Tornel y Mendívil, José María (1794?–1853)

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Tornel y Mendívil, José María (1794?–1853)

José María Tornel y Mendívil (b. 1794?; d. 11 September 1853), Mexican politician and general. Born in Orizaba, Veracruz, Tornel joined the insurgency in 1813. Captured and sentenced to death, he survived the War of Independence, becoming private secretary to Antonio López de Santa Anna (1821) and to President Guadalupe Victoria (1824–1829). In his later career, Tornel occupied many other posts, serving as governor of the Federal District (1833–1834) and as minister of war on several occasions. One of Santa Anna's most devoted supporters, Tornel was always closely associated with him and often acted as his spokesman. A man of great energy, he instituted many reforms in the army and was a prolific author on political issues, a translator of Byron, and a playwright. Fervently interested in education, Tornel promoted the Lancasterian system (involving advanced students as monitors) and was director of the Colegio de Minería from 1843 to 1853.

See alsoMexico, Federal District; Mexico, Wars and Revolutions: War of Independence.


William Martin Fowler, "José María Tornel: Mexican General/Politician (1794–1853) (Ph.D. diss., University of Bristol, 1994).

Additional Bibliography

Fowler, Will. "Dreams of Stability: Mexican Political Thought During the 'Forgotten Years.' An Analysis of the Beliefs of the Creole Intelligentsia (1821–1853)." Bulletin of Latin American Research 14 (September 1993): 287-312.

Fowler, Will. Tornel and Santa Anna: The Writer and the Caudillo, Mexico, 1795–1853. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Vázquez Mantecón, María del Carmen. La palabra del poder: Vida pública de José Maria Tornel, 1795–1853. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1997.

                                  Michael P. Costeloe