The Roots of Conservatism in Mexico is a book, at once ambitious and propositive, that explores the origins and permanence of popular peasant Catholicism that, mixed with politics, hovered behind the several rebellions that broke out in different areas of rural Mexico against the secularizing liberal governments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The image of the rebellious Catholic peasant has been present in the historiography of topics related to Mexico since the nineteenth century. From opposition to the first liberal reforms of the 1830s to the Cristero War (or cristiada) against the postrevolutionary government from 1926 to 1929, armed, conservative peasants have drawn the attention of such historians as Enrique Olavarría, José M. Vigil, Ciro B. Ceballos, and Alfonso Toro, who considered them bandidos, barbarians, and retrogrades, a group manipulated by the Catholic clergy for its own ends. The...

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