This history of Mexico from the earliest history of the Aztecs to the administration of Porfirio Diaz in 1900 is a thorough and well-balanced look at the troubled history of Mexico. It includes three chapters on the achievements of the Spanish Viceroys, a peaceful period frequently omitted entirely from Mexican histories, and presents a balanced rather than a partisan view of the century-long conflict between clerical and secular interests following Mexico's Independence from Spain.
The history of Mexico, subsequent to the conquest by the Spaniards early in the sixteenth century, is scarcely known outside of that country. General histories pass over the three centuries of Spanish rule, the long struggle for independence, the establishment of a short-lived empire followed by a nominal republic, and the rise and fall of a second empire, as subjects of but little interest, and without giving very accurate information regarding them. If any comprehensive history of Mexico exists in the English language, its name fails to appear in any of the long lists of books on Mexico which the present writer has diligently searched.
This brief history was prepared with the writer's own needs in view. Having accomplished what he had vainly hoped to find accomplished for him, he at first thought of offering his work to the tourists in Mexico to aid them in enjoying the sights of that country. This idea was abandoned after the manuscript was in the hands of the publishers, in deference to the opinions of others that the book would be beneficial to the public generally,—no less in need of such a history than the tourist.
The sources whence the information contained in the book is derived are so many and various that it would be a waste of space to enumerate them. The collation of material was made principally during a residence of eighteen months in the Mexican capital. It consists of Mexican books, large and small, new and old, as well as pamphlets and other documents in Spanish, relating to the different events hereafter related. The writer would acknowledge his especial indebtedness to two American authors: Mr. A. F. Bandelier, whose works on the ancient Mexicans are destined to modify all our notions about the Aztec civilization; and Mr. Thomas A. Janvier, whose admirable Guide Book (edition of 1889) contains much local historical information by which many of the facts in this book have been verified.
Port Gibson, Mississippi,
Preface To New Edition
In preparing a new edition of this little book, the author has felt strongly inclined to rewrite some of the chapters,—more particularly the last five,—in order to show, as in his more recent work, "From Empire to Republic," a deeper sympathy with the efforts made throughout the nineteenth century toward the establishment of Constitutional government in Mexico. He has contented himself, however, with making a few corrections in the earlier portion of the work, re-writing all of it after page 284, and extending the history to include the more recent years in which President Diaz has succeeded in making of Mexico a real self-governing nation, as could hardly be said of it when this book was first written.
The author takes this opportunity to express his appreciation of the kind manner in which the book in its earlier editions has been received by the reading public.
University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee,