The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917

The Sources of the Mexican Acta Constitutiva

THE SOURCES OF THE MEXICAN ACTA CONSTI-
TUTIVA*
MARION JOHN ATWOOD
The Mexican scheme of government since the earliest days of
the republic has been regarded as but an ill adapted copy of that
of the United States. Within the United States this belief has
been largely founded upon the recognized influence of our form
of government upon the South American republics. Inasmuch
as we have been wholesale borrowers from the older eastern states
in the erection of our state governments, we have been led to
impute a similar character to the earliest governmental architects
of Mexico.
This deep rooted belief has had many able exponents. Foreign
publications, both American and European, during the troubled
times of 1824 and 1825 spoke of the new government as an imi-
tation of that embodied in the constitution of the United States.1
No less a person than Henry Clay, in the instructions given to
Joel R. Poinsett, our first minister to Mexico, took this point of
view and counselled Poinsett to advise those in power as to the
manner in which a republic should be conducted.2
Mr. J. Q. Dealey appears to have been the first student to
disagree with this attitude and to indicate anything of the ex-
tent of the Spanish influence.8 In a brief comparison of the
constitution of Spain, promulgated at Cadiz, March 19, 1812,
with the Mexican constitution of 1824, Mr. Dealey has pointed
out a marked parallelism and an essential similarity. Mr. Dialey
concludes that, "the real basis of the Mexican constitution was
the Spanish constitution of 1812 and the departures from the
*Written in the seminars of Professors Barrows and Bolton, University
of California.
'North American Review, January, 1825, p. 78. "The present federal
system of government instituted in imitation of that of the United
States is quite uncertain and on the whole may be considered as rather
an unfortunate step at so early a stage. The affairs of Venezuela, be-
fore the union, went on very indifferently under this system."
2American State Papers, Foreign Relations, V, 908.
'Texas State Historical Association, THE QUARTERLY, III, 161-169.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/. Accessed July 4, 2015.