Estate Management Under Crisis in Revolutionary Mexico


I set out this summer research venture having previously focused my research on the peace process in Colombia and its implementation in the southern region of Popayán. However, I had the fortune of beginning my archival research at the Nettie Lee Benson Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. The Ínigo Noriega Laso papers in the Benson Collection had spurred me on a path of study that focused on the management of Mexican businesses in the course of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. In my two months in Mexico, I hoped to find more material regarding businessmen and their activities during the Revolution and to begin to chart the course for a successful dissertation project. Though I found my initial efforts confounded by the lack of archival material regarding private enterprise in Mexico City, through the assistance of numerous historians at the Colegio de México I found myself in the archive of Mexican President and revolutionary general Plutarco Elías Calles. The Calles archives demonstrated that northern Mexico in the waning years of the Revolution was an area of particular economic dynamism, as the general fielded a number of investment requests in developmental ventures, all while attempting to maintain military campaigns against both the Yaqui and counter-revolutionary forces. Further, I managed to create a plan for future research in my dissertation field focusing on the weakening Porfirian elites, the emergent revolutionary economic elite, and their respective business enterprises. The archival research I undertook, especially in the Calles archive will provide valuable framing information for the management behavior of both categories of businessmen in the deeply unstable environment of the Mexican Revolution.

Chris Sullivan
Publication date: 
August 27, 2016
Publication type: 
Student Research