Primera Secretaria de Estado. Departamento del Interior. El Exmo. Sr. Presidente Interino de la Republica MexicanaSe Ha Servido Dirigirme el Decreto Que Sigue... Que Congreso General Ha Decretado la Siguiente Ley Constitucional... [caption title]
Mexico City: December 15, 1835. pp., on a single folded folio sheet. Minor creasing and light edge wear. In a custom red leatherette folding chemise. Very good. Item #3983
Rare proclamation laying out the constitutional changes that solidified the Centralist system of government in Mexico in late 1835, supplanting the Federalist system established through the Constitution of 1824, and ending the First Mexican Republic. This is the first installment of the "Siete Leyes" or "Seven Laws," issued in fifteen articles on December 15, 1836; the remainder of the laws were fully issued by President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna by December 30. The significant changes made in the Mexican Constitution caused some states to rebel, as the Federalist system was abolished and substituted for a Centralist system in which the states became departments. Federalist revolts or anti-centralist conflicts caught fire in Texca, Zacatecas, Tampico, and, of course and eventually, Texas. Taken together, these laws, which came in the midst of Anglo Americans convening in various conventions in order to determine the nature of their future government, motivated rebellious Texans against Santa Anna's centralist power grab and helped spark the Texas Revolution.
The present fifteen articles of the first of the Seven Laws establish Mexican citizenship, laying out essential rights, noting that people could not be detained without an express order from the authority, be deprived of their property, be subject to unlawful searches, nor be tried by a court contrary to the Constitution. Also, the laws stipulate that citizens should be tried as established by the Constitution, and the freedoms of transit and of the press are proclaimed, along with the right to vote. Among the fundamental obligations to the state are professing religion, observing the Constitution, cooperating with State expenses, and defending the homeland, at the risk of losing Mexican citizenship. Additional requirements or pathways for citizenship include personal wealth of a hundred pesos, and through "a special citizenship letter from the General Congress." Stipulations for loss of Mexican citizenship are also covered, including living outside the country for too long without proper documentation, working for another government, various high crimes such as treason and murder, laziness, and bankruptcy, among others. Citizenship is forbidden to "domestic servants." Former citizens can reattain Mexican citizenship through proper "rehabilitation of Congress." Foreigners are forbidden to own land in Mexico except through naturalization, namely marriage to a Mexican, by following applicable laws, and through the payment of requisite fees. The final line in Article 13 of the work seems specifically targeted at American settlers in Texas, and must have irked them: "The acquisitions of colonizers will be subject to the special rules of colonization." Issued by Mexican President Miguel Barragan, and signed in type at the end by secretary José Maria Ortiz Monasterio.
Though officials in Texas such as Stephen F. Austin anticipated Santa Anna's move from federalism to centralism, the promulgation of the Seven Laws still infuriated the settlers in Texas who expected better treatment from the Mexican government, and provided one of the final grievances on the road to revolution in Texas. In fact, the institution of the Seven Laws is specifically cited in the Texas Declaration of Independence as a precipitating factor for the split from Mexico. In the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the Declaration, the delegates point out that settlers were encouraged by the Mexican government "to colonize the wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habitated in the land of their birth, the United States. In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced to the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who, having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers, as the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood." No copies of this issuance of the first of the Seven Laws of 1835 in OCLC.