Here’s something to think about: Santa Anna was not always a dictator.
The Mexican people duly elected him President of Mexico in 1833. His inauguration day was April 1, 1833–April Fool’s Day.
The date is ironic, because Santa Anna made many foolish choices.
Delegates for the Anglo settlers of Texas met on the same day Santa Anna took power as leader of Mexico. They asked the new president for tax relief and cultural tolerance, requests they had made before. In addition, they requested him to recognize Texas as a Mexican state separate from Coahuila (which lay south of the Rio Grande) and submitted a proposed state constitution. The delegates chose Stephen F. Austin to present the petition in Mexico City.
But Santa Anna was arrogant. Almost as soon as he was in office, Santa Anna announced that the Mexican people were not “ready” for democracy. He repealed the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed himself dictator.
When Austin reached Mexico City, he was arrested for sedition (rousing the people to rebellion) and thrown into prison, where he remained for the next twenty-eight months.
Teaching Tip: Remind your students that Santa Anna was fighting to hold on to Texas on the third anniversary of his rise to power.
- Do you think Santa Anna felt he had “something to prove”?
- Do you think the people of Texas had “something to prove”?
- How do you think Santa Anna’s own army felt about him? Would they be united in loyalty towards a man they elected who then them told them they were not wise enough to rule themselves?