Mexico’s Foreign Debt and the War with the United States

Gabriel Martínez Carmona


In Mexico, the second half of the 19th century in the western world witnessed internal and international conflicts which were associated with decolonization, quests for national identity, state or local versus national power, inter-elite competition for political and economic power, and class conflict. These decades of conflict between Liberals and Conservatives, among the states and between the states/departments and the central government provided the context in which the most devastating civil conflict of the century erupted in 1899. The War of a Thousand Days itself was, in contrast to the deeper divisions over political values in the two main parties, primarily a struggle for power among competing elites in the context of extreme economic crisis and a repressive central government which for more than a decade had systematically excluded members of the opposition party from meaningful participation in the nation's political institutions. The objective of this paper is to explore the relationship of the Mexican debt, particularly the external debt, in connection with the war and its outcome.

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