In a posh neighborhood of Mexico City in August of 1940, former Soviet leader and Marxist intellectual Leon Trotsky was murdered with an ice-axe. The perpetrator, a Spaniard named Ramón Mercader, confessed to the murder, but initially refused to discuss his motives (he was only later confirmed to be a Stalinist agent).
Christopher Rosenmüller is one of a number of recent scholars to revisit history’s “great men,” who were the focus of most studies on colonial Spanish America until social history’s rise to popularity in the 1960s. These historians are reassessing the roles of individual rulers and colonial institutions, using methodologies borrowed from social and cultural history more often used to examine the ruled rather than rulers.
Drug trafficking – especially as it pertains to Mexico – has been a main fixture in today’s news for some time now. But UT graduate student Edward F. Shore argues that the violence, disorder, and political, social, and economic instability associated with the drug trade has a long history, and one that has had international repercussions.
“¡Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King!” The rallying cry of the men and women who fought for religious freedom against Mexico’s revolutionary anti-clerical laws gave the movement its name.
Between 1500 and 1800, Spaniards and their Native allies captured hundreds of Apache Indians and members of neighboring groups from the Rio Grande River Basin and subjected them to a variety of fates. They bought and sold some captives as slaves, exiled others as prisoners of war to central Mexico and Cuba, and forcibly moved others to mines, towns, and haciendas as paid or unpaid laborers.
In the third installation of our series, “Making History,” Aragorn Storm Miller speaks with Christina Salinas about her experience as a graduate student in history at the University of Texas at Austin. In the interview, Christina tells us about her childhood spent living near the Texas-Mexico border, the long history of the Texas Border Patrol, and how her research interests have evolved over the course of her undergraduate and graduate career at the University of Texas.
Since Douglas Cope’s seminal study The Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City 1660-1720 was published in 1994, historians have understood the caste system, or sistema de castas, that categorised New Spain’s multiracial population as an elite construct to impose order on a disordered plebe, rather than a discourse that reflected existing, clearly defined racial boundaries.
The economic ties between the United States and Mexico are well over a century old, but the coverage of the border rarely contextualizes it in these terms. In order to understand the violence we see today, we must consider the violence that erupted there in the early 1990s.
So freedom is now to be defined against those too poor to deserve its benefits by the edifices and procedures of totalitarianism. What kind of freedom is it, then, that we enjoy in the countries of the West – those exclusive, increasingly well-guarded enclaves of ours?
Grahame Greene’s The Power and the Glory (1940), the story of a fugitive “whisky priest” in 1930s Mexico, is a short, pathos-laden novel about religious persecution after the Mexican Revolution. The Catholic Church at that time was under attack for its considerable wealth and social control.