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Cortés conquered the Aztecs in 1521 and, for the next 300 years, Mexico was ruled by Spain.
In 1808, Napoleon invaded Spain and put his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne.
In 1810, a priest named Hidalgo put the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on a banner and led thousands of poor peasants against the Spanish elites.
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Hidalgo, considered the Father of the Nation of Mexico, was executed, but his movement led to Mexico’s independence.
From 1821 to 1857, fifty different governments ruled Mexico.
Revolts and revolutions usually began with class warfare of the poor being organized to overthrow the rich, but ended with power-grabs by revolutionary leaders who often became dictators themselves.
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Agustín de Iturbide first fought against Hidalgo, but then switched to fight Spain.
Iturbide made himself Emperor of Mexico, placing the crown on his own head in 1822.
Antonio López de Santa Anna, Vicente Guerrero, and others conspired against him and he fled to Britain. Upon his return, he was executed.
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Mexico was then ruled by a Supreme Executive Power, followed in 1824 by its first President, Guadalupe Victoria, who was the only president to complete his full term in more than 30 years of an independent Mexico.
Manuel Gómez Pedraza won the second election, but Guerrero and Santa Anna staged a coup d’état, bombarding the palace.
Guerrero became President in 1829, but was deposed and executed by his Vice-President, Bustamante, who himself was deposed twice and exiled to Europe.
Between 1833 and 1855, the Mexican presidency changed hands at least 36 times, with Santa Anna ruling 11 of those.
Santa Anna, styling himself after Napoleon, laid aside Mexico’s Constitution in 1835, dissolved the Congress, and declared himself dictator.
Santa Anna had previously told the U.S. Minister to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, 1824:
“I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor…but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are… A despotism is the proper government for them.”
Meanwhile, in 1823, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua declared their independence from Mexico.
Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836.
Ten years later, the Mexican-American War ended on FEBRUARY 2, 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe (more below).
As Santa Anna consolidated power to ensure his rule, a revolt was led by Benito Juarez.
Juarez had been exiled in 1853 for objecting to Santa Anna’s dictatorship, but he returned in 1854 to lead the Revolution of Ayutla, which ousted Santa Anna.
This resulted in a power vacuum.
Beginning in 1521, the Church acted as a conscience to influence the elite to be considerate of the poor, but did not actively attempt to change the political structure.
This resulted in political revolutionaries blaming the church for somehow maintaining the status quo of inequality.
In 1856, a War of Reform broke out against the Church, and Juarez became President.
The French invaded Mexico, but suffered an unexpected defeat at the Battle of Puebla on May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – 1862.
Maximillian of France ruled in Mexico, but the United States government, after the Civil War, did not want European powers in the western hemisphere, so it pressured Napoleon III to abandon support of Maximillian and withdraw French troops from Mexico.
The U.S. then began secretly supplying guns to the Mexican gangs.
Maximilian was captured and Juárez had him shot on June 19, 1867.
As Juarez consolidated power to ensure his re-election, a revolt was led by Porfirio Diaz in 1871.
Juarez put down the revolt, but died of a heart attack and was succeeded by Lerdo de Tejada.
De Tejada was overthrown by Diaz, who was President for most of 1876 to 1911.
As Diaz consolidated power to ensure his re-election, a revolt was led by Francisco Madero in 1911.
In the next decade of fighting, millions died as the secular government attempted to crush the church.
Madero was murdered in a coup d’etat in 1913 by Victoriano Huerta, which started a civil war.
Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, and Álvaro Obregón forced Huerta to resign.
In 1914, Hollywood sent a crew to film Pancho Villa as he fought from Durango to Mexico City.
Venustiano Carranza gained power with the backing of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and General Pershing, but was assassinated in 1920.
He was succeeded by Adolfo de la Huerta, who was succeeded by the revolutionary Álvaro Obregón, who reportedly ordered the death of every rebel officer, including Pancho Villa.
De la Huerta started a revolt against Obregón, but it was crushed.
In 1924, Obregón was succeeded by the anti-Christian freemason Plutarco Elías Calles, who violently closed and confiscated churches, schools, convents, hospitals, seminaries, missions, and monasteries.
His radical atheist ‘Calles Laws’ made it illegal for clerical garb to be worn outside a church, imposed a 5-year prison sentence on pastors who criticized the government, and limited the number of clergy per state.
As portrayed in the movie, For Greater Glory: Viva Crista Rey (2012), priests, ministers, and faithful laity were harassed, arrested, and even murdered, and Catholic women and girls were assaulted and raped.
This resulted in the Cristero War, 1926-29, where 90,000 were killed.
Though Obregón won re-election in 1928, he was assassinated.
Calles again assumed power, being nicknamed ‘Grand Turk’ and ‘Jefe Máximo’ (political chieftain).
Promoting revolutionary socialism, he allowed Mexico to host the Soviet Union’s first embassy in any country.
Calles started Mexico’s PNR party, the predecessor to the PRI party.
President Portes Gil agreed not to enforce the ‘Calles Laws,’ but left them on the books.
In 1936, President Lázaro Cárdenas deported Calles and repealed the ‘Calles Laws,’ thereby restoring a level of freedom of worship.
But back to 1848…
The Mexican-American War ended on FEBRUARY 2, with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo signed at the altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Villa Hidalgo, in present day Mexico City.
For $15 million, coincidentally the same amount paid to France for the Louisiana Purchase, the United States paid Mexico for 525,000 square miles – the third largest land purchase in history, following the Louisiana Purchase (828,000 square miles) and Alaska (586,412 square miles).
The territory acquired by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo became: California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of: Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.
The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo began:
“In the Name of Almighty God–the United States and the United Mexican States animated by a sincere desire to put an end to the calamities of the war….have, under the protection of Almighty God, the Author of Peace, arranged, agreed upon, and signed the following Treaty of Peace…”
In contrast to Mexico’s many secular governments, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo guaranteed:
“If…God forbid…war should unhappily break out…they…solemnly pledge…the following rules…
“All churches, hospitals, schools, colleges, libraries, and other establishments for charitable and beneficent purposes, shall be respected, and all persons connected with the same protected in the discharge of their duties, and the pursuit of their vocations…
“Done at the city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the 2ND DAY OF FEBRUARY, in the year of the Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight.”
Comparing border cities of San Diego, El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville with Tiajuana, Juárez, Matamoros, and Nuevo Laredo, a distinct difference in security and economy can be seen between the American side and the Mexican side, though the cities have similar climate, geography, plants, and cultural-racial makeup.
The main difference is political, with the American side having a consistent tradition of the impartial rule of law guaranteeing each person’s inalienable rights from the Creator.
During the same period of time that Mexico has had dozens of governments, the United States has had only one.
Californian Ronald Reagan stated of America in 1961:
“In this country of ours, took place the greatest revolution that has ever taken place in world’s history. The only true revolution.
“Every other revolution simply exchanged one set of rulers for another.”
Reagan, who was California’s 33rd Governor and the 40th U.S. President, stated in 1983:
“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible…
“The Bible and its teaching helped form the basis for the founding fathers’ abiding belief in the inalienable rights of the individual, rights which they found implicit in the Bible’s teachings of the inherent worth and dignity of each individual.”
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.