How Transnational Politics Shaped Mexican Nationalism after the 1910 Mexican Revolution, 1919–30

Friday, January 6, 2017: 8:50 AM
Room 201 (Colorado Convention Center)
Jose Luis Ramos, Valparaiso University
This paper examines the making of Mexican nationalism in the aftermath of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. While by and large Mexican nationalism is examined as the product of Mexico’s national experience, this paper sheds light on the transnational making of Mexican revolutionary nationalism. I focus on post-1919 hemispheric debates on the contested meanings of Mexican nationalism and its relationship to U.S.-Latin American relations. I argue that the core political ideas in Mexican nationalism (such as sovereignty, anti-imperialism, self-determination, and Latin American solidarity) were not made in Mexico alone and had important global referents and impacts. I show how over the 1920s Mexican nationalism was produced transnationally via the work of American, Mexican, and Latin American progressives, intellectuals, writers, and radicals. American anti-imperialists such as Carleton Beals, Mexican intellectuals such as José Vasconcelos, and Latin American radicals such as José Ingenieros defined key elements of Mexico’s nationalism within the context of U.S. imperialism in Latin America. As Mexican nationalism came to be seen as invariably opposed to U.S. imperialism, the Cold War brought about multiple and contradictory discourses of Mexican nationalism, enhancing the Mexican state’s discursive ability to play multiple sides of the conflict. In short, this paper illustrates how Mexican nationalism was also produced in hemispheric conversations during the crucial post-revolutionary moment and its lasting legacy.