Mexican History

A Primary Source Reader

Edited by Nora E. Jaffary; Edward W. Osowski; Susie S. Porter

First Edition • September 1, 2009 • 480 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813343341 • $55.00 USD$71.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813391687 • $36.99 USD$36.99 CAN

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Mexican History is a comprehensive and innovative primary source reader in Mexican history from the pre-Columbian past to the neoliberal present. Chronologically organized chapters facilitate the book’s assimilation into most course syllabi. Its selection of documents thoughtfully conveys enduring themes of Mexican history—land and labor, indigenous people, religion, and state formation—while also incorporating recent advances in scholarly research on the frontier, urban life, popular culture, race and ethnicity, and gender. Student-friendly pedagogical features include contextual introductions to each chapter and each reading, lists of key terms and related sources, and guides to recommended readings and Web-based resources.

Nora E. Jaffary is associate professor of history at Concordia University, Montreal. Her books include False Mystics: Deviant Orthodoxy in Colonial Mexico and Gender, Race, and Religion in the Colonization of the Americas.

Edward W. Osowski teaches in the history department at John Abbott College in Montreal. He specializes in Mexico’s indigenous history, frequently using Nahuatl-language documents in his research. His monograph on eighteenth-century Nahua history is forthcoming with the University of Arizona Press.

Susie S. Porter is associate professor of history and the gender studies program at the University of Utah. She is the author of Working Women in Mexico City, which won an Outstanding Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association in 2005.

Central Themes

Part 1. Pre-Columbian Mexico (200–1519)

1. Copán and Teotihuacan: Shared Culture Across a Great Distance (200–900 ce)
Image 1.1 Temple of Quetzalcoatl, Teotihuacan, detail showing talud-tablero and the rain god
Image 1.2 Painted vessel from the Margarita tomb, Copán, in the Teotihuacan style
2. The Popol Vuh (“the Community Book”): The Mythic Origins of the Quiché Maya (1554–1558)
3. Mayan Royalty and Writing (c. 667 ce)
Image 3.1 Mayan king Hanab-Pakal’s sarcophagus lid
4. The Origin of the Nahuas and the Birth of the Fifth Sun (1596)
5. A Treasury of Mexica Power and Gender (c. 1541–1542)
Image 5.1 Tribute list from Tochtepec
Image 5.2 Midwife and newborn babies
Image 5.3 Marriage ceremony
6. Markets and Temples in the City of Tenochtitlan (1519)
7. The Mixtec Map of San Pedro Teozacoalco (1580)
Image 7.1 The Mixtec map of San Pedro Teozacoalco
8. The Urban Zoning of Maya Social Class in the Yucatán (1566)
9. The Nomadic Seris of the Northern Desert (1645)

Part 2. The Spanish Conquest and Christian Conversion (1519–1610)

10. Hernán Cortés and Moteucçoma Meet, According to a Spanish Conqueror (1568)
11. Moteucçoma and Hernán Cortés Meet, According to a Nahua Codex (c. 1555)
12. The Nahua Interpreter Malintzin Translates for Cortés and Moteucçoma (1580)
Image 12.1 Malintzin translates for Cortés and Moteucçoma
13. Acazitli of Tlalmanalco: Nahua Conqueror on the Mesoamerican Frontier (1541)
14. Poetic Attempts to Justify the Conquest of Acoma, New Mexico (1610)
15. The Tlaxcaltecas Stage a Christian Pageant “Like Heaven on Earth” (1538)
16. The Spiritual Conquest: The Trial of Don Carlos Chichimecatecotl of Texcoco (1539)
17. The Inquisition Seizes Don Carlos’s Estate: The Oztoticpac Map (1540)
Image 17.1 The Oztoticpac lands map of 1540
18. Father Fernández Attempts to Convert the Seris of Sonora Single-handedly (1679)

Part 3. The Consolidation of Colonial Government (1605–1692)

19. The Silver Mining City of Zacatecas (1605)
20. Chimalpahin: Indigenous Chronicler of His Time (1611–1613)
21. The Creation of Religious Conformity (the Early Eighteenth Century)
22. On Chocolate (1648)
23. The Treatment of African Slaves (the Seventeenth Century)
24. The Persistence of Indigenous Idolatry (1656)
25. Afro-Mexicans, Mestizos, and Catholicism (1672)
26. Sor Juana: Nun, Poet, and Advocate (1690)
27. The 1692 Mexico City Revolt (1692)

Part 4. Late Colonial Society (1737–1816)

28. Indigenous Revolt in California (1737)
29. Maroon Slaves Negotiate with the Colonial State (1767)
30. Mexico’s Paradoxical Enlightenment (1784)
31. Casta Paintings (1785)
Image 31.1 Francisco Clapera, “De Español, y India nace Mestiza” (From Spaniard and Indian comes Mestiza)
Image 31.2 Francisco Clapera, “De Español, y Negra, Mulato” (From Spaniard and Black, Mulato)
32. Hidalgo’s Uprising (1849)
33. José María Morelos’s National Vision (1813)
34. A Satirical View of Colonial Society (1816)

Part 5. The Early Republic (1824–1852)

35. Address to the New Nation (1824)
36. Caudillo Rule (1874)
37. A Woman’s Life on the Northern Frontier (1877)
38. Female Education (1842, 1851)
“The Education of Women”
“Advice to Young Ladies”
39. Mexican Views of the Mexican-American War (1850)
40. The Mayas Make Their Caste War Demands (1850)
41. Mexico in Postwar Social Turmoil (1852)

Part 6. Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Porfiriato (1856–1910)

42. The Reconfiguration of Property Rights and the Church-State Relations (1856)
43. The Offer of the Crown to Maximilian by the Junta of Conservative Nobles (1863)
44. Porfirio Díaz’s Political Vision (1871)
45. A Letter to Striking Workers (1892)
46. A Positivist Interpretation of Feminism (1904)
47. Precursors to Revolution (1904, 1906)
“Valle Nacional,” Regeneración 1904
Mexican Liberal Party Program
48. The Cananea Strike: Workers’ Demands (1906)
49. Land and Society (1909)
50. Popular Images of Mexican Life (the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries)
Image 50.1 José Guadalupe Posada, “Grand Electric Skeleton”
Image 50.2 José Guadalupe Posada, “The American Mosquito”
Image 50.3 José Guadalupe Posada, “The Mutiny of Students” (street newspaper)
Image 50.4 José Guadalupe Posada, “Cemetary of Ancient Epitaphs”
Image 50.5 José Guadalupe Posada, “Visit and Farewell to Señor de Ixtapalapa Who Is Venerated in Said Village”
51. Corridos from the Porfiriato (the Early 1900s)
“The Corrido of the Rural Police” (Porfirian Era)
“The Corrido of the Electric Trains” (Porfirian Era)

Part 7. The Mexican Revolution (1911–1940)

52. Francisco Madero’s Challenge to Porfirio Díaz (1910)
53. Revolution in Morelos (1911)
54. Land, Labor, and the Church in the Mexican Constitution (1917)
Article 27
Article 123
Article 130
55. Revolutionary Corridos (1917)
Fragment of “The Corrido of the Constitutional Congress of Querétaro” (1917)
“The Death of Emiliano Zapata” (1917)
56. The Catholic Church Hierarchy Protests (1917, reprinted 1926)
57. Petitioning the President (the 1920s)
Telegram (1922)
Telegram (1924)
Letter (1922)
Letter (1927)
58. Plutarco Elías Calles: The Legal Challenges of the Postrevolutionary State (1928)
59. Feminism, Suffrage, and Revolution (1931)
60. Chronicles of Mexico City (1938)
In Defense of What’s Been Used
The Markets
61. The Responsibility of Government and Private Enterprise to the Mexican People (1937–1938)
The Real Purposes of the Companies
Images of Oil Workers
Image 61.1 Drinking Fountains
Image 61.2 English Colony, Tacoteno, Minititlan, Veracruz
Image 61.3 Recreation Centers
Image 61.4 Workers’ Camp Poza Rica, Veracruz
Image 61.5 Restrooms, South Side
Cárdenas Speaks

Part 8. The Institutionalization of the Revolution (1940–1965)

62. An Assessment of Mexico from the Right (1940)
63. We the Undersigned (1941, 1945)
Letter (1941)
Letter (1945)
64. Modernization and Society (1951)
65. Official History (1951)
Image 65.1 “Social Differences”
Image 65.2 “The Conquistador: Hernán Cortés, standing on the bridge of his ship … ”
Image 65.3 “Moctezuma II, Emperor of Mexico”
Image 65.4 “Political Consequences”
Image 65.5 “Ethnic Consequences”
66. Chicano Consciousness (1966)
67. Rubén Jaramillo and the Struggle for Campesino Rights in Postrevolutionary Morelos (1967)

Part 9. Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (1968–2006)

68. Eyewitness and Newspaper Accounts of the Tlatelolco Massacre (1968)
María Alicia Martínez Medrano, Nursery-School Director
Gilberto Guevara Niebla of the CNH
Miguel Ángel Martínez Agis, Reporter, Excelsior, Thursday, October 3, 1968
“Bloody Tlatelolco,” Excelsior, Editorial Page, Thursday, October 3, 1968
“Insidious News from UPI: On This Date We Cancel the News Agency’s Service,” El Sol Morning Edition, Thursday, October 3, 1968
José A. Perez Stuart, “Opinion,” El Universal, Saturday, October 5, 1968
Image 68.1 “Precaution—It’s González, the one who lives in Tlatelolco!” (editorial cartoon on Tlatelolco)
“General Lázaro Cárdenas Condemns the Agitators: He Calls on the Sense of Responsibilities in Defense of National Unity,” El Heraldo de México, Sunday, October 6, 1968
69. Theft and Fraud (1970)
70. Serial Satire: The Comic Book (1974)
Image 70.1 “How to Fill Your Gut”
71. The 1985 Earthquake (1985, 1995)
“Eight Hundred Factories and Sweatshops Totally Destroyed: The Earthquake Revealed the Exploitation of Women Textile Workers”
Evangelina Corona Interview
72. The EZLN Views Mexico’s Past and Future (1992)
73. Popular Responses to Neoliberalism (the Late 1990s)
74. Jesusa Rodríguez: Iconoclast (1995)
75. Maquila Workers Organize (2006)
76. Lies Within the Truth Commission (2006)

“What a thrilling voyage across five centuries of Mexican history! The editors have struck an ideal balance between fundamental texts and lesser-known sources that bring to life the everyday experiences, social structures, and political watersheds from the conquest to the present. Instructors, students, and anyone interested in Mexico will find it an indispensable collection of the voices that have forged the Mexican nation.”
—Christopher Boyer, University of Illinois at Chicago

“An excellent tool to teach and discover Mexican history, this book reflects the breadth and depth of the editors’ own research. The selection of texts is both rigorous and imaginative. It entails both a long durée view of Mexican history and a careful sensibility for the diversity of voices and textual sources that are necessary to understand that history. It will engage students and generate fruitful conversations in the classroom and beyond.”
—Pablo Piccato, Columbia University

“This artfully selected collection of primary sources takes the student of Mexican history on a fascinating millennium-long journey from the ancient Mayas to today’s maquilas. The thoughtful way in which the editors have crafted the reader, including up-to-date but highly accessible introductions to every chapter and document, make this a unique tool for teaching Mexico’s past. Instructors are likely to find it indispensable.”
—Matthew Restall, Pennsylvania State University

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