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History knows no resting places and no plateaus. HENRY KISSINGER Some forty-one miles west of Mexico City lies the state capital of Toluca de Lerdo. On January 18, 1848, that community’s city council met in a time of war. During the council’s discussion about a group of local citizens who recently left the city to wage partisan warfare against the United States Army, the legislators noted that these volunteers were not fighting those invaders. Instead, they had joined forces under the command of General Juan Álvarez, who was combating other Mexicans then in rebellion against the federal government. Without surprise, council members acknowledged that Mexicans waged war against each other while a foreign army of occupation held the nation’s nearby capital.1 Traditional characterizations of the 1846–48 war as a conflict between two sovereign states pay only slight heed to such events. Such histories provide a flawed record of that conflict; several wars took place during these years. The longest and most important of these conflicts was among Mexicans. This clash consisted not of the occasional coups that flared into existence at several points during the war, but reflected the older struggle between a predominantly criollo elite that claimed European or “white” parentage and the majority of the population that was forcibly excluded from meaningful participation in the nation’s political and economic life. In its various manifestations, this conflict remains a crucial factor of Mexican history. Each of the more prominent and violent episodes in this Levinson_Wars_text_new_WarsLayoutNew4.11.05 10/18/13 2:08 PM Page xiii xiv Wars within War age-old struggle bears a different name. From 1842 to 1845, members of indigenous tribes, peasants, and residents of communal villages living in a sixty–thousand–square–mile swath of territory in southwestern México launched the Álvarez Rebellion. From 1845 to 1853, a rebellion of the As proved to be the case with many other Mexicans, Álvarez’s cooperation in the war against the US Army was less than wholehearted. In later years, he waged war against Santa Anna. Carlos Guevara. General Juan Álvarez, 19th Century. Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional de Historia. Reproducción Autorizada por el Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Levinson_Wars_text_new_WarsLayoutNew4.11.05 10/18/13 2:08 PM Page xiv Maya known as the Caste War erupted throughout the Yucatán peninsula. During the Mexican Revolution of 1910–16, Emiliano Zapata led a peasant army in the state of Morelos to military victories against both the ancien régime of President Porfirio Díaz and against post-revolutionary forces commanded by Venustiano Carranza. The rebellions waged by many Mexicans and by some military officers against their nation’s government during the 1846–48 period also belong on this list. These rebels mounted campaigns in many areas of the nation. In the states of Baja California, Hidalgo, Puebla, México state, and Veracruz, they violently challenged their governments before, during, and after the invading army of General Winfield Scott marched inland to Mexico City. In the Yucatán and in Chiapas, Guanajuato, and Querétaro, agrarian and ethnically based movements also erupted to challenge state authority. Guerrilla groups hostile to the regime in Mexico City repeatedly forced the national government to divert military resources away from the conflict with the United States and toward the restoration of state authority. The Mexican elite’s urgent desire to control these rebellions constituted a crucial factor in their decision to accept the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Many of México’s most powerful and propertied citizens evinced a greater fear of their fellow Mexicans than of the invaders from the north. Indeed, at critical moments during the 1846–48 period, elements of that national elite turned to the US Army for both armaments and manpower in confronting these domestic challenges to their authority. By presenting their rulers with such a powerful challenge and by consequently forcing México’s government to abandon any consideration of further resistance to the United States, these guerrillas changed the course of the war and Mexican history.2 Introduction xv Introduction Levinson_Wars_text_new_WarsLayoutNew4.11.05 10/18/13 2:08 PM Page xv xvi Wars within War Another conflict took place during the 1846–48 war. In that struggle, the US Army fought partisan groups sanctioned by the Mexican government as well as forces beyond the control of the administration in Mexico City. By their actions, these two guerrilla forces altered the perceptions...


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