This detailed local study of state formation in nineteenth-century Mexico focuses on the life of Juan Francisco Lucas, the principal Indian leader of the Puebla Sierra between 1854 and 1917. The book illustrates how, over seventy years, the Indian communities of the Puebla Sierra, through the leadership of Lucas, compelled their political leaders to execute the mandates of the liberal state on terms that were locally acceptable. The text also provides a detailed look at the patriotism, politics, and popular liberalism which flourished during this period in Mexican history. This is the first in-depth study to examine the great nineteenth-century divisions between liberals and conservatives and radical and moderate liberals over an extended time period and in a rural, multi-ethnic setting. The text also explores how these divisions reemerged during the Mexican Revolution. The volume shows the rise of Mexican nationalism and what rights and responsibilities it extended to individual Mexicans and independent communities. Through close attention to the political and human geography of the Puebla Sierra, Professor Thomson observes the continuities between the Sierra's colonial past and the present, and the interactions between key political individuals and a complex physical environment.