BOOK REVIEW 1
EVERYDAYLIFE AND POLITICS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY MEXICO
Inthis piece of work, the author attempts to show how the ordinarypeople are engage in different activities to the numerous lifedemands that are basic for leading a decent life. He also presentsthe desire of the elites for a political order that is stable andeconomies that are continuously growing are linked together. Theauthor’s main emphasis is in the struggle that most common peoplego through to retain control over their lives on a daily basis.Additionally, he focuses on the village with a particular interest inthe tax system that concentrates on citizens of Indian origin, theappointment of police officials, adjustment in property acquisitionand ownership, and trustworthiness of local priests.
Inthe book, it is evident that most communities follow their leadersinto war, or into political camps because of their loyalty. The bookalso analyses how the urban employment through rural-urban migrationhas altered gender relations. Generally, the piece of work coversdetails of Mexico’s experience from liberation to revolution,combining vigorous discussions on gender relations, history of thecommunity, political and economic changes.
Theauthor, Mark Wasserman, has embraced the considerable task ofbringing sense into Mexico’s turbulent nineteenth century.Additionally, the author proposes to bring to life, the colorfulbiography, and the lively narrative, as tools of the historian withintentions of achieving the balance between narrative and analysis(Wasserman, 2000 P4). As a result, the country comes to life in thisbook. The piece of work has woven together three watersheds includingrevolution, reform, and independence. It also provides information onthe lives of three politicians, namely, Benito Juarez, Antonio Lopezde Santa Ana, and Porfirio Diaz. These figures form an instrumentalpart of the community’s political awareness and stance. The authorhas accomplished the task using three principal themes.
Thefirst idea depicts the agitation that the common people go through togain influence over their daily lives (Wasserman, 2000 P3). Theauthor relies on the recent regional histories to stress the twofundamental points. The the local and regional politics in thenineteenth century enabled the common people to participate activelyin political life (Wasserman, 2000 P6).
Althoughthe lives of upper and middle classes have been described by theauthor, a vivid portrait of common people’s life has taken shape inthe book, from grinding of tortillas to precisions in religion. Forinstance, in the book, we learn of the hardships underwent byPioquinto Linan, a worker who after buying the necessary corn for hishome was left with only 50 centavos. The fifty centavos would carrythe worker through a week for everything else (Wasserman, 2000 P152).
Secondly,the author points out the Mexican wars with foreign foes. Thedestruction that results from these wars comes across in grim detail,particularly how the people’s daily lives have been affected bythese conflicts. For example, in 1811, widows were about 33%, andtheir population increased to 41% by the year 1848 (Wasserman, 2000P135).
Also,the author covers transformations on gender relations. The lives ofwomen were changed drastically because of the altered governmentpolicies, with many of them migrating to cities to work in factories,as domestic servants, or in brothels (Wasserman, 2000 P135). Forexample, during the time of war, women supplied, transported, andalso acted as medical corps of the Mexican soldiers. Additionally,women would at times fight as soldiers in the nineteenth century.
Theauthor also analyzes the causes of underdevelopment and economicchanges. Despite his sympathetic explanation of the causes of slowprogression, he uses statements that put Mexico in the modernist raceto progress, that is, it “fell irretrievably behind” (Wasserman,2000 P73).
Inthe book, the scholar demonstrates how upcountry persons had leverageas elites and how these people sought provisions and recruits toemerge victoriously. Nevertheless, upon the establishment of peace byDiaz, rural Mexican’s statuses declined, and “elites now openlyregarded them as an impediment to progress” (Wasserman, 2000 P218).The privatization of land and commercialization of agriculture putthem under stress that culminated in the 1910 Revolution.
Inconclusion, the piece depicts a clear view of the Mexican communityby putting emphasis on their social, economic and politicalsocialization. The author shows how the ordinary men and womenstruggle to meet the demands of their families. He also outlines thedesire of the elites for a stable political and economic order. As agrowing society, Mexico also faced the challenge of rural-urbanmigration as people sought employment in the factories.
Theauthor has managed to embrace the turbulent times of Mexico’snineteenth century by incorporating themes, with the first one beingthe strife that the citizens through to retain control their lives. The author also touches on the genesis of the poor development andeconomic changes. Despite the author’s sympathetic explanation ofthe causes of underdevelopment, he has used statements Referencesthat put Mexico in the modernist race to progress.
Wasserman,M., 2000. EverydayLife and Politics in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Men, Women, and War.Albuquerque: University of Mexico Press.