Mexico's Crucial Century, 1810-1910: An Introduction

Mexico's Crucial Century, 1810-1910: An Introduction

Mexico's Crucial Century, 1810-1910: An Introduction

Mexico's Crucial Century, 1810-1910: An Introduction

Synopsis

After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, it began the work of forging its identity as an independent nation, a process that would endure throughout the crucial nineteenth century. A weakened Mexico faced American territorial ambitions and economic pressure, and the U. S.-Mexican War threatened the fledgling nation's survival. In 1876 Porfirio Déaz became president of Mexico, bringing political stability to the troubled nation. Although Déaz initiated long-delayed economic development and laid the foundation of modern Mexico, his government was an oligarchy created at the expense of most Mexicans. This accessible account guides the reader through a pivotal time in Mexican history, including such critical episodes as the reign of Santa Anna, the U. S.-Mexican War, and the Porfiriato. Colin M. MacLachlan and William H. Beezley recount how the century between Mexico's independence and the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution had a lasting impact on the course of the nation's history.

Excerpt

In the nineteenth century, the Mexican Republic faced extinction not once but twice. in addition, the federal republic teetered on the verge of fragmenting into microrepublics at least as many times. Mexico lost some 50 percent of its territory to the United States and continued to struggle to find ways of accommodating its northern neighbor while preserving its sovereignty and self-respect. Napoleon iii of France came within a hair's breadth of permanently establishing a satellite monarchy on Mexican soil.

In retrospect, that the Mexican Republic survived the crucial first century of independence seems almost miraculous. Mexico spent much of the period attempting to claw its way back to the economic prosperity that had characterized the colonial period before the turn of the nineteenth century.

In the eighteenth century Mexico's resources engendered a level of prosperity that rivaled that of the imperial metropolis. Economic and population growth, the emergence of complex cities, and internal demands changed the relationship between the empire and Spain. Mexican capital and shipping played a significant role in transatlantic commerce. the merchant community in Cádiz included Mexicans as well as other Spanish Americans. Legal and contraband items entered New World ports and markets with little attention to the laws. Spain could not supply goods or absorb sufficient raw materials to serve as . . .

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