In Vagrants and Citizens, Richard Warren illuminates political activity at the popular level in Mexico City. He argues that the greatest threat to Spain in its last decade of imperial rule was not insurrection, but popular suffrage. Using a wide array of sources, including minutes of legislative debates, constitutions, electoral laws and statistics, petitions, police reports, and memoranda, and cultural texts such as pamphlets, newspapers, slogans, speeches, handbills, novels, memoirs, songs, and parade floats, Warren asserts that the exercise of the right to suffrage by the “the masses” in Mexico City challenged late colonial and early republican leadership, until “hombres de bien” narrowed the electoral process with minimum income requirements by the 1830s. In this examination of contested liberalism, Warren embraces European historiography on political culture, especially Derek Sayer and Lynn Hunt. The thesis that political participation of the poor was at the center of heated debate...

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