Writing on Porfirio Díaz and the age in Mexican history that bears his name has continued now for slightly more than one hundred years.1 These subjects have generated one of the largest bodies of literature in Mexican historiography, and interest has never been stronger. The man and the age he dominated have fascinated both Mexicans and foreign observers for several reasons, among them Díaz’s political mastery, the regime’s longevity, Porfìrian Mexico’s material transformation, and its defects, which gave rise to a great revolution. More important still, the Porfiriato, the modem term used to decribe the period 1876–1911, remains a topic deemed relevant to current political debate.

This essay reviews and analyzes the historiography of the Porfiriato since the 1880s, addressing both the contribution of individual authors and the significance of major interpretative trends in the field. It examines the historical context in which these works were produced and how contemporary events and opinion influenced the writing of history. The interrelationship between the historian and the climate of opinion defies precise analysis and explanation. Historians are not always sufficiently aware of the influence of current events upon their work and, as a result, leave only a few clues revealing the nature of that connection. Each historian, furthermore, is affected differently by the changes and concerns of his own time. The historiographer must, therefore, work with circumstantial evidence, read between the lines, and make tentative conclusions. The importance of this interrelationship, however, is not in doubt. Porfirian historiography reflects and has influenced the preceding hundred years of Mexican history. “In Mexico the present still seeps back into the past,” notes John Womack, Jr., “and the past up into the present.”2

The historiographer of the Porfiriato encounters several problems. More than two thousand books, pamphlets, and articles pertaining entirely, or in large part, to the Porfiriato have been published during the last hundred years. The problem of quantity is compounded by one of classification. What properly constitutes Porfirian historiography? Most accounts written during the Díaz period were not strictly histories, yet their authors generally expressed, explicitly or implicitly, a sense of the location and significance of their age within Mexican history. The distinction between histories of the Porfiriato and of the Mexican Revolution is not always clear and presents another problem. Clearly both epochs and their respective historical literature are inextricably linked. Any narrow definition of Porfirian historiography, therefore, would not be very useful. Finally, there is the problem of periodization. This essay is arranged chronologically in order to describe clearly the evolution of the Porfirian image in the historical literature of Mexico. The historiography of the Porfiriato is herein treated in four sequential categories, which we have labeled Porfirian-era (1876–1908), revolutionary (1908–40), post-Cárdenas (1940-68), and recent (1968-). While there is, inevitably, some overlap in this division, the literature of each period possesses certain defining and unifying characteristics.

An appreciation of the contours of Porfirian historiography is facilitated by a brief review of the period. Political instability, civil war, and foreign intervention characterized the first half century of Mexico’s national existence. Conflict between anticlerical liberals and proclerical conservatives culminated in the revolution called La Reforma (1855-59), which attempted to modernize Mexico by limiting the power and influence of the Catholic church and removing certain “colonial” obstacles to economic development. Out of the struggles to preserve the Reform against conservatives (the Three Years’ War, 1859-61) and their French allies (the French Intervention, 1862-67), the liberal government of Benito Juarez triumphed with the indispensable assistance of powerful regional caudillos. One of these, General Porfirio Díaz of Oaxaca, tried and failed to overthrow Juárez in 1871-72, but succeeded in 1876 against Juarez’s successor, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. In the name of the Reform and democracy, Díaz became dictator of Mexico.

Between 1876 and 1911 Porfirio Díaz was elected president eight times, turning over power once, from 1880 to 1884, to a trusted ally, General Manuel González. During his tenure, one of the longest personal dictatorships in Latin American history, Díaz gave Mexico a measure of political stability and economic growth. Although he respected the formalities of the Reform’s Constitution of 1857, its democratic and anticlerical provisions were not observed. The regime awarded generous concessions to foreign entrepreneurs and enacted reforms aimed at establishing a rational and capitalistic economic environment. As a result, foreign capital built a network of railroads, revitalized mining, expanded and modernized the textile industry, and transformed commercial agriculture. For too many people, however, modernization meant an increase in the cost of living, and declining rural and urban wages. Success in politics, as in economic development, was flawed. Díaz’s personal monopolization of power occurred at the expense of institutional development and respect for law. Rigidity came to characterize the system, resulting in less turnover in office holding and the creation of a precarious generation gap between the “ins” and the “outs.” During the first decade of the twentieth century, an economic recession, increasing labor unrest, and a succession crisis provoked the rebellion that deposed Díaz in 1911 and consigned him and his time to history.

The History of Their Own Times

Porfirian-era historiography was essentially liberal historiography. With the defeat of the conservative faction in 1867, liberalism became equated with Mexicanism; it was transformed from an ideology of combat into a unifying myth.3 Liberal historians agreed on the desirability of republicanism, capitalism, and individualism. They were partisans of the Reform and viewed the Porfìrian epoch always in comparison.

Conservative history, pro-Hispanic and Catholic in the tradition of Lucas Alamán’s Historia de Méjico, did not entirely disappear during the Porfiriato. The two outstanding conservative historians of the period, Manuel Orozco y Berra and Joaquin García Icazbalceta, wrote elaborately on Mexico’s indigenous and colonial past. Others such as José María Roa Barcena and Emilio del Castillo Negrete avoided writing contemporary history and chose more remote and safer topics. Although Mexican history became, for the most part, the province of the liberal victors, elements of the conservative interpretation were incorporated into liberal treatments of the pre-Columbian and colonial periods.4

Early liberal history in the Porfiriato glorified the Reform and the triumph of liberalism and constitutionalism over clericalism and foreign intervention. The first grand synthesis was México a través de los siglos (1887-88), compiled by Vicente Riva Palacio, a former governor and general, named minister of development in 1888. José María Vigil, author of the fifth and last volume, and director of the Biblioteca Nacional from 1879 to 1909, carried the narrative only to 1867, but in his concluding remarks he praised Díaz for consolidating the Reform program. Although no supporter of Díaz in his later years, Ignacio M. Altamirano (1883-84), another participant in the liberal struggle, justified the revolution that brought Díaz to power as a legitimate reaction to an emerging dictatorship. In a series of newspaper articles, Altamirano was most certainly lobbying for the return of Díaz to power in 1884 following the ill-fated González administration.5

Dictatorships, by their very nature, distort the writing and publication of contemporary history. Few works critical of Díaz and the regime were published in Mexico before 1908 because of official and self-censorship. The spirit of the Reform was not totally appropriated by Porfiristas, however. Ignacio Ramírez, a member of the Juárez cabinet, returned from the dead in 1898 as “El Nigromante” to criticize Díaz for allowing the Catholic church to regain its former power and wealth. Adolfo Carrillo, a newspaper editor, wrote the apocryphal memoirs of former President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada as a safe and effective way to condemn the Caesarean political methods of Díaz. The most important of the dissident voices in the wilderness was unquestionably that of Wistano Luis Orozco (1895), a lawyer from Jalisco. Orozco denounced the agrarian structure of Porfirian Mexico, particularly its dominant institution, the hacienda, as economically inefficient, socially inequitable, and brutally inhumane. Mexico needed, he stressed, small- and medium-sized farms. Later critics of the Porfirian system found in Orozco’s study an intellectually unimpeachable indictment of that system.6

The regime encouraged servility and rewarded hagiography. The bulk of Porfirian-era historiography was apologetic and simply not very good. It emerged in force in the late 1880s as the regime itself was becoming solidly entrenched in power and generally appeared around presidential reelection years. Historian Daniel Cosío Villegas counted thirty contemporary biographies of Díaz, all of them laudatory; and of the fifty-three “studies of the epoch” published before 1910, only seven were critical of the regime.7 Not surprisingly, more than a few unctuous books were published by the Mexican government or with government subsidies. Most accounts written by foreign observers, furthermore, were unstintingly laudatory.8 Authors of this body of Porfirian apologia concentrated on Mexico’s material progress and on the “great man” himself, his political genius, soldierly qualities, moral integrity, and statesmanlike stature. To apologists, Díaz was a man outside the normal restraints of history who almost singlehandedly created a modern nation out of abominable human materials and against overwhelming odds. The dictatorship was justified by the political backwardness of the Mexican people. It was also justified by its results: material progress, political stability, and international respect. “The more power [the Mexican people] conceded to the President,” wrote Rafael de Zayas Enríquez, a lifelong friend of Díaz, ‘the greater became the material prosperity of the country.”9 Díaz and Mexico became almost indistinguishable.

During the last decade of the Porfiriato, a body of positivist and antipositivist history was published. This trend was an extension into historical writing of a philosophical and political debate reaching back at least to the 1870s. It also reflected anxiety over the political future of Mexico (Díaz was seventy years old in 1900) and roughly paralleled the rivalry for presidential succession between positivist científicos (supporters of Treasury Secretary José I. Limantour) and Reyistas (supporters of General Bernardo Reyes, the political boss of the state of Nuevo León). The radical left and Catholics after the turn of the century contributed significantly to the debate over the past and future of Mexico.

In his “Civic Oration” of 1867 Gabino Barreda declared that the triumph of the liberal party in that year signified the transition from the negative, theological stage in Mexican history to the positive, scientific stage. Barredas adaptation of Auguste Comte’s philosophical system, positivism, further prescribed a liberal political order that would liberate the forces of material progress. In time Mexican positivists became receptive to the ideas of Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin and employed a methodology of historical explanation taken from the natural sciences. The “scientific” position held that societies, like species, were subject to certain laws of evolution. They could not achieve maturity in one generation but had to pass through stages of development. Those societies that adapted to their historical circumstances, human resources, and material necessities survived and progressed.10

Mexico’s version of the Whig interpretation of history, positivism, viewed the Porfiriato as the product of the liberal struggles of independence and the Reform and a necessary stage in the destined triumph of national prosperity, constitutional government, and civil liberty. The concept of race was central to this interpretation. The mestizo, the product of two races, two cultures, and two histories, was the great unifier of ethnic, ideological, and class contradictions. The mestizo was thus the protagonist of Mexican progress, and this group’s greatest representative and symbol was Porfirio Díaz.

There were, in fact, few genuine positivist histories and the distinction between them and the apologetic court histories is only a subtle one. The most important work of history published during the Porfiriato, one that exudes positivism, was México, su evolución social (1900–1902), compiled by Justo Sierra, Porfirian Mexico’s preeminent intellectual, an educator, Supreme Court magistrate, and first rector of the modern National University. Sierra (and colleagues) produced an optimistic work designed, according to Enrique Florescano, “to convince the leading class and its allies of the necessity of continuing traveling on the same route,”11 i.e., the path of political stability and economic growth. Each of the topical essays of this luxuriously bound and illustrated three-volume work is a celebration of Porfirian progress. Sierra, in two essays on political history, restated his long-held belief that the Constitution of 1857 was “scarcely more than a glimmering ideal” and therefore inapplicable and inadequate for Mexico’s political life. What the country needed, and had found in Porfirio Díaz, was a strong and just ruler to build the economic foundation necessary for the true realization of liberty.12 Liberty presupposed order and progress as well for Francisco Bulnes, historian, engineer, journalist, iconoclast, and congressional deputy. The advance of Mexican civilization required the application of scientific principles to the administration of the government and economy, directed by an elite and designed to raise the material well-being of all. The ultimate end, however, was a “society depending on its laws and not on its men.”13 Several foreign writers on Mexican history and contemporary affairs adopted “scientific” interpretations of Mexico. During the Porfiriato, these proponents of democratic government in their own countries had no difficulty justifying dictatorship in Mexico. Legalistic and constitutional “details,” many argued, should not be permitted to stand in the way of evolution and progress. In their lavish praise for don Porfirio and his accomplishments, these authors betray a condescending attitude toward Mexico and its people.11

The radical critique of Porfìrian politics and society existed from the beginning of the regime. Working-class newspapers interpreted the Reform as the initiation of the modern industrial era led by a new entrepreneurial bourgeoisie, a view not very different from that of the positivists. Radicals did not see the bourgeoisie as builders of a better Mexico but as the last in a long line of oppressors of the people. Radical critics of the regime, anarchists for the most part, were anti-Díaz, antibourgeoisie, and anticlerical. They sought to mobilize the urban working class to bring down the ruling class and its dictatorship. The radical perspective found increased dissemination after 1900. At the center of a radical renaissance were Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón and a small group of liberal, anarchist, and socialist compatriots who formed the Mexican Liberal party (PLM) in 1905. Not unlike many liberals, Ricardo viewed the Reform as a struggle for liberty and justice, which was betrayed and subverted by Díaz. Increasingly, Magonistas adopted a class critique of the social and economic conditions of Porfirian Mexico, one with a purpose. “For Flores Magón,” writes Juan Gómez-Quiñones, “history indicated the enemy; thus history conferred upon him a responsibility: [revolutionary] action.”13 Throughout the Porfiriato, but particularly near the end, radicals transcended Porfirian liberalism and its self-congratulatory nature and provided later revolutionaries with a radical tradition, ideology, martyrs, and an alternative vision of the past.

Progressive Catholics like Trinidad Sánchez Santos, José de Jesús Cuevas, and Carlos A. Salas were inspired by Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical letter Rerum Novarum.16 Catholic newspaper editor Sánchez Santos (1904) painted a grim picture of Porfirian society, framing the issues that were debated in four Catholic social congresses between 1903 and 1909. He stayed away from political analysis and church-state issues while criticizing rural labor conditions, unscrupulous hacendados, and alcoholism forced upon Indians. The liberal order begun by the Reform and continued by Díaz, the progressive Catholic writers implied, had failed the people of Mexico.

Liberalism had not failed, argued a new generation of Mexican liberals like Juan Pedro Didapp, Daniel Cabrera, and Adolfo Duelos Salinas; it had been corrupted by Díaz and his cronies.17 Didapp (1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, and 1906), a journalist and supporter of General Reyes, argued that the científicos were “the true enemies of the Republic.”18 They constituted the new Conservative party in Mexico, as he saw it, and were liberal only in their greed and ambition. Didapp recognized the seriousness of Mexico’s agrarian and labor problems. Social reform, however justified and urgent, was secondary to Didapp’s prescription that Mexico return to constitutionalism.

Didapp was also an important participant in the most emotional and divisive historical debate during the Porfiriato. Francisco Bulnes (1904, 1905), on the eve of the Juárez centennial, revised the heroic image of Benito Juárez.19 The “real Juárez” of Bulnes was a mean, little man, a bureaucratic hack, and an expedient revolutionary. The author exalted the Reform movement while deprecating its most important protagonist. Bulnes, reacting against a powerful image of mythic proportions, sought to inject a dose of realism into the record. Others have suggested that he wanted to flatter Díaz by belittling his glorified rival. Ralph Roeder, gave some attention to this polemic, and suggested a “perverse satisfaction in wrecking the reputation of a man who was a standing reproach to his posterity.”20 Justo Sierra (1905) met Bulnes not quite half way. Sierra rejected both images: the Juárez of national myth and Bulnes’s counterfeit hero. Sierra’s Juárez was human without being petty. Juárez, like Díaz after him, in Sierra’s view, faced enormous difficulties and adapted to Mexican circumstances by centralizing power, arranging his own reelection, and building a personal following. Ricardo García Granados (1906) and Emilio Rabasa (1906) reinforced the revisionist interpretation by attempting to show the unsuitability of the Constitution of 1857 to Mexican realities. Díaz did not subvert Mexican liberalism, they argued; he was creating the conditions for true democracy in the near future.21

These books, but primarily Bulnes’s, provoked angry responses in defense of Juárez, the Reform, and the Constitution of 1857 by numerous historians, including Didapp, Ramón Prida, Andrés Molina Enríquez, Francisco Cosmes, and Rafael de Zayas Enríquez.22 The critics of Bulnes extolled those political virtues absent in Porfirian Mexico. The Juárez debate reflected the reawakening of the liberal tradition and contributed to it by reviving the spirit of the Reform during what was generally expected to be Díaz’s last term in office. There is no question that the Reform was much on the minds of 1910 revolutionaries.23

The Díaz regime was well served by most Porfirian-era historians. They enhanced the authority and legitimacy of the regime by emphasizing its continuity to the Reform and by placing the name of Porfirio Díaz alongside those of Hidalgo and Juárez. Dazzled by the appearance of progress, few questioned the nature of Porfirian capitalism and economic growth. Most were favorably impressed by their age and wrote Mexican history from an Olympian perspective. In return, the regime rewarded its historians with official appointments and government subsidies. It cannot be said, however, that Mexico was well served by these historians. It would seem that they viewed Mexico as an essentially anarchic, violent, idle, and backward nation that had finally been subdued and harnessed for progress by the Porfirian regime in the same way that technology was conquering nature for the good of mankind. Indians and the rural masses received little attention except as obstacles to modernization. Most historians failed to see the distorted and dependent nature of Porfirian economic development and its devastating effect on so many Mexicans. These historians lived, wrote, and published in Mexico City and rarely concerned themselves with life and politics beyond the confines of the capital (although this gap was often delightfully filled by foreign travelers).24 The dominant image in this historiography is that of the full car with the blinds closed.

The writing on Díaz and his age was affected by a very different political environment after 1908 when Díaz announced, in an interview with United States journalist James Creelman, his retirement from political life (after the election of 1910) and welcomed active political parties. Increased political activity for the election and, later, the revolution that deposed Díaz and transformed Mexico, recast the approaches to understanding the Porfiriato.

The Making of the Ancien Regime

“History,” writes Michael C. Meyer, “became one of the many vehicles for the apotheosis of the Revolution,”25 and, one should add, its excoriation. In 1919 T. Esquivel Obregón argued that “as civil strife grows fiercer, those who narrate political events adhere more tenaciously to the idea that history is a tribunal, in order that they may lay the blame and curse of history upon their adversaries.”26 Porfirian historiography could not help but be affected by the Mexican Revolution. Naturally the reputation of the caudillo and his regime suffered as much as it had prospered in his own time. The image of the belle époque was replaced by that of the ancien regime, implying a regime and an age fatally flawed, self-deluded, and completely, irrevocably gone. This, the essence of the revolutionary interpretation, dominated Mexican historiography for more than three decades. The making of the ancien regime in historiography from 1908 to 1940 has its own history, influenced by as diverse a range of rivalries and ideologies as the revolution itself.27

The Porfirian regime began to unravel in 1908 when, in the middle of an economic downturn and a wave of worker unrest, the Díaz-Creelman interview was published in Mexico. Although Díaz soon reversed himself and declared for another term, an invisible but very real barrier protecting the regime had been breached. The new political environment unleashed a barrage of criticism. Querido Moheno (1908), federal deputy and political gadfly, allowed that the Constitution of 1857 was faulty but argued that it was Díaz who destroyed the liberty of the press, the independence of the courts, the sovereignty of the states, and all constitutional checks and procedures. The destruction of the Díaz myth was under way, reflected in the fact that Díaz himself increasingly became the target of condemnation. Carlo di Fornaro (1909), an Italian journalist, in two books published in the United States, was so venomous toward Díaz that the Mexican government sought di Fornaro’s imprisonment for libel.28

One book, part history, part political program, became the fountainhead of the political movement that deposed Díaz in 1911. La sucesión presidential en 1910 (1908, 1909), by the Coahuilan hacendado and spiritualist Francisco I. Madero, presented an ambivalent portrait of the Porfirian regime.29 Madero praised Díaz the man, but condemned the Porfirian system. He applauded Porfirian economic progress and quickly passed over Mexico’s serious social and economic problems. Madero’s account of the Porfiriato focused on political problems: retention of power, corruption, sycophancy, local tyrannies, and absolutism. What Mexico needed was liberty, justice, and democracy. Madero had one eye on the past in his political prescription; he sought the restoration of the hallowed principles of the Reform and the 1857 Constitution.

One of the most important critiques of Porfirian Mexico ever published also appeared during the apertura of 1908-11. Los grandes problemas nacionales (1909), by Andrés Molina Enríquez, a Spencerian positivist, lawyer, historian, and journalist, was the result of many years of study and was an amplification of Wistano Luis Orozco’s 1895 study. As Moheno, Madero, and others assaulted the Díaz myth, Molina Enríquez almost singlehandedly, demolished the myth of unblemished Porfirian progress. The regime may have provided for railroad construction and balanced the budget but to Molina Enríquez these were superficial achievements. Property is the basis of true progress, he wrote, and here the Díaz government failed by promoting the growth of the unproductive hacienda, not protecting communal property arrangements, and ignoring the importance of small landholdings. To Molina Enríquez, political problems were secondary; “pauperism is the leprosy killing us.”30 The book’s importance is mirrored in the fact that it was suppressed by the government and provided the empirical foundation for many subsequent treatments of the society and economy of Mexico.

Discordant North American views of the Porfiriato also appeared after 1908, in part, “a projection of American attitudes toward populism onto another civilization’s very different contentions.”31 Increased association between Mexican and North American radicals and labor leaders led to numerous articles critical of Díaz and the regime in liberal and radical periodicals in the United States. In 1909 the socialist journalist John Kenneth Turner, in the muckraking tradition of the day, published a series of articles in The American Magazine called “Barbarous Mexico” that had an important impact in both countries.32 Turner, a comrade of the Flores Magón brothers, aimed to dismantle the image of a peaceful and progressive Mexico under Díaz’s tutelage, an image, he contended, that was concocted in the United States over the span of two decades by North Americans with economic interests in Mexico. “Barbarous Mexico was an exposé of Indian slavery, political persecution, corruption in government, and suppression of the press. Turner condemned the unholy alliance of North American commercial-financial interests, the government of the United States, and the Porfirian regime for creating and perpetuating a barbarous Mexico. Flatly contradicting the conventional portrait, Turner undermined in the United States the reputation of the age of Díaz for years to come.

Friends of the regime, of course, continued their panegyrics. The centennial celebration of Mexican independence, the dictator’s eightieth birthday, and the 1910 election were all suitable occasions for eulogizing Díaz and his Mexico.33 But as these apologists blindly continued to acclaim Porfirian progress, Porfirio Díaz was forced into exile in the spring of 1911 by the revolutionary movement of Madero. The winners took control of the government, and of the past. Antonio Manero (1911), the first to apply the term ancien régime (antiguo régimen) to the Porfiriato, José Negrete (1911), Wistano Luis Orozco (1911), and others unleashed a predictable barrage against the defeated regime.34 Few came to its defense. Emilio Rabasa (1912), the Porfiriato’s most eminent jurist, restated the old argument that a bad constitution turned good men into dictators. Rabasa did not, however, advocate a return to the Porfirian system, or one guided by the Constitution of 1857, but rather a realistic constitutional democracy that sanctioned a strong chief executive. The Díaz regime, he noted, had accomplished much that was good for Mexico, but now it was time to move forward.35

Mexico, instead, took a step backward. President Madero was deposed and assassinated in early 1913, an event initiating the last, and rather shabby, gasp of the Porfiriato. The government that came to power, according to one enthusiastic supporter, led to the “rehabilitation of [Díaz’s] diminished prestige and complete justification of his system of government.”36 The regime of Provisional President Victoriano Huerta needed legitimacy and attempted to recruit, without success, the services of Porfirio Díaz. Once again, however, a government was in power that held the old caudillo in great esteem. If Díaz would not return to active service in the army, he could not stop others from using his “good name” to shore up the Huerta government. That was certainly the intention of Nemesio García Naranjo (1913), a minister in the Huerta cabinet, in his biography of Díaz.37 His message was simple and straightforward: Díaz had been good for Mexico; Huerta was following in his footsteps. This rehabilitation campaign, the first of several to follow, was, like the Huerta regime itself, shortlived.

Huertismo contributed to the partial recovery of Díaz’s “good name” in another and altogether unintended manner. Even in the eyes of some political enemies, Díaz and his regime gained some respect when compared to the murderous usurper and his military despotism. Ramón Prida (1913) certainly preferred dictatorship to anarchy. Prida, a successful banker, lawyer, and historian, no friend of the old or new regimes, argued that a simple return to constitutional government in the last years of the Porfiriato would have forestalled the current disaster. The characterization of Huerta as a shoddy imitation of the ambitious dictator was, at best, a left-handed compliment to Díaz.38 Yet even this modest, if relative, respectability was forgotten in revolutionary circles in the next few years.

The constitutionalist movement against Huerta, led by Governor Venustiano Carranza (so named because it intended to restore observance of the Constitution of 1857), triumphed in the summer of 1914. United States troops, which had landed at the port of Veracruz to prevent the shipment of arms to Huerta, were withdrawn in November; but peace still eluded Mexico. A civil war between rival factions in the victorious camp forced the concession of important social and economic reforms to garner mass support. The victors, Carrancistas and those to the left of them, incorporated their reforms in a new constitution promulgated in 1917, which also established a strong chief executive, thus vindicating to some degree the efforts of earlier critics of the 1857 charter.39

Carrancistas, of all the revolutionary factions, were most inclined to set the historical record straight. The Porfirian regime was condemned for its repression of democratic liberties, its social and economic injustices, its proclerical policies, and its submission to foreign economic interests. The purpose of these accounts was transparent: the Porfirian regime, politically, socially, and economically bankrupt, made revolution necessary and inevitable. The government of the revolution, Carranza’s government, was therefore worthy of support and was legitimate. Carlos Trejo Lerdo de Tejada (1916) in typical fashion relegated the Porfiriato to the unimportant niche it was to occupy in national historiography for some time. Lerdo de Tejada, grandson of Sebastián and an officeholder in both the Díaz and Madero governments, argued that Mexico had enjoyed only three epochs of positive change: the Hidalgo revolt, the Reform, and the Madero-Carranza revolution. Everything else, including the Porfiriato, was a reactionary aberration.40

The historical interpretation of the victors became the orthodoxy in Mexico, but the losers also had their say. Former Porfirians Francisco Bulnes (1920), Manuel Calero y Sierra (1920), Emilio Rabasa (1920), and José López-Portillo y Rojas (1921) offered intelligent justifications but recognized serious defects in the man, regime, and age to which they had been so closely linked.41 Bulnes, for example, admitted that the majority of Mexicans gained nothing from the age of peace and progress, that the regime had been closed to newcomers, and that Díaz had bungled the succession problem. Díaz should not be judged as a constitutionalist or a democrat, Bulnes argued, but as a good or bad dictator. On that point he did not vacillate: “General Díaz governed Mexico with a minimum of terror and a maximum of kindness.”42 Calero was the most critical of the four. It was not the social or economic system that he faulted but the intransigence of Díaz in not preparing Mexico for constitutional democracy or, at the very least, a peaceful succession. Rabasa, on the other hand, wrote the most sympathetic and intelligent defense of the regime in his time. He saw Díaz as a victim of the political structure he inherited. Democracies are not legislated, insisted Rabasa, but evolve with careful preparation in an environment of material prosperity. This Díaz provided, as well as “the lightest, most benevolent, and most fruitful dictatorship of any in the history of the American continent.”43 Former Reyista and Huertista, novelist, poet, and historian, López-Portillo y Rojas attempted a more balanced commentary on Díaz and the regime. His Díaz was an ambitious and cunning politician who manipulated everyone around him to advance and maintain his power. Had he died before his last term or permitted the free election of the vice-president in 1910, “he would have won the most brilliant name in Mexican history.”44 López-Portillo y Rojas was probably correct. These postmortems on the Porfiriato are realistic and thoughtful assessments of the successes and failures of the regime.

During the revolution some foreign observers wistfully recalled Díaz’s ability to keep order and protect foreign interests.45 Edith O’Shaughnessy (1916, 1917, 1920), wife of a United States diplomat in Mexico during the Madero presidency, praised Díaz and believed that only United States intervention could save Mexico. The English journalist David Hannay (1917), on the other hand, commended Díaz precisely because he had prevented United States annexation of Mexico and lamented his collapse and the inevitable North American expansion that the revolution would invite. As in Mexico, however, it was the revolutionary portrait of the Porfiriato that achieved orthodoxy among United States writers. North American progressives and socialists developed a Porfirian “black legend” because they sympathized with the goals of the revolution and sought to prevent United States intervention to restore a Porfirian-like regime.46 Ernest Gruening (1928), a reporter for The Nation magazine, concluded typically that Díaz “deepened many of the national vices, stifled what vestiges of evolutionary self-development might have grown out of the labors of the Reformists, inculcated deception, hypocrisy, abasement, and the rule of force.”47 Another reporter, Carleton Reals (1932), author of a major biography of don Porfirio in English, saw Díaz as an ambitious man who used his power to create a greedy aristocracy and hand Mexico over to foreign speculators. The dictatorship, however, was more tragic than contemptible, the tragedy of a man “who perforce must compromise with the strong at the expense of the weak.”48 Beals saw this same tragedy at work in revolutionary Mexico.

The 1920s witnessed the publication of the best and most complete history of the Porfiriato in the historiography of this period, one that reinforced the idea of the ancien regime. Ricardo García Granados (1923-28), a minor Porfirian official and Huertista, politically persecuted by Díaz, Madero, and Carranza, achieved a level of objectivity remarkable for the period.49 The thesis, the unrealistic provisions of the 1857 Constitution leading to revolutions and dictatorship, was not new. Neither was his approach of praising Díaz and condemning his system especially innovative. Ruines, Calero, Rabasa, and López-Portillo before him had shown that the Porfirian regime was not completely unprogressive, sterile, and unresponsive to national problems. García Granados saw himself as a critical scholar and a “professional” historian, one of Mexico’s first, and tried to tell the whole story guided by the facts rather than by political bias. He was, in a way, a precursor of critical historiography.

During the 1920s and 1930s the making of the ancien régime came under the influence of three ideological successors of positivism: idealism, Catholicism, and Marxism. The fitting of the Porfiriato into these broad historical designs was not new but during this period idealistic, Catholic, and Marxist historians reached a higher level of sophistication and opened important doors to understanding the past.

In 1908 a group of young intellectuals opposed to Porfirian positivism and materialism formed the Ateneo de la Juventud (Atheneum of Youth). The ateneístas were influenced by Uruguayan writer José Enrique Rodó and his belief in the importance of the spiritual nature of life and history. As idealists, they denied the positivist assertion that history is a science seeking to apprehend the past “exactly as it was.” To them, history was the study of values rather than facts, an attempt to “get inside” past minds. In this regard the ateneistas were particularly animated by the search for the meaning and essence of mexicanidad (Mexicanness). Antonio Caso (1924), professor of philosophy at the National University, viewed Porfirian positivism as Sierra, Rabasa, and García Granados saw the 1857 Constitution: ill-suited to Mexican reality. Positivism was wrong for Mexico because it was not Mexican. Samuel Ramos (1934), a pupil of Caso, psychoanalyzed the Mexican mind and culture. “The Porfirian regime,” wrote Ramos, “favored only the ruling class; public education was in a precarious state and higher education was scarce. It was quite natural, then, that these misfortunes should lead to ‘self denigration,’ that is, to a negative view of nationality.”50 The revolution, however, exposed the false nationalism of the Porfiriato and led to a rediscovery of Mexico. José Vasconcelos (1937), philosopher, university rector, secretary of public education from 1921 to 1924, and presidential candidate in 1929, in his Hispanic interpretation of national history could not agree more. Vasconcelos charged that the Porfirian generation abdicated Mexican national values and political and economic direction to the Anglo-Saxon civilization. In only one activity, church-state conciliation, did Díaz “return to Mexico the conditions of civilized life.”51 The idealists condemned the Porfirian perversion of the Mexican’s cultural and spiritual essence.

The Catholic church revived and became more dynamic as a spiritual, educational, and social institution during the Porfiriato. After 1900 the church was leading a movement for social reform. The anticlericalism of the constitutionalist movement resurrected the deep animosities between Mexican liberalism and Mexican Catholicism, culminating in the Cristero Rebellion (a war between church and state) of 1926-29. The revival of the church and the Cristero conflict affected Porfirian historiography as Díaz and his times were called into service by both sides. Lax enforcement of the Reform anticlerical laws on the part of Díaz, in the eyes of some revolutionaries, was yet another example of the dictator’s abandonment of liberalism but also an important contributing cause of the Cristero war on the state.52 Catholic historians were also severely critical of the Porfirian regime. It was not true, they argued, that Díaz ended the persecution of the church. The harsh, despotic, and elitist Porfirian system was also not the result of the corruption or rejection of liberalism. Porfirismo, they maintained, was liberalism. Mariano Cuevas (1921-28, 1940), a Jesuit historian, offered the most sophisticated and comprehensive Catholic interpretation of Mexican history. He contended that the church, and civilized, Catholic Mexico, survived in spite of the Porfirian regime, not as a consequence of the so-called conciliation policy. The “true Mexico” was assaulted by positivism, materialism, and capitalism.53 During this period Catholic historians presented the alternative view of the Mexican past, which attempted to contrast the negative nature of liberalism to the good works, humane values, and vital spirituality of the church. They also emphasized the continuity between the Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution; the struggle for the soul of Mexico was not finished.

This struggle continued for the Mexican left as well, but their goal was the consummation of the revolution. Frustrated with the course of the revolution and with increasing state control over organized labor, anarchists and Marxists argued that their predecessors in the late 1870s and in the 1900s had created a genuine revolutionary program that had significantly contributed to the eruption of a social revolution. This radical revolution was subsequently eclipsed by liberal reformism. Rosendo Salazar (1923), a labor leader, emphasized the importance of the support given by industrial workers to the Magonista cause. Radical historiography in the 1920s and early 1930s sought to encourage labor militancy and independence vis-à-vis the state. This trend was given impulse by the death of Ricardo Flores Magón in a United States prison at the end of 1922 and the return of his body to Mexico City. Immediately thereafter, former Magonistas and labor activists established the Grupo Cultural “Ricardo Flores Magón,” which published a number of volumes on Magonismo and the struggle against the dictatorship.54 Marxist historiography flourished during the more radical presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas from 1934 to 1940. Pioneers like Rafael Ramos Pedrueza, Luis Chávez Orozco, and Alfonso Teja Zabre examined the class structure and economy of the Porfiriato with greater clarity and intelligence than ever before. During the 1930s, however, it appeared to Marxist historians that the revolution had not been subverted but had evolved and was near to fruition. The revolutionary heritage of which they wrote was designed, according to Rodney D. Anderson, “to support the legitimacy of the workers’ demands for social justice and to justify the regime’s efforts in fulfilling them.”55 Most Marxist historians were comfortably within revolutionary historiographical orthodoxy.

Porfirian historiography from 1908 to 1940 was dominated by the image of the ancien régime. Liberals, idealists, Catholics, and Marxists, and even some former Porfiristas, harshly condemned the regime of Porfirio Díaz and the social and economic system over which he presided. The issue of the continuity or discontinuity between the Reform and the Porfiriato became less important than the issue of the origins of the Mexican Revolution. Historians examined the Porfiriato in order to uncover the true nature of “la Revolución.” In this historiography the year 1910 became an almost impenetrable watershed between the feudal past and modern Mexico. Revolutionary historiography did strike out in new and important directions and topics: land and labor, workers and Indians, regionalism and imperialism, and mexicanidad. A few historians began to ask the right questions about the Mexican mind and culture, the connection between liberalism and capitalism, and the relationship between social class and political power. Their answers were rarely definitive, but the importance of their efforts lies in the extension of what was deemed relevant in the Mexican past. Revolutionary historiography, finally, was prolific and polemical. “It was not even politicized history,” writes Adolfo Gilly; “it was pure politics.”56 More to the point, noted Daniel Cosío Villegas, in most works “one does not see the least effort to uncover the facts, verify them and judge them, to understand things, in short.”57 This attitude toward the writing of history changed significantly beginning in the 1940s.

Laying the Foundation of Modern Mexico

A succession of moderate governments after 1940 vigorously promoted Mexico’s industrial expansion and deemphasized social reform. The revolution, according to official rhetoric, was “institutionalized.” The mystique of the revolution survived long after the revolution itself had passed away. The regime, the official party, and their partisans clung to the legitimizing revolutionary portrait of the past, and continue to do so. Professional historians generally, however, judged Díaz and his collaborators less harshly. To them the idea of the ancien régime, which suggested that the Porfiriato was a tragic historical aberration that was swept away by the revolution, seemed less valid. They acknowledged the contributions of the regime and the epoch, primarily national consolidation and economic growth, to the making of the modern nation. In short, historians came to see the Porfiriato as the foundation of modern Mexico, modified in important ways but not negated by the revolution.

In the post-Cárdenas period, the political utility of praising or condemning Díaz had lost some of its relevance. If the revolution had not been as exemplary and complete as many once believed, could the Porfiriato have been so sinister and so thoroughly destroyed by the revolution? The more balanced view that emerged was also an outgrowth of the significant institutionalization and professionalization of the study and writing of history in Mexico during the 1940s and 1950s. The amateur and eyewitness historian was superseded by the trained and full-time historian. The establishment of such institutions as the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (founded in 1935), El Colegio de México (founded in 1940 and partially staffed by Spanish refugee intellectuals), and the National University’s Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas (founded in 1945) provided training to young historians and financial support and intellectual independence for more senior scholars. The establishment of good historical journals, Memoria de El Colegio National in 1942, Estudios Históricos in 1944, and, most notably, Historia Mexicana (published by El Colegio de México) in 1951, encouraged and reflected the maturation of the Mexican historical profession.58 Professionalization meant training in the techniques of historical investigation, emphasis on the examination of primary sources and their critical evaluation, greater autonomy of the historian from current political passions, a commitment to fairness, and specialization. Post-Cárdenas (1940-68) Porfirian historiography as a result is punctuated with monuments of professional historical writing, notably the works of José C. Valadés, Leopoldo Zea, Daniel Cosío Villegas, Moisés González Navarro, and Jorge Fernando Iturribarría. Their contributions to present knowledge and understanding of the age of Díaz cannot be underestimated.

The publication of José C. Valadés’s first volume of El porfirismo: Historia de un régimen in 1941, followed by two subsequent volumes in 1948, constituted a major watershed in Porfirian historiography. Valadés was one of the founders of the Mexican Communist Youth and during the 1920s was a labor organizer. He was also one of the first of a new generation of historians, those who attained intellectual maturity after 1910, who would seek to come to terms with the Porfiriato unburdened by memories of the time or pressing political demands. He did, however, labor in the shadow of the revolutionary portrait of the ancien régime and reacted against its excesses. Disillusioned with the course of the revolution, in the early 1930s Valadés undertook to reexamine three of the most reviled personages in revolutionary historiography, Lucas Alamán, Antonio López de Santa Anna, and Porfirio Díaz. “History is not the science,” he wrote, “called to extirpate epochs or individuals.”59

It was scholarship that distinguished El porfirismo from all of its predecessors. Unlike the work of Ricardo García Granados, the most serious and comprehensive effort to understand the Díaz regime before the 1940s, Valadés’s study was based on an examination of heretofore ignored documentary sources. He consulted various official and private archives, including those of Porfirio Díaz, Manual González, and—most important— Rosendo Pineda (for several years Díaz’s private secretary). It is from the Pineda papers that readers were permitted to enter the secret world of top-level Porfirian government. Complementing its documentary base is the nonpartisan tone of the study. It is, he stressed, “historia aoficial.”60

Valadés, of course, did not lack a point of view. As a libertarian he found the regime greatly flawed. In the first volume, which covered the period before Díaz consolidated his power, from 1876 to 1884, Valadés was not unsympathetic toward the protagonist and admired his political skills. Like other historians he found several praiseworthy personal characteristics in Díaz. Yet he was far from the Porfirian apologist that Leslie Byrd Simpson charged in a review published in 1942.61 In the two books of the second volume, Valadés was highly critical of so much of Porfirism: tyranny and abuse of power, foreignism, the poverty of culture and the arts, elite ignorance of the masses, a pervasive corruption that extended throughout the society and politics, and so on. And yet, not everything of Porfirism was disordered and contemptible. The regime brought peace and economic growth to Mexico. It initiated the modern Mexican state and economy. “Mexico, as a nation,” Valadés concluded, “acquired vigor. 62

While comprehensive in many respects, Valadés’s groundbreaking work gave little attention to the regime’s apparent intellectual foundation: positivism. With the publication of Leopoldo Zea’s two-volume study of positivism (1943-44), however, “the modern study of Mexican intellectual history began.”63 Zea, an academic philosopher, an idealist in the Caso, Ramos, and Vasconcelos tradition, was the first scholar to give serious attention to positivism since the end of the Porfiriato. Following more than three decades of disrepute, even ridicule, positivism was rescued from revolutionary propaganda.

Although Zea was a student of Caso and Vasconcelos, he viewed positivism as more than an unauthentic graft upon Mexican thought. I have looked into the so-called imitation of foreign philosophies, ” he later noted, “for expressions of a certain originality.”64 Zea advanced the thesis that positivism was the intellectual expression of the Mexican bourgeoisie in power. This class adopted liberalism during the Reform as one of its weapons in the struggle for power and it adopted positivism once power had been secured to justify dictatorship, elite dominance, and laissez-faire economic policies. Zea turned the tables on earlier critics who viewed positivism as a European system of ideas that had captured the Porfirian generation. It was, in fact, the Porfirians who captured positivism. Zea’s theme, as one historian notes, was the “mexicanization of positivism.”65

By the middle to late 1940s, Mexican intellectuals and political pundits began to detect a crisis in the Mexican Revolution. Daniel Cosío Villegas, a trained economist and a founder of El Colegio de México, summed up the implications of this perception in his memoirs.

I was struck by the distressing doubt of whether Mexico, in effect, was entering a stage in its life that not a few began to call “neoporfirismo.” In order to ascertain this, it was necessary, first, to investigate what Porfirismo really had been . . .,66

“To find guidance in the past for a nation in crisis,”67 Cosío Villegas— and his collaborators in the Seminar of Modern Mexican History at El Colegio de México—produced the massive Historia moderna de México (1955–72).68 The project was designed, as Cosío Villegas saw it, to contrast the admirable constitutionalism of the Restored Republic (from 1867 to 1876) with the authoritarian dictatorship of the Porfiriato. For contemporary Mexico at the crossroads, he wanted to present two historical models, one to imitate, the other to avoid. This was Cosío the político; Cosío the historian told a slightly different story. Unlike earlier revolutionary historians who had viewed the Porfiriato as the ancien régime, Cosío saw modernity. Political modernity had been achieved by Juárez when, during the Restored Republic, the country for the first and only time had been governed constitutionally. The Porfiriato characterized another aspect of modernity, the first sustained burst of economic growth and development in Mexican history. It was Díaz who “produced the miracle of calming a country irreducibly turbulent, and transforming it into one serene, disciplined, and hardworking.” In Díaz’s time, wrote Cosío, Mexico began to have the appearance and even the essence of a “modern state and of a true nation.”69

The Historia moderna de México itself, as Charles A. Hale has perceptively pointed out, is in fact three distinct works: the political history of the Restored Republic and the Porfiriato in three volumes written by Cosío Villegas, the social and economic history of the entire period in five volumes by various authors, and the diplomatic history of the Porfiriato in two volumes by Cosío Villegas. This thematic treatment of both periods, as critics have noted, tended to diminish the apparent interaction of political with social and economic change and thus fragment the “whole cloth” of the past. Cosío Villegas conceded as much but replied, in the Historian concluding essay, that it had taken twenty-three years to conclude the project with fourteen editors. How much longer would have been necessary, he asked, with just one?70

The two concluding volumes of the series, those on Porfirian politics, are certainly the best. The antipathy that Cosío Villegas had for Díaz in his volume on the Restored Republic had been transformed into grudging respect. This is explained by the fact that Cosío Villegas had learned more about Díaz during the interim; but also, he noted, Díaz changed over time. The uncultured and ambitious subversive of the Restored Republic became a talented politician and statesman, particularly following his return to power in 1884. Cosío Villegas agreed with Madero’s judgment of Díaz that “he was superior to all of his contemporaries.” Cosío Villegas’s triumph in these volumes was to demonstrate that politicking never ceased during the age of Díaz; even at his most powerful don Porfirio had to contend with opponents and potential competitors for power. The two volumes of diplomatic history—the first, treating Mexico’s relations with Central America and the second, relations with the Great Powers—are models of multinational and multiarchival research. His conclusion was straightforward: “Porfirio Díaz understood national interests and defended them with efficiency.”71 The five volumes on social and economic history, three of which pertain to the Porfiriato, in effect, are composed of a series of monographs organized thematically. Narrative, and perhaps even broad analysis, takes second place to description of an almost encyclopedic nature. Still, the strong impression taken from these volumes is that the spectacular economic growth and cultural florescence of the period was hollow. The “social question,” the matter of poor distribution of the benefits of economic growth and the skewed opportunity for advancement, was left to simmer into revolution.

The Historia moderna de México is not free of problems. Reviewers have noted that Cosío Villegas gave too much weight to the Mexico City press in his researches, that the volumes slight the role of the Catholic church, regional and local developments, and the army, and that the footnoting style is indecipherable. Nevertheless, Cosío Villegas and his collaborators created a most impressive monographic foundation from which subsequent historians have the luxury to begin their researches. No less significant, writes Enrique Florescano, “it required an effort of that magnitude in order to introduce into the historical consciousness of our time an epoch satanized by the revolutionary triumph.”72

A trend which reflected and contributed to the professionalization of Porfirian historiography from the 1940s to the 1960s was the publication of a number of documentary collections and memoirs. The most ambitious of these projects was the thirty-two-volume Archivo del general Porfirio Díaz (1947-63), edited by Alberto María Carreno. Díaz’s memoirs covered essentially military matters reaching only to 1867 and had been published before at least three times. The documents, selected by an unabashed NeoPorfirian, and consisting of correspondence for the years 1867-79, presented a positive portrait of Díaz and his political activities. The memoir of José Ives Liman tour, written in 1921 but not published until 1965, is of greater interest to the historian. Limantour revealed no deep secrets, yet it surely is an exaggeration to say, as did Cosío Villegas, that the book “teaches absolutely nothing about the Porfiriato.” The careful and informed reader will find in this sanitized memoir a number of revealing comments and attitudes regarding the científicos, the question of presidential succession, the Creelman interview, and Limantour’s negotiations for ending the 1910-11 rebellion. Finally, in the guise of “precursorism,” a number of valuable documents relating to the Porfirian period have been published. The most important compilations are those by Isidro and Josefina E. de Fabela, Manuel González Ramírez, and Jesús Silva Herzog.73

In 1947 Albert María Carreño wrote that toward Díaz “a favorable reaction is beginning to be notable.”74 At various times during this period unofficial campaigns arose for the purpose of returning the ashes of Díaz to Mexico and building a monument to his honor. The 1940s saw a number of these campaigns, which perhaps were animated by the death of Díaz’s widow, doña Carmelita, a highly respected woman, in 1944.73 Nostalgia fed by disillusionment and disgust with “revolutionary” governments naturally found its way into historical writing. Octavio Guzmán (writing under the pseudonym Mateo Podán), a former army colonel, engineer, and journalist, in a number of antidotal books published in the 1940s argued that Díaz’s dictatorship was far superior to the revolutionary dictatorships since. In fact, he proclaimed, “the times of don Porfirio have been and will always be the best times of our nation.” There were a number of books that expressed similar sentiments, of which only two were of merit. Carlos Pereyra (1949), a well-known and highly respected historian, did battle with the “revolutionary school” in Mexican historiography in México falsificado. In an intelligent fashion Pereyra deprecated the Reform, justified the Porfirian regime, and damned the revolution. Jorge Vera-Estañol (1957), a cabinet minister in the Huerta government, carefully analyzed Porfirian social and economic problems and argued that their resolution should have come through evolutionary rather than revolutionary change. The dictatorship saved the country from two grave dangers, he concluded: the return of anarchy and the political restoration of the clerics and the conservatives.76

In a category all by itself is Jorge Fernando Iturribarría’s Porfirio Díaz ante la historia (1967), the most sophisticated and informed defense of Díaz and his regime in print. Iturribarría’s book is a consciously revisionist work. He viewed Díaz as a statesman of first rank who did what had to be done to create a modern state and nation. Not unlike other statesmen of his day, Díaz saw the need to impose sacrifices upon two generations of workers and campesinos in order to create national wealth and the conditions in which all classes would one day prosper. Iturribarría argued that Díaz was correct in restricting political liberties for the sake of economic growth since Mexican history had shown that simultaneous progress on both fronts was impossible. Besides, noted the author, governments since 1940 have followed exactly the same course. Above all, however, Díaz should be remembered and praised for saving the nation from its own passions and disagreements, which were leading to anarchy and dissolution, and from being devoured or reordered by the United States. “The aphorism remains valid,” he concluded, “that of first importance is being and only then the manner of being.”77

The Díaz government, however, in Iturribarría’s view, was not fault free; a number of inexcusable or incomprehensible errors were committed. In the first category were the persecution of the press and the survey and sale of “vacant” (usually communal village) land. In the latter, Iturribarría placed the political inaction of the last decade of the regime that made a succession crisis ever more likely and disastrous. The revolution that deposed Díaz tried to disown the past but in time returned to imitate it.

The attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Díaz and his regime was fiercely resisted by many who believed that the principles of 1910 and 1917 were no less valid and no less threatened decades later. The enemies of the revolution, noted Leopoldo Zea in 1947, “contend that since the Mexican Revolution has failed, the government should be given to the rightists.”78 Renato Molina Enríquez complained several years later that “representatives of the privileged classes, defenders of their past and present interests, now want to show us that the Revolution not only lacked a program but a justification.”79 A progressive present and future in Mexico, many assumed, demanded still a strong defense of the revolution against the policies, conditions, and ideas of the Porfiriato. The regime itself understood that its legitimacy, in no small way, was dependent upon the favorable currents of historical interpretation. The transfer of the remains of Ricardo Flores Magón, an enemy of the regimes that took power after 1911 yet a hero for his anti-Díaz struggle, to the National Pantheon in 1945 reflected such a recognition.80

The above-mentioned works of Valadés, Zea, and Cosío Villegas, of course, despite their authors’ recognition of elements of modernity in the Porfiriato, essentially were arguments in defense of the revolution and its continued progress. That was even truer of the works of Jesús Reyes Heroles and Jesús Silva Herzog that appeared in the 1950s and 1960s and demonstrated the highest standards of scholarship. Reyes Heroless studies of Mexican liberalism attempted to show beyond all doubt that Porfirism was not a legitimate descendant of Reform liberalism. The Porfirian regime violated the political and social principles of the Reform and the revolution took them up again. Silva Herzog, like Reyes Heroles, an intellectual in politics, found the provocation of the revolution in the agrarian policies of the Díaz regime; policies that contradicted those of the Reform governments. For these two historians, and several others, the concept of the ancien regime was as valid as ever.81

Marxist and Catholic historiography touching on the Porfiriato from the 1940s to the early 1960s showed little vitality. Catholic historians in this new age of religious conciliation were conciliatory toward Díaz. The Jesuit historian José Bravo Ugarte, for example, wrote of the “benevolence of the [Díaz] government regarding prelates and the clergy.”82 Liberais who discussed Díaz’s clerical policy also noticed an admirable balance and moderation.83 Historians of the left differed only slightly in subject matter and interpretation with their colleagues of the earlier period. Magonismo, as before, dominated the literature.84 The crisis of the Mexican left in this period, characterized by internal political purges, popular front collaborationism, and sectarian disunity, contributed to the “desert of our poor Marxist literature,” as the Trotskyist El Obrero Militante noted in 1962. The works of José Revueltas and Pablo González Casanova are important exceptions. Neither writer discussed the Porfiriato; the ideas of both, however, significantly influenced how later historians would view that period. Revueltas (1958, 1962), one of the two leading intellectuals of the Mexican left (the other being Vicente Lombardo Toledano), emphasized the importance of the ideological hegemony exercised by the Mexican bourgeoisie over the state, the proletariat, and the labor movement, present and past. The Porfiriato and the revolution were simply different expressions of the same class in power. González Casanova (1965), a political sociologist at the National University, thoroughly described the inadequacy of the Mexican Revolution in furthering democracy and economic development and independence. More important, however, González Casanova argued that the social sciences are not neutral and truly scientific; they are ideologically loaded schemes designed as much to disguise as to uncover social and political reality. This was a form of “intellectual colonialism” and should be discarded. He called for a social science developed out of the experiences and requirements of the developing nations and based on the assumption that “the existence of polemics is an inescapable fact.”85

A greater professionalization characterized international Mexicanist historiography after 1940. Academic historians came to dominate the field, superseding journalists who wrote in the manner of Ernest Gruening and Carleton Beals. North American historians, for the most part, remained enamored of the Mexican Revolution and portrayed the Porfiriato as the hopeless crucible of revolution. There was a beginning, however, in treating the Porfiriato on its own terms, in specialized monographs, which often undermined long-held assumptions (and confirmed a few). Acceptance of the Porfiriato’s modernity began to appear in the literature. Economist Raymond Vernon, for example, noted that Porfirian economic policies “provided part of the platform on which subsequent Mexican growth would be built.”86 During this period, Mexican and United States historians met twice in organized conferences to share ideas and viewpoints, thereby initiating a process of intellectual cross-fertilization that has continued in subsequent meetings and informal contacts and has enormously benefited the research and writing of Mexican history on both sides of the border.

“The importance of the Porfirian regime in the construction of modern Mexico, for so long doubted,” wrote Arnaldo Córdova in 1978, “is today unquestioned.”87 The evolution of the Porfirian image in the post-Cárdenas historiography from ancien to moderna resulted from the writing of better history, from a slightly more distant point in time, from a growing disillusionment with the course of the revolution, and from a closer identification with the policy choices faced by the Porfirian generation. Few historians could claim not to be influenced by Caso, Ramos, and Vasconcelos. With the exception of Zea, however, it was the empiricism of the scientific tradition rather than the idealism of the ateneistas that influenced the writing of history in this period. The professionalization of historical writing and a return to a more positivist view of history itself led historians to view the Porfiriato more as part of Mexico’s heritage than as an obsolete aberration. It appeared, as a consequence of this historiographical transfiguration, that the Mexican Revolution had not completely destroyed the ancien régime after all; the past had contributed to the present, and the present was increasingly reminiscent of that past.

In the Shadow of Tlatelolco

The Mexican government’s bloody repression of the student-led movement for civil liberties in the fall of 1968 at Tlatelolco Plaza in Mexico City severely damaged the moral legitimacy of the regime in the eyes of the intelligentsia. Tlatelolco consummated a long process of political disaffection within this group that had begun in the mid-1940s and intensified during the 1960s. The radicalism of the Cuban Revolution made Mexico’s seem, by comparison, a “frozen revolution.” This perception was substantiated by Pablo González Casanova’s devastating critique of the system, La democracia en México, published in 1965. An explosion of student strikes and violent clashes with the hated granaderos (“riot police”) in numerous universities throughout Mexico from 1966 through 1971 was a clear expression of the deep dissatisfaction of the young. It was Tlatelolco, however, that symbolized for the intelligentsia the bankruptcy of the regime and, more significantly, of the Mexican Revolution itself.88

The student movement may not have changed the course of Mexican history as it intended, but its ugly suppression certainly “changed the interests and orientation of those interested in history.”89 Pessimism with the present was projected onto the past. To younger historians it now appeared that the movements and governments that had appropriated the title “Mexican Revolution” actually had betrayed and repressed the genuinely popular revolutions led by Ricardo Flores Magón, Emiliano Zapata, Francisco Villa, and others. The demise of the revolutionary mystique helped historians view the Porfiriato more clearly, more on its own terms, and increasingly as more modern. Thus the distinction between the Porfiriato and the revolution in Mexican historiography after 1968 is blurred. One thing is certain, notes Enrique Krauze, referring to the new consensus: “that which we call the Mexican Revolution was finally a project that continued the dominant lines of the Porfiriato.”90

Writes Arnaldo Córdova: “1968 broke to pieces the empiricist religion in the social sciences.”91 Many historians and social scientists who write history have in recent years moved away from the position that history is an objective science and the historian a humble fact-seeker. They contend that political value judgments are not extrinsic but essential to historical thinking and stress the usefulness of accurate historical knowledge in effecting necessary change. By the 1970s Marxist ideology held a dominant position in many of the principal institutions of historical and social scientific investigation in Mexico (El Colegio de México being the major exception). A number of Marxist scholars have demonstrated imagination, flexibility, and acumen in approaching the past and have exerted an enormous influence on Mexican historiography. Historians of the “generation of 1968,” so named by Krauze, are well trained professionals and more presentist, ideological, and politically engaged scholars than their teachers.92 They are not the only artificers, however, of the recent historiography.

More than ever before, Mexican historiography is the beneficiary of an active international interchange of ideas, methods, and data. The expansion of graduate programs during the 1960s in the United States, Canada, and Europe led to a sharp increase in the number of non-Mexican historians pursuing archival research in Mexico. The periodic meetings of Mexican and United States historians every four years since 1969 has encouraged the internationalization of Mexican history. It would seem that North Americans in particular have stimulated greater archival research among Mexican scholars and in turn have been influenced by recent Mexican interpretative and theoretical work. United States scholars have also been especially influenced by the traumas of their own recent national history, which, notes Charles W. Bergquist, “fostered a growing disenchantment with the assumptions of liberalism.”93 And, it is now clear, it helped push United States specialists toward a more critical view of the Mexican Revolution. Non-Mexican historians have become very important contributors to, and shapers of, recent Mexican historiography.

More Mexicans are today reading, studying, investigating, and writing their national history than at any previous time. There are new presses, magazines, and journals publishing good history. The organization and renovation of public and private archives in Mexico City and in the provinces is permitting historians to research a wide range of previously neglected or inadequately treated topics. The opening to the public of the massive Colección General Porfirio Díaz at the Universidad de las Americas in Cholula, Puebla, in the late 1960s is proving invaluable to Porfirian studies. More historians are using the methodologies and conceptual tools of the social sciences, and more social scientists are writing history. The infusion of new ideas, new people, new publishing outlets, new archival sources, new methodologies, and a new interest in history is invigorating Mexican historiography today.94

The recent developments benefiting Mexican historiography as a whole are also leaving an indelible mark on Porfirian studies. The “new history” that emerged in the field of Mexican history in the 1960s, influenced by the French historians of the Annales school and by United States and English practitioners, is characterized by its attention to social, cultural, and economic change, and the borrowing of theoretical models and quantification techniques from the social sciences. As a result, the “people without history,” campesinos, workers, Indians, rancheros, women, and policemen are the focus of in-depth scholarly attention.95 In some areas uninformed speculation has been superseded by more precise historical verification. Peter H. Smith (1979), John H. Coatsworth (1981), and Paul J. Vanderwood (1981) employ sophisticated quantitative methodologies in the examination of political elites, the impact of railroads upon economic development, and the rural police force, respectively.96 The value of multiple levels of analysis (regional, national, and international in the same research) in clarifying the nature and effect of neocolonialism is demonstrated by William K. Meyers (1977), Friedrich Katz (1981), and Gilbert M. Joseph and Allen Wells (1982).97 One technique of the “new history” in particular is transforming the study of Porfirian history. The new emphasis upon local and regional investigation, taking off from Luis González’s “microhistory” of the town of San José de Gracia (1968) and John Womack’s study of the Zapata revolution in Morelos (1969), is steadily uncovering many Porfiriatos.98 Much of what is now known about the influence of foreign investment in Porfirian Mexico, about life and labor in the countryside, and about the agricultural economy in general is the result of recent subnational studies.99 Mark Wasserman’s study of foreign enterprise in Chihuahua (1984), Friedrich Katz’s review of rural labor conditions (1974), and Frans J. Schryer’s study of rancheros in Hidalgo, to list only a few among many good articles and monographs, demonstrate the value and possibilities of local and regional history.100 As a result of new interests, methodologies and techniques, and perspectives, knowledge of the Porfirian age is rapidly increasing. With regard to a number of issues, the data and conclusions are contradictory and incomplete. In four major areas of historiographical interest, however, the role of the state, ideas and ideology, workers and the labor movement, and economic development and neocolonialism, recent scholarship is approaching a new consensus on the meaning of the Porfiriato.

Recent studies of state formation stress the modernity of the Porfirian political system but give the term “modernity” a new meaning. Provocative interpretative essays and books by Adolfo Gilly (1971), Arnaldo Córdova (1972), Juan Felipe Leal (1972, 1974), Lorenzo Meyer (1975), Albert L. Michaels and Marvin Bernstein (1976), and others propose that the members of the national bourgeoisie since the Reform have controlled the state or occasionally fought among themselves for control of the state to advance their own material interests.101 They maintain that it was not how power was exercised that was particularly modern (the postrevolutionary populist state is more efficient) but rather the purposes to which power was used. Laurens Ballard Perry (1978), for example, presents evidence to demonstrate that both Juárez and Díaz violated liberal democratic republicanism and that Díaz’s economic policies were only slight adjustments of the Reform liberal model. The Reform and the Porfiriato were different moments of the same enterprise. From the perspective of Jean Meyer (1973), the ruling class in Mexico was not composed simply of capitalists but, more important, the bourgeoisie d’affairs: politicians, bosses, bureaucrats. Their concern from the Bourbon period through the Reform, the Porfiriato, and the revolution was less the preservation of class dominance than the welfare and prestige of the state and the destruction of old, traditional Mexico. The “great rebellion” of 1905-24, according to Ramón Eduardo Ruiz, was nothing more than the revolt of one segment of the Porfirian bourgeoisie for the purpose of reforming liberal capitalism. And ultimately the Institutional Revolutionary party, argues Peter H. Smith, has not institutionalized the Mexican Revolution. “What it has done is to find a new formula for re-institutionalizing the essence of the Porfiriato.”102 Other variations pursue the same theme of political continuity in modern Mexican history. The “modernity” of the Porfirian regime is no longer a question of debate.

In 1969 William D. Raat wrote that “there has been very little intellectual history written on Mexico either by Mexicans or non-Mexicans.”103 What had been written, he argues, was the “internal” history of ideas, based on the assumption that ideas have a life of their own completely separated from material conditions and human experience. Intellectual history (the examination of the relationship of ideas to events) is an important component of recent Porfirian historiography. Raat (1968) and Charles A. Hale (1971) criticize the subjective approach inherent in the history of ideas and Leopoldo Zea’s use of this approach in his study of positivism.104 Both North American historians argue that Zea did not demonstrate the intersection of ideas and social class, of positivism and the bourgeoisie, but simply analyzed positivism as a disembodied system of ideas. Raat, in a number of ground-breaking studies (1971, 1973, 1975, 1977), maintains that intellectual pluralism (Darwinism, scientism, Krausism, Spencerianism, Comtean positivism, antipositivism, and so forth) characterized the Porfirian intellectual milieu.105 Only after 1900 did “scientific” positivism become the official ideology of the regime, notes Raat, and even then the various strains of antipositivism most likely found more adherents than had positivism. Charles A. Hale (1976) studies the relationship between ideas and politics.100 According to Hale, liberal constitutionalism lost out to authoritarian centralism within governing elite circles in the early 1890s, was forced underground, and reappeared as an ideology of opposition in the 1900s. Resides charting the continuity of liberalism during the Porfiriato, Hale shows how some liberals reconciled liberty and authoritarian government. Arnaldo Córdova (1975) argues that the ideology of capitalist development was sustained as the dominant ideology in both the Porfirian and revolutionary regimes by the national bourgeoisie.107 The relationship between ideas and the agrarian and labor movement is examined by John M. Hart (1978).108 Hart argues that anarchism was the most important ideology of opposition during the Porfiriato and early revolutionary period. The theme of continuity in modern Mexican intellectual history—of intellectual pluralism, liberalism, the ideology of capitalist development, and anarchism—is entrenched in the recent historiography.

The historiography of Porfirian industrial workers and the labor movement has long maintained that workers and their organizations were class conscious and politicized, influenced by radical ideologies, and were important “precursors” of the Mexican Revolution.109 This interpretation was conceived by Magonistas, labor-movement activists, and Marxists, and generally accepted by orthodox revolutionary historians. It is also reinforced in several well-documented studies that have appeared in recent years. James D. Cockcroft (1968), John M. Hart (1974, 1978), Jorge Basurto (1975), Ciro F. S. Cardoso et al. (1980), and W. Dirk Raat (1981) emphasize the importance of anarchist ideology and the Mexican Liberal party in politicizing workers and, in an important way, contributing to the fall of the Díaz regime and the onset of the revolution.110 A powerful dissenting view, by Rodney D. Anderson (1976), maintains that industrial workers reacted to adverse conditions and were not propelled into opposition to the Porfirian regime by radical ideology or the PLM.111 If Mexican workers were influenced by a political ideology at all, argues Anderson, it was traditional Mexican liberalism, constitutionalism, and nationalism. He also holds that the Porfirian regime did not have a labor policy other than outright repression. This view, widely accepted in Porfirian historiography, is refuted by David Walker (1981), who shows that the Díaz regime sought to manipulate, patronize, and coopt the labor movement in a manner not unlike that of later revolutionary governments.112 Although it is perhaps premature to refer to a historiographical consensus in the recent literature regarding industrial workers and the labor movement, in light of Anderson’s imposing study, it does appear that the theme of historical continuity again stands out. In both the Porfirian and revolutionary periods, industrial workers were politicized by radical ideologies and manipulated and controlled by the state.

Historians have long contended that the Mexican Revolution destroyed the Porfirian economic order or, at the very least, profoundly transformed it and thus made possible the rapid economic growth of the post-Cárdenas period.113 The “modernity” of the Porfirian economy that some historians noted after 1940, referred to infrastructure development and growth in production. The pre-1910 economy was essentially capitalist but inequitable and inefficient; this the revolution corrected or beneficently modified. Recent studies emphasize greater continuity in modern Mexican economic history. Donald Keesing (1969), for example, shows that the revolution interrupted the development of the Mexican economy more than it changed its essential nature.114 John Womack (1978) contends that “the big change occurred during the 1890s. It was then, not after the Revolution, that capitalist production became dominant and began the modern expansion of total product. ”115 The participation of foreign capital in Porfirian economic growth, according to John H. Coatsworth (1978), “fixed Mexico’s position in the world economy. . . .”116 In his study of the effect of railroads on Mexican economic growth and development, Coatsworth (1981) concludes that railroads only enhanced the development of underdevelopment. “Foreign-financed export oriented growth created or intensified obstacles to economic development over the historical long run.”117 Recent Porfirian historiography maintains that Mexico embarked upon a particular course of economic growth during the Porfiriato that restricted later policy choices and strongly conditioned the nature of the modern Mexican economy. The “modernity” that is today attributed to the Porfirian economy has a strong negative connotation.

Recent Porfirian historiography is opening so many doors to the Mexican past so quickly that, with some reason, scholars are reluctant to sum up the Porfiriato. A new consensus, nevertheless, is emerging, that stresses the importance of the Porfirian inheritance to what Mexico became. This version of the Porfiriato is useful in explaining the limited successes and lingering problems of twentieth-century Mexico. It is also relevant to the formulation of prescriptions that call for the radical restructuring of contemporary Mexican politics, work and production, and social relations. While some still point to the age of Díaz in justifying the Mexican Revolution, more are citing the lessons of the age of Díaz to justify a real break with the past.

It is too soon to close the book on the Porfiriato. After one hundred years of study, it is surprising how little is known about so many important topics. Most of the major national political figures of the Porfirian period, including, of course, Porfirio Díaz himself, await solidly researched biographies or political biographies. There are no studies of the national ministries, the army, the secret police, and the ubiquitous jefatura política. There are a few excellent monographs on state and regional politics but not enough to draw good broad conclusions about regional state-to-state or state-federal relations. Very little is known about most governors, about political life in small towns or large cities, about political rivalries between cities, or about the political role of interest groups. Social historians, as noted above, are beginning closely to examine rural and urban workers, women, and rancheros; but parish priests, village teachers, itinerant merchants, and Indian communities require attention. There are very few good studies of the Porfirian Catholic church itself as opposed to the government’s conciliation policy. The employment of prosopography in the study of the hierarchy might yield valuable results. Drinking, homicide, recreation and sport, marriage, fertility, expressions of religiosity— the patterns and context of everyday life—probably changed during the Porfiriato. It is difficult, however, to explain how and why. There are important studies of the hacienda and plantation, of foreign investment, railroads, the textile industry, mining, and economic policy; but almost nothing recent and well researched exists on industrial technology, finance, corporations, systems of management, commercial networks, or local and regional markets. A number of topics are conspicuous by their absence in the historiography: urban development, internal migration, the southern border, the popular press, children and the family, and law and social reality. Even this partial list shows that there is much work to be done before the gaps in Porfirian historiography will seem less imposing. Journeyman labor on specialized topics, theoretical construction and modelbuilding, and imaginative interpretation and synthesis—each depending on the others—are required to deepen and refine our understanding of Porfirian Mexico, and thus modern Mexico.118

Porfirio Díaz, his regime, and his epoch have never ceased to be relevant to Mexicans, and to many non-Mexicans. Over the years the writing of Porfirian history has been an integral part of the shaping and evolution of Mexico’s self-image. Mexicans have disagreed about the Porfiriato because they have disputed what Mexico is and should be; because the powerful and their enemies have needed and sought historical legitimacy; and because intelligent and honest historians have pursued truth as best they could. The custodians of the past are men and women of the present. Their historical judgments are conceived in the context of an uncertain present and these judgments contain implications for the future. History is more than a private conversation among the professionally articulate. It is, even the most simplified and distorted, “society looking behind itself, organizing its memory, reflecting on long-term tendencies and the directions they might take.”119 History provides the myths and images through which people relate to power and define themselves as a nation. This was made clear to one of the authors of this essay in 1980 during a conversation with a campesino in the hinterland of the state of Guerrero. When asked for his opinion of “la época porfiriana,” this elderly man recited the prorevolutionary version. His narration of the past was long, punctuated with numerous factual errors, and far from sophisticated. It was, however, expressed with conviction and great interest; this history was to him an essential part of being Mexican. “We pass our lives between living history and interpreting it,” writes the Mexican poet Octavio Paz. In interpreting it, we live it: we make history; in living it, we interpret it: each of our acts is a sign.”120


Daniel Cosío Villegas has briefly examined Porfìrian political historiography and compiled extensive bibliographies in “El Porfiriato: Su historiografía o arte histórico,” in Extremos de América (Mexico City, 1949), pp. 113-182; La historiografía política del México moderno (Mexico City, 1952); México-Guatemala, 1867-1911: Una bibliografía para el estudio de sus relaciones (Mexico City, 1959); Nueva historiografía política del México moderna (Mexico City, 1965); and Ultima bibliografía política de la historia moderna de México (Mexico City, 1970). The historiography of the Porfìrian period is discussed by Robert A. Potash, “Historiography of Mexico since 1821,” HAHR, 40 (Aug. 1960), 383-424; Eugenia Meyer, Conciencia histórica norteamericana sobre la revolución de 1910 (Mexico City, 1970); Laurens B. Perry, “Political Historiography of the Porfìrian Period of Mexican History,” in Investigaciones contemporáneas sobre historia de México: Memorias de la tercera reunión de historiadores mexicanos y norteamericanos, Oaxtepec, Morelos, 4-7 de noviembre de 1969 (Austin, 1971), pp. 458-477; Anthony T. Bryan, “Political Power in Porfirio Díaz’s Mexico: A Review and Commentary,” The Historian, 38 (Nov. 1975), 648–668; Stephen R. Niblo and Laurens B. Perry, “Recent Additions to Nineteenth-Century Mexican Historiography,” Latin American Research Review, 8:3 (1978), 3–45; María Teresa Huerta et al., Balance y perspectiva de la historiografía social en Mexico, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1980); and W. Dirk Raat, The Mexican Revolution: An Annotated Guide to Recent Scholarship (Boston, 1982).


John Womack, Jr., “Mexican Political Historiography, 1959-1969,” in Investigadones contemporáneas sobre historia de México, p. 491.


Charles A. Hale, “‘Scientific Politics’ and the Continuity of Liberalism in Mexico, 1867-1911,” in Josefina Zoraida Vazquez, ed., Dos revoluciones, México y los Estados Unidos (Mexico City, 1976), p. 141.


Benjamin Keen, The Aztec Image in Western Thought (New Brunswick, 1971), pp. 411-462; John Hays Hammond, “José María Roa Barcena—Mexican Writer and Champion of Catholicism,” The Americas, 6 (July 1959), 45-55; and Paul V. Murray, The Catholic Church in Mexico (Mexico City, 1965), p. 326.


Vicente Riva Palacio, Alfredo Chavero, Julio Zarate, Juan de Dios Arias, Enrique de Olavarría y Ferrari, and José María Vigil, México a través de los siglos, 5 vols. (Mexico City, 1887-88). An excellent critique of these volumes is María de la Luz Parcero, “El liberalismo triunfante y el surgimiento de la historia nacional,” in Investigaciones contemporáneas sobre historia de México, pp. 443-457. Ignacio M. Altamirano, Historia y política de México (Mexico City, 1947).


“El Nigromante” [Ignacio Ramírez], El partido liberal y la reforma religiosa en México (Mexico City, 1898); Frank A. Knapp, Jr., “The Apocryphal Memoirs of Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada,” HAHR, 31 (Feb. 1951), 145-151. Also see José María Iglesias, La cuestión presidential en 1876 (Mexico City, 1892); José Negrete, La hecatombe de Veracruz. La noche del crimen (Mexico City, 1879); Emilio Vázquez Gómez, La reelectión indefinida (Mexico City, 1888). Wistano Luis Orozco, Legislatión y jurisprudencia sobre terrenos baldíos, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1895). More virulent criticism was published outside of Mexico; see E. E. Garza, La era de Tuxtepec en México, o sea Rusia en America (San José, Costa Rica, 1894); and Antonio Zaragoza y Escobar, Las reelecciones en México (Havana, 1896).


Cosío Villegas, “El Porfiriato: Su historiografía,” pp. 136-137.


M. Parra, El Señor General Porfirio Díaz juzgado en el extranjero (Mexico City, 1900); Thomas B. Davis, “Porfirio Díaz in the Opinion of his North American Contemporaries,” Revista de Historia de América (die. -ene. 1967), 79-93. A few notable and typical examples of foreign reporting on Porfirian Mexico include Wilbert H. Timmons, ed., John F. Finerty Reports Porfirian Mexico, 1879 (El Paso, Texas, 1974); Hubert Howe Bancroft, Vida de Porfirio Díaz: Reseña histórica y social del pasado y presente (San Francisco, 1887); Solomon Bulkley Griffin, Mexico of Today (New York, 1886); Susan Hale, Mexico (New York, 1898); E. J. Honell, Mexico: Its Progress and Commercial Possibilities (London, 1892).


Rafael de Zayas Enríquez, Porfirio Díaz (New York, 1908), p. 208. Also see Francisco Romero, Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1880); Ireneo Paz, Datos biográficos del general de división C. Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1884) and Los hombres prominentes de México (Mexico City, 1888); Alfonso Luis Velasco, Porfirio Díaz y su gabinete (Mexico City, 1889); Luis Pombo, México: 1876-1892 (Mexico City, 1893); Federico M. Fusco and Félix M. Iglesias, Los hombres que rodean al señor General Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1896); Arturo Lartique, Biografía del general Reyes (Monterrey, 1901); Bernardo Reyes, El general Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1903); Ricardo Rodríguez, Historia auténtica de la administración del Señor General Porfirio Díaz, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1904); and Genaro García, Porfirio Díaz: Sus padres, niñez y juventud (Mexico City, 1906).


Important Mexican positivist texts are compiled and edited by Abelardo Villegas, ed., Positivismo y porfirismo (Mexico City, 1972).


Enrique Florescano, El poder y la lucha por el poder en la historiografía mexicana (Mexico City, 1980), p. 58.


Agustín Aragón (The Land and People), Bernardo Reyes (The Army), Porfirio Parra (Science), Ezequiel A. Chávez (Education), Manuel Sánchez Mármol (Letters), Manuel S. Macedo (The Municipality, Prisons, and Public Assistance), Jorge Vera-Estañol (Juridical Evolution), Genaro Raygosa (Agricultural Evolution), Gilberto Crespo (Mining), Carlos Díaz Dufoo (Industry), Pablo Macedo (Commerce and Public Treasury), and Justo Sierra (Political History, The Present Era), in México, su evolución social, 3 vols. (Mexico City, 1900-1902). Sierra’s political essays have been abridged by Edmundo O’Gorman and translated into English by Charles Ramsdell, The Political Evolution of the Mexican People (Austin, 1969), p. 278.


Francisco Bulnes, quoted in Ricardo García Granados, Historia de México desde la restauración de la república in 1867, hasta la caída de Huerta, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1956) I, 474. Also see idem, Las grandes mentiras de nuestra historia (Mexico City and Paris, 1904); and El porvenir de las naciones hispano-americanas ante las conquistas recientes de Europa y los Estados Unidos (Mexico City, 1899). Other positivist histories include Rafael de Zayas Enríquez, Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, sus progresos en veinte años de paz, 1877-1897 (New York, 1899); Francisco Cosmes, Historia general de Méjico—Los últimos treinta y tres años, 4 vols. (Barcelona, 1901-02); Rosendo Pineda, La política de conciliación (Mexico City, 1902); Emilio Rabasa, El artículo 14 constitucional (Mexico City, 1906); Carlos Pereyra, Historia del pueblo mejicano (Mexico City, 1909).


Arthur Howard Noll, From Empire to Republic. The Story of the Struggle for Constitutional Government in Mexico (Chicago, 1903); Charles Lummis, The Awakening of a Nation, Mexico Today (New York, 1902); Pierre Leroy-Beaulie, Le Mexique au xx siècle (Paris, 1905); and Percy Martin, Mexico of the Twentieth Century, 2 vols. (London, 1907).


Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Sembradores. Ricardo Flores Magón y el Partido Liberal Mexicano: A Eulogy and Criticism (Los Angeles, 1973), p. 20. Also see John M. Hart, Anarchism and the Mexican Working Class, 1860-1931 (Austin, 1978).


Trinidad Sánchez Santos, Obras selectas de Don Trinidad Sánchez Santos, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1945); Jesús Cuevas and Carlos A. Salas López are discussed in Moisés González Navarro, La vida social, vol. IV of Historia moderna de México, Daniel Cosío Villegas, coord., 9 vols. (Mexico City, 1955-72), pp. 364-368.


Cabrera is discussed by William D. Raat, El positivismo durante el Porfiriato (Mexico City, 1975), pp. 145-150; Duclos Salinas, México pacificado. El progreso de México y los hombres que lo gobiernan: Porfirio Díaz. Bernardo Reyes (St. Louis, 1904) and Héroe y caudillo (St. Louis, 1906). Also see Emeterio De la Garza, La reelección (Mexico City, 1900); Querido Moheno, Problemas contemporáneos (Mexico City, 1903); and Manuel M. Alegre, ¡Aún es tiempo! Disertaciones político-sociales (Mexico City, 1907).


Juan Pedro Didapp, Partidos políticos de México (Mexico City, 1903), p. xv; also by Didapp: El derecho de fuerza: Epístolas políticas (Mexico City, 1902); Gobiernos militares de Mexico (Mexico City, 1904); Responsabilidades políticas de Mexico (Mexico City, 1904); and Despecho político, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1906).


Francisco Bulnes, El verdadero Juárez y la verdad sobre la intervención y el imperio (Paris, 1904) and Juárez y las revoluciones de Ayutla y la Reforma (Mexico City, 1905). For a full treatment of this debate, see Charles A. Weeks, El mito de Juárez en México (Mexico City, 1977).


Ralph Roeder, Juárez and his México, 2 vols. (New York, 1947), II, 734.


Justo Sierra, Juárez, su tiempo y su obra (Mexico City, 1905). Much of this book was written by Carlos Pereyra. Also see José Ferrera Canales, “Justo Sierra ante Juárez,” Humanismo (Mexico City) (mayo-junio 1957), 63-68. Ricardo García Granados, La constitución de 1857 y las leyes de reforma en México (Mexico City, 1906); Emilio Rabasa, El artículo 14 constitucional. Daniel Cosío Villegas seeks to rebut Sierra, García Granados, and Rabasa in La constitución de 1857 y sus críticos (Mexico City, 1957).


Juan Pedro Didapp, Explotadores politicos de México. Bulnes y el partido científico ante el derecho ajeno (Mexico City, 1904); Ramón Prida, Juárez como lo pinta Bulnes y como lo describe la historia (Mexico City, 1904); Andrés Molina Enríquez, La reforma y Juárez (Mexico City, 1906); Francisco Cosmes, El verdadero Bulnes y su falso Juárez (Mexico City, 1905); Rafael de Zayas Enríquez, Benito Juárez. Su vida y su obra (Mexico City, 1906). Charles A. Weeks provides a full bibliography in El mito de Juárez.


Alvaro Matute, “La revolución mexicana y la escritura de su historia,” Revista de la Universidad de Mexico, 36 (enero 1982), 2-6; Rogelio Fernandez Guell, El moderno Juárez. Estudio sobre la personalidad de don Francisco I. Madero (Mexico City, 1911).


C. Harvey Gardiner, “Foreign Travelers’ Accounts of Mexico, 1810-1910,” The Americas, 7 (Jan. 1952), 321-351; Garold L. Cole, American Travelers to Mexico, 1821-1972; A Descriptive Bibliography of Criticism (Troy, N.Y., 1978).


Michael C. Meyer, “Perspectives on Mexican Revolutionary Historiography,” New Mexico Historical Review, 44 (Apr. 1969), 169.


T. Esquivel Obregón, “Factors in the Historical Evolution of Mexico,” HAHR, 2 (May 1919), 136.


See Pedro Henríquez Ureña, “La influencia de la revolución en la vida intelectual de Mexico,” in Obra crítica (Mexico City, 1960), p. 610; and Herbert I. Priestley, “Mexican Literature on the Recent Revolution,” HAHR, 2 (May 1919), 286-314.


Moheno, ¿Hacia dónde vamos? Bosquejo de un cuadro de instituciones políticas adecuadas al pueblo mexicano (Mexico City, 1908); Francisco P. Sénties, Organización política de México (Mexico City, 1908); Romero Ibáñez and M. Fernández Ortigoza, La verdad en marcha (Mexico City, 1909); V. Felpa, Sátiras de carácter político en contra del señor general don Porfirio Díaz (New York, 1909); Paulino Martínez, Rayos de luz (Mexico City, 1909); Luis Cabrera, El partido democrático (Mexico City, 1909); “El Licenciado Verdad, El general Porfirio Díaz en el porvenir de México (Mexico City, 1909); Carlo di Fornaro, México, tal cual es. Comentarios (Philadelphia, 1909) and Díaz. Czar of Mexico (Philadelphia, 1909).


Francisco I. Madero, La sucesión presidencial en 1910. El Partido Nacional Democrático (San Pedro, Coahuila, 1908) and La sucesión presidencial en 1910, 2’ edición corregida y aumentada (Mexico City, 1910).


Andrés Molina Enríquez, Los grandes problemas nacionales (Mexico City, 1909), p. 124. Arnaldo Córdova has written an excellent critique of this book in “El pensamiento social y político de Andrés Molina Enríquez,” Los grandes problemas nacionales, ed. Córdova (Mexico City, 1978). Also see James L. Hamon and Stephen R. Niblo, Precursores de la revolución agraria en México: Las obras de Wistano Luis Orozco y Andrés Molina Enríquez (Mexico City, 1975). A good friend of the Díaz regime, Oscar Braniff, came to a similar conclusion in Fomento agrícola considerado como base para la amplification del crédito agrícola en Mexico (Mexico City, 1910).


John Womack, Jr., “A Middle Class Insurgency,” The New Republic, Feb. 14, 1981, P. 34.


John Kenneth Turner shortly thereafter published a book out of these articles, Barbarous Mexico (Chicago, 1910) and (New York, 1911). The Mexican reaction to the series is discussed in González Navarro, La vida social, pp. 260-265. Also see Ivie E. Cadenhead, “The American Socialists and the Mexican Revolution of 1910,” Southwestern Social Science Quarterly, 43 (Sept. 1962), 103-177. A similar expose on conditions in Yucatán appeared at the same time; see Channing Arnold and Frederick J. Tabor Frost, The American Egypt: A Record of Travel in Yucatan (New York, 1909).


Fortunato Hernández, Un pueblo, un siglo, un hombre. Ensayo histórico, 1810-1910 (Mexico City, 1909); Enrique Orozco, Porfirio Díaz ante sus contemporáneos (Puebla, 1908); Esteban Magueo Castellanos, Algunos problemas nacionales (Mexico City, 1909); Juan José Tablada, La epopeya nacional: Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1909); Julio Sesto, El México de Porfirio Díaz (Valencia, 1909); Alejandro Prieto, Política porfirista. Análisis retrospectivo (Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, 1909); Antonio Peñafiel, Cuadro sinóptico informativo de la administración del Sr. General don Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1910); Juan Humberto Cornyn, Díaz y México (Mexico City, 1910); Ireneo Paz, Porfirio Díaz, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1910); José F. Godoy, Porfirio Díaz, President of Mexico. The Master Builder of a Commonwealth (New York, 1910); James Creelman, Díaz, Master of Mexico (New York, 1910); and Carlos Díaz Dufoo, Limantour (Mexico City, 1910).


Antonio Mañero, El antiguo régimen y la revolución (Mexico City, 1911); José Negrete, El verdadero Porfirio Díaz. El dictador (Puebla, 1911); Wistano Luis Orozco, La cuestión agraria (Mexico City, 1911). Also see T. Esquivel Obregón, Democracia y personalismo (Mexico City, 1911) and Luis Lara Pardo, De Porfirio Díaz a Francisco Madero (Mexico City, 1911).


Emilio Rabasa, La constitución y la dictadura (Mexico City, 1912).


Mario Guiral Moreno, El régimen porfirista en México: Su apoteosis (Mexico City, 1913), pp. 3-4.


Nemesio García Naranjo, Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1913). Similar accounts include Gregorio Ponce de León, La paz y sus colaboradores (Mexico City, 1914); and Mario Guiral Moreno, El régimen porfirista. Also see Arturo Langle Ramírez, “El prestigio de Porfirio Díaz,” chap, one in El militarismo de Victoriano Huerta (Mexico City, 1976), pp. 23-48.


Ramón Prida, De la dictadura a la anarquía, 2 vols. (El Paso, Texas, 1914); Fortunato Hernández, Mas allá del desastre (Mexico City, 1913); Guillermo N. Mellado, Crímenes del huertismo (Mexico City, 1914); José Fernández Rojas, De Porfirio Díaz a Victoriano Huerta, 1910-1913 (Guadalajara, 1913); Juan Pedro Didapp, Los Estados Unidos y nuestros conflictos internos (Mexico City, 1913).


E. V. Niemeyer, Jr., Revolution at Querétaro: The Mexican Constitutional Convention of 1916-1917 (Austin, 1974), pp. 56-57.


Carlos Trejo Lerdo de Tejada, La revolución y el nacionalismo (Havana, 1916). Also see José Rodríguez del Castillo, Historia de la revolución de México. Primera etapa, La caída del General Díaz (Mexico City, 1915); Luis Cabrera, The Religious Question in Mexico (New York, 1915); A. González Blanco, Un déspota y un liberador. El problema de México (Madrid, 1916); P. González Blanco, De Porfirio Díaz a Carranza (Madrid, 1916); José Covarrubias and Fernando González Roa, El problema rural de México (Mexico City, 1917); González Roa, El aspecto agrario de la revolución mexicana (Mexico City, 1919); and Alberto Oviedo Mota, Paso a la verdad (Mexico City, 1920). The volumes by the González Blanco brothers were part of a projected “Biblioteca Constitucionalista” designed to publish pro-Carranza books. Magonista, Villista, and Zapatista versions of the Porfirian past appeared later in newspapers or as memoirs but differed only slightly, if at all, from Carrancista accounts.


Francisco Bulnes, El verdadero Díaz y la revolución (Mexico City, 1920); Manuel Calero y Sierra, Un decenio de política mexicana (New York, 1920); Emilio Rabasa, La evolución histórica de México (Mexico City, 1920); and José López-Port:llo y Rojas, Elevación y caída de Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1921).


Bulnes quoted in George Lemus, Francisco Bulnes. Su vida y sus obras (Mexico City, 1965), pp. 122-123.


Rabasa, La constitución y la dictadura, p. 153. Also see María del Carmen Velásquez, “Rabasa y su visión porfiriana de la historia,” Historia Mexicana, 6 (oct. –die. 1956), 278-281.


López-Portillo y Rojas, Elevación y caída, p. 486.


Frederick Starr, Mexico and the United States. A History of Revolution, Intervention and War (Chicago, 1914); John Wesley Dekay, Dictators of Mexico: The Land Where Hope Marches with Despair (California, 1914); Edith O’Shaughnessy, A Diplomat’s Wife in Mexico (New York, 1916); Diplomatic Days, A Story of the Díaz and Madero Regimes (New York, 1917); and Intimate Pages of Mexican History (New York, 1920); Thomas Herbert Russel, Mexico in Peace and War (New York, 1914); Randolph Welford Smith, Benighted Mexico (New York, 1916); and David Hannay, Díaz (New York, 1917).


See David C. Bailey, “Revisionism and the Recent Historiography of the Mexican Revolution,” HAHR, 58 (Feb. 1978), 68-69.


Ernest Gruening, Mexico and Its Heritage (New York, 1928), p. 64.


Carleton Beals, Porfirio Díaz, Dictator of Mexico (New York, 1932); Beals, “Has Mexico Betrayed Her Revolution?” The New Republic, July 22, 1931, pp. 249-250.


Ricardo García Granados, Historia de México desde la restauración de la república en 1867 hasta la caída de Huerta, 4 vols. (Mexico City, 1923-28) IV, 171. Also see García Granados, Por qué y cómo cayó Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1928).


Samuel Ramos, El perfil del hombre y la cultura en México (Mexico City, 1934), and its English translation by Peter G. Earle, Profile of Man and Culture in Mexico (Austin, 1975). p. 172; Antonio Caso, El problema de México y la ideología nacional (Mexico City, 1924).


José Vasconcelos, Breve historia de México, 2d ed. (Mexico City, 1937), p. 504.


Antonio Uroz, La cuestión religiosa en México (Mexico City, 1926); Alfonso Toro, La iglesia y el estado en México (Mexico City, 1927); Ernesto Galarza, The Roman Catholic Church as a Factor in the Political and Social History of Mexico (Sacramento, 1928); Emilio Portes Gil, The Conflict Between the Civil Power and the Clergy: Historical and Legal Essay (Mexico City, 1935).


Mariano Cuevas, S.J., Historia de la iglesia en México, 5 vols. (Tlalpam, D.F., and El Paso, 1921-28) and Historia de la nación mexicana (Mexico City, 1940). Also see Alberto María Carreno, México y los Estados Unidos (Mexico City, 1922); Aquiles P. Moctezuma, El conflicto religioso de 1926. Sus orígenes, su desarrollo, su solución, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1929); Anacleto González Flores, El plebiscito de los mártires (Mexico City, 1930); Cango. J. Jesús García Gutiérrez, Acción anticatólica en México (Mexico City, 1939); and René Capistrán Garza, Porfirio Díaz, su obra (Mexico City, 1940).


Rosendo Salazar and José G. Escobedo, Las pugnas de la gleba, 1907-1922 (Mexico City, 1923). The Grupo Cultural “Ricardo Flores Magón” published: Flores Magón, Ricardo Flores Mogón: Vida y obra. Epistolario revolucionario e íntimo, ed. by Nicholas T. Bernal, 10 vols. (Mexico City, 1923-25); Flores Magón, Sembrando ideas (Mexico City, 1925); Semilla libertaria, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1923); Vida nueva (Mexico City, 1924); Diego Abad de Santillán, Ricardo Flores Magón: El apóstol de la revolución social mexicana (Mexico City, 1925); Práxedis Guerrero, Práxedis Guerrero: Artículos libertarios y de combate (Mexico City, 1924). For a full bibliography of early Magonista historical literature, see James D. Cockcroft, Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution, 1900-1913 (Austin, 1968).


Rodney D. Anderson, Outcasts in Their Own Land: Mexican Industrial Workers, 1906-1911 (DeKalb, 1976), p. 366. Also see Luis Chávez Orozco, Orígenes delagrarismo en México (Mexico City, 1935) and Prehistoria del socialismo en México (Mexico City, 1936); Alfonso Teja Zabre, Historia de México, 6 vols. (Mexico City, 1934) and Guide to the History of México (Mexico City, 1935); Hernan Villalobos Lope, Interpretación materialista de la historia de Mexico (Mexico City, 1936); J. M. Puig Casauranc, El sentido social del proceso histórico de Mexico (Mexico City, 1936); José María Bonilla, Historia nacional. Origen y desarrollo económico y social del pueblo mexicano. Nociones de historia patria (Mexico City, 1939); and Rafael Ramos Pedrueza, La lucha de clases a través de la historia de México (Mexico City, 1934).


Adolfo Gilly, “México contemporáneo: Revolución e historia,” Nexos, 62 (feb. 1983), 15.


Cosío Villegas, Nueva historiografía política del México moderno, p. 29.


See Potash, “Historiography of Mexico Since 1921,” 402-406; and Alvaro Matute, “La historiografía mexicana contemporánea,” in Ciencias sociales en México: Desarrollo y perspectiva (Mexico City, 1979), pp. 75-78.


José C. Valadés, El porfirismo: Historia de un régimen. El nacimiento (Mexico City, 1941) and El porfirismo: Historia de un régimen. El crecimiento, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1948), I, xxv. Also see his one-volume Breve historia del porfirismo (1876-1911) (Mexico City, 1971).


Valadés, El crecimiento, I, xxv.


Leslie Byrd Simpson, review of El nacimiento, HAHR, 22 (Feb. 1942), 116–122.


Valadés, El crecimiento, II, 305; El nacimiento, pp. 65, 434-435.


Henry C. Schmidt, “Education, Ethnicity, and Humanism: Recent Trends in Mexican Intellectual History,” Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 23 (May 1981), 230.


Leopoldo Zea, El positivismo en México (Mexico City, 1943); the English translation by Josephine H. Schulte is Positivism in Mexico (Austin, 1974), p. xxii; Zea, Apogeo y decadencia del positivismo en México (Mexico City, 1944). Also see the one-volume edition, El positivismo en México: Nacimiento, apogeo y decadencia (Mexico City, 1968).


Matute, “La historiografía mexicana contemporánea,” p. 82.


Daniel Cosío Villegas, Memorias (Mexico City, 1976), p. 199. Also see the relevant articles in Stanley R. Ross, ed., Is the Mexican Revolution Dead? (New York, 1966).


Charles A. Hale, “The Liberal Impulse: Daniel Cosío Villegas and the Historia moderna de México,” HAHR, 54 (Aug. 1974), 481.


Daniel Cosío Villegas, coord., Historia moderna de México. I. Cosío Villegas, La república restaurada. La vida política (Mexico City, 1955); IL Francisco R. Calderón, La república restaurada. La vida económica (Mexico City, 1955); III. Luis González y González, Emma Cosío Villegas, and Guadalupe Monroy, La república restaurada. La vida social (Mexico City, 1957); IV. Moisés González Navarro, El porfiriato. La vida social (Mexico City, 1958); V. Cosío Villegas, El porfiriato. La vida política exterior, primera parte (Mexico City, 1960); VI. Cosío Villegas, El porfiriato. La vida política exterior, segunda parte (Mexico City, 1963); VII. Luis Nicolau D’Olwer, Francisco R. Calderón, Guadalupe Nava Oteo, Fernando Rosenzweig, Luis Cossío Silva, Gloria Peralta Zamora, and Emilio Coello Salazar, El porfiriato. La vida económica, primera y segunda partes (Mexico City, 1965); VIII. Cosío Villegas, El porfiriato. La vida política interior, primera parte (Mexico City, 1970); IX. Cosío Villegas, El porfiriato. La vida política interior, segunda parte (Mexico City, 1972). All of Cosío Villegas’s introductions to these volumes have been collected in Cosío Villegas, Llamadas (Mexico City, 1980). Martín Quirarte correctly notes that the Historia moderna de México “deserves an entire book in order to point out its positive and negative aspects,” in “Historia política: Siglo XIX,” Historia Mexicana, 15 (oct. –mar. 1966), 420. As yet, no such book has appeared; there are, however, two excellent review essays. See Stanley R. Ross, “Cosío Villegas’ Historia moderna de México,” HAHR, 46 (Aug. 1966), 274-282; and Hale, “The Liberal Impulse.”


Cosío Villegas, Hamadas, p. 237; Cosío Villegas, Memorias, p. 209. Although the last two volumes of the Historia moderna de México, Cosíos political history of the Porfiriato, were published after 1968, the ideas that inform the study were impressed on the author decades earlier. As Hale notes, Cosío “has not wavered in his initial liberal convictions”; “The Liberal Impulse,” 497.


Cosío Villegas, Hamadas, p. 241.


Ibid., pp. 248, 207.


Florescano, El poder y la lucha por el poder, p. 71. The project produced a number of important by-products; see Moisés González Navarro, Estadísticas sociales del porfiriato, 1877-1911 (Mexico City, 1956); Seminario de Historia Moderna de México, Estadísticas económicas del porfiriato: Comercio exterior de México, 1877-1911 (Mexico City, 1960); Seminario, Estadísticas económicas del porfiriato: Fuerza de trabajo y actividad económica por sectores, 1877-1911 (Mexico City, 1964); Daniel Cosío Villegas, Porfirio Díaz en la revuelta de la Noria (Mexico City, 1953); Cosío Villegas, Estados Unidos contra Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1956); Moisés González Navarro, La colonización en México, 1877-1910 (Mexico City, 1960); González Navarro, Las huelgas textiles en el porfiriato (Puebla, 1970); Guadalupe Nava Oteo, “Jornales y jornaleros en la minería porfiriana,” Historia Mexicana, 45 (1962), 53-72; Fernando Rosenzweig, “El desarrollo económico de México de 1877 a 1911,” Trimestre Económico (Mexico City), 32 (jul.-sept. 1965), 405-454. This list is not inclusive.


Cosío Villegas discusses the Archivo del General Porfirio Díaz in “Historia y prejuicio,” Historia Mexicana, 1 (1951), 124-142; José Ives Limantour, Apuntes sobre mi vida pública (Mexico City, 1965); Daniel Cosío Villegas, “Las memorias de Limantour,” in Ensayos y notas, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1966) II, 231; Isidro and Josefina E. de Fabela, eds., Documentos históricos de la revolución mexicana, 27 vols. (Mexico City, 1960-73); Manuel González Ramírez, ed., Fuentes para la historia de la revolución mexicana, 4 vols. (Mexico City, 1954–57); Jesús Silva Herzog, ed., La cuestión de la tierra, 1910-1911 (Mexico City, 1960); and El pensamiento económico, social y político de Mexico, 1810-1964 (Mexico City, 1967).


Alberto María Carreño, ed., Archivo del General Porfirio Díaz, Memorias y documentos (Mexico City, 1947-63), I, 7.


Nemesio García Naranjo, “El General Porfirio Díaz y sus detractores,” Divulgación Histórica, 2 (sept. 1941), 537-542; The editor, “La opinion pública demanda justicia y respeto para la obra del General Díaz,” La Prensa, July 5, 1944; “Se formaliza la idea de traer los restos de don Porfirio Díaz,” La Prensa, July 3, 1944.


Mateo Podán, Don Porfirio Díaz y sus tiempos, 5 vols. (Mexico City, 1940); and Porfirio Díaz. Debe y haber (Mexico City, 1944), p. 6; Carlos Pereyra, México falsificado, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1949); Jorge Vera-Estañol, La revolución mexicana. Orígenes y resultados (Mexico City, 1957). Also see Morelos Rivera, Porfirio Díaz: Un estadista y un régimen mal juzgado por la revolución (Mexico City, 1946); Leandro J. Cañizárez, Don Porfirio, el gobernante de mente lúcida, corazón de patriota y mano de hierro (Havana, 1946); José María Alvarez, Añoranzas. El México que fué, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1948-49); Angel Taracena, Porfirio Díaz (Mexico City, 1960); Agustin Aragon, Porfirio Díaz. Estudio histórico-filosófico, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1964); Wilberto Cantón, Porfirio Díaz, soldado de la república (Mexico City, 1966).


Jorge Fernando Iturribarría, Porfirio Díaz ante la historia (Mexico City, 1967), p. 461.


Leopoldo Zea, “Criticism and Self-Criticism of the Mexican Revolution,” in Ross, ed., Is the Mexican Revolution Dead?, p. 139.


Renaldo Molina Enríquez, “Los apologistas del porfirismo,” El Nacional, May 19, 1956, p. 11.


Thomas C. Langham, Border Trials: Ricardo Flores Magón and the Mexican Liberals (El Paso, Texas, 1981), p. 60. In 1953 the Mexican government established the Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana to support and publish historical research on the revolution and, it would seem, in defense of it.


Jesús Reyes Heroles, “Continuidad del liberalismo mexicano,” Cuadernos Americanos, 76 (jul.-ago. 1954), 167-202; Reyes Heroles, El liberalismo mexicano, 3 vols. (Mexico City, 1957-61); and for an analysis of the thought of Reyes Heroles, see Arturo Arnáiz y Freg, “El liberalismo mexicano y su significación social,” Cuadernos Americanos, 161 (nov. -dic. 1968). Jesús Silva Herzog, El agrarismo mexicano y la reforma agraria (Mexico City, 1959); Silva Herzog, Breve historia de la revolución mexicana (Mexico City, 1960); Silva Herzog, “Lo positivo y lo negativo en el porfirismo,” Cuadernos Americanos, 6 (1967-68), 23-41; and for an analysis of the thought of Silva Herzog, see Mauricio De la Selva, “El hilo conductor del pensamiento mexicano,” Cuadernos Americanos, 161 (nov. dic. 1968), 29-47. For other prorevolutionary studies, see the volumes published by the Biblioteca del Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana.


José Bravo Ugarte, Compendio de historia de México (Mexico City, 1946), p. 244; also see volume III of his Historia de México, 4 vols. (Mexico City, 1941–59).


Martín Quirarte, El problema religioso en México (Mexico City, 1967); Alicia Olivera Sedaño, Aspectos del conflicto religioso de 1926 a 1929: Sus antecedentes y consecuencias (Mexico City, 1966).


For a complete bibliography, see Cockcroft, Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution. An example of Marxist historiography in this period is José Mancisidor, Historia de la revolución mexicana (Mexico City, 1958). Adolfo Gilly characterizes this work as “a good example of how not to write history from the Left.” Gilly, “México contemporáneo: Revolución e historia,” p. 16.


“Una teoria de la revolución mexicana,” El Obrero Militante 1 (ago.-sept. 1962); José Revueltas, México: Democracia bárbara (Mexico City, 1958); and Ensayo sobre un proletariado sin cabeza (Mexico City, 1962); Pablo González Casanova, La democracia en México (Mexico City, 1965); and translated by Danielle Salti into English as Democracy in Mexico (New York, 1970), p. 156. For a discussion of Mexican leftist thought, see Barry Carr, “Temas del comunismo mexicano,” Nexos, 5 (junio 1982), 17-26.


Raymond Vernon, The Dilemma of Mexico’s Development. The Roles of the Private and Public Sectors (Cambridge, Mass., 1963), p. 56. The most comprehensive treatment by non-Mexican written at this time but published posthumously is Ralph Roeder, Hacia el México moderno. Porfirio Díaz, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1973). More specialized studies include Walter Breymann, “The Científicos: Critics of the Díaz Regime, 1892-1903,” Proceedings of the Arkansas Academy of Science, 7 (1954), 91-97; David Pletcher, Rails, Mines, and Progress: Seven American Promoters in Mexico, 1867–1911 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1958); Warren Schiff, “German Military Penetration into Mexico during the Late Díaz Period,” HAHR, 39 (Nov. 1959), 568-579; Martin S. Stabb, “Indigenism and Racism in Mexican Thought: 1857-1911,” Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 1 (Oct. 1959), 405–423; Karl M. Schmitt, “The Mexican Positivists and the Church-State Question, 1876-1911,” Journal of Church and State, 8 (Spring 1966), 200-213; Marvin D. Bernstein, The Mexican Mining Industry, 1890-1950: A Study of the Interaction of Politics, Economics, and Technology (Albany, N.Y., 1964); Friedrich Katz, Deutschland, Díaz und die Mexikanische Revolution (Berlin, 1964); and John W. Kitchens, “Some Considerations of the Rurales of Porfirian Mexico,” Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 9 (July 1967), 411-445.


Córdova, “El pensamiento social y politico de Andrés Molina Enríquez, p. 11.


Stanley R. Ross, “La protesta de los intelectuales ante México y su revolución,” Historia Mexicana, 26 (ene. -mar. 1977), 412-420. For a description and analysis of the political climate in Mexico at this time, see Kenneth F. Johnson, Mexican Democracy: A Critical View (Boston, 1971).


Lorenzo Meyer and Manuel Camacho, “La ciencia política en México: Su desarrollo y estado actual,” in Ciencias sociales en México, p. 20.


Enrique Krauze, “Los templos de la cultura,” VI Conference of Mexican and United States Historians, Chicago, III., Sept. 1981, p. 32.


Córdova, “La historia, maestra de la política,” in Historia ¿para qué? (Mexico City, 1980), p. 134. Also see Héctor Aguilar Camín, “Historia para hoy,” Ibid., pp. 157-160.


Meyer and Camacho, “La ciencia política en México”; and José Luis Reyna, “La investigación sociológica en México”; and Matute, “La historiografía mexicana contemporánea,” all in Ciencias sociales en México.


Charles W. Bergquist, “Recent United States Studies in Latin American History: Trends Since 1965,” Latin American Research Review, 9:2 (1975), 5.


Jorge Gurría Lacroix, “Las investigaciones históricas y sus aportaciones,” in Las humanidades en México, 1950-1975 (Mexico City, 1978).


Arturo Warman, Y venimos a contradecir. Los campesinos de Morelos y el estado nacional (Mexico City, 1976); Moisés González Navarro, “El trabajo forzoso en México, 1821-1917,” Historia Mexicana, 27 (abr.-jun. 1978), 588-615; Jan Bazant, “Peones, arrendatarios y aparceros, 1868-1904,” Historia Mexicana, 24 (jul.-sept. 1974), 94—121; Evelyn Hu-DeHart, “Development and Rural Rebellion: Pacification of the Yaquis in the Late Porfiriato,” HAHR, 54 (Feb. 1974), 72-93; Ian Jacobs, Ranchero Revolt: The Mexican Revolution in Guerrero (Austin, 1983); Vivian M. Vallens, Working Women in Mexico during the Porfiriato, 1880-1910 (New York, 1978); Paul J. Vanderwood, “Mexico’s Rurales: Image of a Society in Transition,” HAHR, 61 (Feb. 1981), 52-83.


Peter H. Smith, Labyrinths of Power: Political Recruitment in Twentieth-Century Mexico (Princeton, 1979); John H. Coatsworth, Growth Against Development: The Economic Impact of Railroads in Porfirian Mexico (DeKalb, 1981); and Paul J. Vanderwood, Disorder and Progress: Bandits, Police, and Mexican Development (Lincoln, Neb., 1981).


William K. Meyers, “Politics, Vested Interests, and Economic Growth in Porfirian Mexico: The Tlahualilo Company in the Comarca Lagunera, Mexico, 1885-1911,” HAHR, 57 (Aug. 1977), 425-454; Friedrich Katz, The Secret War in Mexico: Europe, The United States, and the Mexican Revolution (Chicago, 1981); Gilbert M. Joseph and Allen Wells, “Corporate Control of a Monocrop Economy: International Harvester and Yucatán’s Henequen Industry during the Porfiriato,” Latin American Research Review, 17:1 (1982), 69-113.


Luis González y González, Pueblo en vilo: Microhistoria de San José de Gracia (Mexico City, 1968); John Womack, Jr., Zapata and the Mexican Revolution (New York, 1969).


For a sample of recent studies and a full bibliography, see Thomas Benjamin and William McNellie, eds., Other Mexicos: Essays on Regional Mexican History, 1876-1911 (Albuquerque, 1984).


Mark Wasserman, Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, 1854-1911 (Chapel Hill, 1984); Friedrich Katz, “Labor Conditions on Haciendas in Porfirian Mexico: Some Trends and Tendencies,” HAHR, 54 (Feb. 1974), 1—47; Frans J. Schryer, The Rancheros of Pisaflores (Toronto, 1980).


Adolfo Gilly, La revolución interrumpida. México, 1910-1920: Una guerra campesina por la tierra y el poder (Mexico City, 1971); Arnaldo Córdova, La formación del poder político en México (Mexico City, 1972); Juan Felipe Leal, La burguesía y el estado mexicano (Mexico City, 1972); and “El estado y el bloque en el poder en México, 1867–1914,” Historia Mexicana, 23 (1974), 700-721; Lorenzo Meyer, “Continuidades e innovaciones en la vida política mexicana del siglo xx: El antiguo y-el nuevo régimen,” Foro Internacional (Mexico City), 16 (jul.-sept. 1975); Albert L. Michaels and Marvin Bernstein, “The Modernization of the Old Order: Organization and Periodization of Twentieth Century Mexican History,” in Contemporary Mexico: Papers of the IV International Congress of Mexican History, James Wilkie, Michael C. Meyer, and Edna Monzón de Wilkie, eds. (Berkeley, 1976), pp. 687—710. Also see José María Calderón, Génesis del presidencialismo en México (Mexico City, 1972); John H. Coatsworth, “Orígenes de autoritarismo moderno en México,” Foro International, 16 (1975), 205-232; and John Womack, Jr., “Los doctores de la historia y el mito de la Revolución,” Nexos, 2 (mar. 1979), 3-6.


Laurens B. Perry, Juárez and Díaz: Machine Politics in Mexico (DeKalb, 1978); Jean Meyer, La revolución mejicana, 1910-1940 (Barcelona, 1973); Ramón Eduardo Ruiz, The Great Rebellion: Mexico, 1905-1924 (New York, 1980); Smith, Labyrinths of Power, p.11.


William D. Raat, “Ideas and History in Mexico: An Essay on Methodology,” in Investigaciones contemporáneas sobre historia de Mexico, p. 698.


William D. Raat, “Leopoldo Zea and Mexican Positivism: A Reappraisal,” HAHR, 48 (Feb. 1968), 1-18; Charles A. Hale, “The History of Ideas: Substantive and Methodological Aspects of the Thought of Leopoldo Zea,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 3 (1971), 59-70.


William D. Raat, “Los intelectuales, el positivismo y la cuestión indígena,” Historia Mexicana, 20 (ene.-mar. 1971), 412-427; “Ideas and Society in Don Porfirios Mexico,” The Americas, 30 (July 1973), 32-53; El positivismo durante el Porfiriato (Mexico City, 1.975); and “The Antipositivist Movement in Prerevolutionary Mexico, 1892-1911,” Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 19 (Feb. 1977), 83-98.


Charles A. Hale, “‘Scientific Positivism’ and the Continuity of Liberalism in Mexico,” pp. 139–152; also see, idem, “Mexican Political Ideas in Comparative Perspective: The Nineteenth Century,” VI Conference of Mexican and United States Historians, Chicago, Ill., 1981.


Arnaldo Córdova, La ideología de la revolución mexicana. La formación del nuevo régimen (Mexico City, 1973).


Hart, Anarchism and the Mexican Working Class.


Rodney D. Anderson has written an excellent short review of the literature in Outcasts in Their Own Land, pp. 365-369. Also see John Womack, Jr., “The Historiography of Mexican Labor,” in El trabajo y los trabajadores en la historia de Mexico, Eisa Cecilia Frost, Michael C. Meyer, and Josefina Zoraida, eds. (Mexico City and Tucson, 1979), pp. 739-756.


James D. Cockcroft, Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution; John M. Hart, “Nineteenth-Century Urban Labor Precursors of the Mexican Revolution: The Development of an Ideology,” The Americas, 30 (Jan. 1974), 294–318; and Anarchism and the Mexican Working Class (1978); Jorge Basurto, El proletariado industrial en México (1850-1930) (Mexico City, 1975); Ciro F. S. Cardoso et al., La clase obrera en la historia de Mexico: De la dictadura porfirista a los tiempos libertarios (Mexico City, 1980); W. Dirk Raat, Revoltosos: Mexicos Rebels in the United States (College Station, Tx., 1981).


Anderson, Outcasts in Their Own Land.


David Walker, “Porfirian Labor Politics: Working Class Organizations in Mexico City and Porfirio Díaz, 1876-1902,” The Americas, 37 (Jan. 1981), 257-287.


John Womack, Jr., “The Mexican Economy During the Revolution, 1910-1920: Historiography and Analysis,” Marxist Perspectives (New York), 1 (Winter 1978), pp. 90-92.


Donald Keesing, “Structural Change Early in Development: Mexico’s Changing Industrial and Occupational Structure from 1895 to 1950,” Journal of Economic History, 29 (Dec. 1969), 716-738. Also see Sergio de la Peña, La formación del capitalismo en México, 3d ed. (Mexico City, 1977); fosé Luis Cecena, México en la órbita imperial (Mexico City, 1970); and Isidro Viscaya Canales, Los orígenes de la industrialización de Monterrey. Una historia económica y social desde la caída del segundo imperio hasta el fin de la revolución, 1867-1920 (Monterrey, 1969).


Womack, “The Mexican Economy During the Revolution,” p. 97.


John H. Coatsworth, “Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century Mexico,” The American Historical Review, 83 (Feb. 1978), 80-100. Also see José Luis Cecena, “La penetración extranjera y los grupos de poder económico en el México porflrista, 1870-1910,” Problemas del Desarrollo (Mexico City), 1 (1969), 49-88; Lorenzo Meyer, “Cambio político y dependencia: México en el siglo xx,” Foro Internacional, 13 (oct.-dic. 1972), 101-138; Ciro F. S. Cardoso, ed., México en el siglo xix (1821-1910): Historia económica y de la estructura social (Mexico City, 1980).


Coatsworth, Growth Against Development.


For further suggestions, see William H. Beezley, “The Children of González: Opportunities for Further Regional Study of the Porfiriato,” in Benjamin and McNellie, eds., Other Mexicos.


John Clive, “The Prying Yorkshireman,” The New Republic, June 23, 1982, p. 32.


Octavio Paz, The Other Mexico: Critique of the Pyramid (New York, 1972), p. 79.

Author notes


The authors, students of the late David C. Bailey, wish to acknowledge the assistance of Professor Bailey in the formulation of this essay, and thank Douglas W. Richmond, Charles A. Hale, Paul V. Murray, John Haeger, and Eric Johnson for their criticisms and suggestions. This article is part of a larger projected study of Mexican historiography.