The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 364
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
baum deals with United States conquest of the Southwest, Anglo
American influx into that region, the subordination of its Mexican
inhabitants, and the resultant conflicts engendered by the entire pro-
cess. Briefer and more narrowly focused than Acufia, Rosenbaum's
volume concentrates on mexicano violent resistance to the new order
during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Texas, Cali-
fornia, and New Mexico. The author sets these incidents within a
conceptual framework of Mexican versus gringo "peasant rebellions"
spawned by a peasant-capitalist class dichotomy and outlined by his-
torian Eric J. Hobsbawm: that is, resistance appeared in the forms of
border warfare, social banditry, community upheavals, long-term skir-
mishing, and coordinated rebellions.
Rosenbaum's examples for Texas include the Cortina war on the
Rio Grande, the saga of Gregorio Cortez (Gregorio Cortez Lira), and
the Plan of San Diego. Regarding California history, he uses Tiburcio
Vasquez, the durable legend of Joaquin Murieta, the troubles in Los
Angeles during July, 1856, and the escapades of the Juan Flores gang.
For these two of the three regions examined, Rosenbaum owes con-
siderable debt to secondary works by such individuals as Leonard M.
Pitt and Americo Paredes. Doubtless because this book is an out-
growth of his dissertation on New Mexico, the author is much better
grounded in original primary research and is more precise when
dealing with this area. Five of his ten chapters deal with specific New
Mexico county and land-grant case studies, and these chapters form
the most worthwhile parts of the volume.
Certainly, there were periodic, violent reactions by segments of the
southwestern Mexican American community. That we already knew.
And Rosenbaum appropriately recognizes the need to blend overtones
of class conflict with ethnic hostility. But his initial implication of a
mexicano-gringo peasant-capitalist dichotomy blunts his sensitivity to
regional variation in the Mexican American experience. The method
of analysis based upon class conflict is often incisive, but, like all
dynamic frameworks, it is subject to mechanistic application and en-
tices the author to stretch his evidence. Things tend to be too black
and white for Rosenbaum, so that he often underplays the ambiva-
lence in Mexican American history. Truly exasperating, however, is
the author's tendency to contradict himself, place unsubstantiated
thoughts in the minds of his illusive los hombres pobres, and to use
loaded phrases, vociferous language, and hyperbole better suited
for attracting the attention of dozing college sophomores.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/400/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.