The Formation of the Federal Republic
The Formation of the Federal Republic
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter explains how Mexico, utilizing the institutions established by the Constitution of Cádiz, formed a federal republic in 1824. The Mexican Constitution of 1824 was based on the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 because distinguished novohispanos, who had participated in writing the Charter of Cádiz, wrote the Mexican federal constitution. Mexico implemented the institutions created by the Constitution of 1812 more fully than any other nation in the Hispanic world, including Spain itself. Indeed, most Mexicans considered the Charter of Cádiz their first constitution.
WHEN MEXICO achieved its independence in September 1821, few imagined that the country would soon become a republic, much less a federal republic. The autonomists, the members of the national elite who gained power at independence, favored establishing a constitutional monarchy with the king of the Spanish Monarchy or a member of the royal family as sovereign. When the Spanish Monarchy rejected their proposal, and faced with military and popular pressure, the country's political leaders reluctantly accepted a native, Agustín de Iturbide, as Mexico's first emperor. Neither the new emperor nor the Mexico City–based national elite realized the degree to which the constitutional revolution and the eleven-year insurgency had transformed the nation. They continued to act as though the old balance of power remained unchanged and that supreme authority resided in the capital despite the emergence of the regional and local bodies created by the Hispanic Constitution of 1812, the provincial deputations, and the constitutional ayuntamientos. As a result, conflict ensued between the newly empowered provincial elites, who sought to institutionalize local control, and the national elite, which insisted on maintaining power in the center.
The Junta of Puebla
The Plan of Casa Mata galvanized the civilian and military provincial elites. After generals Victoria and Santa Anna agreed to the Plan on February 3, 1823, in Veracruz, General Echáverri distributed copies of the document to all the provincial deputations, to the ayuntamientos of the capital of each province, and to the military commanders throughout the empire. Within six weeks, all the provincial deputations had accepted the Plan and, together with the ayuntamientos of their capitals, assumed control of their provinces.1 The rapidity with which the provinces approved the Plan of Casa Mata indicates that local leaders were well organized and that the regions of Mexico genuinely desired home rule. Among the most active politicians were Miguel Ramos Arizpe, who had been appointed chantre of the Cathedral of Puebla, and José Mariano Michelena, whose brother Juan José had been elected member of the (p.306) Provincial Deputation of Michoacán. They and numerous individuals in several provinces maintained that the national government had ceased to exist and that the provinces were obliged to form a new one.2 On March 4, 1823, the Provincial Deputation of Puebla invited the provinces to send representatives to meet in the city of Puebla to discuss the establishment of a provisional government and to determine whether the Cortes should be reestablished or another congress elected as the Plan of Casa Mata required. In Valladolid, Michelena proposed that the provinces of Michoacán, Guanajuato, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, and the Eastern Interior Provinces send representatives to Querétaro to determine a course of action. The Michelena proposal created some confusion among the leaders of the provinces who had received the earlier Puebla proposal. In the end they agreed to meet in the city of Puebla.3
Some military men had also organized themselves into a body called the “Liberating Army” whose mission was to free members of the Cortes arrested by Iturbide and restore the congress. Generals Echáverri, Victoria, and Santa Anna marched on Jalapa and arrived in Puebla by March 4, 1823, where they joined General José Morán, the Marqués de Vivanco. They approved the proposal sent by the Provincial Deputation of Puebla and, together with the other provincial representatives, formed a Junta de Puebla to negotiate with the representatives of the emperor. Five days later, the group agreed that the Cortes would be reinstated to convene a new constituent congress. That body would determine the fate of the emperor. Since all believed that force might be necessary to carry out their proposals, the commander of the Liberating Army, José Morán, assumed leadership of the group.4 Unlike Iturbide who managed to remain at the center of events after he rebelled in 1821, Santa Anna soon became a bystander while other more prominent military men and urban leaders took control of the situation. Circumstances changed, however, when Iturbide, who misinterpreted the demands of the provinces, reconvened the Cortes and abdicated on March 19, 1823.
The Sovereign Cortes
The failure of Iturbide's short-lived empire ensured that any future government would be republican. But the question of how the nation was to be organized remained unresolved. Although many in the provinces aspired to greater autonomy, key regional officials were centralists who agreed with those in Mexico City who preferred a strong national government. The recalled Constituent Cortes included many deputies who favored a strong national regime. Some, like Carlos María de Bustamante, maintained that demagogues had misled the regions. The procentralist deputies believed that the nature of the country's government should be decided in parliamentary debate, despite the provinces' adherence to the Plan of Casa Mata. In their view, reasonable and forceful action by the Cortes could restore confidence, permitting the deputies to decide the nation's future. Bustamante, of course, expected centralism to prevail.5
The political system could not be easily reconstituted, however. The national government had ceased to exist when Iturbide abdicated on March 19, 1823. A power vacuum ensued at the national level; there was no executive. The reconvened congress, composed of the deputies arrested by Iturbide and recently (p.307) freed and former members of the Junta Nacional Instituyente, lacked a quorum and could not function. A coalition, consisting of military leaders, exiled congressmen, members of the Junta de Puebla, and the representatives of several provincial deputations, was marching to Mexico City from Puebla. Their arrival would change the power relations in the capital. However, procentralist deputies believed that the political vacuum had to be ended immediately. Despite their repeated efforts to declare congress in session, the opposition refused. Even before Iturbide resigned, some legislators questioned the legitimacy of the reconvened Cortes. On March 10, Miguel Muñoz declared that the actions of the provinces indicated that they wished to replace the existing legislature. “We should pass no measures,” he insisted, “because there are no deputies; their authority has been annulled” by the acts of the provinces. “Although they may be reelected, at the present there is no congress.” Deputy Melchor Múzquiz maintained that the restored assembly had but one function: to convene elections for a new legislature.6
Although Carlos María de Bustamante and his supporters argued that declaring the Cortes legally reinstated did not contravene the Plan of Casa Mata, they were unable to obtain a majority. The Constituent Cortes remained hamstrung. When Iturbide abdicated on March 19, Minister of Interior and Foreign Relations José del Valle requested that the legislature appoint an acting executive. Congress replied that without a quorum, it could not act. Indeed, even Carlos María de Bustamante argued that no action need be taken because according to the laws of the Hispanic Cortes then in force, the provincial deputations could act in the absence of the jefe político superior. Other deputies concurred. Francisco Manuel Sánchez de Tagle asserted that no national government existed because, once the other provinces ceased to recognize his regime, Iturbide had been governing only the Province of México.7 The members of the constituent congress essentially affirmed the actions of the provincial deputations and implied that the Province of Mexico, the richest and most populous of the country's provinces, should follow the rest in asserting home rule.
The arrival of the coalition on March 26, 1823, turned the balance in favor of the restoration of a national government. The returning deputies provided a quorum. With 103 legislators present, the Cortes declared itself in session on March 29 and set about the business of governing the country. It recognized that no executive power existed and appointed a commission, composed of José María Fagoaga, Valentín Gómez Farías, Francisco Antonio Tarrazo, Bonifacio Fernández de Córdoba, Manuel López de la Plata, and Santiago Alcocer, to recommend a provisional executive. It also abrogated the Plan of Iguala and the Treaty of Córdoba, thus formally separating Mexico from the Spanish Monarchy and opening the way for a full discussion of the nation's institutional structure.8 Like the earlier Hispanic Cortes, which harbored deep suspicions of executive authority, the constituent congress held that only the legislature truly represented the nation. Painfully aware of the “tyrannies” of Fernando VII of Spain and Agustín I of Mexico, legislators were reluctant to grant executive power to a single individual. On March 30, the commission recommended that “the executive power of the state will be provisionally exercised by a body called the Governing Junta.” It also recommended that the body “be composed of three members who will alternate each month the presidency.” Some (p.308) searched for a term that, while recognizing the functions of the executive, would not include the word junta in the title. After wide-ranging discussion, Sánchez de Tagle declared:
We are wasting time on useless questions. If it is the poder ejecutivo (executive power), why should we not call it by its proper name, using correct terms with rigor? I say the same about the particular individuals. Outside this [chamber] we are no one; gathered [here] we represent the supreme power of the nation. The individuals of the executive power should be called “members of the supreme executive power.” It is appropriate that it should be called supreme because power has been so subdivided that it is used by the magistrate of the most miserable town as well as those from the leading cities. It should be called supreme to distinguish it from the others.9
The commission agreed with him. In the end, the Cortes compromised by creating a triumvirate called the Supremo Poder Ejecutivo (Supreme Executive Power) that would alternate the presidency among its members on a monthly basis. On March 31, congress selected two former insurgents, Mexican generals Nicolás Bravo and Guadalupe Victoria, and a former royalist, Spanish general Pedro Celestino Negrete, to serve in the Supreme Executive Power. The Cortes swore in the new officials as follows:
Do you recognize the sovereignty of the Mexican Nation represented by the deputies that it has named to this Constituent Congress?
Do you swear to obey the decrees, laws, and orders that it will establish … and order that they be observed and executed; to conserve the independence, liberty and integrity of the Nation; [to protect] the Roman Catholic, Apostolic religion with intolerance to any other; and to promote the general well-being of the state?10
Later, Mexican generals José Mariano Michelena, José Miguel Domínguez, and Vicente Guerrero were elected as substitutes for Victoria, Bravo, and Negrete, who were in the field with their troops.
The restored Cortes sought to control the powerful and nearly independent high-ranking military men by appointing generals to the Supreme Executive Power. But the national government could not fully dominate the armed forces. Generals and their armies remained important in many regions. Indeed, formal political gatherings throughout the country always included the senior commanders of the area. Although technically representatives of the national government, commanding officers often assumed contradictory roles in the provinces. Their relationships with provincial elites made them important interlocutors between provincial and national leaders or interest groups. General Bravo, for example, participated in the formal ceremonies when Oaxaca established an autonomous Junta Provisional Gubernativa on February 24, 1823.11
Who Is Sovereign?
The growth of political participation during the years 1820 to 1823 is astounding.The gallery of “Gobernación” in the Archivo General de la Nación (AGN) in Mexico City contains thousands of legajos (bundles of papers), many dealing with this period. Countless letters, reports, requests, complaints, and other materials record the intensity and diversity of political activity in the country.12
(p.309) Hundreds of legajos contain laws, decrees, circulars, and information that was disseminated nationwide with amazing rapidity. Typical is an 1821 legajo with a circular informing officials and corporations that the Soberana Junta was to be addressed as “Your Majesty,” as well as hundreds of responses from throughout Mexico. Some letters state that the official had received thirty, forty, sixty, or one hundred copies of the document. Others declare that additional copies had been made for local distribution.13 To ensure rapid communications, the national government issued a decree in 1822 dismissing any official who did not properly disseminate information within three days of its receipt.14 The AGN is filled with requests from all parts of the country for clarification of specific decrees and inquiries as to their relationship to earlier laws. Provincials were particularly concerned about electoral procedures.15
The political future of Mexico was uncertain at the end of March 1823 because neither the national nor the provincial elites could agree upon the kind of government they desired. Supporters of federalism (strong provincial government) and centralism (a powerful national government) were found in all areas of the country. Partisans of various factions in the capital kept in close contact with like-minded individuals in the provinces. Thus the Mexico City “federalists” often coordinated their actions with their counterparts in the localities. Provincial deputations took the lead in organizing their regions, while ayuntamientos outside the provincial capitals played a similar role in their areas.
The printing press became the indispensable political instrument of all factions. Proponents of opposing views used the press to present their ideas to the public. In Mexico City, El Sol supported a strong national government, while El Aguila Mexicana advocated provincial autonomy. Politically active Mexicans learned of significant events within days of their occurrence, they possessed copies of important documents, and they acted in concert with compatriots in distant provinces.
The ayuntamientos became focal points of political activity. Local elites were determined to play a role in the formation of the national government. From Ciudad Real, Chiapas in the south to Béjar, Texas, in the north, the ayuntamientos insisted on the importance of local government.16 Many lengthy reports argue that only at the provincial level could Mexicans obtain the kind of responsive government they required. The Ayuntamiento of Mérida, for example, maintained that uniform laws could not meet provincial needs in a vast country, with different climatic, social, political, geographic, and economic conditions. The Ayuntamiento of Béjar claimed that only local officials could understand regional requirements. Mérida added that the provinces needed to control their representatives because a deputy who resided in Mexico City too long would become a capitalino and forget his region.17
Leading provincial Mexicans were convinced by 1823 that only federalism could keep the nation united. They insisted on the sovereignty of the provinces, but they also agreed that the country must not fragment. Every ayuntamiento affirmed that provincial sovereignty did not conflict with national unity. They asserted that the country needed a “center of union.”18 However, there was a diversity of opinions about the appropriate distribution of shared sovereignty. Radical federalists favored a preponderance of provincial sovereignty while centralists favored ceding sovereignty to the Cortes. As if to affirm their commitment (p.310) to national unity, the local bodies kept the minister of internal and external affairs informed of their actions. Some issued detailed statements concerning the division of power between the national government and the regions. Guadalajara, for example, declared that the national government had the right to appoint generals, while the provinces retained the authority to name colonels and lower-ranking officers. Similarly, Mérida insisted that only the national government could propose bishops; all other clerical appointments were reserved for the states.19 Such views were consistent with Hispanic political practice.
Local leaders generally believed that sovereignty reverted to them when the Iturbide regime had ceased to exist. As Guadalajara declared: “Now that the first and the second allegiance we had were destroyed, exempt from the obedience that we granted the Spanish government and after to the emperor that Mexico had, Guadalajara and its other sister provinces enter naturally into their state of liberty and independence.”20 Under the circumstances, the provincial leaders maintained that the sole function of the restored Cortes was to prepare a convocatoria for a new constituent congress, which would be elected on the basis of population according to the principles of the Hispanic Constitution. The majority in the restored congress, however, rejected the demands of the provinces. In keeping with another aspect of Hispanic constitutional tradition, they considered the Mexican Cortes the repository of national sovereignty. Like the Hispanic Cortes in 1810, the Mexican congress believed that it alone possessed the authority and power to select the government best suited to the nation.
A struggle erupted between the newly reconstituted national regime and the provinces over the form of government Mexico would have. Unlike most other provinces, where the provincial deputations assumed authority, in Oaxaca there was widespread support for establishing a new institution to serve as a provincial government until a new national congress was elected. Although some oaxaqueños believed that the provincial deputation should administer the province, most favored the creation of a Junta Provisional Gubernativa (Provisional Governing Junta). An anonymous Manifiesto, issued on March 22, justified these actions on the grounds that a transitional government was necessary because Iturbide had been a tyrant who had made himself emperor with the support of the masses of Mexico City and the military. The document stated that Oaxaca acted appropriately in creating the Junta Provisional Gubernativa to exercise authority in the province. It also noted that the provincial deputation had been ineffective and that the Junta Provisional, which included members from the provincial deputation, was a stronger body that could defend Oaxaca's interests.21 General Bravo, who was there with his army, agreed to convene a joint meeting of the provincial deputation and the Ayuntamiento of Antequera to select members for the new body, which was formed on February 24. It consisted of nineteen members and included the provincial deputation and representatives from the ayuntamiento and from the clergy and the military. Manuel Nicolás de Bustamante, Carlos María's brother who subsequently became a strong federalist, was chosen president of the Junta. By creating the Junta Provisional Gubernativa, Oaxaca established a precedent in favor of local control.
Yucatán, like Oaxaca, endorsed an extreme form of federalism. The provincial deputation and the Constitutional Ayuntamiento of Mérida met on April 9 to consider how to respond to the new circumstances. Believing that the nation (p.311) lacked an effective government, Yucatán's leaders formed a Junta Provisional Administrativa (Provisional Administrative Junta) to maintain order and tranquility in the province. News of the restored national regime did not alleviate their concerns. The Junta voted on April 25 to recognize the authority of the Supreme Executive Power and the reconvened Cortes on two conditions: that elections be held for a new legislature and that the national government agree not to meddle in the province's internal affairs.22 Since Yucatán considered itself autonomous, it began organizing its administration without waiting for approval either from Mexico City or from the other provinces.
Many legislators in Mexico City were reluctant to relinquish power by convening a new congress; however, congressmen who agreed with the provinces managed, on April 2, to appoint a committee, consisting of Mariano Herrera, Javier Bustamante, Carlos María de Bustamante, Francisco Sánchez de Tagle, Toribio González, Tomás Beltranena, and Valentín Gómez Farías, to consider what ought to be done. The representatives of the provincial deputations of
The provincial commissioners responded immediately and forcefully. On April 18, they informed the Cortes that the provinces of Mexico lacked confidence in the present legislature and demanded the election of a new constituent congress. The people, they declared, did not support the actions of:
a congress whose members were elected without appropriate liberty and named from a limited number of selected classes. A congress in which the national representation is monstrously established upon the number of partidos rather than on population…. A congress of deputies chosen for the specific purpose of creating a monarchy, rather than the form of government most convenient to the Nation…. A congress in which many of its members had lost the confidence of the public and were unworthy of the high posts they held.
Here they are, no doubt, referring to the deputies who participated in Iturbide's Junta Nacional Instituyente. Although the commissioners had referred to “the vote of our provinces,” they declared that in fact they reflected the will “of the entire Nation.”24
Seeking support for its action in the provinces, the Cortes ordered the committee report of April 12 printed and circulated. Some deputies, among them Servando Teresa de Mier, believed the “eloquent” report would calm provincial fears and allow congress to organize the nation.25 Others, considering themselves the representatives of the regions, sought local support to convene a new legislature. They prevailed because the overwhelming majority of provinces insisted on convoking a new body. Although many questioned the authority of the Cortes, the principal complaint of the regions was that the legislature did not adequately represent them since the first convocatoria did not provide proportional representation. Therefore, they demanded the election of a new assembly selected on the principles of proportional representation used earlier by the Hispanic Cortes.26
News of congress's decision not to convene a new legislature infuriated many provincial leaders who believed that they alone possessed the authority to form a new political system. In their view, the Plan of Casa Mata not only granted the provincial deputations local autonomy, but also required the convening of a new congress. Since they had formally adhered to the Plan of Casa Mata and extended recognition to the Supreme Executive Power and to the reconvened Cortes for the purpose of calling a new assembly, the leaders of the provinces believed that a new national accord had been reached.27
The publication of the Cortes's decision not to hold new elections prompted some regions to withdraw their support for the national government. The Provincial (p.313) Deputation of Guadalajara, meeting in special session on Friday, May 9, voted to rescind its earlier recognition of congress, declaring that the Province of Guadalajara had recognized that body only for the purpose of convening a new legislature.28 Three days later, the Provincial Deputation and the Constitutional Ayuntamiento of Guadalajara, meeting in extraordinary session, agreed to support the creation of a federal republic. They also resolved that they would no longer obey decrees and orders from the Cortes and the Supreme Executive Power; that until a new congress was elected, the provincial deputation would be the highest authority in the province; that three members of the ayuntamiento would participate in the deliberations of the provincial deputation; and that these dispositions would be communicated in writing to all other provincial deputations in the nation, urging them to establish a general federation. Finally, the provincial assembly instructed Captain General Luis Quintanar to make its views known to the national government.29 Thus the Province of Guadalajara took the lead in rejecting the authority of the existing government and in proposing the creation of a federal republic.
The national government continued to function, despite the opposition of the provinces. The Supreme Executive Power dealt with countless mundane issues. The Cortes proceeded to organize the nation, addressing a variety of questions from finances to diplomatic relations. Although many deputies continued to insist that a new congress should be convened, the majority refused to act. Proposals that a committee be appointed to draft a constitution also garnered little support.30
A group of deputies, led by Father Mier, attempted to resolve the impasse by secretly drafting a constitution that addressed provincial concerns while providing a strong national government. When the group had completed its task, on May 14, Mier managed to obtain the appointment of a personally selected committee, ostensibly to study the question of whether or not the existing congress should write a constitution. Two days later, the committee, composed of Mier, José del Valle, José María Jiménez, Juan de Dios Mayorga, Francisco María Lobardo y García, José Mariano Marín, Lorenzo de Zavala, Javier Bustamante, José María Bocanegra, and Gómez Farías, instead submitted a Plan de la constitución política de la Nación Mexicana sobre las bases de la República Federativa (Plan of the political constitution of the Mexican Nation on the basis of a federal republic), which provided some local autonomy while maintaining strong national control. Although not all members supported the plan, most of the committee hoped that it could serve as a basis for establishing a national government.31
The Plan was not discussed in congress. A furious Mier declared: “the impatient screams [of the provinces] … did not permit us to discuss and approve it. They have questioned our authority and we have had to deal with the convocatoria.”32 On Saturday, May 17, Minister of Interior Lucas Alamán addressed a special evening session of the Cortes to inform that body that Guadalajara had rejected Mexico City's authority and declared its independence. A heated debate erupted between those who believed that force should be used to prevent the provinces from overwhelming the capital and those who argued that the national government must yield to the wishes of the regions. Since nothing was decided that day, the legislators met again on Sunday, May 18. Minister (p.314) Alamán warned that the nation would collapse unless prompt action was taken. He also informed congress that “Yucatán and Guadalajara threaten to separate.”33 He exaggerated, there is no evidence that the provinces sought to secede, rather the reactions of the provincial autonomists reflected their distrust of the Mexico City–oriented elite.
At the request of the executive, the Cortes met in a special night session on Tuesday, May 20. Both Michelena, who was acting president of the Supreme Executive Power, and Alamán urged moderation. The majority finally agreed to submit a proposal to convene a new legislature. Partisans of the existing government, including Mier, Carlos María de Bustamante, José María Fagoaga, and José Mariano Marín, fought valiantly but unsuccessfully to stem the tide.34 The vote in favor of convening a new congress was 71 for and 33 against, with deputies from the Province of México in overwhelming opposition. Although his province had been the first to establish an autonomous government, Carlos María de Bustamante wrote the authorities in Antequera: “I have the honor of belonging to that small group [of deputies who opposed the measure], and not have given my unfortunate Nation this last impulse to consummate its ruin.”35
Even though they lost, the proponents of a strong national government were unwilling to capitulate. They convinced the majority to publish the Plan de la constitución política de la Nación Mexicana and to distribute it nationally in the hope that provincial leaders would accept the document prepared by the Mier committee as the national charter. They also managed to get Carlos María de Bustamante appointed to the committee to draft the convocatoria. It took that body a month to prepare the electoral law, which was enacted on June 17, 1823.36
News that the regions had revolted unnerved the government in Mexico City. Nearly every day El Aguila Mexicana, the organ of the federalists, published news of provinces opposing the national government. Some feared that the country would shatter; others believed rumors that pro-Spanish elements would exploit the national division to restore Spanish rule. The Marqués de Vivanco, captain general of Mexico, ordered the military on alert.
Although the provinces did not seek separation, they were determined to create a government in which they were free to manage their own affairs. On May 29, a General Junta “of the corporaciones, [such as the ayuntamientos and the cabildo eclesiástico, local and provincial] authorities, military commanders, and the partido electors,” assembled in Mérida to discuss a proposal to elect a Junta Provisional Gubernativa. They agreed that provincial elections generally should follow the regulations established by the Hispanic Constitution of 1812. However, in Yucatán one deputy would be elected for every twenty-five thousand souls. The Junta would serve as the executive power: “the Junta Provisional Gubernativa will be limited to [the authority granted by] the decree of the Spanish Cortes of April 8, 1813, as long as it does not contradict the republican system that we have sworn [to support], and as long as it conforms to the situation and circumstances of our Peninsula.” With the exception of the last clause about Yucatán, that is the same regulation that the Soberana Junta Provisional Gubernativa established in Mexico City in 1821. The members of Yucatán's Provisional Governing Junta were elected and then required to take the following oath: “Do you swear to God that you will support a federal republic as proposed by this province, and not allow any other form of government?” That (p.315) evening, the body proceeded to the cathedral to sing “a solemn Te Deum of thanks giving for such a momentous event.”
The following day, the General Junta proceeded to establish the criteria for the constitution of the new government. It would be the charter of a “federal, representative, and democratic republic.” The new state would join the larger Mexican nation under the following conditions:
1. Yucatán will only unite with a federal republic and not with any other form [of government]. Consequently, it will have the right to form its own constitution and establish the laws that it considers necessary for its felicity.
2. The Supreme Government [of the federal republic] has the responsibility to negotiate treaties of alliance and commerce, declare war, and other general matters pertaining to the needs of the nation, keeping in mind the special circumstances of this province and, when appropriate, seeking the opinion of the Yucatecan senate.37
Thus Yucatán joined Guadalajara in assuming sovereignty and insisting that it wished to be part of a confederal republic in which the provinces retained considerable power.
The unwillingness of an influential faction in the restored Cortes to accept the will of the provinces and convene a new congress also disturbed many in Antequera, Oaxaca. Rumors of infidencia (conspiracy) in the city became widespread. Anonymous reports reached the authorities in Mexico City that Masons were agitating in favor of independence in Oaxaca. In late May, before news of the Cortes's decision to convene a new congress was known, an imprint appeared in Antequera titled Invitación que hace un oaxaqueño a su suelo Patrio (Invitation that a Oaxacan makes to his homeland). The author argued that Oaxaca possessed sovereignty and should assume the responsibility to guide its own destiny. The government in Mexico City had been despotic and only as a result of “great risks and imponderable efforts” had it been overthrown. But there was no guarantee that the current regime would be any less repressive. Mexico City was too far away and it had to address the many problems of América Septentrional. Instead, he urged his compatriots to “Elect leaders in whom you have confidence, from within your own bosom, leaders to whom you may appeal when necessary, and don't remain subject to seeking justice elsewhere.” The government in Mexico City, he noted, was naturally corrupt; “the agents of that [imperial] court do not take a step without first receiving their expenses.” The national government was irresponsible; “although all the provinces favor a federal republic, nothing has been accomplished because the court opposes it.” The Oaxacan concluded that it was necessary for the educated classes and for the landowners to act. If they did, the clergy and the military would support the movement for autonomy.38
The Oaxacan's views were popular. The new jefe político Antonio de León reported that the city and region were preoccupied with the question of autonomy. When the mail arrived from Mexico City, the news spread rapidly that on May 21 the Cortes had agreed to convene a new congress. First small groups, and then larger ones, gathered to comment and to insist that Oaxaca should form its own government. Midlevel army officers, curas, and popular groups appeared to be among the most determined supporters of autonomy (p.316) and the formation of a federal republic. The bishop feared that the same individuals whom he believed had manipulated the plebe during the earlier city elections were at work again. In Mexico City, Carlos María de Bustamante received similar information from Antequera.39
While the Cortes agonized and delayed, the Province of Oaxaca acted. On the morning of Sunday, June 1, 1823, large numbers of people congregated in the plaza mayor of the city of Antequera de Oaxaca demanding the establishment of a “federal republican government with independence from that capital [Mexico City].”40 Later that day, the ayuntamiento, provincial deputation, the cabildo eclesiástico, high-ranking military, and government functionaries met to consider the people's request. After much discussion, the majority approved the proposal. Only the cabildo eclesiástico opposed it arguing that the corporations of the capital could not act for the whole province and that it was necessary to consult the people of the rest of the province. Ignoring this counsel, a commission composed of members from the Junta Gubernativa, the ayuntamiento, and the military issued the Bases Provisionales con que se Emancipó la Provincia de Oajaca (Provisional Bases upon which the Province of Oaxaca Emancipated Itself). The document established the Catholic religion as the only one for the new state; determined that the province exercised exclusive sovereignty, but “federally”; created a provincial congress, constituted on the basis of “Equality, Liberty, Property, and Security,” to be named by the partidos' electors; and indicated that existing laws that did not contravene autonomy from Mexico City would be valid. Moreover, it instructed Oaxacan deputies to resign from the national congress and return home. Finally, it established a junta de guerra to oversee the military, but without authority either to promote individuals or, to wage war without permission from the provincial government.41
On June 3, the commission issued the convocatoria for elections to the congress of the State of Oaxaca. Modeled on the tripartite elections established by the Hispanic Constitution of 1812, parish elections were to be held on June 15, 1823, partido elections on June 22, and provincial elections on the first of July. As in the Constitution of 1812, there were neither property nor literacy qualifications for the voters. Although it did not distinguish between men and women, it may be assumed that women did not obtain the franchise. Since a deputy represented “thirty thousand souls,” according to the latest census the congress of Oaxaca would have fourteen proprietary deputies and four substitutes. Deputies had to be active citizens, at least twenty-five years of age, residents of the province for five years, and supporters of a federal republic. Deputies in the national congress who did not resign immediately or who opposed the federal system were excluded.42 The latter restriction was clearly intended to prevent the election of Carlos María de Bustamante, who was not only a deputy to the national Cortes from Oaxaca, but also an opponent of federalism.
The initial national government response was the dispatch of a highly critical letter from Minister Alamán accusing the province of completely separating from the nation and calling this action unconstitutional. He urged the province to follow the orderly process approved by the Cortes to elect a new congress empowered to establish the future government of the nation. Carlos María de Bustamante, however, publicly criticized his province in a pamphlet titled Examen crítico sobre la federación de las provincias del territorio mexicano (Critical (p.317) Examination about a Federation of the Provinces of the Territory of Mexico). He argued:
the Mexican people … have decided to form one family. That has been accomplished by gathering together in one center of felicity, which is the Congress. As deputy from Oaxaca, I am concerned with the felicity of Sonora, which I only know by its geographic location, with the same interest and ardor with which the deputy from Sonora looks after my well-beloved Oaxaca. There has never existed [in the Cortes], the odious spirit of provincialism, to which we have sworn eternal abhorrence.” [The nation needed unity, not division, he insisted. One had but to consider the disasters that occurred in Caracas, Santa Fe de Bogotá, and Cartagena de Indias to understand the dangers of ] “the diabolical genie of unlimited federalism.”
He argued that there was no reason to form an independent provincial government. The Cortes had already agreed to convene a new congress. That body would form a strong federation that suited the country' reality.43
In Antequera, the new political leaders perceived their actions differently. The president of the Junta Provisional Gubernativa, Victorés Manero, informed the Supreme Executive Power that Oaxaca had never contemplated “the total separation from the other” provinces of México. “The Province of Oaxaca united in its interests with those of its sister [provinces], all of whom comprise this North America,” wished only to form a more effective union, one that would recognize the interests of all provinces while strengthening the nation to which they all belonged.44
Provincial deputations assumed control of the provincial government in Michoacán, Guanajuato, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Puebla, and Veracruz. Like Yucatán and Oaxaca, these provinces accepted the authority of the national government, but they nonetheless declared that they expected the election of a new congress.45 During May and June, the provinces of Mexico communicated extensively with one another. Guadalajara initiated the practice of sending copies of all its important decisions to the other provincial deputations. As they had done in March, during their opposition to Iturbide, regional leaders discussed convening an assembly to address their common interests. Indeed, the ayuntamientos and provincial deputations of Michoacán, Querétaro, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí began preparations for a meeting in late May.46 Concerned that Mexico City was losing control of the nation, Minister of Interior Relations Alamán notified Congress on May 30 that the legislature had to act rapidly if it hoped to prevent the further dissolution of the country.47
The Junta of Celaya
The role of military men in provincial affairs concerned the Mexico City–based national elite. Although several officers in the Bajío and in the north pronounced their support for federalism, Antonio López de Santa Anna's declaration of June 5, in San Luis Potosí, that he was forming an army “that will be called Protector of Mexican Liberty,” forced the national government to act.48 After his early success in opposition to Iturbide, Brigadier Santa Anna had been bypassed in the transformations resulting from the Plan of Casa Mata. Hoping to regain prominence, he embarked his forces in Veracruz and landed (p.318)
The national government dispatched an army, commanded by Brigadier Gabriel de Armijo, to restore order in San Luis Potosí. Santa Anna and Armijo failed to resolve the question through negotiations. Santa Anna aspired to command the region, something unacceptable to both the national government and local authorities. Provincial officials sought to end the stalemate peacefully, but none of the proposals satisfied all parties. Talks collapsed at the end of June; the opposing armies positioned themselves for battle near the city of San Luis Potosí while local residents fled in fear for their lives.50
(p.319) The provincial deputations of Michoacán, Querétaro, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí authorized their jefes políticos and captains general to send representatives to Celaya on July 1, 1823, to help resolve the conflict and to organize themselves to resist the national government should such action become necessary. Among those attending were Brigadier Miguel Barragán, jefe político of Michoacán; Brigadier Pedro Otero, jefe político of Guanajuato; Brigadier Luís Cortázar, jefe político of Querétaro; Colonel José María del Toro, representing Santa Anna; and José María Márquez, representing San Luis Potosí. As the convener of the junta, Barragán presided and also represented Armijo. The leaders adopted four preliminary resolutions: they recognized the Supreme Executive Power as the national authority; appointed Brigadier Barragán commander in chief of all forces in the four provinces; ordered the assembled troops to enforce the resolutions of the Junta; and informed the provincial representatives to the Junta that they could deliberate without fear.51 The initial resolutions of the Junta de Celaya rejected Santa Anna's pretensions to dominate San Luis Potosí. Realizing that his position had become politically untenable, Santa Anna informed congress and the Supreme Executive Power that since the disturbances in those provinces had been settled, he was returning to Mexico City with his troops. He praised the national government for convening new elections and placed himself at the disposal of the administration. Santa Anna departed from San Luis Potosí on July 10.52
The national government viewed the meeting of the provincial representatives with alarm. Leaders in Mexico City feared that if they tolerated such gatherings, the country might fragment into competing unions. Therefore the Supreme Executive Power used Santa Anna's actions as an excuse to dispatch another army to control the provinces.53 In these circumstances, the provincial commissioners decided to disband, after ratifying the resolutions adopted on July 1. They also insisted on forming a federal republic and holding elections for a new congress. As a parting shot, they praised Brigadier Barragán's patriotic zeal. The Junta de Celaya dissolved peacefully on July 11, 1823.54
Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Oaxaca
The Province of Guadalajara did not participate in the Junta de Celaya because it was deeply embroiled in conflict with the national government, which had been considering sending troops to subdue the region since late May. Many national leaders in Mexico City interpreted Guadalajara's recent actions as the outward manifestation of secret attempts to restore Iturbide to the throne. They believed that the province's two leading generals, Luis Quintanar and Anastasio Bustamante, supported federalism as a ploy to return their friend to power. Those in the national government who favored decisive action initially considered sending an army under the command of General Pedro Celestino Negrete. The majority, however, demurred since Negrete was a Spaniard and anti-European sentiments were beginning to appear in the provinces.55 The Supreme Executive Power, therefore, decided to replace Quintanar and to appoint Brigadier José Joaquín de Herrera the new captain general in Guadalajara. But the government of the province refused to accept the change, dispatching troops to the border to prevent Herrera from entering Guadalajara. He wisely (p.320) returned to Mexico City in mid-June, informing the national government that many provinces, not merely Guadalajara, favored autonomy.56
Although the timing of the announcement may have been related to the confrontation with the national government, Guadalajara's decision to secure its autonomy was not precipitous. In extraordinary sessions on May 9 and May 12, the provincial deputation met with three representatives of the Ayuntamiento of Guadalajara and reaffirmed its demand that a new congress be elected. Until the new national legislative body was installed, the provincial deputation assumed complete authority over the affairs of the Province of Guadalajara. It also considered how to ensure that a federal republic was established in Mexico. Moreover, it decided that the ayuntamientos and other corporations of the province should be consulted to determine whether they agreed that Guadalajara should become a free and independent state within the larger Mexican nation and if the corporations favored a federal republic. Therefore on May 13, Captain General and Jefe Político Superior Quintanar issued a “Proclamation to the Inhabitants of Nueva Galicia” requesting their opinion “about separation from the Mexican Congress,” and on the nature of government the nation should adopt. He favored a federal system and, therefore, elucidated its advantages. Two days later, the Ayuntamiento of Guadalajara explained to its inhabitants “the nature of the federal system,” emphasizing the value of local government. It also explained that the federal system did not harm religion, as some critics maintained.57 Within a short time, 139 pueblos and corporations, such as the consulado, submitted their replies. The overwhelming majority agreed with the two main proposals: the Province of Guadalajara should be transformed into the free State of Xalisco and the nation should establish a federal system. The reply from the City of Compostela, cabecera of the partido, is typical. “This ayuntamiento can with the greatest satisfaction assure Your Excellency that in this partido there is not a single individual who dissents with the vote for a new convocatoria for the congress that will establish a confederal system of provinces” for this nation. The pueblo of Tecolotlán met in “extraordinary session…. Since the matter was extremely grave and transcendent it ordered the regular and secular clergy, the commander of the national militia, and his officers to meet with the vecinos” of the town to discuss fully the questions. The pueblo supported the two propositions, but wanted assurance that the transformation would be orderly. It requested the captain general take the measures “to ensure that this province does not experience the horrors of anarchy.”58
In an extraordinary session held on June 16, 1823, the Provincial Deputation of Guadalajara, together with its jefe político, Captain General Luis Quintanar, declared: “the time has come for this province to transform itself into a sovereign federal state with the name of Free State of Xalisco, assuming its rightful place within the Great Mexican Nation.” The provincial deputation also issued an Esposicion to the inhabitants of the new Estado de Xalisco explaining their actions and informing them that it had entrusted “the executive power to the current jefe político.” Finally it issued a Plan de gobierno provisional del Nuevo Estado de Xalisco (Plan for the Provisional Government of the New State of Jalisco). After establishing the new name and defining the territory of the new political entity in Articles 1 and 2, the document declared: “Art. 3. The State of Xalisco is by its [own initiative] free, independent and sovereign, and (p.321) will establish relations with the other states and provinces only on the basis of fraternity and confederation. Art. 4. Its religion is, and always will be, Roman, Catholic, Apostolic, without tolerance for any other. Art. 5. Its government is popular and representative…. Art. 7. All inhabitants of the State have the right to vote in the elections for the representatives who will constitute the provincial constituent congress.” In this context, the term inhabitants excluded women and children and possibly other passive citizens prohibited from voting in the Constitution of Cádiz, such as members of the regular orders, domestic servants, felons, and public debtors. The Plan de gobierno provisional left the existing institutions and officials in charge until a new state constitution was adopted. Indeed, Art. 18 declared: “The State will govern itself with the Spanish Constitution and the existing laws as long as they do not conflict with the Plan.” In a “Note,” the Plan stated: “For the present, and until a General Congress of the federated Mexican States is formed, [the Plan] recognizes as a center of union for all [the provinces] the capital city of Mexico.” It also recognized all the existing officials of the nation. Finally, it ended with: “Viva la Religión. Viva la Unión and the most intimate relations among all its provinces and inhabitants. Viva the free State of Xalisco.”59
The Provincial Deputation of Zacatecas, which had been meeting with members of the ayuntamiento of the city of Zacatecas on the 12th, 13th 16th, and 17th of June 1823, declared on the 18th that it was establishing its own state government to protect the interests of the province and “that it recognized the current national congress only for the purpose of convening a new one.” The Provincial Deputation of Zacatecas also declared that the best way to maintain tranquility was to establish a center of unity to reconcile the interests of the provinces with those of the nation as a whole. The provincial deputation would function as the principal authority of the province until the Constitution of the State of Zacatecas was approved. The Provincial Deputation of Zacatecas recognized the Cortes and the Supreme Executive Power as the principal authorities of Mexico because the nation required a “center of unity.” However, it insisted that any laws or decrees issued by those two bodies would be observed only if they furthered the well-being of Zacatecas. If a new national congress were not formed, Zacatecas would federate with Guadalajara and with any other provinces that wished to join. In view of the crucial circumstances, the provincial deputation sought to maintain order by negotiating an agreement with the militia of Guadalajara to provide mutual aid.60 Although some public disturbances had occurred in the City of Zacatecas, the Provincial Deputation of Zacatecas's principal concern was that the government in Mexico City might send an army to subdue the province. Thus Zacatecas joined Oaxaca and Guadalajara in becoming states and in declaring that it would only accept the election of a new congress to form a federal republic.
The actions of Jalisco and Zacatecas confirmed the fears of the national elite that Guadalajara, the seat of an audiencia, which had taken the lead in opposing the national government and which sought the support of other provinces, might emerge as an alternative national center to Mexico City. The Cortes finally acquiesced to new congressional elections on June 17, 1823, but some of its members were determined to subdue the obstreperous provinces. Guadalajara and Zacatecas provided the national leaders with an excuse to intervene when (p.322) they refused to implement fully the electoral law, which not only called for new congressional elections, but also required new elections for new provincial deputations. Since they considered the latter provision an undue interference in their internal affairs, the provinces of Guadalajara and Zacatecas refused to reelect their provincial deputations. Instead, they elected state constituent congresses. Although the Supreme Executive Power decided to invade Jalisco, it masked its intentions—even from the Cortes—by publicly ordering an army, commanded by Generals Bravo and Negrete, to aid General Armijo in San Luis Potosí. Under secret orders to march to Guadalajara, the two thousand–man force departed on July 5. Deputy Carlos María de Bustamante expressed concern when he wrote in his diary: “The entire expedition for San Luis Potosí has departed today; I pray to God that it does not end up in Guadalajara.”61
General Nicolás Bravo sought public support for his mission by issuing a manifesto to the people of Mexico. He indicated that it was well known that recent events in some of the provinces made it necessary for the national government to confront the residents and persuade them, using appropriate incentives, to reach an accommodation with the administration.62 His manifesto did not reassure Guadalajara and Zacatecas. Provincial leaders made it clear that they did not require the aid of national armies to maintain internal order and informed Bravo and Negrete that they were prepared to use force if necessary to defend their sovereignty. The two provinces immediately mobilized their militias, dispatching them to the Jalisco border. Only Bravo's decision to halt his troops in Irapuato on July 18 averted civil war. Both sides agreed to confer in Lagos.
Talks began on August 8, 1823. The national government insisted that the states fully implement the electoral law, while Guadalajara and Zacatecas declared that they would obey only those parts of the law pertaining to national elections. At issue was the nature of sovereignty. The provinces argued that the national government held final authority only on questions affecting the entire country. Otherwise, the provinces should rule themselves. Since neither side would compromise, talks collapsed on August 18.63
The confrontation on the Jalisco border created a sensation throughout the nation, especially in Mexico City. When legislators learned in late July that the two forces might engage in combat, many demanded that the national government cease interfering in the internal affairs of the provinces. They argued that civil war would engulf the country if the regime did not recall its forces immediately. The congressmen from Guadalajara and Zacatecas, naturally, were the most active opponents of the government's policy. They sought to gain support for their cause by publishing their plans for a peaceful solution to the crisis before presenting the proposals to Congress.64
In the south, Oaxaca, which earlier had declared itself a state, held elections amid extensive ceremonies for a state congress that convened on July 6 in Antequera. In its first decree, the Oaxaca State Congress instructed the Junta Provisional Gubernativa to cease its functions, authorized all civil and military officials to continue to exercise their authority, and recognized the jefe político as the chief executive, who served at the pleasure of the State Congress. Until the national and provincial constitutions were promulgated, all laws that did not conflict with the independence of the state or the federal system of government (p.323)
From the moment of its installation, [the State Congress of Oaxaca] considered as one of its first and most important obligations the resolution of all differences with the Supreme Government, … which the state of Oaxaca recognizes as the center of unity among the various states that make up the Mexican Nation.
This [State] Congress is intimately convinced that a central Government should not cease to exist a single day so that unity and order exists among the provinces, which seek the general good of the Nation, as well as to avoid anarchy and the dissolution of the associated states….
Because the sentiments of Oaxaca are entirely consistent with those of the Sovereign General Congress and the Supreme Executive Power, which have opted for a (p.324) popular, federal system of government, this [State] Congress is pleased that there being no substantive differences about the form of government [to be established], any other that may occur will be easily resolved through reason, justice, and [concern for] the public well-being.66
The State Congress of Oaxaca formally established its relationship with the nation in its decree of July 28. Article 4 of the document defined its relations with the other provinces as follows: “This State is free and will only establish with the other [states] of the Mexican nation relations of fraternity, friendship and confederation.” Article 5 indicated that “For the present, and until the General Congress of the federated states of Mexico is formed, it recognizes as the center of the union of all of them the Capital [City] of Mexico.” Moreover, Article 6 declared: “It recognizes as well the present Congress and Supreme Executive Power with the understanding that the Congress has no other role than that of convening [a new legislature].”67
Nevertheless, the Supreme Executive Power decided to reassert national authority in Oaxaca. It had received information that Jefe Político León was the chief architect of that province's political transformation. Reports from the bishop of Oaxaca and anonymous letters suggested that there were tensions in the city of Antequera. Apparently, troops in various towns had declared themselves in favor of the national government. Moreover, the new state government's moderate tone indicated that some accommodation might be possible. Therefore the Supreme Executive Power ordered Jefe Político León to resign and General Manuel Rincón to advance to Antequera.68
The conflict over sovereignty threatened to plunge Mexico into civil war during August. National armies were poised on the borders of Jalisco, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Oaxaca. The Supreme Executive Power insisted that the provinces fully implement the electoral law, while Jalisco, Zacatecas, Yucatán, and Oaxaca declared they would obey only those parts pertaining to national elections. The provinces maintained that the national government held final authority only on questions affecting the entire country. Otherwise they had the right to govern themselves. By mid-August, it became obvious that only war or compromise on the part of the national government could end the conflict. On Friday, August 15, the Cortes met in a special evening session to hear the government's report.69 Although all four ministers attended, Alamán, as minister of Interior Relations, reported on the status of negotiations with the provinces. Some deputies favored open debate on the issue, but the majority, wishing to avoid a political controversy in the midst of congressional elections, referred the matter to a special committee. The following day, the Cortes voted to authorize the executive to negotiate a settlement, which included amnesty for the provinces.70
The Supreme Executive Power instructed its commanders to negotiate with the recalcitrant provinces. Having failed to obtain congressional authority to employ force, the Supreme Executive Power ordered Bravo to withdraw his army to Celaya. Guadalajara and Zacatecas also retired their forces but to demonstrate their autonomy, the two provinces elected congresses rather than provincial deputations and formally organized themselves as states—Jalisco on September 14 and Zacatecas on October 19.71 General Rincón reached an accord (p.325) with Oaxaca on September 1, 1823. Under the settlement, the Congreso del Estado de Oaxaca continued to govern, the province decided to hold elections for the national constituent congress as well as elections for a new provincial legislature, and both sides agreed to provide amnesty.
The Second Constituent Congress
Elections for a new constituent assembly, based on the convocatoria issued June 26, 1821, by the Hispanic Cortes, were held throughout the nation during August and September.72 The executive branch was not restructured because both the provinces and the new constituent congress considered it subservient to the legislature. The new congress, which the provinces had insisted upon since March, finally met on November 7, 1823. The second Constituent Congress was quite different from the first. It not only represented the provinces more equitably, but some of its members possessed instructions to form only a federal republic. Carlos María de Bustamante was once again elected, but from Mexico, not Oaxaca. The deputies from Oaxaca were federalists. Oaxaca, Yucatán, Jalisco, and Zacatecas, which had become states, elected state congresses rather than provincial deputations as the convocatoria required.73
The Mexico City–based national elite, which had been struggling for power since 1808, and which had taken control in 1821, lost its hegemony two years later to the provincial elites. Although some members of the national elite were elected to the new constituent congress, they formed a distinct minority. Indeed, only 35 of the 144 deputies and alternates elected to the new legislature had served in the earlier Mexican Cortes.
The Constituent Congress, which convened on November 7, 1823, faced very different circumstances than its predecessor. Not only had the provinces declared their sovereignty, but they had also restricted the authority of their delegates. Valladolid, for example, declared: “This province in the federation does not wish to relinquish the major portion of its liberty and other rights; it only grants [its deputies] the authority absolutely necessary to keep the portion it retains.”74 Mérida decreed that “the elected deputies are granted only the power … to constitute the nation in a government that is republican, representative, and federal” and that “the federal constitution that they form in agreement with the other deputies of the Constituent Congress will not have the force of law in the nation until the majority of the federated states ratify it.”75 Zacatecas was even more explicit, asserting: “The deputies to the future congress cannot constitute the nation as they deem convenient, but only as a federal republic.”76 Guadalajara insisted that the pueblos of Xalisco wanted only a popular, representative, and republican form of government.77 Other provinces made similar declarations.
The new Congress represented regional interests. Therefore, the debate in the legislature focused on the division of power between the national and the provincial governments, not on whether Mexico would be a federal or a central republic.The delegates were divided into a confederalist, two federalist, and one centralist faction.78 The confederalists, extreme defenders of local rights, such as Juan de Dios Cañedo, argued that only the provinces possessed sovereignty, a portion of which they collectively ceded to the union to form a national (p.326) government. This interpretation meant that the provinces, or states, as Oaxaca, Yucatán, Jalisco, and Zacatecas now called themselves, could subsequently reclaim the power they had relinquished. They were opposed by federalists such as Servando Teresa de Mier, who believed that only the nation was sovereign. In their view although the country was organized into provinces and states for political purposes, the people and not the states possessed sovereignty. The deputies, therefore, did not represent the states, but the people who constituted the nation. As the representative of the Mexican people, Congress possessed greater power and authority than the state legislatures. In a sense, they were reasserting the position that had prevailed in Cádiz in 1812. Midway between these extremes stood men, such as the federalist Ramos Arizpe, who believed that the national government and the states shared sovereignty. Although they favored states' rights, they nevertheless thought that the national government had to command sufficient power to function effectively. The confederalist/federalist factions were opposed by a tiny minority of centralists, such as Carlos María de Bustamante, who argued that sovereignty was vested in the nation and that Mexico needed a strong national government.79
A committee, consisting of Ramos Arizpe, Cañedo, Miguel Argüelles, Rafael Mangino, Tomás Vargas, José de Jesús Huerta, and Manuel Crescencio Rejón, submitted an Acta Constitutiva (draft of a constitution) on November 20. The group completed the draft of the charter in a few days. This was possible because the document was based on the shared Hispanic political theory and practice that Mexicans, the former novohispanos, knew well since they had played a significant role in shaping it. In the years since Napoleon had invaded Spain in 1808, the political entities that formed the Mexican nation in 1821 had undergone a series of rapid political changes that politicized the majority of the population and led to a vibrant political discourse. Moreover, the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 and its institutions of government were well known and seven proposals for a Mexican constitution had been debated throughout the country in the previous months.80 The constituent congress, therefore, was filled with educated individuals with diverse ideas and extensive political experience at the local, state, national, and international levels. A few, like Ramos Arizpe, had served in the Cortes in Spain and had participated in the discussions of the Constitution of 1812. In addition, Ramos Arizpe had been working on a federal constitution for some time.81
The Acta Constitutiva submitted by the committee was modeled on the Hispanic Constitution of 1812. Most of its articles were based on the Peninsular document; a few were adopted verbatim from that charter. For example, on the question of sovereignty the Hispanic Constitution stated: “Sovereignty resides essentially in the nation and, therefore, it [the nation] possesses the exclusive right to adopt the form of government that seems most convenient for its conservation and prosperity.” Article 3 of the Mexican Acta Constitutiva read: “Sovereignty resides radically and essentially in the nation and, therefore, it [the nation] possesses the exclusive right to adopt by means of its representatives the form of government and other fundamental laws that seem most convenient for its conservation and greater prosperity.”82
Although the deputies relied on their first constitutional experience, the Constitution of 1812, they did not slavishly copy the Hispanic model. Miguel (p.327) Guridi y Alcocer, for example, explained that ever since he had served on the constitutional commission in the Hispanic Cortes he had insisted on maintaining that sovereignty resided radically in the nation, by which he meant that the nation, as the institutional representative of the Pueblo, could not lose its sovereignty.83 His principal critics were radical federalists like Juan de Dios Cañedo, deputy from Jalisco, who challenged the need for an article declaring national sovereignty. He asked:
that the article be deleted because in a republican federal government each state is sovereign…. Therefore, it is impossible to conceive how sovereignty, which is the origin and source of authority and power, can be divided among the many states. [He noted,] that is why the first constitution of the United States [the Articles of Confederation] … does not mention national sovereignty. And, therefore, … Article 1 which discusses the nation should not be approved because it is not appropriate in the system we now have.84
The Acta, unlike the Hispanic Constitution, did not grant exclusive or even preponderant sovereignty to the nation because the states also claimed sovereignty. Accordingly, Article 6 stated: “Its integral parts are independent, free, and sovereign States in that which exclusively concerns their administration and interior government.”85 The issue of sovereignty remained at heart a question of the division of power between the national and the state governments. It was a question that would be debated at length in the months to come.
The proponents of state sovereignty—the confederalists—were challenged by some less radical federalist delegates who argued that only the nation could be sovereign. Because these men stressed the need to endow the national government with sufficient power to sustain national interests, they are often mistakenly considered centralists.86 Servando Teresa de Mier, their outstanding spokesman argued that people wrongly considered him a centralist, an error that arose from an unnecessarily restrictive definition of federalism. He indicated that federalism existed in many forms: Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States were federations, yet each was different.
Mier advocated the establishment of a unique brand of federalism suited to Mexico. He believed that local realities precluded the adoption of the extreme form of federalism—confederalism—championed by states' righters. He declared: “I have always been in favor of a federation, but a reasonable and moderate federation…. I have always believed in a medium between the lax federation of the United States [the Articles of Confederation], whose defects many writers have indicated, … and the dangerous concentration [of executive power] in Colombia and Peru.”87 In his view, Mexico needed a strong federal system because the country required an energetic and decisive national government to lead it during the crucial early years of nationhood particularly since Spain refused to recognize Mexico's independence and the Holy Alliance threatened to intervene. For these reasons, Mier voted in favor of Article 5, which established a federal republic, while opposing Article 6, which granted sovereignty to the states.
Neither the advocates of states' rights, like Cañedo, nor the proponents of national sovereignty, such as Mier, triumphed. Instead, a compromise emerged: shared sovereignty, as advocated by moderate federalists like Ramos Arizpe. Throughout the debates, he and others argued that although the nation (p.328) was sovereign, the states should control their internal affairs. The group saw no conflict between Article 3, which declared that sovereignty resided in the nation, and Article 6, which granted sovereignty to the states on internal matters. The moderates were able to forge shifting coalitions to pass both articles. First, they brought Article 3 to a vote. A coalition of the proponents of national sovereignty, the advocates of shared sovereignty, and a few centralists passed the article by a wide margin. To secure passage of Article 6, those favoring approval succeeded in having the question brought to the floor in two parts. The first vote on the section of Article 6 which indicated that the states were independent and free to manage their own affairs passed by a wide margin, since the wording pleased all the confederalist/federalist groups, including the one led by Father Mier. Only seven centralist deputies opposed the measure. Then Congress entertained the section of Article 6 which declared that the states were sovereign. The coalition divided on this issue: Father Mier, and his supporters, joined the centralists in voting against the measure. Nevertheless, the proponents of states' rights and those who believed in shared sovereignty possessed enough strength to pass the measure by a margin of 41 to 28 votes.88
The states not only shared sovereignty with the national government, they obtained the financial means to enforce their authority. They gained considerable taxing power at the expense of the federal government, which lost approximately half the revenue formerly collected by the viceregal administration. To compensate for that loss, the states were to pay the national government a contingente (a contribution of the states to the national government) assessed on each state according to its means. As a result the nation would have to depend upon the goodwill of the states to finance or fulfill its responsibilities.89
The constituent congress's decision to share sovereignty, moreover, did not settle the question of the division of power within the national government. Although all agreed on the traditional concept of separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, most congressmen believed that the legislature should be dominant. Recent Hispanic and Mexican experience had fostered a distrust of executive power. Therefore, the earlier Mexican Cortes had established a plural executive, the Supreme Executive Power. Since that body was perceived as subservient to the legislature, neither the provinces nor the Second Constituent Congress bothered to appoint a new executive. The authors of the Acta Constitutiva, however, proposed in Article 16 that executive power be conferred “on an individual with the title of president of the Mexican Federation, who must be a citizen by birth of said federation and have attained at least thirty-five years of age.”90 The proposal led to a heated debate that transcended the former division between states' righters and strong nationalist coalitions. While Cañedo supported Ramos Arizpe in favoring a single executive, others, including Rejón and Guridi y Alcocer, insisted on the need to weaken executive power by establishing a plural executive.
Ramos Arizpe proposed that the president govern with the advice of a council of government. But that was not sufficient to mollify the opposition that consisted of the majority of congress. The opponents of a single executive presented several proposals. Demetrio Castillo of Oaxaca suggested that a president, a vice president, and an alternate, called designee, govern. Each would (p.329) have a vote, but the president would cast the deciding one. Rejón, instead, recommended that three individuals form the Supreme Executive Power; their terms would be staggered so that one member would always possess seniority, but no individual would serve more than three years. Guridi y Alcocer proposed that the executive power be conferred on two persons. He argued that the best solution was to merge the experiences of ancient Rome, Spain, and the United States. Therefore, he urged that the two members of the executive power be backed by two alternates, who might resolve any differences that arose between the two members of the executive.91
The Acta Constitutiva's Article 16 was put to a vote on January 2, 1824, at an extraordinary session. It was defeated by a vote of 42 to 25. As a result, the Congress did not address Article 17, which dealt with the vice president. The proposal to establish a president and a vice president was one of the few instances in which the second constitution of the United States served as a model. The majority did not agree with the proposal because it feared the possibility of one individual dominating Congress by military or popular forces as Iturbide had done. The commission on the constitution revised the articles on the executive a number of times, but could not obtain support for its proposals. As the commission noted:
An analysis of the propositions … has reached two conclusions: First, there is an agreement that executive power must be vested in only one person since only the president has been granted the decisive voice in the operation of the government; and second, to oppose any tendency toward despotism or tyranny on the part of him [the president] two consultants have been established.92
The commission's recommendation was not acceptable to the majority.
The fear of provincial disorder also influenced the debate. After Articles 5 and 6 of the Acta Constitutiva had been approved, several provinces decided to implement their rights to form their own government. The national administration viewed their actions with concern, particularly because some movements were also against European Spaniards. The revolt of December 12, in Querétaro, for example demanded the expulsion of gachupines from the country.93 A similar uprising occurred later in Cuernavaca. In both instances, the national government sent forces to restore order.
Then on December 23, Puebla declared itself a sovereign, free, and independent state. The following day, various corporations, including the military, voted to support the declaration. The authorities in Mexico City immediately concluded that the military commander of the province, General José Antonio de Echáverri, was responsible for the “revolt.” Therefore, the government dispatched an army under the command of Generals Manuel Gómez Pedraza and Vicente Guerrero to restore order. The national authorities misinterpreted the situation, however. The leaders of the Province of Puebla, particularly the members of the provincial deputation and the ayuntamiento of the city of Puebla, had been discussing for some time how best to protect the interests of their province. The recently elected members of the provincial deputation—who had been chosen the day after the election of the deputies to the Constituent Congress—held a series of discussions with the ayuntamiento and convened a general junta on December 22 to propose that Puebla become a (p.330) state. At that meeting—attended by Jefe Político José María Morán, the members of the provincial deputation and the ayuntamiento, the governor of the bishopric, a commission of the cabildo eclesiástico, magistrates, and jueces de letras, members of the consulado, the curas of the city, the commanding general and the commanders of the military units of the city—they discussed the measures to be taken to establish a state government in the Province of Puebla. They met again the following day. The Ayuntamiento of Puebla and the cabildo eclesiástico, which favored the proposal, argued that the entire province needed to be consulted before a sovereign state could be established. Nevertheless, the majority preferred to act immediately; they approved the following:
First. From this moment the State of Puebla implements Articles 5 and 6 of the Acta Constitutiva, [recently] approved by the Sovereign Congress of the nation.
Second. This assembly declares itself sufficiently authorized to appoint a provisional government.
Third. This body will function until the installation of the Congress of the State of Puebla.94
The state legislature was immediately elected and took office on December 26, 1823. Shortly thereafter forces of the national government approached the capital city of Puebla. After lengthy negotiations General Gómez Pedraza proposed that since Congress was about to issue the convocatoria for national and state elections, the leaders of Puebla renounce their earlier action and hold new elections. The poblanos agreed. The convocataria was received in Puebla on January 12, 1824. Elections were held throughout the province and a new state government was inaugurated in March 22, 1824.95
Although the national government had maintained “order” in the nation, the revolt led by General Jose María Lobato on January 20, 1824, demonstrated that the plural executive could not act with the unity of purpose and the speed necessary to quell a large-scale upheaval in the capital. The rebels demanded the dismissal of Spaniards from government jobs and their expulsion from the country. They also insisted that the Supreme Executive Power should remain in the hands of “Americans with proven patriotic sentiments.” Moreover, they demanded that José Mariano Michelena and Miguel Domínguez be removed. The third member, Vicente Guerrero, would be retained.96 The rebels considered Domínguez and Michelena to be pro-Spaniards. Their negative attitude toward these two men who were heroes of the early efforts to obtain autonomy is surprising. Michelena had been one of the leaders of the Valladolid conspiracy of 1809, later fought in Spain against the French, and had served in the Madrid Cortes of 1820–21 and 1821–22. He also led some of the movements to end Iturbide's dominance of the national government. Since he was acting president of the Supreme Executive Power when the rebellion began, it is possible that the incident was directed in part against the effort to create a single executive and, therefore, against Michelena who was widely considered to be ambitious and a candidate to become Mexico's first president.
The plural executive and the division of power within the government hampered action against the rebels. Lobato managed to win support of the garrisons in the capital and the government seemed on the verge of capitulation when the Supreme Executive Power convinced Congress to declare Lobato an (p.331) outlaw and to grant the executive sufficient power to quell the rebellion. Although the government managed to suppress the revolt, Michelena was badly shaken. According to Carlos María de Bustamante, on Saturday January 24, 1824, “Michelena explained at length the sad state of our political situation [to the Congress] … Our country, he said, (with tears in his eyes) is about to disappear … its sons have been unfaithful … The troops have deserted…. I can assure you that we do not have even ten faithful officials.”97 Whatever aspirations he had for the presidency ended. At the first opportunity he retired from the executive office and accepted a mission to Britain.
Faced with a threat to its existence, Congress agreed to grant the Supreme Executive Power the authority necessary to control the situation. As a result of that crisis, the majority in Congress eventually decided to establish an executive branch composed of a president and a vice president.98
The creation of a single executive, however, did not mean that Congress had accepted a strong presidency. Most Mexicans continued to favor legislative supremacy. The Mexican Charter, like the Hispanic Constitution, severely restricted the power of the chief executive. The Constitution of 1824 created a quasi-parliamentary system in which the ministers of state were responsible to the Congress. Consequently, the minister of interior and foreign relations acted as a quasi-prime minister.
The creation of a national government did not end the tensions between the provinces and Mexico City. The debate over the location of the country's capital sparked a new conflict. The national elite favored making the imperial City of Mexico the capital of the republic. The regional elites were divided; during 1823, while discussing the importance of local control, they also emphasized the need to maintain national unity, a “center of union,” that is, a capital. However, a significant number pointedly refused to bestow that honor on Mexico City. The special committee on the nation's capital recommended to the Constituent Congress on May 31, 1824, that another city, Querétaro, become the capital and that the territory around it become the federal district. After heated debate, Congress rejected the proposal to move the capital from Mexico City. Thereafter, the discussion centered on the question of whether a federal district should be created. The Ayuntamiento and the Provincial Deputation of México were vehemently against such action. Indeed, the provincial legislature threatened secession and civil war if Mexico City were federalized. Nevertheless, on October 30 Congress voted 52 to 31 to make Mexico City the nation's capital and to create a federal district.99
After months of debate, Congress ratified the constitution on October 4, 1824. The new charter affirmed that:
Art. 3: The religion of the Mexican nation is and will be permanently the Roman, Catholic, Apostolic [religion]. The nation protects her with wise and just laws and prohibits the exercise of any other [religion].
Art. 4. The Mexican nation adopts for its government a representative, popular, federal republic.
Art. 5. The parts of this federación are the following states and territories: the states of Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Texas, Durango, Guanajuato, México, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla de los Ángeles, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Xalisco, Yucatán, and Zacatecas: and (p.332) the territories of: Alta California, Baja California, Colima, and Santa Fe de Nuevo México. A constitutional law will determine the status of Tlaxcala.
Art. 74. The supreme executive power of the federation is deposited in only one individual who shall be called President of the Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United States of Mexico).
Art. 75. There will also be a vice president, who, in case of the physical or moral incapacity of the president, will receive all his authority and prerogatives.100
Like the Acta Constitutiva, the Constitution of 1824 was modeled on the Hispanic Constitution of 1812, not, as often asserted, on the U.S. Constitution of 1787.101 Although superficially similar to the second U.S. Charter, and although it adopted a few practical applications from the U.S. Constitution, such as the executive, the Mexican document was based primarily on Hispanic constitutional and legal precedents. For example, although the Constitution of 1824 created a president, in Mexico the office was subordinate to the legislature. Since the Mexican republic was essentially confederalist rather than federalist, the Mexican Charter was closer in spirit to the first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation, than to the U.S. Constitution of 1787.
Entire sections of the Cádiz Charter were repeated verbatim in the Mexican document because Mexicans did not reject their Hispanic heritage and because some of the individuals who drafted the new republican constitution had served in the Cortes of Cádiz and had helped write the 1812 Charter. Both the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 and the Mexican Constitution of 1824 established powerful legislatures and weak executives. But it would be an error to consider the Constitution of 1824 a mere copy of the 1812 document. Events in Mexico, particularly the assertion of states' rights by the former provinces, forced Congress to frame a constitution to meet the unique circumstances of the nation.
The principal innovations—republicanism, federalism, and a presidency—were adopted to address Mexico's new reality. The monarchy was abolished because both Fernando VII and Agustín I had failed as political leaders, not because Mexicans imitated the United States' Charter. Federalism arose naturally from Mexico's earlier political experience. The provincial deputations created by the Constitution of Cádiz simply converted themselves into states. However, unlike the 1812 document, the Mexican Charter gave the states significant taxing power.
Although modeled on the Hispanic Constitution of 1812, the new charter did not address a number of issues included in the earlier document because the new Mexican federation shared sovereignty between the national government and the states. Thus, unlike the Constitution of Cádiz, which defined citizenship, the Mexican Constitution of 1824 remained silent on the subject. Similarly, it neither defined who possessed the suffrage nor did it determine the size of the population required to establish ayuntamientos, significant factors in determining the popular nature of the Hispanic constitutional system.102 These decisions were the prerogatives of the states.
Had acceptable political accommodations occurred at any time from September 1821 to March 1823, it is likely that Mexico would not have become a federal republic. If Iturbide had agreed to the Plan of Casa Mata and convened (p.334) a new congress, it is possible that he could have remained on the throne and that Mexico could have become a strong federal monarchy. At independence, most people favored a constitutional monarchy and the provinces were content to obtain moderate home rule. But Iturbide's political failure, and the subsequent unwillingness of the national elite to recognize provincial aspirations, increased the scope of regional demands until a federal republic became the only possible solution to the nation's political crisis. The framers of the Constitution of 1824 carefully considered the needs of their country. They granted the states the important role demanded by the regions, and that accommodation contributed significantly to maintaining national unity. It is no accident that despite numerous centrifugal forces, Mexico remained united while Central and South America fragmented into many smaller nations
(1.) Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 93. See also the table “Rapidez con que las provincias de México adoptaron el Plan de Casa Mata,” 107.
(2.) On the activities of Ramos Arizpe upon his return to Mexico, see La verdad destruye a la calumnia (Puebla: Imprenta Nacional, 1823).
(3.) Diputación provincial de Veracruz, Instrucciones que la Esc…. entrega a los señores Don Francisco de Arrillaga y Don Ramon de Garay sus comisionados para la Junta que ha de formarse en Puebla con los de las demas provincias que allí concurran, para tratar de resolver con los Excmo. señores generales del Egército libertador lo que mas convenga a la salvación y seguridad de la Patria (Veracruz: n.p., 1823); “La Diputación Provincial [de Guadalajara] acuerda enviar a Prisciliano Sánchez y a Cayetano Portugal a Puebla para que se pongan en contacto con los demás diputados que, con la protección del ejército del Gral. Echáverri, suplen la representación nacional” (March 14, 1823), in José María Muriá, ed., El federalismo en Jalisco (1823) (Mexico City: Centro regional de Occidente-Instituto Nacional de Antropología, 1973), 33; and Junta gubernativa de Monterrey, “Instrucciones para los comisionados enviados a Puebla,” in Frasquet Miguel, “La construcción del Estado-Nación en México,” 714–20. See also Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 107–11.
(4.) Junta de Puebla, Acta de … sobre la reinstalación del congreso mexicano (Puebla: Oficina de D. Pedro de la Rosa, 1823); and Acta de la … celebrada el 9 de marzo de 1823 (Puebla: Oficina de D. Pedro de la Rosa, 1823). See Efraín Castro Morales, El federalismo en Puebla (Puebla: Gobierno del Estado de Puebla, 1987), 71–117; and Alicia Tecuanhuey Saldoval, “Puebla 1812–1825: Organización y contención de ayuntamientos constitucionales,” in Ayuntamientos y liberalismo gaditano en México, ed. Juan Ortiz Escamilla and José Antonio Serrano Ortega (Zamora and Xalapa: El Colegio de Michoacán and Universidad Veracruzana, 2007), 337–68.
(5.) Carlos María de Bustamante's views are clearly set forth in his diary. In referring to a meeting with the representatives of the provinces on April 4, 1823, he declared:
They are a group of demagogues who seek to introduce a large number of clerics and serviles in the legislature they propose to establish because they know well that their absurd pretentions have no place in the present [Cortes]. They argue with the fury of madmen and dismiss all reasonable explanations that demonstrate their recklessness. We have in these men the germ of a frightful revolution that congress can quell in its origins by opening the eyes of the deceived provinces with well-written explanations; thus opening a literary struggle in which reason will triumph. This America will be a theater of discord aroused by the clergy and the aristocratic corporations. Carlos María de Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, 3 vols. (Mexico City: INAH, 1980–1982), 1:216. Here Bustamante is probably recalling the role of some clergymen and some nobles in the movement to ascend Iturbide to the throne. Of course, he is not considering the many ecclesiastics and aristocrats who supported representative government.
(6.) México. Congreso Constituyente, Diario de las sesiones del Congreso Constituyente de México, 4 vols. (Mexico City: Oficina de Valdés, 1823), 4:15–16, 20.
(7.) Ibid., 4:66–68. Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “The Constitution of 1824 and the Formation of the Mexican State,” in The Evolution of the Mexican Political System, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez O. (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1993), 71–90. See also Frasquet Miguel, Las caras del águila, 339–68.
(8.) Diario de las sesiones del Congreso Constituyente, 4:85–92.
(9.) Ibid., 4:100–105. The deputies considered all sorts of historical as well as legal implications of names for the poder ejecutivo. The discussion became so convoluted that Carlos María de Bustamante declared: “Giving names to things, particularly adequate (p.437) names, is one of the most difficult tasks. D. Quijote de la Mancha meditated a period of eight days in order to select names for his horse and his lady.” 102.
(11.) Rodríguez O., “The Struggle for the Nation,” 7.
(12.) The documents are found in two large sections of the Galería 5, Gobernación, at the AGN, legajos and sin sección.
(13.) See the expedientes in AGN, Gobernación, legajo 26.
(14.) Decreto del 26 de abril de 1822, AGN, Gobernación, legajo 17, exp. 6. The expediente includes the immediate response from more than one hundred officials.
(15.) See, for example, the queries in AGN: Gobernación, Sin Sección, Caja 12.
(16.) Rodríguez O., “The Constitution of 1824,” 80–83.
(17.) Junta Gubernativa de Mérida al Secretario de Relaciones (July 12, 1823), AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 43, exp. 54.
(18.) See, for example, the reports in AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 43, exp. 53.
(19.) AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 43, exps. 1, 5.
(20.) Jalisco. Diputación Provincial, Manifiesto de la Diputación Provincial a los Habitantes del Estado libre de Xalisco (Guadalajara: Imprenta Sanromán, 1823), 6.
(21.) Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 151–51; Manifiesto que sobre la instalación de la Junta provisional gubernativa de Oajaca, se hacea los habitantes dela provincia (Puebla: Pedro de la Rosa, 1823); Bustamante, Diario histórico de México (February 26, 1823), tomo 1, vol. 1, 186, 189. Carlos María de Bustamante believed that, even if only provisional, the creation of such a body was a step toward federalism, a form of government he opposed. As a result of such criticisms, in mid-April the body “agreed not to meet again, except on an extraordinary case that required their services.” Apparently, thereafter, the Provincial Deputation of Oaxaca functioned as the provincial government. According to Bustamante, “The Junta Gubernativa of Oaxaca has dissolved and merited the approval and gratitude of the [national] government. However, when the former Provincia [provincial deputation?] reorganized, it turned out that it is plagued by a majority of serviles; this has caused the Poder Ejecutivo to act.” Ibid., tomo 1, vol. 1, 224.
(22.) The official documents of the new Mérida government were reprinted in El Águila Mexicana 1 (May 13, 14, and 16, and June 11 and 21, 1823). See also “Junta Gubernativa de Mérida al Secretario de Relaciones” (July 12, 1823), AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 43, exp. 54; and Betty Luisa Fabila, “Liberalismo y monopolio: Orígenes del federalismo en las tierras del Mayab,” 2 vols. (licenciatura thesis, UNAM, 1989), 1:158–76.
(23.) “Dictamen de la Comisión especial de convocatoria para un nuevo congreso” (Mexico City, Abril 12, 1823), AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 54, exp. 9; Diario del Congreso Constituyente, 4:137 and passim; Representación de los comisionados de las provincias al Soberano Congreso (Mexico City: Imprenta del ciudadano Alejandro Valdés, 1823). The pamphlet is also located in Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 321–23; Valentín Gómez Farías, Voto particular del Sr … como individuo de la comisión especial nombrada por el soberano congreso para examinar la cuestión si debe o no convocar un nuevo congreso (Mexico City: Imprenta Nacional en Palacio, 1823); “A propósito del voto del Lic. Carlos María de Bustamante,” in Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 233–34.
(24.) Representación de los comisionados de las provincias al Soberano Congreso (emphasis in the original). The signatories were Martín García from Michoacán, Tomás Vargas and Rafael Márquez from San Luis Potosí, Anastasio Ochoa from Querétaro, Prisciliano Sánchez and Juan Cayetano Portugal from Guadalajara, Francisco de Arriera and Santos Vélez from Zacatecas, Juan Ignacio Godoy from Guanajuato and Vicente Manero Embides from Oaxaca.
(25.) Dictamen de la comision especial de convocatoria para un Nuevo congreso (Mexico City: Imprenta del ciudadano Alejandro Valdés, 1823).
(26.) Rodríguez O., “The Struggle for the Nation,” 11–12.
(27.) Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 131–40.
(28.) “Resolución de la provincia de Guadalajara, y sucesos ocurridos en la misma,” El Águila Mexicana 1, no. 38 (Mayo 22, 1823), 143–44; Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 259–61.
(29.) See the extensive documentation in the expediente titled: “El Capitan Gral. de la Provincia de Guadalajara, pidiendo se establezca el sistema de República Federal,” AGN: Gobernación, sin sección, caja 47, exp. 24. See Jaime Olveda, “Jalisco: El pronunciamiento federalista de Guadalajara,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo en México, 198–202. Earlier, on April 16, 1823, the provincial deputation of Zacatecas reported that it had received “an anonymous paper printed in Guadalajara titled Manifiesto de los liberales de Guadalajara a sus conciudadanos, about the establishment of a provincial congress in that capital” formed to maintain a close alliance with nearby provinces in order to resist the government in Mexico City. Beatriz Rojas Nieto, ed., Actas de las sesiones de Zacatecas, 1822–1823 (Mexico City: Instituto Mora, 2003), 129.
(30.) “Resoluciones del Supremo Poder Executivo desde el 1 de abril de 1823 en que fue instalado,” AGN, Colección José López Portillo; Diario del Congreso Constituyente, 4:379–478; Mexico. Cámara de Diputados, Historia Parlamentaria Mexicana: Crónicas, 2 vols. (Mexico City: Cámara de Diputados, 1983), 1:11–102. See also Frasquet Miguel, Las caras del águila, 339–68.
(31.) “Manifiesto del Supremo Poder Executivo a la Nación,” May 16, 1823, AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 54, exp. 9; Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 130–31; México, Cámara de Diputados, Historia parlamentaria, 1:12–27. The Plan is republished in La República Federal Mexicana, 8 vols., ed. Manuel Calvillo (Mexico City: Departamento del Distrito Federal, n.d.), 2:131–218. Andrés Lira González analyzes the Plan in “Mier y la Constitución de México,” in Rodríguez O., Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 168–75.
(32.) Quote in Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 131.
(33.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 254–61, quote on p. 255. I have relied on Bustamante's Diario for these events. It reflects what he believed at the time since the diaries were never intended for publication. Unfortunately, José María Bocanegra, Lorenzo de Zavala, and Lucas Alamán, as well as Carlos María Bustamante, who were active participants in the government at the time, have little to say in their published histories about these issues. In addition, the actas of those special meetings do not appear in the normal sources, such as Juan A. Mateos, Historia parlamentaria de los Congresos Mexicanos de 1821–1857, vol. 2; El Águila Mexicana; Mexico, Cámara de Diputados, Historia Parlamentaria, vol. 1; or Luis Muro, Sesiones secretas de la historia parlamentaria mexicana, vol. 1.
(34.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 258–61. According to Bustamante the articles were:
fiercely fought by the señores Mier, Fagoaga, Marín, Terán, and Lic. Bustamante. The first was called to order when he opposed the vote, and then he began crying bitterly as when a wife pours her heart out on the cadaver of her consort and with her tears tries to restore his life…. Those precious tears shed by an old man, who had spent his long life in jails, in hospitals, and in the most horrible confinements, who had suffered all kinds of calamities … will not be shed in vain.” Ibid., 258–59.
(37.) “VIVA LA REPUBLICA FEDERADA DE YUCATAN. Acta de la Junta General, de las Corporaciones, Autoridades, Gefes y Electores de Partido [May 29 and 30, 1823],” El Águila Mexicana 1, no. 68 (June 21, 1823), 254 [sic for 255]–56. See also María Cecilia Zuleta, “Raíces y razones del federalismo peninsular, 1821–1825,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo en México, 166–68.
(38.) Y.M.O., Invitación que hace un oaxaqueño a su suelo Patrio (Oaxaca: n.p., 1823).
(39.) Antonio de León to the Supremo Poder Ejecutivo, Oaxaca, June 4, 1824, AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, f. 20; Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 271.
(40.) Antonio de León to the Supremo Poder Ejecutivo, Oaxaca, June 4, 1823, AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, ff. 18–20.
(41.) “Acta de Oaxaca,” El Águila Mexicana 1, no. 69 (June 22, 1823), 258; no. 70 (June 23, 1823), 261–62, and no. 71 (June 24, 1823), 263.
(42.) “Convocatoria,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, ff. 27–28. See also Oaxaca: Ocurrencias del Día,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 47, exp. 29.
(43.) Carlos María de Bustamante, Examen crítico sobre la federación de las provincias del territorio mexicano: Carta primera a un oaxaqueño (Mexico City: Imprenta del Ciudadano Alejandro Valdés, 1823)(emphasis in the original).
(44.) Victorés Manero al Supremo Poder Ejecutivo, Oaxaca, 24 de junio de 1824, AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 42, exp. 12, ff. 47–48r.
(45.) Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 130–40. See also the documents published in El Águila Mexicana during May and June, 1823.
(46.) “Junta de Celaya de los Diputados de las Diputaciones Provinciales de Valladolid, Querétaro, Guanajuato y S. Luis Potosí,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 47, exp. 28.
(47.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 263–64.
(48.) “Plan de República federada, elaborado por Santa Anna y dado en San Luis Potosí, 5 de junio de 1823,” in Frasquet Miguel, “La construcción del Estado-Nación en México,” 621.
(49.) María Isabel Monroy and Tomás Calvillo Unna, “Las apuestas de una región: San Luis Potosí y la República Federal,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo en México, 332–27. Will Fowler, who seems not to understand Mexico's political situation, offers a confused defense of Santa Anna's actions. Santa Anna of Mexico, 71–76.
(50.) On this episode, see “Sobre ocurrencias en S. Luis Potosí ocasionadas del Plan del Brigadier D. Antonio Santana,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 58, exp. 1.
(51.) “Acta de la Junta de Celaya,” El Águila Mexicana 1:88 (July 12, 1823), 330. See also José Antonio Serrano Ortega, “Federalismo y anarquía, municipalismo y autonomía: Guanajuato, 1820–1826,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo en México, 267–71.
(52.) Antonio López de Santa Anna a Secretario de Relaciones, San Luis Potosí (July 1, 1823), AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 58, exp. 1.
(53.) Bocanegra, Memorias para la historia de México, 1:221–24.
(54.) “Oficio de los Sres. Comisionados,” Celaya (July 12, 1823), AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 47, exp. 28.
(55.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 254–59.
(56.) “Contestación entre el Señor Herrera y el Gobierno de Guadalajara,” in Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 327–29. Thomas Ewing Cotner, The Military and Political Career of José Joaquín de Herrera (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1949), 60.
(57.) These and other documents of the time are reproduced in Muriá, El federalismo en Jalisco, 37–36.
(58.) Voto general de los pueblos de la Provincia libre de Jalisco denominada hasta ahora de Guadalajara sobre constituir su forma de gobierno en Republica Federada, 2nd ed. (Guadalajara: Poderes de Jalisco, 1973), 43–45. See also Jaime Olveda, “Jalisco: El pronunciamiento federalista de Guadalajara,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo en México, 201–9.
(59.) Esposición de la Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara a los habitantes del nuevo Estado de Jalisco, y Plan de gobierno provisional del mismo Estado (Guadalajara: Imprenta del Ciudadano Urbano Sanromán, 1823).
(60.) “ACTA DE ZACATECAS. Bando publicado en la capital de Zacatecas en 22 de junio de 1823,” in Águila Mexicana 1, nos. 80 and 81 (July 3 and 4, 1823), 297, 300. See also Vega, Los dilemas de la organización autónoma, 179–81.
(61.) “Nueva contestación del Gobierno de la Provincia de Guadalajara, sobre la convocatoria para el Congreso que debe constituir la Nación,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 47, exp. 27. Bocanegra, Memorias para la historia de México, 1:225. Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, 2:9.
(62.) “Nicolás Bravo, “Manifiesto al pueblo de México,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, exp. 9.
(63.) The leaders of Jalisco and Zacatecas ordered the proceedings of the meetings in Lagos published immediately in their portable press so that all the country would be informed of their attempts to keep the peace while retaining their sovereignty. See Sesiones celebradas en la Villa de Lagos por los Sres. Comisionados del Exmo. Sr. D. Nicolás Bravo General en Gefe de la División de Operaciones del Ejército libertador con los de las Exmas. Diputaciones Provinciales de los Estados libres de Xalisco y Zacatecas para aclarar las equivocaciones que pudieron padecerse por el Gobierno Supremo de México y los particulares de ambos Estados en su pronunciamiento por su actual sistema de República Federada y disposiciones consiguientes. Imprimese de órden del Exmo. Sr. Gobernador D. Luis Quintanar para que la Nación se entere de la buena fé y honor con que han procedido las Comisiones en el arduo asunto que motivó sus discusiones, no teniendo presente para ellas mas objeto que el bien general de la Nación y el particular de los referidos Estados de Xalisco y Zacatecas (Lagos: Imprenta Portatil de Xalisco, 1823). See also Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 160–65, and Vega, Los dilemas de la organización autónoma, 181–87.
(64.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 2, 31.
(65.) “Ceremonial que aprobó la Junta Gubernativa” and “Congreso Provincial, Decreto núm. 1,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, exp. 12, 54–56.
(66.) Florencio del Castillo to the Supremo Poder Ejecutivo, Oaxaca (July 8, 1823), AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, exp. 12, ff. 60r–v. Castillo's letter was published in El Águila Mexicana, no. 96 (July 19, 1823), 357. However, not all the members of the Congreso Provincial de Oaxaca shared Castillo's conciliatory disposition. See Ignacio Ordoño, Voto particular del Señor …, Diputado del Congreso Provincial de Oajaca sobre el pasa a Convocatoria de México. Con notas de un Ciudadano del Estado libre de Xalisco (Guadalajara: Imprenta del Ciudadano Urbano Sanroman, 1823). It appears that the pamphlet was distributed throughout the country. See “El Gefe Político de Tabasco remitiendo un impreso que se le remitió desde Jalisco, y participando haber impedido su publicación en aquella Provincia, por subversivo.” AGN, Gobernación, leg. 20(1), exp. 8.
(67.) Bases para el Gobierno Provincial (1823).
(68.) “Resoluciones del Supremo Poder Ejecutivo,” AGN, Colección José López Portillo, ff. 27v, 34v, 32r–v. Carlos María de Bustamante believed that León was the driving force behind the political changes in Oaxaca, but he was also convinced that the subdeacon Ignacio Ordoño manipulated León. See Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 1, 270, 279.
(69.) Many provinces were opposed to the government's use of force. See, for example, “La Diputación Provincial de Puebla sobre no poder dar los tres mil pesos que pide el Sr. Rincón y ruega se evite romper las hostilidades en Oaxaca,” AGN, Gobernación, sin sección, caja 48, exp. 12.
(70.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, tomo 1, vol. 2, 39–40.
(71.) Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 141–208.
(72.) Soberano Congreso Mexicano, Decreto del … para las elecciones que deberán hacer las Provincias, de los Diputados que han de componer el que constituya la Nacion (Mexico City: Imprenta del Supremo Gobierno en Palacio, 1823).
(73.) There are several works that treat these events in a somewhat different manner (p.441) than mine: the detailed study by Barragán Barragán, Introducción al federalismo, 180–357; the chapters by David M. Quinlan, “Issues and Factions in the Constituent Congress, 1823–1824,” and Hira de Gortari Rabiela, “El federalismo en la construcción de los estados,” in Rodríguez O., Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 177–207 and 209–22, respectively; the chapter by Reynaldo Sordo Cedeño, “El congreso nacional: De la autonomía de las provincias al compromiso federal,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo en México, 115–54; and Frasquet Miguel's chapter, “Cuestión federal, cuestión republicana,” in her excellent book, Las caras del águila, 339–68.
(74.) El Águila Mexicana (October 23, 1823).
(77.) De Gortari Rabiela, “El federalismo en la construcción de los estados,” 217.
(78.) Although most of the literature does not distinguish between confederalists and federalists, the influence of confederalism on the Mexican political system at the time is considerable.
(79.) David M. Quinlan has recently proposed a different breakdown of the factions in congress: federalist unificationists, central unificationists, antifederalists, and confederalists. See his “Issues and Factions in the Constituent Congress, 1823–1824,” in Rodríguez O., Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 177–207.
(80.) These constitutional projects were as follows: (1) Constitucion del Imperio o proyecto de organizacion del Poder Legislativo, presentado a la comision actual de constitucion por el Sr. [Antonio José] Valdes, como individuo de dicha comision (Mexico City: Imprenta Imperial del Sr. D. Alejandro Valdes, 1822). (2) Proyecto de constitución presentado a la comisión de ella por uno de los individuos que la componen (Mexico City: Oficina de D. José María Ramos Palomera, 1822). This document has been attributed to Miguel Guridi y Alcocer. (3) Proyecto de reglamento político del gobierno del Imperio Mejicano presentado a la Junta Nacional Instituyente (Mexico City: Imprenta del Supremo Gobierno, 1823). (4) “Constitución del Imperio Mexicano,” written by José María Couto. The project circulated in manuscript form; it is located in the Iturbide Papers in the U.S. Library of Congress. (5) Plan de la Constitucion política de la Nacion Mexicana (Mexico City: Imprenta Nacional del Supremo Gobierno, 1823). This plan was prepared by Sevando Teresa de Mier and his committee. (6) El pacto federal de Anáhuac (Mexico City: Reinpreso de Guadalajara en la oficina del ciudadano Mariano Rodríguez, impresor del gobierno, 1823). This plan was written by Prisciliano Sánchez. (7) Contrato de asociación para la Republica de los Estados Unidos del Anáhuac por un ciudadano del Estado de Xalisco, Segunda edición revisada y corregida por el autor (Guadalajara: Imprenta de la viuda de D. José Fruto Romero, 1823). This document was written by Severo Maldonado. In addition, there exist two plans prepared by Stephen F. Austin: “Proyecto de constitución para la republica de Mexico” (March 29, 1823) and “Plan de las bases orgánica o fundamentales para el establecimiento de una República federada en el Anáhuac.” Neither of these plans was published or circulated widely. As Nettie Lee Benson has shown, they did not influence the drafters of the Mexican constitution. According to her:
Austin's “Plan” was a poorly organized composite of the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 and the United States Constitution. Ramos Arizpe's Acta, on the other hand, was a well-organized offering modeled on the Spanish Constitution and varied from it only when “the federal republic idea compelled change.” The parallelism between the Spanish Constitution and Ramos Arizpe's Acta is clear through clause after clause, not only setting forth the same ideas but also employing the same words. In fact entire articles were borrowed, not surprisingly, verbatim from the Spanish Constitution.
Ramos Arizpe, furthermore, was well acquainted with the Constitution of the United States of America long before he met Austin. A careful study of his Acta reveals its differences in organization, terminology, and phrasing from the United States Constitution. Furthermore, the Acta contained a number of articles and ideas not contained either in the Spanish Constitution or the (p.442) United States Constitution. Those articles were produced by problems indigenous to Mexico at that time. The Provincial Deputation in Mexico: Harbinger of Provincial Autonomy, Independence, and Federalism (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992), 123–24.
(81.) Benson, La Diputación Provincial, 192–201.
(82.) Acta Constitutiva de la Federación: Crónicas (Mexico City: Cámara de Diputados, 1974), 27(emphasis added).
(84.) Ibid., 270. The Articles of Confederation of the United States of América defined the powers of the states as follows: “Article 2. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”
(85.) Acta Constitutiva de la Federación: Crónicas, 270.
(86.) See, for example, Barragán Barragán, Introducción al federalismo, 197–98. The error persists, even though Nettie Lee Benson demonstrated in 1948 that Servando Teresa de Mier, their outstanding spokesman, was a federalist. Nettie Lee Benson, “Servando Teresa de Mier, Federalist,” HAHR 28:4 (November 1848), 514–25.
(87.) Acta Constitutiva de la Federación: Crónicas, 280–94.
(89.) On the contingente, see Jaime Olveda, “La disputa por el control de los impuestos en los primeros años independientes,” in Hacienda y política: Las finanzas públicas y los grupos de poder en la primera República Federal Mexicana, ed. José Antonio Serrano Ortega and Luis Jáuregui (Zamora and Mexico City: El Colegio de Michoacán and Instituto Mora, 1998), 115–32; and Jorge Castañeda Zavala, “El contingente fiscal en la nueva nación mexicana, 1824–1861,” in Marichal and Maríno, De colonia a nación, 135–88.
(90.) Cited in Barragán Barragán, Introducción al federalismo, 299.
(91.) Acta Constitutiva de la Federación: Crónicas, 447–50; Rodríguez O., “The Constitution of 1824,” 84–90.
(92.) Cited in Barragán Barragán, Introducción al federalismo, 305.
(93.) “Proclama del ayuntamiento de Querétaro,” El Águila Mexicana, vol. 3, no. 250 (December 20, 1823), 1–2.
(94.) “Acta de federación del estado libre de la Puebla de los Ángeles,” El Águila Mexicana, tomo 3, no. 257 (December 27, 1823), 1–2. See also Castro Morales, El federalismo en Puebla, 119–42.
(95.) Castro Morales, El federalismo en Puebla, 143–70; and Tecuanhuey Saldoval, “Puebla 1812–1825,” 337–68.
(96.) Bocanegra, Memorias para la historia de México, 1:337–39. See also Flores Caballero, La contrarrevolución en la independencia, 108–9.
(97.) Bustamante, Diario histórico de México, 2:17 (emphasis in the original).
(98.) Documents of the revolt are found in Bocanegra, Memorias para la historia de México, 1:337–43. Other documents concerning the rebellion are published in El Iris de Jalisco 28 (February 2, 1824), 1–3; 31 (February 9, 1824), 2–4; and 32 (February 11, 1824), 2. Bustamante discusses these questions in his Diario histórico de México (January 23 and 24, 1824), 2:17–18.
(99.) Charles W. Macune, “The Expropriation of Mexico City: Regional Antipathy in Newly Independent Mexico,” Proceedings of the Pacific Coast Council of Latin American Studies 2 (1973), 117–42; Constitución Federal de 1824: Crónicas, 2 vols. (Mexico City: Cámara de Diputados, 1974), 2:436–37, 556–81. See also Andrés Lira, La República Federal Mexicana: Gestación y nacimiento, vol. 7, La creación del Distrito Federal (Mexico City: Distrito Federal, 1974).
(100.) “Constitución de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos,” in Tena Ramírez, Leyes fundamentales de México, 168–79.
(101.) Nettie Lee Benson repeatedly argued this point in her La diputación provincial, in the chapter “Spain's Contribution to Federalism in Mexico,” in Essays in Mexican History, eds. Thomas E. Cotner and Carlos E. Castañeda (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958), 90–103, and most recently in the expanded and revised English version of her book, The Provincial Deputation in Mexico, where she demonstrates (1) that Stephen F. Austin could not have influenced Miguel Ramos Arizpe, as is often alleged, and (2) that the Mexican Constitution of 1824 is modeled on the Hispanic Constitution of 1812 and not on the U.S. Constitution of 1787. For an explanation of why Mexicans, who had participated in the constituent congress, later argued that it had been based on the U.S. Constitution, see Jaime E. Rodríguez O., “Intellectuals and the Mexican Constitution of 1824,” in Los intelectuales y el poder en México, ed. Roderic A. Camp, Charles A. Hale, and Josefina Zoraida Vázquez (Mexico City and Los Angeles: El Colegio de México and University of California, Los Angeles, 1991), 63–74.
(102.) “Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos,” in Tena Ramírez, Leyes fundamentales de México, 167–95.
(103.) Mariano Galván Rivera, Colección de constituciones de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, 3 vols., facsimile edition (Mexico City: Miguel Ángel Porrúa, 1988). See also Marcello Carmagnani, “Del territorio a la región: Líneas de un proceso en la primera mitad del siglo XIX,” in Hernández Chávez and Miño Grijalva, Cincuenta años de historia en México, 2:221–41; María Cecilia Zuleta, “Raíces y razones del federalismo peninsular, 1821–1825”; Jaime Olveda, “Jalisco: El pronunciamiento federalista de Guadalajara”; Mercedes de Vega, “Soberanías en pugna: Del unionismo al federalismo radical, Zacatecas, 1821–1825”; Carlos Sánchez Silva, “El establecimiento del federalismo en Oaxaca, 1823–1825”; José Antonio Serrano Ortega, “Federalismo y anarquía, municipalismo y autonomía: Guanajuato, 1820–1826”; Jaime Hernández Díaz, “Michoacán: De provincial novohispana a Estado Libre y Soberano de la federación mexicana, 1820–1825”; María Isabel Monroy Castillo and Tomás Calvillo Unna, “Las apuestas de una región: San Luis Potosí y la República Federal”; Luis Jáuregui, “Nuevo León, 1823–1825: Del Plan de Casa Mata a la promulgación de la constitución estatal”; Cecilia Sheridan Prieto, “El primer federalismo en Coahuila”; Octavio Herrera Pérez, “Autonomía y decisión federalista en el proceso de creación del Estado Libre y Soberano de Tamaulipas”; María del Carmen Salinas Sandoval, “Del imperio al federalismo: Estado de México, 1823–1827”; Alicia Tecuanhuey Sandoval, “Tras las trinchera del federalismo: Intereses y fuerzas regionales en Puebla, 1823–1825”; Juan Ortiz Escamilla, “El federalismo veracruzano, 1820–1826”; Raymond Buve, “Una historia particular: Tlaxcala en el proceso del establecimiento de la primera República Federal”; Héctor Cuauhtémoc Hernández Silva, “Las provincias de Sonora y Sinaloa, 1821–1825: El camino hacia el federalismo”; Mario Vázquez Olivera, “Chiapas, entre Centroamérica y México, 1821–1826”; and Carlos Martínez Assad, “La federación en Tabasco,” in Vázquez, El establecimiento del federalismo, 155–630, which discuss the formation of the states of the Mexican federation.