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University of Nebraska Press
The following review appeared in the September 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - Latin America & the Caribbean
Wahlstrom (Pepperdine Univ.) explores the substantial migration of former Confederates into Mexico following the American Civil War. He argues that rather than a deluded effort to resurrect the “Old South,” this movement represented a complex, viable effort to find economic prosperity outside the Republican-dominated Reconstruction South. Migrating Confederates focused on a plan to build an economy based on agriculture, infrastructure, and transborder connections to the US South. Unlike some of the other colonization efforts in Latin America, the Mexico colonies had only a limited interest in preserving slavery and focused more on economic growth. Wahlstrom examines many of the people and ideas involved in the efforts to promote and develop the economic visions of these colonies. Ultimately, due to numerous factors, these colonies did not succeed, but the long-term effects of their efforts influenced parts of the late-19th-century economic growth in the US and Mexico, connecting to “New South” ideas about social and economic progress and the “conservative liberalism” of Porfirio Díaz. Altogether, Wahlstrom provides a well-researched study of the people, events, and ideas surrounding Confederate migration and colonization efforts in Mexico.--C. L. Sinclair, Brookhaven College