Skip to main content

Distributed for University of Wales Press

Reform, Rebellion and Party in Mexico, 1836–1861

A history of local resistance and contributions to early Mexican nationhood.
Reform, Rebellion and Party in Mexico, 1836-1861 is a history of Mexico’s early, turbulent years as a sovereign state. From local ethnic and religious divisions to statewide financial troubles, the early republic nearly failed. Brian Hamnet surveys these challenges, such as the 1836 loss of the Far North to the United States and the 1861 European debt-collecting Intervention, as well as Mexican responses which culminated in the landmark Liberal Reform Movement in 1855. A history of a former colony caught between the European powers and an expanding United States, this book is an exemplary case study for newly independent states.

University of Wales Press image

View all books from University of Wales Press


"Between the loss of Texas (1836) and the beginning of a French-Austrian-supported monarchy (1861), Mexico’s history seems an unnarratable messy story. Hamnett. . . manages to tell the story without simplifying the many moving parts. Here are the actual global parameters of actions of the young republic seeking to restore something close to a State, as well as the import of ideas, economics, leaders and factions—and all that seen functioning at various local levels. A succinctness and a comprehensiveness that seemed unreachable, here the reader has it."

Mauricio Tenorio, Samuel N. Harper Professor of History, The University of Chicago

"This volume is sweeping in scope, analyzing decades of political and social conflict in many Mexican regions, yet is also the product of exhaustive research in national and local archives, and the author’s thorough reading of the historiography. It provides a unique and compelling view of national politics in the period."

Peter Guardino, Provost Professor, Department of History, Indiana University

"This is a truly outstanding work that succeeds in combining an analysis of both local and global trends in an incredibly sophisticated and nuanced interpretation of Mexico’s mid-century economic and financial difficulties. It brings to the fore how the popular movements of the 1840s and early-1850s engaged with the Liberal Reform Party and the major issues of the day. . . veritable tour de force."

Professor Will Fowler, School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews

"The middle decades of the nineteenth century were among the most complex periods of Mexican history. Hamnett’s new book offers a magisterial analysis of the main issues and processes that defined this era, from the crisis of republican government to the religious conflict and the international challenges of the new nation. It is an essential reading for any historian of Mexico."

Pablo Mijangos, Chair of History, Centro de Investigación y Docencias Económicas A.C.

Table of Contents


1 What is to be done?
2 Villages, landlords and businessmen
3 Financing Mexican government
4 Political reconstruction: before the War with the United States 1836–1846
5 Political reconstruction: during and after the War, 1846–1855
6 Persistent pressure from the United States

7 Social and ethnic tensions in their local contexts
8 Conflict in the Sierra Gorda – Querétaro, Guanajuato,
San Luis Potosí
9 The struggles in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

10 The Revolution of Ayutla and the first stage of the Liberal Reform, 1854–1855
11 The Lerdo Law of 1856
12 The Federal Constitution of 1857 and the road to disaster.
13 The Civil War of the Reform, 1858–1861
14 The continuation of the Reform and the final phase of the war, 1859–61
15 The Liberals return to power in 1861


Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press