6
The Aftermath of Independence, 1821-1876

Events after 1821 revealed that creating a government presented unanticipated problems that the enthusiasm of independence failed to anticipate. Economic and political problems made Mexico vulnerable to domestic quarrels and threats from international powers. Also, the nation faced the daunting task of recovering from the devastation of nearly a decade of fighting. Some historians have called this period of nation building unstable, farcical, or even like theater of the absurd.

From 1821 to 1857 no less than fifty different governments proclaimed control over the nation. All sorts of governments -- from dictatorships, to constitutional republican governments, to monarchies -- experimented with different methods to placate the divisions among the elites, and nearly all the governments struggled to ensure elite dominance over the masses.

Perhaps nothing better established a system of control over the masses than did the institution of the caudillo and the multiple relationships that governed this system. Latin American historian Frank Safford traces the origins of the caudillo to the era when the Bourbon reforms were imposed on Mexico. Safford defines the caudillo as one"who used violence or the threat of violence for political ends." The caudillo needed supporters to fight for him and his efforts, but the supporters also needed

-89-

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The History of Mexico
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Advisory Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Timeline of Historical Events xiii
  • 1 - Mexico Today 1
  • 2 - Mexico's Early Inhabitants 13
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - The Conquest 31
  • Notes 46
  • 4 - The Colonial Era, 1521-1821 47
  • Notes 72
  • 5 - The Wars of Mexican Independence, 1808-1821 75
  • Notes 88
  • 6 - The Aftermath of Independence, 1821-1876 89
  • Notes 110
  • 7 - The Porfiriato, 1876-1911 113
  • Notes 128
  • 8 - The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 131
  • Notes 153
  • 9 - Consolidation of the Revolution 155
  • Notes 172
  • 10 - The Revolution Moves to the Right, 1940-1970 175
  • Notes 191
  • 11 - The Search for Stability, 1970-1999 193
  • Notes 213
  • Notable People in the History of Mexico 215
  • Bibliographic Essay 227
  • Index 235
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