Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz did not rule by repression and co-optation alone. As Matthew Esposito’s book on national commemorations and state funerals reveals, the Díaz regime relied on memorialization, “the active construction of official memory through the use of state ceremony,” for its legitimacy and survival (p. 4). Over the course of its lengthy 35 years of rule, the dictatorship performed countless commemorations and held 110 state funerals, events so common in the Mexican capital that hardly a month went by without one. The ceremonies had many functions. Díaz and his cronies used them to establish and maintain rule, to project images of “Order and Progress,” and, later in the period, to display Mexico as a land of material wealth. The events also served as opportunities to encourage “citizens to remember an official version of the past,” uniting Mexicans through the common bond...

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