The significance of a country’s independence is the act of fighting for liberty and the capacity to act against a colonial external influence. The Spanish, for 300 years influenced almost all aspects of life in Mexico, from the social, economic and political aspects to their advantage during their occupation. The declaration of independence of Mexico started on September 16, 1810 until September 27,1821. It was an act against a long established colonial rule of the Spanish that exploited Mexican people in social, economic, and labour aspects that sought to achieve freedom. These aspects were made to benefit the long rule of Spanish origin. It was with this purpose of injustice and exploitation, that the Mexican people and from mixed origin were fighting for political emancipation. Amongst those who rose, the main figure for the fight for the Mexican independence was Miguel Hidalgo Y Costilla, a priest in the small town of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. He promoted ideas and plans in his home town for an independent movement for Mexico. The war was officially declared on September 16, 1810, with the famous scream called ‘The cry of Dolores.’ This well-known cry of pain was what caused the beginning of the process of the Mexican independence against the Spanish rule in 1810 . The priest Hidalgo encouraged lower and some middle classes to arm themselves with what they could and fight the viceroyalty. It was far from being a homogeneous movement. However, after a short time it became a large war that was fought by many insurgents. The revolutionary act was led by Miguel Hidalgo Y Costilla and the captains Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama. It was motivated by the discovery by the Spanish authorities of the conspiracy of Queretaro as a movement that was formed with the aim of collecting weapons against the Spanish authorities. In this essay, the causes and consequences of the Mexican Independence will be discussed, from what was the main cause that motivated the movement to the long-term causes that made triggered it to the short and long-term consequences that came after the independence.
The main cause of the independence of Mexico began with the conflict in Spain and Fernando VII being overthrown from the throne in Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808. This lead to the instability within their system of managing their power over the colonies they had. This also enabled them to solve their internal problems, supervise and take administration over the Colonies that they possessed. For this reason, it was a moment where some rose up and took as an advantage to fight against their rule, which lead to the war of Mexican independence. However, it can be said that other long-term causes triggered this movement. Within these causes, the main ones are racial inequality, the establishment of Bourbon reforms, patriotism and, although it seems without a connection, the independence of the States United. Due to the fact that social inequality existed at the time in Mexico, society was divided into 4 groups, Spaniards of birth, called Guachupins, who had all the most important positions in public administration. Criollos, from Spanish origin, that were made up of rich landowners of mining and commerce, did not have the same privileges as Guachupins. Indians and mestizos, that conformed 65 to 70% of the population, who were workers exploited by Guachupins and Criollos. The Criollo population of Aztec descent were already fed up in the idea that they could no longer tolerate the discrimination because of classification of race, economic or social position, as well as perspectives full of contempt on the part of Europeans towards the natives. The rivalries between these three groups were an important factor that caused the people to fight for the independence movement.
On the other hand, there was also the abuse and exploitation for indigenous people who lived to be slaves. Criollos, Indians ad mestizos, and local people wanted independence, they also wanted to be able to exercise power in politics and be able to have some sort of democracy, together with an autonomy in the economic aspect that allowed them to carry out their work freely. They no longer wanted the decrease of loss from their characteristics or culture that was happening as an influence of the Spanish rule. Another cause, was the set of Bourbon reforms, made by the Spanish in search of a structuring an economic, administrative, military and cultural system in Mexico. It Sought to modernize Spain and make changes to control the new Spanish way of ruling , and at the same time, assuming that all rights that had been given to groups and corporations within a colony in order to control political and economic power within the state. These reforms only affected in a negative aspect the lives in which people would be able to live and sustain themselves, and, of course, brought discontent within the nation and the idea that Mexico had to be set free from these reforms. The caste system, was a legal system that consisted on the idea of the distribution of privilege for different categories of people, where some would be able to do more than others to the treatment they would receive according to their rank in the system.
This constant determination kept in confrontation all the population, among these were the Spanish, the natives of the country and those born mixed between these, the Mestizos. This system was established as a technique that would allow control over revolutionary desires for a free nation, as well as a social control over the people. The caste system only had affected the peasant people and the Indians at the time allowing Miguel Hidalgo to promulgate the idea that everyone should be treated as equal, which in essence gain support from the society to rise up against this system. Patriotism came along as an alternative ideology that was supported by the people to rise against the racial inequality and the system that triggered a constant set of anger and desire for. This ideology led to the point where some opposed or acclaimed the viceroyalty a little more than their fidelity to the territory of the nation. All the patriotism that was created amongst the people were a key factor to be the belief about the idea of being independent. Another cause, that triggered the idea of Independence of Mexico was the independence of the United States of America. Although this is controversial cause that doesn’t seem to be connected to the independence of the Mexican nation, they were the closest territory, were they were able to observe the success and the development of the independence campaign that was achieved by them against the English Empire. This showed, that hopes for a better future and the victory for independence Mexicans so longed hoped for was possible, The United States was an example model to follow from that moment. All these causes were all a product of the idea of change and development. The notion to freedom was the ideology for Independence, the urgency of change was the motivation for the population to rise against the colonial system for which Miguel Hidalgo was a key character to play during the main causes of the Independence.
Shortly after Miguel Hidalgo’s movement in September 1810 that would set the beginning of the independence, when under an ambiguous movement dragged some of the minorities summing a large number of thousands of insurgents. They went on a revolt that failed because of fear of social revolution that most of the Criollos were not linked to the revolt, which was finally annihilated by the Spanish royalist army. Miguel Hidalgo was captured during this movement and was executed on July 30, 1811 . After that happened, the insurgents were reduced to smaller groups led then by priest Jose Maria Morelos as the top leader of the group and Vicente Guerrero as his partner. During this time, a popular idea of participation had quickly decreased and instead made a liberal component that gained influence within the movement. The Independence was defined as the reason for the insurrection, and in 1813, a congress was organized in Chilpancingo, a state in Mexico, where the independence of Mexico was declared and the constitution was promulgated. From the end of 1815, the position of the insurgents that was organized in small combat groups was weakened. Although it lasted until the proclamation of independence until 1821, the independence movement took a major shift. The development of the liberal system began in 1820 causing a change of alignments in Mexican society. Under these circumstances, in 1821, the conflict ended with the independence of the New Spain and thus the creation of independent Mexico.
Afterwards, the first autonomous government was ruled by Don Agustin De Iturbide. Being not democratic, it was an elected emperor that was chosen and declared as Emperor. After his departure, presidential periods began. Which have since been possible, with an exception of Santa Anna, who was also elected emperor in one of his periods after the independence.
It can be said then that the consequences of the Independence began to be clearer, they can be interpreted in the economic, political and social aspects in which Mexico was subject to face as challenges to solve of the war and the beginning of a new autonomous system. The results of the Independence, lead to the success of Mexico being free. The consequences of this movement affected the political, social and economic aspects of the country. But there were also disagreements about the future of the nation would end in a new crisis for the country. In the long term, the independence would serve to abolish racial and class inequalities. This event however, was not successful, because peasants of lower social and economic status were still subject to segregation. Some of these changes became consequences of the movement for independence, they can be placed in long and short-term consequences. Two of the short-term consequences were the new form of government and the constitution of 1824 that came with it shortly after.
This new form of government that came shortly after was a consequence of the independence. Mexico would now become a Catholic monarchy since the culture and the ideology was influenced mostly by religious laws. Within it, the monarch would have the power and a congress would be created to take over the legislative power. The Catholic monarchy lasted only two years, claiming some parts of territory from the new independent Mexico to belong now to them and proclaiming Agustín de Iturbide as emperor. However, Iturbide abdicated the throne in 1823 and in that same year, internal tensions began to rise causing Mexico to separate itself from Central America and proclaiming themselves as an independent Republic which would benefit their political power and economy to be more stable.6. Long-term consequences as a result of the proclamation for independence
The long-term consequences of the independence of Mexico came as a consequence of the instability and disorganization of the new government that failed to exercise the laws that were set to benefit the people and the economic and political system. These consequences can be categorized in 3 different aspects. The economic, that would affect Mexico as a result of the war for independence being very expensive. The social, where the caste system would be eliminated and would provide a better environment for racial equality even though it wasn’t to some extent successful on the basis that the provisional government failed to exercise equality and freedom for minorities. And the political, when the battle for independence was fought from different sides, all in which they all had different ideas about what would become of the new independent nation. One of the main ones, was the economic aspect, that came as a consequence a result of the independence of Mexico. This aspect, both in the agricultural production and mining labour decreased in relation to last decades of the Spanish rule period. The majority of the population lived in poverty at that time and many peasants produced only their own food which was no efficient for the production of food and while many had died during the war there was almost no one that could replace jobs in the silver and gold mines. Which didn’t allow the economy to grow in either the agricultural or in the mining aspect that was the most important two big factors that could keep the economy stable. In addition to this, it also harmed the population in general, the decline in economic growth affected government revenues. Due to the disorganization of the country there was no efficient collection of taxes, and the payoff expenses that the government got into debt with private lenders and foreign banks, which generated serious financial and political problems. The social aspect affected Mexico with the elimination of the caste society after the declaration of independence. As said before, this system separated people and gave them certain ranges based on their ethnicity, which obligated them to take part in roles in society that they could or not do. The end of this system meant to that the division of people by their skin colour and ethnic origin, would allow the beginning of a new form for society to be equal in the law and to have more fair opportunities for oppressed minorities, and as a consequence allowed groups like the middle and some lower class to obtain more rights over the land that they previously owned. Frustration for sharing wealth was also a consequence of the movement of independence. The people had been given the promise of fair economic wealth and equal social opportunities that were only given to the enrichment of local rich people, who ceased to still be linked to Spain but wanted to maintain a privileged status as conductors of the postcolonial society. This would lead to internal tensions and internal conflicts in the years to come.
And lastly, the political aspect in which Mexico was subject to disorganization between sides who were fighting during the 11-year period for independence. before the war it was not established what would be done for the future of the nation after the war. Which meant that people who made the independence possible had different visions, ideas and thoughts about what it would be like for them to see the nation to be independent. For this reason, Mexico experienced a 30-year struggle of complete political and governmental destabilization. Fifty men led the country in such a short period because of a large number of military coups that were still happening because of this political instability. These also lead to the long-term consequence of the loss of territory by the immediate act of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, a politician, giving territory as an act of survival that caused Texas to become an independent republic and thereby making it a great loss of territory for Mexico and its economic interests in the area. —-needs to be put in a better context.