By Michael Matthews
In past due nineteenth-century Mexico the Mexican population used to be fascinated about the country’s booming railroad community. Newspapers and periodicals have been packed with paintings, poetry, literature, and social commentaries exploring the symbolic strength of the railroad. As an emblem of financial, political, and business modernization, the locomotive served to demarcate a nation’s prestige on the earth. although, the risks of locomotive commute, complex by means of the truth that Mexico’s railroads have been overseas owned and operated, intended that the railroad characterize affliction, dying, and international domination.
In The Civilizing Machine Michael Matthews explores the ideological and cultural milieu that formed the Mexican people’s figuring out of expertise. Intrinsically tied to the Porfiriato, the thirty-five-year dictatorship of Gen. Porfirio Díaz, the booming railroad community represented fabric growth in a rustic looking its position within the glossy international. Matthews discloses how the railroad’s improvement represented the crowning success of the regime and the fabric incarnation of its mantra, “order and progress.” The Porfirian management evoked the railroad in legitimizing and justifying its personal reign, whereas political rivals hired an identical rhetorical issues embodied by means of the railroads to problem the way during which that regime completed monetary improvement and modernization. As Matthews illustrates, the a number of symbols of the locomotive mirrored deepening social divisions and foreshadowed the conflicts that finally caused the Mexican Revolution.
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Extra info for The civilizing machine : a cultural history of Mexican railroads, 1876-1910
S. inﬂuence over Mexico, many 41 t h e discou rse of dev elopm e n t government ofﬁcials and members of the press anticipated that railway development would beneﬁt the nation by promoting immigration, especially from north of the border. 64 The following week, the publication continued to express its support for railway expansion, but this time by discussing the country’s northern states. S. S. immigration would strengthen the country. Its writers suggested that their fellow countrymen needed to trust the United States despite its past aggression, arguing that the White House’s judgment could not be so bankrupt as to entertain such evil intentions as conquest.
Policymakers believed the railroad would promote national integration and guaran- t h e discou rse of dev elopm e n t tee prosperity through export-oriented economic growth. The railway project allowed for the rapid transport of agricultural products and mineral resources to ports, invigorating the economy as well as allowing for the mobilization of labor needed for those sectors. It encouraged political stability and social peace by integrating isolated regions, where local caudillos often held sway rather than the federal authorities and by allowing government ofﬁcials to mobilize the military against any potential armed political challenges.
For Benjamin, the process of fetishization could be understood by examining how people experienced commodities sensually. 25 While Marx and Benjamin focused on how commodities came to have an intrinsic value to people, this study highlights the ways that middle- and upper-class literature during the early years of railway development — and especially during railway inauguration ceremonies — expressed encounters with the locomotive — a capital good — as emotive, sensual experiences that conﬁ rmed the utopian promises of modernization and so too the regime’s civilizing mission.