Anthony Flores was the eighth President of the United States of Mexico, serving from June 1902 to February 1914. He was the first Mexican leader to be democratically elected since Omar Kinkaid in 1875.
Flores was a Continentalist Senator from Durango who was forced into exile by Chief of State Benito Hermión at some time during the latter's rule. Flores returned to the U.S.M. after provisional President Martin Cole announced on 15 November 1901 a full amnesty for all those who had been exiled by Hermión. Flores was one of fourteen candidates for the presidency in the 1902 Mexican elections of 14 June, finishing second or third behind Pedro Sanchez, the former editor of the Mexico City Times. Flores participated in a runoff election with Sanchez and George Craig, winning 8,045,460 votes, a plurality of 45% of the 17,862,372 votes cast. According to Sobel, Flores was favored in the elections by Kramer Associates President Diego Cortez y Catalán due to his mixed Hispano/Mexicano ancestry, and it was Cortez' support that led to Flores' victory.
Flores' presidency was uneventful politically. Under his leadership, civil liberties were restored, Hermión's public works projects were continued, and Mexico prospered. The last Mexican marines were withdrawn from Siberia in 1903, leaving the country a client state of Kramer Associates. Like his North American counterparts Clifton Burgen, Christopher Hemingway, and Albert Merriman, Flores was a moderate, an isolationist, and a person unwilling to innovate or take risks.
Although he had been a Continentalist before the Hermión dictatorship, Flores chose not to revive the Continentalist Party in post-Hermión Mexico, most likely because of its association with Hermión. Instead, Flores founded a new party called the United Mexican Party. Sobel describes the U.M.P. as being based on an alliance between businessmen in California and Jefferson, by which he presumably meant Kramer Associates and its subordinate companies. The U.M.P. was also supported by Mexicano peasants in Chiapas and Durango, who had been the main beneficiaries of Hermión's Free Society programs. The U.M.P. continued to support state intervention in favor of the poor, and encouraged the emergence of Mexicano political leaders such as Assemblyman Pedro Fuentes of Chiapas.
Flores ran for re-election in the 1908 Mexican elections against a revived Liberty Party under Frank Everhart. Flores campaigned under the slogan "Security in your home and prosperity in the land," and won what Sobel calls a "smashing victory" over Everhart. In June 1909, Flores said, "The people know me. I am one of them." Mexico City Times columnist Diego Santiago responded by saying, "The President is the lowest common denominator, and what is more surprising, he appears proud of it."
Mexican economic growth during the Flores administration was among the greatest in the world, and Flores claimed that "ours is the most dynamic country in the history of mankind." In 1910, the U.S.M. produced 74% of the world's petroleum, and also exported gold, cotton, and to a lesser extent, food. Mineral deposits were developed in New Granada, Alaska, and Mexico del Norte, and the U.S.M.'s gross domestic product almost doubled between 1902 and 1910. However, the Mexican economy was increasingly dominated by Kramer Associates, which accounted for over half of the U.S.M.'s gross domestic product in 1910.
During the Flores administration, motion picture theaters appeared in Mexican cities, and commercial Mexican radio stations appeared, although only the wealthy could afford radio receivers. In 1906, Jefferson Motors began producing vulcazine-powered locomobiles, and J.M. President William James predicted that his cars would soon overtake sales of steam-powered North American locomobiles in world sales. Jefferson and California had growing electric power grids by 1906, although the people of other states tended to rely on the natural gas-fueled Carminales mantle lamp for artificial light.
Flores chose not to run for a third term in the 1914 Mexican elections. The U.M.P. presidential nomination went to his Secretary of State, Victoriano Consalus, while the Libertarians nominated Senator Albert Ullman of California. The main issue of the election was the growing threat posed by Henri Fanchon, the expansionist president of France. A week before the election, on 8 February 1914, Flores invited both Consalus and Ullman to a conference to discuss possible responses to the French challenge. A report of the meeting was leaked to the press, presumably by Consalus, since Ullman was made to appear weak in the stories that resulted. Flores himself said little during the meeting, indicating that the problem would belong to Consalus or Ullman in a few days, and that he would conduct a holding operation until his successor took office.
Sobel makes no mention of Flores after the end of his presidency.
Sobel's sources for the political career of Anthony Flores are Oswald Marcusson's The Shame of Mexico (London, 1935); James Harper's The Mexican Miracle: The Economy Under Flores and Parsons (Mexico City, 1955); Raymond Vun Kannon's The Phoenix: Mexico's Rebirth (London, 1958); and Stanley Tulin's The Kramer Associates: The Cortez Years (London, 1970) and The Kramer Associates: The Benedict Years (London, 1971).
|Heads of State of the U.S.M.|
|Andrew Jackson • Miguel Huddleston • Pedro Hermión • Raphael Blaine • Hector Niles • Arthur Conroy • Omar Kinkaid • George Vining • Benito Hermión • Martin Cole • Anthony Flores • Victoriano Consalus • Emiliano Calles • Pedro Fuentes • Alvin Silva • Felix Garcia • Vincent Mercator • Raphael Dominguez|