Show Summary Details

Page of

 PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY (oxfordre.com/latinamericanhistory). (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 January 2019

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970

Summary and Keywords

The image of the Mexican Motherland protected by the national eagle was one of the most circulated civic symbols during the period of the welfare state (1940–1973). Between 1962 and 1977, it illustrated the covers of the free texts created and given by the Ministry of Public Education to all students. The image gained circulation again in 2008, on the textbook History and Citizenship. It was also employed as the logo for the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social [Mexican Institute of Social Security], an organization to which the government devoted an important part of its budget.

Welfare state programs developed in several countries. In Mexico, the ideals were promoted by the official party that ruled the nation for nearly seventy years. During the presidency of Adolfo López Mateos (1958–1964), when the country experienced its best moment of economic welfare, political stability, and consolidated this patriotic—and propagandistic—symbol, it became a significant component of the civic collective imaginary.

By this time, a solid symbolic apparatus already existed and marked “memory spaces”—with its expressions of public art, like the ones in the visual vocabularies of free textbooks. It formed one of the tools for the exercise of symbolic power needed for governability. The image of Motherland protected by the national eagle (with its gender connotations) can be described as: Motherland is a woman and government is a man; this allows the citizens to relate the civic realm to the private one and to the functions and divisions of the social order and in the family environment.

The example of the Motherland as a source of life and provider of social services for citizenship and that of the government as the provider, onlooker, and president of homeland functions, sublimated and reinforced these values in familiar and social arenas—a role previously assigned to the woman. Reverence to the nation obscured the predetermination of her reproductive duties to the care of its offspring and of its home to the man as head of family in his functions as a provider. Therefore, the visual arts and textbook writing in particular, as well as the visual-spatial language, led to the establishment, internalization, and preservation of the status quo in the social structures and civic norms reinforced by the uses and habits, operating to promote controlling groups, either the paternalist government or the conservative family man.

The welfare state opened a connection to art not only because of the economic boom and the investments in public works and projects, which included public works of art, but also because of the interest of political leaders in education, patronage, and artistic diffusion. Public art played a fundamental role both in the symbolic government apparatus and in the artistic world itself. Possibilities of participation in constructive projects subisidized by the government increased, consisting of both facilities for health-care and housing services, as well as museum spaces. Among these projects was the first museum of modern art, opened in 1964. In addition, the art market strengthened with the opening of galleries accesible to both the middle class and the elite. Consequently, struggles for power between different artistic trends and groups and the Mexican School of Painting that, since 1921, with its budgetary ups and downs and the downfall of its sponsor, relied on an official subsidy to make public art. Although two of the three masters of muralism, Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, had died, David Alfaro Siqueiros remained active, and mural production continued with artists of younger generations, new trends, and uneven artistic quality. In the realm of public art, the Plastic Integration started by the painter Carlos Mérida and the architect Mario Pani, promoted contributions in its pursuit of a total oeuvre derived from the harmonic encounter of painting, sculpture, and architecture in addition to the geometric pictorial language of pre-Hispanic inspiration and to the simplicity of prismatic forms from international architecture. Within the modern spirit and its “tradition of permanent rupture with tradition,” the second and third group of muralists, largely led by Siqueiros, confronted the “ruputura” generation, then a group of young artists who lacked a particular stylistic approach, and likened the foreign nonrealism to the didactic and propaganda-oriented character of their rivals. This trend emerged in the 1950s and consolidated in the 1960s. It comprised José Luis Cuevas, Alberto Guironella, and Cordelia Urueta, who were linked to neo-figurative art and to abstract art in several modalities with Vlady, Manuel Felgueres, Lilia Carrillo, Juán García Ponce, Pedro Coronel, Kasuya Sakai, and Vicente Rojo, among others. Overall, these trends and conflicts between political realism and nonrealism shared characteristics on the international level during the Cold War.

Keywords: Mexican Miracle, Motherland, citizenship, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), textbooks, gender stereotypes, primary education, welfare state, Jorge González Camarena

The Motherland in the Welfare State, 1940–1973

The Motherland image was one of the most popular icons in the civic nationalist repertoire between the years from 1940 to 1973, a period when Mexico experienced one of its best moments of political stability and economic welfare.1 During the apex of the era, when Adolfo López Mateos served as president (1958–1964), a constitutional mandate for public education declared that textbooks should be free and subsidized by the government. The painter Jorge González Camarena received the commission to draw the allegory Motherland for the cover of the free textbooks.

This representation of the homeland as a mother protected by the national eagle—fulfilling its role as provider of knowledge, natural resources, and progress—is the topic of this article; it served as the visual imaginary for all Mexicans because it was one of best-known symbols of the protective regime. In 1944, during the period of abundance under President Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940–1946), the director of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) (Mexican Institute of Social Security), Ignacio García Téllez, asked Salvador Zapata to draw the symbol of this relationship: the national eagle with wings wide open, protecting the Motherland while she nurses her offspring. On May 10, 1949, the Monumento a la Madre [Monument to the mother]—partially destroyed by the earthquake of September 19, 2017—was inaugurated in Mexico City, although its origins reached back to 1921, with the establishment of Mother’s Day in Mexico. Between 1962 and 1972 the work of Jórge González Camarena illustrated the cover of all free textbooks and in 1973, painters of different styles started participating in the project without a designated theme. Since 2008, the image has reappeared on the cover of the textbook Formación Cívica y Ética [Ethical and civic education].2

The presence of the feminine figure in these national symbols suggests a new reading of the image that not only shows the celebration of the gifts from the welfare government but also allows for a comparison with the role the government assumed about the woman and her function in the social fabric (and particularly in the nuclear family). In order to understand the evolution of these civic-maternal representations of the woman as a procreator, educator, and matrix of the family requires discussion of the sociohistorical context and the ideologic and plastic frameworks that marked the role of the government as the safeguard of the Motherland.

El “Milagro Mexicano” and the Motherland

The “Milagro Mexicano,” (or “Mexican Miracle”) began with the six-year tenure of Miguel Aleman (194–195), a zenith in the economic growth derived from the Second World War and ended when the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) [Institutional revolutionary party] adopted the neoliberal model in 1973.3 Supposedly acting as “representative and executor of the principles of Mexican Revolution” in its character of a centralized regime, modernization agent, and development promoter, and sponsored social and political organization, the PRI assumed responsibility for protecting social welfare and defending national sovereignty. This presidentialist, one-party, and centralist government system was allied to the United States, Japan, China, and the European countries after the Second World War, all of which adopted the model of the welfare state.4

Thanks to political stability and economic growth from 1940 to 1973, the Mexican government could allocate a considerable part of its budget to programs of public goods and popular education.5 During the six-year tenure of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940) an effort started to implement social security. But it was only in 1943, when the social security law was approved, did the government guarantee to its citizens medical, surgical, and hospital care. And, in the next year, it founded IMSS with the purpose of serving the state’s workers and their families.

During the presidency of López Mateos, the programs of social security and education had their most important moment of expansion. The IMSS broadened its services to the financing of housing and culture. Furthermore, the Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) [Secretariat of public education] implemented el Plan Nacional para el Mejoramiento y Expansión de la Educación Primaria o Plan de Once Años (1959–1970) [National plan for improvement and expansion of elementary school education or the eleven year plan] and published—as part of the program—the first edition of the free textbooks. Benito Coquet, general director of IMSS, and Jaime Torres Bodet, head of SEP, gave priority to the promotion of citizenship values and the birth of a civic consciousness in a social order controlled and protected by the government.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 1. Rural School Juan Escutia, Colegio La Magdalena in the city of Soteapan, Veracruz.

Picture by the author.

During this time, in official spaces, the image of the mother was the symbol of the homeland, the source of life, the protector and provider of social services for the “Mexican family,” and a symbol of patriotism. Moreover, the symbol appropriated the image of the eagle devouring the serpent from the national emblem, preserving its symbolic relationship to the government’s role as guardian, defender, and ruler of the homeland, provider of material resources, and protector of the established order and the social peace. This division of these roles could be compared to those that, according to the regime, should be exercised by the woman, the man, and the children in the nuclear family.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 2. Mural Escuela Rural Juan Escutia, Colegio La Magdalena in the city of Soteapan, Veracruz.

Picture by the author.

In 1960, Mexico celebrated the 150th anniversary of independence and the 50th anniversary of the revolution. The celebration provided a sample of the government’s view of the woman as mother and of the programs devoted to emphasizing her functions. One came in the printing of a widely distributed book entitled 50 años de revolución [50 years of revolution], that dedicated several chapters to the family institution and the series of educational and health programs offered expressly to housewives and their children in the Unidad Habitacional Independencia [Independence housing unit], —among several others—inaugurated in September 1960, also as part, of the celebrations.6

The book’s second volume, titled La vida social [The social life], maintained the focus on the allegorical and conceptual tone of the image of Motherland with visual metaphors used as powerful figures whose iconography symbolized civic principles or ideals. This was an important testimony to the role that the patriarchal regime assumed and the place, sense, and hierarchy that it assigned to the woman in the tasks of procreation and homecare that were supposedly characteristic of her gender.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 3. The mothers practice the teachings in their homes at the Centro de Seguridad Social para el Bienestar Familiar or the Center for Social Security for the Family Welfare.

Reproduced by permission from Efrén del Pozo and Max Aub, La seguridad Social en México (México City: Helio-IMSS, 1964).

In order to explain the sense and the innerworkings of the family and the role of the Mexican government in it, María Elvira Bermúdez in the chapter “La Familia” [The family], based her argument on the book Psicología social [Social psychology] from L. L. Bernard about the theory of primary and derived groups as bases of social organization.7 In the first group, the family assumes the central place; in the second, the government is as central as the school, the church, and even gangs. According to this theory, the primary group has the function of shaping the personality of children and young men and women and of controlling the actions of adults. To survive in these groups, the individual is forced to copy models and rules established by the patriarch and the family itself. In this context, conformity is vital and so is the cooperation of its members for economic unity. The conservation and transmission of techniques and knowledge to transform the individual into a producer or worker for the group is acquired from others in the same family, although also from the media and from cultural diffusion. Within this structure, the mother is subject to the patriarch’s orders and cannot rely on her own capital, work, or study without the consent of her family chief.

According to Bernard, in general terms, in industrial societies the functions of the family primary group tend to disappear, and the transmission of useful culture for transference of knowledge then happens by indirect contact with media such as books, newspapers, and libraries. While the industry provides the sources of work, the schools provide training techniques. “The modern child makes analogue and functional adaptations of work, especially considering institutions of methodical preparation, such as the school.”8 As a result, the impact of the rules of the family over the social order becomes increasingly smaller.

According to Bermúdez, in Mexico, the model of primary groups that correspond to patriarchal families was barely extant because the goverment, as a derived group, covered many of the functions of primary congregations to provide and manage its goods, normalized the behavior of its members, and empowered them as economic agents.9 Contradicting the affirmation of the supposed prevalence of the nuclear family model (composed of father, mother and children), in this chapter and in Ana María Flores’s chapter in the same edition they show that single mothers prevailed both among the urban and indigenous societies; this was one of the main reasons why government intervention was vital, since the majority of these women needed economic and educational resources to prevent dysfunction in the single-parent family.10

A reflection of the official posture toward woman, the conception of the family constitution, and the origins and consequences of its “anomalies” are attributed to the “exaggerated number of single or abandoned mothers” with the consequence of the “absence of the father and husband, her natural leader.”11 Bermúdez attributes such failures to the individual, to the peculiar Mexican temperament, and to an inappropriate fulfillment of instinct. She underscores that such dysfunction generates “juvenile delinquency and childhood mortality and morbidity, concomitant to the misery and illiteracy.”12 To the same degree, she censures women pregnant out of wedlock, both in civil and religious sectors, providing an explanation of why public programs are directed at her, not as complicity or overlapping of a so called wanton conduct, but arguing that only the government can ease the social consequences of this conduct “legally and with assistance protecting the children of these single mothers, and themselves.”13 The authors refer in general terms to the postrevolutionary period, in which for the sake of governability, society champions family unity and the role distribution of its members. And with the first discourse they add the homeland to the family.14 During the viceroyalty, marriage was appreciated. The welfare state also especially promoted the nuclear family structure, among other reasons to confront the excessive population growth: since the government had a difficult time implementing birth control without antagonizing the Catholic Church.

Notwithstanding that indigenous women appeared on the covers of textbooks, in the Monument to the Mother, and in various other versions of the IMSS symbol (including the aforementioned book), the revolutionary governments could accomplish little within this large population group.15 Furthermore, women were victims of sexism in their communities and

humiliated by the indigenous man, who considers her a possession and never, or almost never, his companion, subjugating her to arduous labors of carrying loads or of rural work, while the man enjoys the major or minor benefits he obtains in an uneven proportion regarding the one who truly deserves them.

Likewise, “He precludes the primary role that every woman should play in the family and relegates her to a plan based on false premises, that her social, cultural, and educational influence is null or nearly null in the inner or outer family development.”16 Nor, did he acknowledge her right to the possession of material goods nor the right to making decisions in her own community.

In short, since the case of the single mothers was considered a obstacle to society’s progress—as it was subjugating an indigenous woman—the government assumed the function of contributing and monitoring evolution toward the nuclear family, a “modern” structure accepted as the only functional modality. Consequently, the regime promoted the family in legal and social orders and gave assistance through several official institutions.17 Many ministries and agencies combined in this official effort, but the regime of López Mateos underscored it, publicized programs, and organized the IMSS undertakings. This paradigmatic oeuvre was accomplished in the Unidad Habitacional Independencia, the multifamily housing built to provide decent housing with social, cultural, and health-care services to the residents.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 4. Mexican family under the protection of Article 123.

Reproduced by permission from Concepción Barrón de Morán, Mi libro de cuarto año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1969), 184.

The Allegorical Representations of the Woman in Times of Prosperity and in the Face of Her Treatment in Daily Life

The image of the woman as a fertility goddess is as old as humanity itself and common to every culture, from Mesopotamia to Mesoamerica. But this allegory’s particular connotations vary according to time and space and show how it was used as an instrument to exercise symbolic power. In Mexico, during the times of the welfare state, the original rise of the goddess mother was preserved; however, the works of art sponsored by the government were combined with other devices to establish and preserve a social order that allowed for governabilily.

The visual celebration of the proper functions of the female then become compartments that confined her role to a procreator responsible for raising her offspring and supporting her head of family. Such is the case of the Monumento a la Madre, by the sculptor Luis Ortiz Monasterio, inaugurated during the tenure of President Miguel Alemán Valdés (1946–1952). This obelisk shows an indigenous mother holding her child flanked on her left by the goddess of corn, the symbol of fertility, and on her right, by a man reading (a metaphor for the wise father) who is a provider and family guide.18 Accompaning the man is a sign with the caption: “To the one who loved us before knowing us”—which due to the pressure of a group of feminists received, in 1991, an additional caption: “Because her maternity was voluntary.” A second case was the symbol of IMSS in 1944 in which a mother appears nursing her child under the protection of the national eagle with the motto: “Security for all.” Among all the forms associated with this institutional logo, the sculpture Maternidad (Motherhood), also by Ortiz Monasterio in 1963, stands out. Placed in the main plaza of the Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI de la Ciudad de Mexico [21st-century national medical center of Mexico City], it is part of a nationalist allegorical ensemble—among other elements—in the sculptural-architectural finishing of the stairs that lead to the congressional hall. This is composed of a group of columns that have on their bases tigers and a monumental fountain that holds the shield of IMSS in the center, and whose mother image, with indigenous traits, has become through its visual rendering of mystery and closeness to the image of the Virgin, a votive civic-religious image to which the ill and their relatives offer candles in hopes she will protect their health. The representation of the triad mother-motherland-indigenous, in its distinct modalities of public art, is not merely a mea culpa that intends to compensate for the authorities’ abandonment of the peasant woman—a woman that is still part of the most unprotected social group in Mexico.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 5. Protest by the Grupo Autónomo de Mujeres Universitarias or Group of Autonomous University Women at the Monumento a la Madre, c. 1971. CHE 993, College Helen Escobedo-Paolo Gori, Photographic Archive Manuel Toussaint from the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at UNAM. The photo was taken c. 1971 during a women students’ rally at the Monumento a la Madre, in protest against the feminine image conveyed on textbooks.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 6. Madonna symbol of IMSS, Federico Cantú, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI.

Picture by the author.

In 1959, tucked in the lap of the Motherland and protected by the national eagle—symbol of IMSS—the building of the Independence Housing Unit started with a government construction department subsidy and direction. Through this program, the government broadened its social security services and extended the provision of housing to the needy, prioritizing families with one child or more.19 The construction guidelines employed for the urban design reached international standards and added to the ethic-aesthetic principles that inspired IMSS.

Benito Coquet claimed at national and international levels the Unidad Independencia was a role model for the government’s achievements in providing public goods and services.20 The model and ideal of the official party went beyond simply giving decent housing to the families of its workers. In the interior of their homes, in squares and gardens, in daycare centers, in kindergartens, in schools, in the clinic, in markets and shops, in sports zones, and in the theaters, there would always be a new impetus that nurtured the family bonds of solidarity. Among workers this was a friendly and active bond that constitued a constant source of transmission and that identified with Mexico’s aspiration for the progress of all of its children.21

The buildings for social services and the Independence Theater were the only ones integrated into the larger square of this housing unit; the first as a kindness symbol and the other as an emblem of culture and spiritual nourishment. Moreover, they showed the bond of health and culture that had importance for the lopezmateísta generation.22 The Centro de Seguridad para el Bienestar Familiar [Security center for family welfare] gave priority services to mothers. The official inscription on the building reflects this intention.

With two floors, the center has large windows that allow the light to come in. “There, undoubtedly the woman’s spirit and knowledge will be elevated to incalculable levels from the practical and objective teachings conveyed in the halls. The modern facilities and equipment suit these aims of either aesthetic culture, dance, recitation, drama, sewing or modeling—or first aid, child care, and mainly, cooking and dessert making—so the housewife learns how to season nutritious and low-cost dishes that surpassed the current unhealthy fare in working-class houses.”23 It also included daycare centers for mothers who wanted to work or simply to run an errand downtown.

The programs devoted to women included knowledge focused on “errands and chores proper to her gender,” which besides improving or “cheering” their performance in the domestic life, could help them to bring more income to the household without abandoning home chores.24 As Gabriela Cano emphasizes, it was about a conservative form of feminism—that is, it praised women’s rights as long as they could maintain the social stability, the identities, and the spheres of feminine and masculine actions as distinctly marked.25

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 7. Revista América, October 1, 1960.

The Centro de Servicio Sociales [Social services center] had the IMSS shield as an adornment, meaning that the image of a mother nursing her child protected by the national eagle as the “symbol for the nation’s and its institutions’ care for its citizens under the government’s defense and free-will.”26 This shield—carved by the painter and engraver Federico Cantú—is placed on the left side of the square, on the exterior wall of the lateral facade overseeing the street, for all to see. Because the image celebrates the multifamily housing unit and its sponsor, instead of the caption “Seguridad para todos” [Security for all] the legend said, “Unidad Habitacional Independencia. Seguro Social,” above the commemoration dates: 1821–1921.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 8. Main facade of the Centro Social de la Unidad Independencia.

Reproduced by permission from Unidad Independencia of Social Services and Housing (México City: IMSS, 1961), 47.

As reported in the magazine Política revista de oposicióna, the IMSS symbol is an “engraving with chiesel and hammer over the red stone quarry from Tlalpujahua . . . in his personal interpretation [referring to Cantú], of melancholic lines, soft ones, that suggest placidity, fertility, and abundance . . . typical of his harsh work, always imbued with ideas and with an austere poetry that is yet not deprived from sensuality.”27 In harmony with the maternal tenderness, the eagle that covered her with its wings conveyed serenity and calm and was a resignification of the national shield and of the stereotype of breastfeeding mother. Instead of standing over a cactus and fiercely devouring the serpent that symbolizes an enemy to the social peace, the bird of prey is represented in a different way: it has an open beak and a vigilant but nonbellicose attitude, and, with extended wings, it shelters with its chest both mother and child; the facial traits and drapery evoke the apocalyptic representation of female fertility. This image differs from the typical representation of the Mexican people’s mother as a mestiza or indigenous woman that distinguishes itself in other versions of this insignia and in the sculpture by Ortiz Monasterio for the Siglo XXI hospital complex.

Considering the sculptural and architectural context of the civic plaza at Unidad Independencia, this classicist allegory of maternity flanks the image of Quetzalcóatl and other sculptures and architectural spaces of pre-Hispanic remembrance, reminding the viewer that Mexico has a hybrid origin of indigenous and occidental cultures and races. This reference reminds the viewer as well of José Vasconcelos—professor and political leader of the generation that in this moment directed the nation—and his idea of “cosmic race,” the mixture of the best ethnic and cultural components that, in the case of Mexico, highlighted the indigenous world for its strength and the Latin-Greek one for its cultural contributions.28

Moreover, this space promoted the integration of its dwellers into the urban and industrialized world, from the ways of eating to family composition; overall, it proposed to forge citizenship by evoking visually the Virgin and Child, a Western religious icon. Republican regimes intended to secularize the figure of Jesus’s mother—in the Mexican case, its dedication to Guadalupe and symbol of independent nationalism—to supercede it with the mother, provident and diligient, always under the government’s surveillance and protection.

The Only Text, A Gift From Motherland

López Mateos, in his inauguration speech on December 1, 1958, expressed the central objective of his administration: “fighting against ignorance, unhealthiness, and misery.”29 He emphasized that the center of his government program would be education as a guarantee for national social equality, economic development, and social stability.30 To achieve these goals, he nominated Jaime Torres Bodet as secretary of Public Education, who like himself and some of his closest collaborators, was one of Vasconcelos’s students and colleagues. Besides participating in his political campaign in 1927, López Mateos shared the belief in the power of arts and culture as instruments of social and historical transformation.

Like Vasconcelos, Torres Bodet, integrated “the triangle of schools, books and fine arts in the SEP general program, whose education policy had civic education and history as central axes.”31 Torres Bodet, according to Aurora Loyo, thought “civic education should be the axis of teaching and history should serve as the exemplary source, because all the shared teaching at school would lead students to understand their civic responsibilities in life.”32

In the cultural environment, several museums appeared; they were devoted to teaching history and to the promotion and diffusion of arts.33 Between 1960 and 1962 the government inaugurated museums with a civic-didactic function to show “the Struggle of Mexican People for their Freedom,” in the museums of anthropology, history, and modern art. In the former monastery of Tepotzotlán, it created the Museum of Viceregal Art. The publishing wing of the museums included the production of books with historical subjects, not only for its exemplary function but also as an answer to revisionist tendencies and inquiries about the “official interpretation of the history of Mexico” promoted by the government. The free textbooks that were published consisted of the most significant and well-distributed editions, since these were the didactic instruments of the Eleven Year Plan.

The Free Textbook: For the Democracy and National Unity

At the beginning of López Mateos’s six-year presidency, Torres Bodet received the assignment to implement the Eleven Year Plan. The government’s pedagogical conception and orientation of education had been changing according to the dominant group’s ideology. Vasconcelos’s humanism went to Escuela Acción [Action school] during Callismo, then between 1932 and 1940, under Narciso Bassols’s aegis it became a “socialist” and essentially anticlerical education. During the first decades of the Mexican Miracle, education for “national unity” replaced the socialist policy in 1962, with the adaptation of the free textbooks for the national curriculum, constituting the first long-term government educational program.34 This series of changes resulted in the public education secretary arguing for continuity and unity in education programs to make their impact permanent.

This plan intended to apply the third article of the 1917 Constitution stating that basic education should be secular, free, and mandatory. Its was intended to reduce the educational lag that the country suffered. Even with the efforts of previous administrations, more than 50 percent of the population was illiterate, and half of the elementary school students had left school, for various reasons, including the lack of financial resources to purchase textbooks. Besides maintaining that all children should have access to elementary school, the government sought to update and professionalize the plans for basic and professional education: youngsters would receive training as technicians for the modernization of the country. The Eleven Year Plan implied a series of constitutional reforms and budgetary adjustments for, among other things, improving and broadening the faculty, building classrooms, designing the curriculum for the normal school and of elementary education, as well as publishing free textbooks.

Torres Bodet had a great deal of experience promoting reading through the creation of libraries and had a thorough knowledge of pedagogical systems because he had worked beginning in 1921 as Vasconcelos’s personal assistant while serving as dean of Universidad Nacional de México. In his first period directing the SEP (1944 to 1946), Torres Bodet suggested to President Ávila Camacho that the government subsidize textbooks for elementary schools, a proposal accomplished fifteen years later.

Within the Eleven Year Plan, the issuing of textbooks was conceived as an economic equalizer, since their distribution would be free for all social classes, in order to provide all students with knowledge in both sciences and humanities. The texts functioned in “developing harmonically the skills of the students, preparing them for the practical life, fostering human solidarity in their consciousness, guiding them towards civic virtues and, most and foremost, instilling love for their Motherland, nurturing their minds with knowledge about great historical events that formed the base for the democratic evolution of the country.”35

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 9. “Niño de cuarto año” [Fourth grade boy].

Reproduced by permission from Concepción Barrón de Morán, Mi libro de cuarto año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1969), 9.

In this sense, the free textbook was an official instrument with the democratic aim of diffusing knowledge. Simultaneously, it was an indoctrinating tool to forge a sense of identity and patriotic duty evenly among all students, thus creating solidarity. López Mateos’s government sought the promotion of a feeling of nationalism that would countribute to a broader social integration, and it was because of him that textbooks became the best means to achieve the diffusion of an ideology aligned with the government’s interests in all social sectors, including privileged economic groups.36

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 10. “El desayuno.”

Reproduced by permission from Concepción Barrón de Morán, Mi libro de cuarto año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1969), 18.

The Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos (CONALITEG) [National commission of free texts], operating under SEP, was responsible for “defining the characteristics of the content of free textbooks; summon, by contest, authors to participate in their writing,”37 as well as overseeing their publication and distribution. Torres Bodet and the writer and entrepreneur-editor Martín Luís Guzmán—his director from the commission’s foundation in 1959 until his death in 1976—organized this commission and brought it to life.

The civic-nationalist content of the freetext books reactivated the intellectual battle between the church and state for controlling the education that started during Mexican independence. Its mandatory character and nationalist focus outraged and defied contesting hierarchies (mostly the Catholic ones) the teachers, and family men of religious and private schools. It was argued that the single textbook went against the parents’ right to educate their children; it was also said to be antidemocratic because it presented only one official truth. The book was also called out for being antipedagogical, reducing teaching to mere repetition.38 Not wanting to exacerbate the hostility between these sectors and needing to consolidate the free textbook project, the Public Education secretary requested that CONALITEG produce the first edition for the 1957 programs. Then, in 1960, the Eleven Year Plan approved it and used its contents until the second edition in 1966.39

Between 1957 and 1973, free textbooks aimed to create responsible citizens, and this became the central axis of civic education and History. The nation’s history was acknowleged with allegorical imagery on the book covers. The multiple meanings of Motherland’s images and the national eagle on the cover of every issue, with their corresponding illustrations, served to reinforce the administration’s functions. Under the national shield, “The Eagle represents strength and nobility; the serpent symbolizes evil and disgrace”40 while “the Motherland is like a mother and we should love her, respect her, honor her, in the same way that we must love, respect, and honor our parents.”41

For its comprehensible and inclusive character, the allegory combined the imagery of the nation with that of the family: “the base of human society.”42 In the third-year textbook for History and civic education, it established the unit “formed by a father, a mother, children, and that marriage is the base of the family”; the father is its natural leader and “seeks to do the best for his wife and children. The mother tends to the house and looks out tirelessly for the sake of her children and husband.”43 It becomes clear that the family must be a nuclear group because there is no place for the “anomalous” model, although in cities and fields, more typical is the absent father and the single mother as family head, responsible for providing and managing material goods and sharing childcare with grandparents and uncles.

A woman’s life and sense of worth were restricted to the role of wife and mother, especially according to the social and welfare support and the labor and education sectors of the administration. The books taught:

‘Luis’s mom’

Luis is sick.

[But] His mother spoils him.

She [even] gives him tamales.

Luis drinks atole de masa [local drink made of corn].

He loves his mom. [But is entitled to learn endurance]44

Even though the number of women in universities increased, only a fourth of the images alluding to several professions included in the textbook show women, and they appear only as teachers, nurses, secretaries, or seamstresses.45 According to this discourse, the obligations at home resonated with citizenship and the nation itself, thus establishing a bond between love and obedience to parents as civil duties and the devotion to Motherland to be honored and “respecting our leaders, abiding by the laws that govern us.”46

From the first year in elementary school, children learned how to read countless lines conveying the roles they should play in the social structure according to their gender and corresponding civic and family duties.47 An example is “Playing House”:

The girls play house.

Lucía brought a burner and two pots.

María takes the toys out of the box.48

Two pages on we also find the equivalent to the protective mother and provider of knowledge in the lesson entitled “Anita Takes Care of Luis”:

Anita brings the blanket roll.

Luis sits down.

He is thristy.

Anita gives him a tuna (fruit).

She tells him a tale.49

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 11. “Anita takes care of Luis.”

Reproduced by permission from Carmen Domínguez Aguirre and Enriqueta León González, Mi libro de primer año (México City: CONALITEG, 1966), 26.

The family’s welfare was equated with the Motherland’s welfare: “If the desire of our parents [of being good students] is accomplished . . . when we come of age we will be useful citizens to our country, our family, ourselves.”50 For its part, the government, in its function as a derived group, complied with the duties of managing material goods needed for education, as well as spread the necessary culture for its performance as an economic agent through citizenship and the history that compelled them to “instill love for the Motherland and the respect to its rules”51 to reassure governability.

The Motherland as the Sponsor of Education and Culture

As part of the celebrations of the revolution’s 50th anniversary and independence’s 150th anniversary, the government issued the first edition of the free textbook with a cover honoring the memory of the heroes of the events. Renowned artists illustrated the book because the images had the dual function of reinforcing the contents and advancing the students’ artistic sensibilities. Between 1960 and 1962, Roberto Montenegro and David Alfaro Siqueiros, part of the first generation of muralists (and others who followed including Alfredo Zalce, Fernando Leal, and Raúl Anguiano) illustrated the covers with images of national heroes between 1959 and 1961. In 1962, as part of the process of consolidation of CONALITEG, the allegorical oil painting La Patria by Jorge González Camarena was selected for the cover of all official free textbooks until 1972, and the painting returned in 2008 as the cover for Formación Cívica y Ética [Civic and ethical education]. This artist was a member of the second generation of muralists and, upon winning the contest in which he presented this allegory in oil, he adapted the work to be used as an illustration that extended from the front cover to the back cover. This way, the editors could place the name of the subject to be taught in front with the image of the Motherland, while at the back of the book, “National Commission of Free Textbooks” was printed right below the typical components of Mexican natural resources, cultural riches, and material promises of the evolution and modernity. Since the first edition, the introduction has explained that the image on the cover “represents the Mexican nation advancing toward the ímpetus of its history and with a triple thrust: cultural, agricultural, industrial—given to the people.”52

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 12. La Patria [Motherland], oil on canvas, 1962, de Jorge González Camarena. Cover of the free textbook.

Reproduced by permission from Concepción Barrón de Morán, Mi libro de cuarto año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1969).

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 13. Back cover of the free textbook.

Reproduced by permission from Concepción Barrón de Morán, Mi libro de cuarto año: Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1969).

For La Patria or Motherland, the model was Victoria Dornelas, a young woman from the state of Tlaxcala who had a long-term relationship with González Camarena and had posed on multiple occasions for him. He used a grid as a compositional resource to demarcate the distinct thematic areas, besides creating a multidimensional perspective for superimposed planes: this allowed for a double vision that can either direct the gaze to the center of the composition or feature different sections of the painting in a sequential reading from the bottom up. To this allegory, the components of the nationalist herald were added: the Motherland, the flag, the eagle of the national shield, representative elements of the natural and cultural resources, and the material achievements of the present and future. At the center of the composition and as the main subject, the Motherland appears: a woman of indigenous traits (dark skin, black hair, intense gaze, a voluptuous body) showing a spirited and decisive attitude. She wears a white robe that evokes the Greco-Roman dress of Marianne, icon of the French Revolution. With semi-folded arms, she uses her left hand to hold the national flag, which waves against a blue sky.

This scene extends to the back cover of the book and further continues with the Motherland issuing water from the palm of her right hand. Simultaneously, she holds an open book with her fingers, which interlock it as a support. In the right corner, behind the flag, the national symbol of the eagle appears devouring a serpent, a symbol of power and strength destined to protect the Motherland so she can accomplish her functions as an educator. The eagle is depicted in profile with a petrified appearance, having only reemerged after Mexican independence, a moment when the government reassumed the foundation shield of México-Tenochtitlán replacing the allusive glyph to the holy war of the Mexica for a rattlesnake.53 In the bottom right-hand part of the flag, against the blue sky in the background, one can read the title of the publication on a handwritten inscription; in the left corner, the eagle safeguards the allegories that refer to the cultural and natural characteristics of the nation. The image superimposes, from the bottom up, a stylized row of fruits and vegetables of different regions of the country, among which a handful of ears and grains of corn are underscored as a parable of the variety of botanical hybridization. This characteristic is further reinforced by cultural contributions of the mixed-race nation, represented by two columns an iconic and a pre-Hispanic ones. Next to it, an abstract representation presents a plant generating electricity wich is enlightened by thunder. Among all these elements, the Motherland appears underscored as it appears in the form of a teacher holding a book in her hand, a polysemic icon that reflects the central role of education in the development of the country. It also glorifies the official party that reinforces the presentation of free textbooks and the nationalization of the electricity, both projects carried out during the government of López Mateos.

CONALITEG’s celebratory fiftieth anniversary publication explained the meaning of the book’s cover as a “direct reference . . . to the protective State, in which the sum of activities and knowledge propel and ennoble the Human being.”54 Nevertheless, the sociopolitical context of the first issues, the intention and the meaning of the Motherland image, goes beyond the official statement. Though the image evokes and celebrates the very representations of nationalist indigenism though its physical traits, the drapery and the presence of both wheat and corn affirm the biological and cultural mix, defining mestizaje, or two branches, as the essence of the nation.

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 14. El Universal Gráfico [The graphic universal], September 12, 1960, 17.

In the free textbooks, the allegory of Motherhood also appears as a schoolteacher, which is typical of revolutionary art. Diego Rivera was one of the most important creators of this revolutionary imagery. In his mural La maestra rural [The rural teacher], painted on one of the SEP buildings, used the analogy between the teacher and the nation to show both under the protection of armed revolutionaries on horseback extending knowledge to the people.55 This metaphor received widespread distribution in 1947 through the movie Río Escondido (The hidden river), by the director Emilio Fernández.56 The film tells the story of the rural teacher Rosaura Salazar, who sacrifices her life for the national mission ordered by president Migel Alemán—to lead the people from “the darkness of illiteracy.”57

Since the time of independence, the eagle holding the serpent in its beak has been associated with the defense of public order and sovereignty that allow governability. It is one of the pre-Hispanic icons with the deepest roots and symbolic power that continues to the present. Hence, it continues to serve as an instrument for the exercise of symbolic power and the dependence of iconic transformations and ideological messages for the interests of dominant groups.

The detailed analysis of the material conquests by the official party also allowed the allegorical celebration of the nationalization of electricity production (September 27, 1960), one of the most publicized actions during the presidency of López Mateos. The representation included tools used to generate electricity such as the main switch, the energy blueprint, and the light beam on the blueprint, which is symbolic of the destructive power of Jupiter. This power, used in man’s favor, becomes electricity. Other images came from the press announcing the nationalization of electricity: the sketched portrait of López Mateos forcefully turning off the main switch of the electricity generator and the list of dates emblematic of independent Mexico: “1810-Independence, 1857-Reform, 1917-Constitution, 1938-Oil, and 1960-Electrificacion, Agricultural and Social Security Affirmation” followed by the motto “150 YEARS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE IN MEXICO.” Another one proclaimed: “1915-the land, 1938-the oil, 1960-the electricity” followed by “FORWARD! MEXICO IS OURS.”58

The Motherland and the Welfare State in Mexico: Government Symbols, Programs, and Visions, 1943–1970Click to view larger

Figure 15. “La obra de la Revolución Mexicana” [Work of Mexican revolution].

Reproduced by permission from Concepción Barrón de Morán, Mi libro de cuarto año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1969), 184.

In conclusion, beyond the great social and economic benefits that free and public education has provided the Mexican people, the regimes of the so-called Mexican Miracle were well aware of the importance of an education for civic ethics and the ethic-aesthetic value of the official public art as tools for the exercise of symbolic power. Officials knew the role of plastic-spatial manifestations and of resources from visual vocabularies to retain and foster civic-liberal values and norms suitable for reaching and remaining at the top of the nation.59

The government relied on a solid symbolic apparatus, influential and understandable, directed toward citizenship, and based on “the affirmation, the repetition, and the acceptance . . . that would consequently lead to the acceptance of the truth; repetition would then influence the formation of opinions favorable to IMSS, to the government, and to the ‘most objective conquests of Mexican Revolution’ in people’s thought and consciousness.”60

Therefore, free textbooks and public art devoted to the feminine image of the Motherland, when celebrating woman’s labors as consequences of her gender, added this stereotype to the regime’s symbolic apparatus to establish a certain control and social order. In the case of the free textbooks, the written and visual discourse was intended to inculcate children with specific knowledge and skills necessary for them to reproduce established behavior patterns as individuals, family children, and future citizens.

The Motherland allegory—even though it depicted particular events and characters—drew attributes from plastic references that invited teleological interpretation, capable of evaluating concrete government with the strength and symbolic charge of a national emblem. As Luis González explained about his participation as adviser to the free textbook edition in 1973: “The problems that remain unnoticed and the consequences of all this were, among others, the fact that each page was not only a pedagogical but also an ideological, political, and cultural theme.”61 Moreover, as for the woman, it concealed the participation of the paternalist government in keeping her in the distinct role of diligent wife and family mother.

Discussion of the Literature

Due to the novelty of this essay’s theme, no known bibliography or other resource explicitly cover the topic. Moreover, the Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) archives where recently integrated are inaccessible at the Archivo General de la Nación because before the récords where are purportedly unclassified. This will ultimately be the major source for study of lexicon-visual discourse about women derived from the maternal and patriotic symbol.

The revision of free textbooks is fundamental. For the benefit of comparison, a large number can be found in El Catálogo Histórico en línea de la Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos (CONALITEG), a SEP division.

Other significant sources are the archives of promient individuals involved in the creation of the textbooks, such as the Fondo Jaime Torres Bodet and Fondo Martín Luis Guzmán both located in the historical archive at the UNAM. These contain firsthand information about the plans and critera adopted for producing the texts.

The Centro Único de Información Ignacio García Téllez at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) includes, among other documents, the pamphlets and news releases that authorities published about this department and about the social programs devoted to the family. It also houses the photographic collection of this department.

The private archives of the sculptor Luis Ortiz Monasterio and of the architect Pedro Fernández Miret provided images, sketches, and documents that were preserved first by themselves and later for their families: these have equally helped to illuminate this work.

Further reading includes resources used to develop the interdisciplinary interpretation used here. It comprises the areas of intellectual history, political history, education history, and art history in addition to such texts as those by sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Juan M. M. Puig Llano, Itzel Rodriguez Montellaro, Erika W. Sánchez Cabello, María del Carmen Sánchez Uriarte, and Ana María Ortiz Monasterio, as well as the staff from the Biblioteca Justino Fernández, the Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint, and the Centro de Cómputo del IIE of UNAM, of Centro Único de Información “Ignacio García Téllez” from the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) and the Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos (CONALITEG) for their help with this project.

Primary Sources

The most significant published primary sources begin with Biblioteca Justino Fernández of the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at the UNAM and the Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas from El Colegio de México. Both provide relevant documentation from the period in which Jaime Torres Bodet was in charge of the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) and copies of the free textbooks for elementary education. The Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint housed at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas of UNAM provided information about the topics approached in this work. Hemeroteca Nacional de México was a good informational resource for newspapers such as El Universal and Revista Política, among others. Also important for this article was El Catálogo Histórico en línea de la Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos (CONALITEG), SEP department. This resource was consulted on the content of free textbooks for elementary education and their respective illustrations.

Bermúdez, María Elvira. “La familia.” In México. 50 años de revolución, 81–113. México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961.Find this resource:

Cámara de Diputados. LX Legislatura: Dirección de Servicios de Investigación y Análisis. “Informes Presidenciales. Adolfo López Mateos.”

Coordinación General de Comunicación Social del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Guía de aplicación del logosímbolo institucional. México City: IMSS, 2003.Find this resource:

Coquet, Benito. Unidad Independencia: Dos tesis acerca de la convivencia humana. México City: IMSS, 1960.Find this resource:

Flores, Ana María. “La mujer en la sociedad.” In México. 50 años de revolución, 327–349. México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961.Find this resource:

García Agüero, Alba Nalleli. “La formación de la identidad nacional mexicana a través del discurso cívico-patriótico expuesto en Mi libro de primer año.”

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Unidad Independencia of Social Services and Housing. México City: IMSS, 1961.Find this resource:

López Mateos, Adolfo, ed. México. 50 años de revolución. IV. La cultura. México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961.Find this resource:

Senado de la República LX Legislatura-Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, UNAM. “Discursos Presidenciales de Toma de Posesión.”

Torres Bodet, Jaime. La tierra prometida. México City: Porrúa, 1972.Find this resource:

Vasconcelos, José. La raza cósmica. París: Agencia Mundial de Librería, 1925.Find this resource:

Villa Lever, Lorenza. Cincuenta años de la Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos: Cambios y permanencias en la educación mexicana. México City: CONALITEG, 2009.Find this resource:

Further Reading

Acevedo, Esther, Hacia otra historia del arte en México. La fabricación del arte nacional a debate. México City: CONACULTA Tomo III, 2002.Find this resource:

Aguilar Camín, Héctor, and Lorenzo Meyer. A la sombra de la Revolución Mexicana. México City: Cal y Arena, 2005.Find this resource:

Aboites, Luis, and Engracia Loyo. “La construcción del nuevo Estado, 1920–1945.” In Nueva historia general de México. Edited by Erik Velázquez Garl, et al., 595–652. México City: El Colegio de México, 2010.Find this resource:

Barriga Villanueva, Rebecca. Entre paradojas: A 50 años de los libros de texto gratuitos. México City: El Colegio de México-SEP-CONALITEG, 2011.Find this resource:

Bourdieu, Pierre. Intelectuales, política y poder. Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 2009.Find this resource:

Bourdieu, Pierre. Las reglas del Arte. Génesis y estructura del campo literario. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2011.Find this resource:

Cano, Gabriela. Amalia de Castillo Ledón: Mujer de letras, mujer de poder. México City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2011.Find this resource:

Carmona Dávila, Doralicia. “Textos. Cronología.” In Memoria Política de México. Consulta febrero, 2017.Find this resource:

Castellanos López, Jany Edna. “Los teatros del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social en la Ciudad de México.” Bitácora: Arquitectura no. 20 (2010): 12–17.Find this resource:

del Pozo, Efrén, and Max Aub. La Seguridad Social en México. México City: Helio-IMSS, 1964.Find this resource:

Florescano, Enrique. La bandera mexicana. Breve historia de su formación y simbolismo. México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2014.Find this resource:

García Gómez, María José, et al. Adolfo López Mateos. Una vida dedicada a la política. 1910–2010. Centenario de su natalicio. México City: Secretaría de Educación del Estado de México-Biblioteca Mexiquense del Bicentenario, 2010.Find this resource:

Greaves Laine, Cecilia. “Política educativa y libros de texto gratuitos. Una polémica en torno al control por la educación.” Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa 6, no. 12 (2001): 205–221.Find this resource:

Guedea, Virginia. La Historia en el Sesquicentenario de la Independencia de México y en el Cincuentenario de la Revolución Mexicana. México City: UNAM, 2014.Find this resource:

Loaeza, Soledad. “Modernización autoritaria. A la sombra de la superpotencia, 1944-1968.” In Nueva historia general de México. Edited by Erik Velázquez García, et al., 653–698. México City: El Colegio de México, 2010.Find this resource:

Orellana, Margarita. Arte y arquitectura del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. México City: IMSS, 2006.Find this resource:

Tuñón, Julia. “Historia, nación y mito en el cine mexicano. El caso de Emilio Fernández y los murales de Diego Rivera en la pantalla.” Héctor Rosales (Comp.) La identidad nacional mexicana en las expresiones artísticas. Estudios históricos y contemporaneous, 102–120. México, UNAM-CRIM, 2008.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) “The outbreak of World War Two in September 1939 and the United States entry in the conflagration at the end of 1941 had a profound and positive repercussion on Mexican economy.” In 1943, this stage of economic welfare began, supporting the welfare state period that ended in 1973 with the beginning of the implementation of the neoliberal programs. From Luis Aboites and Engracia Loyo, “La construcción del nuevo Estado, 1920–1945,” in Nueva historia general de México, ed. Erik Velásquez García, et al. (México City: El Colegio de México, 2010), 645.

(2.) From its foundation, the production of the CONALITEG surpassed 5 billion copies. Currently, it comprises books for kindergarten, elementary school, secondary school, long-distance education by television, indigenous (in forty-two different languages), and braille.

(3.) Héctor Aguilar Camín and Lorenzo Meyer, A la sombra de la Revolución Mexicana (México City: Cal y Arena 1995), 189.

(4.) Loaeza, “Modernización autoritaria, A la sombra de la superpotencia, 1944–1968.” Erik Velázquez García y otros, Nueva historia general de México, 653–698, 686. México: El Colegio de México, 2010.

(5.) With López Mateos public investment went from 29,673 million pesos to 67,189 millon pesos. He represented an effective growth of more than 100 percent in only six years; 22.1 percent of this investment was devoted to social policies. See Rogelio Hernández Rodríguez, “La política. Los desafíos del proyecto nacional,” in Adolfo López Mateos: Una vida dedicada a la política. 1910–2010, Centenario de su natalicio, ed. María José García Gómez, et al. (México City: Secretaría de Educación del Estado de México/Biblioteca Mexiquense del Bicentenario, 2010), 218. López Mateos’s administration ended without changes in the value of the currency and with an 11 percent increase in production. See Graciela Márquez, “Estabilidad y crecimiento económico: La política económica en el sexenio de Adolfo López Mateos,” in Adolfo López Mateos: Una vida dedicada a la política, 1910–2010, 327.

(6.) Adolfo López Mateos, Foreword México. 50 años de revolución. IV. La cultura (México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961).

(7.) María Elvira Bermúdez, “La familia,” in México: 50 años de revolución: La vida social, ed. Julio Durán Ochoa, et al., vol. 2 (México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961), 83.

(8.) Bermúdez, “La familia,” 84.

(9.) Bermúdez, “La familia,” 85–86.

(10.) Ana María Flores, “La mujer en la sociedad,” in México: 50 años de revolución: La vida social, ed. Julio Durán Ochoa, et al., vol. 2 (México City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1961).

(11.) According to the author, the prevalence of single mothers derives from a defective family base that is visible in the proliferation of what she calls “satellites,” formed by uncles, sisters, or sisters-in-law.

(12.) Bermúdez, “La familia,” 104.

(13.) Bermúdez, “La familia,” 111.

(14.) Brian F. Connaughton, “La familia como tropo de la oración cívica mexicana. Puebla (1828–1853),” in Familia y vida privada en la historia de Iberoamérica, ed. Pilar Gonzalbo Aizpuru and Cecilia Rabell Romero (México City: El Colegio de México-UNAM, 1996), 474.

(15.) “Although peasant women were the ones who suffered the most physically and morally with the Revolution, they were also the ones who helped the revolutionaries the most with their care, providing them food and company, risking their lives in battles and taking up arms when necessary.The current Mexican panorama of peasant women presents them as a group of empoverished women with restrained access to culture. The peasant population represents approximately 60% of the total population of the Republic, and for this reason, there are many women within this great population mass.” Flores, “La mujer en la sociedad,” 344.

(16.) Flores, “La mujer en la sociedad,” 347.

(17.) See Bermúdez, “La familia,” 111: “1. In legislation, with the promulgation of the Law of Family Relations, the Federal Law of Work, the Civil Code, the Agrarian Code, the Law of Civil Pensions and Retirement, the Social Security Law, the Legal Statute of Workers in Power of the Union and the Law of ISSSTE; 2. In the social order, in the presence of the existence of offices such as the Protection of Women’s and Children’s Work, a section of the Work Ministry; the one of Childhood Assistance, a section of Health; public defenders of profession and offices for free juridical consultation, like the one next to the Faculty of Jurisprudence, those who help solve questions that generally affect the family and 3. In the assistance order, before the establishment of the Social Security, the CEIMSA [Export and Import Mexican Company, ltd.], school breakfast, distribution of clothes and provisions, and medicines for bureaucrats.”

(18.) The statue of the indigenous mother and her child in her arms collapsed during the earthquake on September 19, 2017.

(19.) “With an investment of 150 millon pesos, this unit was at the south of Mexico City on the Loma del Batán and with a population of about 10,000 in 2,235 houses. These houses were built over an irregular surface of thirty-seven hectares of land, of which two-thirds are green areas, 23 percent constructed surface, and the rest streets and parking lots.” José María Gutiérrez quoted in Margarita Orellana, ed., Arte y arquitectura del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (México City: Artes de México-IMSS, 2006), 85.

(20.) An article titled “La colonia ‘Unidad Independencia’ da la impresión de ser Utopía” was published in the Dutch periodical Gooi en Eemlander. Benito Coquet and Alfonso de Rosensweig Díaz, general director of the Diplomatic Service, Europe Department, Asia, and Africa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, México, DF, December 20, 1961, case number ah 003, 76/82, S, 55, 14263 Unidad de Habitación y Servicios Sociales, Centro Único de Información “Ignacio García Téllez” of IMSS.

(21.) Benito Coquet, Unidad Independencia: dos tesis acerca de la convivencia humana (México City: IMSS, 1960), 9.

(22.) For more information, please see Jany Edna Castellanos López, “Los teatros del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social en la Ciudad de México,” Bitácora: Arquitectura no. 20 (2010): 12–17.

(23.) Marion Laudy, “La colonia ‘Unidad Independencia’ da la impresión de ser Utopía,” Gooi en Eemlander, October 20, 1961. Translation in the case ah 003, 76/82, S, 55, 14263 Unidad de Habitación y Servicios Sociales, Centro Único de Información “Ignacio García Téllez” del IMSS.

(24.) It was not possible to access any records indicating who were single mothers or if they were part of an extended family.

(25.) Gabriela Cano, Amalia de Castillo Ledón. Mujer de letras, mujer de poder (México City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2011), 30.

(26.) Coordinación General de Comunicación Social, Guía de aplicación del logosímbolo institucional (México City: IMSS, 2003).

(27.) Revista Política, August 15, 1960, 32.

(28.) José Vasconcelos, La raza cósmica (París: Agencia Mundial de Librería, 1925), 296.

(29.) Senado de la República LX Legislatura, Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas UNAM, “Discursos Presidenciales de Toma de Posesión.” Senado de la República-Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas UNAM.

(30.) See Cámara de Diputados LX Legislatura: Dirección de Servicios de Investigación y Análisis, “Informes Presidenciales. Adolfo López Mateos.” Senado de la República-Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas UNAM: “The strong decision of fighting ignorance with major resources made that, for the first time in history, the family allowances destined to education reached, on January 1, 18% of the federal budget. Since then certain entries have increased substantially. The outlays increased to $ 2,045.000,000, which represents an expense of more than $5,500.000 per day.” Three years after, in 1963, they reported: “The budged destined to Public Education went from $3,000.000 to $6,000.000, currently spent every day. The federal action has increased in 3 years: 11,616 full time primary school techers, totaled 11,450 with 100 new classrooms constructed; now the office must provide free textbooks and notebooks for all elementary school students; by the end of the year, 37 million copies will have been printed. Eleven Year Education Plan surpassed, as we mentioned before, the estimate for the year of 1963 and there are 4,000 new school enrollments and add up to 11,455 new classrooms built.”

(31.) Virginia Guedea conducted a comparation between the references of historical periods in the celebratory programs of several government departments that participated in the celebrations of 1960. In La Historia en el Sesquicentenario de la Independencia de México y en el Cincuentenario de la Revolución Mexicana (México City: UNAM, 2014), 232.

(32.) Aurora Loyo Brambila, “Entre la celebración del pasado y las exigencias del futuro: la acción educativa del gobierno de Adolfo López Mateos,” in Adolfo López Mateos: Una vida dedicada a la política. 1910–2010, Centenario de su natalicio, ed. María José García Gómez, et al. (México City: Secretaría de Educación del Estado de México/Biblioteca Mexiquense del Bicentenario, 2010), 334, 344.

(33.) See Jaime Torres Bodet, La tierra prometida (México City: Porrúa, 1972), 464. “Besides increasing the budgetary allotments for all the corresponding areas in the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), the Juventud Mexicana and the Departamento de Bibliotecas.”

(34.) With the secretaries of public education: José Vasconcelos (1921–1924); José Manuel Puig Casauranc (1924–1928 and 1930–1931); Narciso Bassols (1931–1934); Gonzalo Vázquez Vega (1935–1939); and Jaime Torres Bodet (1943–1946 and 1958–1964).

(35.) Doralicia Carmona Dávila, “Textos. Cronología,” Memoria Política de México, Consultedoctubre 2017.

(36.) Cecilia Greaves Laine, “Política educativa y libros de texto gratuitos. Una polémica en torno al control por la educación,” Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa 6, no. 12 (2001): 205–221.

(37.) Greaves Laine, “Política educativa y libros de texto gratuitos,” Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa 6, no. 12 (2001): 205–221.

(38.) Delete note Doralicia Carmona Dávila, “Textos. Cronología,” Memoria Política de México.

(39.) Lorenza Villa Lever, Cincuenta años de la Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos: Cambios y permanencias en la educación mexicana (México City: CONALITEG, 2009), 286.

(40.) J. Jesús Cárabes Pedroza, Mi libro de tercer año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1966), 124.

(41.) Cárabes Pedroza, Mi libro de tercer año, 106.

(42.) Amelia Monroy Gutiérrez, Mi libro de quinto año. Historia y Civismo (México City: CONALITEG, 1968), 221.

(43.) Cárabes Pedroza, Mi libro de tercer año, 62–63.

(44.) Carmen Domínguez Aguirre and Enriqueta León González, Mi libro de primer año (México City: CONALITEG, 1966), 22.

(45.) Carmen Domínguez Aguirre and Enriqueta León González, Mi cuaderno de trabajo de primer año (México City: CONALITEG, 1966), 197–198.

(46.) Cárabes Pedroza, Mi libro de tercer año, 106.

(47.) For a study of linguistic strategies see Alba Nalleli García Agüero, “La formación de la identidad nacional mexicana a través del discurso cívico-patriótico expuesto en Mi libro de primer año. A. García Agüero, N. Jerez Zambrana, and C. Pascal (Coords.). Formando y deformando imaginarios. Representanciones identitarias en el ámbito hispánico, eCRIT Langues, Litteratures, Images, pp. 115–127.”

(48.) Domínguez Aguirre and León González, Mi libro de primer año, 120.

(49.) Domínguez Aguirre and León González, Mi libro de primer año, 26.

(50.) Domínguez Aguirre and León González, Mi cuaderno de trabajo de primer año, 195–196.

(51.) Carmona Dávila, “Textos. Cronología,” Memoria Política de México.

(52.) Domínguez Aguirre and León González, Mi libro de primer año, 5.

(53.) Enrique Florescano, La bandera mexicana: Breve historia de su formación y simbolismo (México City: FCE, 2014), 26–29.

(54.) Villa Lever, Cincuenta años de la Comisión Nacional de Libros de Texto Gratuitos, 87.

(55.) See mural here.

(56.) See movie here.

(57.) Julia Tuñón, “Historia, nación y mito en el cine mexicano. El caso de Emilio Fernández y los murales de Diego Rivera en la pantalla,” Héctor Rosales (Comp.). La identidad nacional mexicana en las expresiones artísticas. Estudios históricos y contemporáneos (México: UNAM-CRIM, 2008), 102–120.

(58.) El Universal, 12 de septiembre de 1960, 17.

(59.) See Pierre Bourdieu, Intelectuales, política y poder (Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 2009), 288.

(60.) The publicist Jesús C. Bustos, charged with writing an “institutional article” about this multifamily dwelling, announced in a memorándum to the director of IMSS the guidelines included in the report, derived from the concepts expressed by Coquet himself and corrected by his own handwriting. There he stated the basic ideas and intentions that appeared in Mexico and abroad, including the official information leaflet also signed by the director of IMSS. See Jesús C. Bustos and Benito Coquet, México DF, September 19, 1960, case ah 003, 76/82, S, 55, 14263 Unidad de Habitación y Servicios Sociales, Centro Único de Información “Ignacio García Téllez” del IMSS.

(61.) Rebeca Barriga Villanueva, ed., Entre paradojas. A 50 años de los libros de texto gratuitos (México City: El Colegio de México-SEP-CONALITEG, 2011), 717.