echávarri and Negrete were imprisoned on March 22. Old Spaniards were involved, and several men were sentenced to death. Many officers were demoted, and others were punished. Echávarri and Negrete were banished. Vera Cruz dismissed Spanish officials, and Jalisco expelled them. On December 20 the national Congress expelled all Spaniards. On the 5th a Mexican fleet had sailed from Vera Cruz and captured Spanish merchant ships near Cuba. Spain sent men-of-war vessels, and they fought Mexican ships on 11 February 1828. On January 12 the republic of Mexico had made a treaty with the United States confirming the Sabine River as the eastern border of Texas.
      A Yaqui named Juan Banderas wanted an independent state, and some Opatas and Lower Pimas joined him in 1825. He led about 2,000 warriors using bows and arrows, and by early 1826 they controlled the settlements in the lower Yaqui and May valleys. They were opposed by Mexicans and 200 Yaquis who defeated them south of Hermosillo. In 1827 Banderas submitted to the Mexican state assuming that the Yaquis would have their own local government. They were pardoned, and he was appointed captain-general of the Yaquis region. In 1828 the government of the Occidente (Sonora and Sinaloa) enacted laws that put the Yaquis under Buenavista, and land distribution to individuals was mandated. In 1832 the Opatas and Yaquis revolted again with the Lower Pimas of the Yaqui River and were led by Banderas and Dolores Gutierrez, but the Mexicans subdued them. Apache raiding became intense in 1831 and extended to Hermosillo in 1833. An Apache chief was captured and put to death in 1834, and Mexico offered a bounty of $100 for an Apache scalp.
      The moderate General Manuel Gómez Pedraza was elected President in September 1828, and on the 12th Guerrero’s partisans led by Santa Anna revolted in Vera Cruz. Santa Anna refused to lay down arms and fled to Oaxaca where he was besieged on November 14. On October 25 the federal Congress had banned secret societies including the Masons. Lorenzo de Zavala led a rebellion that broke out at La Acordada barracks in Mexico City on November 30, and troops were withdrawn from Oaxaca. Two days later Guerrero joined the Acordada rebels. Pedrasa fled the next day to Guadalajara, and Congress and the administration abandoned President Victoria by December 5. Pedrasa sailed to London in March 1829.
      On 1 January 1829 the Congress had assembled, and they elected the Afro-Mestizo General Guerrero President with Anastasio Bustamante as Vice President. He hated monarchy and believed in independence and the federal system with popular representation. He supported the expulsion of Spaniards and aimed for more equality. On July 6 a Spanish force with 3,000 men led by Brigadier Isidro Barradas sailed from Havana, and on 27th they landed 36 miles from Pueblo Viejo. They occupied undefended Tampico, but many Spaniards died of yellow fever. The Mexicans led by Santa Anna and Mier y Terán attacked Tampico on August 21 and were repulsed; but the Spaniards lacked provisions, and a siege caused them to surrender on September 11. The Spaniards were allowed to return to Havana. The Spanish reconquest had failed, but it cost Mexico many lives and $1,500,000.
      President Victoria had liberated some slaves that were purchased on 16 September 1825. The state of Coahuila and Texas had about a thousand slaves and refused to enforce the edict. Treasury Minister Zavala led the cabinet, but on 6 August 1829 the Congress accused him of several crimes along with the cabinet officers José Manuel Herrera and Francisco Moctezuma.
      On the August 25 the Congress had given Guerrero special powers to defend against the Spanish invasion. Even though he did not abuse them, a coalition of states opposed his administration and ignored federal authority. On September 15 Guerrero decreed the total abolition of slavery. The Americans were told to recall their minister Poinsett, and Guerrero accepted Zavala’s resignation on November 2. Vice President Bustamante knew that Melchor Múzquiz and José Antonio Facio were plotting to overthrow the government. On November 9 Yucatán’s Governor José Tiburcio López declared that his state seceded from the union, and one week later the garrison of Campeche demanded the dissolution of the federal government. On December 4 Vice President Bustamante, who commanded the largest military division, denounced Guerrero’s dictatorship and claimed he was restoring constitutional order. Many of the rebels objected to Guerrero’s race. After learning of Jalapa’s defection Guerrero summoned Congress, and on the 11th he resigned his dictatorial powers. Then he left the capital with more than 2,000 soldiers. Treasury Minister Bocanegra was acting president when the palace and citadel were attacked on December 22 and surrendered to General Luis Quintanar. The rebels gave Quintanar, Lucas Alamán, and Pedro Velez executive authority. Guerrero resigned the presidency on the 25th and fled south with fifty cavalry. Mexico’s commander Quintanar announced that Vice President Bustamante was taking power. By the end of the year every state except Vera Cruz accepted Bustamante’s plan. Then Santa Anna, who commanded the army of Vera Cruz, recognized Bustamante’s authority.
      On the first day of 1830 Vice President Bustamante claimed the executive, and six days later he formed a Centralist (conservative) cabinet with Alamán, Facio, and two others. He repudiated the acts of Guerrero on February 4. Juan Álvarez led a revolt and was supported by Col. Codallos, and they took over Acapulco on March 16. Eight days later mass arrests were made in Mexico City for an alleged conspiracy. Those at Acapulco withstood an attack and killed General Armijo near Texca on August 30. Guerrero raised an army by the end of the year, but they were defeated on 2 January 1831 near Chilpancingo. Guerrero boarded an Italian ship at Acapulco, but Captain Piluga sold him to the Mexican government for $50,000. A court martial convicted him of several crimes against the new government, and a firing squad executed Guerrero on 14 February. Five days later El Federalista called his execution “judicial murder.” The opposition faded away as Álvarez submitted to Bustamante’s government.
      Mexico’s conservative government banned the sale of periodicals from outside the city on March 31, and heavy fines imposed on El Federalista caused it to shut down on April 23. Vicente Rocafuerte began publishing El Fénix de la Libertad in December and managed to survive the fines. Most members of the national Congress supported the conservative government, and both the Congress and the judiciary were plagued by corruption.

Mexico and Santa Anna 1832-44     

      On 2 January 1832 the garrison at Vera Cruz demanded that the federal ministers be dismissed, and two days later General Santa Anna offered to mediate. He also seized 279,000 pesos from customs duties and intercepted other government convoys. Concerned about charges made against them, four ministers resigned on the 11th. Minister Facio left that day to organize a military division in Jalapa under General José María Calderon. Santa Anna led an army that was defeated on March 3 at Tolome by 3,700 ministerial troops. He went back to Vera Cruz to raise another army of 2,500 men; but Calderon’s army besieged them on April 12. After losing a thousand men Calderon led his army back to Jalapa, and Santa Anna made an armistice with them on June 13. Mier y Terán commanded federal troops in the eastern states; but General Francisco Moctezuma’s force had defeated them at Tampico on May 13, and Mier committed suicide on July 3. Calderon left 800 troops at Vera Cruz.
      On July 5 leaders at Jalisco and Zacatecas with 4,000 militiamen persuaded the garrison at Vera Cruz that Pedraza was the legitimate president, not the intrusive Bustamante. That summer hundreds of citizens who opposed the government were detained in the capital. Francisco Moctezuma led a force into San Luis Potosí and defeated the troops there on August 3. Four days later the chamber of deputies made General Melchor Muzquiz the executive, and he replaced Vice President Bustamante on the 14th and appointed cabinet ministers on the 19th. Bustamante left the treasury owing 11,244,567 pesos, and he marched a Centralist army of 2,500 men and defeated Moctezuma’s 8,000 Federalists on September 18 in the bloody battle of El Gallinero. Bustamante then regained San Luis Potosí. On the 19th Santa Anna’s force defeated the government troops led by General Antonio Azcárate who was killed. Facio fled to the mountains, and Santa Anna marched into Puebla on October 4.
      In Mexico City the Congress gave executive authority to Pedraza, and they declared martial law with General Quintanar in command. He refused to surrender to Santa Anna’s army, and that army left to fight Bustamante’s force on November 12. Bustamante suffered heavy losses against Santa Anna in the suburbs of Puebla on December 5. The government had many defeats, and only Oaxaca and Chihuahua still obeyed the federal government. Pedraza met with Santa Anna, and they offered a peace plan to Bustamante on the 8th. The civil war was over, and a peace treaty was signed at Zavaleta on December 23 recognizing Pedraza as President until 1 April 1833. He appointed a cabinet that included Valentín Gómez Farías as Treasury Minister.
      Elections were completed in February 1833, and Santa Anna was elected President with Farías as Vice President. Santa Anna withdrew and let Farías govern with the liberal cabinet he chose. They introduced radical reforms of the two most powerful groups in Mexico. The military was reduced and lost their fueros (martial courts). The Church had their tithes made no longer mandatory; their communications were to be restricted to religion; Franciscan missions in California were secularized as their wealth was sequestered; schools were secularized, and the University of Mexico was closed. Santa Anna assumed his presidential duty on May 16, and on the 26th army officers led a revolt on behalf of the military fueros and the Church. His own revolting troops took Santa Anna captive on June 6 at Xuchi and tried to please the army by proclaiming him dictator. Some soldiers attacked the palace, but Farías was defended. Santa Anna issued his Manifesto to the Nation in support of the reforms. On the 23rd the Congress passed the ley del caso over the opposition of Farías that exiled fifty opponents of the government for six years including Bustamante who had given up his authority to Santa Anna; but he reclaimed it at Puebla on July 5. Five days later Santa Anna led an army of 2,400 men who drove the insurgents led by Arista into the city of Guanajuato where they surrendered to Santa Anna on October 8.
      Santa Anna then returned to the capital to govern with changed views. On December 16 he gave Vice President Farías authority again and retired to his estate at Mango de Clavo. Santa Anna returned to the capital and took the power back from Farías on 24 April 1834. On the 29th Santa Anna backed the church and then the plan of Cuernavaca on May 25, and eight days later he dissolved the Congress. They nullified laws that had reformed the Church and the military. The President also disbanded state legislatures, deposed governors and councils, and he replaced them with those following the Cuernavaca Plan. On June 3 the Church promised to give Santa Anna about 35,000 pesos per month for six months, and they accepted the abolition of tithing; in exchange the government promised not to expropriate Church property. This plan was supported by Durango and Zacatecas, but San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Yucatán, Puebla, and Jalisco opposed and were suppressed in the next three months.
      Late in 1834 Santa Anna convoked a congress, and they deposed Vice President Farías and replaced him with General Barragan on 27 January 1835. An amnesty law annulled the ley del caso. Once again Santa Anna retired and let Vice President Barragan govern, though Santa Anna issued his policies. On March 23 in the south Juan Álvarez led a revolt. The Zacatecas Governor Francisco Garcia also opposed the central dictatorship, but Santa Anna’s army defeated Álvarez and then the Zacatecas militia on May 11. On September 14 the two houses of Congress were merged into a general assembly, and on December 29 they enacted the Constitution of 1836 with the Seven Laws that

1) limited voting to citizens with $100, and office-holders had to have minimum annual incomes in the thousands.
2) mandated a Supreme Conservative Power with five members to balance the other branches,
3) established a legislature with deputies and senators,
4) gave the President an 8-year term,
5) provided a supreme court with eleven justices,
6) dissolved the states and organized the nation into military departments with councils chosen in their capitals, and
7) provided for amendments.
 
      President Barragan became ill and died, and on 27 February 1836 the deputies made José Justo Corro acting president. They elected Bustamante president, and his term began on 19 April 1837. Industrial lobbies gained tariffs that included rice, coffee, flour, timber, salt, soap, toys, and playing cards. On May 8 the members of the Supreme Conservative Power elected General Muzquiz their president. Spain finally recognized the independence of Mexico which on May 3 had ratified a treaty that promised not to interfere with Spanish colonies. With the Centralist Bustamante in power Federalists revolted in various places. His ministers resigned, and Bustamante decided to restore the federation and appointed a new cabinet on October 14. On 21 March 1838 the French demanded $600,000 for pastries stolen by Mexican soldiers, and on April 16 they suspended diplomatic relations. The French had 26 warships and 4,000 men and threatened the fortress at San Juan de Ulúa where ammunition exploded, killing more than 200. The French took over the fort and Vera Cruz. Mexico ordered the army increased to 33,000 men. On December 5 the Mexican army led by Santa Anna forced the French to retreat. On 9 March 1839 Mexico agreed to pay the $600,000, and the French left Vera Cruz in April. That month the government imposed its control over the press.
      From 1839 to 1846 the Mexican government had an average annual deficit of 12.7 million pesos. In April 1839 José Antonio Mejía and José Urrea issued a federalist pronunciamiento (plan) in Tamaulipas, and they marched an army toward the capital; but the Centralist army led by General Gabriel Valencia defeated them at Acajete in Vera Cruz on May 3 and executed Mejía. Yucatán rebelled on the 29th, and on 14 February 1840 they seceded from Mexico. On July 15 in Mexico City the Federalists’ pronunciamiento challenged President Bustamante, and he was taken prisoner but then escaped. The revolt ended on the 27th, and Bustamante regained power. Yucatán adopted a new constitution in March 1841. Mexico negotiated with Yucatán, and Santa Anna granted them autonomy on 5 December 1843.
      General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga began the Triangular or Jalisco revolt in Guadalajara on 8 August 1841 which erupted with the Ciudadela Barracks in Mexico City on September 4 and spread to Perote five days later. On that day Santa Anna met with Paredes and Valcencia, and they agreed that Bustamante had to go. He left for Europe on the 22nd and let the Council’s vice president Francisco Javier Echeverría fill in for him. Santa Anna occupied Tacubaya on the 25th and became provisional president on October 22. Guadalajara submitted, and Querétaro’s resistance faded away. Bravo gave in, and Urrea was made the commandant general of Sonora. Santa Anna decreed a general amnesty and began reforming the military, adding new regiments and the grenadier guard. He gained money by making Archbishop Manuel Posada y Garduño provide $200,000 and give up the Inquisition building, and a Jesuit estate was sold. Mexico had 24 departments counting Texas, and a congress convened in June 1842 to draft a new constitution that allowed a deputy for every 70,000 citizens out of a population of about seven million. Federalists produced a liberal constitution that went into effect in June 1843.
      As winter was coming on, Santa Anna retired again at his Vera Cruz estate, letting General Bravo govern as president of the Council; but Minister of War Tornel took the reins and strengthened the garrison at the capital. He would not let the proposed constitution pass, and a protest started on December 11 at Huejotzingo near Puebla demanding that notables revise the constitution. Central provinces and the garrison at Mexico City supported this. The deputies were locked out of the legislative hall and dissolved Congress on the 18th. Bravo announced that the government would appoint patriotic men to assist the ministers, and eighty prominent Centralists were installed on 6 January 1843. Their constitution of organic laws required an income of $1,200 for deputies and $2,000 for senators. Santa Anna returned in March, and on May 11 he stopped paying creditors and made a deal for the tobacco monopoly. He inaugurated the new constitution on June 8. He raised import duties by 20% and sold mining concessions to foreigners and thousands of military commissions. On October 5 he retired again and let Valentin Canalizo act as president. Although many people disliked the autocracy of Santa Anna, the elected national delegates chose him again as President on 2 January 1844. Yet he remained secluded at his estate until he returned to Mexico City on June 4.
      General Paredes led another revolt against Santa Anna’s dictatorship that was announced at Guadalajara in Jalisco on November 4. On the 18th Santa Anna entered Mexico City and assumed military control, but War Minister Reyes declared that illegal. Santa Anna went to fight resistance at Querétaro on the 25th. The two chambers were to meet on December 1, but armed force kept out returning members. News arrived that the Puebla garrison opposed Santa Anna, and a battalion of recruits declared they were for Paredes on the 5th. Other troops also called on General José Joaquín Herrera, president of the Council, to take control. The next day he summoned the deputies to a Franciscan convent, and they asked Canalizo to uphold the constitutional government and prevent violence. The Senate confirmed Herrera as interim president. Santa Anna had an army of about 14,000 men at Silao, but Herrera had 15,000 soldiers in the capital. Santa Anna led his men to Puebla; but Bravo commanded a large army that was supported by Paredes, Álvarez, and Arias from the north. Santa Anna withdrew from Puebla and decided to escape with a small force. He was captured at Jico and taken to Perote. Congress impeached him for violating the constitutional government and in December exiled him to Havana.

Mexican California 1817-44

California Missions 1768-1817

      Lt. Col. Pablo Vicente de Sola governed Alta (Upper) California 1815-22. In 1817 he reported that their defense capabilities would not enable them to dislodge intruding Russians. Russian trade had re-opened after a hiatus of one year. Sola sent another report to Viceroy Apodaca on 3 April 1818 in which he estimated that the “white” (European) population of California was 3,000, but there were more than 22,000 natives. On November 21 the Argentine pirate Hippolyte Bouchard attacked Monterey with about 200 men and took over the fort for six days while Governor Sola led a retreat to a rancho that later became Salinas. The Bouchard raid did damage estimated at $5,000. They went to Refugio, and on December 6 he reached Santa Barbara and exchanged his prisoner, the drunk Molina, for three prisoners. In January 1819 Apodaca sent two ships with troops and munitions for California, but that year not one ship brought any trading goods. On May 29 a band of 22 Amajavas (Mojaves) came to San Buenaventura to trade with neophytes who had been converted. The soldiers refused to let them do so, and in the fight they killed ten Amajavas and one neophyte. In 1820 five Spanish ships and four Russian vessels visited California.
      In March 1821 Governor Sola learned about the independence of Mexico from Spain, and members of his junta were the first to take the oath on April 11, soon followed by others at Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and San Diego. On May 21 the electors chose Sola to be their deputy in the Mexican Cortes, and the electors met at Monterey and chose themselves for the province on November 9. Then they elected Captain Luis Arguello to replace Sola as governor in 1822, and the capital remained at Monterey.
      The Chumash natives had to work to feed the Mexican soldiers, and many felt they gained little in return. On 21 February 1824 the flogging of a neophyte at the Santa Inés mission provoked a revolt by 554 Chumash. The priest and soldiers held out in a building, and Mexican soldiers arrived the next day from the Santa Barbara presidio. They trapped the Chumash rebels in the neophytes’ housing which they set on fire to force them out. They killed 15 Chumash women and children and four men; only one Mexican soldier died. Most of the Chumash fled to the missions at Santa Barbara and La Purísima where about 720 Chumash joined the revolt and captured the latter mission. After three days the Chumash released the families of the soldiers. About 550 more Chumash helped fortify the mission. In the fighting one Chumash man was killed along with four traveling Mexicans including José Dolores Sepulveda.
      At the same time the Chumash took over the Santa Barbara mission. Some Chumash men left with the women and children. Others fought the soldiers who came from the nearby presidio and killed two Chumash and wounded three while four soldiers were wounded. When the soldiers retreated to the presidio, the Chumash left for the hills. About 400 Chumash warriors stayed at La Purísima. On March 16 about a hundred Mexican soldiers attacked the Chumash there, killing 16 Chumash and wounding even more while suffering only three casualties. Many Chumash stopped working to produce food for the missions. Friar Ripoli wrote to Governor Arguello asking him to pardon the rebels, and on May 16 he did so except for those already convicted by military tribunals. Chumash leaders accepted the pardon on June 11, and almost all the natives returned to the missions.
      José María de Echeandía governed California 1825-31, and during those years the Mexican government sent 150 convicts to California and also recruited soldiers from Mexican jails. In 1829 Manuel Victoria was sent to govern Baja California. The natives Vicente Juan and Gaspar from the Soledad Mission began asking the Governor for their freedom in 1826. That year Echeandía arrested and banished Jedediah Smith to deter Americans from coming to California. Smith bought domesticated horses in California for $10 each and sold them at the annual mountain rendezvous for $50. Other mountain men such as Peg-leg Smith, Old Bill Williams, Joseph Reddeford Walker, Jim Beckwourth, and Jean Baptiste Chalifoux began stealing horses in California.
      Echeandía refused to expel Spaniards such as the priest José Barona from the San Juan Capistrano mission in 1828. That year he ordered officers to compel parents to send their children to schools, and in 1829 Alta California had 11 primary schools with 339 students. Soldiers went unpaid for years, and Joaquin Solis led a revolt by soldiers from San Francisco and San Jose who marched to Monterey in December; but their army was eventually defeated at Santa Barbara. Solis was captured in early February 1830. Mexico used California as a place to punish criminals, and that month they sent 80 prisoners from Acapulco to San Diego. Some were shipped to Santa Cruz island with cattle and fish-hooks, and others were forced to work for private employers. Fifty more were sent in July, and they worked for local officials. Echeandía’s secularization plan was approved by the deputies in August and was to transform the missions into pueblos. He decreed secularization on 6 January 1831, though it was considered illegal.
      Manuel Victoria had been appointed political chief of Alta California on 8 March 1830, and he began governing the territory on 31 January 1831. Narciso Duran had managed the San Jose Mission for many years, and in June he became the Father-President of the California missions. As all the missions except Santa Barbara were secularized, he moved to that mission. Victoria banished the opposition leader, José María Padrés, to the San Blas islands in October. On November 29 the senior vocal of the diputación (council), Pio Pico, with José Antonio Carrillo and Juan Bandini signed California’s first pronunciamiento, and they persuaded Echeandía to lead the movement. On December 5 they defeated Victoria’s forces at Cahuenga Pass near Los Angeles, and the seriously wounded Victoria was banished the next day. In the north Captain Agustin V. Zamorano organized a compania extranjera to defend Monterey from the southern takeover; but at Santa Barbara in May 1832 he made a truce, and Echeandía gave him military command in the north, establishing peace for the rest of the year.
      The Mestizo José Figueroa was appointed commandant general on April 17, and he governed Alta California from 15 January 1833 until he resigned because of illness on 27 August 1835. He was the first to issue printed proclamations in California. On 17 May 1833 Figueroa directed Minister Ortiz Monasterio to distribute mission lands to neophytes capable of farming. On July 14 Mexico’s acting Governor Farías appointed José María de Híjar as political chief to direct new colonization in California, but President Santa Anna soon reversed this. A legal election for the Council was finally held on the first two days of December by which Bandini was elected to Mexico’s Congress, and the seven members of the Council were re-elected. An epidemic in the Central Valley has been estimated to have killed about 35,000 Indians in 1833 and perhaps 60,000 California Indians in the 1830s.
      On 16 April 1834 the Mexican Congress decreed that all natives at the missions were to be emancipated and secularized, and self-supporting Christian neophytes were to be given land and goods from the missions; the California legislature enacted this on August 9. On 23 May 1835 Los Angeles proclaimed itself a city and the capital of California, but the capital Monterey indignantly objected. By the end of the year 16 of the 21 missions had been secularized, and this led to the founding of the San Juan Capistrano pueblo.
      José Castro became acting political chief on 29 August 1835, and on 2 January 1836 he transferred that office to Lt. Col. Nicolás Gutiérrez who held it for four months and then again from July to November. Col. Mariano Chico had been appointed on 16 December 1835, and he only governed from April to July 1836. Chico decreed that foreign cargo could only be imported at Monterey. He announced he was going to Mazatlan on July 29, and on that day Juan Bautista Alvarado for the Council brought charges against Chico who put Gutiérrez in command and left to get aid to restore order. At a meeting Castro moved that Gutiérrez must give up command or be banished. Alvarado was sent to get the cooperation of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in Sonoma, and Castro was put in command. Gutiérrez surrendered on November 5. On the 29th the Council made Vallejo commandant general, and on December 7 they elected Alvarado interim governor. Alvarado in July 1837 swore to uphold the constitution and to restore California to Mexico.
      Mexico had appointed Carlos Antonio Carrillo governor on 6 December 1836. On the 30th Mexico decreed that California had been made a department, and Alvarado circulated this publication on 4 September 1837; but news of Carrillo’s appointment did not reach Los Angeles until October 20 and Monterey ten days later. Carlos Carrillo took the oath on December 6. Although he supported Alvarado’s government, he wanted to make Los Angeles the capital. Alvarado in March sent Castro with fifteen men to Santa Barbara. On the 28th Castro reported that in a brief confrontation at San Buenaventura he had one man killed, but the 110 defenders fled from there. In early April 1838 he urged a committee in Los Angeles to meet Alvarado and cease hostilities. Don Carlos mobilized an army of at least a hundred men, but Castro and Alvarado marched south from Santa Barbara with 200 soldiers. Carlos Carrillo did not want to use a cannon, and he agreed to a treaty on April 23. The northern army took the captured cannon and returned to Monterey by ship.
      About May 20 the citizens of Los Angeles arrested Carlos Carrillo, José A. Carrillo, Pio Pico, and four others. Pio Pico was ill and served a short sentence, and Carlos Carrillo was paroled after a few days but had to stay in Santa Barbara and avoid politics. Alvarado visited Los Angeles in late June, and an assassination plot was prevented. Carlos Carrillo escaped from Santa Barbara in early August; but he urged the supreme government to pardon Alvarado, and he even entrusted his own family to his care. On June 30 the Mexican government had decreed amnesty for the political conflicts in California, recognized Alvarado as governor, urged him to grant an island to Antonio and Carlos Carrillo, and appointed Vallejo commandant general. In December 1838 the two Carrillos were suspected of plotting to overturn the government in San Diego, and they were arrested along with two Picos.
      On 17 January 1839 Alvarado issued new rules for managing the missions, and on April 24 he appointed the naturalized Englishman W. E. P. Hartnell to inspect the missions and make a report with a salary of $2,000 paid by the missions. Reforms were implemented, and he reported to Alvarado on 1 March 1840. The populations at the missions had been reduced greatly. San Diego had 1,455 neophytes in 1832 and only 274 in 1839; those at San Luis Rey fell from 2,788 to less than a thousand, at San Juan Capistrano from 900 to 80, at San Gabriel from 1,320 to 369, and at San Fernando from 782 to 416. The total number of cattle had been 151,180 with 137,977 sheep, and each had been reduced to less than 50,000.
      On 27 March 1840 the Junta accepted Monterey as the capital, though Pio Pico wanted it to be Los Angeles and protested vehemently. Isaac Graham was accused of being the leader of a conspiracy to revolt against the government. He and his companions were arrested on April 7, and in four days 39 foreigners were detained. Governor Alvarado had the prisoners deported from Monterey on the 24th to the island San Blas. More arrests were made in the south, and twelve were deported. An investigation found that they were innocent. They were brought back, and some were paid $250 in compensation. The Swiss immigrant Johann Sutter had changed his name to John. He came to California in 1839 and was naturalized in 1841, and on June 18 Governor Alvarado granted him 48,827 acres along the Sacramento River to establish Nueva Helvetia. Russians had established a colony at Fort Ross near Bodega Bay in March 1812, but by the end of 1841 the remaining Russian colonists had left California. Francisco Garcia Diego was made the bishop of the Californias in Mexico City in September 1840, but he did not reach his place of residence at Santa Barbara until 11 January 1842.
      That month Mexico appointed Brigadier General Manuel Micheltorena governor, commandant general, and inspector of California with a salary of $4,000. He raised an army of 500 soldiers though 300 of them were criminals selected for their trades from prisons. Micheltorena reached San Diego on August 25, and he took the oath of office in Los Angeles on December 31. Commodore Thomas Ap Catesby Jones commanded the US Pacific fleet of five ships. On 19 October 1842 he had demanded that Monterey surrender, and the next day he went ashore with 150 men. After a brief negotiation Mexican sovereignty was restored, and the Americans departed. Later the United States government made it clear that Jones had acted without authority, and he was recalled; but this harmless incident showed the desire of some Americans to take over California. Micheltorena stayed in the south for six months and did not reach Monterey until the summer of 1843. On March 29 he had decreed that padres were restored to twelve missions, but one-eighth of produce had to go into the public treasury. Yet the main problem of the missions was that they lacked funds.
      After driving government horses from Monterey to the Salinas Valley, Manuel Castro, Jesus Pico, and about fifty others met on November 14 and 15 and announced their revolt at the Cañada de San Miguel. One week later Governor Micheltorena led a battalion of about 150 men to put down the rebellion. Castro’s force retreated to Salinas. Alvarado was second in command, and he wrote to Vallejo asking for his support, horses, and supplies. About 220 rebels met Micheltorena’s battalion at the Laguna Seca, and in three days they negotiated a treaty. On December 16 he declared that the threat of civil war had passed away. Six days later they arrested Charles M. Weber for plotting against the government.

New Mexico

      After nearly twenty years of raiding by Navajos, the Hopis asked the Spaniards for help in 1818, and after defeating the Navajos the Spaniards made a treaty with the them in 1819. When New Mexico learned on 26 December 1821 that Mexico had become independent, Santa Fé had about 5,000 people. The total population of gente de razon (Hispanic Americans) in New Mexico was then about 30,000, and it would more than double by 1845 while the 10,000 Pueblos diminished a little. In the 1820s the Navajos often raided in northwestern New Mexico. In 1837 they devastated the Hopi village of Oraibi.
      William Becknell was from Missouri and was trading with natives when Mexican soldiers informed him that they were free of Spanish rule and invited him to go to Santa Fé. He did so and returned home with gold, silver, and furs that made astonishing profits for his investors. Other traders went there and established the Santa Fé Trail. In 1824 an expedition with 25 wagons with $35,000 in goods came back to Missouri with gold, silver, and furs worth $190,000. Profits soon moderated, and some years had a loss because of damage to goods or Indian attacks. There was trade every year between Santa Fé and Chihuahua from 1822 to 1843 when it reached a sudden peak with 230 wagons. In January 1825 they appropriated $30,000 for a road to Chihuahua. The trade between Missouri and Santa Fé lost 500 horses and mules in 1826 because of hostile “Indians” as they called them, and another party lost more than a thousand animals in 1828. In 1829 Major Riley ordered an escort by four companies of infantry from Fort Leavenworth. In 1830 traders began using oxen. Several men were killed in 1832-33, and in 1834 Captain Wharton escorted them with 60 dragoons. In 1837 Taos opened a custom-house for foreign trade.
      The Mexican republic made New Mexico a territory on 6 July 1824 and one of the departments on 29 December 1836. The ruler in Santa Fé from 1823 to 1837 was called the “political chief” and after that “governor.” Comanches, Navahos, and Apaches often attacked the Pueblos. In 1824 Santa Fé had 119 soldiers, but in 1826 a Mexican law provided $263,646 for 300 cavalry plus 200 militia. In 1829 Antonio Armijo blazed a trail from Santa Fé through what is now Utah to Los Angeles that became known as the Old Spanish Trail. José Antonio Vaca also pioneered the connection with California in 1830.
      Taos got a printing press, but the Crepúsculo newspaper was published for only four weeks in 1835 so that Padre Antonio José Martínez could get elected to congress. He became the Curate of Taos, and on 28 November 1843 Martínez wrote “An Exposition of Things in New Mexico” to General Santa Anna advising that the Mexican government had allowed the Indians to fall into a miserable condition, making them thieves and robbers. He warned that buffalo hunting had become hazardous, and he noted that millions of calves were lost each year because cows were slaughtered during the breeding season. He suggested that they “induce these Indian tribes to live in civilized society, to cultivate lands, to exercise various arts or industries.”1
      On 16 October 1835 Governor Albino Pérez proclaimed a new law to stop the sale of weapons and horses to Comanche, Apache, Ute, and Navajo raiders. Also Mexican citizens would have to get a license from the Governor to trap beaver, and they were prohibited from selling beaver to the Americans. In June 1836 another law imposed a tax on wagons bringing foreign merchandise to Santa Fé. Pérez established two primary schools on July 16, and a law imposed fines and jail for children who did not attend regularly. In April 1837 the Mexican government increased the power of the governor. In July the northern Pueblos, dissatisfied with Mexican protection and taxes, revolted and marched on Santa Fé. Governor Pérez led a force of 150 militia that included Pueblos; but they were defeated, and the rebels captured Pérez and a few other leaders and killed them.
      On August 9 about 2,000 natives gathered at the capital, and they elected as governor José González from the Taos tribe. He appointed other natives and confiscated property of former politicians. Former Governor Manuel Armijo (1827-29) raised an army on September 8 and was joined by 300 troops from Chihuahua at Santa Fé. They defeated the rebels on 27 January 1838 and executed González and several leaders. Armijo was elected again and governed until April 1844.
      In the summer of 1841 Col. Hugh McLeod led the ill-fated Santa Fé Expedition of 300 Texans, but Comanches and Armijo’s soldiers overcame them in the desert. On October 5 McLeod and 200 men surrendered at Laguna Colorado, and the prisoners did not reach San Miguel until January 1842. Some were released in April, and President Santa Anna ordered the others let go on June 13. Texas President Houston sent two forces to retaliate against the New Mexicans, but both of these excursions were punished by the United States government and military.
      In the late 1830s Antoine Robidoux became a Mexican citizen, and he built trading posts in the northern territory on the Gunnison and Uintah rivers. He traded guns and ammunition for pelts, and this worsened the conflicts between Utes and New Mexicans.
      On 13 June 1843 Mexico decreed that the departments would elect legislative assemblies with 7 to 11 members replacing the juntas. In 1844 Governor Mariano Martínez de Lejanza provoked a war with the Utes, and they intensified their raiding.
      A few Spaniards had colonized what is now Arizona on ranches near presidios until their rule ended in 1822. After that the only Mexican settlements were at Tucson and Tubac. In 1843 Manuel Gándara incited the Papago and Gila tribes, but they repented and were pardoned in May. Apaches were usually friendly to Americans until 1836.

Texas Revolution in Mexico 1817-36
Texas Republic 1836-44

Note

1. Turmoil in New Mexico 1846-1868 by William A. Keleher, p. 70.

Copyright © 2020 by Sanderson Beck

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Brazil, Argentina & Chile 1817-44
Venezuela, Colombia & Peru 1817-44

Caribbean & Central America 1817-44
Mexico and Democracy 1817-44
US Era of Monroe & J. Q. Adams 1817-2
Native Tribes, Removal & the West
Jacksonian Democracy 1829-37
US Depression, Van Buren & Tyler 1837-44
Canada Becomes Democratic 1817-44
Slavery and Abolitionists 1817-44
Women Reforming America 1817-44
American Philosophy & Religion 1817-44
Emerson’s Transcendentalism
Literature of Irving, Cooper & Whittier
Summary & Evaluating America 1817-44
Bibliography

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