McNamara,Rewriting Zapata Generational Conflict.pdf

34 sustained use of the new morelos national guard

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34. Sustained use of the new Morelos National Guard was interrupted when Alarc´on died on December 15, 1908, which created a more immediate political crisis. ıaz asked at least one other state governor to revise legislation so that National Guard troops could be federalized. Nic´eforo Guerrero, interim governor of Guanajuato, signed Decree Number 26 on May 24, 1907, which granted the President of the Republic the authority to mobilize and command the state’s two militias. See Peri´ odico Oficial del Estado de Guanajuato , ‘‘Decreto n´umero 26,’’ Tomo LII N´um. 42, 26 de mayo de 1907, 649. McNamara, Rewriting Zapata 135 This content downloaded from on Mon, 08 Oct 2018 22:59:15 UTC All use subject to
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Four themes stand out in the main body of the text prior to three concluding proposals: their hope in D´ ıaz, their hostility toward law- yers, their impatience with delays in settling the dispute, and their utter desperation. Of course, the possibility exists to consider each of these ideas and the three proposals as strategic gestures or tactics in a long and bitter legal conflict. But reading this letter separately from its stated purpose would represent a departure from the ways in which we have read and understood other documents from Anene- cuilco. It would have also been a huge risk since D´ ıaz could have accepted the offer and then assumed the issue finally settled. Perhaps the most difficult point in this regard is the letter writers’ expressions of trust in D´ ıaz. As I mentioned previously, however, turning against ıaz would have represented an end to the legal strategy and a public assertion that the federal government would have to change in order to bring about justice. Clearly, these men were not prepared in 1907 to turn against D´ ıaz. Rather, they addressed him ‘‘with the deepest respect,’’ and acknowledged that he had ‘‘saved us from the oppres- sion of tyrants,’’ echoing the affiliation of an earlier era when villagers believed D´ ıaz would help them regain their land. 35 They closed by asking for D´ ıaz’s ‘‘benevolent impulse to do what is right.’’ Although we might expect these expressions of respect from the poor and marginalized (actually D´ ıaz heard this sort of praise more often from the wealthy and connected), not everyone wrote D´ ıaz in these terms. In fact, by 1907, more and more rural populations were coming to the realization that D´ ıaz had become an obstacle to their political and economic wellbeing. 36 Rather than expressing their anger toward D´ ıaz, the villagers of Anenecuilco voiced intense hostility toward lawyers in their 1907 letter: ‘‘we have to lament, as ones who have given power to various attorneys, that these attorneys have worked in falsehood and decep- tion.’’ The most recent lawyer hired by the villagers, Francisco Ser- ralde, had encouraged the villagers to press forward with their case.
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