What war was the reformation/time/place/participants/winner

War of the Reformation (1858 – 1861)

Only a few years after achieving its independence, Mexico had a scene divided into two camps almost equally strong, with their respective caudillos or strong men supporting their causes and ideals. Finally, after various movements and decisions , a three-year war called the War of the Reform broke out between the years 1858 and 1861 . What war was the reformation?

What were its causes? Why did a country with so much poverty and beginning its period as an independent nation enter a civil war ? What consequences did this war bring? Who were the protagonists of this war that did so much damage to this young republic? Keep reading this article to answer those questions.

When and where did the War of Reform take place?

The reform war, also known as the three-year war, occurred in Mexico beginning in 1858 between the Liberals and the Conservatives, and culminated in January 1861 . This so-called reform war confronts two political sides, the conservative who defended the colonial form of monarchical government and the liberals who advocated a republic, with a new constitution and a capitalist and democratic system.

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This war took about 22 battles from Celaya in March 1858 and Calpulalpan in December 1860. The Liberals, who carried out the Plan of Ayutla and ended with the government of Santa Anna, were victorious in this conflict.

Who participated in the War of Reform?

In this war, which evidently transformed the state of Mexico, the Conservatives led by Miguel Miramón , a conservative general, Félix Zuloaga , a military man and politician who became constitutional president, and Leonardo Márquez Araujo , who was a supporter of Antonio , fought for power. López de Santa Anna.

The Liberals, for their part, led by Santos Degollado , Mexican general, Jesús González Ortega , military and politician, and Ignacio Zaragoza , Mexican military man who rose to fame by defeating the French army considered at that time the best in the world. What war was the reformation?

Causes of the War of Reform

This war represents the political dispute for power: two sides sought to control the new state. There is a dispute between a representation of the old Regime (conservatives) and one of the new Regime (liberals).

Two different ideologies clashed. The conservatives sought to maintain the pillars of the colonial order. They were against forming a Federation in Mexico, they sought to increase the central power; they were also against the representative regime through the elections. The conservatives also marked their resistance to the autonomy of the municipalities. They also defended the privileges and importance of the army. What war was the reformation?

On the other hand, the influence of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution accompanied the liberals, who were carrying out the struggle to build a new nation, independent of any other political entity. Similar processes occurred throughout Latin America during the 19th century. The equality of citizens was sought through the law (in this way the class society characteristic of the colonial period would be overcome). In addition, the liberals sought to eliminate the military jurisdiction, this measure was directed against Santa Anna.


The consequences of the War of the Reform in Mexico were more conflicts , the confrontations did not stop, prolonged suffering for a people who was wearing themselves out trying to definitively establish their independence from foreign powers. The political and military activities that took place during that time, led to the existence of two parallel governments, one from Mexico City and the other from the city of Veracruz , with the consequent civil war .

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Another consequence of this internal war was the loss of territory , Mexico had neither political nor military force to face the foreign invasion that cost it part of its territory. Its powerful neighbor seized a large part of the Mexican territory before and after this war, and even the French empire came to invade Mexico to enthrone an emperor named Maximilian of Habsburg , protected by a powerful and modern army that managed land on Mexican soil and fight battles, until they were finally defeated. What war was the reformation?

Another consequence, already in a positive tone, was the liberal laws that the Liberal party promulgated before, during and after this cruel civil war . The Lerdo Law and the Juárez Law are the two most emblematic laws of this period. With the implementation of the Lerdo Law, a small peasant owner arises, this peasantry that accesses the property of the land identifies with liberalism, they are part of the liberal army against the Second Mexican Empire .


Actually, this war did not have real winners , because, although the Liberals won the battle of Calpulalpan on December 22, 1860, commanded by General Jesús González Ortega and the conservative troops, they were very weakened and commanded by General Miguel Miramón. The loser of this war was the colonial order, the liberals managed to establish an independent republic based on the constitutional order.

The defeated army remained standing and united, the conservatives continued to have some power and hindered the political and economic situation of the government of Benito Juárez . In fact, both sides sought alliances and pacts with foreign powers with the intention of establishing their governmental power over the other side. So, long after the Three Years’ War or the Reformation ended, the conflicts continued. What war was the reformation?

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