Reform, Rebellion, and Independence

        I.            Bourbon Reforms

A.      Last Hapsburg King dies in 1700

1.  Leaves Crown to Phillip of Anjou, a Bourbon

2.  Sparks War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714)

a.       France and Spanish Bourbons split into two houses

b.      Spain forced to grant Britain the slave trade, allow some trade in Panama, increasing British influence in the empire

B.      Influenced by Enlightenment, Bourbons pursue numerous reforms

1.  Sought to rationalize government, reduce corruption, and consolidate power in hands of the Crown

2.  Sought to enhance trade with colonies and generate revenue

3. While not anti-religious, sought to lessen the influence of the Church

4.  Sought to limit power of the creoles

5. Sought to strengthen the Empire against outsiders, such as Britain

C.      Government reforms

1.  Introduction of French system of intendants in 1786

a.       Officials directly responsible to King and his secretaries

b.      Responsible for imposing royal law

c.       Bypassed much of the bureaucracy in Mexico and Spain

d.      12 intendants replaced 200 cooregidores as Crown’s direct representatives

e.      Viceroys, who were generally popular, lost power

2. Crackdown on corruption

a.       Ending sales of offices meant creoles generally replaced with penisulares

b.      Intendants convicted a number of officials of corruption, which bred resentments

3.  Creoles feel increasingly discriminated against, want recognition as equals to penisulares

D.      Economic reforms

a.        “Free trade” - Flotilla system eliminated, and  1789, most ports could trade directly with Spain

b.      Reforms, subsidies and technological improvements increased silver production by 400%

c.       Spread of paper money and development of joint-stock companies promoted investment

d.      Promoted agriculture by tackling problem of idle lands, which were usually in the hands of the Church

e.      Promoted science through establishment of medical colleges and research programs, as well as local science associations

E.       Diminished power of Church

1.  Through taxes and reforms, pushed Church lands into the private markets

2.  Attacked the orders, expelling the Jesuits in 1767

3. Restricted dances and feasts, and banned religious dramas

F.       Military reforms and colonization

1.  Both were expanded to counter threat from other empires

2. Colonization promoted in the North, notable Texas in California – but was not well-integrated into colonial system

3. Several forts built, both Spanish army presence and use of local militias expanded

4.  Creole elites found opportunities for prestige lost to them in government service, gained military experience

5. Lowe-class Mexicans learned to resent demands of military service

6.  Creole elite at dawn of independence had more military experience (and education) than ever before

      II.            Economic troubles and other sources of resentment

A.      Crown increasingly squeezing Mexico for money as its military commitments in Europe cost ever more money

1.  In 1795, forces Church to call in all its loans, then “borrows” the proceeds

2.  This eliminates one of the main sources of credit for creoles, limiting investment

3. Also defunds many Church activities(including social services) which had depended on interest income

4. This incident led many creoles and the Church to believe that Spain could not be trusted

5. Beyond this, taxes were increasing on everyone

B.      Crown misread popularity of Church in Mexico, where particularly lower class Mexicans resented attacks on Church

C.      Use of joint-stock companies also meant increasing use of Spanish-controlled monopolies which limited creole elite economic activity

D.      Food crisis

1.  Urbanization increased wealth of creole-owned haciendas

2. However, this meant that haciendas encroached on peasant land

3.  Food production actually lost ground to population growth, producing higher food prices and speculation

4. Major famine 1808-1810 contributed to start of independence wars

E.       Non-mining economy stagnated after 1770, resulting in high inflation from then forward

F.       Many creoles felt left out of expanding Atlantic economy, sought greater freedom to participate

    III.            Independence Wars

A.      Napoleonic invasion create political crisis

1.  Carlos IV abdicates in favor of Napoleon’s brother, Josef

2.  Ferdinand (later to be Ferdinand the VII) arrested

3.  Most elites in Spain and Mexico declare allegiance to Ferdinand, war breaks out against French occupation, though Crown’s prestige permanently damaged

4. Resistance government emerges in Cadiz under the Cortés (parliament) – increasingly liberal stance seen as threat to both creoles and lower classes

5.  Some creole elites go to Spain to fight the French

6. Mexico City cabildo asserts authority, becoming increasing defiant. Declares first equality with Spanish kingdom and then limited autonomy

B.      Hidalgo revolt

1.  Miguel Hidalgo (1753-1811) – intellectual, parish priest  in Dolores (Michoacán)

2.  Always concerned with social improvement of community, concerns of lower classes

3.  One of the intellectuals created by Bourbon emphasis on science and education – much interest in new industries and economics

4. Selected as leader of a rebellion organized by creole intellectuals due to his popularity with Amerindians and castas

5.  Rebellion quickly becomes and Amerindian/casta revolt, with significant mob violence and looting.

6. Orginially demanded not independence but liberty – an end to slavery, tribute, and Spanish privileges – but later called for independence

7.  Despite early military successes, disorganization leads to his capture and execution in 1811

C.      Creole response

1.  Creoles want autonomy and respect from Spain, but fear social revolt

2.  In response to 1812 liberal constitution from Cadiz, Mexican colonial government becomes increasingly authoritarian

D.      Morelos revolt

1.  José Maria Morelos (1765-1815) – parish priest, mestizo

2.  Had been one of the most successful military leaders of Hidalgo revolt, assumes leadership after his death

3.  Abolished tribute, distributed land, proclaimed abolition, burned archives

4. Declared all people would be know as “Americans,” (except Spaniards) – sought to dismantle racial hierarchies

5. Gained support of some elites hurt by Bourbon reforms, such as the Acapulco merchants

6.  At one point controlled much of the west coast

7.  Profoundly nationalist, promoted the Virgen de Guadalupe over Ferdinand VII as symbol of Mexican nation

8.  Saw himself as a true defender of the Church against ravages of Spain

9.  Called a Congress in 1813

a.       Produced a constitution in 1814

b.      Constitution not as radical as Morelos himself

c.       Based on democracy, division of powers, individual liberty

d.      Failed to gain popular support

10.  In face of increasingly sophisticated royal counter-insurgency, Morelos captured and executed in 1815

E.       Ferdinand VII restored to power, 1814

1.  Highly reactionary, sought to impose absolute monarchy

2.  Failed to understand Mexican creoles wanted not independence but modest reform

3. And increasingly angered both Spaniards and Spanish creoles who had fought to restore him

F.       Guerilla War (1815-1821)

1.  Various regional insurgencies continue in Mexico

2.  Creole and penisulare officers lead a mostly mestizo militia against the insurgents

3. Most important is Vicente Guerrero (1782-1831)

a.       Promoted racial equality like Morelos

b.      Operated mostly in the south

c.       Escaped defeat various times, royalist forces unable to deal knockout blow

    IV.            Reaction and Independence

A.      Liberal government sizes power in Spain, 1819

1. 1812 Cadiz constitution finally implemented in Mexico (1820)

2.  Resulting election greatly weaken royalist power

3. Creoles gradually realized that Liberal government in Spain would not grant autonomy

4. Creoles further worried Liberal reforms would threaten their status

5. Spanish Liberal also offended Mexicans of all social classes with anti-clerical measures

6.  1812 constitution also failed to placate the insurgents

B.      Agustín de Iturbide (1783-1824)  

1. Creole officer who had many successes against insurgents

2. Sent on mission to offer pardon to Guerrero in 1821, instead negotiates with him

3.  Results in a proclamation of independence (Plan de Iguala), including the Three Guarantees

a.       Catholicism would be the national religion

b.       Mexico would be an independent constitutional monarchy

c.       All people would be treated equally – all Mexicans, all Spaniards

4. These guarantees enabled everyone in Mexico to participate in the new national project, and it gained widespread support

a.       Guerrero become First Chief of the Army of Three Guarantees, Mexico’s first genuinely national army

b.      Creoles favoring autonomy quickly seize control of government

c.       Cooperating royalists and Spaniards allowed to participate

d.      Spanish government recognizes autonomy (August, 1821)

e.      While position of King offered initially to Ferdinand VII or one of his sons, Iturbide would ultimately be crowned emperor in 1822

f.        (And tick everyone off, being deposed in 1823 and executed in 1824)