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In Mexico Lorenzo de Zavala was a reformer striving to empower the middle class; in Texas, he sought economic stability and hoped to restore his political career. His early death defeated both plans. Some Mexican historians praise Zavala's efforts to create a republic in Mexico and to improve the conditions of the lower classes, but most see him as a traitor because he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Anglo historians have generally ignored Zavala except for brief references. A few contemporary Texans admired his political talents, but most suspected his motives. Between 1822 and 1824, Zavala, a native of Yucatan, served in the first Congress of the Mexican republic. He went on to become governor of the State of Mexico and the first Mexican minister to France. When President Santa Anna rose to power, Zavala resigned in protest. Fearful for his life, he moved his family to Mexico's frontier state of Texas where he owned land. Elected a delegate to the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence - the only delegate who had previous experience writing a constitution and who had held office at both national and state levels. Fellow delegates unanimously named him vice president of the new Republic of Texas. Forced to flee when Santa Anna approached San Jacinto, Zavala was increasingly frustrated by the new Texas government and its interim president, David Burnet. Shortly after resigning office, he died at his home opposite the San Jacinto battleground, his death attributed to recurring bouts of fever. He was only forty-eight years old.
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