12. The Mexican-American War, 1846–1848

Santa Anna disembarked in Veracruz on 16 August 1846. Yet again, his supposed betrayals and military failings appear to have been forgotten and there appears to have been a willingness on the part of many Mexicans to believe that he would save the day. As was expressed in one pamphlet: "The most illustrious of its children "is" home again; he who has saved us always during the great conflicts…. The courageous and great Santa Anna is in Veracruz. God has saved Mexico." On the 19th, just over a year after he had been ushered out of the republic, and less than two years after an angry mob had disinterred his leg in the capital, the cathedral bells peeled and its choir sang a Te Deum to celebrate his safe arrival. Santa Anna could not help noticing this extraordinary change himself: "What a transformation!"1

Villa-Amor was one of many who could not understand how Santa Anna had achieved this resurrection, considering the series of events that had previously unfolded. The "most corrupt of all Mexicans" was back. He attributed it to fear and ignorance and described it as shameful that although everybody knew about his treacherous deeds, nobody was prepared to prevent his return to Mexico City. There was certainly something odd about the political statements Santa Anna made on returning to Mexico. Little of what he said sounded as if it was coming from him. He issued a manifesto on disembarking in Veracruz that espoused the need to reinstate the 1824 Constitution while a new constitution was forged. A number of the points he made were consistent with his past political statements. However, there were also obscure passages in his text about issues of inequality and democratic practices that did not read like his own.2

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