This is a second printing by Editorial Jus of Ezequiel Chávez’ biography of Morelos, published this time as one of its “México heroico” series, occasioned no doubt by the two-hundredth anniversary of Morelos’ birth last year.

A scholar of great international standing and renown, Ezequiel A. Chávez wrote a number of philosophical and educational treatises, twice served as rector of the National University of Mexico, and dedicated his entire life to the cause of Mexican education. Chávez’ study, which he completed in 1931, was carefully researched from the available sources, and not only is one of the best of the Morelos biographies, but is considerably better than most which have appeared in recent years. Yet publication of Chávez’ manuscript was delayed until 1957, fully eleven years after his death in 1946, and it is unfortunate that no effort was made either in the first or second editions to update the research.

Why such a surprisingly long delay in publication? A possible explanation may be Chávez’ “Epílogo,” in which he questioned Morelos’ presumed authorship of an unsigned, undated document used by Professors Pedro de Alba and Nicolás Rangel in 1924 to prove that Morelos was a pioneer agrarian reformer. Chávez thus had taken issue with two of the most respected historians of the new school of the Revolution, which sought a reinterpretation of the Mexican past, particularly in the light of the social consciousness and contribution of Mexico’s historical personalities.

Furthermore, Chávez’ opposition to the policies of Plutarco Calles and his successors had become more pronounced; and as an honorary member of the Comisión Técnica Consultiva of the Secretaría de Educación Pública from 1930 to 1934, he became increasingly critical of the “irreligious character” of the government’s educational policy, at length resigning his position in 1934. Apparently no publisher in Mexico was willing to risk a collision with the Lázaro Cárdenas administration just for the sake of selling copies of Chávez’ biography. The corpse would have to remain buried until the political climate had changed sufficiently to permit its resurrection.

Finally, it should be noted that recent scholarship has offered conclusive proof that in questioning the historical basis used by Alba and Rangel, Chávez was right. A considerable amount of controversy and speculation would have been avoided had not publication been so long delayed.