Otero, Mariano (1817–1850)

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Otero, Mariano (1817–1850)

Mariano Otero (b. 1817; d. 1850), Mexican politician and cabinet minister. A native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Otero studied law there and received his degree in 1835. His intelligence, eloquence, and energy soon attracted the attention of local liberals, and in 1841 Otero was elected to the Junta de Representantes de los Departamentos. As a deputy for Jalisco to the special national congress in 1842, he opposed the projected centralist constitution. That year he also published one of the most important analyses of Mexico's postindependence trauma, Ensayo sobre el verdadero estado de la cuestión social y política que se agita en la República mexicana.

Otero believed that Mexico was essentially different from European countries. The Mexican aristocracy had not exercised civil jurisdiction and had no political influence. Mexico's colonial experience was a "true despotism, without intermediate classes, and this power [colonial despotism] was essentially foreign." This despotism created a society in which each corporation, group, and class sought only its own prerogatives, thereby making coherent political action impossible. Otero proposed that Mexico's condition was the result of its historical development, and he stressed the underlying property relationships as the root of the problem. Otero's thought shows the influence of utopian socialism.

Otero wrote frequently for the newspaper El siglo XIX and other periodicals. After the liberal revolt of 1846, he returned to Congress, where he led the effort to pass the Reform Acts, which restored the federal Constitution of 1824 with some alterations. After the United States invasion, Otero was one of four deputies in Querétaro who opposed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. He resigned from the senate in 1848 to become minister of foreign relations in the government of President José Joaquín de Herrera. He died in the cholera epidemic of 1850.

See alsoGuadalupe Hidalgo, Treaty of (1848); Mexico: 1810–1910.


Mariano Otero, Ensayo sobre el verdadero estado de la cuestión social y política que se agita en la República mexicana (1842; repr. 1979).

Jesús Reyes Heroles, El liberalismo mexicano, 3 vols. (1957–1961), vol. 2, pp. 89-136.

Charles A. Hale, Mexican Liberalism in the Age of Mora, 1821–1853 (1968), pp. 12-15, 34-35, 46, 75, 183-187, 206, 212; Diccionario Porrúa de historia, biografía y geografía de México, 5th ed. (1986), vol. 2, p. 2160.

Additional Bibliography

Villeneuve, Anne. Mariano Otero. Dinard: Editions Vue ser mer, 1996.

Zavala Castillo, José Francisco, and José Rodolfo Arturo Vega Hernández. Fórmula Otero?: Exegesis del Artículo 25 de la Acta de Reformas de 1847. Santiago de Querétaro, México: Fundación Universitaria de Derecho, Administración y Política, 2005.

                                              D. F. Stevens