Over the centuries Spain and Mexico established and organized a multiethnic
society that was unique but somewhat similar to Andalusian society following the
Reconquest. Both in Andalusia and the Spanish-Mexican Borderlands, colonists
became Spaniards "because they could not be anything else." In the case of the
Borderlands, Mexican independence was followed by the neglect of the north
and intensified regionalism. As Fontana observes, when the Mexican govern-
ment encouraged foreigners, "who overwhelmingly were Americans," to settle
Texas and then "began to repeat the mistake" in California, the Spanish-speak-
ing Borderlanders were overwhelmed and the loss of half of Mexico's territory
was assured (pp. 192, 212). What remains is a cultural legacy reinforced by the
"continued immigration and growth in the population of this segment of our
society" (p. xii).
University of Nebraska, Lincoln RALPH H. VIGIL
Tejanos and Texas under the Mexican Flag, 1821z-836. By Andres Tijerina.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1994. Pp. xi +172. Preface,
introduction, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-890o96-585-4. $29.50.)
This book is a long-awaited revision of a widely read dissertation, modified for
publication by broader research, sharpened focus, and weightier interpretations.
It details the history of a significant period when Tejanos made adjustments to
powerful forces of change-Mexican independence, union in statehood with
Coahuila, and demographic transformation.
Although Tijerina begins with a useful summary of population characteristics,
appropriately subdivided into the major Tejano communities, his emphasis is
political. He demonstrates that Texas politics developed from an interplay
between frontera realities, the attractions of Anglo American-style economic
progress, and the partisan dynamics of state and national leaders. Tijerina
asserts that conflict rather than harmonious evolution shaped Tejano political
culture. He presents more on the form-constitutions, laws, structures-than on
the substance of politics in practice. Thus, the impact of government on
Tejanos' manner of living becomes a bit obscure.
At the same time his approach has many strengths. Tijerina is more direct
than any previous scholar in demonstrating that many Tejano leaders opted for
Anglo American liberal capitalism with its ironic translation into support for
African American slavery. He also sees Texas Mexicans as aggressive protestors
for principles and changes to further the interests of the province. They tended
to favor an expansion of religious toleration, for example. Levels of activity and
success were much greater in the state arena in Saltillo than in Mexico City.
Tijerina's view confirms prevailing images of Tejanos operating in the middle
ground, protesting both threats to liberal federalism and incursions by grasping
Anglo adventurers, including empresarios like Green De Witt.
An impression of paradox prevails throughout. Tijerina's other consistent
theme is the Mexican legacy to Texas. For example, in terms of military practice
the Tejano frontera promoted development of the compaiia volante or civilian
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed June 2, 2015.