Yesterday in Mexico

[ Latin American Studies ]

Yesterday in Mexico

A Chronicle of the Revolution, 1919–1936

By John W. F. Dulles

The story of Mexico's emergence as a modern nation, including much material from interviews with principals of the Revolution.



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6 x 9 | 830 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-72972-8

Early in a sixteen-year sojourn in Mexico as an engineer for an American mining company, John W. F. Dulles became fascinated by the story of Mexico’s emergence as a modern nation, and was imbued with the urge to tell that story as it had not yet been told—by letting events speak for themselves, without any interpretations or appraisal.

The resultant book offers an interesting paradox: it is “chronicle” in the medieval sense—a straightforward record of events in chronological order, recounted with no effort at evaluation or interpretation; yet in one aspect it is a highly personal narrative, since much of its significant new material came to Dulles as a result of personal interviews with principals of the Revolution. From them he obtained firsthand versions of events and other reminiscences, and he has distilled these accounts into a work of history characterized by thorough research and objective narration.

These fascinating interviews were no more important, however, than were the author’s many hours of laborious search in libraries for accounts of the events from Carranza’s last year to Calles’ final retirement from the Mexican scene. The author read scores of impassioned versions of what transpired during these fateful years, accounts written from every point of view, virtually all of them unpublished in English and many of them documents which had never been published in any language.

Combining this material with the personal reminiscences, Dulles has provided a narrative rich in its new detail, dispassionate in its presentation of facts, dramatic in its description of the clash of armies and the turbulence of rough-and-tumble politics, and absorbing in its panoramic view of a people’s struggle.

In it come to life the colorful men of the Revolution —Obregón, De la Huerta, Carranza, Villa, Pani, Carillo Puerto, Morones, Calles, Portes Gil, Vasconcelos, Ortiz Rubio, Garrido Canabal, Rodríguez, Cárdenas. (Dulles’ narrative of their public actions is illumined occasionally by humorous anecdotes and by intimate glimpses.) From it emerges also, as the main character, Mexico herself, struggling for self-discipline, for economic stability, for justice among her citizens, for international recognition, for democracy.

This account will be prized for its encyclopedic collection of facts and for its important clarification of many notable events, among them the assassination of Carranza, the De La Huerta revolt, the assassination of Obregón, the trial of Toral, the resignation of President Ortiz Rubio, and the break between Cárdenas and Calles. More than sixty photographs supplement the text.

1. General Alvaro Obregón and the Constitutionalist Revolution
2. The Presidential Campaign of 1919–1920
3. The Plan of Agua Prieta
4. Tlaxcalantongo
5. From Tlaxcalantongo to Mexico City
6. The Selection of an Interim President
7. Adolfo de la Huerta and Pancho Villa
8. The Interim Regime and Other Restless Generals
9. The Election of General Obregón
10. International Relations during the Interim Regime
11. General Obregón and the Agrarian Problem
12. Obregón’s Administration Gets under Way during a Depression
13. Combatting Francisco Murguía and His Associates
14. Combatting Ignorance
15. The Death of the Partido Liberal Constitutionalista
16. Carrillo Puerto and the Ligas de Resistencia de Yucatán
17. De la Huerta Makes a Trip to New York
18. The Bucareli Conferences
19. The Presidential Succession
20. The Assassination of Pancho Villa
21. The Break between the Partido Cooperatista Nacional and Obregón
22. Adolfo de la Huerta Breaks with Obregón
23. The Pani-De la Huerta Controversy
24. The Struggle Becomes Intense
25. The First Stage of the De la Huerta Rebellion
26. The Last Days of Carrillo Puerto
27. The Assassination of Field Jurado
28. Military Events; The Battle of Esperanza
29. The Last Bloody Phases of the Rebellion
30. Obregón Finishes His Term
31. Luis N. Morones and Organized Labor
32. Government Finances during the Golden Days of President Calles
33. Efforts of the Calles Administration To Develop the Nation
34. Struggle with the Catholic Clergy
35. The Cristero Rebellion and the Case of Padre Pro
36. The Revolutionary Program and United States Relations
37. The Arrival of Ambassador Morrow
38. The Presidential Campaign of Generals, 1927–1928
39. Bloody Climax of the 1927–1928 Presidential Campaign
40. The Re-election of General Obregón
41. The Assassination of General Obregón
42. An Investigation and Some Accusations
43. A Memorable Presidential Address
44. The Selection of a Provisional President
45. The Murder Trial
46. President Portes Gil and the C.R.O.M.
47. Background for the Querétaro Convention
48. The Querétaro Convention of the Partido Nacional Revolucíonario
49. The Outbreak of the Escobar Rebellion
50. The Campaign East and North; The Battle of Jiménez
51. The Campaign in the West
52. The Resumption of Catholic Services
53. Autonomy for the National University
54. The Vasconcelista Campaign of 1929
55. A Bad Inauguration Day for President Ortiz Rubio
56. Rough Times for the Convalescent
57. The Great Depression Sets In
58. Pani Returns to the Finance Ministry
59. Some Cabinets of President Ortiz Rubio
60. Acute Religious and Political Problems
61. The Resignation of President Ortiz Rubio
62. Pani’s Departure from President Rodríguez’ Cabinet
63. Narciso Bassols and the Catholic Clergy
64. The Official Party Selects a Presidential Candidate
65. Efforts by the Opposition in 1933 and 1934
66. Negotiations with the United States under President Rodríguez
67. Rodríguez Handles Agrarian and Labor Matters
68. December, 1934
69. Garrido Canabal and Tabasco, “Laboratory of the Revolution”
70. Agitation and Strikes in Early 1935
71. The Declarations of General Calles
72. The Break between Cárdenas and Calles
73. The Expedition to Tabasco
74. General Calles Returns to Mexico
75. The Curtain Falls for General Calles
Appendix A: Presidents of Mexico
Appendix B: Presidents of the P.N.R
Notes on Sources
Sources of Material

John W. F. Dulles (1913–2008) was University Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He wrote many books on Latin American history.

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