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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

El Porfirismo, Historia de un Rdgimen: El Nacimiento (1876-
1880). By Jos6 C. Valad6s.
Mexico, D. F.: Porrua y Hijos, 1941. Pp. xxiii, 450. 10 pesos in
paper binding; 15 pesos in cloth.
The estimation of the Diaz regime has gone through two
distinct stages and is now entering a third. During the latter
days of the Diaz government, before the revolution, Don Porfirio
was pictured as the greatest Mexican of all time, a fine and
progressive administrator who had brought Mexico from the
depths of despair to the heights of prosperity; immediately
after the revolution, Diaz was portrayed as a bloody arch-
tyrant. Jos6 C. Valades is now leading the way for a new evalua-
tion, which is a more sane and unbiased analysis of the period.
The intention of the author is to write a three-volume work,
only the first of which has been published to date; the remain-
ing two are planned for the next three or four years.
This volume covers the first eight years of the Diaz period,
going through the administration of Manuel Gonzalez. The
treatment of the subject, from the standpoint of documenta-
tion, style, and organization, is unique in many respects. Unlike
most Mexican historians. Valad6s has amply documented his
work and has left no doubt as to the sources of his information.
His style is clear and simple, painting a picture of the period
in such a manner that one almost lives in the era.
Abandoning the stereotyped manner that is so often used in
historical works, the author divides the book into ten chapters
dealing with various threads of the period, developing each indi-
vidually for the eight-year period handled. Dispensing with
the purely political aspects of the regime in one chapter, the
author moves on to the other elements that made up the Diaz
period. His second division deals with the development of a
Mexican economy and industry, concerning which he points out
the difficulties encountered and the general advancement. He
then passes to a full and enlightening discussion of banditry
and rebellion, of which there was a considerable amount. His
treatment of the social conditions of the age is very interesting
and gives a picture of the times, discussing the factors involved
and the trends. The rights of private property and the agrarian
problem are dealt with at some length, followed by a full
analysis of the Church situation and the beginnings of the


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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