Valentín Gómez Farías

Last updated
Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentin Gomez Farias, portrait.JPG
7th President of Mexico
In office
1 April 1833 16 May 1833
Vice PresidentHimself
Preceded by Manuel Gómez Pedraza
Succeeded by Antonio López de Santa Anna
In office
3 June 1833 18 June 1833
Vice PresidentHimself
Preceded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
Succeeded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
In office
5 July 1833 27 October 1833
Vice PresidentHimself
Preceded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
Succeeded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
In office
16 December 1833 24 April 1834
Vice PresidentHimself
Preceded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
Succeeded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
In office
23 December 1846 21 March 1847
Vice PresidentHimself
Preceded by José Mariano Salas
Succeeded byAntonio López de Santa Anna
Vice President of Mexico
In office
1 April 1833 26 January 1835
Vice PresidentHimself (3 times)
Antonio López de Santa Anna (3 times)
Preceded by Anastasio Bustamante
Succeeded by Nicolás Bravo
In office
23 December 1846 1 April 1847
Vice PresidentHimself
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Preceded by Nicolás Bravo
Succeeded by Ramón Corral
Cabinet positions
18th Minister of Finance
In office
2 February 1833 31 March 1833
President Manuel Gómez Pedraza
Preceded by Miguel Ramos Arizpe
Succeeded by José María Bocanegra
Personal details
Born(1781-02-14)14 February 1781
Guadalajara, New Kingdom of Galicia, New Spain (modern day Jalisco, Mexico)
Died5 July 1858(1858-07-05) (aged 77)
Mexico City, Mexico
Political party Liberal
Isabel López
(m. 1817;died 1858)
Alma mater Royal University of Guadalajara
Signature Firma de Valentin Gomez Farias.png

Valentín Gómez Farías (Spanish pronunciation:  [balenˈtiŋ ˈɡomes faˈɾias] ; 14 February 1781 5 July 1858) was the President of Mexico for five short periods in the 1830s and 1840s. During his term in 1833, he enacted significant liberal reforms that were aimed at undermining the power of the Roman Catholic Church and the army in Mexico. [1]

President of Mexico Head of state of the country of Mexico

The President of Mexico, officially known as the President of the United Mexican States, is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces. The current President is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office on December 1, 2018.

Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanisation and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States. Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the classical economic ideas espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism and progress. The term classical liberalism has often been applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.



Valentín Gómez Farías was trained as a medical doctor and was one of the most important liberal politicians figures in early independent Mexico. In the immediate aftermath of Mexican independence in 1821, Gómez Farías had initially supported Agustín de Iturbide as constitutional monarch of Mexico, but withdrew his support when Iturbide abolished the new congress of Mexico. After Iturbide's abdication, Gómez Farías was active in the congress of the Republic of Mexico, established in 1824. He emerged as a leader of the radical liberals (puros) and allied with General Antonio López de Santa Anna. [1] The first presidency of Santa Anna from 1833 to 1836 was a temporary victory for the Mexican Liberals and Gómez Farías; Santa Anna preferred simply holding the title of president rather than actually serving as president. With President Santa Anna residing at his estate in Veracruz and uninterested in administering his government, the actual executive duties fell to Vice-President Gómez Farías, who used this power to sponsor liberal reforms, specifically targeting the army and the Roman Catholic Church. He abolished the special privileges of the Church and army (fueros), which allowed them to be tried in separate courts; secularized education which had been in the hands of the clergy; and sought to undermine the Church's economic power. [1] [2] [3] Gómez Farías also sought to extend these reforms to the frontier province of Alta California. He promoted legislation to secularize the Franciscan missions there, and in 1833 organized the Híjar-Padrés colony to bolster non-mission settlement. A secondary goal of the colony was to help defend Alta California against perceived Russian colonial ambitions from the trading post at Fort Ross. [4]

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 eleventh 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.

Agustín de Iturbide Mexican army general and politician, emperor of Mexico

Agustín de Iturbide, in full Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu, also known as Augustine of Mexico, was a Mexican army general and politician. During the Mexican War of Independence, he built a successful political and military coalition that took control in Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively gaining independence for Mexico. After the secession of Mexico was secured, he was proclaimed President of the Regency in 1821. A year later, he was announced as the Constitutional Emperor of Mexico, reigning briefly from 19 May 1822 to 19 March 1823. He is credited as the original designer of the first Mexican flag.

Antonio López de Santa Anna Mexican politician and military

Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and was an adept soldier and cunning politician, who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna." He was called "the Man of Destiny", who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch." Santa Anna first opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. Though not the first caudillo of modern Mexico, he "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history," and among the earliest. Conservative historian, intellectual, and politician Lucas Alamán wrote that "The history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions.... His name plays the major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his."

Hoping to prevent future coups and to limit the political influence of the Mexican Army, the Gómez Farías administration reduced the size of the military and abolished the fueros (privileges) that excluded military officers from civil trials and laws.

Metro Gomez Farias, Line 1, Mexico City Estacion Balbuena.JPG
Metro Gómez Farías, Line 1, Mexico City

Following the reform models of the Bourbon monarchs a century earlier, Gómez Farías sought to limit the political and economic privileges of the clergy. Initially, the Goméz Farías administration advised Catholic clerics to limit their sermons to religious concerns and stop intervening in politics. Following this, Farías along with his principal advisors, the moderate Liberal José María Luis Mora and the radical Liberal Lorenzo de Zavala, pressured the Mexican Congress to pass a series of measures. The first of these was to secularize Mexican education. The University of Mexico, its faculty consisting primarily of priests, was closed and reorganized. With these educational reforms, the new secular schools organized by the Goméz Farías administration were central to the education and political views of the following generation of Liberals, including the future president Benito Juárez and the reformer Melchor Ocampo. The administration declared that all clerical appointments within Mexico were to be made by the government of the Republic rather than by the papacy.

José María Luis Mora Mexican politician and historian of the XIX century

José María Luis Mora Lamadrid was a priest, lawyer, historian, politician and liberal ideologue. Considered one of the first supporters of liberalism in Mexico, he fought for the separation of church and state. Mora has been deemed "the most significant liberal spokesman for his generation [and] his thought epitomizes the structure and the predominant orientation of Mexican liberalism."

Lorenzo de Zavala 19th-century Mexican politician

Lorenzo de Zavala, born Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Sanchez, was a Yucatán-born Tejano physician who became a career politician, diplomat and author. Zavala had a keen intellect and was fluent in many languages. He was closely involved in drafting the constitution for the First Federal Republic of Mexico in 1824 after it won independence from Spain. Years later, through a remarkable series of events, he also helped in drafting a constitution for Mexico's rebellious enemy at the time, the Republic of Texas, to secure independence from Mexico in 1836.

Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico university

The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was founded on 21 September 1551 by Royal Decree signed by Charles I of Spain, in Valladolid, Spain. It is generally considered the first university officially founded in North America and second in the Americas.

Tomb of President Gomez Farias in the Panteon de Dolores of Mexico City ValentinGomezFariastombDoloresDF.JPG
Tomb of President Gómez Farías in the Panteón de Dolores of Mexico City

The Goméz Farías government also enacted additional measures in spite of the disagreement of José María Luis Mora. Ideologically, Zavala and Mora differed on several key issues, such as popular political action and the question of Church wealth. The last measures of the Gómez Farías administration, inspired by Lorenzo Zavala, abolished mandatory tithes and seized Church property and funds. The Conservatives, the Church, and the Army quickly responded in the form of the Revolt of the Polkos, calling for the removal of the Liberal government.

Revolt of the Polkos

In February 1847, five Mexican National Guard regiments rose up in rebellion against the Mexican government, in protest over legislation that permitted the government to requisition money and property from the Catholic Church. Led by General Matías Peña y Barragán, the group issued a set of demands which included the resignation of the President and Vice President of Mexico. When the demands were not met, fighting broke out in Mexico City. President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was able to negotiate a peaceful solution with the rebels in March 1847.

With these sweeping reforms, "Santa Anna kept himself informed and cleverly kept his a distance, attending to which way wind was blowing." [5] Conservative opponents to these radical reforms engineered Gómez Farías' ouster and political exile until the turbulence of the 1840s brought him back into the political sphere. Denouncing the Vice-President and his administration, Santa Anna removed the Republic's leaders, a practice he would continue until the 1850s.

Santa Anna formed a new Conservative, Catholic, and Centralist government, forcing Gómez Farías and many of his supporters to flee Mexico for the United States. The new presidency's first actions abolished the Constitution of 1824, rescinded the Liberal reforms enacted by Gómez Farías, and created a new constitution.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Santa Anna wrote to Mexico City saying that he no longer wanted to be president of Mexico, but to use his military experience to fight off the foreign invasion of Mexico. While he dealt with the issues of presidency, Santa Anna was also secretly dealing with representatives from the United States during the Mexican–American War. Gómez Farías stepped in to become president of Mexico during the war, but was overthrown in the midst of the fighting by Santa Anna.

See also

Related Research Articles

Vicente Guerrero leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence and President of Mexico

Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence. He fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century, and later served as President of Mexico, coming to power in a coup. He was of Afro-Mestizo descent, championed the cause of Mexico's common people, and abolished slavery during his brief term as president. His execution in 1831 by the conservative government that ousted him in 1829 was a shock to the nation.

Liberalism in Mexico was part of a broader nineteenth-century political trend affecting Western Europe and the Americas, including the United States, that challenged entrenched power.

Valentín Canalizo President of Mexico

José Valentín Raimundo Canalizo Bocadillo, known as General Valentín Canalizo, son of Vicente Canalizo and María Josefa Bocadillo and baptized on 16 February 1795 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Monterrey, was a Mexican President, state governor, city mayor, army general, defense minister and conservative politician. He is as yet the only Mexican President from the city of Monterrey. He was a supporter of a centralist national government, and a confidante of President of Mexico General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Canalizo was President of Mexico two times, for a total of about one year in 1843 and 1844, during the complex Mexican historical times after the one decade-long Mexican War of Independence and before the Mexican–American War. Valentín Canalizo had previously been the Mayor of Mexico City, after being Governor of Puebla state, and years before, Mayor of the city of Cuernavaca.

Juan Almonte Mexican general, diplomat and regent

Juan Nepomuceno Almonte was a 19th-century Mexican official, soldier and diplomat. He was a veteran of the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. Almonte was also a leader of Mexico's Conservatives in the 1860s and served as regent after the Second Mexican Empire was established by Napoleon III of France.

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 Hapsburg 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.

Reform War 1858-1861 armed conflict in Mexico

The War of Reform in Mexico, during the Second Federal Republic of Mexico, was the three-year civil war 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 War of the Reform is one of many episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted to eliminate the political, economic, and cultural power of the Catholic church as well as undermine 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.

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.

Miguel Barragán President of Mexico and Governor of Veracruz

Miguel Francisco Barragán Andrade was a Mexican general and centralist politician. He served as Minister of War in the government of Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1833 and 1834, then as president of Mexico from 28 January 1835 to 27 February 1836.

Manuel Gómez Pedraza y Rodríguez was a Mexican general and president of his country from 1832 to 1833.

José Figueroa, was a General and the Mexican territorial Governor of Alta California from 1833 to 1835.

Republic of Yucatán former country

The Republic of Yucatán was a sovereign state during two periods of the nineteenth century. The first Republic of Yucatán, founded May 29, 1823, willingly joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later. The second Republic of Yucatán began in 1841, with its declaration of independence from the Mexican Federation. It remained independent for seven years, after which it rejoined the United Mexican States. The area of the former republic includes the modern Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The Republic of Yucatán usually refers to the Second Republic (1841–1848).

First Mexican Republic 1824-1864 federal republic in Central America

The First Mexican Republic, known also as the First Federal Republic, was a federated republic and nation-state officially designated the United Mexican States. "Independence transformed Mexico from Spain's largest and most prosperous colony to a sovereign nation suffering economic decline and political strife." The First Mexican Republic lasted from 1824 to 1835, when conservatives under Antonio López de Santa Anna transformed it into a centralized state, the Centralist Republic of Mexico.

Second Federal Republic of Mexico

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

The Plan of Cuernavaca was a declaration made in Cuernavaca, Mexico on 25 May 1834 in opposition to reform measures by the liberal administration of Vice President Valentín Gómez Farías. Presumably the declaration was orchestrated by President Antonio López de Santa Anna in agreement with the high clergy. After the triumph of the Plan of Cuernavaca, all laws enacted by the progressives during ten months in office were repealed, the Pontifical and National University of Mexico was reopened, Congress was dissolved and the officials who implemented the reform measures were dismissed. Santa Anna's first dictatorship began. A year later, the conservative faction of the Congress approved the basis for the new constitution that gave rise to the centralist regime in Mexico.

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.

Colonia San Juan Neighborhood of Mexico City in Benito Juárez

Colonia San Juan is a neighborhood in Benito Juárez, Mexico City.


  1. 1 2 3 Santoni, Pedro. "Valentín Gómez Farías" in Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, p. 600.
  2. Hale, Charles A. Liberalism in Mexico in the Age of Mora, 18821-1853. New Haven: Yale University Press 1968, 138-39, 171-75.
  3. Hale, Charles A. The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1989, p. 139.
  4. Hutchinson, C. Alan (1969). Frontier settlement in Mexican California; the Híjar-Padrés colony and its origins, 1769-1835. New Haven: Yale University Press. OCLC   23067.
  5. Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power. New York: HarperCollins 1997, p. 137.

Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Manuel Gómez Pedraza
President of Mexico
1 April - 16 May 1833
Succeeded by
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Preceded by
Antonio López de Santa Anna
President of Mexico
3 June - 18 June 1833
President of Mexico
5 July - 27 October 1833
President of Mexico
16 December 1833 – 24 April 1834
Preceded by
José Mariano Salas
President of Mexico
23 December 1846 - 21 March 1847