THIS CHAPTER DESCRIBES ONE OF THE MOST COMPLICATED PERIODS in Mexican history. The first three sections consider the post-independence period chrono - logically. A separate section then discusses why early nineteenth-century Mexico was so unstable. Following that are descriptions of the post-independence Catholic Church and post-independence Mexican society. There follows a discussion of why early Mexican history did not parallel that of the United States. The chapter then considers Mexico’s post-independence economy and why it failed to meet the optimistic predictions concerning it. A final section considers United States policy toward its newly independent southern neighbor.