"For the Purpose of Harmonious Development": Salvador Alvarado's Revolutionary Educational Reforms in Yucatán, 1915-1918

  • Author / Creator
    Ortiz, Sofia
  • This thesis explores the revolutionary education program of General Salvador Alvarado in Yucatán from 1915 to 1918. As governor of the state, Alvarado reformed the education system to ensure that children state-wide received free, secular primary education. The education program also aimed to reform secondary education, creating a series of agricultural and vocational training schools that would ensure the productivity of the working-class population. Alvarado’s education policies were also accompanied by a series of moralizing and racialized reforms that aimed to ensure that the Indigenous population became de-Indianized, rational, sober, and hygienic. The assumption was that the Indigenous population was responsible for Yucatán’s backwardness, and that education would transform them into proper citizens and valuable members of society.
    Alvarado’s education reforms faced opposition from the hacendados and the Catholic Church, both of which had differing opinions on how education should be implemented and the goals that it should achieve. There was disagreement about the role the Catholic Church should play in education, whether girls and boys should study in the same schools, and what kind of training the Indigenous population should receive. Yucatán’s education system also struggled to survive as it lacked the necessary funds to ensure that all schools had supplies, equipment, and staff to run effectively. For these reasons, Alvarado’s education reforms ultimately did not fully endure past 1918. Ultimately, these reforms did manage to resonate with the working-class population, who actively campaigned to remind the government of the promises it had made. Alvarado managed to create an education program that would be replicated at the federal level in the 1930s and 1940s with the consolidation of the Secretariat of Public Education.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
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