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Vicente Guerrero

A half-length, posthumous portrait by Anacleto Escutia (1850)

In office
1 April 1829. – 17 December 1829.
Vice President Anastasio Bustamante
Preceded by Guadalupe Victoria
Succeeded by José María Bocanegra

Born 10 August 1782(1782-08-10)
Tixtla (modern-day Guerrero)
Died 14 February 1831 (aged 48)
Cuilapan, Oaxaca

Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña (August 10, 1782 – February 14, 1831) was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence, who fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century, and served briefly as President of Mexico. He was also the grandfather of the Mexican politician and intellectual Vicente Riva Palacio.

Contents

Early Life

Guerrero was born in Tixtla, a town 100 kilometers inland from the port of Acapulco, in the Sierra Madre del Sur, son of Juan Pedro Guerrero and his wife, María Guadalupe Saldaña. Vicente Guerrero’s ancestry and social origins are today obscure and uncertain; though he probably was of mixed Spanish, Black and Amerindian descent, the Guerreros were accounted "españoles americanos" ("American Spaniards": this status as mestizos allowed the family both economic and social advantages) in a contemporary census of Tixtla. Vicente’s father, Pedro, supported Spanish rule, but Vicente himself was a patriot and opposed to the Spanish colonial government. When his father asked him for his sword in order to present it to the viceroy of New Spain as a sign of goodwill and surrender, Vicente refused, saying, "The will of my father is for me sacred, but my Motherland is first." "My Motherland is first" is now the motto of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, named in honor of the revolutionary.

War of Independence

Guerrero joined in the early revolt against Spain in 1810, first fighting alongside José María Morelos. When the War of Independence began, Guerrero was working as a gunsmith in Tixtla. He joined the rebellion in November 1810 and enlisted in a division that independence leader José María Morelos had organized to fight in southern Mexico. Guerrero distinguished himself in the battle of Izúcar, in February 1812, and had achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel, when Oaxaca was claimed by rebels in November 1812.

Following the capture and execution of Morelos in late 1815, Guerrero joined forces with Guadalupe Victoria and Isidoro Montes de Oca, taking command of the rebel troops. He remained the only major rebel leader still at large, keeping the rebellion going through an extensive campaign of guerrilla warfare. He won victories at Ajuchitán, Santa Fe, Tetela del Río, Huetamo, Tlalchapa and Cuautlotitlán, regions of southern Mexico that were very familiar to him.

Once Mexico achieved independence, he at first collaborated with Agustín de Iturbide, who proposed that the two join forces under what he referred to as the Three Guarantees. Iturbide's professed belief in these ideological mandates – that Mexico be made an independent constitutional monarchy, the abolition of class distinctions between Spaniards, creoles, mestizos and Indians, and that Catholicism be made the state religion – earned Guerrero's support, and, after marching into the capital on September 27, 1821, Iturbide was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico by Congress. However, when Iturbide's policies supported the interests of Mexico's wealthy landowners through continued economic exploitation of the poor and working classes, Guerrero turned against him and came out in favor of a Republic with the Plan of Casa Mata.

When the general Manuel Gómez Pedraza won the election to succeed Guadalupe Victoria as president, Guerrero, with the aid of general Antonio López de Santa Anna and politician Lorenzo de Zavala, staged a coup d'état and took the presidency on April 1, 1829. The most notable achievement of Guerrero's short term as president was ordering an immediate abolition of slavery and emancipation of all slaves.

A portrait of Vicente Guerrero by Ramón Sagredo (circa 1865).

Guerrero was deposed in a rebellion under Vice-president Anastasio Bustamante that began on December 4, 1829. He left the capital to fight the rebels, but was deposed by the Mexico City garrison in his absence on December 17, 1829. Guerrero hoped to come back to power, but General Bustamante captured him through bribery and had him executed.

After his death, Mexicans loyal to Guerrero revolted, driving Bustamante from his presidency and forcing him to flee for his life. Picaluga, a former friend of Guerrero, who conspired with Bustamante to capture Guerrero, was executed.

Honors were conferred on surviving members of Guerrero's family, and a pension was paid to his widow. In 1842, Vicente Guerrero's body was returned to Mexico City and interred there.

Legacy

Guerrero is a Mexican national hero. The state of Guerrero is named ln his honour.

Guerrero signed a decree that abolished slavery in Mexico in 1829. In 1821, Mexico began to invite Americans to settle the Texas territory under the conditions that the settlers convert to Catholicism and observe Mexican laws, including the abolition of slavery.

Several towns in Mexico are named in honor of this famous General, including Col. Vicente Guerrero in Baja Norte, Guerrero Negro, on the border of Baja Norte and Sur, and the Mexican State of Guerrero, on the mainland of Mexico.

See also

Bibliography

Alfredo Avila, “La presidencia de Vicente Guerrero”, in Will Fowler, ed., Gobernantes mexicanos, Mexico City, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2008, t. I, p. 27-49. ISBN 978-968-16-8369-6. Raquel Huerta-Nava, "El Guerrero del Alba. La vide de Vicente Guerrero", Mexico City, Grijalbo, 2007, ISBN: 978-970-780-929-1

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Guadalupe Victoria
President of Mexico
1829
Succeeded by
José María Bocanegra

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña (August 10, 1782February 14, 1831) was a Mexican revolutionary leader and president. He was one of the main rebel leaders of the Mexican Revolution who fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century; and an early President of Mexico. Guerrero was born in the town of Tixtla, some 100 km inland from the port of Acapulco, in the Sierra Madre del Sur.

Sourced

  • Compañeros, this old man is my father. He has come to offer me rewards in the name of the Spaniards. I have always respected my father but my country comes first.
    • 1819; the Spaniards had sent Guerrero's father to plead for an end to Guererro's rebellion. [1]

External links

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