Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940

Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940

Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940

Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940

Synopsis

The commercial world of South Texas between 1880 and 1940 provided an attractive environment for many seeking to start new businesses, especially businesses that linked the markets and finances of the United States and Mexico. Entrepreneurs regularly crossed the physical border in pursuit of business.

But more important, more complex, and less well-known were the linguistic, cultural, and ethnic borders they navigated daily as they interacted with customers, creditors, business partners, and employees.

Drawing on her expertise as a bankruptcy lawyer, historian Alicia M. Dewey tells the story of how a diverse group of entrepreneurs, including Anglo-Americans, ethnic Mexicans, and European and Middle Eastern immigrants, created and navigated changing business opportunities along the Texas-Mexico border between 1880 and 1940."

Excerpt

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am introducing here Alicia Dewey’s Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880–1940. It is the second book in the Connecting the Greater West Series, scholarly works designed to explore the changing and growing ways that historians and others are coming to view the North American West. That West is the large region that includes the American West, northern Mexico, western Canada, parts of the Pacific Rim, and the borderlands areas between these places. The books in the series include works on transnational history, borders and borderlands, immigration, environment and agriculture, and indigenous negotiations of bordered regions. Pesos and Dollars fits well within this set of studies as it examines the bordered region between southern Texas and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila. This transnational area is characterized by farming and ranching and by the growth of cities and towns on both sides of the Rio Grande, which separates the United States from Mexico in this part of the continent.

Dewey has written here what is one of the only books that examines the history of the South Texas borderlands from a business history perspective, using a wide array of records not usually consulted by historians (e.g., banking accounts, credit records, bankruptcy court documents). The book then tells the story of the rise and fall of various business ventures to explore the larger story of the economic development of the US /Mexico borderlands in general. Along the way . . .

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