Second Federal Republic of Mexico

Last updated
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 Catholicism
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
 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 of Mexico
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.


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.

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.

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).


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.

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.

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 Peña y Peña 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. Foreign 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 Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution that would replace the Constitution of 1824.

The Constituent 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 Constituent 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 Constituent of 1857 was a watershed event 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 any public official 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 750,000 were received; this would be part of the claim as the debt owed to the foreign powers).

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 became 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 United Kingdom to a meeting in London to discuss a joint convention against the government of Mexico. On October 31, 1861, the three countries signed a document known as the London Convention, in which contained an agreement by the three powers to dispatch an expedition to Mexico to ensure the Mexican government repaid its depts.

Upon hearing the shocking news, 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 British diplomats quickly came to an agreement upon realising the Mexicans were telling the truth concerning their poor economic situation. Both nations signed treaties with Mexico, and accepted the temporary suspension of payments along with peacefully withdrawing their forces. The French stayed on, intending to use the debt issue as an excuse to set up a puppet regime in Mexico under their control.

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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Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and politician, who served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 until his death in 1872. Born in Oaxaca to a poor rural family of Zapotec origin, he became a well-educated urban professional and politician who married a socially prominent woman of Oaxaca City, Margarita Maza. He identified primarily as a Liberal and wrote only briefly about his indigenous heritage.

Ignacio Comonfort 25th president of Mexico

Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos, known as Ignacio Comonfort, was a Mexican politician and soldier. He became President of Mexico in 1855 after the outbreak of the Revolution of Ayutla that overthrew Santa Anna.

Manuel González Flores President of Mexico

Manuel del Refugio González Flores was a Mexican military general and liberal politician who served as the 31st President of Mexico from 1880 to 1884. Before initiating his presidential career, González played important roles in the Mexican–American War as a lieutenant, and later in the Reform War as general on the conservative side. In the French intervention in Mexico, González fought for the Mexican Republic under the command of General Porfirio Díaz. He supported Díaz's attempts to gain the presidency of Mexico, which succeeded in 1876. He served as Mexican Secretary of War in the Díaz administration from 1878 to 1879. Díaz could not be re-elected to the presidency in 1880, since the basis of his coup against Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada was the principle of no-reelection, so Díaz worked for the election of his political client González, who would be weak rival should Díaz run again. His presidency from 1880 to 1884 is marked by a number of major diplomatic and domestic achievements, which historian Friedrich Katz considers to be no less than "the profound transformation" of Mexico. Although the González presidency has been considered corrupt, that assessment is colored by the difficult financial circumstances in 1884 and by Díaz's campaign to discredit his successor, paving the way for his own re-election in 1884.

Miguel Miramón Mexican politician

Miguel Gregorio de la Luz Atenógenes Miramón y Tarelo, known as Miguel Miramón, was a Mexican conservative general and politician. He opposed the liberal Constitution of 1857 and served as President of Mexico in opposition to the constitutional president, Benito Juárez of the Liberal Party. He was one the youngest rulers and the first not born during Spanish colonial rule. He served in the imperial army during the French Intervention in Mexico and was executed with Emperor Maximilian and General Tomás Mejía by a republican army firing squad. He remains a controversial figure in Mexico, combining "military skill with political miscalculation."

Félix María Zuloaga President of Mexico

Félix María Zuloaga Trillo was a Mexican general and a Conservative leader in the War of Reform. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, Zuloaga served as unconstitutional interim conservative president of Mexico in opposition to the constitutional president Benito Juárez of the Liberal Party.

Juan Álvarez President of Mexico

Juan Nepomuceno Álvarez Hurtado de Luna, generally known as Juan Álvarez, was a general, long-time caudillo in southern Mexico, and interim president of Mexico for two months in 1855, following the liberals ouster of Antonio López de Santa Anna. Álvarez had risen to power in the Tierra Caliente, in southern Mexico with the support of indigenous peasants whose lands he protected. He fought along with heroes of the insurgency, José María Morelos and Vicente Guerrero in the War of Independence, and went on to fight in all the major wars of his day, from the "Pastry War", to the Mexican–American War, and the War of the Reform to the war against the French Intervention. A liberal reformer, a republican and a federalist, he was the leader of a revolution in support of the Plan de Ayutla in 1854, which led to the deposition of Santa Anna from power and the beginning of the political era in Mexico's history known as the Liberal Reform. According to historian Peter Guardino: "Álvarez was most important as a champion of the incorporation of Mexico's peasant masses into the polity of [Mexico] ... advocating universal male suffrage and municipal autonomy."

La Reforma, the Liberal Reform in Mexico, was initiated in by liberal politicians following their ouster of conservative president Antonio López de Santa Anna under the 1854 Plan de Ayutla. The Liberal Reform as a historical period is often considered to be from 1855 to 1861, as one portion of the liberal republic in Mexico, but there is not total consensus on the dates. From the liberals' initial 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 embedded in a new Constitution. 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, as well as undermine indigenous communities as a protected group. Liberals promulgated a series of separate laws, collectively known as the Laws of the Reform. These were then incorporated into the Mexican Constitution of 1857. Liberals required that Mexicans swear allegiance to it, which conservatives refused to do. Instead, they formed a conservative government and fought the liberals in a civil war, the War of the Reform. It was waged over three years with liberals defeating conservatives on the battlefield. However, Mexican conservatives sought a way to regain power. They helped install a monarch, Habsburg archduke Maximilian, who was chosen by French ruler Napoleon III. Adherents of the Mexican republic, led by president Benito Juárez, resisted and fought the French intervention, successfully ousting the monarchy in 1867. The liberals returned to power, in a period known as the Restored Republic (1867-1876), often considered the end date of the reform era.

Reform War 1858–1861 internal conflict in Mexico

The War of Reform in Mexico, during the Second Federal Republic of Mexico, was the three-year civil war (1857–1860) between members of the Liberal Party who had taken power in 1855 under the Plan of Ayutla, and members of the Conservative Party resisting the legitimacy of the government and its radical restructuring of Mexican laws, known as La Reforma. The Liberals wanted to eliminate the political, economic, and cultural power of the Catholic church as well as reduce the role of the Mexican Army. Both the Catholic Church and the Army were protected by corporate or institutional privileges (fueros) established in the colonial era. Liberals sought to create a modern nation-state founded on liberal principles. The Conservatives wanted a centralist government, some even a monarchy, with the Church and military keeping their traditional roles and powers, and with landed and merchant elites maintaining their dominance over the majority mixed-race and indigenous populations of Mexico.

Plan of Ayutla

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. 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. 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.

In Mexican history, a plan was a declaration of principles announced in conjunction with a rebellion, usually armed, against the central government of the country. Mexican plans were often more formal than the pronunciamientos that were their equivalent elsewhere in Spanish America and Spain. Some were as detailed as the United States Declaration of Independence, though some plans merely announced that the current government was null and void and that the signer of the plan was the new president.

Leonardo Márquez Mexican general

Leonardo Márquez Araujo was a conservative Mexican general. He fought against the United States in the Mexican–American War of 1846 to 1848 and was a prominent supporter of conservative General Antonio López de Santa Anna in the revolutionary movement of 1849. After the fall of Santa Anna in the 1854-55 Revolution of Ayutla that brought liberals to power, Márquez supported the conservative government in the Reform War (1858-60) against liberal government of Benito Juárez. With Miguel Miramón, the leading general of the conservatives, Márquez initially found success against the liberal army, but the tide turned in 1860, and the liberals won on the battle field. He was called "The Tiger of Tacubaya", alluding to the Battle of Tacubaya where he ordered executed liberal officers and some medical personnel. Márquez pursued guerrilla warfare in the Sierra Gorda after the defeat of the conservatives on the battlefield; he is blamed for the murders of prominent liberals, Melchor Ocampo and General Leandro Valle.

José María Iglesias President of Mexico

José María Iglesias Inzáurraga was a Mexican lawyer, professor, journalist and liberal politician. He is known as author of the Iglesias law, an anticlerical law regulating ecclesiastical fees and aimed at preventing the impoverishment of the Mexican peasantry. From October 31, 1876 to January 23, 1877, he claimed the interim presidency of Mexico. However, he was never undisputed president.

Santiago Vidaurri Mexican army general and politician

José Santiago Vidaurri Valdez was a controversial and powerful governor of the Mexican states of Nuevo León and Coahuila between 1855 and 1864. He was an advocate of states' rights. In 1861, he sought an association with the Confederate States of America, which benefited his region economically. Earlier in 1855, he had been a supporter of the Revolution of Ayutla, which brought liberals to power. Vidaurri supported Benito Juárez in the War of the Reform. He later broke with Juárez and supported Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. When the French regime fell in 1867, Vidaurri was captured and executed for his alliance with the French. In Nuevo León he remains an important historical figure.

Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 constitution más famosa de los conservadores

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. It was designed to guarantee a weak central government through federalism, created a strong legislature and an independent judiciary, and a weak executive in order to prevent dictatorship. Liberal ideology of the centrality of private property and suspicion of ownership of property, that is, indigenous communities and the Catholic Church saw the Ley Lerdo incorporated into the constitution.

The Liberal Party, also called Party of Progress, was a Mexican political party founded in the mid 19th century and involving important figures such as José María Luis Mora, Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz.

Plan of Tacubaya

Plan of Tacubaya was issued by conservative GeneralFélix Zuloaga on 17 December 1857 in Tacubaya against the radical liberal Constitution of 1857 that among other provisions abolished special privileges (fueros) of the Catholic Church and the army. President Ignacio Comonfort, a moderate liberal, joined with Zuloaga, commander of the garrison in the capital, and closed congress, which had been elected under the new constitution. Comonfort failed to create a moderate regime and undermined his support with liberals with his repudiation of the new constitution and the congress. Zuloaga then repudiated Comonfort on 11 January 1858, which led to a three-year civil war between conservatives and liberals.

The Conservative Party was a Mexican political party that sought to preserve the organization and colonial Spanish values, both in government and in society. Although as a party it was founded in 1849, after the defeat of Mexico in the war with the United States, most of the political ideology directly descended from the Jesuits expelled in the 18th century, and the establishment of a Criollism or Hispanism sentiment, which then emerged and were strongly influenced by conservative European thoughts. It also advocated the preservation and supremacy of the Criollos élite culture over those of mestizo or indigenous. It was a party of the élite, established by white landowners and aristocrats. The Conservative Party disappeared in 1867, after the fall of Maximilian I of Mexico.

Reform laws set of anticlerical 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 by 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).

Manuel Romero Rubio Mexican politician

Manuel Romero Rubio, was a Mexican politician and lawyer who participated in the governments of Benito Juárez, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada and Porfirio Díaz.


  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