Manifesto from the Political Head to the citizens of Guatemala, September 15, 1821 [Translation]

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Gainza, Gabino, 1760-1824, Manifesto del gefe político á los ciudadanos de Guatemala, 15 de septembre 1821 (September 15, 1821)

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Title: Manifesto from the Political Head to the citizens of Guatemala, September 15, 1821 [Translation]
Funding from: Funding for the creation of this digitized text is provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Author: Gainza, Gabino, 1760-1824
Statements of responsibility:
  • Creation of digital images: Center for Digital Scholarship, Rice University
  • Creation of translation: Cecilia Bonnor
  • Conversion to TEI-conformant markup: Center for Digital Scholarship, Rice University
  • Parsing and proofing: Humanities Research Center and Fondren Library, Rice University
  • Subject analysis and assignment of taxonomy terms: Robert Estep, Cataloger
Publisher: Rice University, Houston, Texas
Publication date: 2010-06-07
Identifier: aa00023tr
Availability: This digital text is publicly available via the Americas Digital Archive through the following Creative Commons attribution license: “You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work. Under the following conditions: By Attribution. You must give the original author credit. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.”
Digitization: Page images of the original document are included. Images exist as archived TIFF files, JPEG versions for general use, and thumbnail GIFs.
Translation: This document is an English translation of the "Manifesto del gefe político á los ciudadanos de Guatemala." Translated by Cecilia Bonnor. The language of the original document is Spanish.
Provenance: The Humanities Research Center at Rice University, under the direction of Dr. Caroline Levander, purchased this material from a manuscripts dealer in 2005. The Gilder Foundation funded the development of the physical archive. Original materials are housed at the Woodson Research Center, Rice University.
Description: Printed document, 3pp. [in text, at end: Guatemala: 15 de Septiembre de 1821]. His recounting of the meeting that led to the Declaration
Source(s): Gainza, Gabino, 1760-1824, Manifesto del gefe político á los ciudadanos de Guatemala, 15 de septembre 1821 (September 15, 1821)
Source Identifier: Americas collection, 1811-1920, MS 518, Box 2 folder 05, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. Contact info:
Description of the project: This digitized text is part of the Our Americas Archive Partnership (OAAP) project.
Editorial practices
This text has been encoded based on recommendations from Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Any comments on editorial decisions for this document are included in footnotes within the document with the author of the note indicated. All digitized texts have been verified against the original document. Quotation marks have been retained. For printed documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. No corrections or normalizations have been made, except that hyphenated, non-compound words that appear at the end of lines have been closed up to facilitate searching and retrieval. For manuscript documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. We have recorded normalizations using the reg element to facilitate searchability, but these normalizations may not be visible in the reading version of this electronic text
Languages used in the text: English
Text classification
Keywords: Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Leaflets
Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Guatemala--Politics and government--1821-1945
Keywords: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
  • Guatemala (nation)
Revision/change: Lorena Gauthereau-Bryson 2009
  • Edited
  • Converted from P4 to P5


Other Governments speak of treasury needs created or increased by its hand, of plans outlined, or forecasts conceived by themselves, of decrees issued, or steps taken in accordance with the reports of an advisor or royal council.

The Government of Guatemala speaks to you, citizens, about what you, yourselves, have desired, of what you, yourselves, have proclaimed.

Since the year 10, 1810, the two Americas, Northern and Southern began to revolt; from that time forward they began to defend their rights and to support their titles; it was then that the proclamations and the voices of liberty and independence began.

Guatemala, located between two Americas, was a happy and quiet spectator of both. Its sons heard the voices with pleasure; they joyfully observed the steps taken by those they had always considered brothers; and though they did not public announce the sentiments in their hearts, they were nevertheless Americans: they loved that which was loved, desired that which they yearned.

The movement that physically propagates with speed also rapidly becomes political; it was impossible for the center of the continent to remain in repose while its entire mass was being stirred in the South and in the North.

The voice of Independence resonated in New Spain and the echoes were immediately heard in Guatemala. It was then that the desire, which has never been extinguished, was ignited; but the Guatemalans, pacifists and always quiet, waited for Mexico to reach its final terms. This expectation lasted for months but the energy of feelings grows continuously. The news of New Spain increased with each mail. Oaxaca moved and the movement continued in Chiapa Regularized: Chiapas , which was in contact with her.

It was natural for this to be communicated to all the Provinces, because they all shared one will, one desire. To remain indifferent was to remain isolated, to be exposed to fatal separations, to sever relationships, and suffer all the risks.

This speech by the sons of Guatemala, produced the effect of a lightening bolt. It took hold of hearts and ignited desires and the Government, witnessing this, immediately consulted with the Provincial Deputy Board, providing them with the official documents from Chiapa Regularized: Chiapas .

In accordance with their agreement, I ordered a meeting for the next day, the 15th of the month, with His Excellency the Archbishop, the representatives of the Excellence Territorial Audience, the City Council, the venerated Mr. Dean y Cabildo, the Consulate, the Lawyers College, the heads of the Revenue department, military officers, regular prelates, and public officials.

The people were not indifferent to a matter that was theirs. They gathered around the Municipal Palace, in the street, in the square, at the gate, in the foyer, in the corridors, and the lobby. They manifested the moderation that has always distinguished them, but they also assured that they know how to love the cause and celebrate its interests.

When some officials, in no way resisting independence, merely stated that the final results from Mexico should be awaited, a low but perceptible murmur indicated disapproval. When the Prelates or other employees manifested that the voice of Guatemala is that of America and that they were required to listen to peoples’ voices, the general clamor conveyed the popular opinion. When it was added that the institution of the new Government and sanction of the fundamental law must be the work of the people’s representatives, the cheers were also undeniable signs of the general will.

The result of the discussion was undeniable and having it in mind, I agreed with that which was consulted by the Provincial Deputy Chamber and the Individual members of the City Council– all the points expressed in the Act that I have the honor of circulating.

Citizens, consider this as the great preliminary document that must ensure your wishes. Guatemala is a beautiful composition of Cartago and Leon, Comayagua y Tegucigalpa, San Salvador and San Miguel, Sacatepeques Regularized: Sacatepequez and Escuintla, Quesaltenando Regularized: Quetzaltenango and Chiapa Regularized: Chiapas , Sonsonate and Suchiltepeques Regularized: Suchitepéquez , Sololá, Totonicapan and Chimaltenango, Verapaz and Chiquimula. Let their representatives or deputies come to this capital; let them proclaim the will of their provinces in the face of the world; let them designate the form of the government and designate the Political Constitution that will elevate you to the happiness prescribed by the geographic position of your land.

This is the desire of the Government; this is the will of the Authorities; these are the sentiments of Guatemala.

If in all countries and ages, union is the power of the people, it is more precise and necessary in the present. The Government recommends this to the Citizens, to the people, and to its Provinces. That there be divisions when the law itself divides the individuals of one society into two societies; that there be division when the law elevates one people over the ruin of others. But in a free government, in a government that must be instituted by the will of the representatives of the people, the motives of division must stop, the union must triumph, and the interests of parties must disappear.

Citizens: elect individuals from the electoral provincial boards, deputies worthy of the people that they will represent; elect men with heroic American enthusiasm; elect talent; search for great geniuses to form the legation that may rule you in the future.

Citizens, this will be your work. Your will is what shall form the Congress; and the Congress that you shall form is that which will forge your good fortune and your happiness. Citizens, meditate on the great work that is placed in your hands. Your will shall decide the government. I am sensitive to the votes that the People have given me, sensitive to the confidence that has honored me. I swear today and will swear when the constitution is enacted, to be loyal to the American government and support it with the power that you have placed in my command. GUATEMALA NATIONAL PALACE, SEPTEMBER 15, 1821.


Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
Available through the Creative Commons Attribution license