Santa Anna Elected President of Mexico


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The History of Texas: Santa Anna Becomes President of Mexico

(Previous Section: Sam Houston Moves to Texas: 1832)

General Antonio Lopez De Santa AnnaAccording to the Mexican federal constitution of 1824, the legislatures of the several Mexican states were required, on the 1st day of September, 1832, to vote for president and vice-president of the republic. This, it appears, they did not do until the 29th of March, 1833. Santa Anna was elected president without opposition. He took his seat on the 16th of May following, the most popular man, with the exception of the viceroy Jose Galvez, that had occupied the national palace. A hero of the revolution of 1821, the conqueror of the tyrant Iturbide, the friend of Victoria, the victor over Barradas in 1829, and the supposed unyielding friend of the republican constitution of 1824, he declared, in his inaugural address, that it had been the object of his life to secure to Mexicans the full enjoyment of their rights, and to break the triple yoke of ignorance, tyranny, and vice; that he would attend to the interests of education; and that his administration, like his own character, should be mild and tolerant. Such were his professions, and such the happy auspices under which he assumed the reins of power. In making these professions, he seems to have exhibited his contempt for the Mexican people; for he seized the first occasion to give the lie to all he had said!

Texas Constitution Convention of 1833

In the meantime, on the first of March, 1833, the people of Texas had renewed their election of delegates to the postponed convention to frame a constitution. The Mexicans did not participate in this election, because it had not been ordered by the political chiefs. The delegates assembled on the first of April following, at San Felipe. A body of more distinguished men had not met in Texas. Among them were Branch T. Archer, Stephen F. Austin, David G. Burnett, Sam Houston (one of the five delegates from Nacogdoches), J. B. Miller, and William H. Wharton. The latter was chosen president of the convention. The members entered upon their labors in earnest. The requisite committees were appointed; among them were the important committees on the constitution, and on a memorial to the supreme government of Mexico. Sam Houston was appointed chairman of the first and David G. Burnett of the second named committee. The constitution framed was a model of republicanism, with now and then an indication, however, that some clauses were inserted and some principles retained to please the Mexican ear. The right of trial by jury, the writ of habeas corpus, the right of petition, freedom of the press, direct and universal suffrage, and all those clauses usual in a bill of rights, were inserted. On the subject of religious liberty, however, they were silent.

A considerable debate was had on the subject of the banking clause. B. T. Archer was in favor of, and Sam Houston opposed to allowing them. The latter prevailed; and it was declared by the convention that no bank, or banking institution, or office of discount and deposit, or any other moneyed corporation or banking establishment, should ever exist under that constitution.

Slave Trade Abolished in Texas: 1833

The convention completed its labors, and adjourned on the 13th of April. The memorial to the supreme government was drawn up by David G. Burnett. It is an excellent document, and delineates with forcible elegance and correctness the unhappy position of Texas. There were other matters claiming the attention of the convention. Unprincipled men, for the sake of gain, had been engaged in the piratical practice of importing negroes from Africa into Texas; and, though some of them had been arrested and hung by the British cruisers, the business still continued. Strong resolutions were offered and passed prohibiting this traffic.

It was necessary to select delegates to present to the supreme government the wants and wishes of the people of Texas. Stephen F. Austin, William H. Wharton, and J. B. Miller, were chosen for that purpose, the former by the largest vote. They were instructed to present to the central government, not only the application for a separate state organization, but also for the repeal of the odious decree of April 6, 1830, prohibiting natives of the United States from emigrating to Texas; also the enactment of a law establishing regular mails in Texas, the defense of the colonies against the Indians, and the regulation of the tariff.

[Next Section of Texas History: Stephen F. Austin Trip to Mexico: 1834]




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