Revolutionary Tabasco in the time of Tomás Garrido Canabal, 1922–1935: A Mexican house divided
This dissertation is a regional study of Mexico during the reform phase of the Mexican Revolution. It analyzes the relationship between governing authorities and civil society in the southeastern state of Tabasco during the lengthy tenure of revolutionary strongman Tomás Garrido Canabal (1922–1935). Using a variety of previously untapped sources, this dissertation evaluates popular reactions to the governing mechanisms and cultural radicalism of the garridistas. It assesses how revolutionary labor policies, educational initiatives, anticlerical campaigns, and other reform measures, were received by Tabasco's diverse population. Ultimately, it concludes that while the garridistas were able to amass something of a popular following, the ideological intolerance and institutional rigidity of the Garrido State undermined the democratizing promise of its reformist agenda.
To a great extent, the governing rigidity of the garridistas can be explained by the repeated efforts of their political opponents to overthrow them. These “enemy” schemes, which had local, regional, and national dimensions, were more and less successful. That the Garrido regime successfully weathered attacks on its rule for better than twelve years was due to the popular mobilization of its most loyal constituencies and the intervention of federal authorities. At a broader level, then, this thesis reflects on the complex way in which power was mediated and maintained in revolutionary Mexico.