The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 292
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
history, of the racial and social characteristics and movements of the pop-
ulation has been delayed and avoided up to the present. What is presented
here is not a complete detailed analysis, but some appraisals that can guide
future research in this area, so that historians, as suggested by Harley L.
Browning, "at least those concerned with economic and social history, can
benefit from a better understanding of the demographic perspective."2
The social structure of colonial Texas, as that of many other frontier
areas, possessed several traits that made it different from the Mexican society
of the eighteenth century. Lyle N. McAlister's classification of the Mexican
population, based on their economic characteristics, holds some validity
relative to Texas in general terms. McAlister viewed the Mexicans as di-
vided into three classes: the upper class, consisting of the owners of hacien-
das and mines, rich merchants, the higher echelons of the clergy, and the
bureaucracy; the middle class, constituted of smaller ranchers and mine
owners, small merchants, clerks and civil servants, artisans, and the lower
clergy and bureaucrats; and the lower or proletarian class, including poor
artisans, peasants, peddlers, servants, and vagabonds, all people without
Historia de la Provincia de Texas," of which, besides the original, four manuscript copies
are available. The copy consulted for this study is that held by the Real Academia de la
Historia (Madrid), Colecci6n Juan Bautista Mufioz, Mss. 9/I930o-931, which includes
this valuable demographic information (I, ff. 35-40). See Real Academia de la Historia,
Catdlogo de la Coleccidn de Juan Bautista Muiioz. Documentos interesantes para la His-
toria de America (3 vols.; Madrid, 1956). See also Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of
the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols.; San Francisco, 1886-1889), II, 2; Edward
W. Heusinger, Early Explorations and Mission Establishments in Texas (San Antonio,
1936), 193; Carlos E. Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519-1936 (7 vols.;
Austin, 1936-1958), IV, 317, and V, 32-34, 400; J. Autrey Dabbs (ed. and trans.),
"The Texas Missions in 1785," Mid-America, XXII (January, 1940), 38-58; Alfred
Barnaby Thomas (ed. and trans.), Teodoro de Croix and the Northern Frontier of New
Spain, 1776-1783 (Norman, i941), 72-73; Alejandro de Humboldt, Ensayo politico
sobre el Reino de la Nueva Espaia (5 vols.; Mexico City, 1941), II, 14, 170-171, 311-
317; Ernest Wallace and David M. Vigness (eds.), Documents of Texas History (Austin,
1963), 29-35; Odie Faulk (ed. and trans.), "A Description of Texas in 1803," South-
western Historical Quarterly, LXVI (April, 1963), 513-515; Luis Navarro Garcia, Don
Jose de Gdlvez y la Comandancia General de las Provincias Internas del Norte de Nueva
Espaia (Seville, I964), 406; Nettie Lee Benson (ed. and trans.), "A Governor's Report
on Texas in 1809," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXXI (April, 1968), 611; Sher-
burne F. Cook and Woodrow Borah, Essays in Population History: Mexico and the
Caribbean (Vol. I; Berkeley, 1970), 168.
2Harley L. Browning, "Mr. Historian, Meet Mr. Demographer," Investigaciones Con-
tempordneas sobre la Historia de Mdxico (Mexico City, 1971), 619. Mr. Browning ob-
jectively mentions the scarcity of critical demographic studies which make an accurate
evaluation of the sources: "I think the main reason for the uncritical acceptance of
population figures and the often weak and unsatisfactory analysis of these data is due
mainly to the fact that historians simply are unfamiliar with demographic procedures and
therefore are ill-equipped to evaluate and effectively utilize demographic data. It is highly
unlikely that most historians have been exposed to any sort of formal training in demog-
raphy and they seldom give the reader any evidence of familiarity with the demographic
literature." Ibid., 62o.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/342/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.