Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sobel Wiki: The Three-Cornered Hat

This month's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on the 1875 Mexican elections, the most momentous in Mexican history, and the last democratic elections to be held in the U.S.M. in the nineteenth century.

In discussing the formation of the U.S.M. at the September 1820 Mexico City Convention, Sobel praises the wisdom of Andrew Jackson: "With remarkable foresight, Jackson knew that to have a nation of Mexicans controlled by a numerically smaller, though more energetic group like the Jeffersonians, would do damage to the best qualities of both peoples. In such a situation all Mexicans would be reduced to the status of a permanently occupied people. In time, this would lead either to rebellion or despair, and in either case, the Jeffersonians would be the losers."

And yet, that is precisely the nation that Jackson created. The official language of the U.S.M. is English, presumably preventing the country's Spanish-speaking population from taking part in national politics. By the 1870s, the U.S.M.'s Mexicano majority is ready to rise up against the Anglo minority that has been running the country since Jackson's day, and the 1875 elections are the spark that ignites the flame of revolution.

Senator Carlos Concepción (or Conceptión, as Sobel bizarrely spells his name) of Chiapas is the leader of the radical wing of the Liberty Party, and he is determined to end Anglo rule of the U.S.M. once and for all. When he fails to win the Liberty Party's presidential nomination, he and his followers split from the party to form a third party called the Workers' Coalition. When the Workers' Coalition fails to win the presidential election in August 1875, Concepción forms a revolutionary movement called the Moralistas and launches a guerrilla war to overthrow the Anglo-dominated government. Concepción seems to be on the verge of succeeding in September 1881 when a coup d'etat brings the dictator Benito Hermión to power. Hermión crushes the Moralistas, but in the course of his twenty-year dictatorship, he himself ends the Anglo domination of the U.S.M. Every Mexican president elected in the twentieth century is Hispanic.

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