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The Peculiarities of Mexican History: Mexico Compared to Latin America, 1821–1992

  • Alan Knight


This is a piece of comparative history, not an exercise in folkloric whimsy. It does not attempt to probe the secrets of lo mexicano, la mexicanidad, or any of the other quasi-metaphysical concepts which litter the field of Mexican cultural history.1 Nor does it pay too much attention to those more positivistic analyses which try to encapsulate Mexican (political) culture in terms of statistical comparisons.2 Rather, it offers some comparative generalisations about Mexican history in the national period, stressing both broad patterns of socio-economic development and specific politico-cultural factors. Thus – for better or worse – its model is Barrington Moore rather than, say, Octavio Paz or Gabriel Almond. It also draws inspiration – and borrows its title – from the work of E. P. Thompson, which in turn has been developed by Eley and Blackbourn in the German context, Corrigan and Sayer in the English.3 Its purpose is to offer some explanations of the distinctiveness (as well as the commonality) of Mexico's history, compared to the history of Latin America, in the national period.4

Let us begin at the end. In the last fifty years, Mexico has experienced relatively rapid economic growth coupled with relative political and social stability.5 The achievements of the ‘stabilised development’ of the 1950s and 1960s are well known: a solid regime, rapid growth rates, low inflation, rising per capita income.6 And, while the 1980s were a decade of relative stagnation, Mexico's relative position within Latin America has not deteriorated.7 Furthermore, the prospects for future development – of a capitalist kind, with all that that entails – look better now than they did in the late 1980s; all the more if the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.A. is concluded, as now seems probable.



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1 See Paz, Octavio, The Labyrinth of Solitude: Life and Thought in Mexico (New York, 1961) and the same author's The Other Mexico: Critique of the Pyramid (New York, 1972); Ramos, Samuel, Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico (Austin, 1962). That these elusive concepts – delivered, in the case of Octavio Paz, of course, with considerable panache – can ensnare even an acute journalistic mind is shown in Riding, Alan, Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans (New York, 1984), ch. 1.

2 Almond, Gabriel A. and Verba, Sidney, The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations (Princeton, 1963).

3 Thompson, E. P., ‘The Peculiarities of the English’, in The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (London, 1978), pp. 3591; Blackbourn, David and Eley, Geoff, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford, 1984); Corrigan, Philip and Sayer, Derek, The Great Arch (Oxford, 1985).

4 Of course, all countries are distinct, or peculiar, and it is not difficult to find such claims made for other Latin American countries: for the ‘distinctiveness’ of Chilean history or Guatemala's status as ‘a relatively unusual historical case of conquest and colonialism’: Bergquist, Charles, Labor in Latin America: Comparative Essays on Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia (Stanford, 1986), p. 20; Smith, Carol A., ‘Introduction: Social Relations in Guatemala over Time and Space’, in Smith, Carol A. (ed.), Guatemalan Indians and the State, 1540 to 1988 (Austin, 1990), p. 2. My point would be that Mexico – or Mexican history – is particularly distinct, peculiarly peculiar. However, in part to offset exaggerated claims of Mexican exceptionality (‘como México no hay dos!’), I will, in passing, note comparisons – as well as contrasts – between Mexico's pattern of development and that of other Latin American countries.

5 ‘Stability’ begs a host of questions. Mexico has been politically stable in the sense of avoiding both frequent ministerial reshuffles (compare the French Fourth Republic) and, more significantly, major regime changes (compare Argentina since the 1940s). By ‘social stability’ I mean not social stasis (Mexican society has changed markedly since 1940) but a (relative) absence of major social conflict – such as affected the country prior to 1940, and most dramatically during 1910–20.

6 Hansen, Roger D., The Politics of Mexican Development (Baltimore, 1971), ch. 3.

7 Recent annual growth rates (GDP, 1989–91) have averaged +4.1% for Mexico compared to –0.6% for both Argentina and Brazil: New York Times, 13 Nov. 1991, p. 1. (Figures taken from the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission on Latin America: 1991 figures are estimates based on the first semester.)

8 Mexico's place within the bureaucratic-authoritarian spectrum is not clear; at best, it is admitted to the category with major caveats; certainly it is not a paradigmatic case. See O'donnell, Guillermo, ‘Corporatism and the Question of the State’, in Malloy, James M. (ed.), Authoritarianism and Corporatism in Latin America (Pittsburgh, 1977), pp. 53 and 80, and the same author's ‘Introduction to Latin American Cases’, in O'donnell, Guillermo, Schmitter, Philippe C. and Whitehead, Laurence (eds.), Transitions From Authoritarian Rule: Latin America (Baltimore, 1986), pp. 56.

9 While Chiapas has had its share of repression and violence, the picture is more nuanced than that of Guatemala, across the border; the Federal government seeks to control and co-opt, but in doing so it concedes some space for peasant (including Indian) mobilisation, which has tended to increase in recent years: see Harvey, Neil, ‘Peasant Strategies and Corporatism in Chiapas’, in Foweraker, Joe and Craig, Ann L., Popular Movements and Political Change in Mexico (Boulder, 1990), pp. 193198.

10 The guerrilla movements of the 1960s and 1970s, concentrated in the state of Guerrero, were not of the same order: see Mayo, Baloy, La guerrilla de Genaroy Lucio, análisis y resultados (México, 1980).

11 Loaeza, Soledad, ‘La poliítica del rumor: Mexico noviembre-diciembre de 1976’, in Loaeza, Soledad, El llamado de las urnas (México, 1989), pp. 123125.

12 For a lively discussion of Mexican politics in the election year of 1988 see Cornelius, Wayne A., Gentleman, Judith and Smith, Peter H. (eds.), Mexico's Alternative Political Futures (San Diego, 1989).

13 Knight, Alan, ‘Historical Continuities in Social Movements’, in Foweraker, and Craig, , Popular Movements, pp. 78102.

14 As an antidote to ‘immediatist’ exaggeration of temporary political trends, see Chalmers, Douglas A., ‘The Politicized State in Latin America’, in Malloy, (ed.), Authoritarianism, pp. 2345.

15 Tenenbaum, Barbara, The Politics of Penury: Debts and Taxes in Mexico, 1821–1856 (Albuquerque, 1986); for parallels see Deas, Malcolm, ‘The Fiscal Problems of Nineteenth-Century Colombia’, Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 14 (1982), pp. 287328.

16 Rees, Peter, Transportes y comercio entre México y Veracruz, 1519–1910 (México, 1976), pp. 106116.

17 Walker, David W., Kinship, Business and Politics: The Marlínez del Río Family in Mexico, 1824–1867 (Austin, 1986).

18 Coatsworth, John, ‘Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century Mexico’, American Historical Review, vol. 83, no. 1 (1978), pp. 80100.

19 Walker, , Kinship, Easiness and Politics, p. 5.

20 Hale, Charles, The Transformation of Mexican Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico (Princeton, 1989), pp. 237238, quoting Justo Sierra (1876). Some nineteenth-century Bolivian ideologues – such as Mariano Baptista (1886) – went further, advocating annexation to Argentina: Demelas, Danièle, Nationalisme sans nation? La Bolivie aux xixe–xxesiècles (Paris, 1980), p. 23.

21 Haber, Stephen, Industry and Underdevelopment: The Industrialisation of Mexico, 1890–1940 (Stanford, 1989), chs. 1–7.

22 Anderson, Rodney, Outcasts in Their Own Land: Mexican Industrial Workers, (DeKalb, 1976), pp. 112113; Navarro, Moisés González, Historia Moderna de México: El Porfiriato: la vida social (México, 1970), pp. 807811. Again, this was a continental phenomenon: Morris, James O., Elites, Intellectuals and Consensus: A Study of the Social Question and Industrial Relations in Chile (Ithaca, 1966); Pécaut, Daniel, Orden y violencia: Colombia 1930–1954 (2 vols., Bogotá, 1987), vol. 1, pp. 90106.

23 Moore, Barrington Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Harmondsworth, 1969), ch. 8; for a Latin American application of the concept, see Trimberger, Ellen Kay, Revolution from Above: Military Bureaucrats and Development in japan, Turkey, Egypt and Peru (New Brunswick, 1978), ch. 5.

24 See Rourke, Thomas, Goómez, Tyrant of the Andes (New York, 1969, first pubd. 1936), ch. 15; Mora, Enrique Ayala, ‘Gabriel García Moreno y la gestatión del estado nacional en Ecuador’, in Del Campo, Julio Labastida Martín (coord.), Dictaduras y dictadores (Mexico, 1986), pp. 136 and 142.

25 Cited by Levy, Daniel C., ‘Mexico: Sustained Civilian Rule Without Democracy’, in Diamond, Larry, Linz, Juan J. and Lipset, Seymour Martin (eds.), Democracy in Developing Countries: Latin America (Boulder, 1989), p. 481.

26 However, Peter Smith argues that, while the Saenz Peña reform ‘constituted an effective short-run response to a crisis of participation…, its unforeseen consequences created a crisis of legitimacy which ultimately prompted the 1930 coup’: ‘The Breakdown of Democracy in Argentina, 1916–1930’, in Linz, Juan J. and Stepan, Alfred (eds.), The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Latin America (Baltimore, 1978), p. 9.

27 Knight, Alan, The Mexican Revolution (2 vols., Cambridge, 1986), vol. 2, pp. 406423; Womack, John Jr., ‘The Mexican Economy During the Revolution, 1910–1920: Historiography and Analysis’, Marxist Perspectives, vol. 1 (1978), pp. 80123, presents a rosier picture.

28 Womack, John Jr., ‘The Mexican Revolution, 1910–1920’ and Jean Meyer, ‘Mexico: Revolution and Reconstruction in the 1920s’, in Bethell, Leslie (ed.), The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 5 (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 153 and 193.

29 Knight, , Mexican Revolution, vol. 2, pp. 517527.

30 As Arnaldo Córdova observes, ‘in Mexico the Revolution was born along with a burning defence of the past’, in which respect it contrasted with the French or Russian Revolutions (La ideología de la Revolutión Mexicana [México, 1988, first pubd. 1973], p. 87). For the French Revolution's repudiation of the past, see Hunt, Lynn, Politics, Culture and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley, 1984), pp. 29 and 51.

31 Coatsworth, John, ‘Patterns of Rural Rebellion in Latin America: Mexico in Comparative Perspective’, in Katz, Friedrich (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution: Social Conflict in Mexico (Princeton, 1988), pp. 2162. Even if this were a false stereotype (which I doubt), it would contrast, for example, with the ‘official’ view of the Brazilian povo as ‘passive, uncomplaining [and] in need of motivation’: Levine, Robert M., ‘Elite Perspectives on the Povo’, in Conniff, Michael L. and McCann, Frank D. (eds.), Modern Brazil, Elites and Masses in Historical Perspective (Lincoln, 1989), p. 220. It is worth noting, however, that the rebellious Mexicans were overwhelmingly rural: during the 1810 insurgency the cities were relatively inert; while, a century later, during the Revolution, riots tended to concentrate in the declining artisanal towns of the Bajío and the major metropolises remained tranquil (Knight, , Mexican Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 208215).

32 Tutino, John, From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Eases of Agrarian Violence, 1710–1940 (Princeton, 1986), ch. 2; for comparisons with Peru, see Puhle, Hans-Jürgen and Jacobsen, Nils (eds.), The Economies of Mexico and Peru During the Late Colonial Period, 1760–1810 (Berlin, 1986).

33 Tutino, , From Insurrection, chs. 2–5; Van Young, Eric, Hacienda and Market in Eighteenth-Century Mexico: The Rural Economy of the Guadalajara Region, 1675–1820 (Berkeley, 1981); and the same author's ‘Moving Towards Revolt: Agrarian Origins of the Hidalgo Rebellion in the Guadalajara Region’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 176204.

34 Taylor, William, Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, 1979), ch. 4, and the same author's ‘Banditry and Insurrection: Rural Unrest in Central Jalisco, 1790–1816’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 205246.

35 Hamnett, Brian, The Roots of Insurgency: Mexican Regions, 1750–1824 (Cambridge, 1986); Van Young, Eric, ‘Millennium on the Northern Marches: the Mad Messiah of Durango and Popular Rebellion in Mexico, 1800–1815Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 28 (1986), pp. 385413 and the same author's ‘Quetzalcoatl, King Ferdinand and Ignacio Allende Go to the Seashore: or Messianism and Mystical Kingship in Mexico, 1800–1821’, in Jaime, Rodriguez O. (ed.), The Independence of Mexico and the Creation of the New Nation (Los Angeles, 1989), pp. 109127.

36 Thus, as David Brading puts it, ‘the liberation of Peru was a conquest': The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots and the Liberal State, 1492–1867 (Cambridge, 1990), p. 616. A different bastion of loyalism was the siempre fiel island of Cuba, where the presence of a large and growing slave population, coupled with the recent traumatic experience of the Haitian revolution, ensured that the planter elite would remain loyal to Spain, on the grounds that ‘Cuba será española o africana’: Alier, Juan Martínez, Cuba: economía y sociedad (Paris, 1972), pp. 910.

37 Brading, D. A., Haciendas and Ranchos in the Mexican Bajío: León 1700–1860 (Cambridge, 1978), pp. 200204; Miller, Simon, ‘The Mexican Hacienda Between the Insurgency and the Revolution. Maize Production and Commercial Triumph on the Temporal’, Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 16 (1984), p. 312; Pittman, Dewitt Kenneth Jr., Hacendados, campesinos y politicos: Las closes agrarias y la instalación del Estado oligárquicoen México, 1869–1876 (México, 1989), p. 68, indicates the backwardness of Morelos as late as the 1870s.

38 Coatsworth, , ‘Patterns of Rural Rebellion’, p. 55, advances the hypothesis of peasant ‘aggression’; however, the evidence remains sketchy.

39 Tutino, John, ‘Agrarian Social Change and Peasant Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: The Example of Chalco’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 95140. This may be termed ‘Andean’, in that Andean landlords, striving to maximise returns within a sluggish rural economy, tended to do so by squeezing dependent peasants, rather than engaging vigorously and ‘entrepreneurially’ in the market: see, for example, Langer, Eric, Economic Change and Rural Resistance in Southern Bolivia, 1880–1930 (Stanford, 1989), pp. 75 and 188.

40 This is a rough conclusion culled from: Reina, Leticia, Las rebeliones campesinas en México (1819–1906) (México, 1980); Meyer, Jean, Problemas campesinos y revueltas agrarias, 1821–1910 (Mexico, 1971); Wasserstrom, Robert, Class and Society in Central Chiapas (Berkeley, 1983), p. 132.Coatsworth, , ‘Patterns of Rural Rebellion’, p. 50, observes that ‘the Mexican data do not clearly indicate the timing of the transition from tax-based to land disputes’, although he also suggests, p. 55, that ‘beginning in the 1840s… rural revolts now usually involved direct assaults on the haciendas as well as civil authority’;.

41 Chalco landlords denounced ‘perverse’ peasants who, by virtue of their wayward independence, obstructed hacienda operations: Tutino, , ‘Agrarian Social Change’, pp. 107108, 114–116; and, for similar complaints from Morelos, see Bazant, Jan, ‘El trabajo y los trabajadores en la Hacienda de Atlacomulco’, in Frost, Elsa Cecilia et al. , (eds.), El Trabajo y los Trabajadores en la Historia de México (México, 1979), pp. 382384 and Pittman, , Hacendados, pp. 6061.

42 Reed, Nelson, The Caste War of Yucatan (Stanford, 1964); Hart, John, ‘The 1840s Southwestern Peasants' War: Conflict in a Transitional Society’ and Reina, Leticia, ‘The Sierra Gorda Peasant Rebellion, 1847–1850’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 249268, 269–294.Pastor, Rodolfo, Campesinos y reformas: La mixteca, 1700–1858 (México, 1987), p. 531, mentions a ‘Mixtec caste war” in the 1830s.

43 Powell, T. G., El liberalismoy el campesinado en el centra de México (1850 a 1876) (Mexico, 1974); Meyer, Jean, ‘La Ley Lerdo y la desamortización de las comunidades en Jalisco’, in Carrasco, Pedro et al. , La sociedad indígena en el centra y occidente de México (Zamora, 1986), pp. 189212.

44 In the Chalco region, for example, ‘the willingness of the peasants to resort to violence generally slowed the attacks on community landholding by elites and the liberal state’: Tutino, , ‘Agrarian Social Change’, p. 156.

45 Coatsworth, , ‘Patterns of Rural Rebellion’, pp. 50 and 55, dates the shift from ‘tax-based to land disputes’ in the Andes to around 1900; on the Andean timetable, see Langer, , Economic Change, pp. 1820, 30–31, 51ff., which suggests a ‘tenuous equilibrium’ between landed and peasant interests pertaining in much of southern Bolivia through the nineteenth century. Mallon, Florencia, The Defense of Community in Peru's Central Highlands, Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860–1940 (Princeton, 1983), shows how ‘peasant struggle’ (and war with Chile) helped delay any ‘capitalist transformation’ of the rural economy of the central highlands well into the twentieth century.

46 On the greater ideological sophistication of later (roughly, post-1860) rebellions, see Reina, , Rebeliones campesinas, pp. 4041; Katz, Friedrich, ‘Mexico: Restored Republic and Porfiriato, 1967–1910’ in Bethell, Leslie (ed.), The Cambridge History of Latin America (Cambridge, 1986), vol. 5, pp. 1213; Hart, John M., Las anarquistas mexicanos,1860–1900 (Mexico, 1974), ch. 5.

47 Katz, Friedrich, ‘Rural Rebellions After 1810’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 536538. For parallels with Guatemala, see Smith, Carol A., ‘Origins of the National Question in Guatemala: A Hypothesis’ and McCreery, David, ‘State Power, Indigenous Communities and Land in Nineteenth-Century Guatemala, 1820–1920’, in Smith, (ed.), Guatemalan Indians, pp. 8590 and 108–109.

48 Hart, John Mason, Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution (Berkeley, 1987), ch. 4.

49 Katz, , ‘Mexico: Restored Republic and Porfiriato’, pp. 15 and 19–20.

50 Brading, , The First America, p. 664.

51 Katz, Friedrich, Porfirio Díaz frente al descontento popular regional (1891–1893) (México, 1986), pp. 1618. For a good example of the failure of Porfirian paternalism, see Stevens, Donald Fithian, ‘Agrarian Policy and Instability in Porfirian Mexico’, Americas, 39 (1982), pp. 153166.

52 Katz, , Porfirio Díaz, p. 21; Guerra, François-Xavier, Le Mexique: De l'Ancien Régime à la Révolution (Paris, 2 vols., 1985), vol. 1, pp. 9495; Womack, John Jr., Zapata and the Mexican Revolution (New York, 1968), pp. 1236.

53 On the shift from ‘traditional’ to ‘order-and-progress’ caudillos and the origins of the Civilista party in Peru, see Gootenburg, Paul, Between Silver and Guano: Commercial Policy and the State in Postindependence Peru (Princeton, 1989), pp. 8485; parallels would include the establishment of the oligarchic regime in Argentina following the fall of Rosas and the rise of the tachirenses in Venezuela.

54 Silver remained Mexico's principal export, and mining the most important export sector; this was significant in that a fall in export prices and/or foreign demand had a less profound effect on the domestic economy than it did in countries – such as Cuba or Brazil – which relied heavily on agrarian exports: given the ‘enclave’ nature of the mining sector, the multiplier effect was appreciably less. Hence Mexico was less vulnerable to international recession. Meanwhile, Mexico's agrarian exports grew, but across a diverse range of products; monoculture existed solely as a regional problem – most obviously in the case of Yucatán's henequen.

55 The moradores of the Brazilian north-east, commented a Brazilian senator, were ‘united with the millowners by force of habit, by the influence of ancient customs, by ties of gratitude’; hence they displayed ‘a just and reverential respect toward their landlords’: Graham, Richard, Patronage and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (Stanford, 1990), pp. 2425.

56 Bauer, Arnold, Chilean Rural Society: From the Spanish Conquest to 1930 (Cambridge, 1975), pp. 164170; Legrand, Catherine, Frontier Expansion and Peasant Protest in Colombia, 1850–1936 (Albuquerque, 1986), chs. 2 and 3; Rosebery, William, Coffee and Capitalism in the Venezuelan Andes (Austin, 1983). As Legrand's study makes clear, ‘precipitate – newly created, usually frontier – peasantries are quite capable of mobilisation and resistance: a classic example would be the peasant movement of La Convención in Peru in the 1960s. However, there is likely to be a significant time-lag between the initial process of colonisation and capitalist development and the subsequent phase of peasant protest; in the case of ‘traditional’ peasantries – such as the Mexicans – it is the initial process itself which tends to provoke resistance.

57 On the poor communications and weak market of the Andean zone, see Caballero, José María, Eeonomía agraria de la sierra peruana (Lima, 1981), pp. 296298. It is arguable that the economic transformation wrought by the railways in Porfirian Mexico in the 1880s had its Andean analogue in the development of roads and trucks after the 1940s: ibid., pp. 301–3 and Wilson, Fiona, ‘The Conflict Between Indigenous and Immigrant Commercial Systems in the Peruvian Central Sierra, 1900–1940’, in Miller, Rory (ed.), Region and Class in Modern Peruvian History (Liverpool, 1987), pp. 125162. As mentioned above (n. 39) Andean landlords often compensated for market weakness by squeezing tenants and workers, thus provoking protest; but, by the same token, a weak market inhibited the systematic expansion of latifundia in the sierra. Of course, hacienda expansion occurred, and stimulated significant peasant protest, such as the Chayanta revolt in southern Bolivia in 1927 (see Langer, , Economic Change, ch. 4). The Chayanta revolt, however, while it fell short of the insurrectionary scope and sophistication of Zapatismo, did prove capable of arresting the (comparatively weak) hacienda expansionism of the region; in which respect it more resembled nineteenth-century Mexican peasant movements, such as Chalco's, which were holding operations fought against economically shaky elites, not wars to the death against aggressive agrarian entrepreneurs, such as that fought by the Zapatistas against the Morelos sugar planters.

58 On the Peruvian enganche see Blanchard, Peter, ‘The Recruitment of Workers in the Peruvian Sierra at the Turn of the Century: The enganche System’, Inter-American Economic Affairs, vol. 33 (1979), pp. 6384, and – concerning consensus and coercion – the debate between Loveman, Brian, ‘Critique of Arnold Bauer's “Rural Workers in Spanish America”’, and Bauer, Arnold, ‘Reply’, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 59 (1979), pp. 478489.

59 Favre, Henri, ‘The dynamics of Indian peasant society and migration to coastal plantations in central Peru’, in Duncan, Kenneth and Rutledge, Ian (eds.), Land and Labour in Latin America (Cambridge, 1977), p. 265; and see also Mallon, , Defense of Community, pp. 156164.

60 McCreery, , ‘State Power’, p. 107.

61 The chief victims of the expansion of Peru's sugar plantations were agricultores (‘part of a sizeable rural middle class’), rather than communal peasants; their dispossession and resentment helped to stimulate the rise of APRA – a coastal rather than a highland political phenomenon: see Klarén, Peter F., ‘The Social and Economic Consequences of Modernization in the Peruvian Sugar Industry, 1870–1930’, in Duncan, and Rutledge, , Land and Labour, pp. 229267.

62 In view of the popularity of dependista thinking it is not surprising that exports have frequently been seen as the motor of Latin American (under) development and the root cause of both peasant dispossession and proletarian militancy: Bergquist, Charles, Labor in Latin America. Comparative Essays on Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia (Stanford, 1986), is a sophisticated example of this approach. However, Mexican cash crops such as sugar and cotton were primarily produced for the domestic market.

63 Miller, Simon, ‘Land and Labour in Mexican Rural Insurrections’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, vol. 10 (1991), p. 75 presumes (his terminology) that, when I advanced examples of peasant repudiation of the market, I succumbed to the ‘traditional stereotype of the Indian village's communal introversion’ (or, worse still, its ‘idyllic past of collectivism’), which is but one of several odd arguments in this article. I certainly argued that Mexican peasants (I never said ‘Indians’) tended to resist rather than to espouse market production during the Porfiriato (which generalisation is hardly refuted by a couple of colonial citations); however, I both pointed to processes of internal stratification, whereby entrepreneurial rancheros arose from the common ruck of campesinos (Knight, , The Mexican Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 112115), and I recognised that ‘some peasants… benefited [from enhanced demand], as suppliers of goods as well as labor’ (Knight, , ‘The U.S. and the Mexican Peasantry’, in Nugent, Daniel (ed.), Rural Revolt in Mexico and U.S. Intervention [San Diego, 1988], pp. 4748). The crucial point, however, is that most Mexican peasants, especially most revolutionary peasants, tended to regard subsistence production as their chief priority and the market as a threatening rather than a beneficial force.

64 As a rough index of the relative impact of commercialisation, note that between 1874 and 1910 Mexican exports increased tenfold, while population rose 52%; between 1880 and 1913 Argentine exports rose ninefold, while population tripled. The best known statement concerning the need to assess the impact of export-led growth in terms of ‘the particular, historically developed class structures through which these processes worked themselves out’ is that of Brenner, Robert, ‘The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism’, New Left Review, vol. 54 (1977), p. 91.

65 Scott, James C., The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, 1976), which argument has been usefully developed in the Mexican context by Tutino, , From Insurrection to Revolution, pp. 1617, 24 and 27.

66 See Samuel Popkin, L., The Rational Peasant. The Political Economy of Rural Society in Vietnam (Berkeley, 1979). These arguments are echoed, in the Mexican context, by Vanderwood, Paul J., ‘Explaining the Mexican Revolution’, in Jaime, Rodríguez O. (ed.), The Revolutionary Process in Mexico. Essays on Political and Social Change, 1880–1940 (Los Angeles, 1990), p. 101.

67 Cornblit, Oscar, ‘Society and Mass Rebellion in Eighteenth-Century Peru and Bolivia’, in Latin American Affairs, St Antony's Papers no. 22, ed. Carr, Raymond (Oxford, 1970), pp. 944; O'phelan, Scarlet, ‘Comunidades campesinas y rebeliones en el siglo XVIII’, in Bonilla, Heraclio et al. , Comunidades campesinas. Cambios y permanencias (Lima, 1987), pp. 95114; Stern, Steve J., ‘The Age of Andean Insurrection, 1742–1782: A Reappraisal’, in Stern, Steve J. (ed.), Resistance, Rebellion and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World, 18th to 20th Centuries (Madison, 1987), pp. 3493. Of course, the distinction between ‘agrarian’ and ‘political’ grievances is not absolute or uncontentious: political power directly facilitated agrarian dispossession; or – by means of taxation, conscription or corvé – indirectly prodded peasants into the commercial agrarian economy, to the benefit of rural elites. Logically, however, political control and exactions had to precede agrarian dispossession; hence the state (or the church) was usually an older target than the landlord. The sequence may be schematically depicted in terms of a transition from a tributary mode (whereby peasants yielded a surplus to state or church) to a mode involving the private appropriation of surplus ('feudal’ or ‘capitalist’ according to theoretical taste and historical circumstances).

68 McNeill, William H., Plagues and Peoples (Oxford, 1977), pp. 67ff.

69 Knight, , Mexican Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 115127; Benjamin, Thomas, A Rich Land, APoor People: Politics and Society in Modern Chiapas (Albuquerque, 1989), p. 125; Jacobs, Ian, Ranchero Revolt: The Mexican Revolution in Guerrero (Austin, 1982), pp. xix–xx and 80; Garner, Paul, ‘Oaxaca: The Rise and Fall of State Sovereignty’, in Benjamin, Thomas and Wasserman, Mark (eds.), Provinces of the Revolution: Essays on Mexican Regional History, 1910–1929 (Albuquerque, 1990), pp. 163184.

70 For the nineteenth century, see n. 46. For the Revolution, see Warman, Arturo, ‘The Political Project of Zapatismo’, in Katz, , Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 322337.

71 Charles, Tilly, Lousie, and Richard, , The Rebellious Century, 1830–1930 (Cambridge, 1971), pp. 5152; Knight, , Mexican Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 150151.

72 See Córdova, Arnaldo, La ideología de la Revolution Mexicana: La formation del nuevo régimen (Mexico, 1973), p. 154.

73 Hunt, , Politics, Culture and Class, pp. 13 and 123–124, offers a good example of the interaction of social groups and revolutionary ideology.

74 Heroics, Jesús Reyes, El liberalismo mexicano (3 vols., Mexico, 1957–1961) offers a paean to Mexican liberalism, celebrating – and perhaps exaggerating – its broad, popular, democratic and inclusionary character; as Hale, , Transformation of Mexican Liberalism, pp. 1415, points out, this magisterial work significantly neglects the Porfiriato. For a contrasting view, which stresses the pervasive religiosity of Mexican people, see Meyer, Jean, La Cristiada (3 vols., Mexico, 1973–4), vol. 2, pp. 19 and 28, vol. 3, pp. 282 and 304.

75 Warman, , ‘The Political Project of Zapatismo’, argues against Zapatista parochialism, not altogether convincingly. It is worth mentioning that many revolutionary movements, and not simply those of peasant provenance, displayed a strong attachment to the patria chica: for example, the mapaches of Chiapas or the soberanistas of Oaxaca (both led by landlord elites): see Benjamin, , A Rich Land, pp. 123126, and Garner, ‘Oaxaca’. Conversely, the Zapatistas did entertain a lively notion of the nation. My point would be that Zapatista patriotism, premised on a strong identification with the patria chica, was inherently decentralising, even anarchist; while the patriotism of other revolutionary groups – such as the victorious Sonorans – tended to merge patria chica and patria grande in a powerful centralising ethos, which (in contradiction to ‘patriotism’) might better be designated ‘nationalism’.

76 The ‘Great/Little Tradition’ dichotomy may be crude, but – in my view – it still has its uses: e.g. Knight, Alan, ‘Revolutionary Project, Recalcitrant People: Mexico, 1910–40’, in Jaime, Rodríguez O. (ed.), The Revolutionary Process in Mexico: Essays on Political and Social Change, 1880–1940 (Los Angeles, 1990), pp. 231ff.

77 Gruzinski, Serge, Man-Gods in the Mexican Highlands: Indian Society and Colonial Society, 1550–1800 (Stanford, 1989).

78 Bricker, Victoria Reifler, The Indian Christ, the Indian King. The Historical Substrate of Maya Myth and Ritual (Austin, 1981), chs. 5 and 9.

79 Taylor, , Homicide, Drinking and Rebellion, pp. 114ff.

80 Bricker, , The Indian Christ, pp. 6768, argues that Chiapas Indian revitalisation movements did not challenge the existing sociopolitical order; they sought ‘a saint of their own who would be acceptable to the Spanish religious authorities’; and, when they were not repressed, they peacefully coexisted with the prevailing order.

81 Wasserstrom, , Class and Society, pp. 102103, notes that the Spaniards of Chiapas tended to tolerate heterodox Indian cults ‘except in times of political uncertainty’.

82 Van Young, , ‘Millennium on the Northern Marches’ and ‘Quetzalcoatl’.

83 Bricker, , The Indian Christ, ch. 8. Paul Vanderwood's work-in-progress on the Tomochi revolt stresses its religious and messianic character: ‘Comparing Mexican Independence with the Revolution: Causes, Concepts and Pitfalls’, in Rodríguez, (ed.), The Independence of Mexico, pp. 321322, and the same author's ‘God's Law versus State Rule: Tomóchic, 1891–1892’, paper given at the Conference on ‘Popular Culture, State Formation and the Mexican Revolution’, Center for US-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 27 Feb–2 March 1991. In this respect Vanderwood differs from Francisco Almada, R., La rebelión de Tomochi (Chihuahua, 1938), who explains the revolt in terms of secular politics and factionalism.

84 De Queiroz, Maria Isaura Pereira, O messianismo no Brasil e no Mundo (Sāo Paulo, 1965), pp. 139308.

85 Good examples are: Díaz, Fernando Díaz, Caudillos y caciques (México, 1972); Meyer, Jean, Esperando a Lozada (México, 1984); and Olveda, Jaime, Gordiano Guzmán, uncacique del siglo XIX (México, 1980).

86 Meyer, , La Cristiada, vol. 3, ch. 4.

87 Taylor, , Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion, pp. 124 and 146.

88 Katz, , ‘Rural Uprisings in Preconquest and Colonial Mexico’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 7076.

89 Taylor, , Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion, p. 126, attributes the relative weakness of Mexican messianism at least in part to the absence of ‘messianic leadership by hereditary native nobles’. On the contrasting roles of the Indian nobility (caciques/kurakas) in Mesoamerica and the Andes compare, for example, Gibson, Charles, The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519–1810 (Stanford, 1964), pp. 154165 (which concludes, p. 163: ‘by late colonial times cacique status could in some degree buttress a family's prestige but it could no longer in itself be regarded as a rank of major authority’) and Rasnake, Roger Neil, Domination and Cultural Resistance: Authority and Power among an Andean People (Durham, 1988).

90 Hu Dehart, Evelyn, ‘The Yaqui Indians of Sonora’, in Katz, (ed.), Riot, Rebellion and Revolution, pp. 148149.

91 Salvucci, Richard, Textiles and Capitalism in Mexico: An Economic History of the Obrajes, 1539–1840 (Princeton, 1987), p. 18, citing Woodrow Borah.

92 Hassig, Ross, Trade, Tribute and Transportation. The Sixteenth-Century Political Economy of the Valley of Mexico (Norman, 1985), p. 149; Macleod, Murdo J., ‘Forms and Types of Work and the Acculturation of the Colonial Indians of Mesoamerica: Some Preliminary Observations’, in Frost, (ed.), El Trabajo, p. 80.

93 Brading, , The First America, p. 138; Mariátegui, José Carlos, Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (Austin, 1988), pp. 180181. ‘Pluralism’ is used here in Furnivall's sense: it denotes a society ‘of disparate parts which owes its existence to external factors and lacks a common social will’: Smith, M. G., The Plural Society in the British West Indies (Berkeley, 1974), p. vii. The relative absence of paternalistic colonial authority in the Andean highlands – as compared to Mexico – was stressed by the visitador–general José Antonio de Areche in 1777: see Borah, Woodrow, Justice by Insurance. The General Indian Court of Colonial Mexico and the Legal Aides of the Half-Real (Berkeley, 1983), p. 411.

94 Ricard, Robert, The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico (Berkeley, 1966); Brading, , The First America, p. 103.

95 Lafaye, Jacques, Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness, 1531–1813 (Chicago, 1976); Brading, D. A., The Origins of Mexican Nationalism (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 914.

96 Womack, , Zapata, pp. 7071. Similarly, the Opatas of Sonora (1904) ‘do not like to be regarded as Indians; they prefer to be called “Mexicans”’; indeed, they claimed a ‘patriotic’ lineage dating back to the 1830s: Sheridan, Thomas E., Where the Dove Calls: The Political Ecology of a Peasant Corporate Community in Northwestern Mexico (Tucson, 1988), pp. 18 and 22 (quoting Ales Hrdlicka).

97 Womack, , Zapata, pp. 100102. There were colonial premonitions of this more ‘relaxed’ attitude toward ‘Indian’ revolt, at least in central Mexico: Taylor, , Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion, pp. 120121. The situation in the Andes was clearly different: fears of caste war and ‘racist polarization’ remained strong and were, if anything, aggravated in the late nineteenth century: Tristan Platt, ‘The Andean Experience of Bolivian Liberalism, 1825–1900: Roots of Rebellion in 19th-Century Chayanta (Potosí)’, in Stern, Resistance, pp. 315–20. Half a century later, the Bolivian revolution, by giving land and votes to the Indians and creating a network of powerful campesino caciques, revived these fears: ‘in Achacachi… an Aymara peasant leader has established a little dominion for himself, issuing permits to go through the district. As this is only two hours drive from La Paz there is distinct nervousness in the city and nobody is very anxious for the government to adopt firm measures as they fear a massacre’: report of J. Thynne Henderson to Foreign Office, 23 Dec. 1959, FO 371/148757, AX 1015/1.

98 Meyer, Jean, Esperando a Lozada, pp. 235256, concludes his analysis of the Lozada movement by pointing to an ‘obvious’ feature of nineteenth-century Mexican history, namely, ‘the tight links which bind rural movements and national history together’ (p. 256).

99 Katz, , ‘Rural rebellions after 1810’, p. 555.

100 See Dix, Robert H., Colombia: The Political Dimensions of Change (New Haven, 1967), pp. 203ff., concerning the ‘hereditary hatreds’ of Colombian politics (p. 211) which, Dix stresses (p. 213), spanned social classes, and were not confined to warring elites.

101 Stevens, D. F., Origins of Instability in Early Republican Mexico (Durham, N.C., 1991), p. 113.

102 For an excellent study of the political economy of Puebla see Thomson, Guy, Puebla de los Angeles. Industry and Society in a Mexican City (Boulder, 1989), ch. 5; Sowell, David, ‘The 1893 bogotazo: Artisans and Public Violence in Late Nineteenth-Century Bogotá’, journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 21 (1989), pp. 267282, describes the political activism of Bogotá's artisans and their shift (roughly) from the liberal to the conservative camp. Again, there are interesting parallels with revolutionary France: Hunt, , Politics, Culture and Class, pp. 152153.

103 Wasserstrom, , Class and Society, p. 126, on San Cristóbal; for Colombia, see Delpar, Helen, Red Against Blue. The Liberal Party in Colombian Politics, 1863–1899 (University of Alabama, 1989), pp. 29, 34–35 and 41.

104 For a forthright and stimulating statement of this position, see Tutino, John, ‘Patterns of Culture in Mexican History: From Colonial Hegemony to National Conflict’, paper given at the VIII Conference of Mexican and North American Historians, San Diego, 19 Oct. 1990. Similar assumptions – concerning the un- or anti-popular character of liberalism – are to be found in European historiography: e.g., Hobsbawm, Eric, ‘Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe 1870–1914’, in Hobsbawm, Eric and Ranger, Terence (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, 1983), p. 268.

105 Díaz, Díaz, caudillos y caciques; Thomson, Guy P., ‘Agrarian Conflict in the Municipality of Cuetzalán (Sierra de Puebla): The Rise and Fall of “Pala” Agustín Dieguillo, 1861–1894’, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 71 (1991), pp. 205258. On the appeal of liberal federalism in Oaxaca, see Pastor, Rodolfo, Campesinos y reformat: La Mixteca, 1700–1856 (México, 1987), pp. 447448.

106 Nugent, Daniel, ‘Land, Labor and Politics in a Serrano Society: The Articulation of State and Popular Ideology in Mexico’, PhD diss., Univ. of Chicago, 1988.

107 In Oaxaca, for example: Berry, Charles R., The Reform in Oaxaca. A Microhistory of the Liberal Revolution (Lincoln, 1981), pp. 163, 165–166, 177 and 187; Pastor, , Campesinos y reformas, pp. 472 and 513–514.Jacobs, , Ranchero Revolt, and Schryer, Frans J., The Rancheros of Pisaflores. The History of a Peasant Bourgeoisie in Twentieth-Century Mexico (Toronto, 1980), offer good examples of liberal ranchero communities in central Mexico; Brading, D. A., The Origins of Mexican Nationalism (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 9698, discusses the socio-economic bases of popular liberalism in general.

108 Voss, Stuart, On the Periphery of Nineteenth-Century Mexico: Sonora and Sinaloa, 1810–1877 (Tucson, 1982), pp. 50 and 80–81, on the weakness of the Church in the north-west. Popular anticlericalism and irreligion have been little studied and, perhaps, underestimated. For some examples: Green, Stanley C., The Mexican Republic: The First Decade, 1823–1832 (Pittsburgh, 1987), pp. 217218; Roeder, Ralph, Juárez and his Mexico (2 vols., New York, 1968), vol. 1, pp. 5657. During the Revolution, voceadores allegedly sold their newspapers more briskly by flipping them open at the pages containing Orozco's (often virulently anticlerical) cartoons: Reed, Alma, Orozco (New York, 1956), pp. 67; were there nineteenth-century precedents for this sales pitch?

109 ‘Fear and even terror of military retribution might restore order’, Christen Archer writes of the Spanish counter-insurgency of the 1810s, ‘but in their hearts the Mexicans had come to abhor Spaniards and Spanish rule’: ‘“La Causa Buena”: The Counterinsurgency Army of New Spain and the Ten Years War’, in Rodríguez, (ed.), Independence of Mexico, p. 91.

110 Sims, Harold, La expulsión de los españoles de México, 1821–1828 (México, 1974); Cabellero, Romeo Flores, Counterrevolution. The Role of the Spaniards in the Independence of Mexico, 1804–1838 (Lincoln, 1974), chs. 5–8.

111 Mallon, Florencia, ‘Politics and State-Formation in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Morelos, 1848–1858’, Political Power and Social Theory, 7 (1988), pp. 154; Brading, D. A., The Origins of Mexican Nationalism (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 9394; Knight, Alan, U.S.–Mexican Relations, 1910–1940 (San Diego, 1987), pp. 5859 and 64–67.

112 Staples, Ann, ‘Panorama Educative al Comienzo de la Vida Independiente’, in Vázquez, Josefina Zoraida et al. (eds.), Ensayos sobre historia de la educatión en México (México, 1983), pp. 153154; Jacobs, , Ranchero Revolt, pp. 2021. Again, note the parallel with Colombia: Delpar, Red Against Blue, pp. 48–9.

113 The Zapata family offers an example of popular rural liberal affiliation; the Cabrera family of petty-bourgeois, urban allegiance. See Wornack, , sZapata, pp. 399400; Meyer, Eugenia, Luis Cabrera: teórico y crítico de la Revolutión (México, 1972), pp. 1113 and 203–204. On Colombia, see Delpar, , Red Against Blue, pp. 4041 and 50, and Dix, , Colombia, pp. 211ff.

114 Recent work by Guy Thomson and Florencia Mallon stresses the importance of wartime mobilisation in the formation of popular political affiliations in Morelos and Puebla: see, for example, Thomson, , ‘Agrarian Conflict’ and ‘Bulwarks of Patriotic Liberalism: The National Guard, Philharmonic Corps and Patriotic Juntas in Mexico, 1847–1888’, Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 22, no. 1 (1990), pp. 3168; Mallon, Florencia, ‘Popular Liberalism and Popular Culture: An Andean-Mexican Comparison of Peasant Consciousness in Historical Motion’, paper given at the Conference on ‘Popular Culture, State Formation, and the Mexican Revolution’, Center for US–Mexican Studies, University of California San Diego, 27 Feb–2 March 1991.

115 Dix, , Colombia, pp. 240244; and for vivid biographical details, Y Donny Meertens, Gonzalo Sánchez, Bandoleros, gamonales y campesinos: El caso de la violencia en Colombia (Bogotá, 1983). On revolutionary and postrevolutionary France (specifically, La Sarthe): Bois, Paul, Paysans de l'Ouest (Paris, 1975).

116 A similar distinction – between ‘sentiment evocation’ and ‘ideological persuasion’ – is put forward by Lincoln, Bruce, Discourse and the Construction of Society. Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual and Classification (Oxford, 1989), p. 10.

117 As I have argued elsewhere, I have my doubts about the strength and precocity of the supposed ‘Leviathan’ state which many experts see rising in the immediate aftermath of the armed Revolution: Knight, Alan, ‘The Mexican Revolution: Bourgeois? Nationalist? Or Just a “Great Rebellion”?’, Bulletin of Latin American Research (1985), pp. 147.

118 For an excellent résumé, see Sánchez, Gonzalo, ‘The Violence: An Interpretative Synthesis’, in Bergquist, Charles et al. (eds.), Violence in Colombia. The Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective (Wilmington, 1992), pp. 75124.

119 On the politico-cultural significance of the brass band, see Thomson, , ‘Bulwarks of Patriotic Liberalism’.

120 Brading, , The First America, p. 662. Nicaraguan liberalism, too, acquired powerful patriotic and emotive force, not least thanks to the exploits of Sandino – who, himself, had been strongly influenced by Mexican examples and traditions: Hodges, Donald C., Intellectual Foundations of the Nicaraguan Revolution (Austin, 1986), especially pp. 8085.

121 Perry, Laurens Ballard, Juárez and Díaz: Machine Politics in Mexico (DeKalb, 1978), dissects the practical failures of Juarista liberalism.

122 Dabbs, Jack Autrey, The French Army in Mexico, 1861–1867 (The Hague, 1963), pp. 85, 123, 131, 145 and 219–237.

123 Knight, , U.S.–Mexican Relations, pp. 3239 and 145, suggests that direct foreign intervention – invasion being the extreme case – is more effective in stimulating patriotic and anti-imperialist reactions than economic ‘dependency’, however marked or pervasive.

124 Lee Woodward, Ralph Jr., ‘Changes in the Nineteenth-Century Guatemalan State and its Indian Policies’, in Smith, , Guatemalan Indians, pp. 6070; Micelli, Keith, ‘Rafael Carrera: Defender and Promoter of Peasant Interests in Guatemala, 1837–1848’, The Americas, vol. 31 (1974), pp. 7295.

125 Williams, John Hoyt, ‘Race, Threat and Geography: The Paraguayan Experience of Nationalism’, Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism, vol. 1 (1974), pp. 173191.

126 Mallon, , Defense of Community, ch. 3, and the same author's ‘Nationalist and Antistate Coalitions in the War of the Pacific: Junín and Cajamarca, 1879–1902’, in Stern, , Resistance, pp. 232279.

127 Domínguez, Jorge, Cuba: Order and Revolution (Cambridge, 1978), pp. 114115; Hodges, , Intellectual Foundations. In both Cuba and Central America, however, the association of US interventionism and nationalism did not prevent some politicos from encouraging intervention out of partisan interest; this phenomenon was much rarer in Mexico.

128 For the classic Marxist association of nationalism and the market, see Bourque, Gilles, L'État Copitaliste et la Question Nationale (Montréal, 1977), ch. 1. This association informs Heraclio Bonilla's position in his interesting debate with Mallon and Manrique concerning Peruvian peasant ‘nationalism’: see Mallon, , ‘Nationalist and Antistate Coalitions’ and Bonilla, , ‘The Indian Peasantry and “Peru” during the War with Chile’, in Stern, , Resistance, pp. 219231.

129 See Johnson, Chalmers, Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power: The Emergence of Revolutionary China (Stanford, 1962).

130 Mallon, , Defense of Community, p. 121, notes that the Peruvian peasantry's potential for ‘organization by a reformist nationalist coalition’ went untapped, in contrast to the Mexican (or Chinese) revolutionary experience of nationalist mobilisation; Bonilla, , ‘Indian Peasantry’, p. 227, questions the depth of this potential; for later lamentations, see Mariátegui, , Seven Interpretive Essays, pp. 163164, and Cotler, Julio, ‘De Velasco a Belaúnde: el problema de la construcción nacional y la democracia en Perú’, in Pablo González Casanova (coord.), El estado en América Latina: Teoría y práctica (México, 1990), pp. 349366.Demelas, , Nationalisme sans nation?, pp. 1128, sees a similar development of popular nationalism in Bolivia at the time of the War of the Pacific, leading to ‘un sentiment nationale populaire durable’; but the evidence is thin and certainly the potential, to the extent that it existed, again went untapped.

131 Smith, Carol A., ‘Origins of the National Question in Guatemala: A Hypothesis’, in Smith, , Guatemalan Indians, pp. 8392, on the ‘redrawing (of) national divisions’ along ethnic lines following the Carrera period.

132 That anticlerical liberals would make appeal to the symbolic figure of a cleric (even a defrocked cleric) is interesting, but does not undermine the force of the argument; the manufacture and invocation of symbols need not follow strictly ‘logical’ forms. Juárez, like most mid-century liberals, was a believer (Roeder, , Juárez, vol. 1, pp. 81 and 130) and even twentieth-century anticlericals, who flaunted their antipathy to Catholicism, were not averse to appropriating Catholic symbols or invoking the authority of Jesus (Knight, , ‘Revolutionary Project’, pp. 247250). See also n. 190 below.

133 Mora, Ayala, ‘Gabriel García Moreno’, pp. 157160.

134 McClintock, Cynthia, ‘Peru: Precarious Regimes, Authoritarian and Democratic’, in Diamond, Larry, Linz, Juan J. and Lipset, Seymour Martin (eds.), Democracy in Developing Countries: Latin America (Boulder, 1989), p. 348.

135 Rafael Belaúnde Terry to Charles W. Hackett, 4 Jan. 1938, Hackett Papers, University of Texas at Austin.

136 Hughes, Jeffrey L., ‘The Politics of Dependency in Poland and Mexico’, in Triska, Jan (ed.), Dominant Powers and Subordinate States: The United States in Latin America and the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe (Durham, 1986), pp. 342369.

137 Scholes, Walter V., Mexican Politics During the Juárez Regime, 1855–1872 (Columbus, Mo., 1957), pp. 3637; Knight, , US-Mexican Relations, p. 32.

138 Villegas, Daniel Cosío, Estados Unidos contra Porfirio Díaz (México, 1956), p. 319; Knight, , US-Mexican Relations, p. 31.

139 Knight, , US-Mexican Relations, pp. 3946.

140 Anderson, Rodney D., Outcasts In Their Own Land. Mexican Industrial Workers, 1906–1911 (DeKalb, 1975).

141 Vanderwood, Paul J., ‘Explaining the Mexican Revolution’, in Rodríguez, , The Revolutionary Process, p. 98.

142 Nugent, , ‘Land, Labor and Polities’.

143 Benjamin, , A Rich Land, p. 206.

144 Knight, Alan, ‘Land and Society in Revolutionary Mexico: The Destruction of the Great Haciendas’, Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos, vol. 7 (1991), pp. 73104.Handy, Jim, ‘The Most Precious Fruit of the Revolution: The Guatemalan Agrarian Reform, 1952–1954’, Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 68 (1988), pp. 675705, makes similar points about the (aborted) Guatemalan reform.

146 Schryer, Frans J., Ethnicity and Conflict in Rural Mexico (Princeton, 1990), ch. 15; Sanderson, Steven E., Agrarian Populism and the Mexican State: The Straggle for Land in Sonora (Berkeley, 1981), ch. 7.

146 Hamilton, Nora, The Limits of State Autonomy. Post-revolutionary Mexico (Princeton, 1982), pp. 162183.

147 During the 1920s and 1930s the Mexican agrarian reform first eroded, then eliminated, large commercial haciendas, which practised demesne farming, produced for vigorous markets, and in some cases exported; the Bolivian reform – probably the closest competitor in terms of scope and radicalism – eliminated more ‘traditional’ haciendas, which were largely divided into small, subsistence peasant plots (or extensive pastoral tracts). The Mexican reform, in other words, attacked a (loosely) Gutsherrschaft system, the Bolivian a Grundsherrschaft system. Aside from figures of area or recipients, therefore, the former was arguably a more radical process.

148 Casanova, Pablo González, Democracy in Mexico (Oxford, 1970), pp. 124126.

149 The classic formulation is Marx's discussion of the English Factory Acts: measures undertaken by the state – ‘acting in the interests of capital in general’ – in order to curb capital's ‘werewolf hunger for surplus labour’, which would ultimately jeopardise its own very existence: Holloway, John and Picciotto, Sol, ‘Introduction: Towards a Materialist Theory of the State’, in Holloway, and Picciotto, (eds.), State and Capital. A Marxist Debate (London, 1978), pp. 1920.

150 Cotler, , ‘De Velasco a Belaúnde’; Harding, Colin, ‘The Rise of Sendero Luminoso’, in Miller, , Region and Class, pp. 179206.

151 For a good analysis of PRONASOL, see Dresser, Denise, ‘Neopopulist Solutions to Neoliberal Problems: Mexico's National Solidarity Program’, unpublished paper, Center for US–Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1991. Compare PRONASOL's apparent success with the relative failure of the SINAMOS programme instituted by the Peruvian military: McClintock, Cynthia, ‘Velasco, Officers and Citizens: The Politics of Stealth’, in McClintock, Cynthia and Lowenthal, Abraham F. (eds.), The Peruvian Experiment Reconsidered (Princeton, 1983), pp. 300306.

152 Knight, Alan, ‘Social Revolution: a Latin American Perspective’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, vol. 9 (1990), pp. 175202.

153 Hobsbawm, E. J., ‘Revolution’, in Porter, Roy and Teich, Mikulás, Revolution in History (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 2627; Hill, Christopher, ‘Parliament and People in Seventeenth Century England’, Past and Present, vol. 92 (1981), pp. 118119 and 124.

154 On the relations between the political elite and private enterprise, see Maxfield, Sylvia and Montoya, Ricardo Anzaldúa (eds.), Government and Private Sector in Contemporary Mexico (San Diego, 1987).

155 Rouquié, Alain, The Military and the State in Latin America (Berkeley, 1987), p. 8.

156 However, the avoidance of systematic centralised repression has not ruled out a good deal of localised violence, especially where a powerful agrarian bourgeoisie confronts an active campesino movement: Schryer, , Ethnicity and Class Conflict, pp. 279280; Ibarra, Abraham García, Los Bárbaras del Norte: La Contra Mexicana (México, 1988). In addition, the existence of a diverse and fairly free press does not mean that the lives and livelihoods of independent journalists are risk-free.

157 Mariátegui, , Seven Interpretive Essays, pp. 4546.

158 Cárdenas, Enrique, ‘La gran depresion y la industrialización: el caso de México’, in Thorp, Rosemary (comp.), América Latino en los años treinta. El papel de la periferia en la crisis mundial (México, 1988), pp. 260280.

159 Blackbourn, and Eley, , Peculiarities, pp. 5560 and 75–83.

160 Ibid., pp. 75, 83 and 86–87. Note that these ate precisely the ingredients – an integrated national market, state legitimacy, political centralisation and cultural homogenisation – that Cotler sees as crucially lacking in Peru: ‘Democracy and National Integration’, p. 4.

161 Corrigan, and Sayer, , Great Arch.

162 Shutnway, Nicolas, The Invention of Argentina (Berkeley, 1991), p. xi and passim.

163 Rouquié, , The Military and the State, p. 42.

164 Wilkie, James W., The Mexican Revolution. Federal Expenditure and Social Change Since 1910 (Berkeley, 1970), pp. 100106.

165 The analogy is based on A. J. P. Taylor's evaluation, ‘Crimea: The War That Would Not Boil’, in Taylor, , Europe: Grandeur and Decline (Harmondsworth, 1967), pp. 6777.

166 Meyer, Jean, La Cristiada, vol. 1, p. 53.

167 Knight, Alan, ‘The Politics of the Expropriation’, in Brown, Jonathan and Knight, Alan (eds.), The Mexican Petroleum Industry in the Twentieth Century (Austin, forthcoming, 1992).

168 Loaeza, Soledad, Clases medias y politica en Mexico (Mexico, 1988), ch. 6.

169 Knight, , Mexican Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 401404.

170 The achievement is the more remarkable in that the Mexican Church was, by Latin American standards, particularly powerful: in Brazil, for example, the (Catholic) Church tended to be weaker and middle-class in composition; as such, it became – under Vargas – virtually a junior partner in government and retained that role at least until the 1960s; see Bruneau, Thomas, The Church in Brazil. The Politics of Religion (Austin, 1982), pp. 19ff. In Argentina, Adolfo Gilly argues, a feeble liberalism compromised with a powerful Catholic Church, allowing the latter to retain ample political influence, in conjunction with landlords and military, to the detriment of national integration and governmental legitimacy: ‘La anomalía argentina (estado, corporaciones y trabajadores)’, in Casanova, González (ed.), El estado en América Latina, p. 191.

171 Knight, Alan, ‘Mexico's Elite Settlement: Conjuncture and Consequences’, in Higley, John and Burton, Michael (eds.), Elites and Democratic Consolidation in Latin Americaand Southern Europe (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 113145.

172 Purcell, Susan Kaufman and Purcell, John F. H., ‘State and Society in Mexico: Must a Stable Polity be Institutionalized?’, World Politics, vol. 32 (1980), pp. 204206.

173 Stevens, Evelyn P., Protest and Response in Mexico (Cambridge, 1974).

174 Carr, Barry and Montoya, Ricardo Anzaldúa (eds.), The Mexican Left, the Popular Movements and the Politics of Austerity (San Diego, 1986).

175 Almond, and Verba, , Civic Culture, pp. 414415 and 496–497.

176 Shumway, , Invention of Argentina; Gilly, , ‘La anomalía argentina’, pp. 190191.

177 Assad, Carlos Martínez (ed.), Municípios en conflicto (México, 1985); Rubin, Jeffrey W., ‘Popular Mobilization and the Myth of State Corporatism’, in Craig, and Foweraker, , Popular Movements, p. 257.

178 For good analyses of varieties of revolutionary bossism, see Joseph, Gilbert M., Revolution From Without. Yucatán, Mexico and the United States, 1880–1924 (Durham, 1988), pp. 115121 and 207–213; Schryer, , Ethnicity and Class Conflict, ch. 8; Romero, Laura Patricia, ‘La conformatión del caciquismo sindical en Jalisco. El caso de Heliodoro Hernández Loza’, and Márquez, Enrique, ‘Gonzalo N. Santos o la naturaleza del “tanteómetro político”’, in Assad, Carlos Martínez (ed.), Estadistas, caciques y caudillos (México, 1988), pp. 293313 and 385–394; Rubin, , ‘Popular Mobilization’, pp. 252253; Saldaña, Tomás Martínez, El costo social de un éxito político. La político expansionista del estado mexicano en el agro lagunero (Chapingo, 1980), pp. 5298.

179 The most celebrated recent case is that of the oil workers’ boss, Joaquín Hernandez Galicia, La Quina. For other, more humdrum, examples of cacical impermanence, see Saldaña, Tomás Martínez and Mendoza, Leticia Gándara, Política y sociedad en México: el caso de los Altos de Jalisco (México, 1976), p. 70; Márquez, , ‘Gonzalo N. Santos’, pp. 392393; Roxborough, Ian, Unions and Politics in Mexico. The Case of the Automobile Industry (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 80, 86, 101 and 105–106.

180 For example, Schryer, , Ethnicity and Class Conflict, pp. 259266.

181 As Hobsbawm argues (‘Mass-Producing Traditions’, pp. 269–270) the social stability achieved under the French Third Republic did not depend on the invention of republican traditions; but the latter – for all their contradictions – certainly helped bind the infant republic together.

182 Knight, Alan, ‘Racism, Revolution and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910–1940’, in Graham, Richard (ed.), The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940 (Austin, 1990), pp. 71114. As an official ideology Mexican indigenismo has its faults, both theoretical and practical; but it can hardly be said to suffer from comparison with, for example, Guatemalan official thinking on the ‘Indian question'; indeed, some Guatemalan spokesmen, subscribing to the view that ‘all that is good in Mexico…is Latin’, saw fit to ‘decry the indigenista fervor in Mexico’: Adams, Richard N., ‘Ethnic Images and Strategies in 1944’ in Smith, , Guatemalan Indians, p. 147.

183 Brading, , The First America, p. 661.

184 Womack, , Zapata, pp. 78 and 400.

185 Knight, , Mexican Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 6869.

186 Knight, , ‘Politics of the Expropriation’.

187 Friedlander, Judith, ‘The Socialization of the Cargo System: An Example From Post-Revolutionary Mexico’, Latin American Research Review, vol. 16 (1981), pp. 132144; Knight, , ‘Revolutionary Project’, p. 246.

188 Renan, Ernest, ‘Qu'est-ce qu'un nation?’, in Oeuvres Complètes de Ernest Renan (10 vols., Paris, 1954), vol. I, p. 904.

189 O'malley, Ilene V., The Myth of the Revolution: Hero Cults and the Institutionalization of the Mexican State, 1920–1940 (Westport, Conn., 1981); Knight, , ‘Revolutionary Project’, p. 249. As Renan also argues, the formation of a national consciousness involves not just celebratory commemoration, but also a certain selective amnesia: ‘l’oubli, et je dirai même l'erreur historique, sont un facteur essential de la création de la nation’: ‘Qu'estce qu'une nation?’, p. 891.

190 Hence the interesting (alleged) reaction of a prominent revolutionary – ‘perhaps the fiercest enemy of Catholicism in Mexico’ – who, when his gringo interlocutor concurred that ‘in 400 years there had never really been a really decent Mexican bishop or priest’, ‘looked startled for a minute, and then turned purple with anger. “What do you mean?” he roared. “Everybody knows Mexico has produced some of the greatest figures in all the history of the church!”’: Sands, William Franklin, Our jungle Diplomacy (Chapel Hill, 1944), p. 157.

191 Hall, Linda, ‘Banks, Oil, and the Reinstitutionalization of the Mexican State’, in Rodríguez, , Revolutionary Process, pp. 189211; Knight, , US-Mexican Relations, ch. 5.

192 Ramírez, Blanca Torres, Historia de la Revolutión Mexicana. Periodo 1940–1952. México en la segunda guerra mundial (Mexico, 1979).

193 Medina, Luis, Historia de la Revolución Mexicana. Periodo 1940–1952. Civilismo y modernización del autoritarismo (México, 1979), pp. 2324.

194 Cotler, , ‘Democracy and National Integration’, pp. 2935; McClintock, , ‘Velasco, Officers, and Citizens’, pp. 276 and 290–306.

195 Purcell and Purcell, ‘State and Society’, pp. 202204.

196 Almond, and Verba, , The Civic Culture, p. 415; Cornelius, Wayne, Gentleman, Judith and Smith, Peter H., ‘Overview: The Dynamics of Political Change in Mexico’, in Gentleman, Cornelius and Smith, (eds.), Mexico's Alternative Futures, pp. 1426.

197 Gilly, Adolfo (coord.), Cartas a Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (México, 1989), e.g., pp. 50, 133 and 204.

198 Florencia Mallon, concluding comments, Conference on Popular Culture, State Formation, and the Mexican Revolution.

199 For example, Sanders, Sol, Mexico: Chaos On Our Doorstep (Lanham, Md., 1986).

200 Comment of Luis Téllez, Subsecretary of Agriculture, University of Texas at Austin Binational Colloquium on Mexican Agriculture, 15–16 Nov. 1990. Things have moved fast: in November 1991 President Salinas committed his administration to privatising the ejido: see Proceso, 11 Nov. 1991, pp. 617.

201 Dresser, , ‘Neopopulist Solutions’.

202 The yet more recent elections of August 1991 revealed considerable support for the PRI, not least in regions – like the Federal District – where the ruling party had fared badly in 1988. Again, however, there were allegations of fraud and, in two cases where powerful opposition candidates lost gubernatorial contests in contentious circumstances (Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí), the winning PRI candidates subsequently stood down (or were stood down by presidential order). Again, therefore, we see an administration sensitive to adverse opinion but reluctant to take its chances in entirely limpid elections.

203 Knight, , ‘The Mexican Revolution’, p. 47.

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The Peculiarities of Mexican History: Mexico Compared to Latin America, 1821–1992

  • Alan Knight


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