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From the Grounds UpBuilding an Export Economy in Southern Mexico$
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Casey Marina Lurtz

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781503603899

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503603899.001.0001

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From Bullets to Bureaucracy

From Bullets to Bureaucracy

(p.63) 3 From Bullets to Bureaucracy
From the Grounds Up

Casey Marina Lurtz

Stanford University Press

Order and progress have long defined both the ambitions and achievements of governments across Latin America at the turn of the century. This chapter demonstrates how local actors also put those ideas into play, working around political violence by engaging with state bureaucracy. In parallel to the political history of popular liberalism, this chapter traces a popular history bureaucratic liberalism. Beginning with the history of a local cacique’s rise to the state governorship, it then traces his decline through the gradual reworking of the apparatus and physical spaces of state institutions into places where producers could work around the cacique’s arbitrary exercise of power. This sidestepping of political authority set the stage for local control over the implementation of reform, even after the cacique’s death. Administration substituted for electoral politics, but administration itself became a means of local assertions of self-governance.

Keywords:   Cacique, federalism, liberalism, Porfirio Díaz, bureaucracy, state consolidation, institutions

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