The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 303
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to i850, has made a significant contribution to a better understanding
of Mexico's political, social, and economic problems of that era. The
central theme, of course is the liberal philosophy of Jos6 Maria Luis
Mora who was the leading liberal spokesman and pamphleteer of his
Lacking a long tradition of popular sovereignty and local authority
and possessing a history of centralized power and class privilege, Mexi-
co found it extremely difficult to operate a constitutional government
whether liberal or conservative. Hale's study examines the govern-
ment's problems and the need for reforms. He deals with the political
influence of European philosophers, particularly Benjamin Constant
of France and Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos of Spain on Mexican
liberal constitutionalists such as Mora. The reforms of Charles III
also had their impact. As time passed Mora became more and more
disenchanted with his original view that good laws or constitutional
government, whether liberal or conservative, could achieve the social,
religious, economic, and political reforms necessary for Mexico's de-
velopment and the people's welfare. By 1830o, when Anastasio Busta-
mante failed to restore the constitutional system and "return society
to an even keel," Mora was ready to espouse more revolutionary
Chaper IV deals with the liberal attack, headed by Mora, on cor-
porate privilege, including the special positions of the Catholic Church
and the Army. Mora favored the idea of many small landowners as
opposed to the few large landholders, who "far from being useful are
highly pernicious to society." However, since most of the legislators
were large landowners, it was virtually impossible to effect land re-
form. In regard to education, Mora agreed with the followers of
Bentham and James Mill that more useful and relevant subjects were
to replace the less applicable classical learning.
In Mexico there was much admiration for the United States, its
constitution, and the liberal doctrines of free enterprise and individual
freedom. However, both Mora and particularly Lorenzo de Zavala
observed that Mexico had taken on "the formulas, the phrases, the
words, the names, the titles, in short all the outward constitutional
effects of the United States; but much was lacking in order that the
substance, the essence of the system, that reality itself corresponds to
the principles professed."
In a chapter entitled "Liberalism and the Indian," Hale discusses
the indigenous peoples, who had been largely forgotten. Impressed
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/325/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.