The mystique of the Mexican Revolution’s educational crusade in the 1920s long overshadowed our understanding of its prerevolutionary antecedents. In fact, José Vasconcelos’s literacy campaign of 1921 expanded on a school system built in the Reforma and Porfiriato under the ideological guidance of the central government and the bureaucratic administration of state governments. New research has taken us back into the Bourbon reform period of the late eighteenth century when political officials and intellectuals began to promote mass primary schooling in consonance with Enlightenment notions of utility and productivity. After independence, their concern was carried forward by liberal and conservative leaders who saw the urgency of creating a national school system as a means of forging an independent and prosperous nation. However, the weakness of the central government in the postindependence period meant that many of these blueprints were ineffective outside the capital. In the country as a whole, initiatives more often rested with traditional institutions such as the church, the town councils, and remnants of the officially defunct teachers’ guilds; with new private organizations like the Lancaster Company; and with the many individuals who entered the teaching profession after the demise of guild restrictions. Provincial-level or state governments both fostered and constrained these initiatives, which in the end suffered from the prolonged crisis of political instability, economic depression, foreign invasion, and civil war.1

This essay on primary schooling in Puebla from 1821 to 1860 focuses on the political, ideological, and demographic aspects of education in Mexico’s second largest city. Political jurisdiction over schools shows an interplay between multiple institutions in a period of fluidity and transition from colonial rule to independent status. The Puebla case suggests a resurgence of traditional corporate institutions just after independence, and sporadic attempts by state-level and central governments to control these in a manner presaging the political structure of education in the late nineteenth century. The ideological content of Puebla’s schools confirms a major point in the new scholarship on Mexican education: the fundamental religiosity of primary instruction persisted into the civil wars of the 1850s. The liberal reforms of Vice-President Gómez Farías in 1833 did not challenge this religiosity, which in the case of Puebla appears to have been viewed as compatible with utilitarian ideas associated with material progress.

In Puebla, the growth of primary schools paralleled the mechanization of spinning in the textile industry. Both were modernizing efforts backed by the church and entrepreneurs.2 However, while the internal organization of schools increasingly mirrored the early factory system, entrepreneurs did not view schooling as a prerequisite for factory work. The possibility of capturing inexpensive child labor outweighed their commitment to formal education. They viewed schooling and factory work as interchangeable experiences inculcating habits of work and discipline, and obedience and morality in the poor. On the other hand, if growing numbers of children entered the textile mills, so did growing numbers enter primary schools in the city in the decades following independence.

In Puebla under the federal republic (1824-36), both the state government and the ayuntamiento shared responsibility for public primary schooling, with practical jurisdiction exercised by the council. Town councils’ control over primary education had historical precedent. In the colonial period, the ayuntamiento oversaw the functioning of the teachers’ guild, the Gremio de Maestros de Primeras Letras, whose members taught for a fee. Under the aegis of the council, guild officers examined and certified teachers and attended annual public examinations of students. The abolition of the guilds, decreed by the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and affirmed with Mexican independence in 1821, gave the ayuntamiento greater control over schooling. However, several factors restricted this control. As guilds were abolished to foster freedom of the trades and professions, the need for titles and certificates disappeared, at least for private school teachers. At the same time, the framers of the Constitution of 1812 and Mexican statesmen of the independent republic recognized the need for greater coordination in an area now viewed as important to modernization. Thus, the Constitution of 1812 had given the Provincial Deputations, precursors of the Mexican state governments, power to oversee education, and so, too, the Puebla state constitution under the federal republic gave this responsibility to the state authorities.

A further consideration motivated the granting of supervisory power to the state government. Puebla deputies drafting their local constitution in 1824 did not hide their contempt for the town councils. Faced with the need to create a competent state apparatus to replace the Spanish bureaucracy, these largely urban men of means looked pessimistically at the rural town councils which seemed to them incompetent, corrupt, abusive, and in need of urban guidance.3 Even the ayuntamiento of the city of Puebla, by far the wealthiest of these institutions and still a bastion of the town’s economic elite, had suffered a decline in prestige and power in the late eighteenth century as individuals sought greater reward in the purchase of new military offices and Bourbon centralism cut into the traditional functions of the corporation.4 However, independence required the councils to assume more functions in all areas of government. The Puebla deputies’ solution was a heavy dose of state-level centralism, whereby the councils were subject to the supervision of prefects and subprefects appointed by and responsible to the governor.

While Puebla’s cabildos were to establish primary schools, finance them, and safeguard the honorable conduct and religious orthodoxy of teachers, the governor was ultimately responsible for the “enlightenment” of the people, the creation of schools, and approval of municipal taxes and expenditures.5 Prefects and subprefects oversaw the investment of funds, ensured that the councils met their obligations, and shared responsibility for safeguarding the morality of teachers. In practice, in the city of Puebla, the council had to submit a monthly educational budget for the prefect’s approval. To finance the schools, the state government allocated to the council a portion of a tax on imported liquors and other goods. This overlapping of political jurisdiction, regarded by the council as an encroachment on its domain, was a source of deepening tension, often expressed in a heightened sensitivity to honor and symbolism in this highly ceremonial society undergoing rapid political change. The ayuntamiento of the city of Puebla was a proud one, jealous of its ancient prerogatives, and quick to take offense if not assigned its anticipated place in processions or given the seats it claimed in the cathedral. Underlying the tension was the deteriorating financial situation. Although the town councils had to assume more responsibilities with independence, they had fewer funds to carry them out. Aggravating the economic recession was an inevitable siphoning off of municipal funds to finance state and federal governments and especially the rapidly proliferating military.6 The council found that the tax on imported liquors had to cover a multiplicity of obligations in the areas of education, jails, and hospitals, while portions of it were appropriated by the state government for its own ends. Depleted finances affected the cabildo’s ability to fulfill its duties toward primary schooling and increased antagonism between the council and the state government.

In 1820, the town council of Puebla administered no schools of its own. In this, it differed from its counterpart in the capital which had set up two free primary schools in 1786 to absorb the victims of that year’s famine in hopes of converting them into useful and obedient citizens. In 1820, Puebla had approximately 8 private primary schools and 14 religious free schools.7 Located mainly in convents and parishes, some of these church schools were probably created in response to royal cédulas of Charles III in the late eighteenth century and Ferdinand VII in 1817 urging the church’s promotion of primary schooling. One of these institutions was the boys’ school founded by the Junta de Caridad, a lay and ecclesiastical association created in 1812 by José Antonio Jiménez, rector of the Palafox conciliar seminary. Inspired by the Spanish Sociedades Económicas, lay and ecclesiastical elite associations imbued with Enlightenment ideas, the Junta de Caridad promoted the useful education of the poor. In 1823, it opened a girls’ school, for which it received partial funding from the city council and the state government.8

Like the Mexico City council, the Puebla ayuntamiento in the 1820s tended to absorb existing schools rather than to establish new ones. In 1823, it took over Puebla’s largest and oldest primary school, located in the conciliar seminary, when the rector pleaded that depleted income made it impossible to pay the teachers.9 The Escuela Lancasteriana in the barrio of San Antonio was the first of several private schools requesting council protection as parents found themselves unable to pay tuition. The cabildo also responded to pleas from indigenous pueblos in the city’s suburbs to pay for teachers in existing schools or to finance new schools. Like the church, councils, and guilds, the indigenous pueblos, as corporate institutions, had lost both autonomy and funds under the Bourbon kings. In the independence period, the pueblos found themselves increasingly dependent and subject to absorption by the town council.10

In the 1830s, the council established some schools of its own so that by 1838 it administered and paid for eight schools: six for boys and two, known as amigas, for girls. For these, it paid the full salary of the teacher, provided texts and supplies, and usually contributed to the rent, otherwise borne by the teacher. In addition, the council gave 3 pesos monthly to three private schools and donated supplies and texts to a free school in the pueblo of San Gerónimo.11 It also donated 15 pesos monthly to the girls’ school of the Junta de Caridad. In 1840, the council created two more girls’ schools, bringing to ten the number of establishments it directly administered. It is clear that the council would have assisted and founded more schools had finances permitted, but the prefect often turned down its requests on grounds of penury.12

In administering schools, a regidor of the council acted as education commissioner on an annually rotating basis. In the formulation and implementation of policy, the cabildo did not regard itself as expert, and involved both primary school teachers and the church in these functions. Although independence had abolished the guilds, the ayuntamiento continued to involve Puebla’s teachers in functions performed by the teaching guild in the colony. They served on examining committees for new teachers and accompanied the commissioner of schools to annual public examinations. In 1828, the teachers from both the religious and town council schools, as well as those under the Junta de Caridad, participated in a commission reviewing a text on the Lancaster method of mutual teaching for use in the schools.13 In 1830, the teachers rejected a draft ruling on school policy and procedure which was subsequently shelved. In 1829, the teachers challenged the powerful rector, José Antonio Jiménez, when he fired the school master, Agustín González, from the seminary primary school for being of “faint-hearted character.”14 The teachers protested to the council that González had been duly certified, and that his students performed well on their public examinations. Although González left his post at the seminary, the council hired him to direct its school in the indigenous barrio of Xonaca.

In short, teachers continued to behave somewhat like a guild. However, there was a hierarchy among them. Not all were included in the council’s deliberations. Those around the cabildo seem to have practiced some nepotism and favoritism. All but one of the council’s girls’ schools, for example, were under the direction of wives, sisters, or daughters of male teachers. In the period, one teaching family, intimately allied with the council, built a small empire in the profession securing posts in private, state, and religious schools.15 Further, the participation of teachers in policy making seems to have declined in the 1840s with the centralist policies of the conservative national government. After 1842, the deteriorating financial situation frequently obliged teachers to forego pay.

In the area of free schooling, the interpenetration between church and public power was extensive. The schools’ program was deeply religious and clerics helped to determine it. Rector Jiménez asked the council to review the text on the Lancaster method in 1828, then took his venerated place on the examining committee. Although he attended few of the sessions, his presence was clearly felt. José María Landero, vicar of the parish of Santa Cruz, lobbied and got the establishment of a council-supported school in the barrio of Xonaca in 1828. At least one of the council’s schools was located in the atrium of a parish church. The council and prefect often turned to the parish priest when they needed recommendations for hiring teachers, and it was common for priests to attend annual public examinations in council schools.16

In principle, the council had jurisdiction over the church schools and more limited control over private paying schools. The commissioner of schools was responsible for inspecting the free schools, religious and public, to check on program, discipline, and doctrine, as well as the punctuality and progress of teachers and students. The ayuntamiento also presided over annual public examinations mandated for religious and public free schools. For these schools, the cabildo could, in principle, name and remove teachers.17 The commissioner was authorized to inspect paying private schools twice monthly to ensure that morality, religion, and the constitution of the country were correctly taught. However, council records contain no reports of inspections of religious or private schools. After 1829, free religious schools do not appear in the inventories of the cabildo’s schools as receiving texts or supplies. Although teachers in religious schools may on occasion have received titles from the cabildo, council records refer only to the examination and certification of teachers in council schools. It is possible, therefore, that religious schools were relatively free of council interference. Private school teachers had no certification requirements: nonetheless, they often sought legitimacy and pupils by announcing the opening of their schools to the council and inviting the commissioner of schools to witness their students’ examinations.

The period of greatest stability and expansion in public primary education in the city coincided with the boom in the textile industry which began in 1836 and subsided after 1842. The council’s budget for education increased from 3,744.8 pesos in 1838 to 4,912.8 in 1844, when the council administered ten schools with 1,082 students. In the same period, however, the state and central governments gradually curbed local control over schooling while they removed funds from the municipality. At the same time, the state and central governments sought greater control over religious and private schools in an attempt to promote uniformity in and vigilance over school programs and methods. In 1838, the Puebla governor decreed that prefects and subprefects should create and oversee, in municipalities, juntas de educación consisting of municipal authorities and citizens at large to collect a head tax for schools, to hire teachers, and to inspect the schools.18 Apparently directed to areas outside the capital, the law did not appear to affect the city’s administration of schools. However, in 1840, the governor decreed the creation of a Dirección de Estudios to rule on education throughout the state. The office would consist of two representatives of the governing body of the state (then the departmental junta); one each from the Puebla city council, the Colegio de Abogados, and the Junta de Caridad; and two from the Colegio del Espíritu Santo, each to be named by his respective corporation. Chaired by a representative of the departmental junta, the body would gather statistics on schools, teachers, students, modes and content of teaching; propose rules, methods, and texts to the government; and inspect private, religious, and public schools. The first effort to subject private schools to some supervision, the decree required prospective teachers to seek written permission from the government to open schools and mandated that private school teachers hold annual examinations for their pupils.19

Although the Dirección de Estudios seems hardly to have functioned, the trend it represented became fully apparent in 1842, when the conservative government of Santa Anna in Mexico City declared the first centralized administration of primary schooling in independent Mexico. It created the Dirección General de Instrucción Primaria, and entrusted this office to the Lancaster Company. Established in Mexico City in 1822, the Lancaster Company was a private association of individuals, lay and ecclesiastic, dedicated to promulgating the mutual method of teaching developed by Joseph Lancaster and Andrew Bell in England. The Lancaster Company had established free primary schools in the capital, published a text on the Lancaster method for dissemination throughout the country, and offered a normal course to train teachers.20 The first private association to attempt to set up a system of free schools in Mexico, its assumption of control of the Dirección General was a step toward the professionalization of teaching. The office was to adopt and approve texts, ensure the implementation of the Lancaster method, and require full statistics on schooling from state governments. It would also create a normal school with students drawn from the states. States and municipalities would contribute to financing the new office and the normal school.

The rulings of the Dirección General were to be carried out at the state level by Lancaster Companies in the state capitals, which became Subdirecciones de Instrucción Primaria. Corresponding societies and juntas de vigilancia were to function in outlying headtowns and municipalities. The Subdirección was responsible for formulating departmentwide plans for primary education in collaboration with the governor. The governor was to appoint a tax collector specifically responsible for collecting funds for schools. The Subdirección would employ an inspector to oversee religious, private, and state schools to ensure that teaching was compatible with religion, good customs, political institutions, and existing laws. Teachers wishing to open private schools needed a title or permission from the Subdirección, which was entrusted to rule on required examinations for future teachers in all schools. Religious convents were requested to open schools and to adopt the methods and texts published by the Dirección General. The Puebla version of the law asked the convents to contribute financially to the Dirección General if they could not afford to establish new schools.21

While the Puebla city council does not appear to have been affected by the governor’s decrees of 1838 and 1840, Santa Anna’s ruling of 1842 in principle deprived it of its jurisdiction over schools. The transfer of authority occurred at a time when the state government increasingly dictated to the council how its money should be spent, while doling out smaller allocations to cover a greater variety of functions. In 1843, the council refused to contribute funds to the Dirección General in Mexico City on grounds that the money it received from the tax on imported liquors and other goods could not cover existing obligations.22

The council’s struggle to maintain political control over schooling was tempered and ultimately determined by its constricting resources. Although the ruling creating the Subdirección de Instrucción Primaria in Puebla came in December of 1842, not until the following summer did the council reluctantly surrender one of its schools, the Escuela Lancasteriana in the barrio of San Antonio, to the local Lancaster Company. For another year and a half, it procrastinated. It called the Lancaster Company’s competence into question. It refused to answer correspondence from the company and the state government. Finally, in October 1844, it turned over the other schools on the condition that the state government recognize a 786 peso debt to the teachers from 1842. As it capitulated, the council lodged a vigorous protest “en representación ante quien corresponda en defensa de la atribución que sobre la enseñanza primaria de la juventud se ha quitado a la corporación municipal.”23

On October 23 at ten o’clock in the morning, Pablo Peralta, then commissioner of education, met in the antechamber of the council with a priest, José Joaquín Echavarri, and Vicente Cacigas, professor of canon law in the seminary and secretary of the local Lancaster Company. Together they walked to the schools one by one to inform the teachers and students. They duly took inventory of supplies and tests. On behalf of the company, Cacigas promised to make the greatest effort to support and improve the schools. Peralta, for his part, lamented the “acto tan triste y sensible y aún doloroso” that had come to pass. He would have been more miserable still, he said, if he did not believe that the gentlemen of the Lancaster Company were of the best disposition to aid “la niñez desvalida.”24

The Lancaster Company controlled primary education in Puebla until 1855. The governor decreed its continuation in the state after the central government abolished the Dirección General in Mexico City in 1845. The Subdirección in Puebla was composed of political notables, military officers, lawyers, and clerics, some of whom had served in the cabildo and several of whom were involved in education. Although available sources tell us little about its functioning, I suspect that it had a greater impact outside the city than within it. Its centralized control of the collection of tax revenues allocated for education probably contributed to the expenditure on schools at the local level of funds which might otherwise have been invested elsewhere. In 1849, the governor reported that the state had 600 primary schools, at least some of which probably owed their origin to the Lancaster Company.25 Decades later, in the municipality of Tetela del Ocampo remote in the northern Sierra, school documents would still speak of the Lancaster Company and its methods. Similarly, we know that the Puebla society had its conflicts with the national body in defense of local interests. It insisted and got the right to print its own texts for the schools in order to benefit Puebla’s flagging publishing industry.26 However, the tenure of the Lancaster Company coincided with the recession of the textile industry, the occupation of the city by U.S. troops in 1847, and subsequent political and economic deterioration. Between 1844 and 1852, the number of state schools in the city declined by one, and enrollment fell from 1,054 to 764. Teachers often went unpaid. Harassed by their creditors and faced with eviction by their landlords, they complained they could not afford food or medicine for their families. The Lancaster Company regretted the death of veteran maestro Mariano Cruz, whom they were unable to assist. In 1848 when the secretary of the company woefully appealed to the ayuntamiento to help meet its debt to the teachers, the council haughtily denied its responsibility.

Throughout the period, the council struggled to regain its control over schools.27 In the 1850s, the widening conservative-liberal split and unfolding civil war aggravated the difficulties of the school system, but did not abate the jurisdictional dispute. The Lancaster Company disappeared in 1855. In 1856, when liberal armies of the Ayutla Revolution temporarily occupied the city, they returned the schools to the city council. However, the governor also named his own agent responsible for primary instruction.28 By 1858, when the conservatives once again controlled the state and city governments, the council complained that a dual administration had arisen in consequence of which the teachers received conflicting orders and did as they pleased. Although both the council and state government were now obsessed with what they perceived to be the spread of liberal heresy among the teachers, their bitter disputes over funding and jurisdiction continued until they ran out of money. In 1860, with the country in full-scale civil war, the council tried desperately to save the situation by proposing the creation of a Junta Protectora de la Educación Primaria, a joint council of priests and aldermen. Municipal funds and church contributions would sustain the schools. In retrospect, this appears to have been a defensive and retrograde action. The liberal victory in the civil wars would eliminate the church’s role in public schooling, effect a separation of church and state, and greatly increase the power of state governments in the creation of a nationally uniform system of lay education. The new educational bureaucracy would curb the power which traditional corporate institutions such as the church, councils, and remnants of the teachers’ guilds had played in the first decades after independence.

In the realm of ideology, public primary schooling in the city of Puebla in the decades following independence suggests a meshing of orthodox Catholic philosophy with utilitarian ideals in consonance with the Spanish Enlightenment.29 In promoting schools, the town council and those requesting its assistance were concerned with instilling piety, order, and the work ethic in children who would otherwise, it was believed, surrender to crime, vagrancy, and idleness. A sense of urgency motivated council members and other leaders. Not only had independence raised the specter of masses in revolt and so fed the upper classes’ obsession with bandits, crime, and public disorder, but an influx of foreign manufactures brought ruin and unemployment to Puebla’s artisans in the 1820s and early 1830s. Concerned with the productive incorporation of children into society in a modern sense, the cabildo defined its mission in paternalistic terms of providing charity to the poor, the mendicant, and the unemployed, and correction to the wayward, the idle, and the delinquent.30 The city council assumed responsibility for existing schools on the condition that they not charge tuition or accept tips from parents except with special permission from the authorities. In turn, the council provided supplies and texts to children who could not afford them, and in its prizes for its annual public examinations it awarded suits of clothing.31

The schools taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and religious doctrine. Instruction in morality and urbanity included a form of civics; a political catechism was recommended. As in Mexico City schools, the fundamental texts were the religious catechisms of Ripalda and Claude Fleury, supplemented by those of Minguet and Pouget and morality texts of Juan de Escoiquiz and Simón de Natua. Texts known as “libros segundos” published by the Real Academia Española and distributed in Mexico around 1820 were also common.32 Original publication of these texts predated independence.

Religion permeated the program. Children used the religious catechisms to learn to read and write, recited them daily, and chanted them before the governor and city council officials at public examinations. In the Lancaster School in the barrio of San Antonio, which was a model for other schools, children prayed to the Virgin before beginning classes, much as they would salute the Mexican flag in subsequent years. Saturdays they recited their catechisms and prayed the rosary. The priest José María Landero had donated holy images to the girls’ school in Xonaca. Portraits of the Virgin adorned the walls of the seminary school. Under Santa Anna’s 1842 decree, the Virgin of Guadalupe was Holy Protectress of all the schools.33

Rigid schedules and discipline, as well as textbook content, aimed at encouraging obedience. When the children arrived at eight in the morning, the teacher first inspected them for clean hands and faces and combed hair. Schooling was predicated on the principle that children ought to “listen, watch, and keep quiet.” They were not to repeat what went on in their homes or at school and were not to “tutear” anyone. They were to rise when a person of respect entered the room until commanded to sit down. As in future Mexican public schools, schooling had a civilizing mission: children were to learn proper table manners, dress, and behavior with the opposite sex. “Man was born to work,” they repeated; “Idleness is the mother of all vices.” They were to learn to suffer affliction without complaint; to exercise patience and show tranquility; and to avoid laziness, anger, envy, and pride. One maxim read:

The good child fears God, does what his parents command, loves his brothers and sisters, does not disparage his friends, nor does he make fun of old people. In going to school, he is properly clothed, his face and hands are clean. He does not play. He treats his book well and reads with care. He does not throw stones in the street. He does not play in church. He does not talk to the person at his side. He serves in his home, is docile, and makes himself worthy of those who love him. In contrast, the evil child disputes his parents’ commands.34

Civics instruction encouraged the submission of faithful subjects rather than consciousness of the rights of citizens in a constitutional republic. Laws required that the country’s constitution be taught as part of a political catechism. Although public school inventories indicated that most schools had copies of a political catechism in the 1830s, and although children were taught to love their country and sacrifice themselves for it, the concept of “Mexico” barely existed in the curriculum or the texts. Civics still had little to do with a secular society and state. It was rather how one lived in a society in a cooperative and peaceful way. “Being attentive and obliging with all,” read one text, “we are civil.” Maxims taught that an individual who was properly educated, with a true knowledge of sacred religion, love for his brothers and work, eternal hatred for idleness and lying, and blind obedience to the law, would be a “good patriot.” María de Jesús Ochoa, a student in the Lancaster School in the barrio of San Antonio, recited before the council authorities in 1844, “We must always be living models of piety and gratitude, and although we are poor in our goods and our condition, we are not in our will and appreciation.”35

With the textile boom in the late 1830s, new intellectual currents entered the schools. Ever the propagandist, Estevan Antuñano, Puebla’s leading industrialist, inundated the schools with his tracts promoting the Mexican cloth industry.36 Insofar as children could understand these pamphlets of political economy, the pamphlets introduced them to a variety of secular, material issues confronting the new nation. In 1839, there appeared in the Puebla schools dozens of copies of Hugh Blair’s Discursos sobre los deberes y educación de la juventud. Lecturas para los niños pobres and Bernardo María de Callejo’s El principio de la utilidad en legislación y moral de Jeremías Bentham.37

Although Blair’s text emphasized the same behavioral values for children as the religious catechisms, and struck the fear of God into tiny souls as vigorously as did the Catholic maxims, he placed more emphasis on individual effort, performance, and responsibility. Blair’s world progressed forward, in contrast to the corporate, static, and otherworldly hierarchy of the catechisms. The latter ensconced the individual: in Blair’s world, the individual became an agent and began to stand alone. Hugh Blair was a figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, a member of the Moderate faction of the Scottish Presbyterian Church which defended the principles of empiricism and rational inquiry against rigid dogma. Suspected of doubtful orthodoxy, he had moved away from the doctrine of original sin, grace, and salvation to emphasize practical morality for everyday life and the individual’s rational discernment of good and evil.38 Although his sermons were published and distributed in the United States, it is curious to find this Protestant text in the Catholic city of Puebla, where priests for some time had voiced fear about the infiltration of heresy.39

Bernardo de Callejo’s text on Bentham provides further insight into the appropriation of utilitarian ideals by loyal Catholics. A deputy in the state congress, a graduate of the conciliar seminary, and an ardent believer in the Mexican republic’s liberal principles, Callejo refuted Bentham’s atheistic moral system based on a material theory of pleasure and pain. He clung to the church’s moral doctrines based on natural and divine law. Nonetheless, having declared his religious orthodoxy, Callejo praised Bentham’s legal genius as an inspiration for a rational and progressive codification of secular law in Puebla.40

It is difficult to gauge the impact of these texts on the thinking of children. At least in the case of Callejo, the complexities of his philosophical polemic, even as filtered through a teacher’s presentation, could have meant little to small children. Nonetheless, the texts suggest that in the city of Puebla in the 1830s and early 1840s, in the realm of ideology, clerics, merchants, entrepreneurs, and statesmen, as elite groups which jointly undertook the mechanization of spinning, made an effort to integrate Catholic orthodoxy with utilitarian values focused on secular progress, individual action, and productivity as a foundation for national development. Estevan Antuñano, for instance, was as staunch a supporter of Catholic orthodoxy as he was of rapid industrialization. He believed that the existence of a “polytheism of cults” in the United States would bring about the spiritual and moral ruin of that industrious people.41 This evidence suggests that at least in Puebla the church, or significant members of it, was somewhat flexible ideologically in the first decades after independence, and that the clerical position hardened especially after the U.S. invasion of 1847. Certainly with the polarization of liberals and conservatives in the civil wars of the 1850s, the church in Puebla was frenetic in its paranoia about the infiltration of liberal heresies which it appears to have identified with Protestantism, political partisanship, and threats to its property, privileges, and moral truths. Significantly, by 1861 there were no more texts of Antuñano, Blair, or Callejo in the Puebla schools; the old catechisms of Ripalda and Fleury were among the few texts which remained.42

There is little doubt that the structure and organization of schools with their emphasis on punctuality, time-bound tasks, and continuous hours made up of fatiguing routine mirrored early factory techniques, and were conducive to the development of the modern market system. E. P. Thompson has argued that industrial society’s demand for “time-thrift” and constant, uninterrupted labor requires a significant change from the self-paced and irregular work patterns of artisans, pieceworkers, farmers, and agricultural laborers. Schools played an important role in this transition, and were promoted as such by English propagandists. There was nothing new in the moral critique of idleness. But gradually the notion of gaining eternal felicity through time’s moral use, as against the probable sins provoked by sloth, gave way to the idea of time as money, individual gain, and a marketable quantity.43

This transition was perceptible in Puebla’s public schools. If moral emphasis on the productive or unproductive use of time was associated with God and Satan, the schedules and methods of teaching presaged a new economic order. The emphasis on idleness as sin was functional both to a persistent corporate philosophy and to the act of educating the poor in their proper subordination. The notion of time implicit in school schedules and teaching methods was to some degree quite old, built into the private schools of the colony, but given new social importance with the Bourbon reformers’ interest in the free schooling of the poor. The traditional schedule of the school was rigid but it was by no means as precise and organized as the Lancaster method. A British import introduced to Mexico around 1820, this system of “mutual” teaching was perhaps more adapted to English economic conditions than to Mexican circumstances. In Mexico, it was nevertheless widely lauded, publicized, and put into practice. Puebla’s city council approved the Lancaster method in 1829 without abandoning traditional forms. In the 1830s, perhaps only the two largest boys’ schools in the barrio of San Antonio and the conciliar seminary used the method, but by the 1850s, all public boys’ schools claimed to operate on it, while private schools advertised it as well.

The Lancaster method economized time by allowing for the simultaneous teaching of writing, reading, arithmetic, and doctrine to large numbers of students. Both the seminary school and the school in the barrio of San Antonio enrolled over 200 children. Following orders bellowed through a telegraph by the teacher, advanced students acting as monitors instructed small groups of students to whom they relayed explicit, quickly paced orders. “Hands on your knees! Hands on your desks! Present your slates! Attention! Spell corazón!” The monitors then examined the slates, marked them, and returned them to the students, who were ordered to clean their slates and prepare for the next exercise. The process continued for an hour until the teacher rang a bell and the children passed in perfect symmetry and absolute silence to another class. Students were graded, rewarded, and punished according to their performance in such a way as to suggest an explicit linkage between time, its productive use, and gain. The career open to talent, the best students could become monitors.44

However synchronic the Lancaster method was with the new factory system in Puebla, the city’s entrepreneurs did not see schooling as a prerequisite for factory labor but as interchangeable with it. Both were viewed as an antidote to vagrancy and crime. An advocate of “time-thrift,” Estevan Antuñano in his tracts on Mexican development argued in favor of vagrancy laws, a restriction of holidays and fiestas so as not to lose time in “honest and productive industries,” and measures to prohibit the use of alcohol.45 He talked of the obstacles to development presented by the “general ignorance” of the Mexican people, but he never explicitly advocated mass primary schooling. On the contrary, he argued in favor of the employment of family labor in the new factories. The presence of men, women, and children would help to stabilize and moralize the labor force, while reducing the absenteeism and undisciplined behavior of male employees. It would strengthen family income and enhance Mexico’s ability to compete with foreign cloth.46 Antuñano’s fundamental concern was with the lower cost of women’s and children’s labor.

Puebla’s authorities, both state and local, showed a laxity in relation to the school attendance of working children. In 1837, the Juez de Paz of the pueblo of San Gerónimo noted that almost all the hoys who had once attended the local school were now working in Antuñano’s factory, La Constancia. If this benefited the owner, the commissioner of education noted that it also benefited the parents:

The barbarity in which our brutalized indigenous live is lamentable and worthy of the greatest concern. On the other hand, to defraud these unhappy beings of the meager subsidy they receive from their children, understanding the need they have, given the misery they suffer, would seem unfair and tyrannical.47

The council ruled that children working in factories should go to school in their off-hours, but it made no specific arrangements to ensure this instruction. Although Santa Anna’s 1842 decree made instruction obligatory for children from ages 7 to 15, Puebla’s version of the law excepted children who worked.48

Despite the employment of children in the textile mills, a notable expansion in school enrollments took place between 1820 and 1852, dates for which we have approximate figures. In 1820, there had been an estimated 1,380 male students enrolled in 14 religious free schools, mainly in convents, and 331 hoys in 8 private schools.49 The figures in the following table suggest a near doubling of male enrollments in the period between 1820 and 1852. The significance of the increase should not he exaggerated as Mexico City statistics show that the wars of independence negatively affected school enrollments and that, compared with 1802, 20 percent more children were in school in the capital in 1838.50 We lack preindependence enrollment figures for the city of Puebla.

It is important to note sectoral trends in expanding enrollments between 1820 and 1852. In contrast to Mexico City, religious school enrollments in Puebla did not drop precipitously.51 Although convent schools seemed to have declined, students in parish and other religious schools increased slightly. However, the more significant expansion was in public, and especially private, education. The latter mushroomed in response to public demand, the abolition of guild restrictions, and the relative freedom of teaching from professional qualifications.

In 1852, 5,572 children were enrolled in Puebla primary schools: 3,167 boys and 2,405 girls. By approximate estimates, they represented 48 percent of Puebla’s children between the ages of 5 and 14: 55 percent of the boys and 41 percent of the girls.52 These figures are approximately equivalent to those for Mexico City in 1838.53 Although enrollment figures seem high, there is reason to suspect that attendance was irregular and that students did not stay in school long. The latter surely conditioned levels of internalization of the school’s discipline. Still, we may assume that the number of children receiving exposure to basic education was high, and that they represented a cross section of social classes. Those attending council schools were referred to as notoriously poor and “de bajo pueblo.” We must assume that as in Mexico City, where lists of parents’ occupations are available, these ranged from artisan to petty trader and domestic servant status.54 A petition from 1,522 weavers, spinners, and cloth printers to the city council in 1851 argued that the mechanized textile industry had given them “greater material comfort, improvements in dress, and the education of their children.”55 Why did parents send their children in increasing numbers to school? Was it merely to learn the catechism in preparation for first communion or were parents’ strategies more complex? The question requires further study. It is reasonable to assume that school attendance did not always indicate a conscious decision by parents to invest in schooling as a key to their children’s future well-being. Changing patterns of enrollments may also have related to changing work patterns of parents as artisan production moved out of the home, both men and women worked, and schooling became a necessity in child-care, especially for the smallest children who could not easily contribute to family income through their labor.56

That more children went to school is interesting when we consider that schools were viewed as unpleasant places to spend time. Just as in Mexico City, children saw the teacher as a “tyrant, tormenter, enemy, and instrument of martyrdom.” The image of teacher as excessive disciplinarian and incompetent scholar was apparently generalized in the republic. In 1824, Guadalupe Victoria deplored the prevalence of schools which existed in name only, “more apt for corruption than instruction.”57 The government periodical of Puebla in the same year published a story entitled “El niño y el maestro,” in which a child, having fallen into a lake, cries out for help to a teacher passing by. Rather than aid the child, the teacher turns his back and in his severe classroom voice admonishes: “Bribón, see what your naughtiness leads to! And they want the teacher to be the angelic custodian of these beasts? How I pity your poor parents for having suffered your foolishness, vile swine, after having bent over backward to save you!” “Your pious complaint is good for another moment,” replies the drowning child, “But now your help in saving my life would be worth more than your sermons.” The tale ends condemning teachers as “charlatans, censors, and pedants, a scourge that infests the universe and provides no remedy for its own abuses.”58

The spirit of criticism, which came not only from officials and journalists but also from parents, went hand in hand with a growing interest in schooling. The trend was toward greater inspection of schools and teachers, and stricter standards of examination and certification. Although Puebla law sanctioned the teacher’s right to punish children even if their parents disapproved, there was mounting criticism of physical punishment and abuse in the classroom. The council’s ruling on primary schools in 1830 recommended moderate punishments for delinquent children, and advocated a merit system to encourage conformity rather than the use of the cane, iron footweight, or other traditional forms of physical rebuke.59 In 1860, the council noted and condemned the use of child labor in domestic and other chores in the schools. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the regime of harsh, physical discipline would gradually yield to one emphasizing individual performance in routinized, directed tasks bringing differential reward related to actual or potential gain. This regime also required more training and vigilance of teachers.

Notable in the period was the expansion of women’s education. Interest in female education had grown in the Enlightenment and independence, and was bound up with notions of utility and individual productivity.60 In 1800, Viceroy Miguel José de Azanza authorized women to enter any trade compatible with their sex. Antuñano in the 1830s strongly advocated women’s employment in factories. But work outside the home was not the essence of the utilitarian argument: the issue was the preparation of women for the mothering of future citizens and workers. To this general consideration, poblanos added their preoccupations with morality and idleness. In 1831, the priest José María Gutiérrez, director of the Colegio de Enseñanza de Nuestra Señora de los Gozos, appealed to the governor for assistance in maintaining his impoverished establishment. “It does not escape you,” he wrote, “how much influence mothers have in the education of their children, and once mothers are educated, in great part public customs will improve, since their example will at least serve to moderate the violent passions of their families.”61 With similar motives, the ayuntamiento expanded the number of women’s schools, arguing that it would otherwise be difficult to anticipate in the future the happiness of a moral and civil youth capable of “being useful to the state. ”62 In 1843, the council operated four women’s schools and would have sustained more could it have afforded them.

Despite the increase in free girls’ schools, many more attended private establishments rather than those of church or state. In Puebla in 1852, 76 women out of 102 private school teachers instructed 1,775 girls. A similar situation existed in Mexico City, where at the end of the colonial period, critics condemned these schools as little more than day-care centers often limited to teaching sewing, embroidery, and a little reading. The Mexico City guild master had declared over half the amiga teachers to be useless and ignorant.63 This situation reflected women’s subordinate and cloistered position in society, in which they lacked the educational opportunities open to men. Their inferior training was reproduced in the education they provided to the next generation of their sex. No matter how lowly, however, teaching was the only profession open to women. They had no opportunities for higher education, so they crowded into a profession which, practiced in the home, allowed them to preserve their decency, and to avoid exposure to the contaminated public sphere.

The general subordination of women in society was repeated in education. Women’s primary schooling was more abbreviated than that available to men. The Lancaster method was apparently not in common use in Puebla’s girls’ schools. The program was domestically and morally oriented, with emphasis on religious doctrine, embroidery, and sewing. Cabildo examinations for women teachers were confined to Ripalda’s catechism, a reading exercise, and sewing. Women teachers were paid less than men and, in the council schools, were not allowed the same participation in educational policy making and administration nor the same breadth in the classroom. In cabildo examining committees for female candidates for the profession, a male teacher was included along with three women, whereas no women participated in the examinations for male teachers.64

Nonetheless, just as the school reinforced the subordination of women, so did women’s opportunities for education and social participation expand. That women took part in committees examining other teachers was in itself a significant advance over the colonial period when the all-male guild dominated examinations. There was growing interest in the period in broadening the content and increasing the rigor of women’s schooling, which would gradually be accomplished by the state’s establishment of standards for programs, methods, and teacher training in the second half of the nineteenth century. In that same period, women would become the majority in the teaching profession.

In a sense, women were in a position, vis-à-vis the state educational effort, similar to that of poor children (into which category many of them fell). Both gained greater access to schooling which, on the one hand, continued their subordination, while, on the other hand, opening possibilities—admittedly limited—for advancement and social mobility. In both cases, schooling was an attempt to incorporate these groups into a new paradigm in formation, and as such it implied the discarding or unlearning of other paradigms, traditions, and practices. If formal Catholic doctrine escaped the critical eyes of many enlightened commentators in newly independent Mexico, practitioners of “superstition”—usually identified as priests, Indians, and women—did not.65 With a contempt typical of the growing zeal for academic science, one critic of female teachers in Mexico City had written to the city council in 1819 that “almost all of these old ladies are ignorant, fanatical visionaries without education and without principles.”66 By the end of the nineteenth century, the female graduate of the Mexican normal school would leave purified of “superstition,” and thoroughly imbued with the values of science, work, time, patriotism, and citizenship.

Overall, an examination of primary schooling in the city of Puebla in the decades following independence confirms the findings of recent research for the nation as a whole: there was far more interest and initiative in this area than previously thought. At the same time, however, the initiatives often fell victim to the prolonged crisis of political instability and economic stagnation. The Puebla case appears typical of national trends. Gradually, the town councils, the church, and teachers fell under the jurisdiction of state and national governments intent on securing greater extension, uniformity, and quality control in primary schooling. The centralizing efforts of the state and federal governments in the late 1830s and early 1840s were to be resumed by the triumphant liberals following the civil wars. In assessing the influence of the clergy in schooling in this early period, the experience of Puebla appears more representative than unique. Everywhere, primary programs were deeply religious. In Veracruz, parish priests could name teachers and inspect schools; the bishop of Sinaloa headed the state Lancaster Company in charge of primary education in the 1840s; and priests were said to be critical to ensuring school enrollments both in Mexico City and in Veracruz.67 Nonetheless, a decline in clerical participation in primary schooling relative to the expansion of state and private education was noted in Puebla, as was the development of a more material, secular ideology in school programs, texts, and methods, at least in the 1830s and early 1840s: research on other regions of Mexico may show similar trends. Finally, the city of Puebla is clearly not representative of the country as a whole in its school enrollments. Most likely, in this period of declining economic activity, fiscal duress, and civil wars, the larger cities of central Mexico with more resources, accumulated experience, and a larger pool of qualified teachers fared far better than rural areas, the sparsely settled north, or the distant southeast.


Research on education in the Bourbon and early independence periods has been done primarily by Ann Staples and Dorothy Tanck de Estrada, members of the seminar on Mexican educational history under the direction of Josefina Zoraida Vázquez at the Colegio de México. I am indebted to their work for general observations made about the country as a whole and for the specific history of Mexico City schools. See Staples, “Alfabeto y catecismo, salvación del nuevo país,” Historia Mexicana, 29:1 (1979), 35—58; “El catecismo como libro de texto,” paper presented at the VI Conference of Mexican and United States Historians, Chicago, IL, Sept. 1981; “Panorama educativo al comienzo de la vida independiente,” Vázquez et al., Ensayos sobre historia de la educación en México (Mexico City, 1981), 115-170; Tanck, “Las cortes de Cádiz y el desarrollo de la educación en México,” Historia Mexicana, 29:1 (1979), 3-34; Ea educación ilustrada (1786-1836): Educación primaria en la Ciudad de México (Mexico City, 1977); “Tensión en la torre de marfil. La educación en la segunda mitad del siglo XVIII mexicano,” Ensayos sobre historia de la educación en México, 23-114.


The economic history of the city of Puebla for this period has been examined by G. P. C. Thomson, "Economy and Society in Puebla de los Angeles, 1800-1850” (D.Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1978). On textile entrepreneurs, see 318-325.


See, for example, El Cauduceo. Periódico del Estado Libre de la Puebla de los Angeles, I, Apr. 13, 1824, p. 50, Apr. 16, 1824, pp. 61-62, Apr. 17, 1824, p. 67, May 21, 1824, p. 202, June 1, 1824, p. 257, June 5, 1824, p. 277, June 10, 1824, p. 301, June 11, 1824, p. 305, June 12, 1824, p. 309.


Reinhard Liehr, Ayuntamiento y oligarquía en Puebla, 1787-1810, (Mexico City, 1976). I. 103-104; Thomson, “Economy and Society in Puebla,” 8.


Ley que arregla el gobierno económico-político del estado libre y soberano de Puebla (Puebla, 1827), 41, 69-70.


El Cauduceo, I, May 5, 1824, p. 211, June 4, 1824, p. 273, June 7, 1824, p. 285, June 8, 1824, p. 293, June 21, 1824, p. 349; II, July 5, 1824, p. 17, July 22, 1824, p. 91, Aug. 20, 1824, p. 218; III, Oct. 1, 1824, p. 1.


“Informe del Regidor don Antonio Cal,” as cited by Enrique Juan Palacios, Puebla, su territorio y sus habitantes (Puebla, 1982), II, 33.


Juan N. del Valle, Guía de forasteros de la capital de Puebla (Puebla, 1852), 363-365; El Cauduceo, I, June 1, 1824, p. 255; II, Aug. 13, 1824, p. 107, Sept. 15, 1824, p. 75.


“Expediente . . . del exmo. ayuntamiento constitucional . . . sobre proporcionar arbitrios para sostener la escuela de primeras letras que fue del seminario,” July 18, 1823, Archivo del Ayuntamiento de Puebla, Puebla, Escuelas (hereafter AAP, Escuelas), vol. 67, leg. 762.


See Tanck, “Las cortes,” 23; Liehr, Ayuntamiento, 67; Thomson, “Economy and Society in Puebla,” 6-7.


See José María de Uriarte, “Escuelas gratuitas,” 1837-38, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 784.


See, for example, José Ignacio Villarreal to Ayuntamiento, May 17, 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 778.


“Junta de profesores . . . para calificar el tomo primero de Obra de educación, la titulada arte para la primera enseñanza de niños y niñas por el sistema mutuo . . . por Félix Mandarte,” Oct. 11, 17, 1828, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 87, legs. 765, 766.


The rector’s firing of the teacher took place before the city council absorbed the management of the school in Dec. 1830. The rector had maintained the right to oversee internal operations until 1830 when, following Jiménez’s death, the new rector complained that revenues were so depleted that supervision and inspection could no longer he carried out. The controversy with the teachers is detailed in “Profesores de primeras letras,” June 17, 23, Oct. 11, 17, Dec. 23, 1828; Feb. 23, 24, 1829; Dec. 29, 1830, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 762.


José María Bermúdez, director of the Lancaster school in the barrio of San Antonio, was the apparent leader of the teachers in the early independence period. His daughter, Josefa, taught in the girls’ school adjacent to his. In 1852, there were eight Bermúdezes among the teachers. José María continued to run the Lancaster school. He and his two sons, José Guadalupe and José Mateo, also ran a public night school under the council’s jurisdiction, while his daughter continued to teach in the girls’ school. José Mariano Bermúdez de Castro y Rosales taught in the Junta de Caridad boys’ school as he had for decades, and José Mariano Bermúdez taught in a church school. Mariano Bermúdez y Escobar, master in the seminary school, had elevated himself in 1856 to be the governor’s agent for primary instruction charged with working with the town council. See del Valle, Guía de forasteros, 364-370.


“junta de profesores . . . para calificar el tomo primero . . . por Félix Mendarte,” Oct. 11, 1828, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 765; “Sobre dotación de maestro de la escuela de Xonaca,” May 9, 1828, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 763.


“Instrucción que el regidor diputado de escuelas ministra a la comisión de ordenanzas para el mejor servicio de este importante ramo,” 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783.


“El General de División Felipe Codallos, gobernador y comandante general del departamento de Puebla a los habitantes del departamento de Puebla,” Feb. 9, 1838, Archivo General de la Nación, Instrucción Pública (hereafter AGN, Instrucción), vol. 85.


“Reglamento para el gobierno interior de la dirección de estudios,” Puebla, 1841, AGN, Instrucción, vol. 85, p. 30; “El General de División Felipe Codallos, gobernador y comandante general del departamento de Puebla a los habitantes del departamento,” Dec. 31, 1840, AGN, Instrucción, vol. 85.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 180-185.


“Decreto de Santa Anna,” Oct. 26, 1842 and “Decreto de Nicolás Bravo,” Dec. 7, 1842 in “Documentos relativos a la entrega de las escuelas a la junta lancasteriana,” 1842-44, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 788.


José Antonio Rivera to prefect, Sept. 7, 1843 in “Documentos relativos a la entrega . . .,” AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 788.


Ayuntamiento to prefect, Oct. 12, 1844, ibid.


Pablo Peralta to prefect, Oct. 23, 1844, ibid.


Memoria sobre la administración del estado de Puebla en 1849 bajo el gobierno de Esco. Sr. D. Juan Mújica y Osorio, formada por el sec. de despacho D. José M. Fernández Mantecón y leída al honorable congreso del mismo estado en las sesiones de los días 1, 2, y 3 de octubre de 1849 (Mexico City, 1849), 59-61.


José Reyes to Ministry of Justice, Feb. 13, Mar. 4, 1843, Office of the Government of the Department of Puebla to Ministry of War and Marine, Oct. 9, 1843, AGN, Instrucción, vol. 85, pp. 262—264, 267—268, 270-273.


The dispute is documented in AAP, Escuelas, vol. 70, leg. 789.


Fernando María Ortega, secretary of government, Apr. 10, 1856, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 70, leg. 799.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 6; Richard Herr, The Eighteenth Century Revolution in Spain (Princeton, 1969), 3-36, 48-57, 85, 336.


On these motivations, see, for example, “Expediente de Manuel Soriano, alcalde del pueblo de San Felipe de Jesús Hueyotlipán,” Mar. 2, 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 777; “Sobre el establecimiento de dos escuelas y tres amigas,” Dec. 7, 1829, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 770. Fear of crime and disorder runs through the state government periodical, El Cauduceo, in 1824. See, for example, II, July 5, 1824, p. 17, July 6, 1824, p. 22. Thomson argues that the danger posed to public order by the unemployed was a rationale consistently given in the poblanos’ campaign for protective tariffs at the level of the federal government. See Thomson, “Economy and Society,” 193-194, 200.


“Reglamento de escuelas gratuitas a cargo del exmo. ayuntamiento,” 1831 (AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783) says that schools can only receive money from parents who have gotten permission from the council and that their children could not exceed 5 percent of the students in the school. By a previous ruling, in the school in the barrio of San Antonio, preference was to he given to children who could not pay; no student could be expelled without the permission of the council. See “Reglamento sobre la escuela en el barrio de San Antonio,” Feb. 20, 1827, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 223-227. For Puebla texts, see “Endonado a las escuelas en el año de 1829,” Nov. 30, 1930, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783: “Inventario de las escuelas,” 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783; “Inventario de las escuelas que pertenecen al exmo. ayuntamiento,” 1830, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 784; “Reglamento de escuelas gratuitas a cargo del exmo. ayuntamiento,” 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783.


“Junta de profesores . . . para calificar el tomo primero . . . por Félix Mendarte,” Oct. 11, 1829, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 765; “Sobre dotación de maestro de la escuela de Xonaca,” May 9, 1828, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 763; “Reglamento sobre la escuela en el barrio de San Antonio,” Feb. 20, 1827, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783; “Reglamento de escuelas gratuitas a cargo del exmo. ayuntamiento,” 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783.


Manuel Díaz, “Carteles de máximas piadosas,” 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69.


"Discurso pronunciado por la niña doña María de jesús Ochoa, alumna de la amiga lancasteriana,” Oct. 16, 1844, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 70, leg. 789.


For example, Estevan Antuñano, “La industria del ramo de hilado en la máquina titulada la Constancia Mexicana,” “La exposición que hicieron los Señores Antuñano,” “Provisión de hilados por uso del algodón extranjero,” identified in “Inventario de las escuelas,” 1838, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 784.


“Inventario de las escuelas,” 1839, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 784. The Callejo text was published in Puebla in 1834. The Blair text was not available to me in Spanish but appears in Hugh Blair, Sermons, vol. 1 (London, 1809).


On Blair and the Scottish Enlightenment, see James K. Cameron, “Theological Controversy: A Factor in the Origins of the Scottish Enlightenment,” in The Origins and Nature of the Scottish Enlightenment: Essays, R. H. Campbell and Andrew S. Skinner, eds. (Edinburgh, 1982), 116-130; Jane Rendall, ed., The Origins of the Scottish Enlightenment (New York, 1978), 11-13, 23-26, 28-29, 42, 123-124, 208-209.


For the early concern about heresy, see, for example, “Expediente formado de orden del exmo. ayuntamiento constitucional . . . sobre proporcionar arbitrios para sostener la escuela de primeras letras que fue del seminario,” Sept. 27, 1823, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 762; see also El Cauduceo, II, Aug. 19, 1824, p. 214, Aug. 20, 1824, p. 215, Aug. 21 1824, pp. 220-221.


Callejo, El principio, 155-173.


Estevan de Antuñano, Pensamientos para la regeneración industrial de México (Mexico City, 1955), 61.


“Estado de las escuelas gratuitas a cargo del ayuntamiento,” Feb. 15, 1861, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 70, leg. 810.


See E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” Past and Present, 38 (1967), 57-58, 60-61, 70-80, 84-85, 87-88.


The Lancaster method is described in Obra de educación por Félix Mendarte Oct. 11 1828, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 67, leg. 765; Antonio García Cubas, El libro de mis recuerdos (México City, 1950), 527-533; Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 232-326; Frederic J. Shaw, Jr., “Poverty and Politics in Mexico City, 1824-1854” (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1975), 213-215.


Antuñano, Pensamientos, 24-26.


See Antuñano, Ventajas políticas, civiles, fabriles, y domésticas que por dar ocupación también a las mujeres en las fábricas de maquinaria moderna que se están levantando en México, deben recibirse (Puebla, 1837).


Uriarte to Ayuntamiento, July 11, 1837, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 781.


“Reglamento acordado por la junta lancasteriana, subdirección de la educación primaria en este departamento,” Dec. 5, 1843, in “Documentos relativos a la entrega,” AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 788.


“Informe del regidor don Antonio Cal,” Mar. 1821, as cited by Palacios, Puebla, 33.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 197.


Ibid., 173-175.


Puebla’s population was estimated to be 71,631 in the Memoria of the governor in 1849. For two barrios of Mexico City which Frederic Shaw believed to be representative of this period, 10 to 16 percent of the population fell between the ages of 5 and 14. Silvia Marina Arrom estimated in her demographic analysis that the 5 to 14-year-old age group was 21 percent of the capital’s population. I have used a 16 percent figure for Puebla. See Arrom, The Women of Mexico City, 1790-1857 (Stanford, 1985), 22, 297, and Shaw, “Poverty and Politics,” 400.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 196-202.


Ibid., 214. On the education of the poor in Mexico City in this period, see also Shaw, “Poverty and Politics,” 210—218, and Andrés González Lira, “Indian Communities in Mexico City. The Parcialidades of Tenochtitlán and Tlaltelolco, 1812-1879” (Ph.D. diss., State University of New York, Stony Brook, 1982), 159-171.


As quoted by Thomson, “Economy and Society,” 293.


Personal correspondence with Thomson, Aug. 1985.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 213; Staples, “Panorama,” 138—144; El Cauduceo, I, May 18, 1824, p. 193.


El Cauduceo, I, Apr. 29, 1824, p. 113.


“Reglamento de escuelas gratuitas a cargo del exmo. ayuntamiento,” 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783.


See Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 166-168; Liehr, Ayuntamiento, 34; Arrom, The Women of Mexico City, 15-25.


José María Gutiérrez de la Huerta to Governor Juan José Andrade, 1831, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 778.


“Sobre el establecimiento de dos escuelas y tres amigas,” Feb. 18, 1833, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 770.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 161-162.


“La noticia que da el que inscribe Juan Nepomueeno González Guerrero al regidor de escuelas Juan José Rojas de los establecimientos de educación,” Sept. 1, 1834, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 783; “Expediente formado con los ocurros presentados por los individuos que pretenden ocupar los establecimientos de primeras letras, uno para niños, otro para niñas, situados en la calle de Tecali,” Nov. 6, 1840, AAP, Escuelas, vol. 69, leg. 787.


El Cauduceo, II, Aug. 26, 1824, pp. 239-241, Aug. 27, 1824, pp. 243-245; III, Oct. 7, 1824, pp. 33-34.


Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 167.


Staples, “Esfuerzos y fracasos: La educación en Veracruz, 1824-1867,” La Palabra y el Hombre. Revista de la Universidad Veracruzana, Oct.-Dec. 1984, pp. 35, 43, 46; “Panorama,” 128; Tanck, La educación ilustrada, 213.

Author notes


The author would like to thank Blanca Berteau and Pilar Paleta for their research assistance in Puebla. I would also like to thank my colleagues Silvia Marina Arrom, John Coatsworth, Charles Hale, George Huppert, Reinhard Liehr, Otto Pikaza, Dorothy Tanck de Estrada, and G. P. C. Thomson for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. I am responsible for errors of fact and interpretation.