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The Mexican Experience

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The Mexican Experience

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Malcontents, Rebels, and Pronunciados

The Politics of Insurrection in Nineteenth-Century Mexico

Will Fowler

Behind every pronunciamiento, a formal list of grievances designed to spark political change in nineteenth-century Mexico, was a disgruntled individual, rebel, or pronunciado. Initially a role undertaken by soldiers, a pronunciado rallied military communities to petition for local, regional, and even national interests. As the popularity of these petitions grew, however, they evolved from a military-led practice to one endorsed and engaged by civilians, priests, indigenous communities, and politicians.

The second in a series of books exploring the phenomenon of the pronunciamiento, this volume examines case studies of individual and collective pronunciados in regions across Mexico. Top scholars examine the motivations of individual pronunciados and the reasons they succeeded or failed; why garrisons, town councils, and communities adopted the pronunciamiento as a political tool and form of representation and used it to address local and national grievances; and whether institutions upheld corporate aims in endorsing, supporting, or launching pronunciamientos. The essays provide a better understanding of the rebel leaders behind these public acts of defiance and reveal how an insurrectionary repertoire became part of a national political culture.

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Mexicans in Revolution, 1910-1946

An Introduction

William H. Beezley

On November 20, 1910, Mexicans initiated the world’s first popular social revolution. The unbalanced progress of the previous regime triggered violence and mobilized individuals from all classes to demand social and economic justice. In the process they shaped modern Mexico at a cost of two million lives.

This accessible and gripping account guides the reader through the intricacies of the revolution, focusing on the revolutionaries as a group and the implementation of social and political changes. In this volume written for the revolution's centennial, William H. Beezley and Colin M. MacLachlan recount how the revolutionary generation laid the foundation for a better life for all Mexicans.

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Mexico, la patria

Propaganda and Production during World War II

Monica A. Rankin

During the 1930s Mexico was undergoing a healing process after three decades of revolutionary turmoil and reform. In this climate, the coming of World War II became a major turning point in the legacy of the Mexican Revolution, offering the country a unique opportunity to unite against a common external enemy. The war also thrust the nation into an international forum as Germany and the United States launched propaganda campaigns to win over the Mexican people.
 
In ¡México, la patria! Monica A. Rankin examines the pervasive domestic and foreign propaganda strategies in Mexico during World War II and their impact on Mexican culture, charting the evolution of these campaigns through popular culture, advertisements, art, and government publications throughout the war and beyond. In particular, Rankin shows how World War II allowed the wartime government of Ávila Camacho to justify an aggressive industrialization program following the Mexican Revolution. Finally, tracing how the American government’s wartime propaganda laid the basis for a long-term effort to shape Mexican attitudes toward the country’s neighbor to the north, ¡México, la patria! reveals the increasing influence of American culture on the development of Mexico’s postwar identity.

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Mexico's Crucial Century, 1810-1910

An Introduction

Colin M. MacLachlan and William H. Beezley

After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, it began the work of forging its identity as an independent nation, a process that would endure throughout the crucial nineteenth century. A weakened Mexico faced American territorial ambitions and economic pressure, and the U.S.-Mexican War threatened the fledgling nation’s survival. In 1876 Porfirio Díaz became president of Mexico, bringing political stability to the troubled nation. Although Díaz initiated long-delayed economic development and laid the foundation of modern Mexico, his government was an oligarchy created at the expense of most Mexicans. This accessible account guides the reader through a pivotal time in Mexican history, including such critical episodes as the reign of Santa Anna, the U.S.-Mexican War, and the Porfiriato. Colin M. MacLachlan and William H. Beezley recount how the century between Mexico’s independence and the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution had a lasting impact on the course of the nation’s history.

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Muy buenas noches

Mexico, Television, and the Cold War

Celeste Gonzalez de Bustamante

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Pistoleros and Popular Movements

The Politics of State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca

Benjamin T. Smith

The postrevolutionary reconstruction of the Mexican government did not easily or immediately reach all corners of the country. At every level, political intermediaries negotiated, resisted, appropriated, or ignored the dictates of the central government. National policy reverberated through Mexico’s local and political networks in countless different ways and resulted in a myriad of regional arrangements. It is this process of diffusion, politicking, and conflict that Benjamin T. Smith examines in Pistoleros and Popular Movements.

Oaxaca’s urban social movements and the tension between federal, state, and local governments illuminate the multivalent contradictions, fragmentations, and crises of the state-building effort at the regional level. A better understanding of these local transformations yields a more realistic overall view of the national project of state building. Smith places Oaxaca within this larger framework of postrevolutionary Mexico by comparing the region to other states and linking local politics to state and national developments. Drawing on an impressive range of regional case studies, this volume is a comprehensive and engaging study of postrevolutionary Oaxaca’s role in the formation of modern Mexico.

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The Plan de San Diego

Tejano Rebellion, Mexican Intrigue

Louis R Sadler

The Plan of San Diego, a rebellion proposed in 1915 to overthrow the U.S. government in the Southwest and establish a Hispanic republic in its stead, remains one of the most tantalizing documents of the Mexican Revolution. The plan called for an insurrection of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans in support of the Mexican Revolution and the waging of a genocidal war against Anglos. The resulting violence approached a race war and has usually been portrayed as a Hispanic struggle for liberation brutally crushed by the Texas Rangers, among others.

The Plan de San Diego: Tejano Rebellion, Mexican Intrigue, based on newly available archival documents, is a revisionist interpretation focusing on both south Texas and Mexico. Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler argue convincingly that the insurrection in Texas was made possible by support from Mexico when it suited the regime of President Venustiano Carranza, who co-opted and manipulated the plan and its supporters for his own political and diplomatic purposes in support of the Mexican Revolution.

The study examines the papers of Augustín Garza, a leading promoter of the plan, as well as recently released and hitherto unexamined archival material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation documenting the day-to-day events of the conflict.

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Radio in Revolution

Wireless Technology and State Power in Mexico, 1897–1938

J. Justin Castro

Long before the Arab Spring and its use of social media demonstrated the potent intersection between technology and revolution, the Mexican Revolution employed wireless technology in the form of radiotelegraphy and radio broadcasting to alter the course of the revolution and influence how political leaders reconstituted the government.

Radio in Revolution, an innovative study of early radio technologies and the Mexican Revolution, examines the foundational relationship between electronic wireless technologies, single-party rule, and authoritarian practices in Mexican media. J. Justin Castro bridges the Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution, discussing the technological continuities and change that set the stage for Lázaro Cárdenas’s famous radio decree calling for the expropriation of foreign oil companies.

Not only did the nascent development of radio technology represent a major component in government plans for nation and state building, its interplay with state power in Mexico also transformed it into a crucial component of public communication services, national cohesion, military operations, and intelligence gathering. Castro argues that the revolution had far-reaching ramifications for the development of radio and politics in Mexico and reveals how continued security concerns prompted the revolutionary victors to view radio as a threat even while they embraced it as an essential component of maintaining control. 

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Railroad Radicals in Cold War Mexico

Gender, Class, and Memory

Robert F. Alegre

Despite the Mexican government’s projected image of prosperity and modernity in the years following World War II, workers who felt that Mexico’s progress had come at their expense became increasingly discontented. From 1948 to 1958, unelected and often corrupt officials of STFRM, the railroad workers’ union, collaborated with the ruling Institutionalized Revolutionary Party (PRI) to freeze wages for the rank and file. In response, members of STFRM staged a series of labor strikes in 1958 and 1959 that inspired a nationwide working-class movement. The Mexican army crushed the last strike on March 26, 1959, and union members discovered that in the context of the Cold War, exercising their constitutional right to organize and strike appeared radical, even subversive.

Railroad Radicals in Cold War Mexico examines a pivotal moment in post–World War II Mexican history. This study of railroad labor activism argues that the railway strikes of the 1950s constituted the first and boldest challenge to PRI rule and marked the beginning of mass dissatisfaction with the ruling party. In addition, Robert F. Alegre gives the wives of the railroad workers a narrative place in this history by incorporating issues of gender identity in his analysis.

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Redeeming the Revolution

The State and Organized Labor in Post-Tlatelolco Mexico

Joseph U. Lenti

A tale of sin and redemption, Joseph U. Lenti’s Redeeming the Revolution demonstrates how the killing of hundreds of student protestors in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco district on October 2–3, 1968, sparked a crisis of legitimacy that moved Mexican political leaders to reestablish their revolutionary credentials with the working class, a sector only tangentially connected to the bloodbath. State-allied labor groups hence became darlings of public policy in the post-Tlatelolco period, and with the implementation of the New Federal Labor Law of 1970, the historical symbiotic relationship of the government and organized labor was restored.


Renewing old bonds with trusted allies such as the Confederation of Mexican Workers bore fruit for the regime, yet the road to redemption was fraught with peril during this era of Cold War and class contestation. While Luis Echeverría, Fidel Velázquez, and other officials appeased union brass with discourses of revolutionary populism and policies that challenged business leaders, conflicts emerged, and repression ensued when rank-and-file workers criticized the chasm between rhetoric and reality and tested their leaders’ limits of toleration. 
 

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