Catarino Garza's Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border / Edition 1by Elliott Young
Pub. Date: 07/26/2004
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Catarino Garza’s Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border rescues an understudied episode from the footnotes of history. On September 15, 1891, Garza, a Mexican journalist and political activist, led a band of Mexican rebels out of South Texas and across the Rio Grande, declaring a revolution against Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz. Made up/i>
Catarino Garza’s Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border rescues an understudied episode from the footnotes of history. On September 15, 1891, Garza, a Mexican journalist and political activist, led a band of Mexican rebels out of South Texas and across the Rio Grande, declaring a revolution against Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz. Made up of a broad cross-border alliance of ranchers, merchants, peasants, and disgruntled military men, Garza’s revolution was the largest and longest lasting threat to the Díaz regime up to that point. After two years of sporadic fighting, the combined efforts of the U.S. and Mexican armies, Texas Rangers, and local police finally succeeded in crushing the rebellion. Garza went into exile and was killed in Panama in 1895.
Elliott Young provides the first full-length analysis of the revolt and its significance, arguing that Garza’s rebellion is an important and telling chapter in the formation of the border between Mexico and the United States and in the histories of both countries. Throughout the nineteenth century, the borderlands were a relatively coherent region. Young analyzes archival materials, newspapers, travel accounts, and autobiographies from both countries to show that Garza’s revolution was more than just an effort to overthrow Díaz. It was part of the long struggle of borderlands people to maintain their autonomy in the face of two powerful and encroaching nation-states and of Mexicans in particular to protect themselves from being economically and socially displaced by Anglo Americans. By critically examining the different perspectives of military officers, journalists, diplomats, and the Garzistas themselves, Young exposes how nationalism and its preeminent symbol, the border, were manufactured and resisted along the Rio Grande.
Table of Contents
|Maps and Figures||xi|
|1.||The Making of a Revolutionary||25|
|2.||Resisting the Pax Porfiriana||57|
|3.||Revolution and Repression||98|
|4.||Booms and Busts||131|
|6.||The Ideological Battle||191|
|7.||Colonizing the Lower Rio Grande Valley||209|
|8.||Exile, Death, and Resurrection in the Caribbean||268|
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Finally! A good history of this event is overdue. Years ago, I read a short account of a U.S. Cavalry trooper who won the Medal Of Honor for single handedly killing and/or capturing three 'Garzistas', while defending military correspondence he was carrying along the Rio Grande, in South Texas. Mention was made of the 'Garza Rebellion of the early 1890s'. It was all news to me. I had never heard of it, and until Professor Young's book, couldn't find much information on the subject. It wasn't until I read his book that I learned about Richard Harding Davis' report of the insurrection in 'West From a Car Window'. While many place the beginning of the 20th Century Mexican Revolution in 1910, unrest started decades before in the northern states, and the Garza revolt was one that managed to get the attention of both the U.S. Government and Americans in general. Professor Young has produced an impressive work. His history of the episode is informative, detailed, and quite evenhanded in his treatment of Garza, 'warts and all'. My favorite parts are of activities by Captain John G. Bourke, U.S. 3rd Cavalry, in and around La Grulla, in Starr County. Today, this community is very different from the isolated ranch described by Bourke, but has been a part of many historical events since the 1830s, and continues to be to this day. Overall, this is a fine history of a neglected period, and while this will probably be the standard work, hopefully more will be published.