Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas

Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas

Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas

Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas

Synopsis

Tejanos (Texans of Mexican heritage) were instrumental leaders in the life and development of Texas during the Mexican period, the war of independence, and the Texas Republic.

Jesús F. de la Teja and ten other scholars examine the lives, careers, and influence of many long-neglected but historically significant Tejano leaders who were active and influential in the formation, political and military leadership, and economic development of Texas.

In Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas, lesser-known figures such as Father Refugio de la Garza, Juan Martén Veramendi, José Antonio Saucedo, Raphael Manchola, and Carlos de la Garza join their better-known counterparts- José Antonio Navarro, Juan Seguén, and Plácido Benavides, for example- on the stage of Texas and regional historical consideration.

This book also features a forewordnbsp;by David J. Weber,nbsp;in whichnbsp;he discusses how Anglocentric views allowed important Tejano figures to fade from public knowledge. Students and scholars of Texas and regional history, those interested in Texana, and readers in Latino/a studies will glean important insights from Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas.

Excerpt

Over thiry years ago, in the pages of the Western Historical Quarterly, I lamented the fact that historians had failed to explore the lives of Mexicans in the Southwest, even when those historians wrote about the era when the Southwest belonged to Mexico. Historians had written numerous biographies of Anglo-Americans who entered northern Mexico, from California to Texas, in the years before 1846. These writers paid scant attention, however, to the Mexicans who received those Anglo-American visitors. Thus, one could find article-or book-length biographies of any number of Anglo-American settlers, trappers, or traders who operated in northern Mexico but would look hard and long for a study of a single Mexican governor, military commander, rancher, or businessman.

I had pointed to the dearth of biographies of Mexicans to make the larger point that Anglo-American historiography on the Southwest’s Mexican era was imbalanced and ethnocentric (“Mexico’s Far Northern Frontier, 1821–1854: Historiography Askew,” Western Historical Quarterly, July 1976). How times have changed. When I advanced that argument, the Chicano movement had peaked and a new generation of historians had begun to come on the scene. Trained with Ph.D.s and sensitized to think about history from the bottom up, they wrote about minorities as well as majorities, and they sought to explain how peoples accommodated to or resisted their would-be oppressors. Out of that intellectual milieu came new studies that began to redress the region’s unbalanced historiography.

Of the four border states, Texas had the least balanced historiography in the mid-1970s. In the popular imagination, in particular, Texas history began with its “father,” Stephen Austin, shepherding his Anglo-American children into the “howling wilderness” of Texas. The area’s long history under Spain and Mexico was little more than a stage set for Anglo-American actors to win Texas independence and set Texas history into motion.

This collection of biographical vignettes, Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas, shows how far we have come. It contains eleven biographies of people whose lives historians have recovered from historical oblivion and fleshed out with fresh, interesting . . .

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