Accession Number:



The Man Who Tamed Mexico's Tiger: General Joaquin Amaro and the Professionalization of Mexico's Revolutionary Army

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This thesis 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 Diazs Federal Army proved to be a two-edged sword. While effective in overthrowing Diaz, Mexicos 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. Amaros significance resides not so much in his colorful battlefield experiences, where he clashed with the forces of such well-known generals as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, but rather in his relatively long tenure as Secretary of War 1925-1931, and as the Mexican militarys first Director of Military Education 1931-1935. During this critical 10-year period, Amaro undertook the nearly impossible task of transforming Mexicos 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, such explanations remain incomplete. In truth, the most fascinating aspect of Amaros brilliant military career stemmed from his strategy of professionalizing Mexicos 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. Amaro carried out his moralization program of cultural reeducation through an overhaul of the militarys legal system, the publication of military journals, and the establishment of a comprehensive military educational system that eventually affected every soldier.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement: