Front cover image for Sobering the Revolution: Mexico's Anti-Alcohol Campaigns and the Process of State-Building, 1910-1940

Sobering the Revolution: Mexico's Anti-Alcohol Campaigns and the Process of State-Building, 1910-1940

This dissertation examines the intimate connection between the State-building process and the temperance movement and asserts that neither project was merely imposed from the top down, but rather, involved input from a variety of actors. As presidents worked to rebuild the federal government during the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1940, they also strove to rid the country of alcoholism. In particular, utilizing prejudiced notions of class, ethnicity, and gender, they targeted working-class and indigenous men, who they tried to transform into pacifistic patriarchs, efficient workers, and sober, responsible citizens. However, the case study of Sonora demonstrates that this federal project did not go uncontested. Presidents relied on governors and legislators to mandate temperance, mayors to enforce these laws, and citizens to follow them, but these people did not always willingly comply and thus policies often had to be modified. In other instances, ordinary people supported the anti-alcohol campaign, creating unofficial temperance leagues, petitioning the president to close more cantinas, or demanding that corrupt authorities obey alcohol legislation. Governors', mayors', and especially citizens' contributions to the anti-alcohol campaign and the State-building process may not have been equal to those of federal leaders, but both projects certainly benefited from the input of a diverse cross-section of society. This present research adds to and combines three historiographical fields on the history of alcohol, State-building, and the social and cultural components of revolutions. It is the first, full-length study of the anti-alcohol campaign during the Mexican Revolution and the only work about Mexico as of yet to examine temperance from the national, state, municipal, and popular perspective. This work also corroboratesthe argument of recent political scholars, demonstrating that the process of State formation was shaped by input from individuals on a variety of planes. Finally, this dissertation shows that the government's cultural policies, which included promoting high art, distributing propaganda, and carrying out campaigns such as the temperance movement, should not be seen as trivial. Rather, attempts to form a new, modern citizenry through these projects were a vital part of the State-building process and of social revolution in general
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 2008
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 2008
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona