First Mexican Republic

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First Mexican Republic
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{{For|the current entity named United Mexican States|Mexico}}

{{flag|United States}}}}The First Mexican Republic, known also as the First Federal Republic (), was a federated republic and nation-state officially designated the United Mexican States (, {{Audio|Es-mx-Estados Unidos Mexicanos.ogg|listen}}).NEWS, Romo, Rafael, After nearly 200 years, Mexico may make the name official,weblink CNN, November 23, 2012, WEB,weblink About Mexico, Embajada de Mexico en Estados Unidos (Mexican Embassy in the United States), December 3, 2012, July 17, 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink December 2, 2013, WEB,weblink Presidency of Mexico, Official name of the country, March 31, 2005, May 30, 2010, The First Mexican Republic lasted from 1824 to 1835, when conservatives under Antonio López de Santa Anna transformed it into a centralized state, the Centralist Republic of Mexico.The republic was proclaimed on November 1, 1823WEB, Acta Constitutiva de la Nación Mexicana.,weblink 500 años de México en documentos., January 24, 2016, by the Constituent Congress, months after the fall of the Mexican Empire ruled emperor Agustin I, a former royalist military officer-turned-insurgent for independence. The federation was formally and legally established on October 4, 1824 when the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States came into force.WEB, Decreto. Constitución federal de los Estados-Unidos Mexicanos.,weblink 500 años de México en documentos., January 22, 2015, It was bordered on the north by the United States and Oregon Country (or Columbia District); on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Federal Republic of Central America, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico.Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, 3rd ed., Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, Merriam-Webster; p. 733The Federal Republic lasted almost twelve years with constant struggles between the main political parties: the Conservatives, landowners and former monarchists, favoring a strong central government and a confessional state; and the Liberals, republicans favoring a limited government power divided among the federated states and a secular nation. The conflict caused severe political instability and violence. In his geopolitical work on the history of Mexico, titled "Origins of Instability in Early Republican Mexico", American historian Donald Fithian Stevens remarked that "independence transformed Mexico from Spain's largest and most prosperous colony to a sovereign nation suffering economic decline and political strife."Stevens, Donald Fithian. Origins of Instability in Early Republican Mexico. Duke University Press 1991, p. 1.The republic was ruled by two triumvirates and nine presidents. Guadalupe Victoria was the only president who completed his full term in this period and in almost 30 years of independent Mexico.WEB, How the First President of the United Mexican States came into office.,weblink 500 años de México en documentos, July 4, 2015, Spanish, English, On October 23, 1835, after the repeal of the Constitution of 1824, the Federal Republic was changed to a Centralist Republic. The unitary regime was formally established on December 30, 1836, with the enactment of the seven constitutional laws.WEB, Se transita del federalismo al centralismo mediante las Bases de Reorganización de la Nación Mexicana.,weblink 500 años de México en documentos., January 24, 2016,

Independence and immediate aftermath

The Spanish overseas possession of the Viceroyalty of New Spain lasted for 300 years, from 1521 with the fall of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and the foundation of Mexico City until the collapse of the viceroyalty in following years of civil war and military stalemate. An insurgency for independence from Spain lasted from the initial 1810 mass revolt, led by secular cleric Miguel Hidalgo and continued under another secular cleric, José María Morelos, and carried on the hot country of Mexico's south by Vicente Guerrero. Augustin Iturbide, a royalist military officer born in New Spain of Spanish parents, made a strategic alliance with Guerrero under the Plan of Iguala, in which the former foes fought in tandem to oust Spanish rule. The plan proclaimed Mexico a nation-state; Roman Catholicism as the sole religion; the equality of Spaniards and American-born Spaniards and abolished legal racial designations, and was to be a constitutional monarchy. On September 27, 1821, Mexico obtained its sovereignty under the Treaty of Córdoba, which recognized New Spain as an independent empire, which took the name the Mexican Empire.

Rise and fall of the First Mexican Empire

Elite American-born Spaniards in New Spain had no real experience with exercising political power other than on their city councils, so that monarchy was the familiar form of rule. No European of royal blood stepped in to assume the royal title in Mexico. A minority of the Constituent Congress in search of stability chose as monarch the general Agustín de Iturbide, who had led the war effort against Spain. He was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on May 18, 1822. Political turmoil ensued, with Iturbide dissolving the Constituent Congress in October 1822 and jailing the legislators. Several members were jailed simply for expressing their disagreement with Iturbide. When Iturbide eliminated the elected Congress, he established an appointed National Board in its place. The dismissal of the Congress, the dictatorial style of government adopted by the Emperor, and the absence of solutions to the serious problems that the country was going through increased the conspiracies to change the imperial system.The military men sent to crush the opposition instead proclaimed against Iturbide and issued the Plan of Casa Mata, which sought to create a new constituent assembly. Generals Antonio López de Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria drafted the Plan of Casa Mata in December 1822, which was proclaimed on 1 February 1823. It appealed to the political subdivisions of Mexico who sought local autonomy and home rule.Rodríguez O., Jaime, "Plan of Casa Mata", in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 2, p. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996. Several insurrections occurred in the Mexican provinces beginning in December, but they were all put down by the Imperial Army, except for Santa Anna's forces in Veracruz. Santa Anna had previously made a secret agreement with General Echávarri, the commander of the Imperial forces. By this agreement, the Plan of Casa Mata was to be proclaimed throughout Mexico on February 1, 1823, and Echávarri was to switch sides to join the insurgents. This plan did not recognize the First Mexican Empire and called for the convening of a new Constituent Congress. The insurrectionists sent their proposal to the provincial delegations and requested their adherence to the plan. In the course of just six weeks, the Plan of Casa Mata traveled to such remote places as Texas, and almost all the provinces supported the plan.Antonio López de Santa Anna proclaimed the Plan of Casa Mata, which was later joined by Vicente Guerrero and Nicolás Bravo. Iturbide was forced to reinstate the Congress, and in a vain attempt to save the order and keep the situation favorable to his supporters, he abdicated on March 19, 1823. However, the restored Congress declared the appointment of Iturbide void ab initio, and thus refused recognition of the abdication. On 8 April, the Congress declared the Plan of Iguala and the Treaty of Córdoba void as well. With that the Empire was dissolved and the country declared its freedom to establish itself as it saw fit.

Provisional Government of Mexico (1823-1824)

The forced abdication of the emperor made the debate about how Mexico should constitute itself as a nation-state an urgent issue. It decided on a federated republic, which was the preferred form of government for most of Mexican provinces. The Bourbon Reforms of the eighteenth century had created administrative districts, intendancies, which decentralized power from the viceroy in Mexico City and empowered the intendants to communicate directly with the crown about their issues, rather than having Mexico City convey information. With this, provinces found themselves with a level of home rule that they were reluctant to give up when New Spain threw off Spanish rule and established the constitutional monarchy. With the end of that bridging period between Spanish monarchical rule and the Mexican monarchy, regions of Mexico sought to reassert their autonomy. For historian Timothy Anna, "the transition federal republic was the real 'revolution' because the old gave way to the new in Mexican history.”Timothy Anna, Forging Mexico, 1821-1835. University of Nebraska Press 1998, p. x In the period after abdication, Mexico opted to form a federal republic, much as the United States had already done (and later Canada did), a practical and workable solution "that allowed competent national government and an effective regional voice [which] was a delicate balancing act requiring frequent revision."

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