The military and political career of José Joaquín de Herrera, 1792-1854

Cotner, Thomas E. (Thomas Ewing), 1916-1979
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
My interest in President Herrera was first aroused in Dr. Charles W. Hackett's course in Mexican history at The University of Texas, in which he brought out Herrera's reasonable and statesmanlike attitude concerning the recognition of Texas independence. Herrera hoped to recognize the independence of Texas on the basis that she remain an independent republic. However, when Texas voted for annexation to the United States, Herrera was willing to negotiate with the United States concerning the southern boundary of Texas in an effort to prevent possible hostilities. Unfortunately, the war party in Mexico, led by Paredes, forced Herrera from the presidency, due to his conciliatory attitude. Had Herrera's proposals been carried out to a successful conclusion, the war between the United States and Mexico would not have occurred, and Mexico would have been spared invasion and the loss of additional territory. In the light of present-day interest in inter-American cooperation and cultural development, it is particularly timely to study the life of a man who worked for international peace and friendship and for the constitutional development of democratic processes in his own country. His long career of public service was marked by moderation, a fundamental respect for law and order, and a sincere interest in the people and the nation which he served. His private life was also above reproach. He occupies a unique place in Mexican history in that he was the first constitutionally-elected president to complete his term of office and to turn over that office to his constitutionally-elected successor. Herrera deserves the highest praise for his efforts as president, following the war with the United States, to promote the reconstruction and regeneration of the nation. He gave to Mexico an era of comparative internal stability and a period of economic and constitutional progress without parallel from the days of independence to 1848. In view of the position of prominence held by Herrera and the importance of the era in which he lived and which he helped to shape, it seems unusual that no Mexican or American author has written an extensive account of his life in Spanish or English. For these reasons and with these thoughts in mind, I have endeavored to trace the military and political career of one of Mexico's truly outstanding presidents and statesmen, José Joaquín de Herrera