Mexican presidents Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940) and Luis Echeverría (1970–1976) used populist politics in an effort to obtain broad-based popular support for their presidential goals. In spite of differences in administrative plans, both aimed to close political divisions within society, extend government programs to those on the margins of national life, and prevent foreign ideologies and practices from disrupting domestic politics. As different as they were in political style, both relied on appealing to the public through mass media, clothing styles, and music.
This volume brings together twelve original essays that explore the concept of populism in twentieth century Mexico. Contributors analyze the presidencies of two of the century’s most clearly populist figures, evaluating them against each other and in light of other Latin American and Mexican populist leaders. In order to examine both positive and negative effects of populist political styles, contributors also show how groups as diverse as wild yam pickers in 1970s Oaxaca and intellectuals in 1930s Mexico City had access to and affected government projects.
The chapters on the Echeverría presidency are written by contributors at the forefront of emerging scholarship on this topic and demonstrate new approaches to this critical period in Mexican history. Through comparisons to Echeverría, contributors also shed new light on the Cárdenas presidency, suggesting fresh areas of investigation into the work of Mexico’s quintessentially populist leader. Ranging in approach from environmental history to labor history, the essays in this volume present a complex picture of twentieth century populism in Mexico.