Guide Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico since the Civil War

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Squash is one of the earliest crops. This agricultural development process, which continues slowly over thousands of years, will form the basis of the first villages of Mesoamerica including Mexico and Central America.

Mexico Timeline

The first major Mesoamerican civilization—the Olmecs—grows out of the early villages, beginning in the southern region of what is now Mexico. This period is marked by the effective cultivation of crops such as corn maize , beans, chile peppers and cotton; the emergence of pottery, fine art and graphic symbols used to record Olmec history, society and culture; and the establishment of larger cities such as San Lorenzo about B. The Mayas excelled at pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left an astonishing amount of great architecture; the ruins can still be seen today.

By A. The rise of the Toltecs, who used their powerful armies to subjugate neighboring societies, is said to have marked the beginning of militarism in Mesoamerican society. Early forms of currency include cacao beans and lengths of woven cloth. The Aztec civilization is also highly developed socially, intellectually and artistically.

Project MUSE - Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico since the Civil War (review)

Their language, Nahuatl, is the dominant language in central Mexico by mids, although numerous other languages are spoken. Distinctive examples of the Aztec artistic style include exquisitely feathered tapestries, headdresses and other attire; finely worked ceramics; gold, silver and copperware; and precious stones, particularly jade and turquoise.


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Members of the local native population clash with the Spanish explorers, killing some 50 of them and capturing several more. His victory marks the fall of the once-mighty Aztec empire. The ensuing Peninsular War between Spain backed by Britain and France will lead almost directly to the Mexican war for independence, as the colonial government in New Spain falls into disarray and its opponents begin to gain momentum.


  • Land campaigns to 1778.
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  • From Ancient Mesoamerica to the Toltecs;
  • September 16, In the midst of factional struggles within the colonial government, Father Manuel Hidalgo , a priest in the small village of Dolores, issues his famous call for Mexican independence. El grito de Dolores set off a flurry of revolutionary action by thousands of natives and mestizos, who banded together to capture Guanajuato and other major cities west of Mexico City. Despite its initial success, the Hidalgo rebellion loses steam and is defeated quickly, and the priest is captured and killed at Chihuahua in On their behalf, Iturbide meets with Guerrero and issues the Plan of Iguala, by which Mexico would become an independent country ruled as a limited monarchy, with the Roman Catholic Church as the official state church and equal rights and upper-class status for the Spanish and mestizo populations, as opposed to the majority of the population, which was of Native American or African descent, or mulato mixed.

    His strong Centralist policies encourage the increasing ire of residents of Texas , then still part of Mexico, who declare their independence in Humbled, he is forced to resign power by May 12, As a result of the continuing dispute over Texas, frictions between the U. The U. Despite a series of U. Other reforms focus on curtailing the power and wealth of the Catholic Church. Conservative groups bitterly oppose the new constitution, and in a three-year-long civil war begins that will devastate an already weakened Mexico. Empire and Revolution reveals much about the American psyche, especially the compulsion of American elites toward wealth, global power, and contact with other peoples, often in order to "save" them.

    These characteristics were first expressed internationally in Mexico, and Hart shows that the Mexican experience was and continues to be a prototype for U. His work demonstrates the often inconspicuous yet profoundly damaging impact of American investment in the underdeveloped countries of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Empire and Revolution will be the definitive book on U. Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction. Imperial Ambition Part I. The Rise of American Influence, 1. Arms and Capital 2.

    Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico Since the Civil War

    Rival Concessionaires Part II. The DIaz Regime, 3. Ubiquitous Financiers 4. Building the Railroads 5. Silver, Copper, Gold, and Oil 6. Absentee Landlords 7. The two nations were fighting common fragilities, undergoing correspondingly fraught stabilization processes. When New Orleans merchants attributed Mexican fragility to cultural failings, a U.

    In turn, political opinion in Mexico turned sharply against the United States, as editors and intellectuals shelved the more optimistic language of the s and early s, complaining that the U. In Chicago, recently organized Union veterans killed thirty strikers before soldiers called back from the Sioux War restored order. When the armies were disbanded and marched home, there were senses in which the war was not over. If statecraft started the process of stabilization, a new set of crises in demonstrated that statecraft could also reverse it.

    Seeking an issue for the November midterms, New York Democratic congressman Clarkson Potter created a special committee to investigate fraud in the presidential election. Ironies about Mexicanization abound. The discourse flourished during what in retrospect was a period of dual stabilization. In diagnosing the potential for collapse, Mexicanization served to foreclose that possibility.

    American Civil War - Confederate - Invasion of Mexico

    The two nations followed different, but related, paths toward stabilization. This image of a mighty nation casts an enormous shadow upon the nineteenth century. By looking at the late nineteenth century as something other than a prelude to the twentieth, it becomes possible to see the fragility that led people to fear another civil war alongside the forces that prevented such a conflict, and to observe the fluidity of views of Mexican politics, culture, religion, and history alongside the more rigid, biologically based racial ideologies of the next century.

    Mexicanization drew upon a broader, fragmentary idea of an age of republican crisis in which the American republics might stand together against a monarchical Europe that seemed no longer a model but rather a warning after the failed revolutions of and Still focused upon the centrality of political institutions, not class relations, many Americans looked not east but south for models, guides, and analytic openings.

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    There were limits, of course, to this hemispheric vision. It did not include many nations, especially monarchical Brazil; it could be paternalistic and arrogant; and it did not survive the nineteenth century. Too often, however, transnationally inclined U. If the age of republican crisis proved transitory, the utility of Mexicanization for the study of state fragility and stabilization is more enduring. By denaturalizing the United States' path to stability, scholars can build more useful analyses of how, when, and why states become fragile and then stabilize.

    Institutional solutions, particularly the electoral commission, were central to the process of stabilization. Although it is easy to emphasize the importance of popular legitimacy, the resolution of the crisis reinforces modern political scientists' observation that low levels of popular legitimacy are a relatively poor predictor of state collapse.

    Instead, the attribution of stability to social norms followed stabilization, a mask of continuity over discontinuous situations. By later locating stability in society, not the state, stabilizers tried to naturalize the process of stabilization into a depoliticized state of nature. This project made the path to stabilization inaccessible not only to contemporaries but also to historians. Additionally, the discourse of Mexicanization demonstrates the fluidity and irony of transnational thinking.

    The lesson of Mexicanization was to think through national comparisons as a way of building a government strong enough to prevent those analogies from bearing fruit. During this period, then, historians may be able to fully understand domestic politics only through the lens of transnationalism, and the ironies of transnationalism only through domestic politics.

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    We ought to be less confident about where it will lead us. A powerful U. Just as transnationalism produced surprising outcomes in the historical past, so too should its practice now be open to nuance, contradiction, and even the affirmation of the importance of national political histories, albeit stranger and more surprising ones. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

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