The First Civil War, 1830-1842 

Conservative Demagogues

Real War 
    Grounded Networks 
   Control Networks 
A Note on Then and Now 
What They Called "Civil War"  
   Liberal Projects 
      J.R. Poinsett  
      Levi Woodbury  
      Francisco Morazán  
      V. Gómez Farías   
      Wm. Lyon Mackenzie  
   Conservative Demagogues 
      Andrew Jackson  
      A. L. de Santa Anna 
   Fight Scenes  
      El Gallinero  
      Puebla & Charleston   
      Guanajuato & Bravo  
      Loot & development  
      Texas & Florida  
  Grounded Reaction 
      Guatemala & Carrera  
      Lower Canada  
      The Huasteca, & North  
      The Costa Grande   
Outcomes, and Vision
Practical leaders, in that Civil War between liberals and conservatives, gave little abstract loyalty to either side.  They were "demagogues." 

Take Andrew Jackson and Antonio López de Santa Anna

As criollo military leaders, they spoke for the interests of governing classes that had won independence from the mother countries of Europe. 

As "demagogues,"  they used populistic, patriotic rhetoric to defend actions that served -- 

  • the particular interests of themselves or their backers. 
  • the disciplinary authority of persons in control positions.
Santa Anna revealed this political strategy best in his shifting military efforts. 

Jackson revealed it in social maneuvers, such as his veto of the bill to recharter the Bank of the United States, in 1832.  The Bank itself, operating under government authority, was the closest thing the country had to a central bank.  To Jackson, it was a monster: 

There are no necessary evils in government. . . . If it would confine itself to equal protection, and as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.  In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these principles. . . .  
Many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them richer by act of Congress.  By attempting to gratify their desires we have in the results of our legislation arrayed section against section, interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion which threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. 
To his opponents, this language was itself demagoguery, stirring up class conflict. They missed the fact that Jackson was operating from a position that was both more conservative and more innovative than their own: 
  • He was not only a slave-owner, but the kind of planter who had operated a store for his neighborhood,  where he provided credit -- a real banking function, under personal rather than corporate control. 
  • Though he sometimes ranted against "all banks," one result of the veto was to weaken top-level controls over the banking system, leaving it for "second-level" banks to elaborate their own controls. 
  • When his officials needed to impose "voluntary" regulation on banks, they found ways to do it by executive action.
The manipulations of Jackson and Santa Anna produced social results.  By taking advantage of what came their way, by giving heed to varied interests -- even when they scorned rival leaders -- each of the two was acting as mediator among competing elements in the society.  Their indifference to abstract ideas was itself an alternative "idea" fed into any conflict situation -- especially when backed by talk of force.  Their careers traced out an interplay between liberal innovation and conservative rule, in itself a summary of what was being done by the control networks of their period. 
 Each man represented the form that "Landed-Industrial" consensus would take in his country, in a period when the early knots were being tied, between an expansionist U.S. economy and a constricted Mexican economy.

The era of "secured independence" began, for Mexico and the United States, with two ideological compromises that stated, together, a single criollo strategy for the continent:

On economic questions, both Jackson and Santa Anna were reacting to changes at work in a once-traditional society. Both were willing to bully any mere "shop-keeper" class, but there was an imbalance in how they proceeded, come the 1830s. While neither Santa Anna nor Jackson may have realized what they were doing, in any grand historical perspective, they were pushing their two countries toward an interlock, as "backward country" and "outside investor."

The two were to meet once when Santa Anna, captured by Texans, was sent off to Washington for Jackson to badger (politely, of course, as he would any opposing gentleman).  For all the inequality of the situation, the two communicated easily.  By the patterns of their careers, they were already joined in temperament:  military politicians who defended central authority, even while they professed to support states' rights.  By their opportunism and inconsistency, they were ideal vehicles through which cautious criollos could seek some kind of social discipline.

A common behavior pattern appeared in both careers:
Jackson and Santa Anna: the Parallel Styles
The Santa Anna version Type of action The Jackson version
Federalism, vs centralism Conventional discourse, used without regard to actual commitment Republicanism, vs "aristocracy"
Pledges of support to Iturbide & to Nicolás Bravo, to Guerrero & Gómez Farías Quick, unreliable promising Oath to Spanish crown 1789. 
Consent, given JQAdams 1819, to not exacting Texas from Spain
Vicente Guerrero Emotional defense of certain individual social victims  Rachel Jackson. Margaret Eaton.
"Reduction" of indigenous communities in Veracruz Brutality toward non-elite allies Confiscations from Creek allies
Long delay before supporting conservatives vs Gómez Farías Pressure on conservatives to beg  Warning to S.C. politicians on their need for help versus slaves
Refusal to become conservative leader when patronized by Arista Demand for personal loyalty Use of Florida case as litmus versus J.C.Calhoun
New Army officers, & some business promoters Practical defender of some upwardly mobile types New landowners in Southwest; "2nd" level of bankers
Silver taken from Zacatecas  Readiness to "mine" capital Deposits withdrawn from Bank of the United States
This was the free individual leader in a hierarchical society:  quick to define liberty in terms of personal prestige, careless of alliances, demanding when it came to control over underlings.


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