In their introduction to the chapters collected in this volume, the editors give an astute summary of the contradictory ways in which liberalism was understood in nineteenth-century Mexico. Liberalism could signify a commitment to “a radical individualism that did not adequately consider justice,” to “equality,” or to “democratic participation and the ideal of ‘self-government’” (p. 13). The editors acknowledge the quantity of research that has accumulated on those different understandings—especially since the 1990s, when scholars turned to consider local or regional and on-the-ground engagements with liberal policies, producing dozens of monographs and hundreds of articles and chapters. The objective of the volume under review, write the editors, is “to keep enlarging and deepening” such regional scholarship (p. 32).

This is a book, then, for regulars in the field of nineteenth-century Mexican history rather than for newcomers or casual visitors. Eight of the...

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