Shifting Mexican Identity

While the U.S. was debating the issue of slavery on the battlefield, Mexico was expelling one of the most formidable armies of the era. The Second Mexican Empire began in 1864 after conservatives of Mexico invited Maximilian Hapsburg of Austria, with the aid of France, to topple the Presidential administration of Benito Juarez. This period marked the popularization of the term ‘Latin America’ as a region not just as a reaction against interventions from the U.S. and Europe, but also as a claim to modernity. Mexico's struggles against a monarchy imported from Europe and its efforts to abolish slavery well before the United States mark off Mexico as on the vanguard of democratic republicanism, far ahead of their northern neighbor or their European cousins.

"Árbol Cronológico Geográfico del Descubrimiento de las Américas"
"Chronological Geographical Tree of the Discovery of the Americas"

This replica of the "Árbol Genealógico" turns the original document on its side, revealing the map embedded within the family tree sketched out on this picture. Spain represents the roots of Latin America, and branches and tendrils reach out from Europe to the region. Produced in 1864, during both the U.S. Civil War and the Second Mexican Empire under the invader Maximilian I, this map reflects new American identity as descending from Europe yet independent from old polities as reflected in the emphasis on the dates of independence.

"Mis memorias", página 1
"My memories," page 1

Santa Anna hand writes his memoir expressing that most men share the common sentiment of immortality. Writing about his life from 1821 to 1878, he conveys how, as a young man Santa Anna wanted his name to be known. As he grew, Santa Anna wanted his home country, Mexico, to enjoy liberty. Santa Anna expresses sorrow as he writes from exile and the desire of wanting to come back to Mexico. He doesn't tell you about one reason for his exile: how corruption in his regime and the instability he caused led to a significant loss of territory to the United States between 1848 and 1853.

"¡Muera el Tirano!"
"Death to the Tyrant!"

This article exhorts for the death of General Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1844. Vicente Torres, the author, argues Santana was a tyrant because he never had the Mexican people in mind when making political decisions. His decisions were always based on increasing his wealth.Torres argues that Santa Anna supported each revolution and revolt, despite knowing the economy was in bad shape. The conclusion? Santa Anna's death is described here as an event that would bring great relief to Mexican citizens.