Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Mexican proclamations issued during the Mexican-American War, 1807-1864 (bulk 1846-1848)
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (77.63 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Mexican proclamations issued during the Mexican-American War,
    Date (bulk): 1807-1864 (bulk 1846-1848)
    Collection number: 997
    Extent: 1 oversized box.
    Abstract: The collection features series of printed proclamations put forth by governors and key administrators of the Federal District during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). The majority of the collection consists of broadsides which would have been posted and read out loud to the illiterate urban masses. In addition, a number of pamphlets and larger broadsides reveal the federal government's preoccupation over the scarcity of war funds, civilian participation in the National Guard and indemnity payments to the United States. Also included in the collection is a four-item series on Maximilian's brief reign during the Imperial Regency (1864-1867).
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Pablo Sierra in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Bachli, Winter 2008.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Purchase, 1967 July 10.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Mexican proclamations issued during the Mexican-American War (Collection 997). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4232858 


    Generally speaking, the Mexican-American War, also known as the North American Intervention, falls within the years of the Early Republic (1824-1855), typically characterized as one of the most politically unstable periods in Mexican history. Only twenty-five years removed from its War of Independence (1821), the young Mexican nation had already lost a significant portion of its northern territories to an independent Texas in 1836. The defeat exposed Mexico's military and political fragility, a fact further evidenced by the ten weak, ephemeral presidencies during the three-year war with the United States (1846-1848). Throughout these years of instability, Antonio López de Santa Anna emerged as the most important figure in the Mexican political terrain. Santa Anna held the office of the executive during eleven non-consecutive terms, frequently abandoning the presidential seat to double as military commander. At a time when Mexico was the second largest country in the world, Santa Anna is infamously remembered for his role in the Battle of the Alamo and for having "lost" half the national territory to the United States in exchange for another presidential term. His December 1846 election, alongside vice-president Valentín Gómez Farías, is documented in the collection of proclamations.

    Scope and Content

    As the majority of proclamations were printed during the North American intervention, the dominant themes are: 1) the collection of war funds, 2) enrollment into the National Guard, and 3) the indemnification payments made to the occupying American army. The role of the Church as both a potential ally and enemy of the state is evident in the federal government's imposition of heavy wartime "contributions" upon the Metropolitan Diocese. While a few documents have a nation-wide relevance for the period, most are specific to the Federal District. A number of documents offer insight into quotidian life in mid-nineteenth century Mexico City and describe the levels of pedestrian and horse-carriage traffic, excessive holiday celebrations and restrictions on peddlers' access to local marketplaces. Legislation on taxation, including the much disliked "alcabala," reveals the government's recurrent efforts to reform its fiscal policies on both the national and municipal level. A number of important governmental institutions, including the pro-immigration Department of Colonization, seem to have been established during this time. In addition, the growing influence of the United States on Mexico is evident in the many judicial and correctional system reforms made during the Early Republic, the most notable being the adoption of the Philadelphia jail system. In terms of political events, these proclamations serve as an informal track record for the Federal District's governors for the years 1846-1848. Asides from these key administrators, the major political figures in the collection are presidents Antonio López de Santa Anna, Valentín Gómez Farías and Pedro María Anaya, who served as interim governor of the capital. A distinct subdivision in the collection is the four-item Imperial Regency series, which covers the early years of the Second Empire and the brief rule of the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian (1864-1867).
    In terms of chronology, the earliest and oldest documents are an 1807 royal decree on the mismanagement of the colony's Treasury and Maximilian's 1865 edict on educational reforms, respectively. The bulk of the collection consists of the years 1846 and 1848, a majority of these documents covering the latter half of 1846 (August-December). There are no items for 1847 or the first half of 1846. An additional proclamation from 1830 is included among the collection of bound items and is later referenced during the 1846 electoral reforms.


    Items have been intellectually organized into series, which follow chronological order and are named after each governor of the Federal District at the time the proclamation was issued. Exceptions to this rule are the Diaz de la Vega, Suarez Iriarte, and Imperial Regency series. Diaz de la Vega served as the Director General of the royal tobacco monopoly during the colonial period. Suarez Iriarte was president of the Mexico City municipal assembly but took on the responsibilities of the governor. In addition, items 7, 9 and 10 in the Malo series were emitted by the Secretary of Government Mariano Guerra, but correspond to José Ramon Malo's term as governor. The Imperial Regency series makes reference to a small four item subset of a separate historical period.
    • 1. Silvestre Diaz de la Vega
      (1807 September 1) Viceroy takes measures to eliminate corruption from the colony's treasuries.
    • 2. Miguel Cervantes
      (1830 July 14) Document establishes the voting regulations to abide by for House elections.
    • 3. Luis Gonzaga de Chávarri
      (1846 August 6) The interim governor announces the elimination of the "alcabala" tax for the poor.
    • 4. José Gomez de la Cortina
      (1846 August 22-October 12) As Brigade General and Governor of Mexico City, Gomez de la Cortina takes energetic measures to reform the judicial system, raise funds for the war effort and enroll civilians into the National Guard.
    • 5. José Lázaro Villamil
      (1846 October 21-November 13) Villamil focuses on reforming the civilian courts system, a series of steps which included canceling the collection of court and trial fees. He also reinstated the "alcabala" tax that been abolished throughout the nation.
    • 6. Agustin Buenrostro
      (1846 October 21) Buenrostro sought to reduce the amount of civilian court cases by appointing local mediators, "jueces de paz," to resolve minor disputes.
    • 7. Pedro María Anaya
      (1846 November 21-December 9) Yet another military governor, Anaya was overly concerned with the greater war effort. As a result applied stringent regulations on the freedom of the press, imposed a large "contribution" on the Church and enforced civilian enrollment into the National Guard.
    • 8. José Guadalupe Covarrubias
      (1846 December 10-December 28) Unlike his predecessors, Covarrubias concentrated on the more civilian aspects of life in Mexico City. He passed decrees on traffic regulations and restricted towncriers' hours of operation.
    • 9. Vicente Romero
      (1846 December 29-December 30) A more civilian-focused governor, Romero repealed abusive road regulations and disbanded the secret police force on the grounds that it was undemocratic.
    • 10. Francisco Suarez Iriarte
      (1848 February 4-February 17) Doubling as President of the Municipal Assembly, Suarez Iriarte attempted to raise funds for the indemnity payments to the American occupying forces.
    • 11. Juan María Florez y Teran
      (1848 October 8-November 2) Among the governor's many projects was the reorganization of Mexico City's drainage and penal systems, which included the construction of a jail based on the Philadelphia model.
    • 12. José Ramon Malo
      (1848 November 5-December 28) During the term of war period's last governor, the Mexican government sent a team of architects to establish the new national boundaries and customs houses. Congress continued to deal with the larger issues indemnity payments and the mission of the National Guard.
    • 13. Imperial Regency
      (1864 May 19- 1865 July 27) This four-item collection on the Imperial Regency documents the political context surrounding Maximilian of Hapsburg's ascension to the Mexican throne. The last document in the series is the emperor's edict on educational reforms.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Documents have been placed into an oversized box and physically separated by size into legal and oversized folders. Subsequently, they have then been arranged by series. Pamphlets and small broadsides occupy folders 1 through 6. Medium-sized broadsides have been individually placed into Mylar envelopes and then arranged chronologically into folder 7. Folders 8, 9, 10 and 11 are reserved for the individual storage of the collection's four oversized items.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Mexican War, 1807-1864 (bulk 1846-1848).

    Genres and Forms of Material