"We Are Now the True Spaniards": Sovereignty, Revolution, Independence, and the Emergence of the Federal Republic of Mexico, 1808-1824

By Jaime E. RodrÍguez O. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
The Mexican Empire

CONVINCED THAT the Spanish Monarchy would not grant them autonomy, the leaders of New Spain declared independence, creating the Mexican Empire. Emancipation, however, did not initially signify either rejection of Spain or of Hispanic political traditions, particularly the recent parliamentary experience in the Cortes where novohispanos not only participated with distinction but also played a prominent role in framing the Constitution of 1812. Instead, New Spain’s elite proposed to govern at home, while retaining strong ties to the mother country. That fact is clearly demonstrated in the two documents central to the process of independence: the Plan of Iguala, which called for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy with the Spanish king or a member of the royal family as sovereign and which acknowledged the Constitution of 1812 and the statutes enacted by the Hispanic Cortes as the laws of the land, and the Treaty of Córdoba, signed by Juan O’Donojú, the last jefe político superior of New Spain, which ratified the Plan of Iguala and recognized the independence of Mexico. While Iturbide subsequently asserted that he alone conceived and executed the Plan of Iguala,1 it is quite clear that the document was based on long-held views, was prepared by many individuals, and fulfilled the objectives of New Spain’s autonomists, a group that had been seeking home rule since 1808. By 1821 novohispanos generally agreed on the need to establish an autonomous commonwealth, called the “Mexican Empire,” within the Spanish Monarchy.2 It is no accident, therefore, that the Plan of Iguala and the proposal for autonomy, which New Spain’s deputies submitted to the Cortes in Madrid, were virtually the same.3


The Rise of Iturbide to Prominence

Although novohispano autonomists had discussed extensively how to ensure that constitutional representative government was firmly established in New Spain, it was Colonel Agustín de Iturbide who took decisive action. Unlike his Spanish counterpart Mayor Rafael Riego, whose rebellion failed and who became a bystander while urban groups took control of their areas and forced

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"We Are Now the True Spaniards": Sovereignty, Revolution, Independence, and the Emergence of the Federal Republic of Mexico, 1808-1824
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Preface xiii
  • A Note about America and Americans xvii
  • Terms Used in the Text xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - A Shared Political Culture 7
  • Chapter 2 - The Collapse of the Spanish Monarchy 34
  • Chapter 3 - The Events of 1809 68
  • Chapter 4 - Two Revolutions 97
  • Chapter 5 - The Cádiz Revolution 149
  • Chapter 6 - A Fragmented Insurgency 195
  • Chapter 7 - Separation 235
  • Chapter 8 - The Mexican Empire 268
  • Chapter 9 - The Formation of the Federal Republic 305
  • Conclusion 335
  • Notes 347
  • Sources 445
  • Index 481
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