In Revolution in Texas Benjamin Johnson tells the little-known story of one of the most intense and protracted episodes of racial violence in United States history. In 1915, against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, the uprising that would become known as the Plan de San Diego began with a series of raids by ethnic Mexicans on ranches and railroads. Local violence quickly erupted into a regional rebellion. In response, vigilante groups and the Texas Rangers staged an even bloodier counterinsurgency, culminating in forcible relocations and mass executions.
Faced with the overwhelming forces arrayed against it, the uprising eventually collapsed. But, as Johnson demonstrates, the rebellion resonated for decades in American history. Convinced of the futility of using force to protect themselves against racial discrimination and economic oppression, many Mexican Americans elected to seek protection as American citizens with equal access to rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution.
In 1915, the Mexican revolution spilled over into south Texas in the guise of a rebellion against Anglo domination and discrimination known as the Plan de San Diego. Drawing on archives and collections on both sides of the border, Johnson (history, Southern Methodist Univ.) explains how the coming of the railroad opened up the lower Rio Grande Valley to agricultural development and brought the discriminatory measures common in other parts of the South, thus upsetting the Tejano social order. His careful analysis of the resulting violence and its brutal suppression by vigilantes and the Texas Rangers, as well as the cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican governments to end cross-border attacks, shows how the Tejanos began to think of themselves as Americans and work for the restoration of their rights, an effort that continues to this day. This well-written account is accessible to lay readers as well as scholars and is recommended for all libraries in Texas as well as collections on the borderlands, Hispanics, and the West.-Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.