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The Expulsion of Mexico's Spaniards, 1821-36

The Expulsion of Mexico's Spaniards, 1821-36 (Hardback)

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Drawing on manuscript records in the Mexican national archives. Harold Sims provides an account of the expulsion laws passed in 1827-29 and 1833-34 and the chaos they caused in the new Mexican republic. Mexico's colonial experience had left a bitter legacy. Many believed that only the physical removal of the old colonial elite could prevent the consolidation of a new economic and political oligarchy in the republic. While expulsion seemed to provide an answer, the expulsion decrees met stiff resistance and caused a tug-of-war between enforcement and evasion that went on for years. The issue embroiled national and local governments in partisan battle. Friendship, family influence, intrigue and bribery all played a role in determining who left and who stayed. Because exemptions were granted for illness, a thriving business emerged among corrupt physicians. The expulsion issue also fueled rebellions, with anti-Spanish feeling often the proncipal motive for insurgency. After years of struggle, the movement died down. but not until three-quarters of Mexico's peninsulars had been forces to leave. Expulsion crippled a once flourishing economy by spurring massive capital flight.

Spaniards were virtually eliminated from the military, the bureaucracy, the mining industry and the Church; they survived only in commerce. The primary victim was republican government itself in 1834, conservatives sought to halt social upheaval by installing a dictatorship. This study analyzes the strength of the Spanish community in the 1820s and 1830s and examines the ramifications of the hostile reaction caused by Mexico's former domination by Spain.

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