Second Federal Republic of Mexico

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For the current entity named United Mexican States, see Mexico .
United Mexican States

Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Motto: La Patria es Primero
The Country is First
Anthem: "Himno Nacional Mexicano"
(English: "National Anthem of Mexico")
Segunda Republica Federal de Mexico 1853.png
The United Mexican States in 1852, prior to the Gadsden Purchase.
Capital Mexico City
Common languages Spanish (official), Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya, Mixtecan languages, Zapotec languages
Roman Catholic
Government Federal republic
José Mariano Salas
Benito Juárez
Vice President  
Valentín Gómez Farías
Legislature Congress
Chamber of Deputies
22 August 1846
2 February 1848
25 April 1854
5 February 1857
10 July 1863
  Maximilian I accepts the crown
10 April 1864
18522,049,395 km2 (791,276 sq mi)
18571,972,550 km2 (761,610 sq mi)
18641,972,550 km2 (761,610 sq mi)
 1852 [1]
 1857 [1]
 1864 [1]
Currency Mexican real
ISO 3166 code MX
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Bandera Historica de la Republica Mexicana (1824-1918).svg Centralist Republic of Mexico
Flag of the Republic of Yucatan.svg Republic of Yucatán
Flag of the Republic of Sonora.svg Republic of Sonora
Second Mexican Empire Bandera del Segundo Imperio Mexicano (1864-1867).svg
Mexican Cession US flag 29 stars.svg
Republic of Baja California Flag of the Republic of Lower California.svg
Gadsden Purchase U.S. flag, 31 stars.svg
Today part ofFlag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of the United States.svg  United States

The Second Federal Republic of Mexico (Spanish : Segunda República Federal de México) is the name given to the second attempt to achieve a federalist government in Mexico. Officially called the United Mexican States (Spanish : Estados Unidos Mexicanos), 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.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

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.

José Mariano Salas President of Mexico

José Mariano de Salas was a Mexican general and politician who served twice as interim president of Mexico. He was also a member of the executive triumvirate of the Second Mexican Empire that invited Maximilian of Habsburg to take the throne.


Liberals enacted a series of separate reforms and then the Constitution of 1857, collectively known as the Liberal Reform, which sparked a civil war, known as the War of the Reform. The conservatives set up a parallel Mexican government and lost the War of the Reform. After losing the war, conservatives sought another political alternative, which involved the second French intervention in Mexico, which, with Mexican conservative support, established the Second Mexican Empire.

Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 constitution

The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 often called simply the Constitution of 1857 is the liberal constitution drafted by 1857 Constituent Congress of Mexico during the presidency of Ignacio Comonfort. It was ratified on February 5, 1857, establishing individual rights such as freedom of speech; freedom of conscience; freedom of the press; freedom of assembly; and the right to bear arms. It also reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, eliminated debtor prison, and eliminated all forms of cruel and unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

La Reforma or the Liberal Reform was initiated in Mexico following the ousting of centralist president Antonio López de Santa Anna by a group of liberals under the 1854 Plan de Ayutla. From the liberals' narrow objective to remove a dictator and take power, they expanded their aims to a comprehensive program to remake Mexico governed by liberal principles as embodied by a series of Reform laws and then the Constitution of 1857. The major goals of this movement were to undermine the power of the Catholic Church in Mexico, separate church and state, reduce the power of the Mexican military, and integrate Mexico's large indigenous population as citizens of Mexico and not a protected class. Liberals envisioned secular education as a means to create a Mexican citizenry. The liberals' strategy was to sharply limit the traditional institutional privileges (fueros) of the Catholic Church and the army. The law prohibiting the ownership of land by corporations targeted the holdings of the Catholic Church and indigenous communities - confiscating Church land. Indigenous community lands were held by the community as a whole, not as individual parcels. Liberals sought to create a class of yeoman farmers that held land individually. No class of individualistic peasants developed with the Liberal program emerged, but many merchants acquired land. Many existing landowners expanded their holdings at the expense of peasants, and some upwardly mobile ranch owners, often mestizos, acquired land previously held by communities. Upon the promulgation of the liberal Constitution of 1857, conservatives refused to swear allegiance to it and, instead, formed a conservative government. The result was a civil war known as the Reform War or Three Years' War, waged between conservatives and liberals for three years, ending with the defeat of the conservatives on the battlefield. Victorious liberal president Benito Juárez could not implement the envisioned reforms due to a new political threat. Conservatives had sought another route to regaining power, resulting in their active collaboration with Napoleon III's plans to turn the Mexican Empire into the main American ally of the French empire. Mexican conservatives offered the crown of Mexico to Habsburg archduke Maximilian. The French invasion and republican resistance to the French Intervention in Mexico lasted from 1862-67. With the defeat of the conservatives and the execution of Maximilian, Juárez again took up his duties as president. In this period from 1867 to 1876, often called the "Restored Republic" liberals had no credible opposition to their implementation of the laws of the Reform embodied in the 1857 Constitution.

Second Mexican Empire 1864-1867 monarchy in Central America

The Mexican Empire or Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under a limited hereditary monarchy declared by the Assembly of Notables on July 10, 1863, during the Second French intervention in Mexico. It was created with the support of Napoleon III of France, who attempted to establish a monarchist ally in the Americas. A referendum confirmed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.

Mexican conservatives' political interests were in tandem with the expansionism of Napoleon III of France. Conservatives invited Maximilian Habsburg to serve as monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. Mexican republicans fought against the French invaders and were largely defeated on the battlefield, but Benito Juárez did not resign the presidency, and operated a government in exile, which the United States continued to recognize as the legitimate Mexican government. The republic was restored by Juárez in 1867 after the withdrawal of the French and the execution of Maximilian.

Napoleon III French emperor, president, and member of the House of Bonaparte

Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first elected President of France from 1848 to 1852. When he could not constitutionally be re-elected, he seized power in 1851 and became the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870. He founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the war for Italian unification. After his defeat and downfall he went into exile and died in England in 1873.

Maximilian I of Mexico emperor of Mexico

Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy as its commander, he accepted an offer by Napoleon III of France to rule Mexico, conditional on a national plebiscite in his favour. France, together with Spain and the United Kingdom, invaded the Mexican Republic in the winter of 1861, ostensibly to collect debts; the Spanish and British both withdrew the following year after negotiating agreements with Mexico's republican government, while France sought to conquer the country. Seeking to legitimize French rule, Napoleon III invited Maximilian to establish a new pro-French Mexican monarchy. With the support of the French army and a group of Conservative Party monarchists hostile to the Liberal Party administration of the new Mexican president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian was offered the position of Emperor of Mexico, which he accepted on 10 April 1864.

With conservatives discredited by their support of the ill-fated monarchy, Juárez was able to implement liberal policies. This period of federalism in Mexico is widely known as the Restored Republic, lasting from 1867 to the 1876 coup of liberal army general, Porfirio Díaz, ushering in a long period of authoritarian rule, peace, and economic development known as the Porfiriato. [2] [3] The liberal constitution remained nominally in force, with regular elections held that were increasingly seen as fraudulent. The Constitution of 1857 was supplanted by the Mexican Constitution of 1917, as an outcome of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920).

Porfirio Díaz President of Mexico

José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from February 17, 1877 to December 1, 1880 and from December 1, 1884 to May 25, 1911. A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–60) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–67), Díaz rose to the rank of General, leading republican troops against the French-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian. Seizing power in a coup in 1876, Díaz and his allies, a group of technocrats known as "Científicos", ruled Mexico for the next thirty-five years, a period known as the Porfiriato.

Porfiriato period of Mexican history

The porfiriato or porfirismo was a period in the history of Mexico when central power was held by Porfirio Díaz, between November 28, 1876, and May 25, 1911.

Mexican Revolution major nationwide armed struggle in Mexico between 1910 and 1920

The Mexican Revolution, also known as the Mexican Civil War, was a major armed struggle, lasting roughly from 1910 to 1920, that radically transformed Mexican culture and government. Although recent research has focused on local and regional aspects of the Revolution, it was a genuinely national revolution. Its outbreak in 1910 resulted from the failure of the 35-year-long regime of Porfirio Díaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession. This meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí. Armed conflict ousted Díaz from power; a new election was held in 1911, bringing Madero to the presidency.


President Jose Mariano Salas Jose Mariano Salas.png
President José Mariano Salas

In the midst of war with the United States (1846–48), Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga staged a coup against the government of interim President José Joaquín de Herrera. Shortly afterwards, the Congress appointed him interim president; the vice presidency went to Nicolás Bravo.

José Joaquín de Herrera President of Mexico

José Joaquín Antonio de Herrera, a moderate Mexican politician, served as president of Mexico three times, and as a general in the Mexican Army during the Mexican–American War of 1846-1848.

Nicolás Bravo President of Mexico

Nicolás Bravo Rueda was the 11th Mexican President and a soldier. He distinguished himself in both roles during the 1846–1848 U.S. invasion of Mexico.

On July 28, 1846 Mariano Paredes left the presidency to command the army in battle against the invaders from the United States, and vice president Bravo took office. On August 4 the federalists (headed by José Mariano Salas and Valentín Gómez Farías) led an uprising, causing the resignation of President Bravo. Mariano Salas took office as provisional president on August 6; on August 22, he reestablished the 1824 Constitution and called an election. With the constitution again in force, centralism ended and the federal system was restored.

1824 Constitution of Mexico

The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 was enacted on October 4 of 1824, after the overthrow of the Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with Catholicism as the official and unique religion. It was replaced by the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857.

Centralist Republic of Mexico unitary political regime established in Mexico in 1835

The Centralist Republic of Mexico, or in the anglophone scholarship, the Central Republic, was officially the Mexican Republic. It was a unitary political regime established in Mexico on October 23, 1835, under a new constitution known as the Seven Laws after the repeal of the federalist Constitution of 1824. Mexican conservatives attributed the political chaos of the federal era to the empowerment of states over the federal government, participation of non-elite men in the political system through universal male suffrage, rebellions, and economic stagnation to the weakness of the federal government. Conservative elites saw the solution to the problem as abolishing the federal system and creating a centralized one, reminiscent of the colonial era. Federalism had given a range of powers to Mexican states, their legislatures and municipalities. It was favored by the states outside the center of Mexico. Those favoring a centralized state were the conservative urban elites. Mexican conservatives saw federalism as a failure and Mexico not prepared for such a system. They considered the ideal form of government as a centralized, administrative republic, with the states losing power to the central government. Conservatives with the support of the Mexican army created the Central Republic, which lasted eleven years, 1835–46. The unitary regime was formally established on December 30, 1836, with the enactment of the Siete Leyes. However, the Seven Laws proved unworkable and were abandoned four and a half years later, and replaced by a military dictatorship under Antonio López de Santa Anna. On August 22, 1846, acting President José Mariano Salas issued the decree that restored the Constitution of 1824 and, with this, the return to federalism.

Mexican–American War

The war between Mexico and the United States officially began on May 13, 1846 (when the United States Congress declared war on Mexico), but there had already been battles before that date. Mexico, in turn, declared war on the United States on May 23. After the declarations of war, US forces invaded Mexican territory in Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Alta California, while at the same time blocking the ports of Tampico, Carmen, Guaymas, Mazatlan and San Blas (among others) and occupying Santa Fe, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Overview map of the war Mexican war overview.gif
Overview map of the war

The main US force (led by Zachary Taylor) continued through to the Rio Grande and into Mexico, defeating the forces of Pedro Ampudia in the Battle of Monterrey. On December 24, the Congress declared Antonio López de Santa Anna acting president and Valentín Gómez Farías vice president. Gómez Farías assumed the presidency in place of Santa Anna, who was fighting the US.

After the battles of Angostura, Padierna, Churubusco and Molino del Rey, the Castle of Chapultepec was defended by young cadets who became known as Niños Héroes ("boy heroes"). During the assault, the castle's commanders, generals (Mariano Monterde, director of the Military College of Mexico and Nicolas Bravowere), were taken prisoner. The fall of Chapultepec had two immediate consequences: the US occupation of Mexico City and the resignation of Santa Anna from the presidency on September 16, 1847.

Following the resignation of Santa Anna (and under the law of the time), Manuel de la Peña y Peña (president of the Supreme Court) assumed the office. On September 26 he established the seat of federal power in nearby Toluca and (soon afterwards) in Querétaro, where Congress convened. On November 11, De la Peña left office to serve as chancellor and negotiate peace with the United States Congress; General Pedro Maria Anaya was appointed substitute president. Anaya, refusing to satisfy the land claims of the United States, resigned on January 8, 1848. Manuel de la Pena y Pena was again named provisional president, and was dedicated to negotiating peace. On February 2 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, in which Mexico ceded 2,400,000 square kilometres (930,000 sq mi) of northern territory. De la Peña was able to save for Mexico the Baja Peninsula and its union by land with Sonora and sovereignty over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Tehuantepec became increasingly of interest since it was a narrow point between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, which could be a closer transit point than the Isthmus of Panama. The cash-strapped Juárez government in 1859 negotiated the McLane-Ocampo Treaty with the U.S., which would have given the U.S. considerable control over Tehuantepec. The treaty failed to take effect because the U.S. Senate did not ratify it.

Facing criticism for the signing of the treaties ending the Mexican–American War in 1848, De la Peña wrote:

He who would qualify the Treaty of Guadalupe as dishonorable by the extent of the ceded territory, can never understand the sorrows that cease by ending war ... The territories that have been ceded by the Treaty are not just lost for the sum of fifteen million pesos; but to regain our ports, the final cessation of all evil and of all sorts of horrors, and to comfort many families...[ citation needed ]


Mexican territorial claims relinquished in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in white Mexican Cession in Mexican View.PNG
Mexican territorial claims relinquished in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in white

Manuel de la Pena y Pena called for elections; Congress chose José Joaquin de Herrera, who took over as president June 3, 1848. Herrera used the money for war damages stipulated in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to pay foreign debt, pacify the country and pay salaries. He also achieved re-annexation of Yucatán, which was in a precarious situation caused by the Caste War (which led to the government of the Republic of Yucatán to offer sovereignty of the peninsula to the United States). Congress also sent a request for the creation of the State of Guerrero, and contracted the construction of the Mexico City-Veracruz railway (the first in the country), and awarded another contract for a telegraph line between Mexico City and Puebla.

Mariano Arista was elected in the disputed election of 1850, which had involved former presidents Manuel Gómez Pedraza, Nicolás Bravo and General Juan Nepomuceno Almonte. Herrera was the second president of Mexico to complete his term, and handed over power to Mariano Arista on January 5, 1851. Arista attempted unsuccessfully to overcome bankruptcy and encourage mining. Agriculture and industry were almost nonexistent. British and American claims were financed on bonds and building permits, and Arista had to overcome several uprisings against his rule. However, the telegraph proceeded to the city and the port of Veracruz and the same route was granted to a railroad company.

The financial plight sparked a revolt that aimed to return Santa Anna to power. Unable to cope due to lack of resources and the refusal of Congress to grant him extraordinary powers to govern, Arista resigned the presidency on January 5, 1853. In his resignation letter, Arista asked Congress to name Juan Bautista Ceballos (president of the Supreme Court) to assume the duties of government during the organizing of elections. After a quick vote, Congress named Ceballos interim president. He ordered the dissolution of both houses of Congress, which were plotting for the return of Santa Anna. Members of Congress instigated the garrison in Mexico City, which rose in support of Santa Anna and sparked riots. Ceballos resigned the presidency on February 7.

A military group appointed Manuel Maria Lombardini acting president; Lombardini arranged the return of Santa Anna, organized a sham election and on March 17, issued a decree making Santa Anna president. Before Lombardini left office, a decree was issued declaring Santa Anna "Captain General of sea and land, with absolute powers". Lombardini left the presidency on April 20, which began the dictatorship of Santa Anna.

Map of México from 1848 to 1853The territorial changes in the Republic were:
Mexico en 1853.PNG
Rejoined with Mexico August 17, 1848
Reduced its territory due to the Gadsden Purchase (also known as the Venta de la Mesilla) on December 20, 1853

Santa Anna dictatorship

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna again assumed the presidency on April 20, 1853 at age 59. Two days after using his extraordinary-powers decree, the Rules for the Administration of the Republic were put into effect. These rules eliminated any control over the executive.

Political changes

Officials recessed state and territorial legislatures. On September 21, it was decreed that the states again be known as departments. A number of territorial changes followed:

During 1853, Santa Anna issued several other decrees arranging for printing, reordering public finances, expropriation, the right to work, the restoration of the Society of Jesus and the return of their former property held by the government (with some exceptions, such as the Colegio de San Ildefonso and military schools). On December 16 he issued the most controversial decree of his dictatorship, stating that the nation would continue with "extraordinary powers" as long as necessary and he would be addressed as "His Most Serene Highness". On December 30 Santa Anna signed the Gadsden Purchase, selling 76,845 square kilometres (29,670 sq mi) in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua to the United States for 10 million pesos.

On January 9, 1854, he imposed a tax levy on doors and windows and on February 23, a tax on the exterior lights of houses. Because of this series of decrees and the sale of national territory, on March 1 General Florencio Villareal proclaimed the Plan of Ayutla (which would remove Santa Anna from office). This marked the beginning of the Plan of Ayutla and the end of Santa Anna's rule.

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna 1852.jpg
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

Preoccupied with the revolt, Santa Anna issued a new series of decrees. Among these were exceptions to the tax on doors, windows and lights, prohibitions on a Republic and attacks on the government, and decreeing the death penalty for those with a copy of the Plan of Ayutla who would not surrender to government troops. He then conscripted and led an army of 6,000.

Confronted in Guerrero against the army of Ignacio Comonfort, Santa Anna's army was decimated in large part by the defection of soldiers forced to fight. He decided to return to Mexico City; on his way back, he punished several people who had supported the Plan of Ayutla.

In 1853, he sponsored a contest for the best "Ode to the Motherland". On September 15, 1854, in the midst of the Revolution of Ayutla, it was presented in the National Grand Theatre (then known as the Gran Teatro de Santa Anna) as the national anthem.

In 1855, despite repression and terrorism against civilians Santa Anna considered suspects, the Ayutla Revolution was gradually conquering the states of the Republic. On August 12, Santa Anna resigned the presidency and fled to Colombia.

He tried unsuccessfully several times to return to political life. He offered his services to Benito Juárez, to the French during their war with Mexico and to Maximilian I, but all refused. Santa Anna tried to return to Mexico during the Second Empire, but was arrested in Veracruz and deported. He lived a while in St. Thomas, and again tried to return to Mexico after the triumph of the Republic. Juárez banned him on pain of death, but he landed in Yucatán and was arrested July 30, 1867.

Although the charges against him carried the death penalty, the court-martial that tried him in the Castle of San Juan de Ulua sentenced him to eight years in exile. The judges who sentenced him spent six months in prison for similar charges. Santa Anna lived in St. Thomas, Puerto Plata, the Dominican Republic, and Nassau. Before his sentence, he unsuccessfully requested amnesty several times from President Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada. Santa Anna died in Mexico City on June 21, 1876.

1857 constitution

After the fall of Santa Anna, Martin Carrera was named interim president by the military garrison of Mexico City on August 15, 1855. When Carrera resigned, Romulo Diaz de la Vega (military commander of the capital) took over as de facto president on September 12. On October 4, liberals under the Plan of Ayutla named John N. Álvarez interim president. The most important act of the Álvarez government was the convening of a Constitutional Assembly to draft a new constitution that would replace the Constitution of 1824.

The Constitutional Congress of 1856 convened amid a clerical uprising on February 18, 1856 with a speech by President Ignacio Comonfort (who had replaced Alvarez on December 11, 1855). Topics discussed were the attribution of powers, division of territory, individual rights and freedom of worship.

The Constitutional Congress divided into two parties, the liberals and the conservatives. Among the liberals were former President Valentín Gómez Farías, Santos Degollado and Melchor Ocampo. Among the conservatives were Antonio Aguado, Mariano Arizcorreta and the governor of Durango, Marcelino Castañeda.


The Constitution of 1857 was a watershed in the history of Mexico. It maintained the basic principles of political liberalism: equality before the law and abolition of the privileges of the army and the church. It claimed to uphold individual and political rights. The delegates, under pressure from conservatives, were unable to establish the principle of freedom of religion. Still, the church was strongly opposed to the Constitution and threatened to excommunicate all public officials who took the oath. This atmosphere of discontent led to the liberal-conservative civil war known as the Reform War.

The Constitution of 1857 approved several changes in the political division of the Mexican territory: the merger of Nuevo León and Coahuila, the creation of the state of Guerrero, three of the four federal territories and the free states of the federation.

Map of Mexico under the Constitution of 1857The 23 states of the federation were:
Mapa Mexico Constitucion 1857.PNG

The admitted states since the Constitution of 1824 were:: [4]

Nuevo León
San Luis Potosí

Created the state of::

OrderNameDate of Admission
to the Federation
Installation date
of the Congress
27-10-1849 [5] 30-01-1850

Are admitted as states:

OrderNameDate of Admission
to the Federation
Installation date
of the Congress
09-12-1856 [6] 01-06-1857
09-12-1856 [7] [8] 19-07-1857
05-02-1857 [9]

The only federal territory was Baja California. The Federal District (Mexico City) was called the Valley of Mexico State, but only if the Federation retained the power to move it to another site. On February 26, 1864, Nuevo León was separated from Coahuila and regained its status as a sovereign state. [10]

The War of Reform

On November 23, 1855 President Alvarez issued the Decree of Law on the Administration of Justice and the Courts Organic Federation (better known as the Law of Juarez). It abolished church and military privilege, and declared all citizens equal before the Catholic Church. The Church almost immediately protested against the law, arguing that it "directly undermines the rights of the church".[ citation needed ] Several bishops declared that they would abide by the Law of Juarez, and demanded that the law be revised by the Vatican. Opposition to this law resulted in several popular uprisings, such as the Plan of Sierra Gorda (which, among other things, sought the creation of the State of Iturbide) and the Zacapoaxtla Plan (which the government UUI On January 27, 1856 Comonfort decreed a Civil Registry Law (by which the government would record births, deaths and marriages), and on June 23 decreed a law confiscating property owned by corporations and the church (better known as the Law of Lerdo). This law required civil and ecclesiastical bodies to sell their houses and land, and prohibited the church from purchasing property (except that necessary for worship). The Catholic Church protested against both laws, and began inciting people to civil disobedience.

The 1857 Constitution was liberal, and divided Mexican society into two groups. The liberals, known as "pure" or "red", were largely composed of former insurgents, landowners, Creole merchants and artisans. They sought to establish a regime of freedom and equality among citizens. The conservatives (known as the Moche) were composed of civilian and military officials, lawyers, the Spanish and most of the clergy. They sought to preserve the social and political institutions inherited from the colonial era.

On April 11 Comonfort enacted a law on rights and parish perquisites (better known as the Law of Churches). This law prohibited the charging of fees, parish perquisites and tithing. This was the last of the three reform laws which threatened the privileges of the Catholic Church.

On September 16, 1857 the new Constitution came into force. Legislative power was integrated on 8 October, with the executive branch headed by Ignacio Comonfort (as constitutional president); the judiciary, headed by Benito Juárez as president of the Supreme Court, started on December 1.

Plan of Tacubaya

The new constitution was rejected by a large part of society, which had the support of the clergy and the army. Comonfort, aware of the limitations imposed by the new regime, proposed reforms to strengthen the government and mitigate "radical" measures; however, Congress rejected them.

Given the delicate situation, Félix Zuloaga and other generals convinced Comonfort to convene another congress to draft a new constitution more in keeping with the customs of the nation. On December 17, Zuloaga proclaimed the Plan of Tacubaya. Comonfort joined the Plan of Tacubaya, which began the three-year war.

Beginning of the war (1857)

The Plan of Tacubaya demanded the repeal of the Constitution of 1857, the abolition of Ignacio Comonfort's permanence in office with absolute powers and the convening of an extraordinary congress, which would develop another charter to "guarantee the true interests of the people".[ citation needed ] On December 19, Comonfort published a manifesto explaining the reason for his coup d'état. Under the Constitution, Supreme Court president Benito Juárez had been the constitutional interim president since December 18. Juárez took office that day and was imprisoned along with Isidoro Olvera, president of Congress.

The states of the country were divided into those who supported the Plan of Tacubaya and those defending the constitutional order. Conservatives, meanwhile, lobbied for repeal of the Comonfort liberal reforms; he refused. On January 11, 1858, Comonfort dissolved Congress and released Juárez. He tried to seek reconciliation with the liberal wing, and armed clashes took place against the conservatives. The Zuloaga brigade rebelled, and called for reform to the Plan of Tacubaya with Comonfort removed as president. Félix Zuloaga was named president that day; Comonfort, ten days afterwards, declared himself defeated and went into exile.

Parallel presidents

Benito Juarez, constitutional leader and president BenitoJuarez.jpg
Benito Juárez, constitutional leader and president

Benito Juarez (who, according to the Constitution of 1857, had been acting president since December 18) restored a constitutional government in Guanajuato on January 19, 1858. The states supporting the constitutional government recognized Juarez as the legitimate president of Mexico. Félix Zuloaga, declared president by a board of representatives of the states supporting the Plan of Tacubaya, was established in Mexico City.

The progression of conservative troops forced Juárez to move to Guadalajara on February 13. When Guadalajara was attacked, he moved to Colima on March 20. Since Juárez needed a place controlled by liberals and resources to support his government, he sailed for Panama and on to Veracruz.

At first, the conservatives had the advantage; they were in Mexico City, and had the support of the clergy and the army. The liberals lacked a professional army, and the states with militias supported Juárez alone.

The United States proposed to both governments (liberal and conservative) the purchase of Baja California, which was rejected by both. Finally, the United States recognized the government of Juárez on April 28, 1859. In July, he issued three decrees from Veracruz: the law nationalizing church property, the Civil Marriage Act and the organic law governing civil registration. The liberals supported the law under its new political banner, and emphasized the religious nature of their struggle.

The second half of 1859 was the same as the previous year: winning battles, the conservatives and liberals quickly recovered. On the conservative side Félix María Zuloaga, who was overthrown by Manuel Robles Pezuela's Christmas Plan, was restored to office in January 1859; Miguel Miramon was released in February. Lacking financial resources, in September the Conservatives signed the Mon-Almonte Treaty (by which Spain recognized the conservative government as the legitimate government of Mexico).

In December the liberals, contesting the usurpation of the Nationalization Law, signed the McLane-Ocampo Treaty (which virtually made Mexico a protectorate of the United States) for $4 million. Juárez, receiving $2 million as an advance payment and military aid, was to capture the maritime squadron off Veracruz Miramon. However, the treaty was not approved by the United States Senate; Juarez received the money (and military aid) without giving anything in return.

End of the Reform War (1861)

The civil war, which had exhausted and impoverished the country, wound down in 1860. On December 4 Juárez decreed laws on religious freedom, which allowed each person to be free to practice and choose their religion and forbade ceremonies outside churches.

On November 6, Juarez called for elections of deputies and a president of the republic. Liberal victories began in the battles of Peñuelas and Silao. Liberals won decisively at the Battle of Calpulalpan on December 22, in which the conservative army disintegrated. The liberal army made its triumphal entry into Mexico City on January 1, 1861, which marked the end of the War of Reform.

Battle of Puebla (5 May 1862) BattleofPuebla2.jpg
Battle of Puebla (5 May 1862)

The civil war was costly and had a negative balance on all sectors of the Mexican government, especially agriculture and the diplomatic arena. Both sides acted in ways affecting Mexicans and foreign interests such as forced loans, confiscations, murder and debts from foreign powers. The most important deal was that of Miguel Miramon, who signed a loan of 15 million pesos (of which only received 750,000; this would be part of the claim as the debt owed to England).

When Juárez occupied Mexico City he expelled the representatives of Spain, Guatemala and Ecuador; the papal nuncio, Archbishop of Mexico; and the bishop of Michoacán for openly supporting the conservative government.

The end of the War of Reform was not the end of the civil war. With the conservative army decimated, it become a guerrilla operation under the leadership of Leonardo Marquez, who in June 1861 murdered Melchor Ocampo, Santos Degollado and Leandro Valle.

Juárez won the elections held in November, and took office as constitutional president July 15, 1861. The country's precarious economic situation led Juárez to suspend foreign debt payments for two years.

Foreign intervention

Napoleon III called Spain and the UK to a meeting in London to discuss a joint stance against the government of Mexico. On October 31, 1861, the three countries signed a document known as the London Convention, which blocked Mexican ports and authorized customs to press for the payment of debts.

In the face of the external threat, the Congress reluctantly granted extraordinary powers to Juárez on December 11. When foreign ships arrived in Veracruz Juárez offered no resistance and allowed them to disembark at the port, seeking to resolve the conflict diplomatically. Foreign Minister Manuel Bent met with commissioners of the foreign powers; Spanish and English claims were considered "reasonable". Both nations signed treaties with Mexico, and by so doing accepted the temporary suspension of payments in April 1862.

The interruption of the Republic

General Ignacio Zaragoza, victor at Puebla Ignacio Zaragoza.jpg
General Ignacio Zaragoza, victor at Puebla

During 1862, battles between Mexico and the French continued. The battles of Dry Canyon and Cerro del Borrego followed the Battle of Puebla; both were French victories. After the arrival of reinforcements from France was the siege of Puebla, in which the city fell to the French on May 17, 1863. After the fall of Puebla, French troops went to Mexico City.

On May 31 Juárez and his cabinet left Mexico City and moved to San Luis Potosí and began his "errant government", which finally settled in Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárez). On June 1, 1863 garrison commander General Bruno Martinez issued a manifesto favoring French intervention in Mexico and recognizing Frédéric Forey as ultimate authority in the country. José Mariano Salas, former president of Mexico and restorer of the Federal Republic, took over Mexico City from June 1–10 (when French troops occupied the capital).

On June 16, General Forey decreed the formation of a Superior Board of Governors, which on June 24 named a triumvirate to take over the executive branch: Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, Jose Mariano Salas and Pelagius Antonio de Labastida (who, due to his absence, was temporarily replaced by John B. Ormachea).

On July 8, a 215 Notables Assembly was installed (in conjunction with the High Board of Government). On July 10, it established a monarchy and offered the crown of empire to Maximilian of Austria. This decree marked the end of the Second Federal Republic, beginning the Second Mexican Empire.

On July 11 the board consisted of Almonte, Salas, Labastida and the Regency of the Empire, which ruled until the arrival of Maximilian in Mexico. On October 3 at the Castle of Miramar, the Mexican delegation (headed by Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada, Juan Nepomuceno Almonte and Miguel Miramon Maximilian) was read the official request of Mexican monarchists for occupation of the throne of Mexico. Maximilian accepted the crown of the Mexican Empire, and arrived in Veracruz on May 28, 1864. He went to Mexico City with his wife Charlotte, where he was crowned on April 10, 1864 in the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Heads of state

In the nearly 17 years of the Second Federal Republic there were 14 presidents in 18 governments, of which only José Joaquín de Herrera completed his term. Herrera, Arista, Comonfort and Juárez were the only four constitutional presidents during this period (although two of them, Comonfort and Juárez, began their governments as interim presidents).

Interim President José Mariano Salas handed the presidency to vice president-elect Valentín Gómez Farías on December 23, 1846, who took office in place of Antonio López de Santa Anna (who was fighting the U.S. Army). On March 21, 1847, Santa Anna returned to Mexico and dismissed Gómez Farías, who went into exile. On April 1 Santa Anna had Congress set aside the vice presidency, and left the presidency to Pedro Maria Anaya on April 2.

Anaya gave the presidency back to Santa Anna on May 20, when he left to fight the U.S. Santa Anna resigned the presidency on September 16, and fled the capital when U.S. troops occupied Mexico City. Following the resignation of Santa Anna, Manuel de la Pena y Pena (president of the Supreme Court) became president.

De la Peña gave the presidency to Pedro Maria Anaya on November 13, when he left office to negotiate peace with the United States. Anaya resigned the presidency on January 8, 1848, refusing to cede territory to the United States, and de la Pena y Pena took office the same day. Concluding peace treaties with the United States, de la Peña called an election in which was elected José Joaquín de Herrera, who took office on June 2. Herrera concluded his term, and handed the presidency to President-elect Mariano Arista on January 15, 1851.

Arista resigned the presidency on January 5, 1853, when Congress denied him "extraordinary powers" to rule the country. On January 6, Juan Bautista Ceballos (president of the Supreme Court) assumed the presidency in place of Arista. Ceballos resigned on February 8; Manuel Maria Lombardini served as president de facto until April 20, when Lombardini granted to Santa Anna "extraordinary powers" to rule and handed the presidency over.

Santa Anna ruled as dictator until August 12, 1855, when he was overthrown by the Revolution of Ayutla. Martin Carrera, president since April 15, gave the charge to Romulo Diaz de la Vega on September 12. Diaz de la Vega left office on October 3; on October 4, Juan Álvarez became president. Alvarez, after calling the election of a constituent congress, handed the presidency to Ignacio Comonfort on December 11. Comonfort ruled as interim president until October 31, 1857, and from December 1 as president. After ignoring the Constitution of 1857 and supporting the Plan of Tacubaya, Comonfort ceased to be president December 17.

Under the Constitution the president of the Supreme Court, Benito Juárez, was acting president beginning on December 18; however, he did not set up his government until January 19, 1858 after being released from jail. Juárez was the constitutionally-elected president until July 18, 1872, keeping pace with presidents, presidents recognized by conservatives, the regency of the empire and Maximilian.

Since most of Juárez's rule was marked by civil wars and foreign invasions, he did not always have authority over much of Mexican territory. However, even during the Second Mexican Empire Juárez was recognized as President of Mexico by republican liberal forces and also importantly the United States. With the end of the American Civil War (1861–65), the U.S. gave material aid to the Juárez government to oust the French and their conservative Mexican supporters. Mexican republicans finally defeated the empire, and restored the republic. Juárez is recognized as president from December 18, 1857 to July 18, 1872.

Plan of Tacubaya – repudiation of the Constitution of 1857

The Plan of Tacubaya, which did not recognize the Constitution of 1857, originally recognized Ignacio Comonfort as president of Mexico. Comonfort was recognized by conservatives until January 11 of 1858, and resigned on January 21. Félix María Zuloaga was recognized as the conservative president on January 11; he formally assumed office on January 23, but was ousted by the Christmas Plan on December 24 and replaced by Manuel Robles Pezuela. Pezuela Robles remained conservative president until January 21, 1859; on January 24, Zuloaga resumed office. Zuloaga held a second term until February 2, when he was replaced by Miguel Miramón. Miramón (a conservative) left the presidency in the hands of José Ignacio Pavón on August 13, 1860—a position he held only two days, since Miramón resumed the presidency on August 15. Miramón ruled until December 24, having a rotating presidency with Zuloaga. Zuloaga, assisted by several military conservatives, became president of a conservative faction that was divided by internal conflicts and his term ended August 13. Despite being defeated by the liberals, the conservatives continued to recognize Zuloaga as president. On December 28, 1862, his term ended; by ending with a conservative government, this would prepare the way for what became the Second Mexican Empire.

Executive triumvirate

Before filing the change of government in the Federal Republic to a monarchy, a meeting of conservatives supported by the French army appointed a triumvirate to take on the executive duties of the country. This was composed of Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, José Mariano Salas and Pelagius Antonio de Labastida (and as interim, Juan Ormachea). This triumvirate ruled from June 24 to July 10, 1863, and from July 11 became the Regency of the Empire.

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Plan of Tacubaya

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Reform laws

The Reform laws were a set of anticlerical laws enacted in Mexico between 1855 and 1863, during the governments of Juan Alvarez, Ignacio Comonfort and Benito Juárez that were intended to limit the privileges (fueros) of the Roman Catholic Church and the military. The laws also limited the ability of Catholic Church and indigenous communities from collectively holding land. The liberal government sought the revenues from the disentailment of church property, which could fund the civil war against Mexican conservatives and to broaden the base of property ownership in Mexico and encouraging private enterprise. Several of them were raised to constitutional status by the constituent Congress that drafted the liberal Constitution of 1857. Although the laws had a major impact on the Catholic Church in Mexico, liberal proponents were not opposed to the church as a spiritual institution, but rather sought a secular state and a society not dominated religion.

Lafragua law (1855)

The Lafragua law or the Regulation of the Freedom of the Press is named after liberal politician José María Lafragua (1813-1875) and issued on 28 December 1855. It is one of the many Reform laws when Mexican liberals ascended to power in 1855 after the ouster of conservative Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Lafragua law was drafted during the presidency of Ignacio Comonfort when Lafragua was his minister of the interior. The law states that no one should be persecuted for his political opinions and it prohibited press censorship. The authors of newspaper articles should be made responsible for their writings by signing them. They were not allowed abuse of the freedom of the press, especially in religious and governmental matters. It is considered the most moderate of the Reform Laws. This legislation was elevated to constitutional status by Articles 6 and 7th of the [[Constitution of 1857|Political Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 and reaffirmed by the Organic Law of Press Freedom 1861 issued by the Congress. In contrast, it was not accepted by conservative governments of Félix Zuloaga and Miguel Miramon, who restored the repressive Lares Law during the War of the Reform (1858–60).


  1. 1 2 3 Evolución de la Población de México durante los años de 1521 al 2000
  2. Jan Bazant, "From Independence to the Liberal Republic, 1821-1867", Mexico Since Independence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1991, pp. 42-47.
  3. Friedrich Katz, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato, 1867–1910" in Mexico Since Independence, Cambridge University Press 1991, pp. 49-65
  4. "Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos" (in Spanish).
  5. "Portal Estado de Guerrero" (in Spanish).
  6. "Portal Gobierno del Estado de Tlaxcala" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2009-12-27.
  7. "Portal Ciudadano de Baja California" (in Spanish).
  8. "el Comentario" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-08-10.
  9. "Gobierno del Estado de Yucatán" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-04-11.
  10. "Información turística INEGI" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.

Coordinates: 19°26′N99°8′W / 19.433°N 99.133°W / 19.433; -99.133