The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 310
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
vance payments or loans in return for substantial discounts in import
taxes on their goods.
The political panorama of the decade spanning 1836 to 1845 is very
complex because true political parties did not exist; centralists and fed-
eralists, Scottish Rite and York Rite Masons, radicals, moderates, and
monarchists all represented currents of opinion circulating throughout
the small groups that participated in politics, unable to join their inter-
ests into a major group, and without a definite set of principles. The
exercise of ecclesiastical patronage, the confiscation of Church prop-
erty, the existence of a civic militia, the abolition of ecclesiastical and
military privileges were reasons for discord. But starting in 1835, the
principal causes of dissension would be the debates over the form the
Mexican state should assume and the position to be taken on the Texas
problem. At the beginning the two questions were confused, since cen-
tralism formed the pretext for the Texas Revolution, and the reconquest
or recognition of Texas constituted themes that divided federalists and
united opposing groups. It is difficult to identify the various positions
taken on the Texas question because such opinions became associated
with those held on other national problems. What is evident is that the
Texas question figured in all the programs and political attacks of all
The adoption of centralism. The road to centralism was not abrupt. Its an-
tecedents date to the days when a constitution for the new state was de-
bated in 1823. At that time a minority favored centralism, at least as
a transitional system. The populist "excesses" of 1829 allowed cen-
tralism to gain ground among "well-intentioned men." The Anastasio
Bustamante regime (1830-1832) tended toward centralizing fiscal de-
cisions; and when the results proved attractive, the idea that a change
in the form of government would benefit all of society gained strength
among the privileged groups. Vice-President Valentin G6mez Farias at-
tempted reforms in 1833 that aimed at reducing the power of the
Church and the army, and these measures resulted in pronunciamien-
tos that further spread centralist opinion. President Antonio L6pez de
Santa Anna, who after his election had relinquished his office to G6mez
Farias, remained a spectator. Although he expressed a real interest in
completing anticlerical reforms, he did not so willingly accept reforms
affecting the army.2
"Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna to Valentin G6mez Farias,Jan. 4, 1834, Valentin G6mez Farias
Papers (VGFP) (Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas, Austin; cited hereafter
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986, periodical, 1985/1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/m1/366/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.