Anahuac Triufante: A more united and successful Mexico from Colony to Enduring Republic TL

Anahuac Triunfante: A more united and successful Mexico from Colony to Enduring Republic TL
Part 3: A New Republic

Chapter 7: The Northern Territories under Morelos 1822-1826

World 1830.png

Map of the world in the late 1820's
(modified OTL base map from Roberto)

Integration of the Californias

Baja California territory didn’t see the evacuation of Spanish soldiers until several years after the effective end of the War of independence. The road that connected Durango to Guadalajara and Queretaro was extended to the cities of Sinaloa. Another road was built between Guadalajara and Sinaloa via Mazatlán, a growing port city on the pacific coast. These roads were funded by the states of Jalisco and Sonora with federal assistance. In 1822 Morelos got funding from congress to standardize the two roads and extend them from Sinaloa to Sonora City and then connect them to the California highway (originally called the royal road) by 1823 efectively connecting the two Californias to Mexico.

In 1823 Congress appointed territorial governors to the Californias who were sent back by the Californios. Fearing rebellion, Morelos asked Ignacio Lopez Rayon to take a thousand regulars to the Californias and determine the disposition of the Californios. Until 1823, communication and interaction between the Californias and Mexico has been minimal to nonexistent. The failed attempt to appoint governors coincided with the conflict in the Yucatan. Lopez Ignacio dealt with those territories during the war, and Morelos felt that he’d be a familiar face.

In February 8th 1824 Lopez Ignacio arranged a meeting of prominent Californios at San Diego de Alcala and was shocked to see the presence of several peninsulares, some of which were supposed to have evacuated years ago like the current (apparently) governor of Baja California, Jose Dario Arguello. Also, present was Dario’s Californio son, Luis Antonio Arguello. Lopez convinced the delegates from Baja California to “nominate” Dario’s son as the new governor of the territory promising them local control of most of their affairs as long as they didn’t act in a manner contrary to the national constitution. He also assured them that funds will continue to support the Presidios as well as eventual Mexican soldiers to help maintain the order.

As for Alta California, Jose Maria de Echeandia was put forth by Lopez as governor of Alta California with the same deal offered to the Alta Californios as the Baja Californios. Echeandia was at first an officer stationed in Sinaloa in charge of about 200 infantry men which served as an HQ of the presidios in the region that helped keep good and stable relations with the indigenous people. He was known to some of the Californios by name so they deemed him acceptable and agreed to “nominate” him too.

Having deemed his mission a success, Lopez wanted to tour the area in order to report back to Mexico City in person thereafter. He sent word that he would start in the north and move his way down to La Paz in Baja California where he hoped to board a ship of the Pacific Squadron back to Mexico proper. Along his tour he noted the deplorable conditions that the mission system left the natives. In a letter to his wife he lamented how the plight of the indigenous people in the Californias resembled that of those in the Valley of Mexico during Spanish rule.

Lopez’s wife, María Ana Martínez de Rulfo, had some of his letters published in Mexico City. One of them read:

Querida, it is worse than I had feared. I praise the Lord every day that Hidalgo himself is not here to bare witness to the horrors that the indios face for his frail and aged heart would surely give out. What once was reported as large populations of indios has been withered down to a pitiful few by disease and outdated colonial practices that now have been outlawed by our great republic. The Peninsulares here still walk about as if they were Californias’ rightful rulers. In confidence several brave souls approached me and my men and recounted the abuses they faced. Beatings, slavery, neglect. The sick are left to their own devices and many Criollos and Mestizos are forced to do the bidding of their Peninsular masters. The Franciscans are accomplices to this travesty, their missions are, I fear, at the core of all of these ills. I must muster all my strength within me to maintain proper diplomatic demeaner before the barbarities of which my eyes are subjected to every day. The sights I have seen, it’s as if I was transported back in time to the days of De Las Casas. How I long to see your radiant face so that my eyes may be rejuvenated by your beauty and love”

This letter became widely published in Mexico City and around the neighboring states prompting liberals and the aging Hidalgo to react in Congress. By the time Lopez made it to La Paz in April 3rd, he received word of the Secularization act of 1824[1]. He was to transfer mission land into Ranch land grants modeled after the reforms in Central Mexico and the Yucatan. He was also to force elections for every position of power of which the Peninsulares were to be excluded from, and should any attempt to leave with their riches, he was to consider them enemies of the republic and have their properties confiscated. Lopez sent back word asking for reinforcements fearing that violence would break out.

When he returned to San Diego later that month, he met up with a young and vocal indio, Jose Pacomio Paqui. Lopez caught wind of a potential Indian uprising nearby and found out Pacomio’s role [2]. He had his messengers tell him that should he ally himself with the Mexican regulars, he would have the backing of the central government. Immediately, using assumed authority as emissary of president Morelos, he had Pacomio deputized as a commander of the Mexican army and told to organize his native Chumash battalions, a total of 3 were formed.

Alarmed at this development, Echeandia inquired as to the purpose of this sudden turn and was told about the Secularization act. Echeandia quickly realized the implications of such sudden changes so soon after instigating contact with Mexico. It meant that to the eyes of many in Alta and Baja California, Lopez would have to break his promise. Antonio found out by the time 500 cavalrymen arrived from Durango in late March bringing with them an artillery company. Lopez now had an army of over 3000 soldiers, a massive force when compared to the population of both Californias together. For the entire year Lopez was focused in enforcing the change. Together with Pacomio, he was able to defeat a few rogue elements in Califiornia that resisted, mainly Spanish soldiers and a few Criollos who were sympathetic to them. There were several units of foriegners who settled the californias, and to Lopez’s chargin, many of them came from the US, illegally. These soldiers also raised small armed bands to resist Lopez’s forces. After several weeks of fighting, most of them were either captured or chased away.

In May, the President officially appointed Echeandria and Antonio as governors and accepted the election results of new local officials. By August, Lopez finally was able to take his troops to La Paz and board ships to return home. The Californias have been tamed, and just in time for the arrival of over two thousand settlers from southern Mexico and Europe between December 1824 and June 1825. That wave would be followed by another three hundred settlers at the end of the year and a final wave under Morelos’ administration of seven hundred settlers in 1826. This caused California’s population to increase by nearly twenty percent within in two years reversing the trend of population decline in the previous decade. It also helped dilute voices calling for independence as the new settlers were marginally more loyal to Mexico City than to a Californian identity.

New Mexico

The New Mexicans managed to establish a prolonged peace with the Comanche Indians and were reluctant to accept the construction of new presidios in the area by the federal government. The Texans also had made a similar deal with the Comanche. This kept raids to a bare minimum which were not as devastating as they once were in the past.

At the beginning of Morelos’ term New Mexico had a population of around 29,000 New Mexicans plus ten thousand pueblo Indians a thousand or so others. The arrival of settlers from the south and Europe increased the population of non-natives in New Mexico to nearly 31,000 by 1826. Francisco Xavier Chávez was appointed governor by Morelos in 1822 to help manage the situation. Attempts to do away with the Cast system in the past had failed, Morelos hoped that Xavier’s Peninsular origins would help ease the transition away from the old Spanish system to that of republican equality, as Mexicans saw it at the time. However, he was caught up in the peninsular expulsion which led to New Mexican demands of autonomy.

Elections in 1825 placed Jose Antonio Vizcarra in the governorship of the territory running largely on the popularity of his military campaign against the Navajos. That experience made him valuable in the eyes of Mexico City in dealing with the natives in the region. Texan loyalty was ambiguous, and Mexico City saw New Mexico as a possible new state that would help bring the neighboring territories a greater sense of “Mexicanness”. Vizcarra gave a hopeful sign by asking for federal troops and the construction of presidios meant to deter retaliatory Navajo raids (a result of his military campaigns). Vizcarra began offering further avenues for Central Mexican influence in New Mexico. Eventually in 1826 construction of a road from Santa Fe to Durango began with the aims of establishing a continuous line of communication and further economic integration.

Texas

Throughout Morelos’ presidency, Anglo-American settlers (both legal and illegal) formed the largest block of the Texan population. This group identified more with the United States, their country of origin, than did with Mexico unlike other settler immigrant groups such as Italians, South Germans, and other Catholic Europeans. The second largest group were Mestizos from Central Mexico drawn by the offer of new opportunities and then followed by the Europeans and at the bottom Criollos. Peninsulares were expelled from the territory at the tail end of the war for independence unlike New Mexico and the California territories.

A problem of Anglo-American squatters began to emerge throughout the eastern and southern portions of Texas. Conflict arouse between legal immigrants from Europe and migrants from Southern Mexico with these squatters. Stephen Austin asked for permission to raise a militia to maintain the peace, but instead Morelos mobilized the Coahuila state Militia and the federal garrison in Monterrey to march north and begin policing operations. Austin wanted to set up an arbitration committee and find compromises with the various groups. However, the Mexican government would not concede anything to squatters after word of their ownership of slaves reached Mexico City. In 1824, the Mexican military arrived led by Juan Davis Bradburn and began working with Austin to remove squatters and free slaves. Austin attempted to argue that squatters should not have their “property” confiscated only to be reminded that in Mexico, people weren’t property.

Several Squatters began to take arms and organized bands known as “Texas Rangers” and attacked Mexican soldiers. It didn’t take long for the army to discover where the Texas Rangers were getting their weapons from. As it turned out, many of the squatters were financially supported by individuals like Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston back in the United States. Mexican Spies in New Orleans also brought back information confirming Jackson’s involvement who at the time was a senator to the US Congress. Mexico filed a formal protest in Washington to which President Monroe responded accusing Jackson of attempting another intervention that, as he put it, “Would prove as disastrous as the last and only further validate [Jackson’s] own ineptitude as a pitiful Napoleon acolyte”. Monroe used this as an opportunity to take another shot at Jackson by pushing the senate to censure him, which they did in early 1825 leaving an infuriated and politically diminished Jackson who ended up leaving the senate later that year[3].

As a result of these developments, Morelos ordered the expulsion of any Anglo-American squatters who did not convert to Catholicism, release any and all slaves, and begin learning Spanish. Austin managed to convince local officers of the military to interpret this to mean that squatters that did conform to these requirements could keep their land. By 1826 fighting involving the squatters diminished after a few major skirmishes related to the expulsions. Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston began plotting a solution to what Jackson termed “A grievous injustice from a barbaric government that does not respect the right to private property. The Lord will see to it that just retribution shall be visited upon these mongrels,” promising to right the wrongs done against his countrymen. At first, he planned on winning the next elections, as he came close to wining in 1824. But after losing them he would end up supporting the Anahuac revolt in Texas in 1832.

By 1826, Texas lost some 300 Anglo-Americans through expulsions who were replaced by a new wave of European and Mestizo immigrants that more than doubled that number.


-----------------------------------

[1] Happened later in the OTL

[2] OTL leader of an Indian revolt in that period.

[3] He did end his Senatorial term in 1825 in the OTL, but not with a bloody nose like this.
 
“A grievous injustice from a barbaric government that does not respect the right to private property. The Lord will see to it that just retribution shall be visited upon these mongrels,” promising to right the wrongs done against his countrymen.​

He says while blissfully ignoring the fact that, as squatters, they didn't legally own a goddamn thing in Mexico. While I don't like the forced conversions it's still a better deal than being forced out entirely. Here's hoping Old Hickory gets a more literal bloody nose when he supports that rebellion.

 
Part 4: The Hispanic War Chapter 1: Nicolas Bravo's Mexico and Carlos' Spain in the Late 1820's
Part 4: The Hispanic War

Chapter 1: Nicolas Bravo’s Mexico and Carlos’ Spain in the late 1820’s


Economic and Military reforms of Nicolas Bravo

In 1826 the Conservatives won the presidential election for the first time placing the old Independence War Veteran Nicolas Bravo in power with a moderate congress. Lucas Aleman became the Secretary of Foreign Relations pushing Bravo’s foreign policy for intervention in Cuba, Puerto Rico and insuring Dominican independence all under Mexican Protectorate much like Central America. Bravo, seeking to maintain a strong hold on the military, approved various military changes and tasked Lucas Aleman with working with Francisco Moctezuma, the War and Naval Secretary, to reform the Mexican military and establish various upgrades.

Some of the military reforms involved issues with corruption and kickbacks that threatened Mexico’s ability to wage war. One of the more egregious examples of this was the contracting of subpar gunpowder that had such poor quality that it would render any artillery piece ineffective. Soldiers started to find that they had to fire their rifles from the hip to compensate which made nearly impossible to fire with any level of accuracy. [1]

Bravo began pushing for improvement in military academies established by Allende and Morelos in the preceding years. He also agreed to advice given by one of his generals, Vicente Guerrero, in inviting foreign naval commodores most notably the Anglo-American David Porter who left the US Navy after being court martialed for attacking a Spanish fort, an action that Porter saw as a personal betrayal [2]. Bravo also pushed for plans to acquire Ships of The Line, Frigates, and more support ships for the navy on both coasts. By 1829 Mexico had acquired 3 Ships of The line (plus a Spanish ship in the Pacific that defected), 2 American made Great Frigates, and 3 other Frigates from the British.

Rafael Mangino y Mendívil was appointed to head public finance who began making various changes to the tax system and advised the various state finance ministries in doing the same. This led to some discontent in the public who now had to start paying taxes that they were able to avoid in the past. He also helped continue Morelos’ initial moves to increase Mexican exports of cash crops and began forming a new National Bank based on Aleman’s own banking and financing schemes to help stimulate more mining and growth of industry in Mexico.

It was during these years that immigration increased from a yearly rate of around 500-2,000 a year in the period between 1824 and 1826 to nearly 4,000 immigrants in the year 1829. Nearly half of those came from the Americas while the rest came from Europe including a few East Asian arrivals who were met with considerable suspicion. Most of these immigrants were directed north, especially to Texas to help counter the Anglo-American presence, though many remained in central Mexico.

While Conservatives were quick to take credit for the increase of Mexican commerce, infrastructure, revenue, economy and military power relative to the previous decade, historians largely point out that this was only made possible due to the initial stability and actions of presidents Allende and Morelos. Mexico was still largely an agrarian state with vast portions of its territory isolated by rough terrain and other massive sections of the nation sparsely populated, especially in the North. The expenses made by the government were incurring a slow but rising dept that, for the time being, Mexico could afford to pay.

However, many Mexicans in the Yucatan, and the North East began expressing separatist sentiments in response to what they saw as government overreach. Accusations of Bravo working to transform the federation into a unitary government were frequent and it didn’t help that Bravo would often respond harshly to criticism. At times he would have newspaper editors arrested on trumped up charges and was accused of intimidating members of congress. Lucas Aleman warned Bravo against attempting to amend the constitution to gain more power to the central government in fear of a revolt, which would derail his plans for a Mexican (or at least a free) Caribbean. Bravo did back down from such attempts which may have possibly prevented a major uprising.

Su Majestad, Carlos el Más Católico Rey de España

Carlos I of Spain
By Vicent López Portaña - [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43338312
Carlos The Most Catholic King of Spain was not as restrained as Nicolas Bravo. His brand of absolutism began wearing thin on many Spaniards and even church officials. Fears that the military would soon revolt once again abounded. The initial years of Carlos’ rule saw several moves to modernize the army and reorganize its navy. The Catholic Church’s support of Carlos’ rule helped suppress several attempts by liberal elements of the army and the people to overthrow him in a new liberal revolt. In 1826, Carlos began rolling back many of the liberal reforms that even his supporters preferred to keep in place. The Church pushed back against Carlos’ actions through advisors and even the Arch-Bishop, but Carlos didn’t always head their consul. This stunted Spain’s economic growth making it difficult to raise funds with which to revamp its aging fleet. It’s this situation of neglect that led to the defection of various ships to Spain’s former colonies. One of the most notable defections happened in 1828 where the Galleon Asia defected to Mexico along with some other smaller vessels in the Pacific Ocean and one frigate in the Caribbean defected to Colombia along with a few sloops of war.

In 1828, Miguel I of Portugal began fighting factions that opposed his absolutist rule. Sympathetic to Miguel, Carlos sent Spanish troops to wage war on his behalf. As a result of years of absolutist war, several officers took advantage of the situation and switched sides upon arrival in Portugal and joined the liberal Portuguese forces. Several other factions in Spain took this as a sign to act. Liberals were mostly on their own as moderates refused to rebel. Despite the King’s absolutist tendencies, many of his ministers were less absolutist and had managed to mitigate many of the King’s actions through administrative creativity.

However, 1828 something changed that pitted the Church against the Spanish monarch. For years Mexico had no Archbishop due to Spain not recognizing its independence. A movement in Mexico began, pushed by liberals, to have the President or Congress appoint an archbishop if the holy see refused to do so. The Mexican people overwhelmingly supported Hidalgo, the father of Independence, as the archbishop. The Pope saw this as a threat not too different than Henry VIII and broke with its policy of respecting Spain’s claims on Mexico by appointing Manuel Posada Garduño as the first Mexican born Archbishop of Mexico and offering Miguel Hidalgo his cloth once again effectively recognizing Mexico as no longer being under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Crown. Miguel Hidalgo accepted his cloth and a position as bishop of Michoacán ending the threat of a breakaway church in Mexico, however the church in Mexico would be changed as Hidalgo began using his new position to place like minded priests not only in his parishes but also in those of neighboring bishops. Eventually, the Church in Mexico would become more liberal.

Carlos reacted by expelling what he saw as “liberal Catholic priests poisoning his Holiness’ mind against” him from Spain. This tipped the balance against Carlos as reluctant liberals, moderates, and even some opportunist conservatives picked a side forming the bases of a new revolt in Spain in 1829. In 1830, Spanish and Portuguese liberals funded the arrival of Pedro I of Brazil who came to Portugal after abdicating his thrown to fight against Miguel I. Pedro I also had the company of several hundred Mexican volunteers who joined him in Brazil including a decommissioned Mexican Sloop of War (replaced by one of the frigates Bravo purchased from the United States) and a brig. Pedro I was receiving tentative support from the Mexican government as well as support from Great Britain [3]. This was the first time that an American force landed in Europe to wage war (albeit indirectly connected to Mexico).


Mexican Ship of the Line The Congreso Mexicano a ship emblematic of the nationalist view of Mexico (as the New Spain) replacing Spain on the world stage
De Angel Cortellini Sánchez (1858- 1912) - Museo Naval de Madrid Todo a babor, Dominio público, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15092916

Several ships in the Spanish navy joined Portuguese ships loyal to Pedro I in 1830 further weakening Spain’s naval power forcing Carlos to recall ships from the Caribbean. This gave Mexico an opening it couldn’t refuse. Nicolas Bravo was fomenting descension in Puerto Rico and Cuba which began to break out in small scale revolts supported by Mexican and Colombian arms, funds, and even personnel. The goal was to reinvigorate independence movements that were snuffed out a decade earlier. Then Mexico and its allies could intervene and liberate the islands and use them as a bargaining ship to finally get Spanish recognition of their independence. The small volunteer force sent with Pedro I was meant as a message, that Spain wasn’t unreachable to its former colonies.

As the war in Portugal and Spain continued into the early 1830s, Spain found itself vulnerable and weakened with a failing economy and an aging military. Mexico’s military was growing as well as its economy and now with papal recognition other European nations who were reluctant to recognize and/or trade with Mexico openly for fear of Spanish reprisals recognized Mexican independence as well as the independence of the other former Spanish colonies. Renewed war between Mexico and Spain was now inevitable and the only thing that held back Mexico from attacking was the wildcard that the US represented, who had ambitions in Cuba of its own as a possible venue for new slave states to counterbalance free states in the aftermath of the Missouri Compromise.

[1] This became a major issue in the Mexican-American War in OTL, basically caused Mexico to lose battles where it even had large numerical superiority.

[2] Same situation as in the OTL, but maybe ITTL David Porter can get the job done…

[3] Mexico actually recognized Miguel I in the OTL, but Bravo and Aleman are planning to invade Cuba so the enemy of my enemy’s friend…or something like that.
 
So will there be a Mexican-American War ITTL? Because it was said to be a Texan revolt, not a revolution, indicating defeat by Mexico, meaning no annexation by the US?
 
So will there be a Mexican-American War ITTL? Because it was said to be a Texan revolt, not a revolution, indicating defeat by Mexico, meaning no annexation by the US?
Keep in mind that the US still has ambitions to move west, and Mexico is doing a far better job TTL in settling that land. Great Britain still would like to keep the US from taking land it claims in OTL's northern US west coast. If the US fails to get Texas soon, they'll look elsewhere to expand slavery which will cause domestic problems if they go above the Missouri Compromise line for slave states that can cause earlier problems for the US. If they expand into the Caribbean, the British would be soundly annoyed and willing to partner up with other regional powers....we'll see.

I have been unexpectedly busy these past few months (I thought I'd have a lot more time on my hands). So I haven't really been working on this timeline all that much. That said, I am not sure with what frequency I'll be able to make updates but I do have the mind to continue. I'm also getting to the point where I'll have to start making people up (butterflies and everything) while inexplicably allowing for OTL individuals to still exist, it'll be a balancing act I guess. After the 1840s, I may be using less details as a result and conclude it with a few final generic posts. I do have a post 1900 timeline for Mexico in the back of my mind, but to continue this beyond the 1900s is rather difficult...but I am open to doing so. Who knows, it depends on how this goes.
 
Part 4 Chapter 2: Guadalupe Victoria’s Administration, the Texan Revolt, and the Call to Arms 1830-1834
Part 4: The Hispanic War

Chapter 2: Guadalupe Victoria’s Administration, the Texan Revolt, and the Call to Arms 1830-1834

A Moderate President: Politics, Education, and Bravo’s Ambition

In 1830 Guadalupe Victoria became president under the title of the Conservative Party even though he himself was a moderate. He had Vicente Guerrero as vice president and kept most of Bravo’s cabinet intact. Initially Bravo wanted to run for reelection fearing a victorious Guerrero would usher in an era of runaway liberalism, however Aleman convinced him to stand down if he could get someone on the conservative ticket popular enough to stand a chance against the Independence war hero. Aleman’s chief concern was Bravo’s intentions with an unprecedented second term. He was aware that presidents in the US have traditionally refused to run more than twice, the Spanish king’s missteps and that Bravo would use a reelection as an excuse to grab more power and forgo his cabinet’s advice. There was effectively only one non-liberal who was a known quantity to him that was as popular among the people as Vicente Guerrero, Guadalupe Victoria. Both gentlemen served under the revered Morelos during the war for independence with equal acclaim. And furthermore, Victoria’s moderate leanings would help win over some liberal votes as well as the moderate vote. Aleman had to force Bravo to stand down from running by using his influence to get party members to support Victoria. Bravo knew that a three-way race would all but ensure Guerrero’s election and agreed to support Victoria.

For his part, Victoria felt that Mexico was already on a good path but was concerned with party politics and its potential to divide the nation [1]. He began by pushing reforms aimed at reducing the influence of the Yorkist and Scottish rites of the Free Masons. Routes of discontent began as early as the mid-1820s. Despite promises to do so, Nicolas Bravo failed to act against the secret societies. Rivalries between the two rites almost broke out in open rebellion as well as early attempts to eliminate them. With the help of allies such as Jose Maria Lobato and Manuel Montaño[2]. The tricky part had to do with both Victoria and Bravo’s role in the introduction of the rites in Mexico. Initially Victoria saw the Yorkist rite as a means to an end but upon taking the presidency he came to fear their influences. Nicolas Bravo was still strongly attached to the Scottish rite and became highly suspicious of Victoria’s introduction of legislation aimed at outlawing secret societies.

With support from other prominent figures, including a circulatory from hidalgo voicing support for the government, various legislators and politicians began publicly distancing themselves from the secret societies. Bravo threatened to take arms and raise an army, but he no longer held active command and found it difficult to find allies willing to wage war against the government. As a compromise, Victoria agreed not to press any charges against Bravo, to kick out the American ambassador, who held ties to the Yorkist rite, and restrict education reform allowing the Catholic church to retain its influence in public education. The Conservative party, effectively lead by Lucas Aleman at this point, disavowed Bravo as being too extreme and claimed ownership of the compromise. As for education, Victoria managed to pass a law protecting the right of private groups to establish their own schools and allowed states to establish “secular” school systems in parallel to the Catholic run public systems. Victoria also managed to get the Lancastarian system of education adopted by the federal government and worked to get support from the states.

Nicolas Bravo was offered a chance to live out his life as a private citizen swearing off military and public service. Claiming to have achieved his goals, he accepted the terms. Sources are limited as to Bravo’s life after 1831 beyond making appearances as a former revolutionary and president at public events. Some allege that he secretly began working on the frame work of a new political party by disaffected conservatives and the few monarchists that remained, the “Traditionalist Party”. However, the Traditionalist Party (also nicknamed the Monarchists) would not appear until after the North American War in the late 1840s with the demise of the Conservative Party.

Land Grants and Mexico’s first “Desaparecidos”.

During the 1820s, most positions in politics at all levels where held by Criollos despite being a small fraction of the population, around 12%. Most of the non-Criollos were either mestizos or mulatos. This was issue in the minds of many regardless of their political affiliation and their preference can be made clear by looking into Victoria’s activities in promoting emigration to Mexico. He targeted Europeans almost predominantly if one ignores the initial overtures to the United States. Central Americans that got grants into Mexico were predominantly Criollos.

Internal migration was more inclusive with the government encouraging and incentivizing indigenous peoples from central and southern Mexico to move to the northern territories. However, the more favorable land grants were given to mestizos and immigrants. Historians are divided on whether or not this was done by conscious choice, a result of various different variables. For example, European immigrants were used to counter the flow of Anglo settlers in the north and thus needed strong incentives to make the move. But at the same time the implication was that Europeans were more able to compete with the Anglo-Americans versus the indigenous. Another variable was that grants were given to those who had some level of means first and then indigent grants were given the poor who managed to gain a skill they could use in the north. However, this just highlights how little has changed for the majority of Mexicans where the vast majority of indigenous still made up the lowest rung of the latter (Afro-Mexicans are left out from most records).

The most divisive of theories involve calling the period of time the early onset of “Emblaqueamiento”. While indigenous and mestizos moved north, many European immigrants and Central American Criollos were moving into the central and southern regions of the republic. Evidence of forced removals of indigenous peoples has been documented by several historians recently. For example, in the Yucatan, an entire Mayan village of 700 people, San Antonio de Padua, was demolished for “Sanitary” reasons in 1829 and the residents were compensated with land grants in Texas. The Grants that were allegedly provided were claimed by Nahuatl speaking indigenous people, a few mestizo merchants, and several Criollos according to records in Texas two years later. What happened to the Mayans remains a mystery, but the most likely theory is what ended up happening to many in their situation, debt peonage (a form of indentured servitude with a serfdom flavor). [3]

This continued largely unimpeded during Victoria’s administration with focus being on education reform, industrialization, and the problems of the northern territories. Indigenous people of low means would often be forced to take land grants only to be moved elsewhere in order to clear room for more “desirable” people. It’s estimated that over 50,000 indigenous people in Mexico found themselves in that situation in the 1820s to the 1830s when the practice was ended in 1849. In 1989, the memorial “Los Primeros Desaparecidos” (The first disappeared ones) was erected Mexico City on June 5th after the national Congressed passed a resolution officially apologizing for the 50,000 Indigenous that were effectively disappeared and practically enslaved. The president’s remarks that day called for renewed push towards equality and sensitivity.

“This was but the first failure of the promises borne of the blood of our patriots. It’s the first Mexicans who have been dealt poorly throughout our history in spite of how much they have given, and it is to them that the government and the people of Mexico apologize for the shame of our past. But this memorial is not to seek revenge, but to call for unity as we continue to heal the wounds of our past and solve the issues of today such as discrimination, poverty, poor infrastructure, and lack of opportunities that many indigenous Mexicans face today. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past, but learn from them in order to move to a better future.”

– President Pablo Emilio Madero

It was during Victoria’s administration that abuses first began to be voiced in the land grant system. While the program was federal, it was administered largely by the states who in turn delegated to the local governments which opened the door the abuses. The complaints, however, were ignored throughout the 1820s until several priests, mestizo merchants, and sympathetic Criollos began voicing their concerns to vice president Guerrero who himself was mixed race. Victoria agreed to centralize the management of the land grants in 1831, two years after the Mayan Villagers of San Antonio de Padua had disappeared. In 1832 congress passed a law requiring the reporting of dept due to advances given to new workers (a large source of debt peonage) including a statement of the worker in person. This, however, did little to limit the actual practices of debt peonage, a matter that will be discussed latter on.

Tensions in Texas


With the land grant program bringing about more and more settlers from diverse backgrounds. At the end of Bravo’s administration, Anglo Settlers saw Eastern Texas as their own domain. They were mostly tolerant of Criollo and European settlers moving in. However, Victoria pushed more grants in Eastern Texas of non-white Mexicans. Many Anglo-Texans became enraged at the idea of owning land next to non-whites. Throughout 1830 over a thousand settlers arrived in eastern Texas, nearly half of them being non-white and the vast majority being Catholic. By 1832 several disturbances were reported to Mexico City of Anglos attacking various Mexican settlers, and one report of a black Mexican being enslaved.

Victoria had dispatched a federal regiment to respond to reports of more illegal settlers entering Texas and setting up with the former squatters expanding the Anglo population and attacking legal settlers whose race was not to their liking. Several territorial officials began clashing with local Anglo settlers as they attempted to regain order in eastern Texas and enforce Mexican law.

US born Juan Davis Bradburn, customs commander of Galveston Bay, got into various disagreements with squatters over land titles and grants among other issues. One particular episode involved slaves that Bradburn liberated from their owners, slavery being illegal in Mexico. The former owners however did care much for Mexico’s abolition of slavery and pressed Bradburn for the return of their property. Another episode involved runaway slaves from the neighboring US state of Louisiana. The owners contracted a local lawyer to sue for their slaves’ return to the US which Blackburn refused.

At the time, Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston were involved in a smuggling ring sending weapons and settlers from the US into wester Texas including the area around Galveston. Fed up over the constant apparent disregard for Mexican law, Bradburn made several arrests of the most common instigators in the name of breaking up an illegal militia. As word spread, many locals began claiming that Bradburn was violating the constitution, the US constitution. A moderately sized militia quickly formed and moved towards the town of Anahuac with the intent of freeing the prisoners. Bradburn sent word for reinforcements and began organizing his own men for the imminent battle. Bradburn was able to rebuff the attack and hold off long enough for Lt. Col. Felix Maria Subaran to arrive with sufficient reinforcements. By June 15th, 1832 the rebel militia was subdued, however with the arrival of Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson to Texas with hundreds of armed volunteers, weapons, and a promise of revenge Anglo-American Texans rallied to the cause of rebellion. By the end of the month, several similar militias formed and took control of dozens of key towns and minor cities throughout western and central Texas. Fighting broke out between non-Anglo American settlers and Anglo American settlers. Local military garrisons were quickly overwhelmed and sent out a call for aid to Monterrey and Mexico City.[5]

The Texan Revolt 1832

Word reached Mexico City within days of the revolt in Texas. An angered Victoria met with Stephen Austin in the National Palace. Austin was in the capital lobbying for statehood as well as permission for more Anglo-American land grants as a representative of Anglo-Americans in Texas. Austin was caught in tough situation. He has pushed back against some of the more radical demands from his fellow Anglo-Americans but he was sympathetic to the radicals who were now calling for independence from Mexico. Victoria accused Austin of being part of the revolt, and when he denied it he was then asked about his relationship with Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston who Austin hasn’t really corresponded with. Unable to answer Victoria’s questions to his satisfaction, Victoria ordered Austin to be placed under arrest pending a complete investigation.

Victoria placed generals Jose Urea and Martin Perfecto de Cos in command of two federal divisions and sent them to Texas. He also had Vicente Guerrero temporarily leave the office of the Vice Presidency and take the first Mexican Marine regiment onboard the First Gulf Fleet, the fleet under Commodore David Porter’s command, and land them at Galveston Bay.

The Marines were the first to arrive to Texas in the middle of August. The Regiment would be reinforced within the month by the second Marine regiment. These were the only two marine regiments of around 3,000 marines. Victoria called for the training of Marines in preparations for an eventual invasion of Cuba, there several more units still under training as well as regular infantry regiments meant to follow the marines. The revolt ended up proving an important testing ground for the marines. Galveston Bay quickly fell under control of the marines since most rebels had moved on by then.

When Urea arrived with his division at San Antonio. Rebel forces had surrounded what remained of local forces loyal to Mexico City, mostly civilians who got their hands-on whatever weapons they could. Just as they were about to surrender to the rebels, Urea’s troops arrived and engaged the rebels. Outnumbered, the rebels were routed and the defenders in the Alamo were rescued. The Alamo has since become emblematic of the national narrative of Mexican unity and identity “Todos somos defensores del Alamo, todos somos Mexicanos”, (We are all defenders of the Alamo, we are all Mexican). The Alamo defenders were made up of Mestizos, Indigenous, runaway slaves, Italians, Southern Germans, and Criollos, a diverse people.

Sam Houston took his militia south from Nagadoches to attack Guerrero’s troops while Andrew Jackson prepared the defense of San Felipe to the North of San Antonio. The campaign to take San Felipe lasted several weeks as fighting intensified, however Sam Houston experienced quicker defeats at the hands of the highly experienced Guerrero. As Houston’s forces retreated to Nagadoches on September 27th, 1832, a lieutenant of his, William B Travis, wrote a famous letter entitled “Victory or Death” calling upon for aid from “Americans in all the world” as he found his company separated from Houston’s main force. Houston’s army was on its way to San Felipe in the hopes of joining up with Jackson, but he found himself pitched in bloody battle at San Jancito where he was captured and his army decimated.

Outside of western Texas, the rebels found their supply lines constantly cut at the hands of Mexican and European settlers. Desertion became problem for the rebels as soldiers began hearing from their wives that their property was being burned, that they were seen as traitors outside by many of their non-Anglo neighbors. The amount of local resistance to the rebels intensified at the arrival of federal troops surprising most rebels who assumed that other Texans would rally to their cause, or at least that other white Texans would.

Andrew Jackson appealed to the US government for intervention writing, “These people are savages. Mexico is an Indian nation. They make up more than half of the population and freely mix with negroes and those colored papist Italians. They have no respect for private property and many American citizens face their barbarities. Should the good people of the United States refuse to help, I fear that we will perish at the hands of this mongrel mob of papists”. By the end of November Andrew Jackson was forced to retreat to Nagadoches, the last rebel stronghold, after facing starvation and unrest within San Felipe.

When Jackson arrived at Nagadoches he met up with hundreds of US volunteers who arrived as a response to his letter and the Victory or Death missive. Andrew Jackson was told to expect little; the US was busy with its own revolt and there was little desire back home to intervene. By this time the Nullification Crisis was worsening in the US with many fearing rebellion in South Carolina. Andrew Jackson had two options, a heroic last stand against the Mexican Marines to the south and the Mexican army to the west, or to retreat across the border to the US. His soldiers fought for five long days until they could no longer fight.

Victoria decided to send Houston and Jackson back to the US as a sign of good faith, as well as many of the volunteers that came with them. As for the rebels, they were given the option of standing trial, or leaving as well. Victoria hoped that this would prevent any cause for retaliation from the US in the future, as he was now poised to bring an end to the Spanish menace in Cuba.

Preparations for War and international reaction.

The revolt itself was contained lasting the winter between 1832 and 1833. It saw the first use of Mexican Marines that Victoria established early in his term as well as the first joint operation between Guerrero, who was assigned to lead the Marines due to similar experience in the independence war, and David Porter. A major factor in squashing the rebellion was the continued immigration and internal migration policy of sending as many people to the north as possible. Significant numbers of settlers loyal to Mexico City made it impossible for the rebels to win. Lucas Aleman quickly pointed out that the lack of intervention by the US meant that it was incapable of acting due to its own revolt in South Carolina [4]. Portugal and Spain’s civil war had taken most of the Spanish fleet from the Caribbean while the deportation of liberals to Cuba early on from Spain has placed a significant patriot force in Cuba as the Mexican backed rebels have escalated their attacks on royalist forces. Colombia was at the brink of civil war which would cost Mexico a valuable ally. During the early stages of the Texan revolt, Victoria sent diplomats to convince Bolivar to lead Colombian forces and negotiate a temporary accord with the discontent provinces in the name of achieving Spanish recognition of independence which has so far eluded Hispano-America.[6]

Victoria sent out a call for the mobilization of state militias, and increasing the size of the regular army on February 1833. Colombia was ready to send out it’s fleet and troops as well. By then, word came from the south that the Argentine Confederation, Chile, and Peru would recognize Mexico’s Claims. Argentina even went as far as pledging six ships and Chile pledged a thousand soldiers, however since Peru and Bolivia also pledged soldiers Victoria decided that they would be stationed in three different areas in Texas to free up Mexican troops in Texas for the war, lest they start shooting at each other due to rising tensions in South America.

On March 23rd, 1833 the “Plan de Guatemala” was signed between the different dignitaries of the Argentine Confederation, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, Chile and Cuban patriots calling for a formation of the “American Alliance” against Spain for recognition of independence, an end to hostilities, trade and negotiated settlement in regards to Puerto Rico and Cuba. Soon after the Mexican lead alliance invaded Cuba within weeks of the declaration. Two fleets attack the two main ports of Cuba, Havana and Cienfuegos and began working on advancing by land to take Santiago de Cuba and other key cities. Cuban royalist forces were thinly divided between taking down slave revolts, chasing Cuban patriots, and defending against the Alliance forces.

Haiti requested to join in the fight, but they were turned away. The US protested the war declaring it a brazen act and attacking the Spanish before they realized that they were at war. The alliance responded that there never was a peace between Spain and the Alliance and that if anything, the US with its “Monroe Doctrine” should support the Alliance. Europe in turn was ambivalent and largely absent. Great Britain showed interest and began supporting the Alliance, there were still some who remembered Spain’s support of the US’s bid for independence, but the French were ones most keen on intervening but never actually did much. Spain was on its own against its former colonies. The US on its part, began debating if it should join the alliance in order to seize Cuba, enter the war separately, or join Spain in exchange for some territory.

Word of the conflict didn’t reach Spain until June but there was little it could do at first. The Spanish court was resigned the fact that for now at least, Cuba was lost. By the time Spanish Envoys arrived to the Caribbean in August, royalist forces were scattered in Cuba and the Spanish Fleet was taking refuge in Puerto Rico awaiting for the eventual attack.

[1] OTL Victoria did work hard to prevent the rivalry between the two Mason rites from dividing the country into endless civil war….didn’t work out too well.

[2] OTL this actually was one of the main causes of countless rebellions some which were supported by Bravo who used the Free Mason’s as an excuse to take power from Vicente Guerrero before the latter even finished his first year as President. This is where everything just went from bad to worse and then to much worse. NIMTL (Not In My TimeLine)

[3] This event is inspired by the plight of the Yaqui people at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It made sense to me that the colonial legacy of racial social hierarchical castas system would leave an impact on how Mexico developed in the conditions that this timeline has set. Even today in OTL Mexico, colorism is still a hot button issue. That said, this is something that didn’t really happen in OTL.

[4] OTL Nullification Crises….TTL Calhoun’s Rebellion (No Andrew Jackson President with a Yankee in the white house…let those butterflies fly!)

[5] Lifted some of these from an earlier uprising in Texas before the big revolutionary war.

[6] There was no real patria boba in Colombia ITTL like in the OTL, that plus other butterflies of Mexican influence made it so that Miranda’s dream (totally a name drop to another timeline) could live on just a little bit longer for now, at least.
 
Part 4: The Hispanic War Chapter 3: Iberia 1828-1833
Part 4: The Hispanic War

Chapter 3: Iberia 1828-1833

Spain

Constitutionalists and Absolutist going to battle during the Civil War

Carlos V [1] of Spain found himself on the defense in a new civil war in 1830 as his armies were unable to quash the rebellion against him. In Seville, the rebel forces formed a Cortes General to draft a new constitution and declared themselves for the youngest son of King Carlos IV, Francisco de Paula de Borbon, as the rightful King of Spain. The constitution was moderate due to the participation of reluctant conservatives and moderates in the revolt. Its most key features were, however, the limiting of the King’s power requiring him to cooperate with the Cortes General and recognize some basic rights for the nobility and even a few for the commoners. It also would recognize its overseas possessions as integral parts of the Kingdom in the hopes of preventing anymore rebellions after the disastrous rebellions of the 1810s in America. Francisco accepted the Cortes General’s proposal after being convinced that his older brother has gone insane plunging Spain into endless conflict with its former colonies, in Portugal, and going too far with his absolutist rule. He was not a liberal, but at this point he considered himself moderate and willing to deal with liberals for what he saw as the greater good of Spain.

From 1830 to early 1833 Constitutionalists and Absolutists fought each other to a standstill often joining Portuguese counterparts in battles in a war that engulfed the entire Iberian Peninsula. With each passing year, the resources of both countries continued to dwindle garnering attention from the rest of Europe. This time around, there would be no foreign intervention due to a series of conflicts in Europe such as revolutions in Poland, and Switzerland as well as wars among the Italian states.

The initial battle of Seville was a disaster for Carlos V. Soon after the spring of 1830, several cities joined the constitutionalists prompting Carlos V to call back is troops from Portugal. By 1831, Constitutionalists gained control of the Canary Islands as more and more Spanish ships defected to the Constitutionalist side. The Absolutists were unable to fully organized for proper offensive campaigns until 1832 and thus were forced to fight on the defense for the entire year.

Portugal

After Miguel I effectively dissolved the government established by the constitution of 1826 and effectively revoked it in 1828, the important port city Porto came under the control of liberal forces who openly opposed Miguel I’s rule. Soon after Madiera and Azores islands came under liberal control effectively placing Portugal in the state of civil war as other cities soon joined Porto in the mainland. Miguel I was able to effectively defeat the liberals on the mainland thanks to Spanish support and blockaded the Island of Terciera which operated as the capital for the liberals (Pedristas as they were known). Thanks to a diplomatic conflict with France as a result of imprisoned French Citizens by the Portuguese, the French sent a naval Squadron to blockade Lisbon. Several ships of that Squadron broke the Miguelista blockade of Terciera which proved a vital save for the Pedristas and just in time as reinforcements from the Americas arrived in the way of Mexican volunteers and two former naval ships.[2]

By 1832 more Mexican volunteers arrived as well as support from Great Britain in time to Join Pedrista forces as they landed 8,000 troops at Porto (3,000 of which were comprised of Mexican, British, and French “volunteers”) to face a Miguelista force of 15,000. Despite having inferior numbers, the Pedristas were able to hold of Miguelista counter attacks. After the battle Pedrista forces were able to score key victories both on sea and also provided direct aid to Spanish Constitutionalists. In turn, it was the return of Absolutist forces from Spain that managed to keep Miguelistas alive well into 1833.

War Spreads to America


Mexican Soldiers in formation in Havana, Cuba

Absolutists in Spain and Portugal managed to gain some ground in 1833, however news reached Madrid in June alerting Carlos V of the invasion of Cuba by a Mexican led alliance. Realizing that Spain’s navy has been severely drained from the Caribbean to fight the liberals at home, Carlos immediately called for troops and ships to be sent to Puerto Rico with the hopes of eventually retaking Cuba once victory at home was achieved.

The Battle of April was a series of naval battles that took place around Cuba that month. The Mexican Gulf Fleet attacked Spanish ships based in Havana and blockaded the port at the same time that the Colombian fleet attacked Cienfuegos in April 8th 1833. Both allied fleets sent out ships to take out remaining Spanish ships on the Island. The Spanish for their part took out seven allied Ships of the line but lost most of their forces except a small squadron based in Puerto Rico. The Spanish navy in the Caribbean lacked any Ships of the line after the last two defected and went to the Canary Islands. During April some 5,000 Allied troops were ferried on the Island and laid siege to Havana and Cienfuegos joining local patriots. Loyalists forces launched a counter attack against the allies in Havana but were repelled. Throughout the month, as word spread of the arrival of allied forces, slave revolts erupted throughout the island and patriot attacks on supply lines and royalist patrols intensified.

While several American countries pledged troops, ships and funds, the reality of the situation forced Mexico to carry most of the weight in the war. Central American units were used to bolster its forces in Cuba. The Arrival of a few Peruvian and Chilean troops in Mexico caused a problem due to rivalry between Peru and Chile (Chilean troops were sent to Eastern Texas instead of Cuba to free up the Mexican Marines stationed there and Peruvians were stationed in central Texas to free up regular army troops stationed there). Argentina was only able to send three ships. Colombia provided the largest assistance to Mexico by way of its navy (measuring half the size of Mexico’s navy) and 10,000 soldiers most of which arrived in Cuba after the initial naval invasions.

As the fighting dragged into May, Cienfuegos fell to the Colombian force sieging it. However, a new problem had arisen. Patriot forces did not look too kindly upon the slave uprisings and tended to attack former slaves and vice versa. Fearing another Haiti situation, Mexico did not attempt to use its position to pressure patriot leaders to make peace with the slaves but they did try to get them to prioritize attacks against the royalists. Camaguey saw the most chaotic of the fighting. Often skirmishes between two parties would turn into three-way battles. It wasn’t until June that Havana surrendered and Mexican forces moved deeper into the Island with its allies that the chaos was resolved.

Avoiding Portugal, which hosted a considerable Spanish force guarded by several frigates on the coast, Commodore David Porter set sail from Cienfuegos to the Canary Islands in early summer of 1833 with a fleet of over twenty ships, including the three Argentinian frigates. Their arrival set off a series of rumors in Spain. While Porter’s fleet brought a few more ships to the constitutionalist cause, as well as four thousand fresh troops, it was a minor force when compared to the sizes of the armies fighting in Iberia. The symbolism of former colonies sending an invasion force was inflated by Spaniard imaginations causing severe drop in Absolutist morale. Defections from Absolutist forces began anew long before any Mexican troops arrived in Seville with a larger joint Pedrista and Constitutionalist force backed by British and French volunteers. Seville had been captured by Absolutist forces earlier in August and was liberated by the Constitutionalists in late September with the aid of its allies.

At this point, Constitutionalists held the western portion of Andalusia, the northern portion of Castile and Leon, Catalan, Basque country, Cantabria, Most of Aragon and Valencia as well as the Canary Islands. The Absolutists still held southern Castile and Leon, Galicia, Asturias, Navarre, Castilla-La-Mancha, Asturias, the Eastern portion of Andalusia, and Madrid. La Roja at this point devolved into chaos along with Extremadura without any one faction holding significant control of those areas. Pedristas held most Portuguese territories except Castelo Blanco and Guarda with Miguel hiding away in Spain with the bulk of his army.


[1] I realized that I messed up calling him “Carlos I”…that was a really dumb mistake. He’s the fifth of his name.

[2] The French Blockade is an OTL event
 
The Hispanics have Spain on the run. The Liberals closer to victory and the US sitting on the sidelines. Also what’s going to happen to Spain’s Pacific colonies like Guam and the Philippines?
 
The Hispanics have Spain on the run. The Liberals closer to victory and the US sitting on the sidelines. Also what’s going to happen to Spain’s Pacific colonies like Guam and the Philippines?
Those colonies are beyond the reach of Mexico and its allies. At most they could send their galleon there to serve as a commerce raider but Spain won't know about it for quite some time due to the distances involved.

How big is the Mexican military ?
Finding numbers for the 1830s OTL is difficult to say the least. Seeing as Mexico had 70,000 soldiers in the Mexican-American War I think half that number would be feasible, so 35,000 Regulars plus militia. And around 5,000 Marines. Landing in Cuba would be 15,000 regulars and the 5,000 marines in different stages. As for the Navy, by the Mexican-American war OTL Mexico only had a handful of ships, less than it did in the late 1820s. ITL it has 3 Ships of the line, 5 frigates (two of which are great frigates) and over a dozen support ships such as bergatines and sloops of war. It's strong enough to deal with the Spanish garrison, but if it were not for the Spanish Civil War, Spain would be able to send its larger fleet in to mop them up or at least wage a war of attrition. This war is incredibly expensive for Mexico. It's a small but heavily armed navy whose costs would have been impossible for OTL Mexico. There are about half a dozen support ships, two frigates and the galleon Congreso on the Pacific side as well.
 
Part 4 Chapter 4: The Treaty of San Juan of 1835
Part 4: The Hispanic War

Chapter 4: The Treaty of San Juan of 1835


Delegates of the warring nations at the signing of the Treaty of San Juan​

The Final Blows to Absolutists

In the early Spring of 1834, renewed northern campaigns brought about Constitutionalist victories taking control of Soria and Burgos opening a path to Madrid. In Early May 1834, in the South, Cordoba fell to Constitutionalist forces. Carlos IV had set up Cordoba as Miguel I’s base of operations with the hope of relieving his desperate forces in Portugal, but was captured by the Spanish liberals and handed over to Pedro I who forced him to agree to relinquish his claim to the Portuguese throne in favor of Pedro I’s 15 year old daughter, Maria II.[1]

In Madrid, riots began breaking out as many began denouncing Carlos IV, the spread of rumors about hordes of Indians from the Americas burning villages fueled the hysteria engulfing the capitol as well as other regions still loyal to Carlos IV. In June 9th, Murcia and Asturias fell to Constitutionalist hands with the Galician nobility declaring their fealty to Francisco de Paula. Carlos IV also lost Merida and Granada to Constitutionalists leading Navarre to follow Galicia’s example. By June 28th, Murcia fell, cutting off Carlos IV from the sea. Madrid was attacked by a curious coalition of European and American allies in a siege throughout July until fearing for his own life, Carlos IV agreed to enter into peace talks with Francisco de Paula.[2]

In the Americas things got even worse for the Absolutists. Guerrero led a naval blockade of Puerto Rico that the garrisoned naval Squadron there was unable to break since Porter left with his fleet. Royalist forces in Cuba had largely surrendered and a constituent congress was formed in Havana to decide the fate of the newly freed Island in November of 1833. Puerto Ricans began reacting violently to the hardships of sustaining a large peninsular army of over 20,000 soldiers while dealing with sporadic patriot attacks. The colonial government acted harshly often driving the populace into the hands of the patriots. Tensions broke out as a large riot engulfed San Juan. On December 9th 1833, a fleet of four Ships of the Line, six great frigates and over a dozen support ships showed up off the coast of San Juan bearing the flag of the United States. The US had declared war on Spain. The United States landed marines on the two other main Puerto Rican port cities of Mayaguez and Ponce and began a campaign that led to the fall of San Juan after being joined by some Mexican marines from Cuba.[3]

A similar fleet would later arrive by May of 1834 to Cadiz carrying over 8,000 soldiers. The US force that arrived at Cadiz was sent to join British volunteers in the attack of Madrid later that month. It wouldn’t be till December of 1834 that negotiations for a peace treaty would begin, given the nature of having independent belligerents on two different sides of the Atlantic, a first for a European war, negotiations were plagued by long delays.

The Treaty of San Juan

The Negotiations were mediated by the British in the Puerto Rican capitol of San Juan in December of 1834. The negotiations were complex to say the least. The Hispanic Allied nations had already agreed on joint representation led by Mexican diplomats from the start but no one counted on the presence of a party from the US. Then there was the issue of negotiations between Absolutists and Constitutionalists.

The United States wanted to take Puerto Rico and Cuba, ideally, and declared itself the most capable American state to administer and guide those islands in their newfound “freedom”. The US hoped to gain them as slave states to help repair sectional tensions that had arisen from Calhoun’s Rebellion that ended a year earlier. They claimed that Colombia was too politically unstable, a claim that would pan out to be true as Colombia soon devolved into civil war, and that Mexico’s coffers have been emptied and the government in deep deby due to the cost of the war. In fact, Mexico had taken two large loans from both the UK and France during the war.

The Allied delegation contested those claims stating that the US had not done much beyond fighting in Puerto Rico and that Cuba had already elected a government and that the US had no stake and no real casus bellis. The Constitutionalists were also reluctant to give up Puerto Rico and unsure what to do with Cuba’s situation. The Absolutists at this point just wanted to get out with some dignity.

The terms were finally reached in late January in two phases. First the Spanish Civil War was resolved. The Absolutists would either relinquish all claims, and titles in Spain and live in exile never to return or swear fealty to Francisco de Paula and retire from participation in politics. Carlos IV will be allowed to live out his life in a nation of his choice with his family after relinquishing all claims in Spain and recognizing Francisco as Spain’s rightful King.

The second Phase was that of the issue of independence of Spain’s colonies. Spain agreed to recognize the independence of its American Possessions that had effectively gained it prior to the Hispanic War. In exchange, the Allies agreed to set up favorable trading conditions, especially the Manila trade network between the Philippines and Mexico that connected East Asia with Europe. Mexico would gain Cuba as an autonomous protectorate as payment for war reparations and the US would gain Puerto Rico as an autonomous protectorate and pay Spain one million dollars for it. Mexico, in order to get the US to agree to this, had to state that its control over Cuba would be provisional and expire within thirty years at which point Cubans would be given the option for independence. The US would also gain support from both the UK and Spain in enforcing its Monroe Doctrine, heightening its prestige on the world stage. As for Spain’s non-American colonies, the status quo would be respected despite several factions in the US calling for their annexation.

The Treaty was finalized in February of 1835 and signed by each nation later that Spring ending a long series of conflicts that have plagued the Iberian Peninsula and answering the question of the legitimacy of Mexico and its allies.

Aftermath of the War

US President Martin Van Buran [4] didn’t push for annexation of Puerto Rico as originally intended. After Calhoun’s rebellion, many southerners were suspicious of Northern intent when anti-slavery tracts began spreading throughout the country. The national mood was against southern pro-slavery advocates. South Carolina’s neighbors refused to cooperate with the US in allowing passage and use of state militia forcing the US to use its navy and marines to take the fight to the rebels. Georgia soon joined South Carolina when the US began recruiting troops from the civilized tribes [4]. Other southern volunteers also joined in the rebellion in a desire to show sectional solidarity. After the rebellion was quashed, free soilers and the small but growing abolitionist movement saw the south as suspect and associated the “slavocracy” with the entire debacle, so when its southern politicians complained about the anti-slavery tracts the federal government ignored them giving birth to contentious issue where many southerners saw their identity tied to Slavery in opposition to northerners’ free state status. A conflict over tariffs and taxes was now transforming into one about slavery.

Mexico was now millions of pesos in debt. Lucas Aleman proposed keeping Cuba for at least twenty years in the hopes that its sugarcane industry would help with dept payments. President Guerrero, who finally won the presidency in the election of 1834, ended up agreeing with Aleman and declared that Mexico will claim a portion of duties in Cuban trade in order to pay for its liberation. Mexico was no longer seen as simply a break away colony, but a regional agrarian power. Now with the reinstatement of the Manila Galleon, Aleman began working on setting up highways between Acapulco on the Pacific Coast to Mexico City and Puebla in the center of Mexico and Veracruz in the Golf. This would eventually become a railway system during his presidency. This also marked the end of the Revolutionary Era, with Vicente Guerrero as the last president to have fought in the war of independence.

The War broke open the strong divisions that existed in Gran Colombia with separatist movements in Ecuador and Venezuela. A civil war in the mid-1830s led to their independence. Conflict between Peru, Bolivia, and Chile began anew as well as conflicts that had paused involving Argentina.

Portugal now entered a new era, led by its new young queen, Maria II at the age of 15. Spain’s New King, a relatively young man, Francisco I began his moderate constitutional reign as King. Both new monarchs had the task of rebuilding war turn nations divided by ideologies a few years away from the revolutions of 1848 that would erupt all over Europe. They both had to deal with stagnant economies and lack of industrialization and an outdated system closer to feudalism than anything else.

In many respects, the true victor in this war was the UK. It had a new ally in Spain and Portugal and now had a much easier trade relationship and larger investments with nearly a dozen nations in the Americas. Its influence would keep it a relevant power in the new world and secure its holdings there. Some British commenters even mused that most of the Americas now were part of the Empire in all but name.

-------------------------------------------------

[1] An OTL outcome

[2] ITTL the use of French and British volunteers is more pronounced than OTL, Token forces from Latin America is totally TTL.

[3] It wouldn’t be the USA if it didn’t join a global(ish) war late in the game.

[4] No Jackson, and a rebellion in the area at the time of OTL’s mass deportation and the mini-civil war means no trail of tears during the early 1830s.

[5] Without Jackson, I predicted a Van Buran victory in 1832 elections. The War was declared just after Adams left office which was in the works throughout 1832.
 
No Jackson means no Polk
Jackson is still around and still has supporters. He's seen as a hero of sorts. Many southerners in the US would see him as the man defending their interests where the federal government refuses to do so. He went after runaway slaves in Florida, he defended American property rights in Texas, and he continually voices the concerns of white southerners in the light of abolitionist rhetoric. Spoilers, he won't be president this timeline but he is still involved in politics. He's like a cockroach, he just keeps coming back.

How quickly can mexico pay its loans?
Mexico is going to be paying loans for awhile. It's just that in TTL it can actually both keep up with its interest payments, pay down the principle (minimally) and still continue to fund various projects unlike the OTL. Mexico is basically becoming like the American South minus the slavery (Well...there is the whole peonage and mistreatment of the indigenous people thing, so really not that different). Rich, highly stratified class based society dependent on producing and exporting raw resources with large portions of the wealth still in the hands of the upper class hacienda owners, who are pretty much akin to plantation owners, and capitalists involved in mining and the nascent industry which mostly involves textile and some other minor industries that don't have a real standing in the export market yet.
 
I'm getting the feeling that what I have next isn't up to par with how I started this timeline, but I might as well finish it. As the updates continue I may do less detail and move through more years per update. Any feedback on this would be appreciated. Here's the next update detailing the path to war with the United States. For the actual war, I plan on making one update per year. I do feel the need of adding an update for the US to fill in gaps, not sure if it'll be next or not.

Anyways,

Part 5: The Years Before and During The North American War

Chapter 1: The End of the Revolutionary Era
Mexico 1842.jpg
Mexico in 1842, territories in yellow, protectorates in magenta and states in blue [a]​
A New President

Vicente Guerrero became president in 1834 and oversaw various reforms within the nation including expansion of public secular education. He also dealt with tensions in Central America dividing up the protectorate into a number of smaller protectorates and oversaw the annexation of Soconusco which eventually renamed itself as Chiapas. He also began the process of Texan statehood after an increase in Spanish speaking settlers in Eastern Texas. It was also during this time that tensions between Mexico and the United States began to escalate as a result of runaway slaves and the Comanche raids.

Mexico, however, was more of a paper power. Relying largely on agriculture and trade it had a comparatively small industry. Literacy rate was barely at 15%, an improvement from decades earlier but still far behind industrial nations. Throughout his entire administration, Mexico was in dept and spending a considerable amount of its revenues in making its payments meaning that it had to cut down its army, but Guerrero maintained its navy recognizing its use as a deterrent to foreign aggressors. Focusing on the Navy allowed Mexico to avoid war with France and maintain its Pacific claims of the Isla de Cliperton and the Marquesas Islands giving Mexico a small amount of clout to deter military interference in its affairs.

Tensions with the US

Diplomatic tensions between the two republics came in two forms. The first was the issue of the Comanche and their allies. Until the 1830s they were content with tribute payments, but do to the dept brought upon by the Hispanic War, those payments stopped. During the war Chilean troops were used to reinforce New Mexican militia to respond to increasing Indian raids. These raids also spread into the Indian Territory and Tennessee as well as northern and central Texas. The US demanded that Mexico pacify the Indians, and in response the Indian Wars began with Martin Perfecto de Cos being placed in Command of Mexican forces. A series of presidios were constructed and staffed by troops, as cavalry was used to make counter raids against the Comanche.

From 1834-1836, Mexico maintained a policy of reprisals against Comanche raids into its territory. The initial raids of Comanches were relatively small in size and impact but caused some concern due to the increasing population of Mexicans in New Mexico Territory and in Texas. In 1835 there were three raids which were met with 3 reprisals in the form of new temporary presidios being set up deep into Comanche territory to support punitive expeditions of Mexican Calvary. Perfecto de Cos would make use of native allies from Coahuila to make contacts with rival tribes. Mexicans would provide supplies to a few smaller tribes to act as guides and build a temporary presidio near their land as a sign of protection, then the calvary would seek out Comanche camps. Much to the consternation of Congress and the Guerrero, Perfecto de Cos acted ruthlessly against the Comanche and their allies. They would burn their supplies and take their women and children captive and have them sent south. Perfecto de Cos was replaced by another commander, Adrian Woll. Adrian Woll was an officer in the New Spanish royal army, and one of Iturbide’s first officers to defect to the patriot side. He was given the goal of persuading the Comanche to end any further raids into Mexico. Woll met with territory officials in New Mexico who had at one point establish friendly relations with the Comanche but now found themselves forced by Perfecto de Cos’ tactics to contend with hostile Comanche forces.

For his part, Woll launched two expeditions into Comanche territory setting up temporary Presidios as Perfecto de Cos did. Instead of bringing waves of destruction, every encounter was presided with a call for negotiations. The third expedition in early 1836 resulted in a response from the Comanche. Woll was able to establish a peace treaty recognizing Comanche autonomy. Mexico would allow for a renewed free trade with New Mexico and the Comanche and turn a blind eye to future raids beyond Mexican claimed territory. This led to an increase of raids into the United States causing renewed tensions with the US government.[1]

A second cause of tension was the issue of runaway slaves. By the mid-1830s slaves from states such as Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi would make their way to Texas to seek freedom. Some of them willingly assisted Comanche raiders in exchange for being taken with them to freedom. Hundreds of slaves managed to escape via Comanche raids in the 1830s. The underground railroad was also making use of Mexico’s anti-slavery laws funneling escaped slaves into Texas. This caused a diplomatic spat between the USA and Mexico as many southerners were demanding the return of the runaways and for punitive expeditions against the Comanche.

Mexican officials wanted to avoid the issue with the Comanche and at the same time they wanted to avoid any move that would legitimize the claims of Slave owners. Guerrero for his part had condemned slavery in the United States as the first African-Americans began making their presence known in Texas. Anglo Texans would capture them and send them back to their masters who would then pay handsome bounties. European and many Criollo Texans tended to turn a blind eye while criticizing the illegal bounties when asked about it. The presence of black people in Texas was rare and at the time white supremacy was still widely held sentiment, although it wasn’t as strong among European and Criollo Texans as it was with Anglo Texans, led to a level of apathy at their plight. But as the number of blacks increased and were found deeper into Mexico, complaints began pouring into Austin and eventually Mexico City. Despite their indifference, many Texans (especially those who were mestizos or indigenous) began protesting the apparent preference for American law within Mexican territory. Their distaste of slavery pushed them into demanding a change in policy.

Guerrero sent in a Marine force to Galveston Bay to identify the bounty hunters and deport them or arrest them for kidnapping. Several turned out to be squatters and were in turn deported. Others were arrested when they couldn’t prove their residency in Texas as armed invaders sparking outrage in the US. James K. Polk, who at the time was the Speaker of the House and representative of Tennessee took up their cause. He considered Andrew Jackson a tragic hero, a sort of martyr of civilization against a barbaric and chaotic “mob of coloreds” as Jackson often referred to Mexico. His admiration for Jackson caused him to be a bit of a black horse but he nevertheless Jackson still held some sway in Tennessee politics and the two made for a good pair. Polk led the charge against Mexico inciting a humiliated South who disparately needed to be galvanized in time where it seemed that their culture was under siege by northerners. He was at the time, a race warrior who called upon the, in his words, “Liberation of Whites in Texas, the return of our rightful property, and the manifestation of American destiny against those who are our lessors”.[2]

Faced with war cries in the US, Guerrero was forced to compromise with the United States as Mexico could ill afford a war. He sent the governor of Tamaulipas, Romulo Diaz de la Vega to negotiate a settlement and find a compromise in which Mexico would not concede that African Americans are property. De la Vega met with several American officials, one of them being Polk himself in tense negotiations. Despite Polk’s calls for war, Buran was not willing to attack Mexico after having had 2 previous conflicts in such a sort amount of time. In 1836, an agreement was made. The US would recognize Mexico’s ban of immigrants from the US and not recognize anyone as a US citizen or national who willingly enters Mexico from the US. Effectively making the arrest of bounty hunters and deportation of illegal settlers a purely Mexican affair. In exchange Mexico would not allow the settlement of African Americans, or their presence, in Northern Mexico excluding those already there. The issue of the Comanche would be dealt with at a later conference. However, there was one detail that left several US delegates enraged with the agreement. Mexico’s agreement to bar the entry of African-Americans was predicated on the notion that Mexico recognized them as free nationals, If not citizens, of the United States. This was an acceptable term for northerners like the US President, but not so to southerners like Polk. Another detail that was not realized at the time, was that if African Americans made it south of the Rio Bravo, they were allowed to remain in Mexico. While this did lower the number of slaves who escaped via Mexico, many still did by traveling all the way south of the Rio Bravo[3].

The End of The United Provinces of Central America

Since the establishment of the UPCA as a Mexican Protectorate several separatist uprisings in various member states had to be quashed by either UPCA militia or the Mexican garrison in the area. During the Hispanic War, President Victoria personally called on the various rebel factions and UPCA officials to send reps to Mexico City to discuss a solution. It was agreed that elections would be had in each state to determine the fate of Central America after the war.

Guerrero abided by the agreement and in 1834 Costa Rica and Soconusco voted to leave the UPCA. Both then held a referendum on independence. In a turn of events, the newly formed Soconusco assembly requested annexation and their Costa Rican counterparts also declared itself to be a protectorate of Mexico. The other Central American states followed in Costa Rica’s example. However, these elections where mostly held by the elites and well to do citizens. A significant portion of Central Americans desired total independence, but they were content for now with having their own individual states.

The Disappointing Claims

In 1835, the Mexican Pacific Squadron led by the Ship of the Line Asia arrived at the Marquesas Islands. A year earlier Mexican merchants began expressing interest in using the Islands as a stopping point for the Manila trade. That interest made it all the way to Congress. Guerrerro expressed reservations of becoming such an obvious colonizing nation considering Mexico’s origin but was eventually convinced by Lucas Aleman, who still held a cabinet position, that if not Mexico, the Marquesas would be taken over by France who would show the natives no compassion. In reality Aleman had personally invested a lot in the Manila trade and the use of foreign ports for resupply of ships was costly. Having at least one port would save Mexican traders some money.

Manuel Gómez Pedraza y Rodríguez, minister of War and the Navy under Victoria was given command of the Pacific fleet and tasked with negotiating a protectorate status with the natives of the Marquesas Islands in 1835. His attempts to recognize a singular governing body was constantly frustrated by the lack of interest the natives showed. With mounting pressure from Lucas Aleman, he began the task of recruiting a chief willing to become the “Jefe Supremo”. Mexico City immediately recognized the claim of a one Iotete, and “lent” him the use of the Pacific fleet. Iotete went on to claim all of the Marquesa Islands in a series of battles lasting until 1836. Pedraza went on to include the Disappointment islands in his claims which was quickly rebuffed by the French who were beginning to exert their influence in that area. Unable to challenge the French, Pedraza withdrew his claims ending his plans to expand Mexican influence throughout the southern Pacific.

Domestic Administration

Railraod 1840.jpg
Railroad by 1840 connecting Mexico City with Veracruz. The western portion connecting Acapulco with Mexico City would not be completed till 1843


Mexico’s budget was strained after the war, having spent heavily on its military to the point of borrowing from both the UK and France a near total of 25 Million Pesos to fund the war in addition to previously held debts of up to 13 Million Pesos for a total of 38 Million Pesos [4]. Unlike Mexico’s previous fights with Spain, it suffered no damage to its cities and daily life during the war was left undisrupted. The addition of Cuba at the end of the war gave Mexico a new source of revenue in the way of its sugarcane trade. Mexico now became a major sugarcane exporter which gave it significant leverage with which to negotiate its interest payments on its debt.

Guerrero began shrinking the army and the navy and demobilizing the militias to achieve a more manageable military. On the advice of his ministers, he opted out of buying replacement vessels for Mexico’s navy and instead began exploring the feasibility of investing in newer steam powered vessels. Their faster speed would justify a smaller fleet, or it was hopped. As a result, many of Mexico’s older ships were mothballed and a few vessels sold to South American navies. Mining at this time had surpassed pro-independence war levels totaling above 27 Million US dollars. As a result, Guerrero was able to finance many of his projects while maintaining payments on the national debt.

Guerrero Expanded public education throughout each state with Texas being the most receptive after it achieved State status in 1836 effectively ending the dreams of Anglo-Texans aspirations who still held strong separatist sympathies. The increase of immigration from the south and Europe insured that they would be outnumbered as a new generation of Anglo-Texans began reaching adulthood who were born under the Mexican flag and had a command of the Spanish Language necessary to interact with non-Anglos. By 1838, Spanish had become the Lengua Franca in Texas. The only communities that didn’t make use of it were the ones in the easternmost part of the state.

In Central Mexico, secular public schools began to be spread into the smaller cities and some of the larger towns. Guerrero pursued secular education with a fervor that upset many conservatives who were increasingly feeling alienated and ignored by the larger liberal and moderate factions of the elite political classes. A small party was formed amongst the most reactionary of Mexicans who missed the old days of Spanish Rule, the Traditionalist Party often nicknamed “Imperialist” as a reference to their affection of the old Spanish Empire. Several of the younger criollo members who remembered little of life under Peninsular control began romanticizing the colonial era and dreaming of the possibility of Iturbide as emperor. Guerreros minister of finances, Jose Maria Bocanegra, publicly renounced the president’s policies forcing the President to fire him and, in his place, appointed a fellow liberal Valentin Gomez Farias. This left Lucas Aleman as the only conservative in the cabinet. For his part, he continued to push for investments in infrastructure, a national bank, and the construction of a railroad system to connect the Gulf Coast with the Pacific Coast with Mexico City as a central juncture.

By 1837 construction of a railroad connecting Veracruz with Puebla began in earnest after a tough uphill battle with various land owners and liberals who viewed Lucas Aleman with great suspicion. Aleman found an invaluable and unlikely ally in his aims, Francisco de Arrillaga a liberal business man and peninsular from Veracruz who was a long-time supporter of Mexican independence (which was why he managed to keep his holdings and residence in Mexico). Lucas Aleman was able to gain funds to help finance Arrillaga’s company “Ferrocaril Mexico” and helped him obtain needed land for the venture. By 1838 the initial plan was expanded to include Mexico City on the first rail line. Arrillaga’s enemies attempted to derail Aleman’s plans who used his considerable political capital gained from the war to back up Arrillaga. Construction of most of the network continued into the early 1840s.

Industrialization continued at a slow pace isolated mainly to textile factories. Mexico’s agrarian exports began growing as its indigo, coffee, tobacco, and other cash crops began to boom. While the southern states of the United States outperformed Mexico by leaps and bounds in Cotton production, Mexico was catching up in other crops. Imports of manufactured goods from the UK, France, and the US began increase.

Cuba became a Mexican protectorate in the aftermath of the Hispanic Wars and the Mexican government began using it as a major source of income in the hopes of paying of its debt. The United States still had aims for Cuba and would hold Mexico to its deal, allowing Cuba to decide its fate by 1865. There was a push to relocated many of Cuba’s former slaves to Africa and Equatorial Guinea was a favored site. Despite Mexico’s tolerance of African Americans in its North, not many in Mexico were too keen in accepting many Afro-Cubans. The Federal government decided to enforce the peninsular expulsion laws in Cuba expelling many of the former slave owners, purchasing their land and parceling out to several former slaves. Unlike the 1820s expulsion, the peninsular were compensated for their property. Many Afro-Cubans, however, did end up migrating into southern Mexico with a few moving into Central Mexico to work in the mines.

The elections of 1837 led to the presidency of Lucas Aleman, who became the first president to not have fought in Mexico’s independence war. His victory was made possible thanks to a coalition between moderates and conservatives. This also caused a shift in Mexican politics. The Conservative and Moderate parties merged and the ranks of the Traditionalists surged from disaffected conservatives.


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[1] ITTL the Trail of Tears has not happened due to Calhoun’s Rebellion as will be explained in another update. So there are less Eastern Natives in OTL Oklahoma. OTL the Comanche made peace with them and the US to avoid having to deal with too many enemies. Without their presence, the Comanche ITTL feel better about raiding the US instead of Mexico.

[2] He’s clearly on the war path, the South does feel under siege and is clinging onto racist imagery to claim some sort of Americanness with which to counter the association of treason that came due to Calhoun’s rebellion ITTL. Mexico is a fine scapegoat and events are providing excellent proof of its perceived threats.

[3] Rio Grande

[4] OTL debt in 1823 was 45 Million for comparison. Though keep in mind that TTL’s government has more sources of revenue in cash crops and mining that the OTL government didn’t have, as well as better infrastructure.

[a] Modified from Wikipedia image

Modified from Wikipedia image
 
Chapter 2: Political Polarization in Mexico 1838-1846
Part 5: The Years Before and During the North American War

Chapter 2: Political Polarization in Mexico 1838-1846

The End of the Conservative Party

Lucas Aleman won the presidential elections in 1838 and with it the conservative party got nearly half the seats of Congress. Aleman was able to form a strong support base by appealing to the Traditionalist party giving him a slim majority in Congress with which to push through his policies. This had the effect of legitimizing the traditionalists which up that point were held as a fringe group and even seen as treasonous by some due to their sympathies with Spanish Colonial rule. From 1838 to 1842 Mexico was able to develop in peace with the exception of conflicts with natives in the North. Aleman continued to promote industrialization and education, however he also pushed various conservative and even some reactionary reforms.

For one part, the Traditionalists demanded an 8-year term a limited franchise, and a stronger central government. Instead of increasing the term, Aleman used his influence and majority to make several changes to the constitution to appease the traditionalists, although many of those attempts failed. He was able to pass some electoral reform including requirements of Spanish literacy for the ability to vote. While the literacy rate had increased to an estimated 20% in 1840, it still left a large of the population without the right to vote in national elections. Another change allowed the president to appoint governors in special circumstances such as unclear elections or national emergencies. While this had little impact on who would become governors for most states, most of the time, it galvanized liberals throughout the nation. Immediately several states controlled by the liberal party filed a complaint in the courts declaring the literacy requirement an overreach of federal power. The courts ruled in favor of the states siting articles in the constitution that gave the states the power to manage elections.

Aleman also walked back several secular reforms of past administrations requiring all public schools to provide religion classes and to be inspected for “Moral integrity” by Church officials. He also began tightening enforcement of the ban of non-Catholic immigration to Mexico. Despite the stricter enforcement of the state religion, Aleman looked the other way when it came to bringing in foreign investors and experts to help build Mexican infrastructure and industry as several protestants were quietly allowed to live in Mexico on the condition, they kept their beliefs to themselves. Despite these bans, non-Catholics continued to move into the northern territories and Texas, including those from the United States.

By 1839, income from Cuba was finally making significant dents into Mexico’s dept allowing for increased spending. Aleman managed connect Veracruz with Acapulco via railroad and opened the development of a rail line from central Mexico to Monterrey and another to Merida. The textile industry also began to expand with factories spreading from the Valley of Mexico into Veracruz. Steel production began, although at modest rates, in Guanajuato providing Mexico with locally produced Steel which would help control the price of railroad construction by relying less on steel imports.

Aleman, for his part, attempted to ensure that the protectorate would remain happily in Mexico’s control. To quell descension among the Criollos in Cuba, he began exploring the possibility of “repatriating” Afro-Cubans to Africa, failing that he had offered free passage to Central America and the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Cuauhtémoc. He also offered Cuba and Central America a voice in the Congress. The Mexican constitution called for proportional representation of deputies in each of the states with a minimum of one deputy as well as proportional representation of two senators per state. Aleman offered Cuba, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras one representative and one senator each who would have a voice and be allowed to vote in procedural matters as well as in committees, they however would have no floor voting power. In 1839 he managed to get congress to pass this reform giving the conservative party some influence in the protectorate. The Marquesas Islands were not offered representation as they were not literate in Spanish, but in reality it had more to do with prejudice.

As for term limitations, Aleman placed a reform on the table regarding reelection. Consecutive reelection was forbidden for Presidents and he wanted to change that to appease the traditionalists and some of the more hardline members of his party. Aleman pointed to the United States and how each President has taken two consecutive terms stating that Mexico should follow suit. However, this measure was blocked by liberals who decried the break from what has become a tradition of one term presidents. Instead, they demanded a reform that would forbid non-consecutive reelection arguing that no president has done so in the first place. By that time, it became public knowledge that Nicolas Bravo was prepared to illegally run for a second consecutive term towards the end of his president, a past skeleton that the liberal party used effectively to drain support away from Aleman. The loss weighed heavily among the traditionalists, but alienated many in Aleman’s own party. Mexico was becoming polarized, many either went to the left to join the Liberal Party or to the right to join the Traditionalist party. By the following elections, the conservatives only held a handful of seats in Congress and lost all but one governorship. The party dissolved in 1847 leaving the Liberal and the Traditionalist parties as the only real options for Mexican electors.

The Rise of Anastasio Bustamante [1]

The 1842 elections were contentious to say the least. Aleman struggled to prevent the flight of members from his party. The results of the 1840 elections gutted his influence making him a lame duck president as the Conservatives lost nearly half their seats in Congress, and many of them to an increasingly antagonistic Traditionalist Party. Throughout the 1830s the Catholic Church had begun to exert its influence sensing that the people have grown weary with the liberal administrations. Their largest asset was the loyalty of the Hacienda owners who heavily demanded political loyalty of their peons, employees, and neighbors. Many priests and bishops allied themselves with the Hacienda Owners to fight back against liberal priests in the Church. These priests admonished their parishioners to toe the party line, and given the highly religious nature of many lower-class Mexicans, those words were persuasive. In contrast, however, a new elite class of rising wealthy merchants, mine owners, and factory owners threw their wait in favor of the liberal party. These "capitalists" favored a more liberal immigration policy and envied the power held by the older hacienda owners whom they saw as rivals.

Anastasio Bustamante won the elections in 1842 but was unable to implement the Traditionalist agenda, he lacked the votes in congress. He began using state resources and loyal friends in the military to shore up more support and harass political opponents in Mexico City. He did not shy away from targeting sitting members of Congress in the process. Bustamante had strong allies in the Church who began a disinformation campaign painting Liberals as protestants and pointing out the many foreigners in Mexico who were in fact protestant. Some publications aligned themselves with Bustamente after being bought out by his Hacienda owner allies. By 1844, Bustamante managed to get enough Traditionalists in Congress, just under half, to pass several reforms known as “Las Seis Leyes”. [2]

The Six Laws, as they are known in English, were originally meant to transform Mexico into a centralized unitary republic, but ended up being gutted into simply forming a stronger central government. These laws did the following:
  1. Protestants were asked to convert or leave Mexico or pay a "faith tax", including those in Texas
  2. Voting rights were limited to those who earned at least 100 pesos a year and spoke Spanish
  3. 2 consecutive terms were allowed with a third non consecutive term for the presidency, and the President reserved the right to call for gubernatorial elections in the states should he feel the need to effectively giving him control over who would become a state governor
  4. "Press Integrity" regulations that created serious limitations to freedom of the press.
  5. Special Emergency Powers that allowed for Presidential Decrees that could only be challenged by a 2/3 vote in Congress.
  6. Changed the dates for elections and the terms of the Presidency. The election was rescheduled for August 1st of 1845 with the new term starting date of December 1st 1845.
The Six Laws were passed in July 15th 1845. The sixth law was designed to prevent serious opposition to their reforms by holding the elections earlier thus making it nearly impossible to form strong opposition campaigns, which would have slowly boiled into a serious threat had the elections been held in December as they have been held in the past.

Throughout the ratification process, Bustamante and his allies used intimidation, disinformation, and blackmail to get legislatures to ratify the reforms. These same tactics were also used to insure Bustamante a reelection and a larger share of electoral victories than expected. Traditionalists ended up controlling a majority in Congress, several governorships, and gained a majority in nearly half the state legislatures. He had plans to make further reforms increasing the term of the presidency by four more years and nullifying the term limit the following elections. However, he found himself leading the nation at war with the United States before he had the chance focus on making further reforms. In response to the Six Laws, Yucatan, Zacatecas, Texas, and Nuevo Leon began entertaining ideas of armed rebellion. Cooler heads prevailed as they signed a pact declaring that any further reforms would be challenged by signatory states. Son there after the legislators of five other states joined in. This became known as the constitutional pact it. This alarmed Bustamante and fearing further dessent he quickly began using the tensions with the US as a way to distract from the situation purposefully provoking the US government to serve as a boogeyman of sorts. This didn't end well for him as it ended up leading to a war. [4]

[1] Basically, he’ll be the same TTL as in the OTL...with some modifications of course.
[2] Based on the OTL "Siete Leyes".
[3] Much of revolts that took place in the OTL were mostly political instead of military ITTL...for now...
[4] dun, DUN, Duuuuunnnnnn.
 
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