The First Civil War, 1830-1842

Antonio López de Santa Anna

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Outcomes, and Vision
Santa Anna moved through life as the ambitious upstart, manipulating to turn himself into the commanding insider.  He attached himself early to to the Spanish Army, fighting to prevent Mexican independence.  Whenever he had the chance, he fought to push aside any rival leader.  This drew him into the group of generals who opted against Spain at the last minute, and into occasional shaky alliance with liberals.  He then turned against liberals whenever they threatened his own power as military politician. 

In his own neighborhood, he took measures to bring indigenous communities under military control.  A city boy, he built much of his political career on his ability to raise troops in Veracruz.  He acquired (and later lost) great estates between Veracruz and Jalapa, but made tactical mistakes when he counted on his knowledge of his "home" terrain. He engaged in no constructive economic enterprises.  He had no plans of his own, conservative or liberal, for Mexican economic development.

 Time Line 
 -  to 1842
1794   -- Born in Veracruz 
1811  -- cadet in Spanish army against republicans in Texas 
1820  -- organizes reduction of indigenous communities in Veracruz back-country 
1821  -- joins Agustín de Iturbide and conservative forces for independence from Spain 
1822  -- joins republicans, rebelling to depose Iturbide as Emperor of Mexico 
1824-1825  -- proposes expedition to liberate Cuba 
1826  -- considers supporting, but then fights, rebellion of Vice-President Nicolás Bravo against President Guadalupe Victoria 
1828  -- seizing Perote, leads rebellion against election of Manuel Gómez Pedraza as President; Gómez Pedraza withdraws, and Vicente Guerrero becomes President 
1829  -- defeats Spanish expedition at Tampico 

-- refuses to join Anastasio Bustamante's Plan de Jalapa, against Guerrero

1833, April  



-- Santa Anna's presidential term begins; retires to hacienda, and Vice-President Valentín Gómez Farías assumes power 

 -- conservative rebellion of Mariano Arista and Gabriel Durán; Santa Anna captured, then "escapes" 

-- Defeats Arista and Durán at Guanajuato 

1834, April   -- resumes presidency; begins dismantling Gómez Farías program 
1835  -- defeats Zacatecas militia at Battle of Guadalupe 
-- leads force into Texas to repress rebellion 

 -- takes San Antonio; siege of Alamo 

 -- insists on execution of prisoners at Goliad 

 -- captured at San Jacinto; signs "treaty" acknowledging Texas independence 

1837, January  -- interview with Jackson, in White House 
1837-1838  -- retirement at hacienda 
1838  -- joins fight against French intervention at Veracruz; loses leg. 
1839  -- defeats federalist rebels at Acajete;  executes José Antonio Mejía 
1841  -- successful conservative rebellion, by Santa Anna, Mariano Paredes, and Gabriel Valencia; Santa Anna becomes President 
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