Mexican Independence from Spain

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  • Topic: Mexico, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Mexican War of Independence
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  • Published : September 16, 2008
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Mexican Independence from Spain

In the late 18th century, the Spanish monarchy decided to improve the defenses of its empire because of its many military losses in Europe. Because of this, the Spanish Crown was forced to increase revenues. Between 1765 and 1771, Spain sent José de Gálvez on an official tour of inspection of New Spain. He restructured the current taxes and their collection methods..

In 1778, Spain, attempting to increase its own revenues, lifted restrictions on colonial trade. This allowed more commerce for the colonists and allowed for more trade between the privileged of New Spain and the other Spanish colonies in America. Since the Spanish monarchy was so determined to improve defenses, it was forced to enlarge the existing colonial militias into armies.

The Mexican people were disappointed with the many tax and administrative changes. The Criollos also did not like the fact that they had not been given any of the new administrative positions. Most of the Mexicans felt that they had been prospering under the old system. When the people protested and when riots broke out against the attempts at instituting reforms, they were dissipated through force. This caused Mexicans to become even more upset. They also had a new economic freedom and began to think that they could benefit more if they ran their own economic system apart from Spain.

The Spanish Crown also began to limit the powers of the Catholic Church. It was viewed as a political rival because it had begun to amass large amounts of land and wealth in the colony. The Spanish government ignored the fact that the church did not actually have as much money as it seemed to. Much of its “wealth” was being loaned to colonists. In 1767, the Spanish Crown expelled the Jesuits from both new and old Spain and confiscated the wealth of the religious order. Even worse in the eyes of the Mexicans was in 1804 when the Spanish monarchy took land and wealth from the Catholic Church. These actions caused the church to reclaim all loans. This greatly affected the middle class, which was made up mostly by the colonial born whites known as the Criollos, and the mixed blooded Spanish or Indian Mestizos. The priests were also greatly affected by the Consolidation decree causing an upset of both the colonists and the priests, and convincing many to start to support Mexican Independence.

The initial causes of the American Revolution were similar in that the colonists felt oppressed by their parent country of England. They felt that the monarchy they once knew as their savior could no longer provide for the best interests of the colonies and that it was taking advantage of them by imposing taxes upon them and using other means to earn revenue they it didn’t rightfully deserve. The Proclamation of 1763 restricted colonists from settling the area east of the Appalachian Mountains. This restriction angered colonists who were looking for land to call their own. This was followed by the Currency Act of 1764, then the Sugar Act of the same year, and finally, the Stamp Act of 1765. All of these acts, and subsequent ones, were used as revenue measures by England to regain the large amounts of wealth lost during the previous war. The colonists were not protesting taxes that were intended primarily to regulate state. They were protesting those designed simply to raise money. Unlike in Mexico’s case, there had been over fifty years of salutary neglect causing the new regulations to seriously alarm and upset the colonists. However, similarly, both the Mexican colonists and the American ones were upset by these unexpected economic costs that largely, and, seemingly, adversely affected them.

According to Brune Leone’s The Mexican War of Independence the Criollo resentment in particular had greatly weakened the relations between New Spain and its mother country by the start of the 19th century. Another large factor in spurring the independence movement was the...
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