Lucas Alaman, Mexican conservatism, and the United States: A history of attitudes and policy, 1823-1853

Jeanne Gabrielle Pascal Gargiulo, Fordham University


In an investigation of early nineteenth century Mexican-United States relations, Lucas Alaman presents the researcher with an intriguing challenge. As the principal architect of early Mexican foreign policy, he was described by his Conservative contemporaries in Mexico as courageous, astute, and sagacious, while his critics in the United States found him to be obdurate, reactionary, and duplicitous. These contradictory judgments arose from Alaman's unrelenting defense of his nation's territorial integrity and centralist political heritage against the United States expansion and its republican political philosophy. Recent scholarship has continued the dichotomy in appraising Alaman's career, which paralleled Mexico's history from its struggle for independence to the years following the disastrous war with the United States, 1846-1848. As leader of the Conservative Party, and an official and unofficial adviser to Mexican governments from 1823-1853, Alaman played a major role in formulating Mexico's domestic and foreign policies. The purpose of this study is to reappraise the thought and activity of Alaman and the United States officials who formulated and executed policy toward Mexico. The principal primary sources include the Obras de D. Lucas Alaman, an extensive collection of the statesman's private and public papers, and the published and unpublished records of the United States Department of State. This study concludes that Alaman's solutions for Mexico's political, economic, and social problems were more realistic than heretofore acknowledged. His support of Mexico's Hispanic legacy of centralized government and Roman Catholicism best served his country's need for domestic stability and security from foreign aggression. Alaman successfully countered the efforts of the United States ministers, Joel R. Poinsett and Anthony Butler, to acquire Texas. And he resisted, with varying success, the support given by the North American ministers to the Mexican Liberal Party in its attempts to establish a republican form of government in Mexico.

Subject Area

Latin American history|American history|International law|International relations

Recommended Citation

Pascal Gargiulo, Jeanne Gabrielle, "Lucas Alaman, Mexican conservatism, and the United States: A history of attitudes and policy, 1823-1853" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9223814.