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This dissertation focuses on the military career of General Joaquin Amaro, the officer most responsible for professionalizing the Mexican military after the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution. After 1917, with the most violent phase of the Revolution over, the military forces that crushed Mexican President Porfirio Diaz's Federal Army proved to be a two-edged sword. While effective in overthrowing Diaz, Mexico's revolutionary armies neither disbanded nor submitted themselves to civilian rule, but instead retained their character as undisciplined and fiercely independent armies whose ultimate loyalty lay with their commanding generals. Amaro' s significance resides not so much in his colorful battlefield experiences, where he clashed with the forces of such well-known generals as Francisco "Pancho" Villa and Emiliano Zapata, but rather in his relatively long tenure as Secretary of War (1925-1931), and as the Mexican military's first Director of Military Education (1931-1935).

During this critical ten-year period, Amaro undertook the difficult task-and by historical standards, a nearly impossible task-of transforming Mexico's military from its de facto role as arbiter of political policies and presidential succession to one that was largely supportive of and loyal to the government. While explanations for this transition tend to focus on structural changes, i.e., putting down rebellions, scaling back forces, and transferring unruly generals, such explanations remain incomplete. In truth, the most fascinating aspect of Amaro's brilliant military career stemmed from his strategy of professionalizing Mexico's unruly and factionalized post-revolutionary army through a process of cultural reeducation that replaced an entrenched tradition of militarism with one emphasizing such values as discipline, duty, honor, and loyalty to the civilian government. As this djsse1tation will show, Amaro carried out his "moralization" program of cultural reeducation through an overhaul of the military's legal system, the publication and dissemination of military journals, and most significantly, the establishment of a comprehensive military educational system that eventually affected every soldier.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Linda B. Hall

Second Committee Member

Ferenc M. Szasz

Third Committee Member

Paul Hutton

Fourth Committee Member

Sam Brunk



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