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date: 25 September 2017

Lázaro Cárdenas and Cardenismo

Summary and Keywords

Lázaro Cárdenas served as Mexico’s president from 1934–1940. His presidency marked the end of the “Maximato,” the period in which the former president Plutarco Elías Calles exercised control. It bridged the gap between the rocky postwar years of the 1920s and the authoritarian dominance of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that characterized the rest of the 20th century. Cárdenas is Mexico’s most studied and best remembered president. To the extent that the Mexican Revolution ever was truly radical or popular, it was during the Cárdenas presidency. Cardenismo is an amorphous term that refers both to Cárdenas’s administration and his reform agenda. Cardenistas were a diverse coalition of supporters, some who advocated his agenda and others who merely allied themselves with his administration for non-ideological reasons. Cárdenas set out to realize what he saw as the promises of the revolution: justice for workers and peasants. He distributed about twice as much land as his predecessors combined, and he promoted unionization and strikes. He famously expropriated and nationalized the petroleum industry in dramatic defense of the Mexican worker. These actions earned him enduring affection, although he did not receive universal support even among the disenfranchised while in office. Many opposed his policies, especially those tied with the project of cultural transformation whose origin came earlier, but whose objectives Cárdenas sought to support, especially secularization. Cárdenas’s “Socialist Education” project faced particularly fierce opposition, and he was forced to abandon it along with most of the anticlerical agenda after 1938. That same year, he reorganized the ruling party along corporatist lines and rebaptized it the “Party of the Mexican Revolution,” or PRM. That restructuring is largely credited with having created the conditions under which future administrations would be able to exercise authoritarian control, although this was not Cárdenas’s intention. His presidency is more noted for what it failed to accomplish than for its successes. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on, most visibly in countryside and in the political career of his son Cuahtémoc, who has for decades struggled to fulfill his father’s vision.

Keywords: Lázaro Cárdenas, Cardenismo, Mexican Revolution, agrarianism, land reform, labor reform, oil expropriation, indigenismo, socialist education

Lázaro Cárdenas is Mexico’s most studied and best remembered president. His time in office, from 1934–1940, bridged the gap between the rocky postwar years of the 1920s and the authoritarian dominance of the PRI that characterized the rest of the 20th century. Cárdenas spent a third of his time in office traversing the countryside, mostly by train, visiting individuals who had never before attracted the notice of political elites. He distributed about twice as much land as all his revolutionary predecessors combined. He nationalized the railways and, more famously, the petroleum industry. He also laid the groundwork for the authoritarian state that took hold of Mexico after he left office in 1940.

To the extent that the Mexican Revolution ever was truly radical or popular, it was during the Cárdenas presidency. Nevertheless, the most important thing about Cardenismo is not what it accomplished but what it failed to do. Despite having distributed more than a third of the national territory to previously landless peasants, Cárdenas failed to achieve prosperity in the countryside. Vigorous support for labor resulted in higher wages and increased worker protections, but inflation shortly wiped out most of these gains, and many workers were little better off in 1941 than they had been in 1933. An audacious program to revolutionize the country culturally resulted in the construction of innumerable rural schools, the destruction of many drinking and gambling establishments, and a frontal assault on the institutions of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, Mexicans remained as illiterate, Catholic, and fond of drink and cock-fighting at the end of Cárdenas’s term as they were when he began. The two most enduring legacies of Cardenismo—relatively small and scattered material improvements and the myth of Cardenismo itself—are easy either to ignore in the first case, or to dismiss in the second. There are things worth noting, however, about these overlooked and underappreciated parts of Cárdenas’s legacy.

The many small but concrete material benefits that his administration left behind—roads, radios, electric corn grinders, basketball courts, and vaccinated babies—are frequently overlooked.1 However a corn grinder only sounds trivial to those who did not previously do the same labor by hand between three and five in the morning each day. A road that connects nowhere to somewhere is uninteresting except to those living in nowhere. The entire generation fortunate enough to be born under Cárdenas’s administration experienced a measurable jump in health and well-being that doubtless affected economic productivity decades later.2

The second thing to remember is that just because something is hard to gauge does not mean that it is unimportant. The “Cardenista myth” is frequently disparaged for its lack of substance. It refers to a vague but pervasive set of associations, prevalent even today, linking Lázaro Cárdenas with the still unfulfilled promise of the revolution. Serious historians have revealed that, to most people, the violent conflict itself meant little more than widespread insecurity, hunger, and disease. Mariano Azuela’s Los de abajo famously captured how little meaning persisted at all, even among participants in the conflict, as the war devolved into a set of lethal squabbles between competing caudillos and their rapacious, armed followers. Those who survived strove retroactively to impose meaning and purpose upon the anomie that characterized the war itself. They engaged in the creation of a collective national memory in which history was rewritten so that the war was fought in order to accomplish two principal goals: adherence to the rule of law and social justice for the poor. Many Mexicans today view their entire national history as a series of frustrated attempts to achieve these ends. The fact that so many connect the figure of Lázaro Cárdenas with the country’s last, best chance to realize them makes the historical memory of this president the national symbol of a dream deferred. That dream may be as intangible as it is unmeasurable, but it is no less potent for being so.

Ending the Maximato

Lázaro Cárdenas belonged to the generation that came of age with the Mexican Revolution. He was still just fifteen when Díaz, at eighty, reversed himself and employed massive fraud in order to attempt an eighth term, an event the boy lamented in his diary. At eighteen, when then-President Madero was overthrown and murdered by his own general, Cárdenas joined Zapatista General Guillermo García Aragón to fight against the usurper, Victoriano Huerta. In the military, Cárdenas distinguished himself as honest, trustworthy, loyal, brave, and reluctant to harm others.3 By the Aguascalientes Convention, he had achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel. He joined the Carrancistas and was sent north to Sonora under Plutarco Elías Calles to fight against Pancho Villa. For the duration of the war, he continued to serve under Calles, alternating between battlefields in Michoacán and Sonora.

Cárdenas was only twenty-five when Carranza appointed him provisional governor of his home state of Michoacán, where he served again as elected governor during the first four years of the Maximato.4 While governor, he experimented with policies he would later implement on the national level, most notably the creation of an agrarian political base.5 Plutarco Elías Calles tapped Cárdenas to become the official candidate of the National Revolutionary Party (PNR) in 1934, to fill the first full presidential term since he had himself left office in 1928.

When he came into office, Cárdenas had loyally subordinated himself to Calles for nearly two decades. Guided by his longtime friend and mentor, Francisco J. Múgica, he now designed a strategy to break the Jefe Máximo’s hold on national power. It took two years to complete. In the process, he was sometimes forced to dismantle even progressive Callista state governments whose programs closely resembled his own in order to replace them with nominal Cardenistas, who may have been more conservative than the original Callistas. This tactic had obvious ramifications over the long term; it gave rise, for example, to Román Yocupicio in Sonora and Maximino Ávila Camacho in Puebla.6 The loyalties of these convenient Cardenistas were purchased at the cost of the future material and ideological success of the Cardenista project.

The ideological shift that accompanied the break with Calles was real, but is easy to exaggerate. Most glaringly, historians have frequently accepted a distinction between a supposedly blind, rabid Callista anticlericalism and a more conciliatory Cardenista attitude toward the church. It is true that Calles bore significant responsibility for the religious violence that characterized the 1920s, while Cárdenas presided over the détente between church and state in the late 1930s. Nevertheless, their attitudes toward Catholicism were similar. Most of the project of cultural transformation that characterized Cardenismo represented more continuity than change with the previous decade.

The real change was Cárdenas’s commitment to bringing the benefits of revolution to those whom he perceived were its main protagonists: the poor. Cárdenas’s intention to channel and promote what became an unparalleled level of popular mobilization as a means to achieve social and economic change was evident from the start. Both legal and unofficial strikes surged as the government recognized more “de facto” strike activity, and as workers became animated to strike by the promise of a more favorable outcome from government arbitrators.7

Barry Carr once argued that “more than elsewhere, the labour government in Mexico was a political creation.”8 While this may be true, it can be misleading. Cárdenas could hardly have orchestrated what Alicia Hernández Chávez termed a “syndical explosion”: Mexico City saw sixty strikes during Cárdenas’s first month in office.9 Working men and women were integral to the process of revolution itself, and they continued pressure “from below” for change despite weak support “from above” during the first decade of the peace. Also, while governing structures from the federal to the local level were shot through with corruption, clientlism, and caciquismo, they were not entirely undemocratic. At least some of the time, the “‘undemocratic’ representation of the 1930s may have been relatively direct and effective.”10 Caciques who strayed too far from the opinions of their base did not last long. Finally, although Cárdenas did strengthen the state in ways that subsequent administrations used to suppress the same groups Cárdenas sought to empower, this outcome was hardly foreseeable at the time. As Cárdenas’s son Cuauhtémoc observed later, the president may have established the national labor confederation (CTM), but “not that the leader would stay for fifty years.”11

Cardenista reform responded to demands from existing, organized popular groups, while at the same time working to encourage further organization among peasants and workers. Cárdenas pushed the creation of vertically organized structures to amalgamate the intended recipients of his reforms because he knew change would be impossible without a way to marshal and direct their unified support. He was aware of the dangers. Múgica disdained both corporatism and presidentialism precisely because they were inherently undemocratic. Cárdenas, however, was only too aware that changes to benefit the weak would come, at least initially, at the expense of the strong. Landlords and capitalists would hardly capitulate without a fight. Strength in numbers was the only leverage Cardenistas had. Many have wondered since if they might have been successful if they had not at the same time decided to engage in culture wars.

Cultural Revolution

Cárdenas shared with other members of the revolutionary elite a common diagnosis of what ailed the nation and a common prescription for what was needed in order to reshape it. They believed a cultural revolution was necessary in order to bring Mexico out of a “backwards” past and into the “modern” future. Modernity meant scientific, rational, consumer oriented, industrious, industrialized, hygienic, sober, and athletic. The Mexico of the past was dirty, drunken, superstitious, and disease ridden. The more indigenous and rural the Mexican, the more she or he was in need of cultural transformation. State agents often held patronizing views about the masses of benighted countrymen and women, who—they assumed—held incorrect attitudes on a range of subjects.12 Some, like farming techniques, were gendered masculine, but many more, like caring for children and preparing food, were gendered feminine. Few details of daily life escaped the ambitious vision of revolutionary reformers: everything from brushing your teeth in the morning (charcoal will do if you lack toothpaste)13 to how to spend your evening’s leisure (wholesome sport is preferable to the cantina, but listening quietly to the government-sponsored radio is also appropriate). Despite its breadth, one element of the cultural program stood out both for the magnitude of the government’s effort and for the intensity of popular resistance to it: Cardenista anticlericalism.

“Socialist Education” targeted children and their families in a “defanatization” campaign, an effort to release the next generation from the hold of what revolutionary elites considered to be fidelity to irrational superstition. They engaged in a war of symbols reminiscent of the French Revolution, designed to displace the role of religion in everyday life. Physical spaces like temples were converted into granaries or libraries for the agrarian leagues who supported the government. For every religious saint’s day or procession there emerged a new patriotic holiday or parade. Teachers endeavored to make school-centered sporting contests the new—alcohol-free—sites of communal recreation. They offered themselves as secular priests, latter-day versions of the colonial missionary friars, bringing the new gospel of hand washing, vaccination, and an elevated hearth for cooking. Pedagogical materials emphasized “rational,” “scientific” thinking, which frequently served as only the thinnest veil for attacking religion.

Socialist education was “socialist” in the sense that Cárdenas viewed the cultural project it proposed as inseparable from the questions of social justice for which the organization of workers and peasants into militant unions was indispensable. Textbooks and instructor materials were laden with Marxist terminology and references to class struggle, and the object of instruction was identified as the “proletarian child.”14 The socialist education project, however, was not designed by Communists or Marxists, most of whom initially opposed it.15 It was instead a home-grown, intensely nationalist set of themes that elevated and ennobled Mexican peasants and workers at the expense of landowners and (especially foreign) capitalists.

Socialist education, together with Narciso Bassol’s brief experiment in including sex education in the curriculum, provoked a seismic reaction from conservatives. Both sides trumpeted and exaggerated negative events through their own media channels, amplifying and nationalizing every isolated, local excess.16 Priests threatened excommunication to parents who sent their children to the new atheistic federal schools.17 Much of the violence of what was referred to as the Second Cristero Rebellion targeted rural schoolteachers, more than half of whom were women, typically young and unmarried.18 Teachers who hoped to convince parents to send their children to school learned to show sensitivity to local values. A skillful teacher might, for example, leave the crucifix hanging at the front of the classroom until the school inspector came to visit.

In some cases, there was genuine support for the radical cultural project and a popular embrace of anticlericalism.19 There is ever more evidence, however, that “civically engaged Catholics were not a minority movement.”20 Despite official protestations to the contrary, the anticlerical campaign was clearly an assault not only on the institutions of the church but on religion and religious faith. It was despised in equal measure as the institutions that arose in opposition—like the Catholic Padres de Familia union—were popular. Small numbers of bad actors on both sides (immoral priests, corrupt government agents) confirmed and deepened each side’s worst prejudices of the other.21

It would be nice to be able to draw a map that could show support, qualified acceptance, or opposition to Cardenismo. The country was deeply divided, and there were no clear demarcations by ethnicity, class, gender, or geography. Alan Knight has argued that if we were able to create such a map, it would be “likely to resemble a Seurat more than a Mondrian. No uniform colors and stark outlines; rather, countless dabs of contrasting color.”22 Some areas tended more toward one side or the other, but up close, the picture was almost always complicated. What is certain is that the cultural project proceeded in what Daniel Nugent and Ana Alonso (borrowing from Stuart Hall) identified as a “dialectical cultural struggle,” in which “popular and dominant culture are produced in relation to each other.”23 In other words, whether the issue was hand washing or prayer, the culture that emerged was the result of a negotiation between those who designed the project and its intended recipients. Some elements of the project were so well received that many today have forgotten their villages ever lacked a basketball court or that women ever cooked meals on the ground. Others, like socialist education, proved so unpopular the government was forced into retreat. Many pieces fell somewhere in between, and people qualified or adapted what was offered them until it suited.

Land Reform

By design, rural, socialist education was embedded in another project of transformation: the agrarian reform. Prior to independence, colonial law offered some protection to indigenous hamlets and lands, which made them largely inalienable until later governments stabilized and revised the laws. As was true elsewhere in the Americas, late 19th-century policymakers encouraged a shift from subsistence to capitalist, export-oriented agriculture. Those with the means took advantage of new opportunities to acquire land and to ship agricultural products via newly financed rail systems and ports to markets in Europe and the United States. As a result, infrastructure modernization and export-driven economic growth went hand in hand with concentration of land holding and rising landlessness and rural poverty.

Twentieth-century revolutionaries imagined the rural past through the lens of socialist collectivism and envisioned a return to a rural idyll in which peasants would own and work agricultural resources communally, which they could exploit in perpetuity but never sell. The “ejido” made possible by the 1917 constitution was thus inspired by the past, but was essentially a new form of land ownership. A version of the ejido permitted families to work a single parcel individually, but Cárdenas preferred the collective ejido, in which ejidatarios would work collaboratively to maximize revenue for the entire community.

Cárdenas was an early and vigorous supporter of land reform. While governor of Michoacán, he created four hundred land grants, amounting to almost five hundred thousand hectares, most of which Calles refused to approve at the time. (Cárdenas granted them after he became president.) Cárdenas also understood the potential of land reform as a political tool: the ejido was simultaneously a physical piece of land and a political structure that governed communities and tied them to the government which had authorized the distribution. He experimented with using land recipients as a political base while governor, and then employed the same tactic on a national scale while president.24

Revisionists have criticized Cárdenas’s land reform from two angles. First, they argue, the ejido was an “alien imposition” on the peasantry.25 Their point is inarguable for the collective ejido: oft-repeated references to traditional forms of collective farming in rural Mexico were inaccurate and anachronistic. As with labor, however, it is not true that the land reform was imposed essentially from above. To be sure, state agents (first teachers and later representatives from the department of agriculture) took an active role in organizing rural people into agrarian leagues, but Cárdenas was right to acknowledge land-hungry peasants as having been central to the armed revolution. Agrarismo was hardly a state creation in the 1930s; it predated Cardenismo and outlived it, too. Most land distribution responded to preexisting local demand.26

The second revisionist critique of Cardenista land reform argues that the Cardenista state cynically manipulated the peasantry in order to pursue an essentially bourgeois, capitalist agenda. Nevertheless, as with other elements of the state-driven popular mobilization, the “política de masas” was more straightforward than Marxists imagined. Adrian Bantjes helpfully classifies the goals of the agrarian reform into four categories, which Cardenistas would have perceived to be mutually reinforcing: “to further the revolutionary cause of social justice, to revitalize the rural economy, to create a body of loyal armed ejidatarios, and to mobilize a new electorate for the revolutionary party.”27 There is no indication that Cárdenas sought cynically to manipulate peasants in order to undermine their power, and there is an abundance of evidence to the contrary. He invested enormous effort in dismantling the hacienda system of the late 19th century and redistributing the land to the rural poor. He also insisted that peasants needed credit, education, and high-quality land that was either irrigated or irrigable. “Though the Cardenista reforms, agrarian and other,” observes Knight, “were later integrated into a project of capital accumulation, industrialisation, and ‘modernised authoritarianism,’ this was neither their subjective intention, nor their objective consequences, during the Cardenista period.”28

Landowners were well equipped and highly motivated to prevent the best lands from being transferred into the hands of their former peons. They argued, not entirely incorrectly, that ejidos were unproductive and bad for national agricultural development. Nevertheless, while the problems encountered by collective ejidos are well documented, production declines are only partly attributable to the failures of the ejido system itself.29 Concerted, politically connected, and well-funded opposition accounts for much of the failure of the agrarian reform to bring prosperity to the countryside.30


Cardenista paternalism surrounding the establishment of agrarian communities was especially strong with respect to indigenous people, who acquired a new place in the broader Mexican imaginary during the 1930s. Indigenismo was in part an aesthetic movement to revalorize indigenous cultures in reaction to the overt contempt the Porfirian elite had displayed during the late 19th century. Famously, muralist artists Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco covered public buildings with giant paintings glorifying brown women, men, and especially children. Left-leaning intellectuals and artists embraced a re-envisioning of “lo mexicano” in which indigeneity was central.

Critics have pointed out that even the most enthusiastic indigenistas were more comfortable with a symbolic indigeneity tied up with an imagined past than they were with contemporary flesh-and-blood Indians, who were still otherized, feminized objects of elite civilizing reform efforts.31 The new indigenista fashion, for example, only partly reflected actual indigenous clothing—much of it was derived instead from European imaginings of an American exotic. Like other representations of what was supposed to be authentically Mexican, these fancy outfits were really new creations, designed to lay claim to a celebrated indigenous past while maintaining clear visual boundaries between social classes. Real indigenous people still faced pressure to reject their heritage in the name of assimilation. Thus, ladinas in Mexico City wore invented costumes in which they would never be mistaken for one of their maids, while Maya women in Chiapas watched their traditional clothing burn on state-sponsored bonfires.32

Marie Chantal Barre and others have argued that indigenismo throughout Latin America became “an ideological apparatus … destined to reproduce the situation of internal colonialism of the Indian peoples and their situation of sociological minority.”33 Nevertheless, at least during the 1930s, this assessment seems harsh. Even the urban, affluent women dressed in frilly indigenista dresses tended to side politically with policies that went well beyond symbolic gestures. It is true that Cárdenas and those who helped to craft and implement indigenous policy held many essentializing and patronizing views about indigenous people. They assumed indigeneity conveyed a set of static traits (all of which were gendered feminine) that both helped and hindered the task of “elevating” the many and diverse ethnicities that were subsumed under the category “Indian.” They believed that indigenous people were by nature especially patient, determined, and well suited to collective labor, but also prone to superstition, and in every way ill-equipped to engage with technology, science, or any other harbinger of modernity. For these reasons, even well-meaning mestizo indigenistas assumed the indigenous required special direction and oversight from enlightened bureaucrats in Mexico City.

Cárdenas clearly failed to understand indigenous people on their own terms, but he also made real efforts on their behalf. Granting the Yaquis half a million hectares of traditional tribal land was hardly a move designed to perpetuate their condition of internal colonization. Stephen Lewis has compared the policy side of Mexican indigenismo with other countries with large indigenous populations and discovered that Mexicans did fairly well, at least by comparison.34 In the end, Mexican indigenous neither adopted the new identity Cardenista reformers envisioned for them, nor did they become, as a group, clients of the Cardenista state.35 Politics divided ethnic groups just like everyone else.36

Crises of 1938

In March of 1938, Cárdenas completed the reorganization of the party Calles had created and rebaptized it the Party of the Mexican Revolution, or PRM. When Calles had assembled the PNR out of existing pro-revolutionary state and regional parties, the idea was to unify otherwise disparate groups and to create an institutional structure for making decisions that would reduce opportunities for political violence. What Cárdenas did in 1938 was to take a still relatively loosely organized confederation of regional parties and transform it along corporatist lines. He intended to strengthen the political voice of agraristas and organized labor. The newly created Cardenista Mexican Labor Confederation (CTM) was to become the core of the “labor sector” of the party. A unified peasantry under the National Campesino Confederation (CNC) would anchor the “peasant sector.” One sector was reserved for the military, and a final “popular sector” supposedly represented the middle classes, but it also included organized women’s groups that cut across class lines. The reorganization of the ruling party coincided almost exactly with another series of unplanned events, which nonetheless determined much of what Cardenismo would be able to achieve over the long term.

British and US capital dominated the Mexican petroleum industry in the 1930s. Petroleum workers were well paid in comparison to the average Mexican worker, but their compensation was low when contrasted both with what the exclusively foreign managers received and with the enormous profits that the oil industry generated. Workers struck, and the conflict went to the Arbitration and Conciliation Board, which issued a binding judgment in favor of the employees. The companies appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s ruling. At that point, the companies had no further legal recourse, but they were still unwilling to comply with the ruling. The president issued an ultimatum, which, when unmet, resulted in the expropriation of the companies’ goods and the nationalization of Mexican oil.

The oil expropriation proved to be a pivotal moment in the balance of power between Cárdenas and regional governors resistant to implementation of reform. The struggle from 1934–1936 against the entrenched power of the Maximato had left in its wake a collection of state governments that were nominally Cardenista but ideologically well to the right of the federal government’s program. In Michoacán, Puebla, Veracruz, Nuevo León, Tlaxcala, and Tamaulipas, conservative governors used their regional authority to obstruct, rather than further, Cardenista objectives like land reform and labor rights.37 These governors now faced a choice: support the president in his standoff against the oil companies or unite against the assault on property the expropriation represented. They chose to support him, but they demanded a price for their patriotism: moderation in the pace of reform.

Almost immediately, conservatives had a second opportunity either to try to depose the president or extort further moderation. General Saturnino Cedillo was the former governor and, for twenty years, indomitable cacique of San Luís Potosí. He had once supported Cárdenas, even serving in his cabinet as minister of agriculture; however, he had long opposed Cardenista radicalism, and he now turned against the president in open rebellion. Most conservatives elected highmindedly to reject the Cedillistas, but they were not shy about extracting even more concessions from the president. Without their backing (and with some help from his nascent air force), Cárdenas put down the rebellion relatively easily. Nonetheless, like the expropriation, the seeming victory for Cardenismo was in fact a costly, if deferred, defeat.

The true victors of the spring and summer of 1938 were not long in sending their bill. Social Security, which Cárdenas had promised in 1933, was articulated into legislation but never presented to congress, “a political casualty of the oil nationalization.”38 The government suppressed strikes and curtailed land distribution. The biggest prize, however, was the 1940 presidential succession. Cárdenas’s natural preference was for the man whom he felt had “molded him with the affection of a father,” his closest associate and friend, Francisco Múgica.39

1939–1940: The Succession

To some on the left, Múgica was the ideal revolutionary. His integrity was legendary. Throughout his long career, he had refused to be swayed by any concern other than pure commitment to his ideals. He was, as he said, “neither for men, nor groups, but for principles.”40 During the constitutional debates in 1916–1917, Múgica famously led the progressive faction responsible for introducing the elements of the constitution upon which radical Cardenismo was based. Since 1934, he had guided the president through the many perils his administration had confronted, from Calles to Cedillo. They met frequently during their long working hours each week to discuss every issue of importance. On weekends, they traveled to neighboring ranch houses in Cuernavaca together with their respective staffs to continue their work. It is difficult to imagine a Cárdenas presidency without Múgica: his influence was pervasive.

Nevertheless, the same commitment to principle that made Múgica a hero to some led many to despise him, on both the far left and the right. He managed to alienate both communists and conservatives in a single blow by negotiating asylum for Leon Trotsky. Mexican communists had supported Cardenismo since Moscow’s introduction of the “popular front” strategy in 1935, but they balked at their government’s embrace of Stalin’s archenemy. Conservatives, on the other hand, saw the same move only as confirmation of the “bolshevik” orientation of the regime.41 Múgica’s support for Spanish Republican refugees was similarly politically costly, especially in an environment where the Spanish Falange and the Spanish-inspired “Mexican fascism” were gaining popularity in the guise of sinarquismo.

Had Cardenismo been faring well at the moment either politically or economically, the party might have been able to take a risk on a candidate who would certainly have pushed the government even further to the left. As things stood, however, experiments with agricultural collectivization were going badly. Humiliatingly, Mexico was forced to import food due to declining harvests. Unionization had successfully increased wages, but subsequent inflation rendered those gains meaningless. People with capital invested in Mexico, whether in agriculture or industry, had reacted to Cardenismo conservatively in the sense that they extracted what profit they could from their enterprises and preferred to reinvest where the business climate was more certain. This trend accelerated after the petroleum expropriation, as investors increasingly took their money elsewhere than risk it in Mexico.42 The US retaliation for the expropriation was muted, but a predictable embargo on Mexican oil (as well as an unwillingness to provide replacement parts for machinery) put an additional drag on the economy. The embargo also forced Mexico into trade relations with Italy and Germany at a time when “Mexicans clearly felt they were playing for high stakes” in terms of foreign policy.43 At the same time, international demand for some Mexican exports declined as a result of the global depression, exacerbating an already disheartening economic landscape. Even the most loyal Cardenistas could hardly have felt that their experiment with radicalism was going especially well. Moreover, gains for peasants and workers had been purchased at enormous political cost.

Wealthy Mexicans had never passively accepted the attack on their interests that Cardenismo represented. Landowners invented numerous schemes to prevent their property from being redistributed. Laws that protected smallholders, for example, could protect them if they divided up their property titles among enough relatives. Some business owners preferred to run their operations into the ground, extracting as much profit as they could in the short term rather than risk expropriation later. In the end, these “weapons of the strong” proved “the most effective deterrents to the full implementation of the Cardenista project, and the surest guarantee that it would fail.”44 As the election drew near, moneyed conservatives centered in the northern, industrial city of Monterrey shifted from individual acts of resistance to concerted political opposition. Juan Andreu Almazán, a former revolutionary general, became the first candidate of the National Action Party (PAN) in July 1939.

It did not help that the Cardenista cultural project had created the conditions for a cross-class alliance between wealthy hacendados and industrialists and poorer Catholics whose religious sensibilities were offended by the socialist education project and anticlerical iconoclasm in general. Revolutionary zealots who burned village saints, stole families’ private crosses, closed down popular schools, told ordinary citizens to stop ringing church bells (the sounds of which had divided up the hours of the day for centuries), and then suggested one should give up drink on holy days were not always popular.45 Even the agrarian reform was not uniformly embraced by its intended beneficiaries. Many would-be ejidatarios were put off by insistence on the collective ejido; they would have preferred individual plots. Others were skeptical of receiving anything from a government that quite obviously expected a good deal in return. Some agraristas enthusiastically accepted arms with which to defend their land from aggressive repossession by the “white guard” agents of local hacendados, but others were reluctant, given that they might also be called to defend the regime for other reasons.

Manuel Ávila Camacho launched his candidacy for the PRM nomination from the position of secretary of war. Though eminently uncharismatic, he was far less likely than Múgica to rally middle-of-the-road Mexicans around the opposition’s cause. Members of the military, recently recovered from the last serious attempt to overthrow the government by force, might have been drawn to Almazán, who had only left their ranks in May to prepare his campaign. They respected Ávila Camacho, however, who was also a career military man and who had risen through the ranks to achieve his position. As a practicing Catholic, Ávila Camacho could assuage fears of a return to the strident anticlericalism Múgica famously championed.

Former Callista president Emilio Portes Gil, whom Múgica had helped relieve of his post as head of the PNR during the 1936 purge, led a coalition of conservative governors in endorsing Ávila Camacho.46 Within a month, the CNC, the CTM, the Communist Party, and most members of congress all followed suit, some because they genuinely desired a continued shift to the right, many because they feared to do otherwise would lead to certain defeat. Múgica belatedly recognized that Cárdenas had almost certainly, if reluctantly, betrayed him. Equally betrayed were thousands of women’s suffragists who anticipated publication of the constitutional amendment that would have allowed them to vote for the first time in 1940. The bill had already passed congress and been ratified by a majority of the states, but it still awaited official promulgation. It mysteriously failed to appear on the congressional docket in time.

In the strange but not wholly undemocratic politics of the 1930s, conservative electoral machines within the PRM probably accounted for what may have been a genuine victory at the polls in 1940.47 Cárdenas could not really handpick his successor, the way future Mexican presidents would. Nevertheless, he had managed to quiet enough opposition among both the disgruntled powerful and powerless to prevent the government’s overthrow outright, either through peaceful or violent means. The revolution was safe, but like so many other pyrrhic Cardenista victories, this one only ensured the ultimate demise of Cardenismo. This final victory was also the period’s final irony. In winning the election, Cárdenas confirmed that the corporatist structures he had designed and created to protect his project, but which could also lend themselves so well to authoritarian takeover, survived. After 1940, “schools would still inculcate nationalism and loyalty to state and revolution, but it was a different state and a different revolution.”48


Marco Rascón Córdoba grew up in Mexico City in the 1980s, where he experienced firsthand the failure of the revolution to bring justice to the poor. After dropping out of high school, he decided his city needed a real-life super hero, and he became “Superbarrio.” Superbarrio shows up wherever he thinks he is needed in a stretchy red outfit that shows his less-than-perfect physique, with a gold cape and wrestler’s mask. He is the Mexican Quixote sine qua non. Lázaro Cárdenas did not wear a urinal on his head or dress up in tights, but he was willing to take on noble, foredoomed battles. It may be this quality that has won him such lasting adoration from a people who were far more ambivalent about his leadership for most of the time he was actually in office.

The way a nation selects and remembers its heroes is impenetrably complex, but it is clear that the “most enduring legacy [of Cardenismo] was undoubtedly the Cardenista myth, an amorphous utopian dream which still retains much of its appeal.”49 The long and frustrated political career of Lázaro Cárdenas’s son Cuauhtémoc has both benefited from the myth of Cardenismo and added to it. Like his father, the younger Cárdenas possesses the same almost anti-charismatic charisma. The father was “dour, honest, clean-living, frugal, horse-riding, tree-loving, patriotic,”50 and the son is equally dour, equally honest, equally indefatigable. In the absurdly fraudulent presidential election of 1988, the absurdist candidate Superbarrio withdrew his symbolic candidacy and voted for Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas who, he surely realized, had no more chance of winning than he did.51 The country that produced Superbarrio is drawn to the legacy of Lázaro Cárdenas not because he was able to fulfill the promise of the revolution, but because he tried to, and because he doubtless did as well as anyone could have.

Discussion of the Literature

For all the ink that has been spilled on the subject, scholarly understanding of Cárdenas and Cardenismo has hardly progressed in a linear fashion, as Alan Knight’s series of critiques beginning in 1985 made stingingly clear.52 The narrative of the historiography on Cardenismo parallels that on the revolution. Early work followed the party line and bordered on hagiography. In these accounts, Cárdenas built on the successes of the 1920s to bring justice to the proletarian protagonists of the revolution—those who had propelled the overthrow of the Porfiriato, persevered against Huerta’s dictatorship, and brought ultimate victory to the Carrancistas. In this official view, not only were differences between combatants smoothed over (Madero, Zapata, and Villa neatly ironed out their differences after death), but the trajectory from 1910 onward toward ever increasing prosperity and justice was uncomplicated and unbroken. By the time the revolutionary government mowed down student protesters at Tlateloco (1968), however, that version of the past became harder to sustain. A new generation of historians generated a body of “revisionist” work in which the revolution never was about obtaining justice for the oppressed. Cárdenas was depicted as having intentionally manipulated peasants and workers in order to realize the political goals of the capitalist classes.53 Since the 1990s, “post-revisionist” history has given us a clearer, if more complex, picture of the period. Gil Joseph and Daniel Nugent’s pivotal 1994 collection Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico both reflected and promoted the shift. “Post-revisionism” coincided, mostly happily, with several other important historiographical innovations, including the “cultural turn,” the rise of gender as a category of analysis, a renewed emphasis on the importance of local and regional history, and a growing skepticism of grand theory.

In 1999, a special edition of the Hispanic America Historical Review focused attention on the new cultural history. Since then, scholars like William Beezley, Anne Rubenstein, and Joanne Hershfield demonstrated both the importance of cultural history and the fact that nontraditional sources like comic books or advertisements can make the popular culture of the past more accessible to the present. Carmen Ramos Escandón, Ana Lau, Sylvia Arrom, Esperanza Tuñón, and Julia Tuñón Pablos pioneered writing women back into a history from which they had been largely omitted. Then came the flood. Between 1988—when Joan Scott published Gender and the Politics of History—and 2016, there were approximately one hundred volumes published on women, gender or both, in relation to the Mexican Revolution. Katherine Bliss, Susie Porter, Jocelyn Olcott, María Teresa Fernández, Ann Blum, and Gabriela Cano stand out as having gone on to show that a focus on gender is compatible with staying relevant to the rest of the field. Robert Buffington, Agustín Escobar Latapí, Victor Macías, José Olavarría, Héctor Domínguez Rucalcaba, and Rafael Montesinos built on Matthew Guttman’s 1996 pioneering work on masculinity. Chris Boyer, Ben Fallaw, Edward Wright-Ríos, Adrian Bantjes, and Mary Kay Vaughan took on more traditional subjects like education, politics, or agrarianism, and incorporated culture, gender, and local history to build a more accurate macro view. Most of the early work on the revolution focused exclusively on revolutionaries and their supporters. More recently, however, Edward Wright-Ríos, Patience Schell, Katherine Bliss, Kristina Boylan, and Matthew Butler built on Jean Meyer’s tradition of taking counterrevolutionaries seriously.

Primary Sources

The most useful archive for primary sources is the Archivo General de la Nación (AGN) in Mexico City. The Ramos Presidenciales section contains the voluminous and unprecedented correspondence Cárdenas received from his people. The Dirección General de Gobernación section contains documents relating to the governance of the Ministry of the Interior. Available online are sets of instructions for using the archives and general information about them. There is also a “simple” guide to the collections.

The archive of the Secretaría de Educación Pública has recently been relocated into Gallery 8 of the AGN. Also in Mexico City, the Hemeroteca Nacional is a vast repository of newspapers. Many print resources are available. Some sources are digitized. The Centro de Estudios de la Historia de México has a widely varied collection, some of which is from the Cardenista era.

Serious students of Cardenismo will be obliged to leave Mexico City. A visit to the archive from Cárdenas’s birthplace of Juquilpan, Michoacán, is especially important. In 2005, the document collection from the Centro de Estudios de la Revolución Mexicana was transferred to the UNAM, but it is still in Jiquilpan. This excellent resource, which includes the papers of Francisco J. Múgica, is now located at the Unidad Académica de Estudios Regionales de la Coordinación de Humanidades de la UNAM.

The creation of the Unidad Académica has facilitated the regional and local research that have so enriched recent historiography. State and municipal archives have also been important to filling in the national picture of Cardenismo, but they vary in utility. Some municipalities do not have papers from the periods; others require further work in indexing and cataloguing. Some of the best work has been done, however, in precisely these archives, especially in places like Sonora, Michoacán, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Yucatán. Regional universities sometimes have well-developed local and regional histories that not only serve as valuable secondary resources but also point to local archives that might otherwise escape notice.

Further Reading

Albarrán, Elena J.Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism. The Mexican Experience. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Bantjes, Adrian A.As if Jesus Walked on Earth: Cardenismo, Sonora, and the Mexican Revolution. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1998.Find this resource:

Becker, Marjorie. “Torching La Purísima, Dancing on the Altar: The Construction of Revolutionary Hegemony in Michaocán, 1934–1949.” In Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico. Edited by G. M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Beezley, William H., ed. A Companion to Mexican History and Culture. Chichester, West Sussex, and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.Find this resource:

Bethell, Leslie, ed. The Cambridge History of Latin America. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1984–.Find this resource:

Boyer, Christopher R.Becoming Campesinos: Politics, Identity, and Agrarian Struggle in Postrevolutionary Michoacán, 1920–1935. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Buchenau, Jürgen, and William H. Beezley, eds. State Governors in the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1952: Portraits in Conflict, Courage, and Corruption. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.Find this resource:

Carr, Barry. “Organised Labour and the Mexican Revolution 1915–1928.” Occasional Papers, Latin American Center, Oxford 2 (1972).Find this resource:

Ceballos Garibay, Héctor. Francisco J. Múgica: Crónica política de un rebelde. Diálogo abierto. Historia 89. México: Coyoacán, 2002.Find this resource:

Dawson, Alexander S.Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Dion, Michelle. “The Political Origins of Social Security in Mexico during the Cardenas and Avila Camacho Administrations.” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 21.1 (2005): 59–95.Find this resource:

Estrada Correa, Francisco. Múgica: la biografía de la izquierda que perdimos—y la que nos hace falta. Mexico: Centro de Estudios de Liberalismo Mexicano, 2007.Find this resource:

Fallaw, Ben. Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Joseph, G. M., and Daniel Nugent, eds. Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Knight, Alan, and W. G. Pansters. “Mexico, c. 1930–1946.” In The Cambridge history of Latin America. Edited by Leslie Bethell, 671–679. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1984–.Find this resource:

Knight, Alan, and W. G. Pansters. “The Mexican Revolution: Bourgeois? Nationalist? Or Just a ‘Great Rebellion’?” Bulletin of Latin American Research 4.2 (1985): 1.Find this resource:

Knight, Alan, and W. G. Pansters. “Cardenismo: Juggernaut or Jalopy?” Journal of Latin American Studies 26.1 (1994): 73.Find this resource:

Knight, Alan, and W. G. Pansters. “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico, 1910–1940.” The Hispanic American Historical Review 74.3 (1994): 393.Find this resource:

Knight, Alan, and W. G. Pansters. Caciquismo in Twentieth-Century Mexico. London: Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2005.Find this resource:

León, Samuel, and Ignacio Marván. En el cardenismo: 1934–1940. México: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1985.Find this resource:

Lewis, Stephen E.The Ambivalent Revolution: Forging State and Nation in Chiapas, 1910–1945. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.Find this resource:

Michaels, Albert. “The Crisis of Cardenismo.” Journal of Latin American Studies 2.1 (1970): 51–79.Find this resource:

Joseph, G. M., and Daniel Nugent. Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Olcott, Jocelyn, Mary K. Vaughan, and Gabriela Cano. Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Raby, David. “La ‘Educación socialista’ en México.” Cuadernos Políticos 29 (1981): 75–82.Find this resource:

Vaughan, Mary K.Cultural Politics in Revolution: Teachers, Peasants, and Schools in Mexico, 1930–1940. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Vaughan, Mary K., and Stephen E. Lewis. The Eagle and the Virgin: Nation and Cultural Revolution in Mexico, 1920–1940. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.Find this resource:


(1.) Knight 1994, 440.

(2.) Moramay López-Alonso, Measuring Up: A History of Living Standards in Mexico, 1850–1950 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).

(3.) He often served as paymaster because of his reputation for fairness and honesty, and on repeated occasions he risked his life crossing enemy lines in order to persuade his opponents to capitulate rather than be slaughtered in battle.

(4.) The Maximato is the period following President Álvaro Obregón’s assassination, when Calles (the “Jefe Máximo”) continued to exercise power through a series of three two-year interim presidencies.

(5.) Christopher R. Boyer, Becoming Campesinos: Politics, Identity, and Agrarian Struggle in Postrevolutionary Michoacán, 1920–1935 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003), 188–222.

(6.) Adrian A. Bantjes, As If Jesus Walked on Earth: Cardenismo, Sonora, and the Mexican Revolution (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1998), 78.

(7.) Alan Knight and W. G. Pansters, “Mexico, c. 1930–1946,” in The Cambridge History of Latin America, ed. Leslie Bethell (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1984– ), 13.

(8.) Barry Carr, “Organised Labour and the Mexican Revolution 1915–1928,” Occasional Papers, Latin American Center, Oxford 2 (1972), 2.

(9.) Alan Knight, Cardenismo. Juggernaut or Jalopy? J. Lat. Am. Stud. 26.1 (1994): 73.

(11.) Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, “The Legitimacy of the Regime,” from Lecture Series “La Vigencia del Cardenismo: An Exploration of a Revolutionary Leader, and a Broader Tradition of Progressive Politics in Mexico” given at University of Chicago, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, April 9, 2003.

(12.) Vaughan, “Cultural Approaches to Peasant Politics in the Mexican Revolution,” Hispanic American Historical Review 72.2 (1999): 292.

(13.) Elena J. Albarrán, Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 145.

(14.) Ibid., 68.

(15.) David Raby, “La ‘Educación socialista’ en México,” Cuadernos Políticos 29 (1981): 75–82.

(16.) Ben Fallaw, Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013), 139–140.

(17.) Marjorie Becker, “Torching La Purísima, Dancing on the Altar: The Construction of Revolutionary Hegemony in Michaocán, 1934–1949,” in Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico, ed. G. M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994), 257.

(18.) The 1920s saw the resumption of civil war in the center-west between agrarian supporters of the government and Catholic resistance to anticlericalism. That conflict was called the “Cristiada”; the “Segunda,” or Second Cristero Rebellion, refers to the resumption of hostilities on a smaller scale in the 1930s.

(19.) Becker, Torching La Purísima,” 250.

(20.) Susie Porter, “Apogee of Revolution 1934–1946,” in A Companion to Mexican History and Culture, ed. William H. Beezley (Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 453–467.

(21.) Ben Fallaw’s 2013 Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico explains this dynamic—how the divisiveness of the religion question gained a momentum of its own, virtually precluding meaningful cooperation between groups who might, on the face of it, have a great deal in common.

(22.) Alan Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico, 1910–1940,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 74.3 (1994): 393.

(23.) Daniel Nugent and Ana Maria Alonso, “Multiple Selective Traditions in Agrarian Reform and Agrarian Struggle: Popular Culture and State Formation in the Ejido of Namiquipa Chihuahua,” in Everyday Forms of State Formation. Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico, ed. G. M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994), 209–246.

(24.) Boyer, Becoming Campesinos, 190–195.

(25.) Bantjes, As If Jesus Walked on Earth, 124.

(26.) Alan Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico, 1910–1940,” The Hispanic American Historial Review74 (1994): 94.

(27.) Bantjes, As If Jesus Walked on Earth, 215.

(28.) Alan Knight and W. G. Pansters, “The Mexican Revolution: Bourgeois? Nationalist? Or Just a ‘Great Rebellion’?,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 4.2 (1985): 27–28.

(29.) Bantjes, As If Jesus Walked on Earth, 141.

(30.) Alan Knight and W. G. Pansters, “Mexico, c. 1930–1946,” in The Cambridge History of Latin America, ed. Leslie Bethell (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1984– ), 20–26.

(31.) Julia Tuñón has written especially clearly about the feminization of indigenous men and the “double” feminization endured by indigenous women; see Jocelyn Olcott, Mary K. Vaughan, and Gabriela Cano, Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 94–95.

(32.) Stephen E. Lewis, The Ambivalent Revolution: Forging State and Nation in Chiapas, 1910–1945 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005), 121–122.

(33.) Guillermo Bonfil and Francisco Rojas Aravena, América Latina. Etnodesarrollo y etnocidio / Guillermo Bonfil … [et al.]; edición: Francisco Rojas Aravena (San José: FLACSO (Colección 25 aniversario, 1982).

(34.) Stephen Lewis, A Qualified Defense of Mexican Indigenismo (Tucson: Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies, 2015).

(35.) Mary Kay Vaughan, Cultural Approaches to Peasant Politics in the Mexican Revolution,” Hispanic American Historical Review 72.2 (1999): 269–305.

(36.) Fallaw, Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico, 89.

(37.) Bantjes, As If Jesus Walked on Earth, 223; see Jürgen Buchenau and William H. Beezley, eds., State Governors in the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1952: Portraits in Conflict, Courage, and Corruption (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).

(38.) Michelle Dion, “The Political Origins of Social Security in Mexico during the Cardenas and Avila Camacho Administrations,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 21.1 (2005): 67.

(39.) Francisco Estrada Correa, Múgica: la biografía de la izquierda que perdimos—y la que nos hace falta (Mexico City: Centro de Estudios de Liberalismo Mexicano, 2007), 30.

(40.) Ibid., 29.

(41.) Carr, Organised Labour and the Mexican Revolution, 8–9.

(42.) Albert Michaels, “The Crisis of Cardenismo,” Journal of Latin American Studies 2.1 (1970): 53–63.

(43.) Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico,” 90.

(44.) Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico,” 100.

(45.) Fallaw, Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico, 90–91.

(46.) Héctor Ceballos Garibay, Francisco J. Múgica. Crónica política de un rebelde (Mexico City: Coyoacán, 2002); Anna Ribera Carbó, La patria ha podido ser flor. Francisco J. Múgica, una biografía política. 1. ed. México D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1999; after his election, Ávila Camacho made sure to reward the governors; see Garibay, 226.

(47.) A certain amount of electoral violence and fraud were still necessary in 1940 to ensure Ávila Camacho’s ascension.

(48.) Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico,” 442.

(49.) Bantjes, As If Jesus Walked on Earth, 224–225.

(50.) Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico,” 80.

(51.) Mauricio-José Schwarz, Todos somos Superbarrio (Mexico City: Grupo Editorial Planeta de México, 1994).

(52.) Knight, “The Mexican Revolution,”; Knight, “Popular Culture and the Revolutionary State in Mexico,”.

(53.) These included Alicia Hernández Chávez, Luis Javier Garrido, Octavio Ianni, Arturo Angiano, Jorge Basurto, and Arnaldo Córdova.