When Santos Degollado chose to sacrifice his life in order to restore his
good name, he faced an obligation which Mexican public men in the
following decades hoped never to face again. Honor, however, remained
the cardinal value for them during the República Restaurada and early
Porfiriato, both in politics and, one imagines, in personal life. They wrote
and spoke about it and sued, fought, and even took the streets to defend
it. This book has followed those men’s (and many women’s) continuing
struggle to grapple with the tyranny of opinion. Although most claimed
to obey that strict ruler, they also dreaded its intransigent judgment over
their public and private lives. But they could not do otherwise because
they also hoped to build a political order in which the ability to speak for
society was regulated and earned according to the laws of honor. These
laws concerned journalism, parliamentary work, students’ exuberance,
the penal protection of reputation, and dueling. Yet norms were only the
first level of political life: values, attitudes, and practical dispositions
reflected the embrace, or rejection, of the tyranny of opinion among men
and women. This book approaches the individual level of that dictator-
ship mostly through testimonies of conflict and negotiation. Public ex-
changes (in the press, in Congress, in the courts, and on street corners)
illustrate the dialogical character of Mexican politics, even after the con-
solidation of Porfirio Díaz as ultimate arbiterofalldisagreements.Codes
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