Cristero Diaspora: Religious Nationalism among Mexican Emigrants in the United States, 1926–29

Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:50 AM
Old Town Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Julia G. Young, George Mason University
This presentation will examine national identity among Mexican emigrants to the United States during the Cristero War years (1926-1929), paying particular attention to the thousands of emigrants, exiles, and refugees who sympathized with the Cristero cause. This diasporic group, whose upper-, middle-, and lower class members collaborated across regions, cities, and national borders in order to promote and advance the Catholic side of the conflict, viewed the Mexican Catholic Church as an institution that was vital to the identity and strength of the Mexican nation. As such, they were inherently conservative, and rejected many of the policies of Calles's Revolutionary government. 

Their nationalistic vision was distinctly religious, and seems to have arisen from at least three historical origins: the cult of Guadalupe, post-Independence conservatism, and the international Regnum Christi movement launched by Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quas Primas. An examination of the nationalistic vision of this diasporic group, as well as of their contentious interactions with representatives of the Mexican state (particularly Mexican consular agents) provides a new, transnational window into the ongoing struggle over the definition of nationalism and national identity between conservative Mexican citizens and the Mexican Revolutionary state during the 1920s.