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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

of utmost formality, without intimacies, "correct" in every social
relation, conscientious, stern, and with "an almost Oriental sto-
icism." As for Lerdo's political career, this falls in a period of
rapid and confusing change in the nineteenth-century Mexican
scene, marked by La Reforma, the French intervention, and the
complex relations of Juarez, Lerdo, and Diaz. Lerdo's subtle in-
fluence, furthermore, was frequently misrepresented. His enemies
were legion, and his achievements were deliberately falsified by
writers of the Diaz regime, who made political advantage by
castigating and belittling him. Mr. Knapp succeeds in testing
this Porfirist historiography by comparing it with sources close
to Lerdo himself; the discrepancies are equally revealing for the
student of Lerdo and for the student of Diaz.
In general Lerdo's political influence was a persistent phe-
nomenon of Mexican political life in the 186o's and 1870's. Mr.
Knapp demonstrates this again and again in respect to constitu-
tional reform and church-state relations as well as diplomacy and
foreign policy. Probably most readers will be impressed especially
with the two chapters relating to Lerdo's presidency, where the
problems of the early 1870's are analyzed with thoroughness and
objectivity. This was the climax of Lerdo's career, and the point
is convincingly made that his presidency was influential to a
degree that has been almost totally forgotten.
The book contains a portrait of Lerdo, a map of the "nomadic
republic" (1863-1867), a full bibliography, and an index. It
examines the life of Lerdo for the first time with the close atten-
tion to detail, the critical analysis of sources, and the scientific
historical research that the subject merits. Mr. Knapp's scholar-
ship is technically impeccable. His writing is skillful and fluent.
His restoration of Lerdo from "obscurity" to the status of a
well-documented historical figure is a major contribution to
Mexican historical studies.
State University of Iowa
Motolinia's History of the Indians of New Spain. Translated and
annotated by Francis Borgia Steck. Washington (Academy
of American Franciscan History), 1951. Pp. 358. $6.50o.
"They commonly began to drink in the afternoon. In groups


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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