The Course of Mexican History

By Michael C. Meyer; William L. Sherman et al. | Go to book overview

41
The Institutionalized
Revolution, 1946–58

For a dozen years following the Second World War, Mexicans were instructed by concrete example that the profound changes that had occurred with the Avila Camacho presidency were not to be transitory in nature but, in fact, had become institutionalized within the governmental structure. The next two chief executives, Miguel Alemán (1946–52) and Adolfo Ruiz Cortines (1952–58), both pledged to foster economic growth in general and large-scale industrialization in particular. That they were not diverted from this task is evidenced by the fact that Mexico’s gross national product doubled during their twelve years in office. At the same time the agrarian revolution languished. Productivity on most of the ejidos had not lived up to expectations, and, as a result, government planners decided not to experiment further with communal agriculture.


THE PRESIDENCY OF MIGUEL ALEMáN

The election of Miguel Alemán, the first civilian president since Venustiano Carranza and the first to have played no illustrious role in the early Revolution, signified that the days of the soldier-politician were over. The new president reduced the military’s share of the budget to less than 10 percent of the total for the first time in the twentieth century, and the generals accepted the decision, scarcely batting an eye. Over the years the military share of the budget had been gradually reduced, and, more successfully than its Latin American neighbors, Mexico curbed the problems of rampant militarism.1

With a healthy dollar reserve turned over to him by his predecessor, Alemán launched an impressive number of public works projects

1. The process is described in Edwin Lieuwen, Mexican Militarism: The Political Rise
and Fall of the Revolutionary Army
(Albuquerque, N.M., 1968).

-614-

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