Cardenas And Populism

1736 Words 7 Pages
Cardenismo at is core is based on populist principles of appealing to the masses. To maintain order and popularity President Cardenas created policies that would make the masses content, regardless of their long-term implications. By disguising the policies with populist rhetoric Cardenas was able to appear to be institutionalizing the ideals of the Mexican Revolution. In reality he was cutting deals right and left in order to maintain his popularity. This political performance resulted in Cardenas appearing to be a reformer who created and passed reforms that would bring about radical change to Mexico. An example of this political performance was Cardenas proposed agrarian reform. This reform was popular because it appealed to the rural poor …show more content…
President Lazaro Cardenas’ political style and policies allow him to be identified as a Populist. Using Allan Knight,’s (1998) definition of populism, a leading historian in Modern Mexican history at Oxford University, Cardenas can be associated with this term. Knight (1998) defines populism as “ (a) an appeal to ‘the people’; popular mobilization; dynamic [charismatic?] leadership; and (b) a reformist rather than revolutionary programme; a multiclass constituency; an urban base.” Evidence of the first part of Knights definition can be found in Cardenas proposal for radical change and a progressive agenda that allowed him to win over the trust and hearts of peasants and workers. Cardenas came to be seen as the common citizens advocate. Building his support among common ordinary citizens created a massive base of political support for Cardenas. His political career was built from grassroots support he had gained as a fighter in the Revolution and other political offices held. Furthermore by refusing to be one of Calles puppets Cardenas proved his commitment to establish radical change in Mexico (Gonzales, 2002). Such political moves gained Cardenas not only support from the poor but also from workers and concerned citizens who were tired of …show more content…
In theory Cardenismo attempted to bring about radical change to the Mexican government and society. In reality Cardenismo failed as the policies created that promised permanent changed were masked in the immediate changes that appealed to the masses but were not long lasting. President Cardenas can be characterized as a Populist politician for his commitment to appeal to the masses and create policies around this hype. Polices such as the agrarian reform provided immediate change but were not substantive enough to continue the re-distributing of wealth to the poor, this being one of the key values of the revolution. The policies real effects were disguised by President Cardenas populist rhetoric and political style. Appealing to the masses and providing temporary change allowed for President Cardenas to be viewed as the new face of the Mexican government, however this change was short lived as its polices were only temporary. Cardenismo failed as the policies created that promised permanent changed were masked in the immediate changes that appealed to the masses but were not long

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