Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: The Native Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911

Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: The Native Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911

Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: The Native Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911

Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: The Native Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911

Excerpt

The history of Mexico from independence (1821) to the Revolution (1910-20) is the history of its regions and localities. For the first three decades after independence, there was in fact no nation at all. With the elimination of royal central authority, regional and local leaders--known as caudillos or caciques--and families--known in some areas as notables--emerged to fragment political power. During this age of chaos, regional leaders, especially in the isolated areas in the extreme north and south, ruled with virtual autonomy from the government in Mexico City. General Juan Alvarez, for example, presided over the state of Guerrero unchallenged by national authority for nearly half a century. Remote Yucatán stretched its autonomy to the extent that it attempted to secede from Mexico. Sonoran notables did not conclude it was in their best interest to be part of the nation until the 1870s. Throughout Mexico, with the exception perhaps of the Mexico City-Vera- cruz region, there was little sense of nationhood, or Mexicanidad.

Isolation and regional autonomy persisted into the Liberal era, 1855-77, when presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada began the process of national consolidation. They deposed recalcitrant caciques like Santiago Vidaurri of Nuevo León and Manuel Lozada of Nayarit, but left others such as Luis Terrazas in Chihuahua, Servando Canales in Tamaulipas, and Juan Alvarez and his son Diego in Guerrero in control of their respective regions with almost complete independence from Mexico City.

Over the first twenty years of his thirty-four-year dictatorship--an era to which he was to give his name, the Porfiriato--Porfirio Díaz gradually, through the shrewd use of coercion and cooptation ("pan o palo," "bread or the club"), managed to bring even the peripheral regions under his hegemony. Nonetheless, the most instructive view of the process of national consolidation is from the states, not the center. Díaz had to adapt his methods to the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.