The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 116
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Montejano documents the historical (1836-1940) sections of his
work especially well. His use of census and Agriculture Department
documents and of Paul Taylor's work contributes greatly to the quality
of the argument. It is troubling, however, that there are relatively few
citations of documents or sources in Spanish. Indeed, even the Spanish
newspapers of the region are not systematically cited. This is a major
Finally, the most serious criticism to be made is that Montejano does
not realize his theoretical objective. He intended to offer a unified theo-
retical explanation of Anglo-Mexican relations in Texas. Instead of one
explanation, however, we are offered one project with two unevenly
developed parts. The first is historical and runs through 1940; here,
the research is thorough and the analysis persuasive. The years from
World War II through 1986 constitute the second period, and it is here
the analysis is incomplete.
The key theoretical question is whether pre-1940 racial divisions
are viable in the postwar economic order; if so, what form will they
take, and how do they survive in view of changing political practices?
Montejano considers these questions "irrelevant" because "class divi-
sions and tensions have always existed within the Mexican settlements
of the ranch, farm and city" (p. 300). Stated differently, since Mexican
Americans have always been divided by class, the presence of class dif-
ferences today is of no particular consequence to Anglo-Mexican rela-
tions. He would, it seems, appear to have us believe that the same pro-
cesses that structured Anglo-Mexican relations historically continue to
do so. Yet Montejano concludes that "the politics of negotiation and
compromise have replaced the politics of conflict and control" (p. 306).
In other words, the improved political and economic position of Mexi-
can Americans that Montejano acknowledges suggests that Anglo-
Mexican relations are evolving from the traditional Anglo-dominant
pattern to one of negotiated interdependence. If so, then it is precisely
the question that Montejano dismisses that he must answer. Either that,
or we will have to conclude that his theory has failed him since by his
own argument the conditions that characterized Mexican Americans
historically are no longer present.
Unfortunately, Montejano does not systematically address this or any
other major question in Part Four of the book. Instead, we are pro-
vided with a cursory review of recent events (fifty pages for forty-six
years) that does not do justice to the earlier parts of the study.
In conclusion, then, this study should be of great value to specialists
and others interested in Texas history, Mexican American history and
U.S. race relations. While it may be argued that the study does not re-
alize its theoretical objective, there can be no doubt that the early
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/142/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.