Journey to the United States of North America: Viaje a los Estados Unidos del Norte de América

Journey to the United States of North America: Viaje a los Estados Unidos del Norte de América

Journey to the United States of North America: Viaje a los Estados Unidos del Norte de América

Journey to the United States of North America: Viaje a los Estados Unidos del Norte de América

Synopsis

"First published in Paris in 1834, this is a travel narrative that maps Lorenzo de Zavala's journey through the United States during his exile from Mexico in 1830. Embracing U.S., Texas, and Mexican history; early ethnography; geography; and political philosophy, de Zavala outlines the cultural and political institutions of Jacksonian America and post-independence Mexico. His commentary rivals Alex de Tocqueville's classic travel narrative, Democracy in America, which was published in Paris one year after de Zavala's." "This is the first account of U.S. political culture from a Mexican point of view and constructs the first comparative political and historical framework for the relationship between Mexico and the United States." "In passionate prose, de Zavala argues for the incorporation of the true democratic ideals of the enlightenment in the fledgling Republic of Texas. He hoped Texas would meld the best of both Mexican and American cultures. De Zavala believed that Texans could understood the complexities of democracy and the ideals embodied in a liberal, federal government, and that these ideals could lead them to extend equal rights to all: American Indians, Mexicans, Euro-Texans, and freed men. De Zavala saw the continuation of slavery as a serious setback to democracy in the United States, and was leery of setting up any new republic that preserved that heinous institution." "The original text is accompanied by John-Michael Rivera's critical introduction and an English translation based upon Wallace Woolsey's deft translation, expanded and revised for the purposes of this volume." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Two things have caused me to write of this journey. The first is
that I have believed that nothing can give more useful lessons in
politics to my fellow citizens than the knowledge of the manners,
customs, habits, and government of the United States, whose insti
tutions they have so servilely copied. Secondly, because since I
offered in my Historical Essay to publish my memoirs, it is now time
that I begin, although it may be in incoherent bits and pieces as cir
cumstances permit. (Prologue 1)

In 1830, the Mexican exile Lorenzo de Zavala made an historic journey to the United States. A product of this journey is an incredibly important, although little known, travel narrative, Viaje a los Estados Unidos del Norte América (Journey to the United States), a meticulously written narrative about the democratic culture and institutions of the United Sates. Zavala’s narrative not only stands as a major document of early Mexican-American letters, but also as one of the first theoretical and ethnographic examinations of democracy as a political and cultural institution. Thus, Zavala’s book challenges the widespread acceptance by American scholars that Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (1835) is the first book to take United States democracy as a focus of political and cultural study. With the inclusion of Zavala’s narrative into the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project series, Zavala’s story of democratic peoplehood will no doubt, in time, be read as one of the founding political texts of U.S. and Mexican democratic culture. As such, he should be placed alongside such political thinkers as Jefferson, Prieto, Hidalgo, Madison, Mill, and Tocqueville.

Equally important is that Zavala wrote his narrative in order to represent . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.