Plan of Ayutla

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Juan Alvarez, strongman of Guerrero, was named by the Plan of Ayutla as one of three leaders of liberation forces. Juan Alvarez.PNG
Juan Álvarez, strongman of Guerrero, was named by the Plan of Ayutla as one of three leaders of liberation forces.

The Plan of Ayutla was the 1854 written plan aimed at removing conservative, centralist President Antonio López de Santa Anna from control of Mexico during the Second Federal Republic of Mexico period. Initially, it seemed little different than other political plans of the era, but it is considered to be the first act of the Liberal Reform in Mexico. [1] It was the catalyst for revolts in many parts of Mexico, which led to the resignation of Santa Anna from the presidency, never to vie for office again. [2] The next Presidents of Mexico were the liberals, Juan Álvarez, Ignacio Comonfort, and Benito Juárez. The new regime would then proclaim the 1857 Mexican Constitution, which implemented a variety of liberal reforms.

Antonio López de Santa Anna 19th-century Mexican politician general

Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then fought for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and he was an adept soldier and cunning politician who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna." He was called "the Man of Destiny" who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch." Santa Anna first opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. He was one of the earliest caudillos of modern Mexico, and he "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history". Lucas Alamán wrote that "the history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions…. His name plays the major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his."

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Second Federal Republic of Mexico

The Second Federal Republic of Mexico is the name given to the second attempt to achieve a federalist government in Mexico. Officially called the United Mexican States, a federal republic was implemented again on August 22, 1846 when interim president José Mariano Salas issued a decree restoring the 1824 constitution. Like the Mexican Empire, the First Federal Republic and the Centralist Republic it was a chaotic period, marked by political instability that resulted in several internal conflicts. Mexico's loss of the war with the United States saw half the territory Mexico claimed become part of the United States. Even though Antonio López de Santa Anna played a major role in much of this history, he returned to the presidency yet again, selling northern territory coveted by the United States contiguous to territory it just gained in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The sale of the Mesilla Valley was for many the final straw, and liberals promulgated of the Plan of Ayutla, calling for the overthrow of Santa Anna. Santa Anna went into exile and the liberals set about implementing their vision of Mexico.


Dissent against the Santa Anna dictatorship

After Mexico's defeat in the Mexican-American War, the country was beset by despair and political chaos. Abhorring long-term exploitation and short-term heavy taxes needed to finance the war, some indigenous peoples revolted in the Sierra Gorda region (1847–1849) and in the Yucatán peninsula (1847–1852). [3] The north of Mexico was especially devastated. The territorial losses to the United States codified in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was an impetus for Apache and Comanche raids in northern Mexico. The region was further weakened by depopulation, with the discovery of gold in the recently lost territory of California prompted inhabitants of northern Mexico to migrate there. [4]

Sierra Gorda

The Sierra Gorda is an ecological region centered on the northern third of the Mexican state of Querétaro and extending into the neighboring states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí. Within Querétaro, the ecosystem extends from the center of the state starting in parts of San Joaquín and Cadereyta de Montes municipalities and covering all of the municipalities of Peñamiller, Pinal de Amoles, Jalpan de Serra, Landa de Matamoros and Arroyo Seco, for a total of 250 km2 of territory. The area is extremely rugged with high steep mountains and deep canyons. As part of the Huasteca Karst, it also contains many formations due to erosion of limestone, especially pit caves known locally as sótanos. The area is valued for its very wide diversity of plant and animal life, which is due to the various microenvironments created by the ruggedness of the terrain and wide variation in rainfall. This is due to the mountains’ blocking of moisture coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, which generally makes the east side fairly moist and the west semiarid scrub brush. Most of the region has been protected in two biosphere reserves, with the one centered in Querétaro established in 1997 and the one centered in Guanajuato established in 2007. The Sierra Gorda is considered to be the far west of the La Huasteca region culturally and it is home to the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda World Heritage Site.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo peace treaty that concludes Mexican-American War of 1846-1848

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848.

The Apache are a group of culturally related Native American tribes in the Southwestern United States, which include the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Salinero, Plains and Western Apache. Distant cousins of the Apache are the Navajo, with which they share the Southern Athabaskan languages. There are Apache communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Apache people have moved throughout the United States and elsewhere, including urban centers. The Apache Nations are politically autonomous, speak several different languages and have distinct cultures.

During this chaos, José María Tornel and Juan Suárez y Navarro founded the Santanista party. The Santanistas believed that Mexico should be ruled by a strong dictator who would create a centralized state that would emphasize the importance of the Catholic faith. Conservative politician and historian Lucas Alamán stated that the Church was "the only tie left that unites the Mexican people." [5] The Santanistas hoped that exiled President Santa Anna would be that strong dictator. The Santanistas, with help from the radical puros and the military, overthrew the moderado Mariano Arista. [6] Santa Anna arrived in Veracruz on 1 April 1853, and he took office upon reaching Mexico City on 20 April. [7]

Lucas Alamán Mexican historian and politician of the XIX century

Lucas Ignacio Alamán y Escalada was a Mexican scientist, conservative politician, historian, and writer. He has been called the "arch-reactionary of the epoch...who sought to create a strong central government based on a close alliance of the army, the Church and the landed classes." Alamán was "undoubtedly the major political and intellectual figure of independent Mexico until his death in 1853...the guiding force of several administrations and an active promoter of economic development."

Mariano Arista President of Mexico (1851–1853)

José Mariano Martín Buenaventura Ignacio Nepomuceno García de Arista Nuez was a noted veteran of many of Mexico's nineteenth-century wars. He served as president of Mexico from 15 January 1851 to 6 January 1853.

Upon taking office yet again, Santa Anna took measures to improve the army, hoping to create a standing army of 90,000 men. [8] However, due to the unpopularity of the draft and the low quality of the troops who were recruited, Santa Anna lowered his goal to 46,000 troops. [9] Mexican Liberals whom Santa Anna considered threats, notably Benito Juárez and Melchor Ocampo, were forced into exile to the U.S. Juárez and Ocampo settled in New Orleans and plot to overthrow the government. [10] Santa Anna also introduced tax increases to boost revenue. On 14 May 1853, a decree was promulgated that renewed all taxes and added new ones, such as the restoration of the alcabala (sales tax) and the abolition of financial concessions to the port of Acapulco and to Yucatán. [11] Santa Anna had some successful policies, such as measures that reduced banditry and improved the country's highway system. [12] However, he became increasingly authoritarian as well as pompous, adopting the title of "Most Serene Highness." [13] His popularity also declined due to the tax increases that he implemented, his suppression of political opposition, and his regime's rampant corruption. [14] A key event that further decreased his popularity was the Gadsden Purchase, in which the United States paid $10,000,000 to Mexico in exchange for more Mexican land. It has been speculated [ by whom? ] that Santa Anna took $600,000 of the indemnity for himself. Santa Anna was further weakened by the deaths of many advisors and the alienation of others, as exemplified by his decision to exile Suárez y Navarro. [15]

Melchor Ocampo Mexican politician

Melchor Ocampo was a mestizo by birth, a radical liberal Mexican lawyer, scientist, and politician. He was fiercely anticlerical, perhaps an atheist, and his early writings against Roman Catholic Church in Mexico gained him a reputation as an articulate liberal ideologue. Ocampo has been considered the heir to José María Luis Mora, the premier liberal intellectual of the early republic. He served in the administration of Benito Juárez and negotiated a controversial agreement with the United States, the McLane-Ocampo Treaty. His home state was much later renamed Michoacán de Ocampo in his honor.

The alcabala or alcavala was a sales tax of up to fourteen percent, the most important royal tax imposed by Spain in the early modern period. It applied in Spain and the Spanish dominions. The Duke of Alba imposed a five percent alcabala in the Netherlands, where it played an important role in the Dutch Revolt. Unlike most taxes in Spain at the time, no social classes were entirely exempt, although from 1491 clergy were exempt on trade that was "not for gain." Certain towns were also, at times, given exemptions.

Acapulco City and municipality in Guerrero, Mexico

Acapulco de Juárez, commonly called Acapulco, is a city, municipality and major seaport in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semicircular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico's history. It is a port of call for shipping and cruise lines running between Panama and San Francisco, California, United States. The city of Acapulco is the largest in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo. Acapulco is also Mexico's largest beach and balneario resort city.

Plan of Ayutla is Drafted

By the beginning of 1854, Santa Anna had secured control over most of Mexico. The southern state of Guerrero, which was ruled by General Juan Álvarez, remained outside of his control. Due to its difficult terrain, the province was naturally shielded from the capital. Álvarez was angered by Santa Anna's pro-Spanish policies, such as hiring Spanish mercenaries, and by the central government's confiscation of Guerrero's public lands. The government also planned to build a highway from Mexico City to Acapulco, which threatened Álvarez's regional autonomy. [16] Angered by Álvarez's disloyal behavior, Santa Anna sent General Pérez Palacios to seize Acapulco, and Álvarez similarly prepared for war. [17]

Guerrero State of Mexico

Guerrero, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Guerrero, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo and its largest city is Acapulco.

Colonel Ignacio Comonfort, one of Álvarez's subordinates, pressed for a plan to be written, as he wanted to win over public opinion and to add an idealistic angle to the planned rebellion. [18] He wanted the document to be vague and to avoid any topics that would narrow the movement's appeal. [19] Initially drafted on 24 February 1854, by Colonel Florencio Villarreal, it was proclaimed on 1 March 1854, in Ayutla, Guerrero. The Plan de Ayutla was influenced by a document written by the New Orleans exiles. [20] The Ayutla Plan not only aimed at removing the dictator but also convening a constituent assembly in order to draft a federal constitution. [21] The Plan charged Santa Anna with being a tyrant and declared the Gadsden Purchase to be illegal. The authors promised to end the draft and the poll tax. Álvarez, Tomás Moreno, and Nicolás Bravo were declared to be the military leaders of the insurgency, and they were given the power to alter the plan if necessary. Álvarez and Comonfort did not support this proclamation publicly, as Comonfort believed that it would not gain support among moderados. The Plan was then slightly revised and accepted by the rebel leaders on 13 March. [22]

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

Florencio Villarreal Municipality in Guerrero, Mexico

Florencio Villarreal is one of the 81 municipalities of Guerrero, in south-western Mexico. The municipal seat lies at Cruz Grande. The municipality covers an area of 372.9 km². It is named after Col. Florencio Villarreal, who drafted the 1854 Plan of Ayutla that ousted the conservative dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna. Ousting Santa Anna initiated a new era in Mexican politics with the liberals in charge, known as La Reforma. Leaders in Guerrero took the lead in rebelling against Santa Anna's government.

The notable supporters of the Plan of Ayutla included Juan Álvarez, Ignacio Comonfort, exiles of the Santa Anna regime Benito Juárez, Melchor Ocampo, José María Mata, and Ponciano Arriaga, [23] as well as Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, José María Jesús Carbajal, and Pedro Hinojosa.

Revolution of Ayutla

Revolution of Ayutla
Date1 March 1854 – 12 August 1855
Location Mexico

Revolutionary victory

Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg Revolutionaries Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg Santanistas
Commanders and leaders
Juan Álvarez
Ignacio Comonfort
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Félix María Zuloaga

Álvarez's forces initiated 19 months of guerrilla warfare and civil unrest against Santa Anna. The rebels were aided by the exiles in New Orleans, who sent them weapons. [24] This uprising is termed the Revolution of Ayutla (1854−1855), since it entailed not just a narrow political goal of ousting the dictator, but a more thorough change in political direction via armed warfare. The Revolution of Ayutla brought a new generation of younger men into active national political life, a "generation of giants" including military men: Comonfort, Santiago Vidaurri, Epitacio Huerta, and Manuel García Pueblita; as well as radical liberal intellectuals, Ocampo, Arriaga, Guillermo Prieto, and Juárez. [25] In the summer of 1855, Juárez returned to Acapulco from exile to serve as a political ally of Álvarez. [26]

Alvarez had success in mobilizing forces in Guerrero, many of which had formed paramilitary units during the U.S. - Mexican War (1846-1848), Santa Anna decided to crush the rebellion in person, leaving Mexico City with an army on 16 March 1854. [27] Santa Anna's federal army defeated the "Liberating Army" at El Coquillo. [28] He then arrived at Acapulco on 19 April, but the rebels cut his communications with Mexico City, and he learned that Comonfort had fortified the city. After a week long siege, Santa Anna was forced to retreat. On 30 April, Santa Anna defeated Moreno at el Pelegrino, but the rebels inflicted severe losses on Santa Anna's army, and Santa Anna himself was almost captured. During the retreat to Mexico City, Santa Anna's army executed rebel prisoners and burned villages. [29] There followed uprisings in the states of Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca, and Mexico state. The rebellion then spread to the northern states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, and Nuevo León. The irregular forces of the liberal side took a few months' time off from the revolution to attend to their crops. [30]

The war continued without major battles or decisive victories. The government's most significant success was Colonel Félix Zuloaga's victory at El Limón on 22 July. [31] However, the rebellion proved impossible to suppress and, on 18 January 1855, Zuloaga surrendered after being besieged at Tecpan. [32] By April, the rebels were making progress in most parts of Mexico, but especially in Michoacán, which prompted Santa Anna to lead one last offensive into that province on 30 April 1855. [33] The rebels retreated instead of engaging Santa Anna's army, and, unable to crush them, he eventually returned to Mexico City. [34] When Mexico City denounced Santa Anna, he abdicated on 12 August 1855 and fled into exile. Álvarez's forces marched into the capital with a "brigade of rustics called Pintos (ferocious warriors so called because in earlier times, they wore face paint). [35] In the capital there was widespread popular support for the Revolution of Ayutla, with people gathering in the Alameda Park and waiting hours to sign a document in support of Mexico City for the revolution. [36] Álvarez then assumed the office of President of Mexico. Once the rebels occupied Mexico City, they confiscated all of Santa Anna's property so as to recoup the indemnity from the Gadsden Purchase that Santa Anna's regime had squandered. [37]


The Plan paved the way for La Reforma (the Liberal Reform). The Revolution of Ayutla brought its liberals to power. Their leaders initially passed a series of reform laws, notably the Ley Juárez, the Ley Lerdo, and the Ley Iglesias. These laws were explicitly anticlerical. The Ley Juárez abolished special courts for groups such as the military and the clergy. The Ley Lerdo sought to replace communal ownership of land with individual ownership of land, and it confiscated Church lands. The Ley Iglesias sought to control the costs of Church administered sacraments. [38]

Soon afterward, Comonfort, who had succeeded Álvarez as President, convened a Congress to draft a new Constitution. [39] The most contentious topic was the possibility of including a provision that would guarantee religious toleration, with puros supporting such a measure and moderados opposing it. The moderados opposed the measure with arguments attacking Protestantism and arguments that religious toleration would harm the family and national cohesion. [40] Other moderados argued that Constitutions should avoid idealism and reflect the country's populace. [41] Eventually, the moderados would prevent the inclusion of a religious toleration provision, and they would also prevent a trial by jury provision from being included in the Constitution. [42] However, the Ley Juárez, the Ley Lerdo, and the Ley Iglesias were incorporated into the 1857 Mexican Constitution. The Congress also added many other liberal stipulations, such as freedom of thought, freedom of the press, freedom of petition, and numerous laws defending the rights of those being prosecuted, such as the right to appeal, the right of a defendant to access material so as to craft a defense, and the abolition of double jeopardy. [43] The new Constitution also reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, which had been in effect since 1829. [44]

Objecting to the new Constitution's anticlerical elements, Pope Pius IX opposed the it. [45] Domestic Conservatives and the Mexican Catholic Church also opposed La Reforma and the 1857 Constitution in the Plan of Tacubaya. This would soon prompt an open civil war, known as the War of the Reform or Three Years War (1858−1860).

See also

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  6. Fowler, (2007). Santa Anna of Mexico, pp. 295-296.
  7. Richard A. Johnson, (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 14. ISBN   0837174597.
  8. Johnson, The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855. p. 17.
  9. Johnson, The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855, pp. 21-22.
  10. Roeder,(1947). Juarez and his Mexico, pp. 103–105.
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  12. Johnson (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855, p. 25.
  13. Johnson. The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855, p. 20.
  14. Fowler, Will (2007). Santa Anna of Mexico, p. 311.
  15. Fowler,(2007). Santa Anna of Mexico. pp. 308-309.
  16. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 38-39. ISBN   0837174597.
  17. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 41-42. ISBN   0837174597.
  18. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 43. ISBN   0837174597.
  19. Roeder, Ralph (1947). Juarez and his Mexico. New York: Viking Press. pp. 118.
  20. Roeder, Ralph (1947). Juarez and his Mexico. New York: Viking Press. pp. 109.
  21. "Memoria Política de México". Retrieved 2017-04-23.
  22. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 43. ISBN   0837174597.
  23. Walter V. Scholes, Mexican Politics During the Juárez Regime. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press 1957, pp. 3-4.
  24. Meyer, Michael C.; Sherman, William L. (1983). The Course of Mexican History: Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 376. ISBN   0195031504.
  25. Pani, "Revolution of Ayutla", p. 119.
  26. Meyer, Michael C.; Sherman, William L. (1983). The Course of Mexican History: Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 376. ISBN   0195031504.
  27. Fowler, Will (2007). Santa Anna of Mexico. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 311. ISBN   9780803211209.
  28. Pani, "Revolution of Ayutla", p. 120.
  29. Fowler, Will (2007). Santa Anna of Mexico. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 313. ISBN   9780803211209.
  30. Pani, "Revolution of Ayutla", p. 120.
  31. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854–1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 51-52. ISBN   0837174597.
  32. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 55. ISBN   0837174597.
  33. Johnson, Richard A. (1974). The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854-1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 58. ISBN   0837174597.
  34. Fowler, Will (2007). Santa Anna of Mexico. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 292. ISBN   9780803211209.
  35. Paul Vanderwood, "Betterment for Whom? The Reform Period: 1855-1875" in The Oxford History of Mexico, Michael C. Meyer and William H. Beezley, eds. New York: Oxford University Press 2000, p.372.
  36. Pani, "Revolution of Ayutla", p. 120.
  37. Fowler, Will (2007). Santa Anna of Mexico. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 315. ISBN   9780803211209.
  38. Wasserman, Mark (2000). Everyday Life and Politics in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Men, Women, and War. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico. p. 103-104. ISBN   0826321704
  39. Roeder, Ralph (1947). Juarez and his Mexico. New York: Viking Press. pp. 125.
  40. Meyer, Michael C.; Sherman, William L. (1983). The Course of Mexican History: Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 380. ISBN   0195031504.
  41. Roeder, Ralph (1947). Juarez and his Mexico. New York: Viking Press. pp. 133.
  42. Wasserman, Mark (2000). Everyday Life and Politics in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Men, Women, and War. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico. p. 104. ISBN   0826321704.
  43. Roeder, Ralph (1947). Juarez and his Mexico. New York: Viking Press. pp. 138-139.
  44. Wasserman, Mark (2000). Everyday Life and Politics in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Men, Women, and War. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico. p. 104. ISBN   0826321704.
  45. Meyer, Michael C.; Sherman, William L. (1983). The Course of Mexican History: Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 381. ISBN   0195031504.

Further reading