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Title: Rural teachers and social and political conflict in Mexico, 1920-1940 : with special reference to the states of Michoacán and Campeche
Author: Raby, D. L.
ISNI:       0000 0001 0792 4159
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1970
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A close analysis of the period from 1921 to 1940 is essential for any understanding of the present Mexican political system and its relationship to the revolutionary upheaval of 1910-1917. No such analysis can be really adequate without detailed research on local and sectional politics - the growth of peasant leagues, trade unions and professional groups, and the reaction of landlords and employees. The present study will examine the role of one key professional group, the teachers, as catalysts of social change, agents of Government policy, popular organisers and agitators. Since this can only be done on the basis of detailed local knowledge, a substantial part of the thesis consists of regional studies of the teacher's role in two States: Michoacán and Campeche, while simultaneously presenting the overall national picture. Part I outlines the national framework and the teachers' place in it: the complex political developments of the period, the direction and execution of Government educational policy, and the part played by the teachers' unions. Where possible pedagogical theory and technical aspects of education are avoided, but the broad outlines of educational policy are essential to any examination of the teachers' activities, especially in view of the originality of Mexican rural education as developed in the liberal flowering of the 'twenties and the paradoxical experiment of "Socialist Education" after 1934. Part II attempts to reveal the reality behind official rhetoric about the social role of the teachers, as shown in their efforts to help solve the most fundamental problem of rural Mexico: the agrarian question. Encouraged from the beginning to identify with the rural population, many teachers took the initiative in organising peasant leagues, formulating petitions for land, and waging the subsequent legal battles. The Cárdenas administration encouraged them in this, but many teachers went beyond the Government's intentions and became important local popular leaders and agitators. Because of this they fell foul of vested interests, and in the 'thirties many were attacked and murdered by agents of landlords or local political bosses. Unfortunately, because of the religious persecution imposed by the Government from 1926 to 1934, the teachers also faced the hostility of large sections of the population in some areas, with very negative consequences. Parts III and IV consist of the two regional studies of the teachers' role. The emphasis is on their participation in peasant organisations, trade unions and State politics. In Campeche a left-wing teachers' union played the major part in organising an independent peasant and labour movement which came near to toppling the State Government; in Michoacán the teachers' contribution was less dramatic, but they did have considerable influence in the main "cardenista" labour federation there. In conclusion, the influence of the teachers as a radical pressure group and cadre force agitating for land reform, organising unions and pressing for left-wing policies is seen to be very important. Many of them joined the Communist Party, and they contributed powerfully to the revolutionary movement in rural Mexico. But they also served to rally support for the Government and in the long run helped to subordinate the peasant and labour movements to an increasingly bourgeois and corporatist regime - a paradox symptomatic of the fate of the Mexican Revolution.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: F1201 Latin America (General) ; JL Political institutions (America except United States) ; LA History of education