Antonio López de Santa Anna
A Note on Then and Now
What They Called "Civil War"
A. L. de Santa Anna
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
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
|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
|-- 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
|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
|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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