The Course of Mexican History

By Michael C. Meyer; William L. Sherman et al. | Go to book overview

24
The Restored Republic, 1867–76:
Nascent Modernization

Modern Mexican history begins with the liberal victory of 1867.1 In a very real sense the republic became a nation. Concerned with the growth of political democracy in Mexico, Juárez and his republican cohorts would try for a decade to consolidate their victory by implementing the letter and spirit of the Constitution of 1857 and, at the same time, by setting Mexico on the path of modernization. The sailing was far from smooth, but the political process did show definite signs of maturation. The scars from the recent wars of the Reform and the Intervention were deep, and, while the conservatives endeavored to eliminate the distinctions between victors and vanquished, the liberals set out to inaugurate a new era of peace and material progress. They both had to overcome the deeply engrained suspicion that differences of opinion, ideology, and practical politics should inevitably be settled by force rather than by reason. And while all antagonisms did not dissipate during the Restoration, bellicosity became at least less of a reflex action. But, more important, this nine-year period established the guidelines for the profound changes that would occur in Mexico during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.


JUÁREZ’S THIRD TERM

In marked contrast to Maximilian’s entrance into Mexico City in his ornate European carriage in 1864, JUÁREZ entered the capital on July 15, 1867, in a stark black coach. Cheers welled up from the thousands who lined the streets. His reception was triumphant, as it well should have been, but although Juárez enjoyed the display of camaraderie and goodwill, he recognized that it was no time to rest on past laurels. He

1. Daniel Cosí;o Villegas, ed. Historia moderna de Mé;xico, 9 vols. (Mexico City, 1955–;72). The first three volumes treat the restored republic

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