Conservative Party (Mexico)

The Conservative Party was one of two major factions in Mexican political thought that emerged in the years after independence, the other being the liberals. It was not an organized political party in the contemporary sense, but a heterogeneous camp uniting around certain key themes. Only until 1849 did Lucas Alaman establish a formal party to campaign for conservative causes in elections.

Conservative Party

Partido Conservador
LeadersAnastasio Bustamante
Leonardo Márquez
Miguel Miramón
José Mariano Salas
Manuel María Lombardini
Juan Almonte
FounderLucas Alamán
Founded1849 (1849)
Dissolved1867 (1867)
HeadquartersMexico City
IdeologyChristian nationalism
Political Catholicism
Laissez faire
Nobility's interests
Political positionRight-wing
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Colors     Blue

At various times and under different circumstances they were known as escoseses, centralists, royalists, imperialists, or conservatives, but they tended to be united by the theme of preserving colonial Spanish values, while not being opposed to the economic development and modernization of the nation. Their base of support was the army, the hacendados, and the Catholic Church.[1]

While containing a noted monarchist element which ended up resulting in multiple efforts to establish a monarchy in Mexico, the conservatives were not always averse to the republican form of government, but they supported the movement to have a centralized republic as opposed to a federal republic.

The Conservative Party went defunct after the fall of the Second Mexican Empire. [2]


The main point of conflict between liberals and conservatives was the church. Conservatives remained faithful to it and fought for their economic and social power to be maintained. His fighting motto was "Religion and fueros" [3] Among its main tenets was the preserve of Catholicism as a sole religion for all citizens. They also wanted to retain the monopoly of education, to prevent infiltrating liberal ideas. Similarly, they tried to keep military courts thus maintaining their autonomy [4] Conservative ideas were based on moral and religious ideas applied to various fields such as respect for family, traditions, individual and community property. They sought rulers who were honest and worthy bearers of traditional values.[5] Conservatives offered Maximilian of Habsburg the head of the second empire. The mixed liberal-royalist ideology implemented by Emperor Maximilian I disenchanted some conservatives, however, the policies were widely praised by most of the moderate conservatives.


Rulers with conservative ideology [6] who were in power at various stages were:

Presidents (1824-1857)

  1. Anastasio Bustamante
  2. José Justo Corro
  3. Nicolás Bravo
  4. Francisco Javier Echeverría
  5. Valentín Canalizo
  6. José Mariano Salas
  7. Manuel María Lombardini
  8. Mariano Paredes
  9. Martín Carrera
  10. Rómulo Díaz de la Vega

During the Reform War

  1. Félix Zuloaga
  2. Manuel Robles Pezuela
  3. José Mariano Salas
  4. Miguel Miramón
  5. José Ignacio Pavón

Regency of the Second Mexican Empire

  1. Juan Nepomuceno Almonte (July 11, 1863 - May 20, 1864)
  2. José Mariano Salas (July 11, 1863 - May 20, 1864)
  3. Pelagio Antonio de Labastida (July 11, 1863 - November 17, 1863) replaced by Juan Bautista de Ormaechea, Bishop of Tulancingo (November 17, 1863 - May 20, 1864)
  4. José Ignacio Pavón (July 11, 1863 - January 2, 1864)

First Minister of the Second Mexican Empire

  1. Teodosio Lares
  2. Santiago Vidaurri

Political strategies

During the Reform War and simultaneous governments Benito Juárez (Liberal Party) and Miguel Miramón (Conservative Party) signed 2 treaties seeking international support:

Both which were first signed on December 14, 1859 by Melchor Ocampo and Robert McLane, ambassador of the United States in Mexico. Simultaneously, conservatives sought help from Europe. On September 26, 1859, Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, the Mexican Conservative minister in Paris signed a treaty with Alejandro Mon, Spain's ambassador in France. The Almonte-Mon treaty re-established relations with its former metropoli (Spain).

Maximilian receiving a Mexican delegation at Miramar Castle in Trieste, Italy.

During the Reform War in Mexico (1858–61), Zuloaga was repeatedly named provisional president by conservatives and abolished the Constitution and the liberal laws affecting the privileges of the church and the lerdo law. In 1860, he began the decline of the Conservative government. On May 10, General Miguel Miramon replaced Zuloaga and sought to defeat the Liberals, but they outnumbered him because unlike conservatives, who only had a presence in the city, also had the support of the Mexican peasantry. Finally they were defeated in the Battle of Capulalpan in December 22, 1860. This battle ended the War of Reform, as a result, Miguel Miramon moved to Cuba and left Benito Juárez as the only president.

In 1861 the governments of Spain, France and Great Britain, after the Treaty of London, faced the Juarez government, which filed for bankruptcy. Liberals managed to convince Spain and England to leave the country peacefully, on the other hand the French sent troops by orders of Napoleon III, and had the aim of establishing a Catholic empire in Mexico to stop the advance of American Protestantism and its growing expansionism. Conservatives supported this policy and strategy that aligned with their interests to establish a monarchy.

On 10 June 1863 the French army took the city of Mexico. The same year the Conservatives convinced Maximilian of Habsburg to accept the crown of the Mexican empire. After being in power, conservatives noticed that regalist practices of Maximilian resembled closer to liberal than conservative policies, thus he lost a substantial part of its support. This, coupled with the withdrawal of French troops at the approach of the Franco-Prussian war in 1867, as well as the American combatant support for the liberal government of Juarez, who perceived a monarchy in the Mexican territory as a menace for their interests in the region, resulted in a victory for the liberals who ordered to shoot Maximiliano and many conservatives such as Miguel Miramon and Tomas Mejia. Liberals took power and restored the federal republic, with Benito Juárez to the front.[7]

See also


  1. Fehrenbach, T.R. (1995). Fire and Blood: A History of Mexico. Da Capo Press. p. 229.
  2. Figueroa Esquer Raúl; “El tiempo eje de México, 1855-1867.” En Estudios. Filosofía, historia, letras, México ITAM, 2012. pp 23-49
  3. García Ugarte, Marta Eugenia; Poder político y religioso. México siglo XIX. México, Cámara de Diputados-UNAM-Asoc. Mexicana de Promoción y Cultura Social-Instituto Mexicano de Doctrina Social Cristiana-Miguel Ángel Porrúa, 2010. Dos tomos.
  4. Mijangos Pablo; El pensamiento religioso de Lucas Alamán, ITAM.
  5. Alvear Acevedo, Carlos; Historia de México 2ª edición, Limusa Noriega Editores, 2004
  6. Silva Ortiz, Luz María; “Gobernantes de México ordenados con la cronología presidencial de EUA.” En •Material exclusivo• Luz María
  7. McPherson, Edward (1864). The Political History of the United States of America During the Great Rebellion: From November 6, 1860, to July 4, 1864; Including a Classified Summary of the Legislation of the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Congress, the Three Sessions of the Thirty-seventh Congress, the First Session of the Thirty-eighth Congress, with the Votes Thereon, and the Important Executive, Judicial, and Politico-military Facts of that Eventful Period; Together with the Organization, Legislation, and General Proceedings of the Rebel Administration. Philip & Solomons. p. 349.