Imagining Mexico in 1910: Visions of the Patria in the Centennial Celebration in Mexico City
Gonzales, Michael J.
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Mexico’s 1910 Centenario reflected a popular trend in Western Europe and its former colonies to use centenaries of important historical events to promote political programmes and philosophies through the construction of historical memory. Centennial organisers in Mexico linked Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and Jose´ Maria Morelos to President Porfirio Dı´az in words and symbols, and associated state formation and civic culture with Liberal leaders and policies, such as public education, material progress and secularism. The planners also promoted Morelos as a mestizo icon and symbol for national identity and integration, while they simultaneously celebrated Mexico’s pre-Columbian cultures and criticised contemporary natives as impediments to progress. The Centennial’s audience included hundreds of thousands of Mexicans as well as foreigners from around the globe, who came away with different impressions based on their cultural perspectives, political philosophies and material interests. Following the overthrow of Dı´az in 1911, Mexico’s revolutionary governments continued to use Independence Day celebrations to promote their programmes, including some whose origins lay in the Porfiriato. As we approach the bicentenary of Latin American independence, competing visions of patrias will likely surface and provide insights into the construction of historical memory and contemporary political discourse.