Latin America and Atlantic Revolutions, 1760-1850
Hubert Herring Memorial Award (1980)
Distinguished Faculty Research Lectureship Award, UCI (1980)
Member Emeritus of the Academia Nacional de Historia del Ecuador (2014)
Correspondind Member of the Academia Mexicana de la Historia (2013)
Corresponding Member of the Academia Nacional de Historia del Ecuador (1976)
Corresponding Member of the Centro de Estudios Históricos del Guayas (1979)
My work seeks to explain Spanish America's failure to modernize in the early nineteenth century. At the time Western Europe and the United States were being transformed into modern industrial societies, the newly independent nations of Spanish America were crippled by economic depression and extreme political instability. Scholars generally have argued that this failure to modernize stemmed from the feudal Spanish colonial structure which did not prepare Spanish Americans for self-government. According to this view, after independence Spanish American leaders rejected colonial traditions and adopted foreign systems of government unsuited to their nations' needs, causing Spanish America's nineteenth-century crisis.
I examined some of the problems of nation-building in Spanish America in a series of studies and concluded that independence was not a sharp break with the past and that Spanish American leaders had not blindly accepted alien forms of government. Instead, I demonstrated the continuity of the Spanish and Spanish American reform tradition and its influence upon the leaders of the new countries. With Colin M. MacLachlan, I examined Mexico's colonial epoch to test the validity of the neo-feudal thesis. We concluded that colonial Mexico had not been a feudal but a capitalist society; that the region developed a complex, balanced, and integrated economy which transformed it into the most dynamic part of the Spanish empire; and that it was one of the few regions in the world where racial and cultural intermingling created a new society.
Currently, I am engaged in two studies to explain New Spain's transition from colony to independent nation: a study of the ideas and institutions which emerged during the critical period, 1780-1821; and an analysis of the emergence of the Mexican republic which considers the development of political institutions and processes during the period 1780 1835.
The Emergence of Spanish America: Vicente Rocafuerte and Spanish Americanism, 1808-1832 (1975)
The Forging of the Cosmic Race: A Reinterpretation of Colonial Mexico(1980, 2nd ed. 1990) with Colin M. MacLachlan
Down with Colonialism. Mexico's Nineteenth-Century Crisis (1983)
The Mexican and the Mexican American Experience in the Nineteenth Century (1989).
The Independence of Mexico and the Creation of the New Nation (1989)
The Revolutionary Process in Mexico: Essays in Political and Social Change, 1880-1940 (1990)
Patterns of Contention in Mexican History Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, 1992.
Five Centuries of Mexican History/Cinco siglos de historia de México 2 vols. (1992) with Virginia Guedea
El proceso de la independencia de México (1992)
The Evolution of the Mexican Political System (1993)
Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 1750-1850 (1994)
Myths, Misdeeds, and Misunderstandings: The Roots of Conflict in U.S.-Mexico Relations (1997). with Kathryn Vincent
Common Border, Uncommon Paths: Race, Culture, and National Identity in United States Mexico Relations (1997) with Kathryn Vincent
The Origins of Mexican National Politics, 1808-1847 (1997)
The Independence of Spanish America (1998)
“Rey, Religión, Yndependencia, y Unión”: la Independencia de Guadalajara (2003)
The Divine Charter: Constitutionalism and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Mexico
Revolución, independencia y la nuevas naciones de América Madrid: Fundación Mapfre-Tavera, 2005.
La revolución política en la época de la independencia: El Reino de Quito, 1808-1822 Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional, 2006.
Editor, Las Nuevas Naciones: España y México Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE—Instituto de Cultura, 2008.
Monarquía, constitución, independencia y república: La transición de Vicente Rocafuerte del viejo al nuevo régimen, 1783-1832 Mexico & Zamora: Instituto de Investigaciones José María Luis Mora & El Colegio de Michoacán, 2008.
“Nosotros somos ahora los verdaderos españoles”: La transición de Nueva España de un reino de la Monarquía Española a la República Federal de México, 1808-1824. 2 vols. Zamora & Mexico El Colegio de Michoacán & Instituto Mora, 2009.
Editor, El pensamiento de Vicente Rocafuerte. 2 vols. Quito: Banco Central del Ecuador & Corporación Editora Nacional, 2010.
“We are now the True Spaniards”: Sovereignty, Revolution, Independence and the Emergence of the Federal Republic of Mexico, 1808-1824. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012.
Lo político en el mundo hispánico, 2 vols. Zamora: El Colegio de Michoacán, 2015
American Historical Association
Conference on Latin American History
Latin American Studies Association
Rocky Mountain Council of Latin American Studies