Mexican Independence

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Mexican Independence In New Spain, the Bourbon monarchies in 1808-1810 encouraged some creoles leaders to strike for total independence under the cover of Ferdinand. On July 1808, Napoleon’s capture of Charles the VI and Ferdinand the VII, and capture of Spain reached Mexico causing intense debate between Mexican elites. Creoles and Peninsulars prepared to take power and ensure their group would have power over the other; New Spain, like other Spanish colonies, went through the crisis of the Bourbon monarchy from 1808- 1810.

Yet, in Mexico what pushed for independence from Spain would be the elite’s race for power. The creoles were the first to take action. The Mexico City cabildo called on the viceroy to summon an assembly. It was made up of many different elite groups, which governed Mexico until Ferdinand VII, regained his throne. Jose de Iturrigary supported Ferdinand’s rise back to power saying that Spain was in “A state of total anarchy”. The elites wanted free trade and autonomy or home rule with the Spanish empire, not independence.

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Fray Melchor de Talamantes, the chief creole ideologist, said: abolition of theInquisitian and the ecclesiastical fuero; free trade; and measures to promote the reform of mining, agriculture, and industry. The creoles movement threatened the peninsulares, on the night of September 15, 1808, they (peninsulares) struck back and with this, the peninsulares held the power until Francisco Javier de Venegas, arrived from Spain on September 1810. The movement’s first advancement began on August 30, 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo in the Battle of Monte de las Cruces defeated opposing forces.

This gave Hidalgo ‘s troop a sense of confidence and helped him moved towards Puente Calderon. The leaders of the creole movement in Mexico, now passed to a group consisting predominantly of “marginal elites” in the Bajio, a region which was roughly corresponding to the intendancy of Queretaro. Economic and social conditions in this region help explain why Mexico had such a struggle to gain their independence. Agriculture was dominated by large commercial irrigated estates producing wheat and other products for upper classes.

The textile industry experienced a shift from large obrajes. Mining was the most profitable and capital-intensive industry of the region for people. The Bajio’s labor force experienced a decline of wage and living standards and employment chances. Then in 1808-1809, drought and famine struck Bajio. The great landowners profited from misery. The Bajio was its strom center, the peasantry and working class formed a spearhead. In 1810 a creole plot for revolt was taking shape in the important political and industrial center of Quetaro.

Only two of the conspirators belonged to the highest circle of the creole regional elite, and efforts to draw other prominent creoles into the scheme were rebuffed. The motive of the most plotters was the hope of raising troops, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, was inspired by a genuine sympathy for the natives. On September 16, 1810, Hidalgo called on the people of his parish to rise against the Spanish rulers. With many battles under his belt Hidalgo proved unable to weld his rebel horde into some sort of a disciplined army.

In January 1811, Spanish forces fought the Battle of the Bridge of Calderon and defeated the insurgent army, forcing the rebels to flee towards the United States-Mexican border, where they hoped to escape. However they were intercepted by the Spanish army. Hidalgo and his remaining soldiers were captured in the state of Coahuila at the Wells of Bajan (Norias de Bajan). They faced court trial of the Inquisition on 30 July 1811, and were executed. Hidalgo’s body was mutilated, and his and Allende’s heads were displayed in Guanajuato as a warning to Mexican rebels.

After fleeting northward from Bajio. Following the death of Father Hidalgo, leadership of the revolutionary army was given to Jose Maria Morelos. Under the leadership of Jose Morelos the cities of Oaxaca and Acapulco were occupied. In 1813, the Congress of Chilpancingo was convened and on 6 November of that year, the Congress signed the first official document of independence, known as the “Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America”. It was followed by a long period of war at the Siege of Cuautla.

Morelos military efforts were hampered by differences with fractious civilian allies and by his decision to establish a representative government at a time. In 1815, Morelos was captured by Spanish colonial authorities, tried and executed for treason in San Cristobal Ecatepec on 22 December. After ten years of civil war and the death of two of its founders, by early 1820 the independence movement was stalemated and close to collapse. The rebels faced stiff Spanish military resistance and the apathy of many of the most influential criollos.

The violent excesses and populist zeal of Hidalgo’s and Morelos’s irregular armies had reinforced many criollos’ fears of race and class warfare, ensuring their grudging acquiescence to conservative Spanish rule until a less bloody path to independence could be found. It was at this juncture that the machinations of a conservative military caudillo coinciding with a successful liberal rebellion in Spain, made possible a radical realignment of the proindependence forces.

Vicente Guerror, planned to combine independence, monarchy, the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church, and the civil equality of the creoles and peninsulares. While stationed in the town of Iguala, Iturbide proclaimed three principles, or “guarantees,” for Mexican independence from Spain; Mexico would be an independent monarchy governed by a transplanted King Ferdinand, another Bourbon prince, or some other conservative European prince, criollos and peninsulares would henceforth enjoy equal rights and privileges, and the Roman Catholic Church would retain its privileges and position as the official religion of the land.

After convincing his troops to accept the principles, which were promulgated on February 24, 1821, as the Plan of Iguala, Iturbide persuaded Guerrero to join his forces in support of the new conservative manifestation of the independence movement. A new army, the Army of the Three Guarantees, was then placed under Iturbide’s command to enforce the Plan of Iguala. The plan was so broadly based that it pleased both patriots and loyalists. The goal of independence and the protection of Roman Catholicism brought together all factions.

Iturbide’s army was joined by rebel forces from all over Mexico. When the rebels’ victory became certain, the viceroy resigned. On August 24, 1821, representatives of the Spanish crown and Iturbide signed the Treaty of Cordoba, which recognized Mexican independence under the terms of the Plan of Iguala. On September 27 the Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City and the following day Iturbide proclaimed the independence of the Mexican Empire, as New Spain was to be henceforth called.

The Treaty of Cordoba was not ratified by the Spanish Cortes. Iturbide, a former royalist who had become the paladin for Mexican independence, included a special clause in the treaty that left open the possibility for a criollo monarch to be appointed by a Mexican congress if no suitable member of the European royalty would accept the Mexican crown. Half of all the government employees ere Iturbide’s courtiers and on September 28, 1821, Mexico became an independent country. On the night of the May 18, 1822, a mass demonstration led by the Regiment of Celaya, which Iturbide had commanded during the war, marched through the streets and demanded that their commander-in-chief accept the throne. The following day, the congress declared Iturbide emperor of Mexico. On October 31 Iturbide dissolved Congress and replaced it with a sympathetic junta.


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