INDEPENDENT MEXICO Mexico has had a turbulent existence since independence. In 1823 the monarchy was repudiated in favour of a republic. From 1823 until 186o a bitter contest was waged between adherents of federalism and centralism. A Federal republic was definitely es tablished in 1857 but federalism was on the defensive for ten more years, first, in a three-year civil war and, second, during the period of the French intervention and the empire of Maximilian. Since 1867 there has been no organized opposition to federalism in Mexico, but during nearly one-half of that period the Diaz dic tatorship prevailed in the guise of Federal institutions. Indecision concerning the form of government was accompanied by political instability. Between 1821 and the rise of Diaz in 1876, there were two regencies, two emperors, several dictators, and enough presidents and acting or provisional executives to make no fewer than 74 governments. Furthermore, the last 'co years have wit nessed approximately that number of revolutions. Most of these, however, have been political or personal in character. In fact, since 1810 there have been only three general upheavals in Mexico, each of which has been socio-economic in character and more or less beneficent in its results. The first, begun in 1810 by Hi dalgo, substituted the creoles for the gachupines and resulted in greater power and wealth for the church, which in 1807 had been debarred from inheriting real estate. The second, begun in disendowed and disestablished the church, but worked to the advantage of the great landowners The third, begun in 1910 and continuing down to the present time, was directed chiefly against the landed aristocracy and is strongly nationalistic.
The Mexican empire was of short duration. In the first Mexican Constituent Congress, which met on Feb. 24, 1822, the republicans were in the majority and between them and Iturbide a conflict soon. developed. This was terminated on May 18 by a military pro nunciamiento in favour of Iturbide, and by his extra-legal election as emperor by a minority in Congress. Iturbide was crowned on July 21, 1822, but fresh conflicts broke out between him and the Congress which were only terminated by his forcible dissolution of that body. This arbitrary procedure reacted in favour of a republican armed movement, initiated by Santa Anna. Finally, convinced of the hopelessness of his position, Iturbide abdicated on March 19, 1823. The Congress deported him to Italy, and granted him a pension. He returned with political ambitions the following year, and on landing (having been previously outlawed) was arrested and executed (July 15, 1824). The Congress, left in absolute control after the abdication of Iturbide, created a pro visional executive triumvirate; announced (June 12) the adoption of the federal form of government; and issued a decree (June 23) convoking a new Constituent Congress. This body drafted a Federal Constitution which was promulgated Oct. 4, 1824, and Guadalupe Victoria was inaugurated as first president.
The First Federalist Regime, l824-34.—Confronted by manifold difficulties, the Federalists were able to remain in power and to retain the federal form of government for only one decade after 1824. At the outset, Centralist and Federalist organizations
as such disappeared, their places being taken by two Masonic or ganizations. The Conservatives, Monarchists and Centralists affiliated with lodges of Scottish-Rite Masons (Escoceses), and the Liberals, Republicans and Federalists, encouraged by the American minister Poinsett, organized rival lodges of York-Rite Masons (Yorkinos). Through boisterous professions of fraternal and political creeds members of the rival lodges kept the country pro foundly agitated. An attempt at revolt, by Vice President Bravo, the grand master of the Escoceses, was suppressed. The thor oughly discredited and demoralized Escoceses thereupon refrained from naming a presidential candidate in 1828 and instead threw their support to GOrnez Pedraza, the Liberal contender for the presi dency with Vicente Guerrero, the grand master of the Yorkinos. GOmez Pedraza was declared elected but as, a result of an appeal to arms Guerrero was inaugurated for the second presidential term beginning April r, 1829. Shortly afterward Spain made a final attempt to reconquer Mexico, but the invaders were repelled at Tampico by Santa Anna (Sept 1829). During the invasion, Vice President Anastasio Bustamante seized the opportunity to declare against President Guerrero and was joined by the bulk of the army. Guerrero was deposed, after having served as presi dent less than nine months, and finally retired to Acapulco, where he was treacherously seized, tried and executed (Jan. to Feb. 1831). The next year Santa Anna headed a successful revolution against Bustamante in behalf of Gomez Pedraza, thereby enabling him to serve the last three months of the term for which he had been elected in 1828. In the deferred elections, held early in 1833, Santa Anna and Gomez Farias were elected president and vice president, respectively, for the term beginning April i of that year. During the greater part of the next 13 months Gomez Farias, serving as acting president, was responsible for many liberal changes, including the laicization of education, the relaxa tion of monastic vows, the discontinuance by the State of the collection of tithes, and the right of the State to appoint church officers. The Liberals were Whigs rather than Populists. Their dominant desire was to seize the privileges of the Conservatives, in the control of government, the ownership of land and the profits of foreign trade, which had been a Government monopoly. They were little concerned about the welfare of the masses. The liberal measures aroused the opposition of the Clericals and Conserva tives, and Santa Anna, taking advantage of the situation to act as their defender, assumed the presidency on April 24, 1834. The following month, as virtual dictator, he dissolved Congress and the State legislatures, and substituted creatures of his own for the governors of the States and mayors. By such action he undid the liberal reforms of Gomez Farias and reduced to a nullity the federal system of which he had been the chief original defender.