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Frank Tannenbaum and the Mexican Revolution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2010

Alan Knight
St. Antony's College, Oxford University


This article examines Frank Tannenbaum's engagement with Mexico in the crucial years following the Revolution of 1910–1920 and his first visit to the country in 1922. Invited—and feted—by the government and its powerful labor allies, Tannenbaum soon expanded his initial interest in organized labor and produced a stream of work dealing with trade unions, peasants, Indians, politics, and education—work that described and often justified the social program of the Revolution, and that, rather surprisingly, continued long after the Revolution had lost its radical credentials in the 1940s. Tannenbaum's vision of Mexico was culturalist, even essentialist; more Veblenian than Marxist; at times downright folkloric. But he also captured important aspects of the process he witnessed: local and regional variations, the unquantifiable socio-psychological consequences of revolution, and the prevailing concern for order and stability. In sum, Tannenbaum helped establish the orthodox—agrarian, patriotic, and populist—vision of the Revolution for which he has been roundly, if sometimes excessively, criticized by recent “revisionist” historians; yet his culturalist approach, with its lapses into essentialism, oddly prefigures the “new cultural history” that many of these same historians espouse.

Classics Revisited: Frank Tannenbaum Reconsidered
Copyright © International Labor and Working-Class History, Inc. 2010

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1. For useful accounts of Tannenbaum's Mexican connection, see Delpar, Helen, “Frank Tannenbaum: The Making of a Mexicanist, 1914–33,” The Americas 45 (1988): 163171CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Hale, Charles A., “Frank Tannenbaum and the Mexican Revolution,” Hispanic American Historical Review 75 (1995): 215–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2. See Delpar, Helen, The Enormous Vogue of Things Mexican. Cultural Relations Between the United States and Mexico, 1920–35 (Tuscaloosa, 1992)Google Scholar.

3. Tannenbaum had already written a study of American labor, The Labor Movement: Its Conservative Functions and Social Consequences (New York, 1921). Mexican organized labor, though it had played a secondary role in the armed revolution (1910–1920), displayed a precocious ability to ally with the emerging revolutionary leadership and thus to secure a prominent place in the new regime: see Carr, Barry, El movimiento obrero y la política en México (México, 1981)Google Scholar; Tamayo, Jaime, La clase obrera en la historia de México. En el interinato de Adolfo de la Huerta y el gobierno de Alvaro Obregón (México, 1987)Google Scholar; and Ruiz, Ramón E., Labor and the Ambivalent Revolutionaries. Mexico, 1911–23 (Baltimore, 1976)Google Scholar.

4. Hale, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 233.

5. Delpar, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 162–163.

6. Given the intransigence of US Ambassador James R. Sheffield—who considered Tannenbaum to be a “hireling” of the Calles government—it is not surprising that the results of Tannenbaum's mediation were “meagre”: Delpar, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 163–164.

7. Hale, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 231–232, which also notes that, on his first trip to Mexico, Tannenbaum and his wife “spent most of their time travelling, not studying labor.”

8. Tannenbaum, Frank, The Mexican Agrarian Revolution (Washington, DC, 1929; reprinted 1968)Google Scholar; I shall cite this as MAR.

9. In his later comparative study, A Philosophy of Labor (New York, 1950), Tannenbaum focuses on Britain and the United States and “makes no mention of Mexico or Latin America”: Hale, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 244 n. 63. Of course, there were plenty of rural workers in Mexico; hence agrarian studies, like Tannenbaum's, necessarily dealt with “labor,” broadly defined; but most of that (rural) labor was unorganized, none of it was industrial, and much of it was deployed on small peasant plots. The relevant themes, especially as Tannenbaum chose to treat them, were therefore very different from those of classic labor history/studies. See Michael Merrill, “Even Conservative Unions Have Revolutionary Effects: Frank Tannenbaum on the Labor Movement,” ILWCH, this issue.

10. Tannenbaum's first reportage from Mexico in 1923 exudes “optimism and engagement”: Hale, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 232. On Ret Marut, alias B. Traven, a survivor of the 1919 Munich soviet, see Zogbaum, Heidi, B. Traven. A Vision of Mexico (Wilmington, 1992)Google Scholar.

11. Tannenbaum, Frank, Peace By Revolution: Mexico After 1910 (New York, 1966, first published as Peace By Revolution: An Interpretation of Mexico, 1933), 246Google Scholar. I shall cite this text as PBR.

12. PBR, 225–266; Tannenbaum, Frank, Mexico: The Struggle for Peace and Bread (London, 1965; first published, New York, 1950), 113121Google Scholar, 222–228. Tannenbaum, Frank, Ten Keys to Latin America (New York: 1966, first published, 1962)Google Scholar, contains no chapter, section, or index entry for “labor,” “trade union,” or “sindicato.” I shall refer to these two texts as SPB and TKL.

13. One conspicuous individual absence is leftist Vicente Lombardo Toledano, the leading Mexican labor leader of the 1930s (thus, the successor of Tannenbaum's chum, Morones), a key ally of President Cárdenas, cofounder of both the (Mexican) Confederación de Trabajadores de México (1936) and the (pan-Latin American) Confederación de Trabajadores de América Latina (1939), who, in the entire Tannenbaum oeuvre, seems to get only two references, both brief and bibliographical (PBR, 117, 309).

14. Hence, it often “tends to be descriptive, anecdotal and casual in the conventions of scholarship”: Hale, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 223.

15. Tannenbaum's switch from labor to agrarian research seems to have been influenced by the invitation which he received from the Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gamio to study Mexican rural education in 1924: Delpar, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 160.

16. Merrill, “Even Conservative Unions Have Revolutionary Effects.” Perhaps a case could also be made that Tannenbaum was truer to the “early” Marx—the humanistic, neo-Hegelian Marx of the 1840s.

17. Chase, Stuart, Mexico. A Study of Two Americas (New York, 1950; first published 1931)Google Scholar.

18. Redfield, Robert, Tepoztlan, Mexican Village: A Study of Folk Life (Chicago, 1930)Google Scholar and The Folk Culture of Yucatán (Chicago, University of Chicago 1941).

19. An indication of Tannenbaum's belief in Mexico's enduring rusticity (and, perhaps, of his own intellectual inertia?) is his 1946 article describing rural Mexico, which is wholly based on data collected in 1931–1933, his justification being that “the rural picture drawn here is substantially unchanged, has remained so for the last century, and will, in the nature of the case, change very slowly in the future. Rural ways and traditions yield very slowly”: “Technology and Race in Mexico,” Political Science Quarterly LXI (1946): 366. We are meant to assume that railways, roads, Porfirian development, the Revolution, the Depression, Cardenismo, urbanization, mass migration, and the Second World War all had scant impact on rural Mexico.

20. Alan Knight, “Interpretaciones recientes de la revolución mexicana,” Secuencia (Mexico, Instituto Mora), n. 13 (enero-abril 1989).

21. For discussions of recent historiographical labels and trends, see Vaughan, Mary Kay, Cultural Politics in Revolution. Teachers, Peasants and Schools in Mexico, 1930–40 (Tucson, 1997), 89Google Scholar; Fallaw, Ben, Cárdenas Compromised. The Failure of Reform in Postrevolutionary Yucatán (Durham, 2001), 12CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Enrique Plasencia de la Parra, “Un recorrido por la historiografía de la Revolución Mexicana,” in Mayer, Alicia, coord., México en tres momentos: 1810-1910-2010 (México, UNAM, 2007, 2 vols.), vol. 1, 409419Google Scholar.

22. As already noted, I shall refer to these as MAR, PBR, and SPB.

23. Randall, Laura, “Introduction,” in Randall, Laura, ed., Reforming Mexico's Agrarian Reform (New York, 1996), 3Google Scholar, seems slightly hyperbolic in referring to The Mexican Agrarian Revolution as “a stunning work of scholarship.”

24. Although a moderate shift in opinion is noticeable by the late 1940s, as might be expected, it is the moderation rather than the shift that demands attention. Even in his Ten Keys to Latin America, Tannenbaum recycles a good deal of his earlier Mexican work, dating back thirty years. See also n. 19 above.

25. MAR, 2, 315; PBR, 115, 118, 127. For Tannenbaum's exposition of the thesis of peasant—as against proletarian—revolution, see TKLA, 222–223; and cf. Wolf, Eric R., Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (New York, 1969)Google Scholar, ch. 1. There were, of course, powerful forces in the “real world” that generated this preoccupation with the revolutionary potential of peasants rather than workers.

26. MAR, 4, 53.

27. PBR, 117, 121–123.

28. On Tannenbaum's populist lineage, see the interesting article of Mauricio Tenorio, “Viejos gringos: radicales norteamericanos en los años treinta y su visión de México,” Secuencia 21 (oct.-dic. 1991), 96, 98, 103–106. Such a lineage strengthens suggestions of Tannenbaum's “Veblenism.”

29. MAR, 89–90; PBR, 4, 23, 117, 122; TKLA, 24–25.

30. TKLA, 207.

31. Furnivall, J.S., Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy (Cambridge, 1939)Google Scholar.

32. See the graphic passage in PBR, 124.

33. Womack, John Jr., Zapata and the Mexican Revolution (New York, 1969), 219Google Scholar; Guzmán, Martín Luis, La sombra del caudillo (Madrid, 1929)Google Scholar.

34. PBR, 16, 128. It should be made clear that Tannenbaum tends to define intellectuals in conventional terms (i.e., as educated, citified litterateurs and the like); he does not countenance the possibility of organic “peasant intellectuals.” However, this is not just a question of definition—or ignorance of Gramsci. Tannenbaum's Indians and peasants, though they may be the salt of the earth, are not overendowed with cognitive faculties. Note that pejorative stereotypes of revolutionary intellectuals pervade the novels of the Revolution: Rutherford, John, Mexican Society during the Revolution: A Literary Approach (Oxford, 1971), 84129Google Scholar.

35. PBR, 119.

36. PBR, 119.

37. SPB, 55.

38. Hall, Linda, Alvaro Obregón. Power and Revolution in Mexico, 1911–1920 (College Station, 1981)Google Scholar.

39. PBR, 11. Zapata, Tannenbaum goes on to say (PBR, 179) was “obeyed affectionately … like an old Aztec king,” which suggests that Tannenbaum—whatever we may think about his portrait of Zapata—was scarcely knowledgeable about Aztec kingship.

40. PBR, 33, 67, 102.

41. Gamio, Manuel, Forjando Patria (México, 1916)Google Scholar. Gamio's pioneering work exerted a strong influence on Tannenbaum; Gamio himself had helped steer the novice Mexicanist in a rural/educational direction (see n. 15 above); and he figures in the acknowledgments of SPB.

42. In Tannenbaum's scenario the Indian peasantry, having played such a conspicuous role in the armed revolution after 1910, appears to lapse into quiescence again by the 1920s; reformist efforts—education, labor and agrarian legislation—run up against popular indifference, if not hostility. Land reform, for example, is confounded by the behavior of people “whose habits of personal direction are limited, and whose provision for tomorrow is notoriously childlike” (MAR, 257). Although there are ways of trying to resolve this ostensible contradiction between Indian insurgency and incapacity (for example, by arguing that the armed struggle was genuinely popular and autonomous, while post-1920 reform was elitist and authoritarian), a substantial contradiction remains at the heart of Tannenbaum's interpretation of the Revolution.

43. PBR, 61, 129, 203; MAR, 14.

44. Wolf, Eric R., “Closed Corporate Communities in Mesoamerica and Central Java,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 13 (1957): 118CrossRefGoogle Scholar, is the fons et origo from which a torrent of literature has flowed; a succinct review, with reference to Mexico, is provided by Greenberg, James B., Santiago's Sword: Chatino Peasant Religion and Economics (Berkeley, 1981)Google Scholar, ch. 1.

45. Katz, Friedrich, ed., Riot, Rebellion and Revolution. Rural Social Conflict in Mexico (Princeton, 1988)Google Scholar: and, for two case studies of early popular politicization, see Guardino, Peter, Peasants, Politics and the Formation of Mexico's National State: Guerrero, 1800–57 (Stanford, 1996)Google Scholar, and The Time of Liberty. Popular Political Culture in Oaxaca, 1750–1850 (Durham, 2005).

46. This question lies at the heart of my debate with Eric Van Young and his magisterial study, The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology and the Struggle for Mexican Independence, 1810–21 (Stanford, 2001): see Eric Van Young y Alan Knight, En torno a la otra rebelión (México, 2007), which contains articles originally published in Historia Mexicana 214 (oct.-dic. 2004).

47. For mestizo stereotypes—which, of course, draw on a rich tradition, including another of Tannenbaum's favorites, Andrés Molina Enríquez—see MAR, 143; SPB, 15; TKLA, 42–43, 114, 121. Alejandro de la Fuente, “From Slaves to Citizens? Tannenbaum and the Debates on Slavery, Emancipation, and Race Relations in Latin America,” ILWCH, this issue. On Molina Enríquez and mestizaje, see Agustín Basave, México mestizo. Análisis de la mestozofilia mexicana en torno a Andrés Molina Enríquez (México, 1992).

48. Knight, Alan, “Peasants Into Patriots: Thoughts on the Making of the Mexican Nation,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 10 (1994): 135161CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

49. Womack, Zapata, 186, 300.

50. For example, Gonzalbo, Fernando Escalante, Ciudadanos imaginarios (México City, 1992), 68Google Scholar, 70–71. This, of course, raises the thorny question of whether popular proclamations and petitions (i.e., the “public transcripts” of popular movements) were genuine and expressive, or contrived and instrumental. Perhaps it was good politics to sound patriotic (even if you weren't), and popular protesters realized as much. On the problem of public and private transcripts, see Scott, James C., Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven, 1990)Google Scholar.

51. MAR, 49–50; PBR, 5, 129.

52. González, Luis, “Patriotismo y matriotismo, cara y cruz de México,” in Elío, Cecilia Noriega, ed., El nacionalismo en México (Zamora, 1992), 477496Google Scholar.

53. A roughly similar argument is advanced, for nineteenth-century Mexico and Peru, by Mallon, Florencia, Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru (Berkeley, 1995)Google Scholar.

54. I would make a similar argument (on the basis of less expertise) for the Independence movement: Van Young and Knight, En torno a la otra rebelión, 32, 35–38.

55. PBR, 112, 183. Azuela also suggested a hurricane: Rutherford, Mexican Society, 122.

56. PBR, 112, 147.

57. MAR, 45–51. On the “blatantly deprecatory” attitudes of educational officials toward “Indian peasants” in the 1930s, see Vaughan, Cultural Politics in Revolution, 64.

58. PBR, 26.

59. PBR, 45, 121–122; note also MAR, 72, 85, 110, 127, where Tannenbaum stresses the complexity of agrarian society, in which labor has “the intricacy of a cobweb” and haciendas—while displaying common characteristics—vary according to crop, labor supply, and “local custom or tradition.”

60. For example, in PBR, 7, Tannenbaum seems to refer to “differences in stature, pigmentation and social institutions [my emphasis]” as the only categories for which “the term ‘race’ has any meaning.” Not that this confusion of genetic and social attributes was at all rare at the time; on the contrary, it was the norm, even among progressive thinkers who spurned the crude forms of racism: Knight, Alan, “Racism, Revolution and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910–40,” in Graham, Richard, ed., The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940 (Austin, 1990), 71114Google Scholar.

61. PBR, 19–21.

62. TKLA, 202.

63. TKLA, 115–116, 127–128.

64. Humberto García Muñiz, “‘Los últimos treinta años, 1898–1930’: un manuscrito inedito de Frank Tannenbaum sobre Puerto Rico,” Op. Cit. (San Juan, Puerto Rico), no. 7, 1992, 155. I am grateful to Dr García Muñiz for making this interesting study available to me.

65. PBR, 181; MAR, 135.

66. Tannenbaum, “Technology and Race in Mexico,” 365.

67. I have largely avoided the vexed question of nationalism—in the sense, not of inward-oriented nation-building, but of outward-looking antiforeign and anti-imperialist sentiment. Tannenbaum asserts the importance of popular xenophobia, linking it to foreign ownership of Mexican assets; but his evidence is thin (and relates largely to the less-than-revolutionary South): PBR, 136, 229; SPB, 54. MAR, 358–392, contains detailed data on foreign landholding and nationalist legislation, post-1915, but these data do not constitute proof of popular xenophobia. I do not, therefore, find his discussion of this topic entirely convincing. More important, perhaps, there is an inherent contradiction in Tannenbaum's picture of a nationalist—and popular—revolution, mounted by essentially parochial, antinationalist peasants.

68. Hale, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 239; Delpar, “Frank Tannenbaum,” 163.

69. Gruening, Ernest, Mexico and Its Heritage (New York, 1928), 275286Google Scholar. Interestingly, Tannenbaum considered Gruening overly anti-Catholic: Delpar, The Enormous Vogue, 59.

70. SPB, 66; PBR, 64–66. For a generally persuasive revisionist account of the Cristero revolt, which stresses its popular authenticity, see Meyer, Jean, The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People Between Church and State, 1926–9 (Cambridge, 1976)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

71. PBR, 36–37; TKLA, 54–55. There is an obvious comparison here with Tannenbaum's of slavery in Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas (New York, 1946).

72. PBR, 44.

73. MAR, 11, 49; PBR, 38, 57. Van Young, The Other Rebellion, 62, 483, 491.

74. Jean Meyer stresses precisely the religious orthodoxy of the Cristeros, minimizing syncretic pre-Columbian elements. Perhaps he exaggerates; but the notion that the Cristeros were quasipagans won't wash. See Jean Meyer, La Cristiada, t. III, Los cristeros (Mexico, Siglo XXI, 7th ed., 1985, first pubd. 1974), 272–315.

75. For recent explorations of church-state conflict in this period, which, in general, confirm the high stakes and sincere convictions involved, see Butler, Matthew, ed., Faith and Impiety in Revolutionary Mexico (New York and Basingstoke, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

76. MAR, written as the Cristero War was fought, omits all reference; PBR, completed a few years after its termination, contains chapters entitled “Conflict of Church and State” and “The Defeat of the Church,” 44–67, which focus on the prerevolutionary period and assume that the “defeat” had already occurred. For the revolutionary period, Tannenbaum ventures only one brief (half paragraph) reference to Catholic opposition to Federal schooling. Oddly, it is Tannenbaum's last (Mexican) book—SPB, 133–134—that contains the fullest account, although this, too, is brief, neglects the Cristero rank-and-file, and dwells on the Caruana mission—an abortive mediation in which Tannenbaum himself was directly involved.

77. PBR, 44; TKLA, 101 offers a critique of educational bureaucrats who issue “long reglamentos to teachers off in the jungle or in some mountain crevice,” thus “fill[ing] the air with sounds of activity … with little meaning for those far distant from the capital”; a critique which stands somewhat at odds with Tannenbaum's previous close association with—and reliance upon—Mexican educational bureaucrats of the 1920s and 1930s, who often did precisely this.

78. García Muñiz, “‘Los últimos treinta años,’” 156–157; Delpar, The Enormous Vogue, 27.

79. One ploy—not confined to Tannenbaum—is to dismiss “revolutionary” anticlericalism as a smokescreen put out by conservative elites to distract the masses from more important issues. “Having lost their faith in the people,” Tannenbaum writes of Calles and his “new aristocracy of gilded ‘socialists,’” “they salved their consciences by a systematic persecution of the Church”: SPB, 68 (in TKLA, 63, he extends this critique to Latin American anticlericalism in general). Such an interpretation greatly exaggerates both the cynical instrumentality of Callista anticlericalism and the naive gullibility of the people: see Alan Knight, “The Mentality and Modus Operandi of Revolutionary Anticlericalism,” in Butler, Faith and Impiety, 21–56.

80. PBR, 166; SPB, 54.

81. Delpar, The Enormous Vogue, 27–29, 60.

82. PBR, 153; SPB, 68–70.

83. Tannenbaum to L. Duggan, Oct. 13, 1938, Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico City, Ramo de Presidentes, Fondo Lázaro Cárdenas (henceforth: AGN, R-P, F-LC), 711/121; PBR, 104; TKLA, 139, 165, 231. These, incidentally, are interesting parallels that would repay comparative research; but Mexican and United States historiography tends to advance on parallel lines, with few or no intersections.

84. Delpar, The Enormous Vogue, 60. Over the years, Beals and Tannenbaum also parted company on (1) the question of US policy toward Latin America, of which Tannenbaum was more supportive, Beals more critical; and (2) Latin American economic strategy, in that Beals stressed industrialization, whereas Tannenbaum clung to his Jeffersonian vision of autonomous rural communities: see John A. Britton, Carleton Beals. A Radical Journalist in Latin America (Albuquerque, 1987), 161, 200.

85. In the mid-1960s Tannenbaum was still arguing that “anyone who believes that an egalitarian democracy can be developed in ten years in Guatemala is due for an unhappy awakening”: TKLA, 231. Defenders of Mexico's ruling party, the PRI, sometimes justified presidentialism and the one-party monopoly of national power in terms of pragmatism, realism, stability, and the lack of preferable or feasible alternatives: see, for example, the interview with Beatriz Paredes (sometimes seen as the progressive face of PRIísmo), “El presidencialismo ofrece estabilidad y gobierno fuerte,” in Este País, 16 (1992): 28–36.

86. PBR, 126–127, 246–247. In the case of the CROM leader, Tannenbaum patted himself on the back for “really making a friend of Morones and developing an influence with him”—even to the extent of arranging meetings between Morones and both the US Ambassador and the papal Apostolic Delegate (to little effect, it should be added). Tannenbaum did, however, decline Morones's offer that he (Tannenbaum) become an official publicist for the Mexican government: Delpar, The Enormous Vogue, 29.

87. SPB, x, 71–75; Tannenbaum to the New York Times, n.d., June 1936, AGN, R-P, F-LC 135.1/2; Tannenbaum to Cárdenas, May 6, 1940, AGN, R-P, F-LC, 135.1/3. Tannenbaum's correspondence with Cárdenas displays both a degree of personal intimacy and fluent—but far from perfect—Spanish.

88. I am referring to the liberal-democratic José Vasconcelos of 1929, not the philofascist of a decade later. Cf. Krauze, Enrique, Por una democracia sin adjetivos (Mexico, 1987)Google Scholar. Despite Mexico's recent democratization, the (historical) debate still simmers: in his highly critical review of Alicia Mayer, México en tres momentos, Krauze essays a “counter-factual exercise,” suggesting that, had things turned out slightly differently in 1913, or 1929, a “civilian path” to democratic political stability and peaceful social reform was entirely possible: see Enrique Krauze, “La UNAM y el bicentenario, desvaríos históricos” (Dec. 2007), at

89. TKLA, 218ff.

90. Enrique Krauze, Místico de la libertad: Francisco I. Madero (Mexico, 1987); MAR, 158.

91. PBR, 150.

92. PBR, 151. Note that this sentiment is repeated unchanged in the 1966 edition.

93. PBR, 150.

94. Peace By Revolution; The Struggle for Peace and Bread. “What is Mexico's most insistent need? Peace! Internal peace, a sense of stability, of permanence, of security”: PBR, 111.

95. SPB, 16–19; PBR, 102–105. These two passages display a marked similarity.

96. TKLA, 144; see also SPB, 75–76.

97. Tannenbaum to Cárdenas, Dec. 16, 1936, AGN, R-P, F-LC, 135.1/3. The Laguna land reform of 1936, involving the major cotton plantations near the north-central city of Torreón, became the showcase of Cardenista agrarianism, particularly with regard to collective ejidos (land reform communities).

98. MAR, 11, 142.

99. Cf. Gamio, Forjando patria. Gamio is frequently cited by Tannenbaum: e.g., MAR, 143; PBR, 27, 112, 117.

100. MAR, 28–31; PBR, 187–195.

101. MAR, 105ff.; PBR, 196.

102. Meyer, Jean, “Haciendas y ranchos, peones y campesinos en el Porfiriato. Algunas falacias estadísticas,” Historia Mexicana, 35 (1986): 477509Google Scholar; Guerra, François-Xavier, Le Méxique: De l'ancien régime à la révolution (2 vols., Paris, 1985)Google Scholar, v. II, annexe V; Alan Knight, “Mexican Peonage: What Was It and Why Was It?,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 18 (1986), 41–74.

103. MAR, 116; PBR, 144.

104. MAR, 144. I mention this because some recent “revisionist” theories of revolution have tended to stress the role of accident and contingency as against structural (usually socioeconomic) factors. Accident and contingency are, of course, important. But it is difficult to believe that the presence or absence of social revolution is due entirely—or even primarily—to random factors, and that revolution is a purely stochastic outcome. Cf. Knight, Alan, “Revisionism and Revolution: Mexico Compared to England and France,” Past and Present, 134 (1992): 185–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

105. MAR, 193–197.

106. MAR, 63–64.

107. PBR, 119.

108. PBR, 133.

109. MAR, 175–176.

110. PBR, 180.

111. MAR, 111, 135. Cf. Alan Knight, The Mexican Revolution, Counterrevolution and Reconstruction (Cambridge, 1986), 519–526.

112. MAR, 134–135.

113. SPB, 244.

114. SPB, 242–245, sets out Tannenbaum's “philosophy of little things” (e.g., fish farms and hydroponics), criticizes all-out industrialization (while, at the same time, advocating “an increase in the rate of capital accumulation”), and urges Mexico to “turn its eyes to Switzerland and Denmark rather than to the United States as a model.” Note also PBR, 223–224, for an early anticipation of this thesis.

115. SPB, 79; TKLA, 218–221.

116. I am not just being wise after the event: Knight, Alan, “Solidarity: Historical Continuities and Contemporary Implications,” in Cornelius, Wayne, Craig, Ann and Fox, Jonathan, eds., Transforming State-Society Relations in Mexico. The National Solidarity Strategy (La Jolla, 1994), 2946Google Scholar.

117. On the cultural turn in Latin American, especially Mexican, history, see the special number of the Hispanic American Historical Review edited by Gilbert Joseph and Susan Deans-Smith, 79 (1999). Latin American labor history in particular has been the focus of robust debates between protagonists and critics of culturalism (roughly speaking): early exchanges, in what has become a long-running argument, are Womack, John Jr., “Doing Labor History: Feelings, Work and Material Progress,” Journal of the Historical Society, 5 (2005): 255296CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and French, John and James, Daniel, “The Travails of Doing Labor History: The Restless Wanderings of John Womack Jr.,” Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, 4 (2007), 96115CrossRefGoogle Scholar.