Disorder And Progress: Bandits, Police, And Mexican Development By Paul J.

Superior Essays
In his book Disorder and Progress: Bandits, Police, and Mexican Development, Paul J. Vanderwood discusses the Rural Police, also known as Rurales, of Mexico. Vanderwood traces the conception of the Mexican police force to the presidency of Benito Juárez’s. Likewise, Vanderwood explains Juárez’s motives behind the creation of the police force, despite Juárez’s liberal ideology and faith in federalism. Vanderwood also discusses the transformation of the Mexican police force during Porfirio Díaz’s dictatorship. Disorder and Progress emphasizes the roles of disorder and order in Mexico during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Vanderwood’s emphasis on the roles of disorder and order helps to illuminate how Mexican leaders, especially Díaz, …show more content…
The Rurales were no longer just tools for political centralization, they were also tools for modernization. Although Díaz was not responsible for the creation of the Rurales, Díaz certainly did expand the numbers and the powers that the police force had. By the year 1880, Díaz “had expanded the force by percent to 1,767 men and had won a 400 percent budgetary increase out of Congress.” The growth of the rural police force and expansion of their powers were primarily the result of Díaz’s role as a dictator. There is no doubt that Díaz used the Rurales to his advantage by using them as his “peacekeepers” and as a tool for political centralization ; however, Díaz was not the sole beneficiary. In return for protecting Díaz’s interests, the Rurales received great rewards. Vanderwood states that, “their payment included peculations of money and materiel”. Moreover, Díaz supplied the Rurales with guns which they previously had to supply themselves. For Díaz to reward those who were loyal to him was common at this time, and no doubt, this was a major contributor to how he was able to retain his power for over a quarter of a …show more content…
Of course, the Rurales supported Díaz, but they were not alone. Foreign investors, especially American foreign investors, were strong supporters of Díaz because they saw him as a man who kept order in Mexico. Although modernization was significant to both Juárez and Díaz, Díaz placed an importance on economic development through foreign investment. The Mexican dictator protected his interests in foreign investment through the exploitation of the Rural Police. Díaz concentrated the Rurales in Central Mexico. Díaz chose Central Mexico for the Rurales because the area was experiencing heavy modernization, which in turn resulted in an increase in new enterprises appearing. The growth of enterprise resulted in issues such as population disruption and increased the desire for Mexicans to migrate. The Rurales were to create an illusion of order in these areas so that American investors felt comfortable enough to continue their financial activities in Mexico. This strategy allowed for foreign investments to continue flowing through Mexican, despite the fact that Mexico was not as stable as it appeared to be. In turn, Mexico was able to continue to modernize. Clearly, without the loyalties of the Rurales and foreign investors, it would have been a lot more difficult for Mexico to undergo modernization as it

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