Analysis Of Michael Johns's 'The City Of Mexico In The Age Of Diaz'

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Register to read the introduction… Robbery and social crimes, such as drunkenness, lead to the imprisonment and shipment of lower class rateros (thieves) to work as hacienda slaves. Johns writes, "It also provided workers for hacienda owners … thousands of these mostly peasant migrants were sent back to the countryside as slave laborers on henequen estates in the Yucatan …" (70). Rurales left the countryside's radicals dead, working, or subdued. However, city police, without all the gaucho flamboyance of the rurales, served as little more than a city joke: "The government and the police captains were as concerned with watching their own lawmen as they were with catching criminals" (72). This lack of discipline and respect further ripped apart the division in the classes. When little could be done to control the lower classes' actions, Mexico City did not turn to the social programs installed by the very countries they tried to mirror. Instead, Diaz lead a strategy beginning in 1866 to pacify the masses with the allowance of social activities like the burning of the Judas's bull fights or parades through West Mexico City. "Revenge on the act of betrayal," Johns hypothesizes, " answered a need deep in Mexican history" (84). These outlets for frustrations held by all pelados relieved tensions that would normally be satisfied in the form of rebellion or …show more content…
The mestizo population of Mexico constantly sought the acceptance of their "superiors." Mexicans had long been the victims of conquerors and wished to demonstrate "Valor in the face of defeat: here was the sentiment that had become the most cherished quality of this new, battle-scarred nation" (26). Rich citizens on the Westside sought the admiration of the great western powers through proof of cultural cultivation. In describing measures taken by Diaz and other influential Mexicans during the centennial celebration in ridding the streets of vagrants and ruining their façade of Europe in the tropics, Johns illustrates, "Just as foreign dignitaries began to arrive, the police swept pelados off the downtown streets and kept them out of the west side's parks and plazas" (89). Thus, the visiting bigwigs could not acknowledge the upper class Mexican's largest blemish—the poor masses of drunk and unwashed—a clear indicator of indigenous tendencies. While the rich were busy tending to their vanities, the meager remained unyielding in pursuit of prosperity. Both men and women worked for a dwelling, food, clothing, and entertainment purposes. Johns uses pulque, the Mexican alcohol of choice, as an example of one of the few pleasures enjoyed by the

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