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201 o Book Reviews535 The majority of the book concerns the trial itself and the evidence presented. Weddle does a goodjob of unraveling the intricate proceedings, the overlapping accusations, and the eventualjudgments. These still-extant records are translated here, including La Salle's official reports, the charges themselves and Aigron's rebuttal, the transcription of the actual hearing, and the written arguments of complainants and defendants. Aigron apparently won his case. At the end of the work, Weddle recounts the search to find the Aimable at the bottom of Matagorda Bay. While this search was unsuccessful, he hopes that new technology will be more effective in future searches. Weddle successfully overturns the traditional interpretation ofthis event, which had been based solely on La Salle's official report. He reveals the complicated interpersonal relations that resulted in conflicting testimony and concludes that Aigron should not be blamed for the loss of the Aimable. West Texas A&M UniversityJean A. Stuntz The Mexican Warsfor Independence. By TimothyJ. Henderson. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2009. Pp. 270. Illustrations, map, notes, further readings, index. ISBN 9780809095094, $27.50 cloth.) September 16, 2010, marks the bicentennial of Miguel Hidalgo's grito against bad government. As Timothy Henderson's survey correcdy points out, it was a premature and improvised call for revolt that did not, in fact, aspire to independence from the Spanish crown but only autonomy within the family of Catholic principalities that made up the quickly disintegrating empire. Hidalgo's failures, particularly his lack ofcontrol over the Indian and mixed-race masses, led to atrocities that drove most creóles—the very people Hidalgo and his fellow conspirators wanted to lead the new Mexico—into the arms of the royalists. Defeated and decapitated, the revolution's leadership devolved into the hands ofJosé María Morelos, like Hidalgo a parish priest with a grudge against Mexico's Spanish overlords . It was during the time that Morelos led the revolt that formal independence was declared, but it proved to be a false start as lack of good strategy and infighting among the insurgents eventually led to the capture and execution of this second but, for Henderson, greater hero of Mexico's independence struggles. After Morelos, the royalists gained the upper hand, and the local revolts that continued under the leadership ofmen such as Vicente Guerrero constitute those other wars of the tide. In the end it was one of the royalists' most competent, if ruthless, commanders , Agustín Iturbide, who finessed a deal with the insurgents, talked a newly arrived viceroy into signing a treaty, and proclaimed the three guarantees of the Catholic religion, independence, and monarchical government. As Henderson points out, the plan got thejob done but could not last given Mexico's deep social divisions. In The Mexican Wars of Independence the author prosecutes three major arguments . First, the three hundred years ofSpanish colonial rule created an intentionally unequal society in which the only unifying institutions were the king and the Church. Racial and social hierarchies and backward economic practices fostered 536Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters. Second, the regional character of colonial Mexico was reinforced by the wars, which created local caudillos and set the stage for the divisive federalism that quickly replaced Iturbide's empire. Third, Henderson argues that Iturbide, while not perfect, has been unjusdy maligned bodi in his time (he was executed in Tamaulipas after returning to Mexico from exile) and subsequendy by historians and nationalists who raised the failed leaders of the early conflicts to the status of heroes. Ultimately, the creation of heroworship , the protection of the privileged position of the Catholic Church, or the replacement of monarchy with a federal republic could not overcome the inherent divisions in Mexican society. None of the arguments above is new. The substantial literature on the early national period that has arisen in recent times is fully cited in the extensive "suggestions for further reading." What is refreshing is the mention in a brief survey such as this of the Texas connection to the Mexican independence movement. Both of the major revolutionary episodes, the 1811 brief overthrow of the royalist governor and the bloodier and more destructive 1812-13...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 535-536
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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