8. The Warrior President, 1835–1837

Santa Anna remained an absentee president following the demise of the 1833–34 radical administration. The return of the men of 1830–32 to the corridors of power did not inspire him to stay in Mexico City. At the end of January 1835 he turned his back on politics to tend to his hacienda. He was as uncomfortable with the centralists' antics as he had been with those of the radicals. For the next two years (1835–37), he spent hardly any time in the capital and was in fact absent when the 6th Constitutional Congress brought an end to the 1824 Constitution. Although he has been blamed for the change to centralism, he was not actually present during any of the deliberations that led to the abolition of the federalist charter or the elaboration of the 1836 Constitution.1

In accordance with its deputies' traditionalist agenda, the 1835 Congress was determined to strengthen the regular army. On 31 March 1835 Congress passed a bill ordering the discharge of local militias in the country. The government in Zacatecas interpreted the law as confirmation that the centralists in Congress were on their way to overturning the 1824 Constitution. On 30 March, preempting the government's resolution, Francisco García, governor of Zacatecas, raised the standard of revolt by decreeing that "the "state" government is awarded the faculty to make use of its civic militia to repulse any aggression that may be attempted against it." Having returned to Manga de Clavo only three months earlier, Santa Anna nonetheless made his way back to the capital on 9 April on hearing the news of this pronunciamiento. He did not, however, return to Mexico City in order to preside over the republic but to acquire permission to quell the rebellion in person.2

-158-

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