The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 247
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Vizquez packs a lot into La interuenci6n norteamencana. She covers the back-
ground to the U.S. invasion of Mexican territory going all the way back to the
Louisiana Purchase and its consequences. More importantly, she discusses how at
independence Mexico looked to the United States for a model of modern govern-
ment, even while its northern neighbor was already acquisitively eyeing former
Spanish territory. Texas, therefore, plays a central role in this account of events.
The ungrateful colonists, who had no real complaint against a government that
had repeatedly given in to their demands, followed the lead of annexationist agita-
tors who used the reestablishment of customs duties as a pretext for rebelling. An-
drew Jackson made a contribution by declaring U.S. neutrality, although as
Vizquez maintains, the revolt in Texas should have been a purely internal Mexi-
can matter. As expected, her treatment of the war itself focuses on the Mexican
defense rather than the American offense, and centers on the incompetence of
the military leadership, especially that of Santa Anna. The consequences of the
war, including the negotiations and signing of the peace treaty, are dealt with too
superficially, especially with regard to the Mexican population that remained in
what then became U.S. territory.
True to its popular orientation, the book is handsomely illustrated and color is
used throughout. A large number of portraits, mostly of Mexican military and po-
litical figures, but also of Jackson, Taylor, Scott, Fremont, and Kearny are includ-
ed. All the maps but one are historical artifacts, many of them from U.S. sources.
The other illustrations include woodcuts, lithographs, and canvases by Mexican
and American artists. Of the latter, most came from the Amon Carter Museum,
the only U.S. institution cited in the illustration credits. The text also includes a
complete text of the treaty, followed by the memorial written by the Mexican com-
missioners explaining their motives during the negotiations.
Given the general and popular tone of the book, La intervenci6n norteamericana
contains few serious lapses. While Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara did have an inter-
view with Secretary of State James Monroe during his search for U.S. assistance for
Mexico's insurgency against Spain, it is not true that he planned his invasion of
Texas "without any help whatever" (p. 27). There were three "Mexican" signers of
the Texas declaration of independence, not two as Vizquez maintains. Perhaps
more disappointing, from the Texas scholarship perspective anyway, is that Cali-
fornios and Nuevomexicanos receive much more attention than do Tejanos, and
that the federalist-centralist struggle in Coahuila is given too brief coverage. More
problematical is the ambivalence toward the distribution of responsibility for the
conditions that allowed the United States to succeed in its designs. Vizquez re-
solves the contradictions and ambivalence by attributing to the war that sense of
national consciousness that Mexico had lacked before. "The occupation permitted
the national consciousness to expand and for national projects to become clearer,
which in turn loosened a terrible confrontation. The country still had another for-
eign [French] intervention in its future, but this time it would be prepared to
meet it with greater unity" (p. 132).
Readers interested in a mainstream, uncomplicated interpretation of Mexico's
relations with the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/290/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.