History of Mexico, Intro.

Writing a history of Mexico is much like telling a never ending war story of defeat, heroism, romance and perseverance. It is ironic that many Mexican nationals constantly accuse the United States citizens of being violent and warmongering, since since its declaration of independence in 1810, the Estados Unidos Mexicanos has been in a constant state of war. Beginning with the Grito de Dolores in the early morning of September 16th 1810, through the institution of the First Mexican Empire, the emergence of a war torn Republic, a Second Empire and a violent civil war that ended with the restoration of the Republic, the history of Mexico has been bathed in blood. It is likewise amusing that the only period of civil peace and prosperity is the history of Mexico before the latter half of the 20th century is also the most hated by Mexican nationals: El Porfiriato. Naturally, not all of the wars fought by Mexicans have been civil, the Mexican nation has survived, by sheer luck, an American Invasion, a few short lived European interventions and a major French Intervention. Mexico’s last foreign armed conflict was World War II, and her contribution was purely aerial.

 

Part of the origin of this constant turmoil is perhaps the very nature of Mexico’s two faced populace: a strong group of Liberals who have always been ahead of their times, and a large group of Conservatives, who until the 1870’s, still advocated the restoration of a Monarchy. The Liberal policies of religious freedom, disenfranchisement of clergy members and the abolition of slavery led to devastating Christian Uprisings, Texan Secession and European Intervention. While the policies of the Conservatives led to violent secessionist movements, a perpetual state of indigenous uprisings, and brought in a short lived Second Mexican Empire.

 

This old political turmoil has bled into modern day society and politics, unfortunately, the liberalism of Mexico has become the watered down liberalism of the socialist left and the conservative movement has largely gravitated towards a Christian form of conservatism that begins to resemble the Right of the United States. However, two of the three main political parties of Mexico are largely centrist, with only hints of either Left or Right. Among this political arena, Mexico is also currently involved in a new civil war, one between the Government and the Drug Cartels, a civil war that only appears to intensify.

 

A history of Mexico in that country is traditionally a collection of veneration to men who died by firing squad and by sword, and a collection of boos to men who did likewise. Usually, the latter is reserved for the Conservatives. A Mexican history of Mexico serves only the purpose of glorifying and to stroke the Mexican Ego. I intend to cast a wider lens, to portray the Mexican War of Independence against the internal conflict of Spain, the Institution of the Second Mexican Empire as it impacted the Austrians and the French and how this ‘blemish’ ultimately served to reinforce and grant victory to the Liberals. This view will strike at much beloved Mexican traditions and beliefs, and the patriotic version of history that is popular and unquestioned in Mexico.

 

Ultimately, this is not as much a history of the people of Mexico, but of her wars and the political ideas that have managed to sustain a two hundred year old experiment of civil unrest and perplexing prosperity and progress.

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