State Agrarianism versus Democratic Agrarianism: Adalberto Tejeda's Experiment in Veracruz, 1928–32 1
This article analyses Adalberto Tejeda's agrarian experiment in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, during the years 1928–32. This experiment was unique in two respects. First, disregarding the central government's policy, which sought to end agrarian distribution completely, it parcelled out land to the peasants on an unprecedented scale; secondly, it proved, contrary to the prevailing wisdom of the time, that agrarian reform implemented through the full range of channels offered by the 1917 federal constitution could serve as a tool of social justice and equality, and hence as a central factor in the advancement of social welfare and democracy in Mexico. This article seeks to show that the failure of the Veracruz experiment offers an explanation – perhaps a cardinal explanation – for the perceived failure of Mexican agrarian reform in general.
1 I would like to thank Professor Tzvi Medin, Dr Raanan Rein, Marcelo Blidstein and Gerardo Leibner, all of the Tel Aviv University History Department, for reading the draft of this article and for making the invaluable comments that helped to give it its final shape. I would also like to thank Martha Grenzeback for her excellent translation of the original Hebrew and the anonymous JLAS referees for their comments.