February 21, 1794 was the birth day of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, dictator of Mexico. As we head into Texas History month–that time when we remember the Texas Revolution from the Siege of the Alamo to victory at San Jacinto–it’s important to understand a bit about the man.
Elevated to the office of President of Mexico in 1833, Santa Anna was the consummate politician. He was handsome, intelligent, cultured, and ambitious. He was also arrogant, cunning, and ruthless.
Soon after becoming president, he decided that the people of Mexico were too primitive to be free. He declared himself dictator. Over his 40 year career, he served as general of the Mexican Army and as “president” (dictator) eleven terms. He made and reneged on Constitutions. He won bloody victories only to lose everything he gained during an 18-minute battle in which Sam Houston’s rag-tag army of volunteers literally caught him with his pants down.
Despite his great achievements, Santa Anna stands as proof that pride goes before a fall.