Lorenzo de Zavala

Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Sanchez (October 14, 1788 – November 15, 1836), known simply as Lorenzo de Zavala, was a Mexican and later Tejano physician, politician, diplomat and author. Born in Yucatán under Spanish rule, he was closely involved in drafting the constitution for the First Federal Republic of Mexico in 1824 after Mexico won independence from Spain. Years later, through a remarkable series of events, he also helped in drafting a constitution for Mexico's rebellious enemy at the time, the Republic of Texas, to secure independence from Mexico in 1836. Zavala was said to have had a keen intellect and was fluent in multiple languages.

Zavala was one of the most prominent liberals in the era of the First Republic. Since his youth, Zavala was an indefatigable believer in the principle of democratic representative government. As a young man he founded several newspapers and wrote extensively, espousing democratic reforms — writings which led to his imprisonment by the Spanish crown. While imprisoned, he learned English and studied medicine; after his release, he practiced medicine for two years before entering politics.

Over his career, he served in many different capacities including the Spanish Cortes (legislature) in Madrid representing Yucatán, and in Mexico's Senate. He became Mexico's Minister of Finance and served as Ambassador to France and Governor of the State of Mexico. In 1829, when the Mexican government was overthrown, Zavala was forced into exile and moved to the United States for two years. He wrote a book about U.S. political culture during this time and also traveled extensively in Europe. With his diplomatic experience and linguistic skills, Zavala was well received by foreign governments.

After exile, he returned to Mexico and was appointed as Minister to France. While serving in Paris, Zavala saw that Mexican President Santa Anna was becoming a military-backed dictator, ignoring the Mexican Constitution that Zavala had helped write. Zavala resigned his position in protest and spoke out against Santa Anna. After this schism, Zavala could not return home and fled to Texas, then a Mexican territory, where he owned land. He eventually became an advocate of Texas independence to the point of helping in the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, personally designing its flag, and serving as Vice President.

Some Mexicans consider Zavala a traitor for supporting Texas independence, while Texans consider him a founding father and state hero. In modern-day Texas, both a county and a city are named in his honor, as well as many schools and public buildings including the Texas State Archives and Library Building in Austin. Provided by Wikipedia
by Zavala, Lorenzo de, 1788-1836.
Published 1985
Book Government Document