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Document #8

Jose Fernando Ramirez (1805-71) served in the Mexican Congress during the war with the United States. Excerpts from his diary and letters offer insight in the defeat suffered by Mexico in 1848.

. . . All we have left to compensate us for our misfortunes are the things that have been the sources of all that we deplore: vanity, pride, and lack of cooperation—all in the highest degree....

Beginning with the men who run our affairs, we find that we have a Congress without prestige, without power and without ability. What is worse, it is undermined and disrupted by partisan hatreds which prevent it from seeing anything clearly, except when it wishes to wound its opponents.... [Congress] has evinced a vocal enthusiasm for waging war, but a mental and even moral sluggishness in seeing it through to the finish. I have no doubt that every one of those individuals who on the rostrum or in the public press have so furiously been preaching war to the death;, branding as "traitors" anyone who even says one word about a truce, is at heart convinced of our absolute helplessness, not only to carry on the war successfully but even to continue fighting in the face of defeat.... no one speaks of anything but war, and as the height of contradiction, it is obvious that not one of these advocates of war shows the slightest inclination to shoulder a musket or to put his money into the public treasury. "Let us unite! Let us Unite!" .... That is what people are shouting here; and since each individual reserves to himself the right to preach, it turns out that we have nothing but preachers. The key to the riddle is simple enough. It is the same with which the public crises of the last ten or twelve years can be explained. The war in Texas was the excuse for the revolutions and corrupt governments of the past. Today this serves as a weapon that each of the quarreling factions wants to get hold of in order to wound its opponents to the death. The first one who talks about peace will lose that weapon, and, therefore, no one wants to utter the fateful word. Another element enters into this question: our national vanity, which, while personifying the nation, will not admit any compromise between victory and complete submission when its pride has been wounded.... these inclinations, I repeat have plunged us into a war with regard to which we can say that it has begun, is going on, and will finally drag us on to its conclusion still unprepared....

1. According the Ramirez, what are the reasons Mexico is losing the war?
2. How does his explanation compare with that of the Mexican text book?


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