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General History/Mexican Era of Coups/Cristero War


QUESTION: Hi I actually have two questions from two separate issues of Mexican History.

I am wondering why did the Republics of the Yucatan, Jalisco, Zacatecas, Rio Grande, the Tejanos in Texas, and the Separatists in Tabasco rebel against the New Centralist Republic of Mexico. I have already gathered that it was ,because of General Santa Anna suspending the constitution of 1824 and Ending the First Mexican Republic, but I want to know why this was such a big deal that it helped cause six different regions of Mexico to attempt secession from Mexico.

As a separate question, were their any American Catholics that volunteered to help the Cristeros in the Cristero War in Mexico?

If you can provide links or book resources that would be helpful.

ANSWER: Hello,

The primary reason for the various rebellions was that most regions were not sure the Mexican Central Government had the power to control them.  The government had only recently thrown off control of Spain over the country.  Various regional powers had tentatively cooperated under the 1824 Constitution, but now the central government was acting more like a dictatorship.  Mexicans who had only recently rid themselves of Spanish oppression were not ready to accept a military dictatorship that essentially treated the outer regions like vassal states.  

Texas was a little different from some of the other regions in that it had been settled largely by English speaking settlers from the US.  They had always hoped to remain a relatively autonomous region within the Mexican Confederation.  When it became clear that Santa Anna would not allow that, particularly his enforcement of the ban on slavery, that was enough for revolt.  

Similarly the other regions also resented the attempts by the dictator to collect taxes and enforce laws from a far away central authority.  Since the local did not find these actions acceptable, it was up to the central authority to enforce them militarily.  Aside from Texas, the rebellions were generally suppressed, although not easily.  Santa Anna was forced to step down and go into exile as a result of his capture by the rebels.

With regard to the Cristero War, American Catholics certainly did not travel to Mexico in any significant numbers to join the fight.  There might have been the occasional individual, although I don't know of any.  In the US, the Knights of Columbus tried to get the US government involved on behalf of the Mexican Catholics and did raise some small amounts of money for the Catholic fight.  But the US was largely Protestant controlled at the time.  Anti-Catholic sentiment was running high in the government and with much of the Protestant majority population.  Support for Catholics abroad was not going to happen.

- Mike

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you sir this information is very helpful, however I am wondering may you please send me some website hyperlinks that talk about these subjects, or perhaps point me to a good book. Thank you.

Most of the web sites that discuss this topic do not go into much detail.  There was a good book written in 1847 which you may find interesting: Mexico and her Military Chieftains, by Fayette Robinson.  You can view an ebook copy of the book here:

There is also a newer biography of Santa Anna that touches on some of these subjects:

Santa Anna of Mexico, by Will Fowler (2009)

- Mike  

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Michael Troy


My specialties are 17th through 19th Century history, especially in the Americas and Europe. I also have a fair knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman History, and some knowledge of Medieval European history. My expertise is focuses on Military and political history, but I`ll take a crack at anything.


I have been a guest lecturer at George Washington University. Mostly, I have just read hundreds of books about world history.


J.D. Univ. of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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