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Revista de Sociologia e Política

Print version ISSN 0104-4478


RIVERA, José Antonio Aguilar. Beyond the restrictive consensus: elections in Mexico (1809-1847). Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.42, pp.39-55. ISSN 0104-4478.

This essay looks at experiments with a system of representation taking place in New Spain and later in Mexico. The elections that were carried out during the days of Spanish rule dealt expediently with the political dynamics of this form of government, such as broad-based political participation. . We study the elections during the early decades of independence through the beginning of the war with the United States, and we find that in spite of the fact that during the 1830s there was growing consensus among the elites that it would be best to implement censitary suffrage, the desire to exclude the working classes did not prove feasible. None of the factions involved were able to abstain from appeals to the "lower (threatening) classes". We attempt to explain why this was so. There are several different hypotheses in this regard. One argument is that the early implementation of sufferage was a result of competition between antagonistic factions. However, by the end of the 1820s, popular mobilization led to social disorder, such as the destruction of the Parian market. This stimulated elite preoccupations. At the beginning of the 1830s, the ruling classes held back on engaging popular classes in electoral struggles. Yet this agreement proved short-lived, with conservatives giving up on the notion of census suffrage and the renewed insistence of liberals, encouraged by electoral triumphs, on maintaining a broad electoral base.

Keywords : Representative Government; Mexico; XIXth Century; Voting Rights; Electoralces; Political Mobilization.

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