This book has been a long while in the making and owes much to the
help, constructive criticism, and good natures of other people. Most of
the research was conducted in a number of Mexican archives over the
course of the past eight years. I very much appreciate the assistance and
unfailing patience of the archivists and staff at the Archivo General de la
Nacion (Mexico City), Secretarfa de la Reforma Agraria (Mexico City,
Morelia, and Uruapan), Instituto Nacional de Antropologfa e Historia
(Mexico City), Archivo Historico del Poder Ejecutivo de Michoacan
(Morelia), Registro Publico de la Propiedad (Morelia), and Archivo de
Notarfas (Morelia). Financial support from the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation, the MIT Center for International Studies, and
Boston College made this research possible.
The book started out as a Ph.D. dissertation in the MIT Department
of Political Science, and was shaped through the intellectual support of
my thesis committee. My emphasis on the importance of local histories
in understanding politics owes much to Charles Sabel, and my thinking
on Mexico has been very much influenced by Jeffrey Rubin's work on
popular movements, regional politics, and revolutionary state forma-
tion. Jonathan Fox, the chair of my committee, has, over the years,
taught me a great deal about rural politics and peasants in Mexico, and
provided consistently helpful comments and unflagging moral support
throughout the course of my dissertation work.
Many people have provided me with insightful comments on various
aspects and phases of this work, for which I am enormously grateful. I'd
like to thank Christopher Boyer, Lynn Stephen, Jeffrey Rubin, Gilbert
Joseph, Ramon Jrade, Betsy Aron, Donald Hafner, Emilio Kouri, Caren
Addis, Cathie Jo Martin, Roger Karapin, Annabelle Lever, Stephen Page,
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