Porfirismo during the Mexican Revolution: Exile and the politics of representation, 1910–1920

Nancy Alexandra Aguirre, University of Texas at El Paso


This work broadens the narrative of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) by incorporating the perspective of the supporters of dictators Porfirio Díaz and Victoriano Huerta. I focus specifically on urban professional "Porfiristas," examining the changes and continuities in their identity over the course of the revolution. Identity formation is the central theme of this study, and I rely on memoirs, newspapers, government documents, and oral history interviews in order to analyze the motivations of Porfiristas as they fought to sustain their worldview during a decade of global conflict. My study draws upon the frameworks of post-colonialism, feminist theory, cultural studies, migration/diaspora studies, and historical memory. I analyze the complex reasons for which Porfiristas supported Díaz and Huerta, even though it cost them their homes, jobs, and separated them from their homeland. Porfiristas collectively went into exile in mid-1914, and this work traces the attempts at military and political counter-revolution in the latter part of the decade. Many exiles settled in San Antonio, Texas, and they relied on the publications "La Prensa" and "Revista Mexicana" to present their political views and cultural ideals to the Mexican immigrant population, referred to as "el México de afuera." Porfiristas promoted education, patriarchy, and Catholicism, while also privileging whiteness. However, Porfiristas in the United States were forced to contend with Anglo racism, and this group became active in support of the immigrant community. Furthermore, this group dealt with the effects of exile, displacement, and nostalgia; sharing their values helped them to cope with their struggles. Porfiristas understood that they were characterized as the villains of the revolution, and many spent the remainder of their lives defending their reputations. By presenting the narrative of the revolution from their perspective, this study challenges this homogenous view. This project also broadens the scholarship on Mexican, Mexican-American, Borderlands, and U.S. Spanish-language Media History.

Subject Area

Latin American history|Latin American Studies|Modern history

Recommended Citation

Aguirre, Nancy Alexandra, "Porfirismo during the Mexican Revolution: Exile and the politics of representation, 1910–1920" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3552239.