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date: 27 July 2017

Santa Anna and His Legacy

Summary and Keywords

Antonio López de Santa Anna (b. Xalapa, February 21, 1794; d. Mexico City, June 21, 1876) was one of the most notorious military caudillos of 19th-century Mexico. He was involved in just about every major event of the early national period and served as president on six different occasions (1833–1835, 1839, 1841–1843, 1843–1844, 1846–1847, and 1853–1855). U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary Waddy Thompson during the 1840s would come to the conclusion that: “No history of his country for that period can be written without constant mention of his name.”1 For much of the 1820s to 1850s he proved immensely popular; the public celebrated him as “Liberator of Veracruz,” the “Founder of the Republic,” and the “Hero of Tampico” who repulsed a Spanish attempt to reconquer Mexico in 1829. Even though he lost his leg defending Veracruz from a French incursion in 1838, many still regarded him as the only general who would be able to save Mexico from the U.S. intervention of 1846–1848. However, Mexicans, eventually, would remember him more for his defeats than his victories. Having won the battle of the Alamo, he lost the battle of San Jacinto which resulted in Texas becoming independent from Mexico in 1836. Although he recovered from this setback, many subsequently blamed him for Mexico’s traumatic defeat in the U.S.-Mexican War, which ended with Mexico ceding half of its territory to the United States. His corruption paired with the fact that he aligned himself with competing factions at different junctures contributed to the accusation that he was an unprincipled opportunist. Moreover, because he authorized the sale of La Mesilla Valley to the United States (in present-day southern Arizona) in the 1853 Gadsden Purchase, he was labeled a vendepatrias (“fatherland-seller”). The repressive dictatorship he led donning the title of “His Serene Highness” in 1853–1855, also gave way to him being presented thereafter as a bloodthirsty tyrant, even though his previous terms in office were not dictatorial. Albeit feted as a national hero during much of his lifetime, historians have since depicted Santa Anna as a cynical turncoat, a ruthless dictator, and the traitor who lost the U.S.-Mexican War on purpose. However, recent scholarship has led to a significant revision of this interpretation. The aim of this article is to recast our understanding of Santa Anna and his legacy bearing in mind the latest findings. In the process it demonstrates how important it is to engage with the complexities of the multilayered regional and national contexts of the time in order to understand the politics of Independent Mexico.

Keywords: Independent Mexico, caudillismo, pronunciamientos, military, Veracruz, Mexican War of Independence, Isidro Barradas expedition, Texas Revolution, French Pastry War, U.S.-Mexican War, Gadsden Purchase, federalism, centralism, liberalism

Santa Anna’s Early Years, 1794–1823

Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna was born in the mountainside town of Xalapa, in the coastal region of Veracruz, on February 21, 1794. He was one of seven children. Both of his parents were criollos (white Spanish Americans of Spanish descent), veracruzanos, and members of an aspiring provincial middle class. His father was a minor bureaucrat at the service of the regional viceregal authorities in the intendancy of Veracruz. His mother, albeit described as a lady of “good and religious customs,” was investigated by the Inquisition for allegedly hosting a rowdy party in 18092 and supposedly sided with her son Antonio when he refused to become a shopkeeper as his father intended, choosing to pursue a career in the army.

On July 6, 1810, and two months before the Mexican War of Independence began, a sixteen-year old Santa Anna joined the Fixed Infantry Regiment of Veracruz as a cadet. Unlike the soldiers based in central Mexico who spent the next six years caught up in the brutal civil war that was unleashed by Father Miguel Hidalgo’s insurrectionary movement, Santa Anna found himself on duty in the remote peripheral provinces of Nuevo Santander and Oriente (present-day states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and San Luis Potosí) and Texas. As a result, he did not participate in any of the major campaigns of the first phase of the War of Independence (1810–1816). Under the orders of Colonel Joaquín de Arredondo y Mioño, the young Santa Anna spent from March 1811 to November 1815 quelling Indian-led rebellions in the Sierra Gorda and participating in the campaign that crushed Augustus Magee and Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara’s filibustering incursion into Texas (1812–1813).

On returning to Veracruz, Santa Anna rose in rank over the next five years, not without falling out with some of his superiors, taking on different roles in the port, first as an officer in the Realistas del Camino Real detachment and, subsequently, at the head of the Realistas de Extramuros flying militia unit, tracking down the insurgent guerrilla forces that operated in the province. By the time of his twenty-seventh birthday on February 21, 1821, he was a promising lieutenant of grenadiers in the royalist army. According to his contemporaries he was impulsive, quarrelsome, courageous, disobedient, energetic, despotic, talented, impetuous, arrogant, and good-looking. During his time in Veracruz, he proved himself a dedicated and tireless royalist counterinsurgent prepared to endure all kinds of hardships to capture insurgents who hid in the thick insect-ridden chaparral of Veracruz. He was certainly brave and energetic. And although he could undoubtedly be ruthless, he also demonstrated the ability to persuade insurgents to accept amnesty and actually join his militia unit without recurring to violence. Liberal politician and intellectual Guillermo Prieto, despite being a consistent critic of the caudillo, could not help noting Santa Anna’s hypnotic charisma: “When he was in high spirits his words acquired a charm of their own as he caressed them with his jarocho [Veracruzan] accent; his large and penetrating dark eyes were the ones to do the persuading rather than his words, and his easy and swift gestures transformed him into an irresistible seducer.”3 On paper everything seemed to indicate that he was one of Spain’s most dedicated defenders in the region. Then, three days after his twenty-seventh birthday, on February 24, 1821, Agustín de Iturbide proclaimed the Plan of Iguala.

With the rather vague promise of Three Guarantees—that Mexico would be independent; that Roman Catholicism would be the official religion; and that there would be Union between americanos and Spaniards, meaning that the latter could continue to live unharmed in Mexico—military leaders, soldiers, families, villages, and towns exhausted after eleven years of civil war joined forces in order to consolidate the nation’s independence. Iturbide succeeded in bringing old insurgents and old royalists together, although they opted to unite for very different reasons. In Santa Anna’s case he chose to embrace the cause of independence on March 29, having held out in Orizaba for six days, besieged by José Joaquín de Herrera’s pro-independence forces. Thereafter he took it upon himself to liberate the province of Veracruz, which he did with characteristic zeal, taking the towns of Alvarado (April 25), Córdoba (May 20), Xalapa (May 27), Perote (October 7), and Veracruz (October 28). With Iturbide having led the Army of the Three Guarantees into Mexico City on September 27, 1821, and Mexico’s independence having been consummated, it was not long before Santa Anna became a dominant figure in the regional context of Veracruz. According to one of his rivals the most popular cry in Veracruz had become by November 1821: “Long live Santa Anna and death to the rest.”4

It was Santa Anna’s increasing power in his home province, as its self-declared liberator, political chief, and military commander, that ultimately led Iturbide, proclaimed Emperor Agustín the First following a pronunciamiento in the capital in May 1822, to fear that Santa Anna could pose a threat to him. Iturbide attempted to post him to a different part of the country where he could not mobilize his loyal jarocho forces. However, following an awkward interview between the two men in Xalapa in November 1822, Santa Anna, rather than accompany the emperor to Mexico City, returned to the port of Veracruz. There he launched the pronunciamiento cycle of Veracruz-Casa Mata of December 1822 to February 1823, initially calling for the overthrow of Iturbide and the creation of a republic. Iturbide abdicated on March 19, 1823, enabling Santa Anna to claim thereafter that he was the “Founder of the Republic.” He then followed up this flurry of insurrectionary activity with another pronunciamiento, launched on this occasion from San Luis Potosí on June 5, 1823, calling for the election of a constituent congress that could freely and without restrictions draft a federalist constitution. Santa Anna was put on trial in Mexico City for this particular pronunciamiento, it being one of several occasions he was to find himself court-martialed for his rebellious nature. However, inspired or not by his federalist plan, it remains the case that a constituent congress went on to be elected and did indeed draft a federalist constitution, forging, in so doing, the First Federal Republic (1824–1835).

Given the way the political context reflected Santa Anna’s own federalist and republican beliefs at the time, he was ultimately absolved for his potosino pronunciamiento. Having said this, it was evident to all, following the prominent role he had already played in two separate insurrectionary movements, that Santa Anna was a restless commander who could spell trouble for those in power. As a result he was posted as commander general and governor of the remote and troubled province of Yucatán in 1824. There he served as governor until April 1825, contributing toward its pacification, also plotting at one point to launch an expeditionary army to liberate the neighboring island of Cuba, a venture he never undertook.

The Making of a Caudillo, 1824–1833

Following his time in Yucatán, Santa Anna returned to Veracruz and ostensibly retired from public life until the summer of 1827. He married affluent fourteen-year-old María Inés de la Paz García (1811–1844) by proxy in September 1825 and purchased the first of the many haciendas he would acquire with her dowry. Beginning with that purchase, Manga de Clavo, his lands eventually spread from the port of Veracruz all the way to Xalapa. Notoriously unfaithful and father of several illegitimate children, this did not stop Santa Anna from having with María Inés four legitimate children: Guadalupe, María del Carmen, Manuel, and Antonio, who died at the age of five. Anecdotal evidence would lead us to believe that he spent his time in the country looking after his cockerels and gambling at cockfights. Legal evidence, on the other hand, points to him having been a particularly hands-on hacendado with a keen eye for detail who managed his lands full-time with care and dedication. His military exploits as a tireless counterinsurgent royalist officer, first, and subsequently, as the province’s liberator, paired with the political influence he had enjoyed in the region in 1822, certainly contributed to him being a well-known figure in mid-1820s Veracruz. However, it would be the power he would yield as a landowner, becoming the main provider of employment and food supplies in the province, that would prove determining in transforming him into the most powerful chieftain of Veracruz.

His return to politics came about in a context of heightened polarization between the two main Masonic factions that had come to the fore in the mid-1820s: the traditionalist well-to-do escoceses and the more popular yorkinos, caught up in a virulent struggle to gain jobs, influence, and power for their respective members. In the regional context of Veracruz, Santa Anna held a grudge against the Rincón brothers dating from when they sided with Iturbide against him in 1821–1822, resulting in him refusing to support the yorkino lodges they led at a provincial level. However, at a national level his sympathies lay with the more radical liberal faction of the yorkinos, and in particular, with the mulatto hero of the War of Independence, Vicente Guerrero, who would eventually become his eldest daughter’s godfather. Understanding the different national-regional layers of Mexican politics at the time is critical when explaining Santa Anna’s political actions during the late 1820s: that he was prepared, on the one hand, to side with personal friend and escocés state-governor Miguel Barragán against José Antonio Rincón’s yorkino Veracruzan pronunciamiento of July 31, 1827, and yet on the other, albeit not a member of the Rite of York, swift to mobilize his forces to join Guerrero’s government troops in January 1828 to crush the escocés movement of Manuel Montaño at the battle of Tulancingo and to lead the yorkino pronunciamiento of Perote of September 16, 1828, in which he called for the annulment of imparcial candidate Manuel Gómez Pedraza’s presidential electoral victory in favor of runner-up radical yorkino hopeful Guerrero.

His return to politics resulted in him becoming vice governor of Veracruz in September 1827 (he was to serve as acting governor from January to September 1828), and actual state governor of Veracruz (February–July 1829). Actions such as his pronunciamiento of Perote proved instrumental in bringing about the rise to power of Guerrero (president of Mexico in 1829) after the ensuing barracks revolt of La Acordada in the capital of November 30, 1828, led to Gómez Pedraza’s resignation and departure. However, it was his leadership of the Mexican forces that defeated Isidro Barradas’s Spanish expeditionary army at the battle of Tampico of September 11, 1829 that, almost overnight, granted him national hero status. And yet, loyal to Guerrero, although he was offered the leadership of the pronunciamiento of Xalapa of December 4, 1829, which brought about the end of Guerrero’s short-lived presidency and could have used his recently acquired fame as the “Hero of Tampico” to become president, Santa Anna opted to stand by the government and, when this was overthrown, chose to retire from politics once more. He spent the following two years looking after his hacienda.

Still very much a republican, a liberal, and a federalist who, at a national level, shared the views of other prominent members of what contemporary politician and intellectual José María Luis Mora termed the party of progress, he returned to the political fray with a vengeance in 1832. He accused General Anastasio Bustamante’s cabinet, which had executed his compadre Guerrero on February 14, 1831, of being made up of centralists, and led the pronunciamiento of Veracruz of January 2, 1832. After a year of civil war in which Santa Anna fought the battles of Tolome (March 3), El Palmar (September 18), and Rancho de Posadas (December 6), he succeeded in bringing a negotiated end to the Plan of Xalapa-resulting government. As agreed in the Treaty of Zavaleta of December 23 1832, Bustamante agreed to stand down enabling the return of Manuel Gómez Pedraza to complete the very presidential term he had not been able to undertake, interrupted as it had been following Guerrero’s unlawful rise to power on the back of the 1828 Perote-La Acordada cycle of pronunciamientos. Thus Mexico’s rightful constitutional path, interrupted between 1828 and 1832, was arguably restored. With Gómez Pedraza due to complete his disrupted presidency in April 1833, elections were held and, perhaps unsurprisingly given Santa Anna’s reputation as the Hero of Tampico and main leader of the progressive alliance that had brought an end to Bustamante’s repressive government, he won by a veritable landslide.

Santa Anna, The Absentee President, 1833–1844

However, displaying a trait that would become characteristic of every one of his terms in office, Santa Anna proved to be an absentee president from his very first election. On April 1, 1833, alleging he was ill and needed to convalesce in Manga de Clavo, he asked his vice president, Valentín Gómez Farías, to take charge for him. Several are the reasons that can be given to explain Santa Anna’s perennial absenteeism. He was a soldier and a landowner more than a politician. As would become customary, whenever there was a conflict, he preferred to lead his troops into battle in person, rather than remain in the capital to preside over the country. During his 1833–1835 term in office he spent the summer of 1833 quelling the series of pronunciamientos by Ignacio Escalada, Gabriel Durán, and Mariano Arista launched to put a stop to congress’ anticlerical reformism (and proclaim him dictator). And similarly he dedicated the early months of 1835 to crushing a regional revolt in Zacatecas, and the end of 1835 to the beginning of 1836, to leading the expeditionary army that set off from San Luis Potosí to bring an end to the Texan Revolution. Likewise, he preferred to manage his haciendas than occupy himself with the daily business of government, meaning that, in this instance, when he was not combatting rebels, he spent significant spells of time in Manga de Clavo, entrusting the running of the country to three different acting presidents: Gómez Farías (April 1 to May 16; June 3–18; July 5 to October 27, 1833; December 16, 1833, to April 24, 1834), Miguel Barragán (January 28, 1835 to February 27, 1836), and José Justo Corro (February 27, 1836, to April 19, 1837).

His absenteeism may have contributed to the way he became the “temptation of all the parties”5 given that he was never in power long enough to be associated with any particular faction, allowing him to figure as a Napoleonic-like leader who was above party politics, who could arbitrate between the warring parties, capable as well of associating himself with what at times seemed unlikely allies. It certainly explains that so many accounts claim he was president on eleven rather than six different occasions, because they count each time he returned to the capital to serve as president, either from a military campaign or his hacienda, as if each return were a different term in office. However, his absenteeism also needs stressing, since many of the policies that have subsequently been attributed to him, such as the change to centralism in 1835, were actually proposed and implemented by congress while he was elsewhere. Last but not least, his reluctance to stay in the National Palace and rule the country undermines the accusation that he was a power-hungry megalomaniac. Had Santa Anna been obsessed with power, he would have surely hung onto it when he had it, exercised it, consolidated his grip on the government when elected, rather than go away at the first opportunity, either to go into combat or run his estate.

Therefore, his first presidency was characterized by his absence, but also by the conflicts that were unleashed by congress’ rampant reformism. Santa Anna was initially sympathetic towards what Gómez Farías and the 1833–1834 congress were hoping to achieve, but he called for restraint and showed disquiet over their confrontational approach. A year later, bowing to pronunciamiento pressure and in response to the numerous and forceful waves of petitions that spread across the country following the Plan of Cuernavaca of May 25, 1834, calling for “religión y fueros (religion and [military and ecclesiastical] privileges)” he gave in to the popular demand to close down congress and reversed most of its anticlerical laws. Much in the same way, he did not oppose the following congress’ decision to abolish the 1824 federal constitution and replace it with a centralist charter in October 1835, after a new constellation of centralist pronunciamientos launched all over Mexico in the spring and summer of 1835 forced acting president Miguel Barragán’s hand.

Although Santa Anna had not yet become entirely persuaded by the centralist standpoint, many of his contemporaries, including his close aide, regular minister of war, and loyal friend José María Tornel, had gone from being ardent federalists in the 1820s to staunch centralists in the 1830s, as a reaction to what they perceived was the failure of Mexico’s early attempts at consolidating a stable constitutional government. They came to believe that federalism was to blame for Mexico’s instability and associated it with the country’s perceived disunity and weakness. They also feared federalism could result in the secession of regions such as Texas and Yucatán. As it happens, it was precisely the abolition of the 1824 Constitution that provoked the Texan Revolution.

Santa Anna took it upon himself to crush the Texan rebellion in person and proceeded to lead a six-thousand-strong army from San Luis Potosí to San Antonio Béjar, which he recaptured in early March 1836, slaughtering the rebels who fortified themselves in the mission of the Alamo on March 6. Thereafter, he controversially implemented in Goliad the government’s decree of December 30, 1835, which condemned the Texan rebels to death for being pirates, by having over four hundred prisoners executed on March 27. Having caught up with Samuel Houston’s forces where the San Jacinto River flows into Galveston Bay, Santa Anna’s army was then roundly defeated by the Texan forces on April 21, 1836. Santa Anna was taken prisoner the following day.

The much reiterated accusation that Santa Anna was a traitor has its origins in the two treaties (one public, one private), both of which became known as the Treaty of Velasco, which he signed while in captivity on May 14, 1836, together with the orders he gave for the Mexican forces left in the field to retreat. In the public peace treaty he agreed to end the hostilities and evacuate the Mexican troops south of the Río Grande. In the private and confidential one he agreed to try to persuade the Mexican government to receive a Texan commission so that the independence of Texas was recognized. In exchange, his captors agreed to guarantee his release and reembarkation for Veracruz. Worthy of note is that he did not actually commit himself to do anything other than to allow a Texan commission to make its case to the Mexican government. Nevertheless it has been said time and again ever since that he recognized the independence of Texas, which he did not. There is also evidence in the arguably encoded letters he addressed General Vicente Filisola ordering him to retreat that he was, in fact, urging him to regroup and act independently of him, since Filisola was now “most certainly in command” and he was a prisoner, and he could finance a counteroffensive with the “funds that have arrived in Matamoros.”6 However, Filisola retreated; and the Texans reneged on their secret agreement to facilitate Santa Anna’s safe return to Veracruz. He spent the next six months in prison in Orazimba with his feet, at one point, chained to a heavy lead ball. Following the intercession of U.S. President Andrew Jackson, Santa Anna was released in mid-November 1836 and escorted to Washington, DC, where the two men met before he was allowed to return to Mexico. Although Jackson hoped he could persuade Santa Anna to use his influence to bring about the sale of Texas and northern California, nothing came of their discussions in January 1837. Texas was to remain an independent nation until it was annexed by the United States in 1845. That Mexico refused to recognize the independence of the Lone Star Republic would be at the heart of the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846–1848.

Santa Anna returned to Manga de Clavo in February 1837 where he remained out of sight for the greater part of nineteen months, not without first publishing his account of the Texan campaign.7 Considering the events in Texas one would have thought that Santa Anna’s political and military careers were most definitely over. However, on hearing that the French navy was bombarding the port of Veracruz on November 27, 1838, a conflict that became known as the French Pastry War given that the French government was demanding compensation for the damages a French pâtissier had incurred in Mexico City during the Parián riot of 1828, Santa Anna rode to Veracruz and put himself at the orders of his longtime foe, Manuel Rincón. Not only did Rincón acquiesce but, several days later, the national government ordered Santa Anna to replace Rincón as commander in chief of the Veracruz forces. It was, therefore, Santa Anna who led the spirited defense of Veracruz when the French forces finally disembarked on December 5, actually succeeding in repulsing them, forcing them back to their ships. During the action of December 5 a cannonball took the horse from under him, filling his left leg with shrapnel. He had to have it amputated. This temporary triumph over the French forces was paired with a memorable dispatch, written following the engagement, in which he asked “All Mexicans, forgetting my political errors” not to deny him the “only title I wish to donate to my children: that of [having been] a Good Mexican.”8 These actions resulted in Santa Anna regaining his former prestige as a warrior of Napoleonic stature.

Evidence of Santa Anna’s political recovery was evident in the fact that Anastasio Bustamante (president for a second time from April 1837 to September 1841) asked him to step in as acting president for four months (March–July 1839), while he attempted to emulate the Veracruz caudillo by leading the government troops that were dispatched to quell José Urrea’s federalist revolt in Tamaulipas. Even on this occasion, when Santa Anna should have stayed put in the National Palace, presiding over the country during Bustamante’s absence, he could not help himself from setting out in person to crush José Antonio Mejía’s rebel forces, which he did at the battle of Acajete of May 3, 1839. Days before Bustamante returned to Mexico City in July, Santa Anna retired once more to his lands in Veracruz, where he concentrated on being a landowner until the late summer of 1841. It was during these years that he acquired the hacienda of Paso de Varas, expanding Manga de Clavo by purchasing parts of the neighboring properties of Santa Fe and San Juan Bautista Acanonica.

Although he showed signs of returning to Mexico City to arbitrate between the warring factions when news reached him of Urrea’s pronunciamiento of the capital of July 15, 1840, which entailed the capture of the National Palace with President Bustamante inside, the pronunciados’ relatively prompt surrender made him desist from leaving his home province. A year later, however, and Santa Anna did make his way to the capital and joined forces with generals Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga and Gabriel Valencia in what has been labeled the Triangular Revolt, issuing his Plan of Perote of September 9, 1841, which succeeded in bringing down Bustamante’s “despotic” government. The 1836 centralist Constitution was abolished and replaced by the Bases de Tacubaya of September 28, 1841, creating a temporary dictatorship with Santa Anna at its head with the objective of summoning a new constituent congress.

Santa Anna and His LegacyClick to view larger

Figure 1. Portrait of Santa Anna, from a private collection belonging to Hugo Villalobos Velasco. Reproduced here courtesy of the owner.

Therefore, in 1841, Santa Anna initiated what would be arguably his longest term in office (1841–1843, 1843–1844), albeit characteristically punctuated by his notable and lengthy absences. At least he remained in the capital for the first year of his Bases de Tacubaya–based presidency, while congressional elections were held. He had the merit of appointing several talented politicians to his cabinet, namely the Veracruzan ministers of war and finance, José María Tornel and Ignacio Trigueros, respectively; and the lawyer and gifted writer José María Bocanegra, as minister of interior and external relations. It was this team of santanista ministers who gave a degree of continuity to the government during the following three years, notwithstanding Santa Anna’s repeated comings and goings, acting president Nicolás Bravo’s closure of the constituent congress in December 1842, and the numerous problems that continued to afflict the country, ranging from its empty treasury to the secession of both Texas and Yucatán. Trigueros succeeded in reforming Mexico’s tax system, raising more revenue than any of his predecessors. Tornel played a key role in significantly improving primary education through the creation of Lancastrian schools across the country and strove to modernize the army in the hope of turning it into a reliable and educated professional force. Bocanegra, for his part, set his mind to bringing both Texas and Yucatán back into the Mexican fold. The results of their endeavors were mixed, not aided by the fact that Santa Anna was simply not around long enough to give direction and authority to his ministers’ reforms. It also became apparent that notwithstanding Trigueros’s impressive results at collecting taxes, Santa Anna and his cronies displayed a tendency to spend what was not theirs on themselves. The joke that Santa Anna’s bronze statue in the Plaza del Velador was pointing at the treasury because he was planning on embezzling its funds dates from these years.

During these years the constituent congress of 1842, which drafted a federal charter that was never adopted, was closed down by acting president Nicolás Bravo and replaced by a hand-picked santanista Junta de Notables that went on to draft the 1843 centralist constitution, better known as the Bases Orgánicas. Santa Anna won the next presidential elections, but he continued to spend the greater part of his time away from the National Palace buying land and extending his commercial activities throughout the central region of Veracruz. Between 1841 and 1844 he purchased the haciendas of El Jobo, El Encero, La Palma, Los Ojuelos, Boca del Monte, another part of that of Santa Fe, and the rancho of Chipila and El Huaje, leaving it up to a mixed group of acting presidents to run the country: Nicolás Bravo (October 10, 1842 to March 4, 1843), Valentín Canalizo (October 2, 1843 to June 4, 1844), José Joaquín de Herrera (September 7–21, 1844), and Valentín Canalizo again (September 21 to December 6, 1844).

His absence eventually grated with his ministers, especially after they had seen approved a constitution that granted the president a certain degree of freedom and power that the preceding charters of 1824 and 1836 had preferred not to concede, having in the past empowered congress instead. Tornel was of the view with the Bases Orgánicas in place that it was Santa Anna’s obligation as elected president to preside over his cabinet and told him as much in a letter. The two men fell out over this, with Santa Anna, moreover, eventually growing at odds with both Bocanegra and Trigueros. Coincidentally or not, following the death of his first wife, María Inés de la Paz, on August 23, 1844, and his second marriage to fifteen-year-old Dolores Tosta on October 3, barely a month after the capital had very publicly mourned his first wife’s death, Santa Anna’s popularity seemed to plummet. A number of his cabinet’s policies had also proven unpopular, such as the abolition of copper coinage. Trigueros’s formidable effort to forge a modern tax system upset the majority of the population, including the church and the elite. That popularity was also severely undermined by the government’s exorbitant expenditures. The extraordinary fortune Santa Anna amassed at the time stank of corruption. Furthermore, the much-trumpeted reconquest of Texas had ultimately consisted of little more than a few skirmishes. The santanista project, as represented by the 1843 Constitution, could not work if the strong president was not there to perform his role and congress was once more dominated by the opposition. The santanista leadership found itself in a situation in which it could control neither congress nor its leader, a leader who seemed to be in a world of his own, uninterested in power or in exercising power.

When General Paredes y Arrillaga launched his pronunciamiento of Guadalajara of November 2, 1844, calling for Santa Anna to stand down and face charges, the country did not rally behind the caudillo. Paredes y Arrillaga’s pronunciamiento was then seconded in the capital by congress’ own Revolution of the Three Hours which handed over the presidency to José Joaquín de Herrera. While Santa Anna made his way to Guadalajara to quell the rebellion, an angry mob broke into the cemetery of Santa Paula in Mexico City and dug up Santa Anna’s leg, buried there ceremoniously in 1842, and dragged it along the streets to the cry of “Death to the cripple! Long live Congress!”9

News of the events in the capital reached Santa Anna before he got as far as Guadalajara. Notwithstanding his attempts to overthrow Herrera’s rebel government in Mexico City, attacking Querétaro and Puebla along the way, he realized his was a lost cause and chose to retreat to Veracruz. On the way back to his lands he was captured in Xico, near Xalapa, and spent several months in prison in Perote before Herrera’s government allowed him to leave the country in June 1845 rather than risk giving him the kind of publicity a trial would have afforded him. This was to be his first stint in exile, spending the following year in Havana, Cuba.

Santa Anna and the U.S.-Mexican War, 1846–1848

Santa Anna was, as a result, not in Mexico when the United States annexed Texas and Paredes y Arrillaga overthrew Herrera’s government in December 1845. Nor was he there when the U.S.-Mexican War broke out in April 1846, following a clash between Mexican and U.S. troops in the disputed frontier territory. This does not mean that he did not follow events closely from Havana nor that he had been forgotten, either by those Mexican politicians who were now planning on bringing down Paredes y Arrillaga’s dictatorship nor by expansionist U.S. President James K. Polk, who harbored the hope that Santa Anna might be prepared to negotiate a peaceful cession of those parts of Mexico he was keen to acquire for the United States. Santa Anna found himself as a result being visited in Havana both by liberal Mexican politicians keen to secure his backing were they to launch a pronunciamiento against Paredes and by Polk’s very own envoys. The outcome of these secret meetings in Cuba was that Santa Anna was allowed past the U.S. naval blockade of Mexico’s Gulf coast and welcomed in Mexico as a national hero after the pronunciamiento of La Ciudadela of August 4, 1846, overthrew Paredes y Arrillaga’s government and restored the 1824 federal Constitution. It is almost certain that a significant sum of money changed hands between the U.S. envoys and Santa Anna before he was allowed back. As was reported in the British press soon after Santa Anna’s return: “The probability seems to be, that there is an understanding between [Santa Anna] and the American government; and we should not be surprised to hear that he has been furnished from Washington with the funds which have been doubtless used to corrupt the Mexican troops. In that case, most probably, the price of his restoration to power will be a treaty of peace, advantageous to the United States.”10

The accusation that Santa Anna lost the war deliberately for a fistful of dollars has its origins precisely in the meetings and transactions that took place in Cuba, paired with the fact that the United States won the conflict.11 However, Santa Anna’s actions from the moment he arrived back in Mexico, point to the fact that he was intent on defending Mexico against the U.S. aggressors, that he had no intention of giving in to any of Polk’s demands, and that, while happy to pocket any money he was given, as he wrote to the Minister of War in May 1847: “The United States were deceived in believing that I would be capable of betraying my mother country. Before such a thing could happen, I would rather be burnt on a pyre and that my ashes were spread in such a way that not one atom was left.”12 Thus, while elections were held (which Santa Anna would win in December 1846) under the caretaker government of La Ciudadela barracks pronunciado General Mariano Salas, with Valentín Gómez Farías taking on the role of the president of the Council of State, Santa Anna did not waste any time lingering in the capital and headed for San Luis Potosí. There he put together a twenty-thousand-strong army with which to confront General Zachary Taylor’s forces in the north of the country. Once more, he was not in Mexico City to preside over the republic after he was elected and allowed Gómez Farías in a repeat of their 1833–1834 arrangement to lead the government as acting president while he led his troops into the fray.

Santa Anna was to direct the Mexican army’s operations in the Northern Campaign, confronting Taylor at the Battle of Buena Vista, also known as the Battle of Angostura (February 23–24, 1847); in the Eastern Campaign, fighting Winfield Scott’s expeditionary troops at the battle of Cerro Gordo (April 18–19, 1847); and in the campaign of the Valley of Mexico, which lasted from August until mid-September, involved the battles of Padierna, Churubusco, Casa Mata, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec, and concluded with the government’s retreat to Querétaro and the U.S. occupation of Mexico City. Although the Battle of Buena Vista-Angostura proved inconclusive, only five thousand Mexican troops made it back to San Luis Potosí. The battle of Cerro Gordo, actually fought on Santa Anna’s Veracruzan properties, was, on the other hand truly disastrous, in part because of Santa Anna’s decision not to fortify the Cerro de la Atalaya (Cerro Chico) alongside the Cerro Gordo (del Telégrafo), resulting in the retreat of the remaining Mexican forces back to the capital. The ensuing campaign of the Valley of Mexico witnessed a string of defeats and scenes of appalling carnage. While Santa Anna went from one end of the country to the other, funding the armies he created with his own money, leading his troops into battle (he had his horse shot from under him at the battle of Buena Vista-Angostura), the moderate liberals in the capital teamed up with the clergy and the more conservative factions and staged a two-month-long revolt against acting president Gómez Farías and his decree of January 11, 1847, authorizing the executive to confiscate up to 15 million pesos by mortgaging or selling unused church properties to fund the war effort. En route to Veracruz from the Northern Campaign, Santa Anna had little choice but to cede to the revolting polkos’ demands, replacing Gómez Farías with a moderado president and repealing the January 11, decree. When the Mexican high command took the decision to evacuate the capital and let Scott’s troops occupy the city on September 14, 1847, Santa Anna resigned from the presidency two days later and tried to continue the fight, combating first in a number of engagements outside Puebla and, subsequently, heading south to Oaxaca to regroup. However, the governor of Oaxaca, Benito Juárez, denied Santa Anna access to Oaxaca. In the meantime Manuel de la Peña y Peña’s government relieved Santa Anna of all command and eventually signed the peace Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of February 2, 1848, ceding half of the country’s territory to the United States. Santa Anna described the treaty as one “of eternal shame and bitter regret for every good Mexican”13 and went into exile for a second time in March, heading on this occasion to Kingston, Jamaica (1848–1850), and later to Turbaco, Colombia (1850–1853).

Exile, Dictatorship, and Ignominy, 1848–1876

Although one might have thought after the defeat Mexico had suffered in the war against the United States that Santa Anna would not make a political comeback, five years later, conservatives, puro liberals, and santanistas combined forces to bring down Mariano Arista’s moderado government and arranged for his return to power, thus enabling him to become president for a sixth and last time (1853–1855). Many of the men who backed Santa Anna’s dictatorship did so out of a sense of despair, having become persuaded after three decades of instability and constitutional failure that Mexico was unfortunately not yet ready for a representative political system. As was noted by santanista newspaper La Palanca, Mexico was a “sick man” that needed “not just a doctor, but a guardian who ensures the prescribed medicine is taken.”14 There were also those who believed that Mexico had lost the war against the United States because there was no “national spirit.” The population at large had not rallied to defend the country because, it was argued, it lacked a sense of national pride.

Santa Anna’s dictatorship was, therefore, created very much with a view to enforcing order and stability and sought to achieve this by creating a large army, not shying away from instilling fear by meting out a whole battery of particularly repressive measures, raising taxes, and very visibly defending the church and the Roman Catholic faith in a bid to promote traditional God-fearing values. It also set out to promote a unifying sense of patriotic pride by implementing a renaissance of Mexican political forms. Noble titles and military orders that had their origins in the Mexican War of Independence were recovered. The title of Su Alteza Serenísma (His Serene Highness), first donned by the so-called father of Mexican independence, Miguel Hidalgo, was given to the caudillo by his State Council in December 1853. The Order of Guadalupe, originally created by the other father of independence, Agustín de Iturbide, was likewise rescued. Santa Anna made sure he rewarded his followers by making them members of this privileged group. Santa Anna’s decision to commission the composition of a national anthem in 1854 is emblematic of his government’s determination to give the country a unifying sense of national pride and identity.

However, not quite a year after Santa Anna had become dictator, on March 1, 1854, the Revolution of Ayutla, that would ultimately force him back into exile, got under way in the present-day state of Guerrero. His regime’s brutal repression certainly alienated just about everyone, depriving his regime of natural supporters. The Gadsden Purchase of December 1853 also proved critical in turning the population against Santa Anna, especially because the 10 million pesos the United States paid for La Mesilla was very evidently pilfered away by Santa Anna and his cronies. Santa Anna’s efforts to avoid selling La Mesilla went unnoticed even though he actually did do everything he could to stall the sale, trying at one point to offer behind closed doors the Mexican throne to a European prince so that Mexico could put a stop to U.S. expansionism by having a powerful European ally formally committed to coming to Mexico’s rescue. Although Santa Anna was fifty-nine years old at the time of the Gadsden Purchase, he vacated the presidency on three different occasions between June 1854 and August 1855 to lead the forces that set out to crush the Ayutlan revolutionaries. However, he failed to defeat them and eventually accepted the inevitable, going into exile in August 1855.

Santa Anna was to spend the next nineteen years abroad, exiled in Turbaco (Colombia), St Thomas (Virgin Islands), New York (United States), Havana (Cuba), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), and Nassau (Bahamas). Before he was finally allowed to go back to Mexico in 1874, he tried to return to Mexico on two separate occasions. In 1864 he went back hoping to play a part in Austrian Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian’s regency, while the French Intervention of 1862–1867 was well under way. Following his expulsion by the imperialista government in Mexico City, not even a month after he had disembarked, fearing he would interfere with their plans, Santa Anna then rediscovered his former republican credentials and threw in his lot with the republican cause and returned in 1867 planning to liberate Veracruz at the head of a self-funded expedition. Given that Benito Juárez’s republican government had refused to accept Santa Anna’s offers of help on the grounds that he had sought to attract a European prince to Mexico during his 1853–1855 dictatorship and subsequently offered Emperor Maximilian his services in 1864, he was arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to exile once more. When Santa Anna was finally allowed back in 1874 by Veracruzan liberal president Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, he was an old, blind, tired, and broken man. He spent the last two years of his life in a small house in Mexico City (present-day Calle Bolívar), looked after by his second wife, Dolores, and died almost forgotten at the age of eighty-two on June 21, 1876.

Santa Anna and His Legacy

As the historian Christon I. Archer rightly asks: “How could a leader survive despite overwhelming defeats as military commander and apparently inexplicable personal political shifts from liberal to reactionary conservative? If he was an incompetent fool, how could he endure crisis after crisis to regain power? If he was a traitor, how did he avoid the firing squad that terminated the lives of others?”15 The black legend that has overwhelmingly dominated most accounts of Santa Anna’s career, casting him as a shameless traitor, a power-hungry tyrant, and a cynical turncoat, makes understanding the period and Santa Anna’s own remarkable appeal at the time near impossible. If he were the monster he has been presented as in films such as John Lee Hancock’s The Alamo (2004), one is left wondering, given his repeated rise to power and how intelligent politicians from all walks of life sought his endorsement and backed him, whether the Mexicans of the early republican period were all masochists or whether this standard image of Santa Anna needs revising.

Santa Anna’s enduring success and ability to make repeated comebacks can be explained in terms of his control of one of the most important geopolitical regions of the period as Veracruz’s main landowner. The patron/client relationships he developed over time, namely in the army and in his home province, were also determining given their military and economic might. The resonance of his military victories cannot be underestimated either. They probably weighed more in his contemporary’s minds than his defeats because of the way they were celebrated. The 11th of September, the date of the battle of Tampico, was a major national holiday for much of the 1830s and 1840s. He also benefited from the key role his minister of war Tornel played as his talented propagandist, regular informant while he was away, and master conspirator. That he did not stay put in the capital for long enough to be associated with any one given faction certainly allowed him to project himself as the political class’s favorite arbitrator. He was also, by all accounts, incredibly charming and charismatic. The observant Spanish Minister Plenipotentiary’s Scottish wife, Fanny Calderón de la Barca, who met Santa Anna in December 1839, noted that he was “a gentlemanly, good-looking, quietly-dressed, rather melancholy-looking person, with one leg, apparently somewhat of an invalid, and to us the most interesting person in the group. He has a sallow complexion, fine dark eyes, soft and penetrating, and an interesting expression of face. Knowing nothing of his past history, one would have said a philosopher, living in dignified retirement––one who had tried the world, and found that all was vanity––one who had suffered ingratitude, and who, if he were persuaded to emerge from his retreat, would only do so, Cincinnatus-like, to benefit his country.”16

Santa Anna was definitely not a traitor. He did not recognize the independence of Texas or set out to lose the U.S.-Mexican War on purpose. He did sell La Mesilla Valley to the United States, but then, looking back to the events of 1846–1848, Santa Anna wanted to avoid another war, and the expansionist U.S. President Franklin Pierce was intent on acquiring it by whatever means. Rather than change sides indiscriminately, his political stances morphed over time in response to the repeated constitutional failures that affected Independent Mexico. His 1853–1855 dictatorship was indeed brutal, but if anything, his previous five terms of office were characterized by his absence. To label him as a tyrant, apart from being inaccurate and misleading when thinking about his earlier presidencies, hides the fact that first and foremost he was seen as a supreme arbitrator who returned to the capital from his lands in Veracruz whenever the warring factions in the capital reached a dead end. That he preferred to look after his hacienda than run the country also undermines the reiterated claim that he was power-mad. Albeit a flawed military strategist, he was a recklessly brave soldier who led his men from the front, and lost his left leg as a result. It is true that he was notoriously corrupt, but then he was not alone in this.

With it being easier for Mexicans to blame Santa Anna for the 1847 defeat rather than face up to the shared reasons for the debacle, and it suiting U.S., and in particular Texan folklore to portray him as a heinous tyrant so as to justify the 1835–1836 Texan Revolution and the U.S. invasion of 1846–1848, Santa Anna has become over time the perfect scapegoat on both sides of the frontier. As the Mexican historian Josefina Zoraida Vázquez noted, if he had not existed, we would have had to invent him, so useful has he been as everybody’s trump card.17 Therefore, any potential positive legacy that he may have left behind has been obscured by a black legend that has proven very difficult to deconstruct. Although among specialists there has been for some time a degree of consensus over the more nuanced interpretation of Santa Anna presented here, at a popular level, as may be evidenced in films such as Felipe Cazals’ Su Alteza Serenísima (2000) or novels such as Enrique Serna’s El seductor de la patria (1999), he remains Mexico’s most enduringly detested villain. It remains to be seen whether more recent novels, such as Hesiquio Aguilar’s revisionist Santa Anna, El Lencero y yo (2011) or the commemorative events that a civic group from Xalapa organized to mark Santa Anna’s birth, two-hundred and twenty years later, in February 2014, both in his birthplace and in Mexico City, are indicative of a shift in the way Mexicans view him and his legacy.

Discussion of the Literature

During Santa Anna’s lifetime, and in particular, after he went into exile following the U.S.-Mexican War, a number of early biographical texts were published about him. These were characterized from very early on by their diametrically opposed interpretations of his career. Either they were written to blame him for everything that had gone wrong since Mexico consummated its independence or to celebrate his achievements to pave the way for his return from exile. Even before the U.S.-Mexican War, Carlos María de Bustamante provided a running critical commentary of Santa Anna’s actions in his exhaustive, multivolume Continuación del cuadro histórico de la revolución mexicana (1832–1842), including his Apuntes para la historia del gobierno del general don Antonio López de Santa Anna (1845). Works such as his El Nuevo Bernal Díaz del Castillo o sea historia de la invasión de los anglo-americanos de México (1847), together with Ramón Gamboa’s 1849 Impugnación al informe del exmo. Sr. general D. Antonio López de Santa Anna (1849) and Manuel Villa-Amor’s Biografía del general Santa Anna, aumentada con la segunda parte (1857) would prove extremely influential in promoting the idea that Santa Anna was a traitor and a cynical opportunist. There were, however, a number of hagiographic texts, such as Juan Suárez y Navarro’s Historia de México y el general Antonio López de Santa Anna (1850) and Manuel María Giménez’s Memorias (1863), which built on Tornel’s own contemporary propagandist pamphlets, manifestos, and historical accounts.

Following the Liberal Restoration of 1867 few, if any, works were actually dedicated to Santa Anna and his life. Although Santa Anna was to write his own memoirs while in exile in Nassau, these were not published during his lifetime. Out of favor with Benito Juárez’s government there was no attempt to remember his military victories or presidencies. The historians of Porfirian Mexico (1876–1910), moreover, went on to exaggerate the chaos and instability of the so-called age of Santa Anna in order to celebrate the supposed contrasting stability General Porfirio Díaz had brought about since rising to power. In fact, it would not be until the 1930s that renewed interest in his life would result in a number of biographies being published. These were written by well-established Mexican and U.S. scholars such as Wilfrid Hardy Callcott, Frank C. Hanighen, José Fuentes Mares, Rafael F. Muñoz, Manuel Rivera Cambas, and José C. Valadés. Their angle was varied, with some authors being more inclined to condemn him than others, but in general they sought to understand Santa Anna and his period with a leveled approach. There were authors who were already convinced in the 1950s that Santa Anna had been unfairly labeled a traitor such as Juan Gualberto Amaya, whose 1952 study already stated in its title that Santa Anna no fue un traidor. Two particularly insightful biographies would be Alfonso Trueba’s 1958 biography and Oakah L. Jones Jr.’s Santa Anna (1960). The novelist Agustín Yáñez also authored a literary biography which made a point of attempting to understand the caudillo by deciphering the psychology of the society that gave rise to him: Santa Anna: Espectro de una sociedad (1981).

Notwithstanding these balanced studies of Santa Anna’s life, he has continued to figure as a tyrant and traitor in works such as Roberto Blanco Moreno’s Iturbide y Santa Anna. Los años terribles de la infancia nacional (1991), Jorge Veraza Urtuzuástegui’s Perfil del traidor (2000), and Robert L. Scheina’s Santa Anna: A Curse upon Mexico (2002). However, since the 1970s there has been an increasing number of journal articles, monographs on specific aspects or periods of his life, and biographies that have revised this interpretation of Santa Anna. The works of scholars such as Christon I. Archer, Fernando Díaz Díaz, Will Fowler, Enrique González Pedrero, Robert A. Potash, Josefina Zoraida Vázquez, Carmen Vázquez Mantecón, and Verónica Zárate Toscano are all worthy of note.

Primary Sources

All relevant correspondence by or addressed to Santa Anna can be located at the following archives and collections: Archivo Histórico de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (AHSDN), Mexico City, in particular Sección de Cancelados: Expediente Santa Anna (XI/III/1-116, 5 vols.); Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection (BLAC) at the University of Texas at Austin, especially Antonio López de Santa Anna Collection (BLAC) and Valentín Gómez Farías Papers (BLAC).

For key legal documents detailing Santa Anna’s financial activities in Veracruz, see Archivo de Notarías de la Biblioteca de la Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz; and Archivo General de Notarías del Estado de Veracruz, Xalapa, Veracruz.

For pamphlets and newspapers from the period, see Biblioteca Nacional, Fondo Reservado, Colección Lafragua, Mexico City; Biblioteca Nacional, Hemeroteca, Mexico; British Library, London; and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection (BLAC) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Genaro García’s edited volume dedicated to Santa Anna is part of his Documentos inéditos o muy raros para la historia de México collection: Antonio López de Santa Anna (Vol. 59, Mexico City: Porrúa, 1991) includes Santa Anna’s autobiography together with letters, manifestos, and other relevant documents.

For contemporary printed accounts, the works of the following authors are essential reading: Lucas Alamán, José María Bocanegra, Carlos María de Bustamante, Madame Calderón de la Barca, José María Luis Mora, Joel Poinsett, Anselmo de la Portilla, José María Roa Bárcena, Waddy Thompson, José María Tornel y Mendívil, and Lorenzo de Zavala.

Links to Digital Materials

Further Reading

Callcott, Wilfrid Hardy. Santa Anna. The Story of an Enigma Who Once Was Mexico. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1964.Find this resource:

Costeloe, Michael P.La primera república federal de México (1824–1835). Un estudio de los partidos políticos en el México independiente. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1975.Find this resource:

Costeloe, Michael P.The Central Republic, 1835–1846. Hombres de Bien in the Age of Santa Anna. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Fowler, Will. Tornel and Santa Anna, the Writer and the Caudillo (Mexico 1795–1853). Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000.Find this resource:

Fowler, Will. Santa Anna of Mexico. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Jones, Oakah L., Jr.Santa Anna. New York: Twayne, 1968.Find this resource:

Lynch, John. Caudillos in Spanish America 1800–1850. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Valadés, José C.México, Santa Anna y la guerra de Texas. Mexico City: Editorial Diana, 1979.Find this resource:

Vázquez Mantecón, Carmen. Santa Anna y la encrucijada del Estado. La dictadura (1853–1855). Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1986.Find this resource:

Vázquez, Josefina Zoraida. Don Antonio López de Santa Anna. Mito y enigma. Mexico City: Condumex, 1987.Find this resource:


(2.) “Denuncia hecha con motivo de suponerse en ella que en casa de Da. Josefa Ximénez se profanó en un baile el Sto. Nombre de Dios (Xalapa, 1809),” Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico City, “Inquisición,” Vol. 1414, exp. 3, ff. 328–327.

(3.) Guillermo Prieto, Memorias de mis tiempos (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1996), 39. First published in 1906.

(4.) Manuel Rincón to Generalísimo de las Armas Imperiales [Iturbide], Veracruz, November 14, 1821, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin, Hernández y Dávalos Papers, 14-3.1463.

(5.) Will Fowler, Santa Anna of Mexico (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 364.

(6.) Archivo Histórico de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, Mexico City, XI/481.3/1146, ff. 41, 43: both letters are from Santa Anna to Filisola, San Jacinto, April 22, 1836.

(7.) Antonio López de Santa Anna, Manifiesto que de sus operaciones en la campaña de Tejas y en su cautiverio dirige a sus conciudadanos el general Antonio López de Santa Anna, 10 de mayo de 1837 (Veracruz, Mexico: Imp. Liberal, 1837).

(8.) Diario del Gobierno, Mexico City, December 8, 1838.

(9.) Charles Bankhead to Lord Aberdeen, Mexico City, December 31, 1844, Public Record Office, Foreign Office Papers, 50: 177, ff. 147–159.

(10.) The Manchester Guardian, September 16, 1846.

(11.) See, in particular, Ramón Gamboa, Impugnación al informe del exmo. Sr. general D. Antonio López de Santa Anna y constancias en que se apoyan las ampliaciones de la acusación del Sr. diputado D. Ramón Gamboa (Mexico City: Imp. de Vicente García Torres, 1849).

(12.) Santa Anna to Minister of War, Puebla, May 13, 1847, included in Justin H. Smith, ed., Letters of General Antonio López de Santa Anna Relating to the War between the United States and Mexico, 1846-1848. In Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1917 (Washington, DC, 1920), 426.

(13.) Antonio López de Santa Anna, “Mi historia militar y política (1810-1874),” in Genaro García, ed., Documentos inéditos o muy raros para la historia de México. Antonio López de Santa Anna, vol. 59 (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1991), 42–43.

(14.) La Palanca, May 3, 1849.

(15.) Christon I. Archer, “The Young Antonio López de Santa Anna: Veracruz Counterinsurgent and Incipient Caudillo,” in Judith Ewell and William H. Beezley, eds., The Human Tradition in Latin America: The Nineteenth Century (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1992), 4.

(16.) Madame Calderón de la Barca, Life in Mexico (London: Century, 1987), p. 32. Originally published in 1843.

(17.) Josefina Zoraida Vázquez, Don Antonio López de Santa Anna: Mito y enigma (Mexico City: Condumex, 1987), 12.