Document Type

Honors Thesis


Porfirio Díaz was President of Mexico from 1876 until his exile in 1911. Díaz and his científicos (“technocrats”) enacted economic, cultural, and agrarian reforms to modernize and bring “progress” to the nation. However, his authoritarian rule and reforms exacerbated rural poverty, especially among indigenous peoples. The Yaqui are a Native American people from Mexico’s northern state of Sonora who have a history of resistance and rebellion against the colonizing forces of Spain and Mexico. After decades of sporadic conflict, Díaz authorized the detention, deportation, and enslavement of thousands of Yaquis, resulting in the most widespread diaspora of a North American indigenous group. This work uses newspapers of the period and historical monographs written since the Mexican Revolution to prove that inherently racist Positivist thought influenced government and infiltrated society, leading to a socially-sanctioned Mexican destruction of Yaqui lives, culture, and lands.

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