Following the Mexican Revolution, agrarian reformists sought to create an ejidal system that would transform the oligarchic economy and incorporate peasants into the political life of the state. By the late 1920s, reformists were increasingly at odds with many veterans of the revolution, especially Plutarco Elías Calles and his cabinet. For radical peasants and politicians, a weak federal dedication to land redistribution represented a frustrated Mexican Revolution, one that was far from living up to the promises of the 1917 constitution.

Eitan Ginzberg's intrepid book is the first to compare two key agrarian governors: Adalberto Tejeda and Lázaro Cárdenas, who respectively represented Veracruz and Michoacán between 1928 and 1932. Analyzing municipal documents, state circulars, and legislation, the book juxtaposes Tejeda and Cárdenas in terms of their ideologies, their strategies for implementing social reform, and their relationships with federal and municipal governments, agrarian...

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