Bustamante, Carlos María de (1774–1848)

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Bustamante, Carlos María de (1774–1848)

Carlos María de Bustamante (b. 4 November 1774; d. 21 September 1848), Mexican patriot, politician, and writer. Born in Oaxaca, Bustamante studied theology and law. He distinguished himself early as a champion of the poor, and during the Wars of Independence became defense counsel for various conspirators. One of the founders of the Diario de Méjico in 1805, he became famous in 1812 as the editor of the anti-government El Jugetillo (The Small Toy) and was chosen "elector" of the city of Mexico that year. Later he became an adviser to José María Morelos and was instrumental in convincing the insurgents to hold a congress in Apatzingán and in writing the Constitution of Apatzingán (1814). After independence he served in nearly every congress from 1822 until his death.

A strong centralist, Bustamante grew increasingly conservative as the country he loved fell into anarchy. He was extremely influential as a journalist and a pamphleteer; over his lifetime he published many newspapers and hundreds of pamphlets. Following his intellectual mentor, Father Mier Noriega y Guerra, in recovering pre-Columbian and colonial manuscripts and in creating the political myth of the ancient "Mexican Empire," Bustamante also helped to create the "official history" of independence that persists to the present day. In addition, he was one of the principal chroniclers of the period, having written Mexico's history from independence until the U.S. invasion, an event that left him "sick of soul and body" and coincided with his death.

Bustamante's most important historical works are Cuadro histórico de la revolución de la América mexicana 3 (1823–1832), and Continuación del cuadro histórico de la revolución mexicana 4 (1953–1963). Perhaps the most significant of all his contributions was his personal diary, "Diario histórico de México," forty-eight volumes, which records the events of the period 1822–1848.

See alsoJournalism in Mexico; Mexico, Wars and Revolutions: War of Independence.


Juan Ortega y Medina, El historiador D. C. M. de Bustamante ante la conciencia histórica mexicana (1963).

Edmundo O'Gorman, ed., Guía bibliográfica de Carlos María de Bustamante (1967).

Virginia Guedea, "Las primeras elecciones populares en la ciudad de México, 1812–1813," in Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 7, pt. 1 (Winter 1991): 1-28, and her "Los procesos electorales insurgentes," in Estudios de historia novohispana 11 (1992).

Jaime E. Rodríguez O., "The Struggle for the Nation: The First Centralist-Federalist Conflict in Mexico," in The Americas 49 (July 1992): 1-22.

Additional Bibliography

Castelán Rueda, Roberto. La fuerza de la palabra impresa: Carlos María Bustamente y el discurso de la modernidad, 1805–1827. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica/Universidad de Guadalajara, 1997.

López Betancourt, Raúl Eduardo. Carlos María de Bustamante: Legislador, 1822–1824. Mexico: Porrúa, 2003.

López Betancourt, Raúl Eduardo. El antifederalismo de Carlos María de Bustamante. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México, 1997.

                                   Jaime E. RodrÍguez O.