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Yesterday in Mexico

Yesterday in Mexico
A Chronicle of the Revolution, 1919–1936

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

January 1961
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830 pages | 6 x 9 |

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of what transpired during these fateful years, accounts written from every point of view, virtually all of them unpublished in English and many of them documents which had never been published in any language.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.

  • Preface
  • 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
  • Index

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.