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2017-09-14

A failed attempt to finance return to power

Contributed by Billie Nast

Santa Anna issued bonds in 1866, DRT preserves the documents


Each month the Caddel-Smith Chapter and other chapters of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas receive information about items in the DRT Library Collection. We want the public to know what items are in the collection and enjoy the information about these items. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) Library Collection contains approximately 38,000 books, maps, manuscripts and other historical items. This year it will be launched as the DRT Library Collection at Texas A&M University-San Antonio at San Antonio's former Federal Reserve Building, at 126 E. Nueva St., in San Antonio.
This month, we spotlight Mexican politician and general Santa Anna's 1866 attempt at a return to power, and the bonds he issued to finance it.
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican criollo who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then for Mexican independence. He served as a Mexican politician and general. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and was a skilled soldier and cunning politician who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the 19th Century to such an extent, that historians often refer to it as the “Age of Santa Anna.”
An enigmatic, patriotic and controversial figure, Santa Anna had great power in Mexico; during a turbulent 40-year career, he served as general at crucial points and served 11 non-consecutive presidential terms over a period of 22 years. A wealthy landowner, he built a firm political base in the major port city of Veracruz.
Santa Anna was perceived as a hero by his troops; he sought glory for himself and his army, and independent Mexico. He repeatedly rebuilt his reputation after major losses. Historians and many Mexicans also rank him as perhaps the principal inhabitant — even today — of Mexico's pantheon of “those who failed the nation.” His centralist rhetoric and military failures resulted in Mexico losing just over half its territory, beginning with the Texas Revolution of 1836, and culminating in the Mexican Cession of 1848 following its defeat by the United States in the Mexican–American War.
His political positions changed frequently in his lifetime; “his opportunistic politics made him a Liberal, Conservative, and uncrowned king.”
He was overthrown for the final time by the liberal Revolution of Ayutla in 1854 and lived most of his later years in exile. But the former Mexican president continued to plot a return to power, hoping that efforts to oust Emperor Maximilian would facilitate his plans. His overly optimistic view of the interest of United States officials and misleading information supplied by co-conspirators led Santa Anna to travel to Washington and New York, where he attempted to finance his schemes by selling bonds (shown on Front page and featured as part of the DRT Library Collection) secured by his estates in Veracruz, St. Thomas, and Turbaco. His efforts unsuccessful, he returned to Mexico, where he was arrested and exiled once again. He was allowed to return to Mexico in 1874 and died there two years later.