Mexico City: Inprenta (sic) del Aguila, dirigida por Jose Ximeno, calle de Medinas num. 6, 1843. First Edition. 12mo (195 x 118 mm). 3 ff., -51 pp. Original yellow ornamental wrappers, stitched as issued (upper wrapper with 1" tear, some chips and soiling, spine slightly defective, insignificant marginal stain at end). Overall in very good, unsophisticated condition. Very good. Item #3380
THE FORMATION OF THE 1843 CONSTITUTION OF MEXICO. This is the very scarce preliminary report by Santa Anna's commission to create a "Bases Organicas," or Constitutional Charter, "a most cynical attack on popular rights under an assumption of the form of democracy [...] the apogee of personalistic centralism" (Priestly). The present document expresses the grandiose desires of Santa Anna in his declaration that the boundary of the Mexican nation encompasses more than two-thirds of the U.S. and almost all of Central American -- i.e. more than three and a half times the size of modern Mexico. This is the last Mexican Constitution that included present-day California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
THE BACKGROUND: In April 1842, the Congress of Mexico formulated a project for a new Constitution, in which Deputy Mariano Otero proposed a republican, representative, popular and federal government, as well as a system of representation for minorities. This proposal caused great discontent among the conservatives, which led to various confrontations and the dissolution of Congress. On January 7, 1843, the Board appointed the Constitutional Commission, made up of nine individuals. This Commission was empowered to present for its deliberation the foundations of the constitutional project. THIS IS THE REPORT of that Commission.
In June 1843, under intense pressure by Santa Anna, the new Constitution was finally sanctioned; the document has been described by Priestly as a "governmental absurdity, for it created a 'constitutional' despotism." The Constitution in question lasted only three years. Let it be said, however, that the "new" Constitution preserves a good part of the legislative achievements promoted by the liberals, among others: the abolition of all types of slavery; freedom of the press and of opinion; personal security, and the inviolability of property and domicile.
The importance of this preliminary text is such that it was reprinted in its entirety in "National Constitutions" (ed. Horst Dippel and Sebastian Dorsch) pp. 309-328.
CENSUS OF COPIES: BN Mexico (described as "Deteriorado"), Arizona Historical, Bancroft, LC, OU, UT Austin, BL, BN Espana. Scarce in commerce: no copy in RBH which currently has more than 10 million records in the rare book transaction history. Ours appears to be the only copy in private hands.
Sutro, p. 786. Sabin 48631. Priestly, The Mexican Nation: A History, pp. 295-296. Not in Palau.