Focusing on school funding, this article examines the relationship between the majority indigenous population of the Puebla Sierra and the Mexican state from 1876 to 1930. The article questions assumptions about peasant resistance to taxes and about the dearth of rural schooling before 1921. I find that the municipal personal taxes that funded education during the Porfiriato were raised continually in spite of the fact that they burdened the poor disproportionately. Acquiescence to taxation administered by local authorities was further demonstrated when personal taxes were abolished in 1917 and municipalities resuscitated a Porfirian-era education tax in order to maintain schools that state and federal governments would not pay for—a fact ignored by the historiography, which has focused on federal schools. This article argues that municipalities contributed to the emergent educational system and that school funding helped to construct an economically unequal liberal citizenship in which the price for inclusion could be high.

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