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Chapter 10. Mexico. Sovereignty, Authority and Power. Sources of public authority have fluctuated 16th cent-independence  viceroy Centralized, authoritarian rule Continued...all leaders military generals until 1950s Presidentialism. Legitimacy.

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Chapter 10

Chapter 10


Sovereignty authority and power
Sovereignty, Authority and Power

  • Sources of public authority have fluctuated

  • 16th cent-independence viceroy

  • Centralized, authoritarian rule

  • Continued...all leaders military generals until 1950s

  • Presidentialism


  • Revolution of 1910-1911 is major source of legitimacy.

    • Mexicans love their revolutions, and their charismatic revolutionary leaders

    • Charismatic Legitimacy: Hidalgo, Morelos, Juarez, Zapata, Cardenas...

  • PRI...legitimacy by party blessing from Cardenas – 1930s-2000

Historical traditions
Historical Traditions

  • Authoritarianism

  • Populism

  • Power plays / divisions within the elite

  • Instability and legitimacy issues

Political culture
Political CUlture

Sense of National Identity:

  • The importance of Religion

  • Patron-Clientelism (camarillas)

  • Economic dependency

Geographic influence
Geographic Influence

  • About 3 times size of France

  • Mountains & deserts: made communication & transportation between regions difficult, rugged terrain limits productive agriculture, REGIONALISM major characteristic of political system

  • Varied climates (terrain & N to S), cold dry mountains, tropical rain forests

  • Natural resources are plentiful. Oil, silver and others, but not always managed wisely, enriched country (and US) but not always brought prosperity to Mexican people

Geographic influence1
Geographic influence

  • 2000 mile long BORDER with the USA affects everything from conflicts to migration and dependency issues.

    • “Pobre México. Tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos” Porfirio Díaz

  • 100 Million people, most populous Spanish speaking country, Pop growth slowed to 1.8%, still rapid increase

  • Urban Population. 3/4 of population lived in cities of the interior or along the coasts. Mexico City is one of largest in world with 18M, urbanization disrupted traditional Mexican politics, patron-client system

Critical junctures
Critical Junctures

  • Mestizo: A person of mixed white, indigenous (Amerindian), and sometimes African descent.

  • Amerindian: Original peoples of North and South American; indigenous people.

  • Indigneous groups: Population of Amerindian heritage in Mexico.

  • Maquiladora: Factories that produce goods for export, often located along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Authority and power in mexico
Authority and Power in Mexico

  • 16th century until independence was won in 1821, Mexico ruled by viceroy put in place by Spanish.

    • Centralized, authoritarian rule, no participation by indigenous people

  • Post-independence, all of Mexico’s presidents until mid-20th century were military generals

  • Early 20th century, highly unstable even after revolution and constitution in place

  • Presidential model of power until recent years

  • Economic growth and recent democratization reshaping Mexico’s political landscape


  • Important source of legitimacy is Revolution of 1910-1917.

    • Mexicans deeply admire revolutionary leaders throught their history (Miguel Hidalgo, Benito Juarez, Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa, Lazaro Cardenas, etc.)

    • Revolutions in general seen positively, charisma is highly valued leadership characteristic

  • PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) legitimized the Revolution in 1929. Constitution written in that era created a democratic, three-branch govt, PRI wwas intended to stabilize political power in the hands of its leaders. PRI was source of govt legitimacy until other political parties successfully challenged its monopoly in late 20th cent. After 2000 election, PRI lost presidency and one house of Congress.

  • Today, public authority, political power and legitimacy sources are changing rapidly.

Historical traditions1
Historical Traditions

  • Three historical stages of political development:

    • Colonialism

    • Chaos of 19th & early 20th century

    • Recent emphasis on economic development

Historical traditions2
Historical Traditions

  • Authoritarianism: from Spanish colonial structure to military-political leaders like Porfirio Diaz, tradition of authoritarian rule. President still has a lot of political power

  • Populism: Democratic revolutions of 1810 & 1910 both had significant peasant bases led by charismatic figures that cried out for more rights for ordinary Mexicans, esp Amerindians. Modern Zapatista movement reflects this populist tradition.

  • Power plays/divisions within the elite: Elites who led Revolutions of 1810 and 1910, the warlords/caudillos of the early 20th century, the políticos v. técnicos in late 20th cent all examples of competitive splits among theelite.

  • Instability and legitimacy issues: Mexico’s political history is full of chaos, conflict, bloodshed, and violent resolution to political disagreements. As recently as 1994, a major presidential candidate was assassinated. Although most Mexicans believe in legitimacy of government, the current regime still leans toward instability.

Mexican political culture sense of national identity
Mexican Political Culture: Sense of National Identity

  • Importance of religion: until 1920s, Catholic Church actively participated in politics, priests were often leaders of populist movements. During the revolutionary era of the early 20th cent, the govt developed an anti-cleric position, Cristero War, and today the political influence of church has declined. Large percentage of Mexicans are devout Catholics, beliefs influence political values & actions

  • Patron-clientelism: system of cliques based on personal connections and charismatic leadership that has been glue that held agrarian Mexico together. “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Network of camarillas extends from political elites to vote-mobilizing organizations throughout the country. Corruption is a by-product. Democratization, industrialization & urbanization put pressure on this system. 2000 defeat of PRI is indicator that clientelism is declining.

Sense of national identity
Sense of National Identity

  • Economic Dependency:

    • Whether as a Spanish colony or a Southern neighbor of the United States, Mexico has always been under the shadow of a more powerful country.

    • Recently, Mexico struggled to gain more economic independence.


  • 1519-1821

  • Cultural Heterogeneity: When Cortes arrived, area was populated by natives controlled by Aztecs. Once Cortés captured the Aztec capital of Tenochitlan, Spanish controlled whole area.

    • Populations soon mixed (despite the elaborate social hierarchy) esp since Spanish soldiers weren’t allowed to bring their families from Spain to the New World. Over 60% of Mexicans are mestizo, but far from Mexico City, esp in South are primarily Amerindian (Chiapasm, Oaxaca, etc).


  • Catholicism: Most Spaniards stayed in or near Mex City, but Catholic priests settled far and wide to convert the population to Christianity. Priests set up missions that became population centers, and despite the differences in status, they often developed great attachments to the people they led. There was a great deal of syncretism in Mexican Catholicism, making it more appealing to indigenous population.

  • Economic Dependency: area served the mother country as a colony, but territory was so vast, Spanish never realized extent of Mexico’s natural resources.


  • 1810 a parish priest named Miguel Hidalgo gave the famous Grito de Dolores and led a popular rebellion against Spanish rule.

  • In 1821, after 11 years of struggle and the death of Hidalgo, Spain recognized Mexico’s independence. Agustin de Irtubide became Emperor of Mexico.

  • However, stability did not follow, 36 presidents between 1833-1855, including Gral. Santa Anna four times.

The new country
The New Country

  • Instability and legitimacy issues: Spanish left and took their hierarchy with them, reorganizing the government was difficult

  • Rise of the military: instability invied military control, most famously exercised by Santa Anna, military general and 4 time president of Mexico (lost TX & Mex-Am War)

  • Domination by the US: By 1855, Mexico lost half its territory to USA. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) gave US Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado.

Liberal vs conservative struggle
Liberal vs. Conservative Struggle

  • Constitution of 1857 set up on democratic principles of liberals…La Reforma

  • Liberal president Benito Juarez, Zapotec Indian, is one of Mexico’s greatest heroes.

    • The expropriation of church lands, bringing the army under civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, and the separation of church and state in public affairs.

    • trying to create a modern civil society and capitalist economy on the U.S. model.

  • La Reforma represented the triumph of Mexico's liberal, federalist, anti-clerical, and pro-capitalist forces. It replaced a semi-feudal social system with a more market-driven one.

Liberal vs conservative struggle1
Liberal vs. Conservative Struggle

  • Conservatism was ultimately reflected in the joint French, Spanish and English takeover of Mexico under Emperor Maximilian (1864-67). The French defeat and Maximilian’s execution brought Juarez back to power.

    • centralist, autocratic, corporatist, and theocratic, sought to reconstitute a locally-run version of the old colonial system.

    • Pro-church, military, special privileges

El porfiriato 1876 1911
“El Porfiriato” (1876-1911)

  • Porfirio Díaz: one of Juarez’s generals staged a military coup in 1876

  • Made himself president of Mexico only after promising to serve only one term…34 years later

  • Científicos: young advisors that believed in bringing scientific & economic progress to Mexico

    • Stability--Díaz ended years of chaos, dictatorship brought relative stability

    • Authoritarianism: Dictatorship allowed no sharing of political power beyond the small, closed elite

    • Foreign investment & economic growth: the científicos encouraged entrepreneurship and foreign investment--primarily from the US--resulting in growth of business/industry. The railroads were built during this era.

    • Growing gap between rich and poor…

      Eventually other elites even became sensitive to the greed of the Porfirians and their lack of opportunities, so Diaz’ regime ended with a coup from within the elite, sparking the Revolution of 1910.

Chaos of early 20th century
Chaos of Early 20th century

  • Opposition to Porfirio Diaz:

    • Idealistic liberals wanted liberty

    • Farm laborers wanted land

    • Workers wanted fair wages and better working conditions

    • Even some of Diaz’ allies wanted reform

  • Francisco Madero (elite landowner from Coahuila, educated in US and France) decided to run for president in 1910, Díaz had him arrested and exiled to the US.

  • Diaz won re-election by a landslide with much fraud

  • Madero called for an armed revolution against Díaz from the US.

Revolution of 1910
Revolution of 1910

  • Began slowly with leaders arising in diff parts of Mexico with their own armies

  • North, Pancho Villa with his Robin Hood strategy

  • South of Mexico City, Emiliano Zapata who raised a powerful peasant army under his calls for agrarian reform,“Tierra y Libertad”

  • By spring of 1911, Diaz stepped down and new elections voted Madero as president

Mexican revolution cont
Mexican Revolution (cont)

  • Madero lost support of many, policies too liberal for some, not liberal enough for others, Villa and Zapata rose against him, resigns

  • General Victoriano Huerta took over and had Madero assassinated, US intervention

  • Venustiano Carranza with Villa and Zapata, overthrew Huerta, then Carranza turned on them.

  • Constitution of 1917

  • 1920 Alvaro Obregón

  • 1929 PRI

Influences of revolutionary era
Influences of Revolutionary era

  • Patron-client system: to unseat Diaz, caudillos from different areas of country rose to challenge one another for power, around each leader a patron-client system emerged that encompassed many citizens

  • Constitution of 1917: represents the end of the revolution, but didn’t end the violene, set up a structure for democratic govt, complete with 3 branches and competitive elections

  • Conflict with Catholic Church- Cristeros Rebellion: broke out in 1920s , one of bloodiest conflicts in Mexican history, hundreds of housands killed, including priests. Liberals saw church as bastion of conservatism and put laws in place that forbid priests to vote, put federal restrictions on church affiliated schools, suspended religious services. Priests led rebellion against new rules.

Influences of revolutionary era1
Influences of Revolutionary Era

  • Establishment of the PRI: After years of conflict and presidential assassinations, President Calles brought caudillos together for an agreement in 1929. His plan--to bring all caudillos under one big political party--intended to bring stability by passing around the power from one leader to the next as the presidency changed hands

  • One “sexenio” six-yr term per president

  • Other leaders would have major positions in government to establish their influence

  • Umbrella party (PRI) institutionalized the revolution by stabilizing conflict between leaders

C rdenas upheaval 1934 1940
Cárdenas Upheaval 1934-1940

  • Lázaro Cárdenas, sometimes called the “Roosevelt of Mexico” by US scholars, both stabilized and radicalized Mexican politics, gave voice to peasant demands from revolution, tremendous personal charisma

  • Redistribution of land: taken away from bug landlords and foreigners and redistributed as “ejidos” collective land grants worked by peasants

  • Nationalization of industry: kicked out many foreign business owners that had been welcomed under Diaz, put much industry under state control. Nationalized oil and created PEMEX: giant govt controlled oil company

C rdenas legacy
Cárdenas Legacy

  • Investments in public works: govt built roads, provided electricity, created public services that modernized Mexico

  • Encouragement of peasant and union organizations: Co-optation!!!! Welcomed the input of these groups into his government, they formed their own camarillas withleaders that represented peasants and workers on the president’s cabinet

  • Concentration of power in the presidency: he exercises lots of power, but peacefully let go of power when sexenio up

  • Cardenas’ State-led development = ISI

Pendulum theory
Pendulum Theory

  • 6 ys after Cardenas left office, Miguel Aleman became president, rejected most of Cardenas’ socialist reforms and set about on a path of economic development encouraging entrepreneurship and foreign investment. He was followed byy president who shifter the emphasis back to Cardenas style reform.

  • 1970s pendulum appeared to stop with new generation of “Tecnicos” educated business-oriented leaders (often studied in US) took over government and PRI with moderate, free-market approach. 1980s, NEOLIBERALISM is economic strategy (free markets, balanced budgets, privatization, free trade and limited govt intervention.

Mexican miracle
Mexican Miracle

  • By the 1950s, Mexico welcoming foreign investment and the country’s GNP began spectacular growth that continued until the early 1980s.

  • Mexican Miracle, based on huge supplies of natural gas and oil was a model for LDCs

  • Oil Bust of the early 1980s sank the Mexcian economy, inflated value of the peso.

  • Within PRI, division between “politicos” (old style caciques who headed the camarillas) and the “tecnicos”


  • Urban v. rural: PRI and patron client system intended to control largely illiterate peasants who provided political support in exchange for small favors from the políticos, now 75% urban, literacy rate is 90%, urban voters less inclined to support PRI, more receptive to political/economic reform.

  • Mestizo v. Amerindian: main ethnic cleavage, only about 10% of Mexicans speak indigenous language, but as many as 30% consider themselves Amerindians (who are more likely to live in marginalized rural areas in poverty. This cleavage tends to define social class.

  • North v South--

    • Northern Mexico is almost a different country than the area south of Mex City. North is dry, mountainous, population is more prosperous, substantial middle class with relatively high levels of education, more supportive of market-based economy, benefit from trade with US.

    • South is subtropical, less influenced by urban areas and US, more Amerindians, less European ethnicity, average incomes lower than north. Rural base tends to support PRI, some view central govt as repressive. Chiapas is source of Zapatista movement.

Patron client system
Patron-Client System

  • Since formation of PRI in 1929, political system emphasized compromise among contending elites, behind the scenes conflict resolution, and distribution of political rewards to those willing to play by the informal and formal rules of the game, keeps control in hands of govt elite.

  • Roots in “warlordism” and 19th cent caudillos. Each group formed a camarilla, hierarchical network through which offices and benefits exchanged. Within PRI, most positions in president’s cabinet are filled by supporters or heads of other camarillas. Peasants receive jobs, financial assistance, family advice, and sometimes even food and shelter in exchange for votes for the PRI.


  • When citizen demands have gotten out of hand, usually Mexican govt responded with “co-optation” (accommodating some of their demands, but mainly by including them in the political process)

    • Ex: After 1968 student protests ended in a massacre of 200-800 by govt troops in the Tlatelolco Plaza, the next president (who had ironically been in charge of the crackdown) recruited large numbers of student activists into his administration, dramatically increased spending on social services, put many of the youth to work in expanded antipoverty programs in the countryside and urban slums

    • Zapatista uprising in Chiapas in 1994, represented Amerindians that felt disaffected from the more prosperous mestizo populations from the center of the country, reminded Mexicans that some people live in appalling conditions with little hope, and that globalization and more trade is not a solution for many. Average length of schooling still 5 ys nationwide, 1/2 eligible students enrolled in secondary schools

Voter behavior
Voter Behavior

  • Pre-1990s, PRI controlled elections at local, state, and national levels. Voting rates were high, patron-client system required political support in exchange for economic/political favors, election day was festive, party rounded up voters to polls with free food and entertainment, lots of corruption and challengers were easily defeated with “tacos” (stuffed ballot boxes)

  • Competing parties existed since 1930s

  • Voter turnout highest in 1994, 78% in 2000 64% a respectable amount

Voter behavior in 2000 election
Voter Behavior in 2000 Election

  • Age: younger voters more likely than older voters to support Vicente Fox’s PAN, older voters for PRI. Students, 59% PAN, 19% PRI

  • Education: higher education level, more lively voters were to vote fo Fox, 60% college educated voters for Fox, 22% for Labastida (PRI)

  • Region: PRI voters evenly distributed, voters in north and center-west for PAN

Political institutions regime type
Political Institutions: Regime Type

  • Corporatist Structure: central authoritarian rule that allows input from interest groups outside of government.

  • Through camarillas, leaders of important groups (business elites, workers, peasants) served in high government offices.

  • Now the transition is towards more democracy and capitalism

Developed developing or less developed
Developed, Developing or Less Developed???

  • GNP per capita: criticized b/c it doesn’t take into account what goods and services people can actually buy with their local currencies

  • PPP: takes into account actual cost of living in a particular country by figuring what it costs to buy the same bundle of goods in different countries, using US as benchmark ($9800/yr)

  • HDI Human Development Index: UN put together this measure based on a formula that takes into acct the 3 factors of LONGEVITY (life expectancy at birth), KNOWLEDGE (literacy and average ys of schooling), INCOME (PPP). Mexico’s literacy is 94% men, 90% women, life expectancy is over 70

  • Economic dependency: balanced trade is good, country is developing when it begins relying less on a stronger country to keep it afloat financially

    Mexico always comes out somewhere in the middle…it is “developing”

A transitional democracy
A Transitional Democracy

How is democracy measured?

-Political accountability (Key usually existence of regular, free and fair elections)

-Political competition: parties must be free to organize, present candidates, express ideas, and allow winning party to take office peacefully

-Political freedom: air to democracy’s fire is political freedom (assembly, organization, political expression, right to criticize govt)

-Political Equality: signs of democracy include equal access to political participation, equal rights as citizens, and equal weighing of citizen’s lives

Mexico s transitional democracy
Mexico’s transitional democracy

  • Mexico has developed many democratic characteristics, but has many vestiges of authoritarian past.

  • Standard also takes into account the longevity of democratic practices. If a nation shows consistent democratic practices for a period of 40 ys of so, then it may be declared a stable democracy.

  • Mexico does not fit this description… still in transition.

Linkage institutions
Linkage Institutions

  • Pre democratization of late 20th cent, Mexico’s political parties, interest groups, and mass media all worked under the umbrella of the PRI elite rulers to link Mexican citizens to their govt.

  • Therefore, no real, independent civil society existed.

  • Now, civil society is developing, the structures were already in place so activating democracy is easier than it would have been otherwise

Political parties
Political Parties

  • PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional): in power continuously from 1920-2000.

    • Corporatist structure: interest groups woven into structure of the party which has ultimate authority. Not democratic, but it allows more input into govt than other types of authoritarianism. Since Cárdenas sexenio, peasant and labor orgs are represented and hold positions of responsibility

    • Patron-client system: traditionally gets support from rural areas where this system in control,in a rural based Mexico, PRI had solid, thorough org that always garnered overwhelming support. Until 1988 election, no question that PRI candidate would be elected president, usually by 85-90% margins.

Political parties1
Political Parties

  • PAN National Action Party: 1939, oldest opposition party, created to represent business interests opposed to centralization and anti-clericalism. PAN is strongest in north, where tradition of resisting direction from Mex City is strongest. PAN’s platform:

    • Regional autonomy

    • Less govt intervention in economy

    • Clean and fair elections

    • Good rapport with the Catholic church

    • Support for private and religious education

      Usually considered to be to the PRI’s opposition from right

      Vicente Fox was from PAN, and Felipe Calderón too. PAN articulated the most organized opposition to PRI.

Political parties2
Political Parties

  • PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party) PRI’s opposition from left.

    • 1988 and 1994 presidential candidate was Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, son of the most famous and revered president of the revolution, Lázaro Cárdenas. He was kicked out of PRI for demanding reform that emphasized social justice & populism. 1988 he won 31% of official vote, PRD got 139/500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Many believe if election had been honest, Cardenas would have won. He became mayor of Mex City, but never had the charisma of his father

    • PRD struggled to define a left of center alternative to PRI’s market-oriented policies, leaders have quarreled and been divided on issues. Antonio Manuel Lopez Obrador (Cardenas’ successor as mayor of Mex City) ran for president in 2006 and almost won. Disputed election results. PAN candidate Calderon became president.


  • Direct elections for president, Chamber of Deputy representatives and senators, as well as many state and local officials.

  • President-first past the post (plurality), Congress plurality + PR (mixed)

  • Typical voter profiles are:

    • PRI: small town or rural, less educated, older, poorer

    • PAN: from the north, middle class professional or business, urban, better educated, religious (or those less strict about separation between church and state)

    • PRD: younger, politically active, from central states, some education, small town or urban

      Elections more competitive in urban areas. Mexico’s elections have become fairer due to demands from within (more urban, educated population) and from international sources as Mexico became part of world trade


  • 2000 Elections, PAN won w/Vicente Fox, 208/500 deputies, PRI got 209. Competition encouraged coalitions to form to the left and right of PRI, split in votes has created gridlock (unknown under PRI majority rule)

  • Members of congress are elected through a dual system of “first past the post” and “proportional representation” (PR increased in reform law in 1986).

  • Mexico has 31 states, each elects three senators (two though majority vote, third by whatever party receives the second highest number of votes.

  • Also 32 senate seats are determined nationally through a system of prop rep that divides the seats according to the number of votes cast for each party

  • In lower house (chamber of deputies) 300 seats determined by plurality within single member districts, 200 chosen by proportional representation

Interest groups and popular movements
Interest Groups and Popular Movements

  • Corporatists structure generally responds pragmatically through accommodation, so tensions among major interests rarely escalate into serious conflict.

  • Business interests worked with political leaders to protect growth of commerce, finance, industry, and agriculture, became quite wealthy but not incorporated into PRI

  • Labor has been accomodated within the system, wage levels for union workers grew consistently from 1940-1982 (with econ crisis), power of union bosses is declining because unions are weaker and union members are more independent (CMT very powerful, education union largest in LAm)

Interest groups pop movements
Interest groups & pop movements

  • Peasant organizations are encouraged by PRI, through ejido system that grants land from Mex govt to the organizations. Since 1980s these groups demanded greater independence from govt, have supported movements for better prices and access to markets and credit. Joined with other groups to promote better education, health services, and environmental protection. (CNC)

  • Urban popular movements (social welfare spending, city services, neighborhood improvements, economic development, feminism, professional identity). The political system has had to negotiate and bargain with them, transforming political culture, increasing civil society.

The media
The Media

  • When PRI monopolized Mexico, media had little power to criticize govt b/c it rewarded newspapers, magazines, radio & TV that supported them with special favors (access to newsprint/airwaves, subsidized salaries of reporters writers and media personalities that supported PRI initiative, govt placed advertisements brought in a lot of revenue)

  • 1980s media became more independent, people also have access to international news sources (CNN, BBC), now news magazines offer opinion editorials. Toallagate (overpriced towels in presidential mansion) during Fox administration indicated their independence, and “comes y te vas” comment to Fidel Castro after a UN gathering (so he could stay in Bush’s good graces)

Government institutions
Government Institutions

  • Federal republic, but state and local govts have little independent power and few resources

  • Strong presidency, legislature and judiciary traditionally were rubber-stamping executive decisions

  • Acc to Constitution of 1917, Mexican political institutions resemble those of US with theoretical checks and balances between three branches. In practice, very different, Mexican constitution is very long and easily amended, govt can best be described as a strong presidential system


  • President was virtually a dictator through huge patronage system and rubber stamp congress for his sexenio

  • Sexenio--non renewable six-year term

  • Incumbent always selected his successor (dedazo) and appointed officials to all positions of power in the govt and PRI, named PRI candidates for governors, senators, deputies and local officials.

  • Until mid-70s presidents were considered above criticism, revered as symbols of national progress and well-being

  • Despite recent changes, president still very powerful


  • More than 1 1/2 million people work in federal bureaucracy, most in Mex City

  • More govt employees staff schools, state-owned industries, and semi-autonomous agencies of the govt, and hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats fill positions in state and local govts

  • Officials are paid very little, but those at high and middle levels have a great deal of power, under PRI control they were all tied to system and accepted bribes and used insider information to promote private business deals

  • Para-statal sector (semiautonomous or autonomous govt agencies) was huge, PEMEX, since 1980s reforms trimmed number of parastatals, some privatization


  • Bicameral, 500 member Chamber of Deputies and a 128 member Senate.

  • Direct elections, mixed SMDP & PR

  • 1988 240 opposition deputies, Congress not PRI rubber stamping agent any more, still not major checks and balances.

  • 2000 PRI plurality, no majority, 2006 lost support in both houses, PRD made biggest gains.

  • WOMEN—quota 1996 election law, 30% of candidates for PR or SMDP must be women. Led to more women in Congress.


  • Rule of law requires strong judicial branch

  • Mexico doesn’t have independent judiciary or judicial review.

  • Code law, not common law. COnstitution of 1917 is law, easily amended

  • Federal & state courst (most laws are federal)

  • Supreme Court (jud rev on paper only, never overrules any govt actions), ruled by president

  • Judges traditionally resign at the beginning of each sexenio, so loyalists are on the bench.

  • Human rights issues and the media has strengthened judiciary

  • Still percetion that judges are corrupt, etc.


  • Military generals dominated politics from 19th cent to early 20th cent

  • PRI gained govt control of military—very important

  • Military depoliticized and professional officer corps, fairly disciplined

  • Moved generals from one part of the country to others to prevent caudillismo and gave military officers business opps

  • Military involved in war on drugs, some corruption

The mexican miracle
The Mexican Miracle

  • 1940-1970s over 6%/yr growth, lots of industrialization, largely without inflation

  • Based on mainly rising oil and natural gas revenues, foreign investment, etc.

  • Problems: 1) large gap between rich and poor, 2) rapid and unplanned urbanization 3) Pollution

  • The Crisis: borrowed alot against expectations of sustained high oil prices, when oil dropped in 1982, so did Mexico’s economy. MAJOR DEBT! 70% GNP

Economic reform
Economic reform

  • 1982 Pres Miguel de la Madrid , reform program w/ values of the new técnicos.

  • Sharp cuts in government spending (cut jobs, subsidies to govt agencies, parastatals, etc)

  • Debt reduction

  • Privatization (banks privatized in 1990, duty free importing of components to get US companies to invest, etc.

  • Goverment anti-poverty program: OPORTUNIDADES (free benefits and pensions for those in informal sector)

Foreign policy
Foreign Policy

  • Try to be independent and exercise sovereignty by leading other Latin American countries and opposing the US when they can get away with it

  • Almost all foreign policy in Mexico deals with US

  • DRUG Trafficking major issue—crime and corruption on the border

  • Immigration policy—Fox tried to push for immigration reform, now US approved security fence, Mexicans are against. Calderon working on improving push factors—strengthen Mexico’s own economy.

The revolution of 1910 and the sonoran dynasty 1910 1934
The Revolution of 1910 and the Sonoran Dynasty (1910–1934)

  • Coup d’etat: A forceful, extra-constitutional action resulting in the removal of an existing government.

  • Anticlericalism: Opposition to the power of churches or clergy in politics. In some countries, for example, France and Mexico, this opposition has focused on the role of the Catholic Church in politics.

L zaro c rdenas agrarian reform and the workers 1934 1940
Lázaro Cárdenas, Agrarian Reform, and the Workers (1934–1940)

  • Ejido: Land granted by Mexican government to an organized group of peasants.

  • The Politics of Rapid Development (1940–1982)

    • Clientelism (or patron-client networks): An informal aspect of policy-making in which a powerful patron (for example, a traditional local boss, government agency, or dominant party) offers resources such as land, contracts, protection, or jobs in return for the support and services (such as labor or votes) of lower-status and less powerful clients; corruption, preferential treatment, and inequality are characteristic of clientelist politics.

  • Crisis and reform 1982 2001
    Crisis and Reform (1982–2001) (1934–1940)

    • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): A treaty among the United States, Mexico, and Canada implemented on January 1, 1994, that largely eliminates trade barriers among the three nations and establishes procedures to resolve trade disputes. NAFTA serves as a model for an eventual Free Trade Area of the Americas zone that could include most Western Hemisphere nations.

    Historical junctures and political themes
    Historical Junctures and Political Themes (1934–1940)

    • Corporatist state: A state in which interest groups become an institutionalized part of the structure.

    • Civil society: Refers to the space occupied by voluntary associations outside the state, for example, professional associations (lawyers, doctors, teachers), trade unions, student and women’s groups, religious bodies, and other voluntary association groups. The term is similar to society, although civil society implies a degree of organization absent from the more inclusive term society.

    Import substitution and its consequences
    Import Substitution and Its Consequences (1934–1940)

    • Import substituting industrialization (ISI): Strategy for industrialization based on domestic manufacture of previously imported goods to satisfy domestic market demands.

    • Informal sector (economy): An underground economy.

    Organization of the state
    Organization of the State (1934–1940)

    • Proportional representation (PR): A system of political representation in which seats are allocated to parties within multimember constituencies, roughly in proportion to the votes each party receives. PR usually encourages the election to parliament of more political parties than single-member-district winner-take-all systems.

  • The President and the Cabinet

    • Technocrats: Career-minded bureaucrats who administer public policy according to a technical rather than a political rationale. In Mexico and Brazil, these are known as the técnicos.

  • The para statal sector
    The Para-Statal Sector (1934–1940)

    • Para-statals: State-owned, or at least state-controlled, corporations, created to undertake a broad range of activities, from control and marketing of agricultural production to provision of banking services, operating airlines, and other transportation facilities and public utilities.

    Political parties and the party system
    Political Parties and the Party System (1934–1940)

    • [insert: figure 10-1]

    The pri
    The PRI (1934–1940)

    Interests social movements and protest
    Interests, Social Movements, and Protest (1934–1940)

    • Accommodation: An informal agreement or settlement between the government and important interest groups that is responsive to the interest groups’ concerns for policy or program benefits.

    • Co-optation: Incorporating activists into the system while accommodating some of their concerns.