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Popular Politics and Rebellion in Mexico
Manuel Lozada and La Reforma, 1855-1876

Author(s): Zachary Brittsan

The political conflict during Mexico's Reform era in the mid-nineteenth century was a visceral battle between ideologies and people from every economic and social class. As Popular Politics and Rebellion in Mexico develops the story of this struggle, the role of one key rebel, Manuel Lozada, comes into focus. The willingness of rural peasants to take up arms to defend the Catholic Church and a conservative political agenda explains the bitterness of the War of Reform and the resulting financial and political toll that led to the French Intervention. Exploring the activities of rural Jalisco's residents in this turbulent era and Lozada's unique position in the drama, Brittsan reveals the deep roots of colonial religious and landholding practices, exemplified by Lozada, that stood against the dominant political current represented by Benito Juarez and liberalism.

Popular Politics and Rebellion in Mexico also explores the conditions under which a significant segment of Mexican society aligned itself with conservative interests and French interlopers, revealing this constituency to be more than a collection of reactionary traitors to the nation. To the contrary, armed rebellion--or at least the specter of force--protected local commercial interests in the short run and enhanced the long-term prospects for political autonomy. Manuel Lozada's story adds a necessary layer of complexity to our understanding of the practical and ideological priorities that informed the tumultuous conflicts of the mid-nineteenth century.

Biography of Author(s)

Zachary Brittsan is Assistant Professor of History at Texas Tech University.


  • "Brittsan examines the converging histories of Manuel Lozada's life, Native peasant resistance, and disputed political boundaries, land tenure, and religious belief and practice to 'disinter' the story of the engagement of the district of Tepic (now state of Nayarit) with the national political process on its own terms...Sources include government correspondence, military documents, parish records, newspapers, and Lozada's proclamations and personal letters...Recommended."
  • "Brittsan explores the career of one of the individuals most responsible for challenging the emerging nation-state in 19th century Mexico. Brittsan's work is one of the finest reconstructions of those often turbulent regional warlords who gathered men and treasure to his cause, and offered a now forgotten signpost to a future not taken."
    --Terry Rugeley, author of Rebellion Now and Forever: Mayas, Hispanics, and Caste War Violence in Yucatan, 1800-1880.