4. A Federalist on the Periphery, 1823–1825

The ten years that unfolded between Santa Anna's departure to Tampico on 19 March 1823 and his election to the presidency of the Mexican Federal Republic in 1833 were to prove decisive. They were critical in establishing him as a caudillo at a national as well as at a regional level. They gave him the kind of fame that would allow him to overcome a series of notorious setbacks. The prestige he acquired in the 1820s would make a strong mark on the psyche of his contemporaries.1

It was during these years that he became the true caudillo of Veracruz. Guadalupe Victoria went to the capital to become president (1824–29) and did not pursue a political role in the province. Miguel Barragán was discredited for his involvement in the failed revolt of Montaño (1827–28). José Joaquín de Herrera moved away from Veracruz, holding a variety of military and political posts in other regions of the republic, ceasing to pose a challenge to Santa Anna's emergent authority in the province.2 Santa Anna overcame the power and influence the Rincón brothers had in the port and Xalapa in the bitter dispute that was played out in the summer of 1827. His grip over the region became all the stronger after he bought the hacienda of Manga de Clavo and was appointed acting governor (1827–29).

Following Iturbide's abdication and departure into exile, a temporary triumvirate was formed by Generals Nicolás Bravo, Guadalupe Victoria, and Pedro Celestino Negrete (1823–24). The restored Congress (closed down by Iturbide) was asked to arrange for the election of a Constituent Congress. It was as this new order came into place that Santa Anna made his way to the northern city of San Luis Potosí, in the spring of

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