The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994 Page: 147
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Motivated by access to the "valuable papers" of a wealthy Mexican family
named Gordoa, housed at the Latin American Library of Tulane University, the
authors have constructed a conceptual framework within which they accommo-
date topics of transportation, communication, urban life, the use of leisure time,
work habits, welfare, Indian village customs, and attitudes toward death, educa-
tion, and culture.
Not surprisingly, the authors devote an entire chapter to Mexico City, foun-
tainhead of politics, commerce, cultural expression, and entertainment, to de-
scribe the pulsating interactions of the special interest groups that either
aggressively competed for control or passively observed the high drama from a
safe distance. The metropolitan center contained a variety of thematic "hooks"
(plazas, streets, houses, churches, convents, hospitals, cafes, hotels, and colorful
residents) on which the writers suspend their narrative, held together by pithy
Given the abundance of contemporary documentation from which to select,
Olivera and Crete succumb to the temptation of ridiculing the religious prac-
tices of nineteenth-century society: "The church did not bring virtue to the west-
ern hemisphere, but a creed. From the very beginning, the clergy directed their
flocks to a scrupulous observance of the forms of the Catholic Church, rather
than its moral or spiritual values" (p. 212). Apparently the authors reject the
likelihood that the clergy was capable of possessing redeeming qualities to con-
tribute to society. "It is no wonder," they conclude, "against such a background,
that so many Mexicans sank into superstition and intolerance." Such polemical
diatribes unfortunately detract from the overall merit of the publication.
Angela Moyano Pahissa, a Mexican scholar of sterling credentials, spent an en-
tire year investigating archival depositories in this country (primarily in Califor-
nia, Illinois, and New Mexico) for pertinent data to reinforce prior research in
Mexico's Secretariat of Foreign Relations. For a firmer grasp of her country's
early national period, the author focused on the years 1819-1861, beginning
with the negotiated settlement of the Adams-Onis (or Florida Purchase) Treaty,
and how it affected the delineation of a transcontinental boundary, and ending
with the Mexican conflict of La Reforma, which coincided with the American Civ-
Professor Moyano reconstructs many of the mainline issues in American-Mexi-
can relations, but, refreshingly, she provides an interesting perspective with her
interpretations. American envoys Joel Roberts Poinsett and Anthony Butler
earned their quota of brickbats for trying to acquire Texas by outright purchase.
Avoiding argumentative defenses that assuredly prejudice anticipated outcomes,
the author reexamines highlights of the Texas saga that showed that Mexican
leaders, notwithstanding internal dissension that sapped national resolve, were
aware of covetous American designs upon the territory south of the Red River
and west of the Rio Sabinas. For example, in 1836, a few weeks prior to Santa
Anna's siege at the Alamo, Manuel Eduardo de Gorostiza, Mexico's minister in
Washington, D.C., officially protested to the Jackson Administration about the
involvement of recent immigrants in Texas in fomenting rebellion against legiti-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994, periodical, 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/m1/175/: accessed July 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.