The Hidalgo Revolt: Prelude to Mexican Independence

The Hidalgo Revolt: Prelude to Mexican Independence

The Hidalgo Revolt: Prelude to Mexican Independence

The Hidalgo Revolt: Prelude to Mexican Independence

Excerpt

Since the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the Russian Revolution of 1917, many rebels with complex motives and often diametrically opposite credos have helped to transform their countries. Mustapha Kemal, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro, and many others have underscored the distinction between political coup d'état, the simple replacement of one ruling clique by another, and revolution, the fundamental reorganization of a society. In an age when such basic but extraconstitutional alteration has become almost endemic, the character of revolutionary change has been closely scrutinized.

In this study of an insurrection begun by a man bent upon working a revolution, I have resisted the temptation to draw parallels with other major upheavals. This restraint is not because of any conviction that there is a total absence of such uniformities as Crane Brinton has identified in The Anatomy of Revolution (New York, 1957). It is rather because I believe that every revolution should be studied primarily as a unique phenomenon. So it is that I have evoked neither the German peasants' War of Luther's day nor the rebellion of Tupac Amaru in 1780-81 to describe the events of this first and most crucial phase of Mexico's war for independence, nor have I called upon the shades of Gaius Gracchus and the fourteenth-century agitator John Ball to lend substance to the character of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

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