José Joaquín de Herrera

José Joaquín de Herrera

name=José Joaquín de Herrera

order=President of Mexico
term_start = 12 September 1844
term_end = 21 September 1844
predecessor = Antonio López de Santa Anna
successor = Valentín Canalizo
term_start1 = 07 December 1844
term_end1 = 30 December 1845
predecessor1 = Valentín Canalizo
successor1 = Gabriel Valencia
term_start2 = 03 June 1848
term_end2 = 15 January 1851
predecessor2 = Manuel de la Peña y Peña
successor2 = Mariano Arista
birth_date = birth date|1792|02|23|df=y
birth_place = Xalapa, Mexico
death_date = death date and age|1854|02|10|1792|02|23|df=y
death_place = Tacubaya, Mexico
spouse = Josefa Cortes

José Joaquín de Herrera (Xalapa, Veracruz, February 23, 1792 – February 10, 1854 in Tacubaya, Distrito Federal) was a moderate Mexican politician and president of the Republic three times (1844, 1844-45 and 1848-51), as well as a general in the Mexican Army during the Mexican-American War.

Military career

Herrera was born in Jalapa, Veracruz, but grew up in Perote, where his father was a postal administrator. He entered the royalist army in 1809, as a cadet in the Regiment of La Corona. By 1811 he was a captain. He fought the insurgents in Aculco, Guanajuato, Calderón, Acatlán, Veledero and other places. Later he was part of the Spanish expedition to retake Acapulco from the rebels, and he was given the military and civil command of the region.

He retired from the army in 1820 as a lieutenant colonel and moved back to Perote. There he opened a shop. In retirement, he established contacts with some of the insurgent leaders, among them Guadalupe Victoria. Shortly after the Plan de Iguala was proclaimed, a contingent of infantry moving from Veracruz to Puebla declared in favor of Agustín de Iturbide. The officers offered command to Lieutenant Colonel Herrera. He accepted and added the garrison of the Fort of San Carlos. This force marched to Orizaba, then in command of the royalists under Lieutenant Colonel Antonio López de Santa Anna. These forces also joined the Plan de Iguala.

At the time of the entrance of the Ejército Trigarante into Mexico City in 1821, Herrera was a brigadier general. However, he distanced himself from Iturbide when the latter declared himself emperor, and was arrested for conspiracy. He was freed and took part in the revolution that led to Iturbide's fall in 1823. In the new government he received the portfolio of war (1823-24). He improved the arms of the infantry and ordered a new model saddle for the cavalry. He again held the post of minister of war in 1833 (under Santa Anna).

He held many other military positions. He was consistently loyal to the legally constituted authorities and opposed to the absolutism and arbitrariness of Santa Anna's administrations. He was never an ally of Santa Anna.

First and second terms as president

..In 1844 he was president of the Council of State when General Valentín Canalizo was named interim president to replace Santa Anna. Canalizo, however, was not in the capital (he was in San Luis Potosí), and Herrera was named as a substitute for the substitute, pending Canalizo's arrival in Mexico City. He served from September 12, 1844 to September 21, 1844, but he was president in name only. He officiated at the Independence Day celebrations.

He turned over the office to Canalizo and retired, but on the fall of Santa Anna, he was elected by the Senate to be interim president. He held the presidency from December 7, 1844 to December 30, 1845. He named both federalists and centralists to important positions.

During this term, the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States. The Mexican Senate broke relations with the United States on March 28, 1845 and gave Herrera authority to raise troops and prepare for war. Herrera preferred peaceful negotiations. When he did not go to war, followers of Santa Anna rioted on July 7, 1845. Herrera and three members of his cabinet were seized by rebellious soldiers. Nevertheless, Herrera was able to impose his authority, and was freed. He won the subsequent elections, becoming constitutional president on September 15, 1845.

The United States, on the basis of the Republic of Texas's prior claims, now claimed parts of Mexico that were not in the Mexican entity of Texas, i.e. parts of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Nuevo México across the Rio Grande. When the United States sent troops to this disputed territory, a detachment was captured by the Mexican army (March 29, 1846). On May 13, 1846 the U.S. Congress declared that a state of war existed with Mexico.

Herrera, with much difficulty, was able to assemble a force of 6,000 men. This was put under the command of General Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga and sent to the north to fight the Americans. Paredes got as far as San Luis Potosí, but instead of marching north against the invaders, in December he turned back to the capital and overthrew President Herrera.

Mexican-American War

In the Mexican-American War Herrera replaced Antonio López de Santa Anna as commander of the army, following the Battle of Huamantla (October 9, 1847). Three days after Huamantla, U.S. General Joseph Lane fought his way through Herrera's troops into Puebla and raised the Mexican siege of the city.

Third term as president

On May 30, 1848, after the end of the Mexican-American War, Herrera was again elected to the presidency, but he declined the office. A commission from Congress visited him, begging him to accept the presidency, arguing that civil war would result if he declined. He did accept, and since Mexico City was still in the hands of the United States, he established his government in Mixcoac on June 3, 1848. He served until January 15, 1851.

He faced many problems during this term. The country was in a miserable condition, with bandits controlling the highways. There was a cholera epidemic and there were Indigenous uprisings in Misantla and Yucatán (the Caste War). Mariano Paredes led an armed uprising against the peace treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In 1849 Leonardo Márquez revolted in favor of Santa Anna, claiming that the latter's resignation was invalid because Congress had not been in session.

Juan de Dios Cañedo was murdered, and the followers of Santa Anna blamed Herrera, claiming that Dios Cañedo had been in possession of secret documents showing that he had been sent to the United States in 1844 to negotiate a cash settlement for the loss of Texas. The Texas charge was not denied, and may have been true.

President Herrera gave a concession for construction of the Mexico City-Veracruz railway, the first in Mexico, and another for a telegraph line between Mexico City and Puebla.

Herrera turned over the office to General Mariano Arista on January 15, 1851 and retired to private life. Evidence of his honorable character is provided by the following account: the day he resigned the presidency, he was forced to pawn a jewel to alleviate his economic situation. President Arista named him director of the Monte de Piedad (national pawnshop), a position which he held until 1853. He died on February 10, 1854 in his modest house in Tacubaya. He was buried without pomp in the cemetery of San Fernando.


*"Diccionario Porrúa de Historia, Biografía y Geografía de México". Mexico City, Joaquín Porrúa, 1986. es icon
*Cotner, Thomas Ewing, "The Military and Political Career of Jose Joaquin de Herrera, 1792-1854". Austin: University of Texas Press, 1949, reprinted 1969.
*García Puron, Manuel, "México y sus gobernantes", v. 1. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984. es icon
*Orozco Linares, Fernando, "Gobernantes de México". Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985, ISBN 968-38-0260-5. es icon

External links

* [ Brief biography]

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