This book explores how the diverse and fiercely independent peoples of Texas and New Mexico came to think of themselves as members of one particular national community or another in the years leading up to the Mexican-American War. Hispanics, Native Americans, and Anglo Americans made agonizing and crucial identity decisions against the backdrop of two structural transformations taking place in the region during the first half of the nineteenth century and often pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand, the Mexican government sought to bring its frontier inhabitants into the national fold by relying on administrative and patronage linkages; but on the other, Mexico's northern frontier gravitated toward the expanding American economy.
'Historians routinely call for a new, transnational history; Andres Resendez has simply gone ahead and written one. Grounded in both the history of Mexico and the history of the United States, Changing National Identities at the Frontier recontextualizes familiar stories and events and, in doing so, alters their meaning. This is an important book whose influence should go far beyond both Mexican and American history. Richard White, Stanford University '... there are enormous benefits to be derived from bringing New Mexico and Texas close together in this sustained comparative scrutiny - one that should interest scholars across a variety of fields and disciplines ...Andres Resendez, equally at home himself on both sides of the border, has accomplished a remarkable feat, taking us further than any historical writer yet into the minds of the diverse characters who inhabited Mexico's turbulent northern borderlands in the early nineteenth century. The 'risky eclecticism' which he has employed in this task has paid off richly - but then there's nothing like hard work and clear thinking to reduce the risks inevitably incurred in path-breaking scholarship.' James E. Crisp, North Carolina State University