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Lázaro Cardenas & Mexican Populism

The Early Years/ The Birth of Populism Lázaro Cárdenas del Río (May 21, 1895 – October 19, 1970) was President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940. From Cárdenas plebian roots, in the lower-middle class he eked out a substantial, moving and largely successful leadership role in a reformative Mexico. Born in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán, Cárdenas supported his widowed mother and seven younger siblings from the age of sixteen. His many professional pursuits included a tax collector, a printer’s devil (apprentice to a printer) and a jail keeper, all by the age of eighteen. Cárdenas had very little formal education, leaving school at eleven to help support his family he often sought opportunities to
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One of the first things that Cárdenas did after his successful campaign was to cut his own presidential salary in half, and this was only the beginning. After he had successfully developed his presidential role he turned against Calles completely and had him and many of his cronies deported to the US, at great popular support of many in the Mexican population who had been victim and seen the destruction that this long held post revolutionary cronyism had upon their once hopeful nation. (Knight 1990) Cárdenas also eradicated capital punishment, becoming one of the first nations in the world to do so and certainly one of the first in North and South America. Cárdenas successful presidency, elimination of much of the political cronyism as well as social policy changes also created a reasonable end to the revolutionary skirmishes that were still taking place more than 20 years after the beginning of the Mexican revolution in 1910. His partnership with the dominant political party, PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) helped end a substantial amount of violence and social confusion, almost absent of revolutionary bloodshed. (Bantjes 1996, 62-64, 69, 96, 192) Cárdenas, also had an almost mythical position as a favorite of the people, as he traversed the nation without the traditional armed guard, and armored cars, further
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