Cycles of Conflict, Centuries of Change

Crisis, Reform, and Revolution in Mexico

Cycles of Conflict, Centuries of Change

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: 22 b&w photos, 2 figures Published: July 2007

History > Latin American History, Latin American Studies > Mexico

This important collection explores how Mexico’s tumultuous past informs its uncertain present and future. Cycles of crisis and reform, of conflict and change, have marked Mexico’s modern history. The final decades of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries each brought efforts to integrate Mexico into globalizing economies, pressures on the country’s diverse peoples, and attempts at reform. The crises of the late eighteenth century and the late nineteenth led to revolutionary mobilizations and violent regime changes. The wars for independence that began in 1810 triggered conflicts that endured for decades; the national revolution that began in 1910 shaped Mexico for most of the twentieth century. In 2000, the PRI, which had ruled for more than seventy years, was defeated in an election some hailed as “revolution by ballot.” Mexico now struggles with the legacies of a late-twentieth-century crisis defined by accelerating globalization and the breakdown of an authoritarian regime that was increasingly unresponsive to historic mandates and popular demands.

Leading Mexicanists—historians and social scientists from Mexico, the United States, and Europe—examine the three fin-de-siècle eras of crisis. They focus on the role of the country’s communities in advocating change from the eighteenth century to the present. They compare Mexico’s revolutions of 1810 and 1910 and consider whether there might be a twenty-first-century recurrence or whether a globalizing, urbanizing, and democratizing world has so changed Mexico that revolution is improbable. Reflecting on the political changes and social challenges of the late twentieth century, the contributors ask if a democratic transition is possible and, if so, whether it is sufficient to address twenty-first-century demands for participation and justice.

Contributors. Antonio Annino, Guillermo de la Peña, François-Xavier Guerra, Friedrich Katz, Alan Knight, Lorenzo Meyer, Leticia Reina, Enrique Semo, Elisa Servín, John Tutino, Eric Van Young


Cycles of Conflict, Centuries of Change . . . brings together some of the biggest names in Mexican history to explore the cyclical nature of crisis in the Mexican political system as a means of understanding Mexico’s current situation. . . . This volume has more than met its goal of providing a comparative approach to understanding the causes and effects of Mexico’s two revolutions (the first political and the second social) as a means of understanding current politics.” — Andrae M. Marak, Canadian Journal of History

“The volume is a great success. The essays succeed on their own terms—they are thoughtful and well-written. In addition, one of the merits of the volume is that it provides an opportunity for readers less familiar with the works of those contributors who haven’t published much in English to get a taste of their method and insights on Mexican history and politics. The editors and translators, then, also deserve kudos for rendering quality versions of the essays in English. For those who already know well the work of these authors, seeing new analyses side by side sparks interesting comparisons and can lead to provocative conclusions about broadly important themes in Mexican history, which the editors elucidate in a fine introductory essay.” — Richard Warren, A Contracorriente

“Long in the making (and in the reviewing!), this is an excellent set of essays that will serve students of Mexican history and politics for many years to come.” — Guy Thomson, Journal of Latin American Studies

“Some of the articles offer excellent theory-based analysis while others are rather just in-formative in the sense of being descriptive—which at least can be fruitful for the reader not deeply involved in the topic. The differences in the analytical approaches and the theoretical backgrounds of the contributors makes the anthology in the whole a profound and controversial work analyzing the signs for probable insurgencies in the political, social and legal field.” — Kristin Seffer, Behemoth

“The line-up of scholars included delivers a cohesive and thought-provoking cluster of studies that complement each other and provide a consistent overview of the tensions, trends and transformations that have either resulted in, or been the consequence of, heightened revolutionary activity or significant change in Mexico.” — Will Fowler, Bulletin of Latin American Research

“In these brilliant essays, eminent scholars examine the roots and processes of democracy, authoritarianism, and international relations in Mexico as a means of explaining contemporary events. By illuminating the rich creativity and changing constraints of Mexican politics, they validate the indispensability of historical analysis and cast doubt on the facile paradigms that render Latin American political development derivative, delayed, or deviant.” — Mary Kay Vaughan


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Elisa Servín is Research Professors at the Dirección de Estudios Historicos of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City. She is the author of Ruptura y oposición: El movimiento henriquista, 1945–1954.

Leticia Reina is Research Professor at the Dirección de Estudios Historicos of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City. She is the author of Los retos de la etnicidad en los estados-nacion del siglo XXI.

John Tutino is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at Georgetown University. He is author of From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750–1940.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface: Debating History to Face the Present and Imagine the Future / John Tutino vi

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations of Mexican Political Organizations xiii

Introduction: Crises, Reforms, and Revolutions in Mexico, Past and Present / Leticia Reina, Elisa Servin, and John Tutino 1

Part 1. Communities

Of Tempests and Teapots: Imperial Crisis and Local Conflict in Mexico at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century / Eric Van Young 23

The Two-Faced Janus: The Pueblos and the Origins of Mexican Liberalism / Antonio Annino 60

Local Elections and Regime Crises: The Political Culture of Indigenous Peoples / Leticia Reina 91

Part II. Revolutions

Mexico from Independence to Revolution: The Mutations of Liberalism / Francois-Xavier Guerra 129

Mexico’s Three Fin de Siecle Crises / Alan Knight 153

International Wars, Mexico, and U.S. Hegemony / Friedrich Katz 184

The Revolutionary Capacity of Rural Communities: Ecological Autonomy and Its Demise / John Tutino 211

Part III. Contemporary Crisis

The Second Coming of Mexican Liberalism: A Comparative Perspective / Lorenzo Meye 271

Civil Society and Popular Resistance: Mexico at the end of the Twentieth Century / Guierrmo de la Pena 305

The Left in the Neoliberal Era / Enrique Semo 346

Another Turn of the Screw: Toward a New Political Order / Elisa Servin 363

Contributors 393

Index 395
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4002-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3985-4
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