Anastasio Bustamante was born on July 27, 1780 in Jiquilpan, Michoacán. His parents were José
Ruiz and Francisca Oseguera Bustamante, both of whom were Spaniards. He attended a seminary in
Guadalajara and studied medicine in Mexico City. Over time, he became known as the family
physician to the Commander of San Luis Potosí, Felix Maria Calleja del Rey. He was more impelled to
join the military than to be a physician, so, when he received a call to join the militia of the wealthy crillo
families, he took it. As an established physician by the age of 30, he fought with the royal forces of
General Calleja against the rebellious Father
Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla. Bustamante was commended after the Battle of Calderón,
which was the end of Hidalgo's career. As a Colonel, he and his supporters were loyal to the
Agustine Iturbide as a Republican. Iturbide ultimately appointed him Commander in
Chief of the Cavalry. He was also chosen to be the Provisional Junta of Government, and he then became
the Captain General of the western and eastern regions. Bustamante eventually became allied with the
Federalists, and he continued his post under President Guadalupe Victoria. He teetered back and forth as a
Centralist and a Federalist and was an ally of the Yorkino faction of Masons.
In the 1828 presidential election, Vicente Guerrero
was the choice of the liberals, while the
conservatives rallied behind General Gómez Pedraza, a moderate, and General Anastasio Bustamante, a
right-winger. Guerrero became president after a tumultuous election process and after a revolt that was led
by Leonardo Zavala, an ex-senator from Yucatán who had gained a reputation of being a radical journalist.
Guerrero was a strict Federalist Republican President, and Bustamante served as his vice president.
Though he was a formidable soldier, Guerrero was in over his head in the political arena. He appeared
vulnerable and weak to those who wanted him out of power. The ambitious
Santa Anna rose to the
occasion and defeated an almost Spanish invasion of Mexico, thus becoming a national hero.
With Spain eliminated as a threat to Mexico, the liberals and conservatives returned to their
battles. Guerrero refused to give back the dictatorial powers that he had been granted and this allowed
Bustamante to pose as a strong supporter of the constitution. Along with key officials that once worked for
Guerrero, Bustamante organized and carried out a revolt. He had become a conservative political and
military leader. With deceitful intentions and large amounts of money, Bustamante concocted an execution
plan for Guerrero. He led forces in to capture and execute Guerrero in 1831. He was lured onto an Italian ship, turned
over to the authorities, and then shot. Guerrero had, for a time, retired to live in the mountains, but remained active in
anti-government activities in the south with
With Bustamante in power, a dictatorship had been created, and he persecuted liberals in an effort
to make everyone a conservative. In 1830, he, as a dictator, passed a set of laws called the Bustamante
Decree of 1830. They were basically a set of laws that imposed a commission to inspect the colonies,
enforce slavery laws, and prohibit immigration from the United States. The military was responsible for
carrying out the provisions that the decree set. Forces built customs houses and numerous forts all over
Mexico with hopes to encircle the land and guard it. They wanted to prevent immigration and keep
Bustamante's decree as he had first stated it. Along the border during Bustamante's regime, the executive
powers and military forces of the Mexican government increased at a rapid pace under Minister Lucas
Alaman. Freedom of the press was abolished, and the punishments increased. At the same time, the local
anti-government resistance increased, and it was constant with many who had favored independence and
the Republican Constitutional government. Those who opposed Bustamante’s government were executed,
including Juan N. Rosains and Francisco Victoria, the brother of President Victoria. Bustamante then
resigned due to the rising opposition and the revolt in Zacatecas. The rise of Santa Anna was also hindering
Bustamante’s continuing governmental practices. Santa Anna rose to power and eventually exiled him in
1833 to Europe. Santa Anna remained in power for the Mexican War.
After Bustamante was exiled from Mexico for three years, he returned to once again grasp the
presidency. Santa Anna’s power and popularity had weakened when he could not defeat the Texas
Revolution. Bustamante used this weakness, and he was soon reelected president in 1837. He served the
Mexican people for the next eight years. This presidency would prove to be a difficult one for Bustamante.
He would have trouble dealing with the French. There was a blockade of Vera Cruz that took place during
his regime, and then Santa Anna soon began to gain popularity with the Mexican people. During this
difficult term, Mexico was also involved in the
Pastry War with France, which began in1838 and ended one
year later in 1839. After the war, Bustamante headed a military campaign against rebellion.
On September 17, 1841, Bustamante went to Congress and asked for a leave of absence so that he
could lead the armed forces against uprising troops of two generals, Mariano Paredes and Gabriel Valencia.
Congress granted his request in September and the appointed Francisco Javier Echeverría as acting
president for one month during Bustamante’s absence. The generals in alliance with Santa Anna defeated
the Bustamante’s troops and he once again had to escape to Europe. He was gone for only a short time. He
returned after Santa Anna's downfall in 1844 where he was elected to the National Congress.
With his new position as a senator in the congress, Bustamante could not actively participate due
to the strong opposition to him. He had proven himself to the Mexican people as a fickle leader who never
provided much stability within the country. He did serve in some military actions such as the Mexican war, but
for the most part Bustamante’s military career had come to an end. Santa Anna was the leading power of
the Mexican war, and Bustamante had become exhausted. He eventually retired to San Miguel de Allende,
where he died on February 6, 1853.