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Mexico's Supreme Court

Between Liberal Individual and Revolutionary Social Rights, 1867-1934

Timothy M. James

Publication Year: 2013

Although Mexico’s Constitution of 1917 mandated the division of large landholdings, provided land for the landless, and guaranteed workers the rights to organize, strike, and bargain collectively, it also guaranteed fundamental liberal rights to property and due process that enabled property owners and employers to resist the implementation of the new social rights by filing suit in federal court. Taking as its main focus the way new and old rights were adjudicated before the Supreme Court, this book is the first to examine the subject through the lens of court documents and the writings and commentaries of jurists and other legal professionals. The author asks and answers the question, how did the judicial interpretation of the Constitution of 1917 become a barrier to implementing agrarian land rights and labor legislation in the years immediately following Mexico’s social revolution of 1910?

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. iii-iii


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pp. iv-iv


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pp. vii-vii

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pp. ix-x

This book, a history of constitutional rights and their judicial interpretation by Mexico’s Supreme Court from the Restored Republic to the Maximato, could not have been written without access to the Supreme Court’s historical archive. I am indebted to Jorge Flores for providing this access and to his staff for locating hard to find materials and providing me ...

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pp. xi-xvi

Mexico is not a country well known for its tradition of constitutional jurisprudence, and the Porfiriato, in particular, is considered a period when constitutional-rights protections on the books were systematically ignored in practice. Nonetheless, it was during the last third of the nineteenth century that a system of constitutional procedures protecting liberal individual ...

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1: The Judicial Protection of Constitutional Rights during the Porfiriato

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pp. 1-26

The Porfiriato as a historical period has long been viewed from the perspective of Mexico’s social revolution of 1910. This is no doubt a testament to the scale and scope of the conflagration itself, which intensified and radicalized after 1913 and did not come to an end until at least 1917 but more conventionally 1920, or (with recourse to the notion of a long “Thermidor” ...

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2: From the Plan of San Luis Potosi to the Constitution of 1917

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pp. 27-50

Early histories of the Mexican Revolution distinguished at least two periods within a single revolutionary process. The first period was the revolution led by Francisco Madero in 1910 but confined to the principles of effective suffrage, no reelection, and other liberal political rights. This revolution was successful to the extent that it deposed Porfirio Díaz and ...

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3: Liberal Jurisprudence and Article 123

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pp. 51-73

As a matter of public law, the Revolution came to an end on May 1, 1917. The new president, former first chief of the Revolution Venustiano Carranza, was sworn into office on this date (national elections had taken place in March) and the new constitution, promulgated in February, went into effect. This is where those histories that have focused on the constitutionalization ...

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4: The Third Revolutionary Court and Legal Obstacles to the Implementation of Article 27

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pp. 75-100

In an address prepared for the Academy of Legislation and Jurisprudence and read on January 13, 1931, Luis Cabrera estimated that, “prior to 1928, more than five thousand amparos have accumulated in the Supreme Court” against the agrarian reform.1 Moreover, we know from an address to the Court by Justice Guzmán Vaca in 1928 that these amparos were being conceded ...

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pp. 101-104

When historians have sought to assess the important legal changes brought about by the Mexican Revolution they have generally looked to the various Revolutionary plans, to the debates of the Constituent Congress of 1916–1917, and of course, to a comparison of the two constitutional texts, 1857 with that of 1917. Occasionally such accounts have stretched all the way ...


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pp. 105-125

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 127-141


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pp. 143-149

E-ISBN-13: 9780826353795
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826353788

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 867741721
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mexico's Supreme Court

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Subject Headings

  • Mexico. Suprema Corte de Justicia -- History.
  • Constitutional courts -- Mexico -- History.
  • Civil rights -- Mexico -- History.
  • Social rights -- Mexico -- History.
  • Mexico -- Politics and government -- 1867-1910.
  • Mexico -- Politics and government -- 1910-1946.
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