Major and Classification
Anthropology and History
George Sánchez, PhD., Professor of History and American Studies & Ethnicity
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
“Pax Porfiriana: Porfirio Díaz in Mexican Politics and Society, 1876-1910”
This project examines the factors that led to the stability of the presidency of General Porfirio Díaz. Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico for over thirty years, from 1876-1880 and 1884-1911. This period is commonly referred to as the Porfiriato, was characterized as a period of political stability, economic development and social unrest. Díaz came to power under circumstances that betrayed the rest of his tenure in office. During the later seven of eight terms for which he was elected, Díaz manipulated the Federal Constitution, controlled the Congress, and the Judiciary, and controlled Mexican workers, indigenous populations and foreign investors. My study stipulates that the period was good for some aspects; economic development, military stability, and bad for some aspects; civil turmoil, political manipulation and use of force to deal with social issues. This research interprets scholarly work on the Porfiriato and political tracts from the period and proposes that Díaz stayed in power through the manipulation of the interests of different strata of Mexican society. The paper traces the interpretation and meaning of Díaz’s interpretation of his tenure in office as described through an interview he gave in 1908 to an American journalist. The paper concludes with a narration of the effects of limiting power as a mechanism of controlling society and consolidating power in paralegal ways.